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L is for Literary Fiction #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the...

April 4, 2014

April New Releases

Got your wishlist handy? I'm sure you will want to add a few of these to your reading list this month.

Bad for You
Innocence was never meant for the addictive…

Addiction was something Krit Corbin accepted as part of his nature a long time ago. He decided to embrace it and flip his finger at the rules. Women had always been the number one thing on his list of addictions. He couldn’t get enough. Being the lead singer in a rock band had only made access to his favorite addiction that much easier.

Being alone was the only thing Blythe Denton understood. The small town minister’s family that raised her hadn’t accepted her as their own. The minister’s wife had always made sure Blythe understood just how unworthy she was of love. When Blythe is sent away to college and given a chance to finally be free of living as an unwanted burden, she looks forward to having peace in her life. Being alone isn’t something that bothers her. She escapes reality in the stories she writes.

However, the ridiculously sexy tattooed guy who keeps throwing parties in the apartment above hers is driving her crazy. For starters, he doesn’t treat her like she would expect a guy with a different woman always hanging on his arm to treat someone as uninteresting as her. She looks nothing like the gorgeous women she sees parading in and out of his apartment, but for some strange reason he keeps showing up at her door.

During a party at his apartment, Krit’s new neighbor comes to the door with her long brown hair pulled up in a messy knot and a pair of glasses perched on her cute little nose. She wants him to turn down the music, but he convinces her to stay.

Krit Corbin may have just found his biggest addiction yet. And Blythe Denton realizes too late that she’s finally been claimed.

Available April 1
Buy Bad for Your at Amazon

Killer Within
Arnie Milhouse is a murderer. A millionaire with dozens of kills in his past and no one the wiser. But when his name surfaces in connection with the death of a D.C. call girl, Arnie knows it’s only a matter of time before the FBI puts the pieces together. As he makes plans to disappear and leave his life in Annapolis behind forever, he meets a beautiful, mysterious woman who takes an interest in him. The perfect final victim. He can’t believe his luck.

Only luck has nothing to do with it.

Allison McNeil has returned to Annapolis, a city that she promised herself she would never come back to, not while the cruel memories of her time at the United States Naval Academy still haunt her. But she’s willing to do just about anything to get close to Arnie, even if it means having to face down the demons of her past. Her plans work and soon she and Arnie find themselves locked in a dangerous dance of seduction and betrayal.

But Arnie isn’t the only one who carries a secret and the dark truth about Allison McNeil makes a final confrontation between them inevitable. Neither of them know it, but they're on a collision course that only one of them will survive.

Available April 1
Buy Killer Within at Amazon

The Turning
The message was unexpected but instantly recognizable.

A voice resonated from a distance and somehow from within.  Against all earthly logic, it carried a divine command.  And five very different people knew they were summoned to obey.

Their actions were demanding, but not particularly grand.  Only later would they see a pattern emerge - one that links their tasks together and comes to challenge the cultural direction of the nation.  They realize that one small personal response unveiled a new realm of moral responsibility.  And this affirmation of everyday hope captures the attention of millions.

But power and money are at stake.  Malicious elements soon align themselves to counter the trend.  To succeed they must also undermine its source.  Can we really believe that God speaks to people today?  Surely this must be dismissed as superstition or delusion.  These well-intentioned but misguided individuals should not be allowed to cast our society back into the Dark Ages.

The public debate and media frenzy place an unprecedented spotlight on knowing and doing God's will.  The five encounter threats, but try to remain steadfast in their faith.  Had God indeed imparted wisdom on selected individuals?  Is this sweep of events part of his divine purpose?

The movement may herald a profound renewal - one that some are calling The Turning...

Available April 1
Buy The Turning at Amazon

The Here and NowAn unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

Available April 8
Buy The Here and Now at Amazon

Dreams of Gods and MonstersBy way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

Available April 8
Buy Dreams of Gods and Monsters at Amazon

Critical Condition
Dr. Frasier couldn't save the gunshot victim on her front lawn. Now she's fighting for her own life.

It began as a quiet dinner party honoring Dr. Shannon Frasier's colleague, but became a nightmare when a man was shot on her lawn, reviving emotions from a similar episode a decade ago. Then a midnight call from her sister, Megan, causes Shannon to fear that her sister is on drugs again.

