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December 27, 2013

2013 Wrap-up

Another year is coming to a close. 2013 has been a great year on the blog. My reading was down a little this year. My goal was 84 books, but I've only read 67 so far. But I'm happy with that; to me, anything over 52 books read is an accomplishment.

If everything goes as planned, I will have posted 460 times this year. I posted 41 tips (see the list here) and 46 reviews. I also hosted 97 authors, some of them multiple times. The other posts were featured books from my To Be Read pile, bargain ebook deals, and other book news.

Top 10 Posts of 2013

10: Review of The Shanghai Factor
9: Who is Sylvain Reynard?
8: Choosing a Blog Tour Company?
7: Benefits of Freelance Writing and Guest Blogging
6: Blog Tour - Guardians Inc
5: Holiday Buying Guide 2013
4: Test Your Knowledge of Regency Slang (Rose Gordon)
3. Make Friends with Bloggers
2: Author Media Kit Components
1: Julian Rosado-Machain: I'm an Author!?

2013 guest writers
(thank you for contributing to Girl Who Reads this year)

Ally Malinenko - What Got Left Behind
D. Kai Wilson-Viola - Revolution - Not Resolution
Sherri Hayes - Meet the Author
Michele Richard - Writing Against the Grain
Rose Gordon - Meet the Author and Test Your Knowledge of Regency Slang and You Want to Write Outside the Box, Then Step Outside the Box
Jennings Wright - Inner Editor and character interview
Lissa Bryan - Writing a Well-Researched Novel
Liss Thomas - character interview and Meet the Author
Deanna Nowadnick - Meet the Author
Rangeley Wallace - Tools for Writing and Life Experiences Influence my Writing
M. B. Feeny - deleted scene
R. E. Hargrave - Meet the Author and Her Bookshelf
Traci L. Slatton - Writer Wednesday
Schledia Benefield - Friday Fun
Julian Rosado-Machain - I'm an Author!?
Siobhan Kinkade - Meet the Author
Dianne Gardner - Writer Wednesday
LJ Harris - Friday Fun
Bruce Bradley - Meet the Author
Eleanor T. Beaty - The Character vs. The Inspiration
Lisa Bilbrey - character interview and Book Publishing Tips
Brandi Megan Granett - Meet the Author
Rochelle Jewel Shapiro - Stories Don't Come Easy, Even to Psychics and A Cosmic Oddity and When and How I First Found Out I am Psychic 
Jennifer Loiske - The Book That Wasn't Suppose to be Written
Bradless Frazer - Interview
Coral Russell - I'm a Scrawler and Sacrifice Trivia Quiz and Meet the Author
James Robinson - Meet the Author
Venessa Kimball - What is in Her Writer's Toolbox?
Dianne Gallagher - Rewrite Junkie
Gene Doucette - My Favorite Scene? That's Complicated
Zoe Brooks - Love of Shadows Word Puzzle
Laura Preble - Raising a Book Without Losing Your Mind
Jolie du Pre - A Good Way to Supplement Your Fiction Writing Income
K. P. Kollenborn - Advice on Writing Historical Fiction
Paul Landes - Faction - the New Fiction and A Writer's Best Friend
Michael Frissore - Humor in the Craft
Sydney Logan - The Making of a Book Cover
AK Taylor - Meet the Author and Writing Polar Opposites - YA Fantasy to Nonfiction
Rachel Waxman - Music Plays a Role in Writing and Plot
Kathleen S. Allen - Meet the Author
Ellen Harger - I Argue with Characters
Lorenz Font - Meet the Author and The Publishing Process
John Abramowitz - Building Character
Molly D. Campbell - The Soul Selects Her Own Society
MaryAnn Kempher - Meet the Author
Lia Fairchild - Dabbling in Different Genres
A.B. Shepherd - Meet the Author and My Inspiration for The Beacon
Kimberly Dalferes - Meet the Author
Laura Libriciz - The Decisions I Make While Writing
Jennifer Garcia - What I Learned from my Father
Bella Andre - Interview
Travis Simmons - Meet the Author
Aria Glazki - Silent Rejections and the Successful Author
Vera Jane Cook - Meet the Author
Katherine Polillo - Interview
Jeanette Battista - Writing a Novel in a Month or How to go Crazy in 30 Days
N.K. Smith - How Mental Health Shaped my Storytelling
Pavarti K. Tyler - A Teenage Protagonist Does Not a YA Book Make
J. L. Spohr - What Keeps Me Up at Night 
Alexandria Richland - I am Worried About Trenton Merrick
Rita Webb - character profile
M.R. Cornelius - Writing Sucks!
Diane Adams Taylor - Interview
Elsie Park - Meet the Author
Jane Shoup - Think With Your Fingers
B.Y. Rogers - The Iron Writer
Cindy Saunders - The Ultimate Cliffhanger
Jude Ouvrard - Meet the Author
Kathy Flute - Essential Tools for Publishing Your Book
Jamie Baywood - Interview
Selena Marimba - Romantic Fantasy Writing - How Do You Get Started
Dianne Harman - A Writer's Journey
JB Lynn - A TV Series?!?!?!?
Katherine Lowry Logan - character interview
Danielle DeVor - Interview
K.B. Hoyle - Meet the Author
Lori Foster - Interview
Quanie Miller - Interview
Kirstin Pulioff - Interview
Bernard Besson - Exploring Truth in Fiction
Maria Grazia Swan - A Great American Novel Italian Style
B.J. Robinson - Fun Facts
Lenora Henson - Finding Inspiration
Ian Hutson - Personal Background Influences Writing
Joss Landry - World Vision Expressed Through Fiction
Shane KP O'Neill - Meet the Author
Scott Wyatt - What Motives Me to Write
Sam Whitehouse - What Inspires Me?
Alison DeLuca - Using Tumblr, or How to Become an Artic Monkey
Bianca Turesky - Interview
Sherrill Willis - Interview
Lynne Cantwell - It's Just Like Starting Over
Alexandria Rhodes - Meet the Author
Chryse Wymer - Hyphens, Em Dashes, and En Dashes
Rebecca Hamilton - Friday Fun
Gabrielle Arrowsmith - I Hear Voices
Karen Pokras Toz - Street Teams

