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March 22, 2014

Series Saturday: Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles 1 and 2 by Brenda Perlin

Review by Claire Rees

Shattered Reality
ebook (216 pages)
Published November 2013 by Master Koda Select
Source: Author
Read: March 2014
A wonderfully written memoir, Shattered Reality by  Brenda Perlin follows a woman called Brooklyn.  We join her from childhood looking at the relationships with her family and friends, focusing on her mother and father especially.  At 21 she leaves her family home and we see the first home she has on her own, we see her various jobs including waitressing whilst trying to become an actress and her relationships both platonic and romantic.  The story goes onto meeting her husband and life after marriage which isn’t always a happy ending.  It gives the reader a unique look into adultery.  There is much more to this book that I love but I cannot write about without giving away the story.

This is a story of an incredibly strong, brave and seemingly invincible woman. Whenever something knocks her down her strength and courage pick her back up.  Whilst reading it I have been happy, sad, tearful and hopeful. This book is both heart wrenching in parts and heart warming in others but above all I would call it inspiring.

The first in a three part series, I am very much looking forward to the next book.

Buy Shattered Realty at Amazon

Burnt Promises, book two in the Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles, picks up where book one finishes.

Burnt Promises
ebook (151 pages)
Published November 2013 by Master Koda Select
Read: March 2014 
From Brooklyn’s point of view we see more of her youth and the friendships she built up. We see the risks they took going to parties and travelling out of town for concerts not knowing what danger they could be in until some of their friends get attacked and they start taking more care. We see more of her old boyfriends, Joey in particular who cheated on Brooklyn constantly but she still kept taking him back over and over. Until one day she snapped and walked away for good. It just goes to show you have to kiss some frogs before you meet your prince!

Brooklyn describes in more detail how the deaths of both her parents from cancer affected her, and how having to fight someone that she felt was very dear to her  in court just added to the pain and misery.

Buy Burnt Promises at Amazon

Brooklyn details the falling apart of her marriage, and the guilt she felt at having hurt so many people in her and Bo’s quest for happiness. Into her relationship with Bo, blossoming from a warm friendship into a deep meaningful and loving relationship. Within their relationship Brooklyn and Bo have had to fight obstacle after obstacle to live their lives happily, from Brooklyn's ex-husband and Brooklyn's illness to Bo’s ex-wife, Ruth. Ruth is still not giving up on trying to win her husband back. She keeps calling and e-mailing, each one getting more crazy as the time goes on, and even delaying the court hearings for the divorce.

I admire the writer who has put their heart on the line. When writing this book, Brenda Perlin has told the whole world some of her most inner thoughts, feelings and secrets. When you think adultery you may think that these people are bad or wrong but after reading this you will see that there are two sides to every story and sometimes by walking away it is the best for both parties.  She has had to deal with losing both parents before their time, an incredibly serious illness, her divorce and the heartache that followed along with the stress and unhappiness that Bo’s ex-wife caused and still after all this she has come through it stronger than ever, she and Bo are happy and one day will hopefully be free to get on with their lives.

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

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March 21, 2014

Review: Trust by @Sherri_Hayes

by Donna Huber

I have been following this series for a long time. All the way back to when I met Sherri in an online forum and Finding Anna was going by a different name and was in its earliest of drafts. I stuck with the series to see where it would go, what Sherri would do with the characters, how she would resolve the plot.

I've mentioned several times I'm intrigued by captive stories, particularly what comes after rescue. That is what drew me originally to Sherri's series. Slave (see my review) starts with the rescue of Brianna and Need (see my review) and Truth (see my review) follow her journey back to life.

In Trust, the final installment of the Finding Anna series, Brianna has been separated from Stephen - her rescuer and love interest. Their reunion is contingent on the investigation surrounding Brianna's original disappearance and Stephen's subsequent involvement which included paying her capture a large sum of money.

Buy Trust at Amazon

Overall, it was a nice wrap up of the series. However, it felt like there were too many scenes. Some just didn't need to be there. For example, the plot line with the misunderstanding with Stephan's ex-girlfriend. There was so much other conflict, bigger conflict, that having Brianna think he has moved on with an ex-girlfriend seemed contrite. In my opinion, it is an overdone plot device in romance novels.

A big pet peeve I have with romance novels is unnecessary sex scenes that go into so much detail that they are excruciating more than hot.  One well written, emotion filled sex scene (for an example read Gabriel's Inferno) can raise the sexy level of a romance so much higher, than 10 mediocre scenes (I'm exaggerating; I didn't count the number of sex scenes. In fact I started skimming them to get back to the main story).

