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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

January 4, 2014

FREE Children's eBooks

Are the kids going stir crazy, yet? Did you get a Kindle for Christmas? Load up on these two children's ebooks for FREE!

Raymond Goes to the Dentist

Raymond while eating discovered his tooth really hurt. He was really scared. His friend Ted helped him out on the way to the dentist.

Buy Raymond Goes to the Dentist at Amazon

Ted and Raymond Sea Adventures

Ted and Raymond's Sea Adventure is not just about the sea. It teaches kids safety in boats and also the fish and things around the sea.

Buy Ted and Raymond's Sea Adventure at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. Prices are subject to change without notice, please verify price before purchasing. Want to have your bargain, discounted, or free ebook featured? Fill out this form.

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January 3, 2014

Birthday Writing Prompt Contest

I wish I could be a fiction writer. Maybe if I had more time I could be, but I don't have that kind of time or desire. However, from time to time I come up with a idea that I think would make an excellent plot. My birthday is coming up on January 18 and I want to celebrate with all of you. A few years ago a couple of lines came to me and I've have always wanted them turned into a story. (Remember, my favorite stories are often a bit dark or depressing - usually they have a happy ending, but not always)

Want to give me a gift? Take the following prompt and write a flash fiction story. But wait, there is something in it for you. On Saturday, January 11 I will post a linky and then I will let readers vote. Voting will be open until 6 pm EST Friday, January 17. The top 3 stories, chosen by readers, will receive a book store gift card (I will be the tie breaker vote if needed).

You have one week to perfect your story. You are to post the story on your blog or Facebook page. On January 11 (starting at 7:30 am EST), add the link to your story. (There will be a post specifically for the linky and giving readers some info on voting). The winners will be announced on Saturday, January 18.

Ready? Here's the prompt:

I can't remember the last time someone held my hand or warm arms embraced me. It has been a decade since another's lips have touched my own. Now, I sit here on my birthday... no party or well wishes, not even a cake. Is this my future, to wither and die alone?

Good luck! I'm really looking forward to what you come up with.

January 2, 2014

10 Blogging Goals for 2014

The holidays are over and life is returning to normal (I'm back to work today). I don't do New Year Resolutions, but I do like to set goals. As I'm coming up on my 3rd blogging anniversary I thought now would be a good day to think about what I want to accomplished.

1. Write reviews more promptly. I read enough books in December that I can post one review a week through mid-February. However, I have a bad habit of not writing the full review until the weekend before. This is a bad habit. I only do a short review on Goodreads upon completion of the book. Sometimes it's enough to jog my memory and sometimes it doesn't. I either need to take better notes or just write the full review at least the same week I finish the book.

2. Host 100 authors. I had 97 authors as guests on my blog in 2013. Many of them wrote more than one post, but I have more than enough guest feature spots to easily host 100 authors. If you are an author that would like to write a post or do an interview, check the submission guideline tab. If you are a reader and have an author who you would like to see appear on my guest, drop me a line and I will see what I can do.

3. Set-up posts in advance. Last year I started putting together all my blog posts for the week over the weekend. I will continue that practice, but sometimes authors will send me their articles several weeks in advance (which I absolutely love!). Right now, I usually sit on them until the weekend before they go live. Instead of blogging week to week, this year I want put together as much of the month as possible (blog month to month).

4. Put together my second marketing secrets ebook. I have written all the posts that will make up the bulk of the ebook so it is just a matter of finding the time to compile the posts, add in the transitions and expand on information I glossed over in the original blog post.

5. Read 72 books. Every year, my goal is to read 52 books but I also like to put in a challenge goal. It is usually a few books more than I read the year before. I didn't do as well this year with my reading. I only completed 81% of my challenge goal this year, so I'm reducing the number by 12.

6. Promote my blog more. I spend a lot of time promoting other blogs through Triberr and while I believe it does help, less than half of members I'm in a tribe with share any given post of mine. There will go whole days where only 1 or 2 people share my post through Triberr. There are over 50 members combined in the 3 tribes I am part of. I need to make sure I need to promote my posts more myself.

7. Be more active on Facebook. I often forget about my Facebook page. I need to use it more to promote my blog and interact with my readers.

8. Write better posts. I was very pleased to see this year a majority of the Top 10 Most Popular Posts were ones I written. I worked hard to improve the quality of my posts, but I know I can improve even more. I also want to write on more topics. I would love to get more press releases from authors and publicists so I can share your book news with my readers. I want add a few new features - popular books, new releases, ebook deals, themed recommendation lists. I've played with all of these in 2013, but not consistently enough to figure out what works and what doesn't.

9. Start an online blogger group. I love my tips posts, but I would like more interaction with bloggers. I'm part of a few author groups that offer support and advice, but I want one for book bloggers. It will most likely be a Facebook group. I'm thinking we could share posts, ask questions, and offer general support in what can be a frustrating and lonely occupation. Authors who are also book bloggers will be welcome. I think the guideline for who is a book blogger will be if your blog is 60% book-related topics (and for authors - that 60% should be book topics other than about you and your books). If you are interested in the being part of such a group or helping with it, let me know.

10. Add a reviewer and/or regular contributor(s). Sometimes life gets busy or there is more blogging tasks I want to accomplish that I cannot do them all alone. I would like to find someone who is interested in reviewing a book or two a month (bonus if their preferred genres is romance, horror, or fantasy) and putting together one featured article (new books, themed list, book news, etc) per month. I'm also considering offering weekly/monthly column. This would be great exposure for a new author or a writer wanting to expand their portfolio. Contact me if you are interested

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January 1, 2014

Short Story: The Ivory Tower by Kirstin Pulioff

The Ivory Tower
I'm going to let you in on a little secret - I don't really like short stories. No sooner do I get to know the character it is time to say goodbye. That is how I felt with The Ivory Tower. I was just getting to know Simone and the world she inhabits when the story ended.