Books Reviewed in 2013:

Phone Kitten by Marika Christian
Granny is a Wolf by Rae Z. Ryans
Prince Nameless by Patti Larsen
Something New by Malena Lott
The Escape Diaries by Juliett Rosetti
My Blog Traffic Sucks by Steve Scott
Fixer by Gene Doucette
Mission: Adulthood by Hannah Seligson
The Journey by John A. Heldt
Unspeakable by S.R. Johannes
The Hitwoman Gets Lucky by JB Lynn
Cupid on Deck by Nancy Scrofano
The Crickhowell School for the Muses by Rachel Waxman
Right Click, Love by M.B. Feeney
The Hitwoman and the Family Jewels by JB Lynn
There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
Wellesley Wives by Suzy Duffy
Is This Tomorrow by Caroline Leavitt
The Diabolist by Layton Greene
Sex, Life, and Hannah Vol 3 by Dorota Skrzypek
Defiant Heart by Marty Steere
The Shanghai Factor by Charles McCarry
Lifeboat by A.B. Shepherd
Truth by Sherri Hayes
The Cypher by Julian Rosado-Machain
The Never List by Koethi Zan
I Couldn't Love You More by Jillian Medoff
Hickey of The Beast by Isabel Kinkle
White Chalk by Pavarti K. Tyler
Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas by Karen Pokras Toz
Article 5 books 1 and 2 by Kristen Simmons
Spell/Sword by G. Derek Adams
The Hitwoman and the Neurotic Witness by JB Lynn
Always Watching by Chevy Stevens
The Scroll by K.B. Hoyle
Spellman Files by Liza Lutz
For the Love of Livvy by J.M. Griffin
A Sealed Fate by Lisa Gordon
Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Beacon by A.B. Shepherd
Gabriel's Redemption by Sylvain Reynard
The Time-Traveling Fashionista and Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile by Bianca Turetsky
Nearly Departed by JB Lynn
Christmas Carol by Michele Gorman
Coiled Snake by Katie Robison

See all the books I've read this year.


I organized about 25 blog tours and book blasts. I beta read 1 novel and 1 short story. I also worked as a publicist for 4 authors.

I'm averaging (before the holidays anyways) about 850 page views per day. I've more than doubled my Twitter following this year, currently 4,206 (though I've had as many as almost 4,250 followers). I've also increased my Facebook fans - 2,125. As an offshoot of the blog's Facebook page, I created a Facebook page for my freelance work and it currently has 606 fans. I also started a Bloggers group to support authors, mostly my clients, and it currently has 64 members.

I published an ebook featuring my blog tour tips posts - Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour. I've sold more than 120 copies and even did a tour for the book.

2013 was a good blogging year. I'm looking forward to another great year in 2014. I'll be celebrating my 3rd Blogiversary in a few weeks. One of the things I am looking for in the coming year is an additional blogger. I'm looking for someone who will review 1 - 2 books a month (bonus the reviewer will like romance, epic fantasy, and/or horror) and possibly write other book/author related features. If you are interested, let me know.