You may recall that I was not all that pleased with Truth. And perhaps some of the action that occurred in book 4 would have been better in book 3. It might have paced the story better. It was interesting to see that a couple of big complaints among reviewers of Slave was included in this final installment. It has been debated with each installment whether Stephen's Dom-technique really was helping Anna recover or keeping her more dependent on him. She suffered extreme psychological torment along with the physical torture. And while the structure he provides gives her stability during the transition, it was never evident if she would be able to fully function as an individual without professional help. The other complaint was if Stephen loved Anna enough to give up the BDSM lifestyle if she was unable to participate in the lifestyle due to her trauma.

Though I thought the story could have been more streamlined by cutting some of the extraneous scenes, overall Trust held my interest. It is another quick read and if you like to have a series wrapped up all pretty then you will want to read Trust.

Book info:
ebook and paperback (310 pages)
Published March 2014 by The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House 
ISBN13: 9781612132228
Source: Netgalley
Read: February 2014

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the link above. A free book was obtained from the source.

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March 20, 2014

Should Book Bloggers Charge?

by Donna Huber

As I mentioned last week, Girl Who Reads is becoming a multi-reviewer site. It's exciting. I'm hoping that it will alleviate some of the work I do. I won't have to write posts 5 days a week. But then there is the organizing of who is reviewing what when and other administrative tasks so it might all balance out to be about the same amount of work.

I know paying for a review is unpopular. However, there are a lot of things bloggers do for authors that are not tied completely to the review. In searching for blogs to query for clients, I see some of the "mommy" bloggers that charge if a product being reviewed isn't a certain value - often set at $25 or $50. I don't know any of these bloggers personally, so I don't know exactly how that works out for them. Most are reviewing quite a few products.

Then there are places like Kirkus Reviews and even Publisher's Weekly that charge authors. In the case of the latter, it is an advertising package that may include a review, but no review is guaranteed. From the former organization, the author does get a review. It is up to the author if the review is published. If published it is distributed to retailers and possibly printed in their magazine and email newsletter. The book is also assigned to qualified reviewers - librarians, journalists, PhDs. In other words, there are a number of administrative tasks associated with having the book reviewed. They also have career opportunities, so I assume their reviewers are paid.

What if book bloggers charged an administrative fee for the books they accept for review? I'm sure it takes me at least 5 minutes to sort the requests, send the list of request to the reviewers, arrange for the posting of the review, etc. Is 5 minutes of my time worth $2 to you if it meant a review at Girl Who Reads?

Let's move away from the controversial topic of pay that is in any way linked to reviews. What about promo posts? People are paying sites like Book Bub and the multitude of other ebook deal sites. I do give at least some of sties  have proven to increase sales for most books listed. But then again they often charge $100 or more to list a free or discounted ebook.

Let's take an informal poll,

For authors...
Would you pay $5 - $10 for a promo post that looked something like this post or this one? It would also be tweeted and mentioned on Facebook over the course of the month or so.

For readers...
Do you look at the promo posts? Do you consider purchasing the books featured in such posts?

Just leave a comment with your answer. I'm sure there are other book bloggers wondering the same thing. Book blogging is a time consuming endeavor and while often our book budgets are supplemented with the free books we receive for review purposes, many wouldn't mind a little financial compensation for all the hard work they put into their blogs. So your answers will be hopeful to many.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the publisher, editor and head writer for Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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March 18, 2014

Review: The Hitwoman Hunts a Ghost by @JB_Lynn_author

Review by Donna Huber

The Hitwoman Hunts a Ghost
What can you say about the sixth book in a series that hasn't already been said? Thankfully JB Lynn has continued to find new adventures for Maggie and the gang. Seriously, after six books I'm still finding it just as fun as the first book.

If you had read The Hitwoman and the Neurotic Witness, you may assume (like I did) that the ghost Maggie is hunting in The Hitwoman Hunts a Ghost is her long thought dead sister. That's the funny thing about titles and the way they are capitalized, you don't know if ghost is just a term or a proper name.

I felt like The Hitwoman Hunts a Ghost was a lighter read - if that is possible with a humor book. I'm not sure if the story really moved forward. Definitely not the parts with a certain redheaded murder mentor, but we did get to see a little more the mystery group. I'm not sure what Mrs. Whitehat is all about. At least with the mob boss you get what his game is. I'm kind of waiting for when Maggie's hitwoman orders cross paths with Mrs. Whitehat's orders.