Yet, at the same time I'm drawn to short stories when I need a quick escape where I get the whole story without a big time commitment. (I read a lot of short stories while writing my dissertation for this reason). And I have to say Kirstin Pulioff did a magnificent job in the 20-something pages her story comprised.

Buy The Ivory Tower at Amazon

Simone, or 277 as she is known at the camp, is an orphan. The inhabitants of this camp are there for their own protection. The world as they know it has become a dangerous place and as long as they follow the rules they will be cared for. Or so goes the party line. A precocious child that knows few boundaries and has even less parental oversight isn't so sure she wants to toe that line any more. Why should she? All it gets her is food rations - when they don't run out before getting to her spot in line - and a threadbare shirt.

So much is happening within these few pages, I have to wonder if Pulioff is planning to explore this world more. I think I'm most impressed with how complete Pulioff is with her world building. I've read series that takes the author 3 books or more to give me a clear picture of how the world works. Yet, in The Ivory Tower the reader can see how society wound up in these "protective" camps and why they remain so. But, there is still plenty of stories within this world that can be explored and I do hope she considers it.

Book info:
ebook (24 pages)
Published September 2013
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 31, 2013

Review: Coiled Snake by Katie Robison

Coiled Snake
I waited a VERY LONG time for the sequel to Downburst (see my review). I was afraid it may never come. When we left Kit she was in the hands of the ones she thought was the enemy having been declared a traitor to the people she was trying to help. In the fast paced adventure ending on a cliff (both literally and figuratively), I think all readers of the series let out a collectively sigh of relief when Coiled Snake hit the shelves - FINALLY!

Coiled Snake fast forwards a bit in time. Kit is still recovering from the injuries she sustained at the end of Downburst, but it clearly has been a few weeks as she is now in New Zealand. Just as she learned bits of her true identity while with the Yakone, now among the Ranji she learned even more about herself and her family. And as the saying going every coin has two sides and so does every story. What is the truth in the conflict between Yakone and Ranji. Are these two people groups so steeped in their own hatred that they are missing the greater threat?

Buy Coiled Snake at Amazon

If you are hoping for answers to some of the bigger questions left open in Downburst, you aren't going to find them in Coiled Snake. If possible the waters have been made murkier. Like Kit, I'm confused about who the good guys and bad guys are (but in a good way that a series should leave you feeling when not yet complete). And now there is possibly a third player in the game, one whose tactics include "divided they shall fall" methods.

In this fictional world, Robison draws on many points of contention in our own world. As there isn't as much action in Coiled Snake, there is a lot of time for reflection and learning. Oh for sure danger and adventure lurk in the shadows, but it takes a backseat to the bigger picture. The battle between right and wrong is raging strongly, particularly within Kit. She befriended many of the Yakone, but the Ranji is family. Yet, as an outsider to both she may be in the unique position to see what the others are blinded to by their long-seeded hatred for one another.

This is an excellent young adult series. It has all the aspects that are drawing teens to books - strong female lead, plenty of action, a bit of the paranormal - and it tackles real issues that teens face - belonging, doing what is right, loyalty, them versus us mentality - without being preachy. I love that the series features native people groups. If you are needing a break from the dystopian and fantasy novels, but don't want to stray to far, then the Windstorm series is perfect for you.

Book info:
ebook and paperback (342 paperback)
Published November 2013 by Quill Books
ISBN13: 9780985046521
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 30, 2013

Books Under the Tree

While my pile of books under the coffee table tells everyone that I do not need to receive more books for Christmas, my niece and nephew are still building their library. They each received several books. I know parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are always on the lookout for books that entertain the often difficult to please tween and teen age group. Here are what was found under the Christmas tree this year.

For my niece:

The Time-Traveling Fashionista 3Walk, talk, and dress like an Egyptian.

When Louise Lambert tries on a lavender Grecian gown during a visit to the mysterious Traveling Fashionista Vintage Sale, she feels a familiar tug and falls back in time, arriving at the dusty base of an enormous pyramid. She has landed in ancient Egypt...or has she?

It turns out that Louise is on the legendary Old Hollywood film set of Cleopatra, but her time there is short-lived. Rummaging through the wardrobe tent, Louise gets her hands on a pearl necklace that dates back to 51 BC, and she suddenly finds herself whisked away once more, this time to the ancient city of Alexandria, Egypt. Gold and jewels shimmer in the Egyptian sunlight, but poisonous snakes and dangerous enemies also roam the palace halls. Louise quickly learns that life as a handmaiden to Queen Cleopatra is much more treacherous--and fashionable--than she ever could have imagined.

Buy The Time-Traveling Fashionista and Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile at Amazon


Buy the Divergent trilogy at Amazon

For my nephew:

Huber Hill 3CĂ­bola, the city of gold, is just a myth—or is it? As Huber and his friends search for a magical golden staff, they must believe in the legends and follow the clues that will lead them to this fabled city. But with a madman and a deadly secret society right on their trail, it quickly becomes a race for their lives! Huber’s final installment will keep any adventurer captivated.

Buy Huber Hill and the Golden Staff of Cibola at Amazon

The Maze RunnerThe Scorch TrialsThe Death Cure

Buy The Maze Runner trilogy at Amazon

What books were under your tree?

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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