Happy New Year!

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December 26, 2013

Tips of 2013

It's the last Thursday of 2013. I know many are out and about today, taking advantage of after Christmas sales (I am!). It got me thinking that over the course of the year you may have missed (or have forgotten) a tip or two. I also know that it isn't always easy to go back and find a tip on my blog, so a "table of contents" might be helpful.

It will also help me think about new topics for 2014. If there is a topic you would like me to write about (even if I've already covered it, but you still have questions), feel free to drop me a line.

Here are all the tips I've written on this year.

New year resolutions for your blog - January 3
Thoughts on tumblr - January 10
Organizing blogs to read - January 17
Networking with publishers, publicists, authors, and other bloggers - January 24
Tools to get blogging tasks done - January 31
eBook conversion video tutorial - February 7
Managing your social media presence - February 14
Finding time to read - February 21
Book blast success for both author and blogger - February 28
Optimizing blog post titles - March 7
Creating a weekly feature - March 14
When there's no time to read - March 21
What to write about - March 28
Challenges and memes for content creation - April 4
Does it matter if I post or not? - April 18
DNF - to review or not - April 25
When a link should be noFollow - May 9
Update on FTC disclaimer - May 16
Keeping your blog going while on vacation - May 23
Make your posts pretty - June 13
Most popular tips in 2012/2013 - June 20
Avoiding book blogger burnout - June 27
Backing up your blog - July 11
Using Twitter effectively - July 18
Book Blogger - media professional or reader with an audience - July 25
Formatting contributed posts - August 8
Choosing a blog tour company - August 15
Author Media Kit Components - August 22
Get more Twitter followers - August 29
Goodreads for authors - September 5
Tips for handling negative reviews - September 12
Benefits of freelance writing and guest blogging - September 16
Do you need a press release - October 10
Proofreading your own posts - October 17
5 topics to blog about - October 14
How to write a book review - October 31
Creating a media campaign - November 7
Calling in sick - November 14
Get more mileage out of past posts - November 21
Make a blogging plan - December 5
Review of - December 12

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December 25, 2013

Review: Christmas Carol by Michele Gorman

Christmas Carol
Christmas Carol by Michele Gorman is the perfect holiday read. And while titled for the Christmas holidays, it really could be read any time you feel the need for a light romantic tale that is short enough to read in an afternoon.

Carol is your typical singleton who is "happy" with life. She has a great job that demands a good deal of her time. So much of her time that she can't sustain a relationship. Her sister's wedding is approaching - a lavish affair at a castle in Scotland as her late grandmother's considerable wealth can only be spent on the girls' weddings. Carol is supportive, as supportive as a singleton with several failed relationships can be. The wedding isn't really the issue. The kicker is the guest list: two ex-boyfriends and an on-again-off-again flame.

Buy Christmas Carol at Amazon

Christmas Carol reads like a Lifetime movie version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. I was worried that is would be like Ghosts of Boyfriends Past, which I didn't really enjoy. Gorman's novella is much more fun. (There are no ghosts.) I could see myself some in Carol. She was very much a real person. Sometimes with romances I feel personalities are over the top and situations are too contrived. Not with this novella. The realism of the story increased my enjoyment of the story, though it may have hit a little closer to home than I would have liked.

Last Christmas I read Dating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley and Michele Gorman's Christmas Carol had the same feel. It really was like reading one of Lifetime's Christmas movies (which two Christmas's ago I had a marathon viewing - I was too sick to read). It has just the right combination of pulling at the heartstrings and giving hope.

Book Info:
ebook & paperback (100 pages)
Published September 2013 by Notting Hill Press
ISBN 13: 9781492242611
Source: publicist
Read: December 2013

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate;  a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link.  A free ebook was provided by the source.

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December 24, 2013

Review: Nearly Departed by JB Lynn

Review by Donna Huber
Nearly Departed

I have been a fan of JB Lynn's Hitwoman series since the very beginning. So I was excited to hear she has started another series, but I wondered if she could hit gold once again. I shouldn't have been worried, Lynn's writing is superb and even without the talking animals, it is witty.

In Nearly Departed, we are introduced to Vicky, the long suffering co-owner of Spring Cleaning. She is keeping alive her brother's dream of having his own crime scene clean-up business. By keeping his dream alive, she is keeping hope alive that her military serving brother will be found alive. While being a crime scene cleaner is a messy job, it shouldn't be all that complicated. Unfortunately for Vicky the dead want her help in finishing up some business. It's Ghost Whisperer meets CSI.