Buy The Hitwoman Hunts a Ghost at Amazon

If you love the animals, then this book just might be your favorite. Their antics are among the best we have seen in the series. They definitely played a large role in this storyline. I think this is why I had so much fun reading this book.

Do you have plans for spring break? If you haven't read The Hitwoman Hunts a Ghost by JB Lynn, it would be the perfect vacation read.

Book info:
Published February 2014
Source: Author
Read: February 2014

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. An ebook was provided the source.
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March 17, 2014

1 Question 5 Authors

The authors of new contemporary romance anthology For the Love of Murphy answer one question:

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Michelle Ziegler:
I like to sew, play with my kids, read, and design web pages. I'm a ball of fire, I know.

Falling For You by Michelle Ziegler
Darci’s ready to move on. Too bad the dating pool stinks.  Until, a ghost from her past resurfaces—the man she missed out on in college.

Andrew was the one man she’d always loved, but neither of them ever made a move.  But, old feelings aren’t the only thing resurfacing of late.  Darci’s ex comes crawling back at the most inappropriate time, and with all the testosterone flying, she might not end up with either man.

London Saint James:
For the Love of Murphy
I love to hang out with my family and friends as much as possible. Watch a good movie while cuddle up on the couch with my sexy man. Listen to music. Read. Relaxing things, really.

The Shamrock Incident by London Saint James
Florist, Marissa Carmichael isn’t usually a klutz, but she’s in a hurry and having a bad day. In her haste, she loses her balance and tumbles from the back room of her shop, arms flailing. Her less than graceful entrance halted by a headfirst crash into a display case chock full of silk flowers.

Trey Cleary didn’t think his day could get any worse, until he finds. himself picking the side view mirror of his BMW up from the ground. On a mission to do something about it, he locates the flower shop matching the name on the back of the van that mangled his ‘baby'. But, his car is forgotten when a beautiful woman bursts into the room like an out of control whirling dervish, and takes one mother of a wipeout into the shop’s counter. Coming to her aid brings out the hero in him like no one he’s ever encountered, and leaves him with a need to know more.

For Marissa and Trey, this just might be the one time it pays to be unlucky.

Rebecca Hart:
I guess it depends on the season. In winter, I pretty much want to hibernate until spring. However, once May rolls around, I spend as much time as possible (which amounts to every weekend) at my seasonal camp in Upstate NY. Camper, campfires, friends, my hammock, the woods, sunshine, and peace. Sheer perfection. Summer is also softball season, and despite my advanced years, I still try to convince my body it can handle one more season. Beyond that, I'm a music junkie, so most of the time I have headphones stuffed in my ears... Not all that exciting, but it works for me.

A Slippery Slope by Rebecca Hart
Anne Montgomery is psyched for her girl’s only weekend, despite her friends’ choice of vacation locale—the snowy slopes of Harris Peak Ski Resort—where someone as notoriously accident prone as she has no business being. When Murphy’s Law finally catches up with her, Anne is forced to consider there may be times when it pays to be unlucky.

Lisa A. Adams:
I am an ex-teacher who has left the school system full time, but can't seem to leave it for good. I now work as a substitute teacher and tutor at several schools. When I'm not at work or writing, I'm watching one of my five children perform in their various extracurricular activities, playing mom taxi, reading, and quilting. I can't sew clothes for anything, but I can make a gorgeous quilt.

No Wrong Turns by Lisa A. Adams
Jessica Brannah is escaping from her last heartbreak with a loaded car and a new address. But, when Murphy's Law finds her stranded in a back country town, she realizes there's no outrunning love.

Annabelle Blume:
When I’m not writing, and I have a single spare moment that isn’t taken up with my typical wife and mom responsibilities, I love to read. It’s my passion. It’s why I became a writer, because I write the books I want to read that haven’t been written yet. And every so often, I can be found at the local dive bar for Friday night karaoke.

Coffee and Cufflinks by Annabelle Blume
Fresh out of a failed relationship and exhausted by a constant barrage of fiascos at work, Olivia Johnson doesn’t see the man of her dreams standing right in front of her. She tells herself the morning coffee meet-ups with Daren are nothing but coincidence, but even she can’t deny his unequivocal attractiveness. When a night entertaining clients takes a turn for the worst, and Daren shows up where she least expects him, failure starts to look more like fate.

Buy For the Love of Murphy at Amazon

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Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate;  a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed by contributing authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.
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