Her "almost-fiance" Dr. Mark Gilbert's support only adds to Shannon's feelings of guilt, since she can't bring herself to fully commit to him. She turns for help to her pastor-father, only to learn that he's just been diagnosed with leukemia.

Shannon thought it couldn't get any worse. Then the late-night, threatening phone calls begin, the rough voice asking, "What did he say before he died?"

With everything around her in a critical state, simply staying alive will require all the resources and focus Shannon has.

Available April 15
Buy Critical Condition at Amazon

Don't Look Back
Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

Available April 15
Buy Don't Look Back at Amazon

You Only Live Once
You survived your freshman year at Kings Academy, the prestigious prep school in the New Hampshire hills, but hold the slow clap—turns out sophomore year’s the real grinder. You’ll have to deal with the stress of keeping up with the soul-crushing homework. Not to mention your glam classmates are throwing glitzy sweet sixteen parties this year and you’ll need a job if you want to join.

Will you take that babysitting job in town (and pretend not to notice Hot Dad’s flirtatious ways)? Will you bribe your way to a New York Times internship and land a college guy? Filled to the brim with twisting paths and turns, this may end up being the best year of your life . . . or it may send you home to Hope Falls in tears. Whatever snap decisions you make, it’s going to be an unforgettable year.

Available April 15
Buy You Only Live Once at Amazon

A Life Apart
From the author of Color Me Butterfly, the poignant story of a decades-long interracial love affair between a white sailor and the sister of the black sailor who saved his life at Pearl Harbor.

When Morris Sullivan joins the navy in 1940, his hopes are high. Though he leaves behind his new wife and their baby daughter, he is thrilled to be pursuing his lifelong dream-only to be shipped off to Pearl Harbor when the war begins. When he narrowly survives the 1941 attack, thanks to the courage of a black sailor he doesn't know, Morris is determined to seek out the man's family and express his gratitude and respect. On leave, he tracks down the man's sister, and finds an immediate, undeniable connection with the nurturing yet fiercely independent Beatrice, who has left the stifling South of her upbringing for the more liberal, integrated north.

Though both try to deny their growing bond, their connection and understanding is everything missing from Morris's hasty marriage to his high school sweetheart Agnes, and from Beatrice's plodding life as she grieves the brother she has lost. At once a family epic, and a historical drama that takes readers from World War II through the Civil Rights Movement to the present day, A Life Apart is about a love that creates complicated and unbreakable ties between two families that live worlds apart. L.Y. Marlow brings readers along for the emotional journey as Morris and Beatrice's relationship is tested by time, family loyalties, racial tensions, death, unending guilt, and the profound effects of war.

Available April 22
Buy A Life Apart at Amazon

Prisoner of Night and Fog
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.
Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

Available April 22
Buy Prisoner of Night and Fog at Amazon

The 39 Clues is unstoppable! The bestselling series returns with an adventure spanning four explosive books and a website that places readers right in the action.

Available April 29
Buy Countdown at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the links above.

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April 3, 2014

Author Event in #AthensGA April 5

Love is in the air this spring. In town for one day only, Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar of Doha, Qatar will be at Avid Bookshop on Saturday, April 5 at 3:00 pm. She will be talking about life and love in Qatar as well as signing her recently released novel Love Comes Later.

Avid Bookshop is located at 493 Prince Ave. Athens. Join the Facebook event page to get more details.

About the Book:

Shortlisted for the New Talent Award by the Festival of Romance, this contemporary tale about the conflict between love and honor, duty and passion, will keep you turning pages until the very end.

Hind is granted a temporary reprieve from her impending marriage to Abdulla, her cousin. Little does anyone suspect that the presence of Sangita, her Indian roommate, may shake a carefully constructed future. Torn between loyalties to Hind and a growing attraction to Abdulla, Sangita must choose between friendship and a burgeoning love. 

Love Comes LaterA modern quest for the right to pursue love and happiness, even when it comes in an unconventional package, LOVE COMES LATER explores similarities between the South Asian and Arab cultures while exposing how cultural expectations affect both men and women. Identities are tested and boundaries questioned against the shifting backdrops of Doha, Qatar and London, England.