Buy Nearly Departed at Amazon

I never really thought I was a fan of cozy mysteries - I like the grittiness of darker thrillers. While chick lit does tickle my fancy from time to time, I more often still want to the whodunnit suspense with a little lighter approach. Or perhaps it is just Lynn's stories that I find so thoroughly entertaining.

For those who must have romance, there are definitely some sparks between Vicky and her new employee Smoke. And I have to say Smoke is the perfect romantic male lead. Everything you want in a fictional boyfriend. He is rough around the edges, but has a gooey center.

The whole cast of characters is perfect together. There didn't seem to be any "extras" in this ensemble. I love the development of Vicky. The revealing of pieces of her personality is well timed. Slowly, almost reluctantly, the reader learns more about who she is. The timing of these tidbits provides another layer to the character. She herself is reluctant to let others in, to reveal to much of herself to anyone.

Well done, JB; I do believe you have another hit on your hands. I know the holidays can be a busy time, but you owe it to yourself to steal a few minutes of "me time" and Nearly Departed would be an excellent book to curl up with.

Book Info:
ebook & paperback (292 pages)
Published December 2013 by Gemma Halliday Publishing
ISBN13: 9781493690770
Source: Author
Read: December 2013

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate;  a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link.  A free ebook was provided by the source.

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December 23, 2013

December Reading


I have been on a reading spree this month. Since it will be a few weeks before I get all the reviews up, I thought I would give you a peek at what I've been reading. Thankfully they have all been good and I recommend them.

Knightley and Son
Meet Knightley and Son - two great detectives for the price of one . . .

Alan Knightley is an expert in crimes too strange for Scotland Yard to handle, but four years ago the unexplained finally caught up with him - and he fell into a mysterious coma. His son Darkus is determined to follow in his father’s footsteps and find out what really happened. But when Alan suddenly wakes up, his memory is wonky and he needs help. The game is afoot for Knightley & Son - with a mystery that gets weirder by the minute, a bestselling book that makes its readers commit terrible crimes, and a sinister organisation known as the Combination ...

A funny, warm, fantastical crime caper with an unlikely hero and a brilliant comic cast.

Available January in UK and March in US.

Pre-order Knightley and Son from Amazon

Nearly Departed
Victoria Spring hates her job. The last career a reluctant medium should pursue is crime scene clean up; it would have been nice to know she could talk to ghosts before taking the job.

As the co-founder of SPRING CLEANING, most of the hard work should be covered by her business partner & brother, Jerry. And it was...until he was shipped off to Afghanistan and declared missing in action over two years ago. Determined not to disappoint her parents, Vicky keeps the business afloat "just until Jerry gets back." But when she agrees to clean up the murder-suicide of three college students, she knows she'll need help. Ex-cop Smoke Barclay is more than a little mysterious, but he has great references, passed the puke test, and has a decent hand shake, so he's hired. Smoke's help should make this job a breeze, but when the ghosts of the three victims show up at the scene claiming all three were murdered by someone still on the loose; Vicky knows nothing about this job is going to be easy.

Helping the ghosts move on means finding out what really happened to happened to them...even if it means Vicky may be the next victim.

Buy Nearly Departed at Amazon

Coiled Snake
The long awaited sequel to Downburst.

Kit’s journey continues in the second book of The Windstorm Series.

Kit has escaped her death sentence with the Yakone, only to be captured by the barbaric Rangi. Now a prisoner of war, her only means of survival will pit her against everyone and everything she holds dear—including herself.

Buy Coiled Snake at Amazon

One winter wedding, two happy couples, three ex-boyfriends. And a very uncomfortable weekend.

Carol hates Christmas. Being recently dumped, she’s not crazy about weddings either. So her sister Marley’s nuptials, over the Christmas weekend, are making her positively Scrooge-like. When she arrives at the stately home in rural Scotland to find her three ex-boyfriends in attendance, Carol has no choice but to face her ghosts to discover what really happened in those relationships, learning a lot about herself in the process. As the snow falls outside and the fire crackles in the hearth, might one of the wedding guests become the harbinger of Christmases to come?

This wickedly funny re-imagining of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will warm the cockles of even the coldest heart.

Buy Christmas Carol at Amazon

277 –the number sewn into Simone’s shirt. The number that dictates her life at the protection camp. Regulated by a system of ringing bells, fortified cars, and rations, the survivors are protected from residual contaminates on the other side of the wall. 

Breaking the monotony of the highly structured camp, Simone and her friend skip school to enjoy one of the last nice days of fall. An afternoon game leads them to a new part of the forest, uncovering more than they expected. All thoughts of protection and rules are shattered by the appearance of the ivory tower. A tower riddled with a history of danger and death.

When her friend shows up with a bruised face and thinly veiled threats, Simone has to decide how much she is willing to risk to find out the truth of the tower.

Buy The Ivory Tower at Amazon

Katie is a wife, a caring best friend, and the one person her mother, Rochelle, hates more than anyone. No one sees the darkness lurking just under the surface of their mother-daughter relationship, instead viewing Rochelle as misunderstood. That she has so much love for her daughter that she may seem harsh. 

Wrong. So wrong.

Katie grew up taught that she was the cause of Rochelle’s miscarriages. She grew up with the belief she shouldn’t be happy knowing she’d caused her mom so much pain and suffering. Now Katie is pregnant and Rochelle is out to stop Katie from ruining her baby’s life—just like Katie ruined her own.

Still, Katie can’t imagine killing the life growing inside her. Hell hath no fury like Rochelle with a vengeance to make Katie pay for ruining her life.

In Rochelle’s quest for power, Katie’s baby is the pawn.

Buy Precise at Amazon

Nate Rocks the School
Nate Rocks Is At It Again . . .

According to Nathan Rockledge, fifth grade has plenty of perks. Oh sure, there’s more work, and he still has to deal with the know-it-all, Lisa Crane. Luckily, there is a lot to look forward to as well: a laser tag birthday party, baseball at recess, and even a cool Halloween dance. Of course, all of that means nothing without the biggest perk of all … the class trip to New York City in the spring. If his class can raise enough money to go, that is.

Give Nathan paper and a pencil, and watch as his imagination turns him into Nate Rocks, hero and fifth-grade super star. With adventures abound, Nate saves the day time and again. But will Nate be able to save the fifth grade trip?

Join Nathan, his hilarious family, and his friends, as he rocks the school in another fun Nate Rocks adventure.

Buy Nate Rocks the School at Amazon

Readers who devoured Boyfriend From Hell and Earth Angel will be captivated by the third book in the Falling Angels Saga.

As summer break for Glendale Union high begins, heartsick Megan awaits Guy's return while struggling to control her emerging abilities. Love is in the air, but can the new loves in Megan, Maudrina, Suze and Aunt' Jaz's life be trusted? Nothing is what it seems. Meanwhile, the Satanists are set to hatch their most diabolical scheme ever, and if it comes to pass, Satan may finally win out.

Megan has precious little time to unravel the cryptic message hidden in the riddle she received at the end of Earth Angel. If she doesn’t, the life of someone most dear to her will be lost forever, and Megan may yet find herself living in HELL.

Buy Heaven Sent at Amazon

Flesh and Bone
Anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton founded Tennessee's world-famous Body Farm—a small piece of land where corpses are left to decay in order to gain important forensic information. Now, in the wake of a shocking crime in nearby Chattanooga, he's called upon by Jess Carter—the rising star of the state's medical examiners—to help her unravel a murderous puzzle. But after re-creating the death scene at the Body Farm, Brockton discovers his career, reputation, and life are in dire jeopardy when a second, unexplained corpse appears in the grisly setting.

Accused of a horrific crime—transformed overnight from a respected professor to a hated and feared pariah—Bill Brockton will need every ounce of his formidable forensic skills to escape the ingeniously woven net that's tightening around him . . . and to prove the seemingly impossible: his own innocence.

Buy Flesh and Bone at Amazon

I'm currently reading:

A Cold and Lonely Place
Troy Chance returns in another riveting novel from the author of the critically acclaimed Learning to Swim 

Freelance writer Troy Chance is snapping photos of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival ice palace when the ice-cutting machine falls silent. Encased in the frozen lake is the shadowy outline of a body—a man she knows. 

A lurid news story goes viral, throwing suspicion on one of Troy's housemates. Troy is assigned to write an in-depth feature on the dead man, who turns out to be the son of a wealthy Connecticut family playing at a blue-collar life in this Adirondack village. As Troy digs deeper into his life and mysterious death—working with his bereaved sister, reclusive girlfriend, and helpful neighbor—a string of incidents makes it clear someone doesn't want the investigation to continue.

What Troy discovers threatens to shatter the serenity of these mountain towns, and she must decide which family secrets should be exposed, and how far her own loyalty can reach.

Buy A Cold and Lonely Place at Amazon

Family Magic
Sixteen-year-old Sydlynn Hayle is the daughter of a powerful witch and a demon lord of the seventh plane. The trouble is, she just wants to be ordinary. Syd struggles to survive the minefield of her new high school while being torn between her attraction to football hero Brad Peters and the darkly mysterious Quaid Moromond. When her coven comes under attack, Syd is forced to face the fact only her power can save her family's magic.

Buy Family Magic at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate;  a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link. It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey.

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