"makes me acutely aware of the intricacies of Arab culture" ~ Angela Amman

"a great mix of emotions with very eloquent writing." ~ Albert

"brilliantly created masterpiece which combined traditions, religion, family topics and last but not least also the complication of love. " ~ Inga

About the Author:

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a writer who has lived in Qatar since 2005. She has a PhD from the University of Florida with a focus on gender and postcolonial theory. Her dissertation project was published as Haram in the Harem (Peter Lang, 2009) a literary analysis of the works of three Muslim women authors in India, Algeria, and Pakistan. She is the creator and co-editor of five books in the Qatar Narratives series, as well as the Qatari Voices anthology which features essays by Qataris on modern life in Doha (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, 2010). Her research has been published in numerous journals and anthologies.

Buy Love Comes Later at Amazon

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April 2, 2014

Review: Above by Isla Morley

by Donna Huber

I felt very discombobulated when I finished Above by Isla Morley. I was so confused about how I felt about the book I didn't even write a short review on Goodreads per my usual.

I loved the first part of the story, "Below". It was your typical captive story, similar to Room by Emma Donoghue (read my review). Sixteen year old Blythe is abducted on her way home for the town's country festival. Upset about being stood up by her crush, she accepts a ride from the school librarian. However, home is not where he takes her. The first half of the book details her 17 years in captivity.

After 17 years and two children, Blythe has had enough. For the sake of her son she has gone along with her captor's story of a nuclear holocaust. Yet, she has never believed all his survivalist rhetoric. The only reason she has made it this long is because she knows her mom, dad, and siblings are waiting for her to be found.

Buy Above at Amazon

But what if the man who stole your youth became your savior?

Nearly two decades has passed since Blythe has been "Above" and part two begins with her escape. And this is where I become unsure of how I feel about the story. The twist to this captive story gave me a bit of emotional whiplash. My favorite part of captive stories is seeing how the person overcomes the trauma she has experienced. The justice and the rebuilding of life, the affirmation that no matter how bad life is one can get through it.

I felt robbed.

Blythe doesn't get her life back. When she threw open the doors of the silo the trauma she had experienced was the least of her problems. Does that mean that Above by Isla Morley doesn't have a happy ending? I didn't say that. Perhaps a bittersweet ending would be a better description.

If you are looking for a straightforward, you have been warned that Above is not. If you don't mind a post-apocalyptic twist, then the writing is fantastic. My heart was put through the ringer for I cared deeply for Blythe and the other characters - even ones that we met only in her memories.

Book info:
ebook & hardcover (384)
Published March 2014 by Gallery Books
ISBN13: 9781476731520
Source: Netgalley
Read: February 2014

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April 1, 2014

Review: The Queen of Swords by @NinaMasonauthor

by Claire Rees

The Queen of Swords
The Queen Swords by Nina Mason is about Graham a Scottish Vampire who is over two hundred years old and is pining for his lost love and relying on tarot cards to warn him of his future.

Cat is a witch who practices white magic, who has an inexplicable love for all things Scottish and has always felt her life to be missing something.

Cat and Graham are destined to meet, but destiny can sometimes be cruel.

Graham who has lost his true love twice before at the hands of a dark wizard, now finds his love has been reincarnated in Cat.

After meeting Graham only once Cat falls head over heels in love with him although she cannot put her finger on why the mysterious Scotsman is so addictive to her. So she summons Graham through Magic. After spending a few days together they fall deeply in love, each finding the missing piece in their lives.

Buy The Queen of Swords at Amazon

Knowing that Cat will be in danger if he stays with her, Graham decides to leave and go back to Scotland to keep her safe. Again fate intervenes.

The dark wizard makes an appearance to claim Graham's soul. Will they win the battle this time and live long happy lives or is Graham destined to lose her again?

A wonderfully, dark, seductive and enchanting tale. Our very own paranormal Romeo and Juliet.

The writer uses descriptive writing very well that leaves you feeling as though you are in the room with the characters. In places it will leave you happy, sad, tearful, and even breathless. The characters are incredibly well written and it is obvious that the author has put a lot of thought into them and has done a lot of research.

I recommend The Queen of Swords by Nina Mason to those who love a good paranormal romance.

Book Info:
Published March 2014 by Vamptasy Publishing
Source: Author
Read: March 2014

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March 31, 2014

10 Questions with Nina Mason

by Claire Rees

Claire: Please can you tell us a little about yourself? 

Nina: Oh, dear. I always feel like a deer in headlight when asked this question. There’s so much to tell, it’s hard to know where to begin. I grew up in Southern California, but now live in Georgia, I worked in academic public relations for decades but now write novels. In lots of ways I feel like a cat with nine lives. My writing career feels a lot like I’m beginning yet another new chapter.

Claire: When and why did you start writing?  

Nina: I started writing as soon as I could hold a crayon, but didn’t turn seriously to fiction writing until about six years ago. I have a degree in journalism, worked in public relations for many years, and wrote for magazines and newspapers. More recently, I had my own small communications agency specializing in public policy framing. Fiction-writing, however, is a whole different animal and I’m still learning the complex craft of it.

Claire: What inspired you to write The Queen of Swords

Nina: Would you believe me if I said Twlight? I started writing the book that after several rewrites ended up being The Queen of Swords after reading the Twilight saga. As much as I liked the books, I thought it lacked the elements that make a vampire a vampire: mesmerizing sexuality, fascinating history, observations on humanity, blood-drinking. So, I set out to write the kind of book I wanted to read and eventually ended up with The Queen of Swords.
The Queen of Swords

Claire: You obviously did a lot of research into witchcraft and vampires, did you enjoy it? 

Nina: I love doing research. Probably a little too much. I learn so many cool things I want to put them all in the book, so I have to be careful to pick and choose the things that enhance the story without detracting from it. A big challenge for me as a writer.

Claire: Do you have any other projects going on? 

Nina: I’m so glad you asked.  As it happens, I now have two completed manuscripts “out there.” One is another paranormal romance with a Scottish faery vampire hero titled The Knight of Wands. It will launch a four-part series called The Knights of Avalon. Each of the books tells the story of a different Knight of Queen Morgan Le Fay, who rules over an Amazonian colony on the mythical island of Avalon. Like The Queen of Swords, the books will feature divination, mythology, magic, and Scottish history, though the series is not related to TQOS. In The Knight of Wands, both the hero and heroine are astrologers. In the second book, The Knight of Cups (my WIP), the hero reads tarot cards and uses BDSM role-playing to keep a rein on his emotions. Who will publish the series is a question mark right now, but I hope to have an answer soon. I also have a political thriller—very different from my paranormals—releasing on August 30. Publisher is Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly, a sister imprint of Vamptasy. Also in the works is another paranormal/urban fantasy about a merman who gets caught in an oil spill and a possible sequel to The Queen of Swords.

Claire: What books do you like reading? 

Nina: My first love is literature. What can I say? I love gorgeous prose, deeply drawn characters, and superb storytelling. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of historical romances. I’ve never read much in the romance genre until I started writing novels that fall under that umbrella, which is probably why my books don’t stay within the lines. I write what’s in my heart, not what I think will sell. That might also explain why it took me six years to find a publisher for The Queen of Swords. It’s not a mainstream romance book by any means.

Claire: Do you have any favourite authors? 

Nina: I have two who rise above the crowd of authors whose work I adore and admire: Diana Gabaldon and Jane Austen. I’m also quite fond of Anne Rice as an author.

Claire: Do you have any advice that could help wannabe writers? 

Nina: Don’t give up, be humble and professional, and work hard to hone your craft and promote your books. The market is crowded and noisy. It’s extremely difficult for a novel to be heard above the din. Mine’s getting incredible reviews and still is way down in the rankings—something I’m working hard to change at the expense of new writing!

Claire: What do you like doing when you’re not reading? 

Nina: When I’m not completely consumed by promotion mode, I write almost every day all day long. I also make historic dolls and do home staging at times for my sister who’s a realtor. I lead a quiet, reclusive life for the most part. My only friends are on Facebook.

Claire: When did you start feeling like an author? 

Nina: You might as well ask: do I feel like an author yet? I think it was when my book went live on Now I feel I can confidently call myself an author. Now, if I can confidently call myself a bestselling author one day, even better.

Buy The Queen of Swords at Amazon

Connect with Nina Mason: 
Facebook  *  Twitter  *  website  *  blog  *  YouTube

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 guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.

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March 30, 2014

Short Story: Weightless by Michele Gorman

by Donna Huber

I was introduced to Michele Gorman's writing last year when I read Christmas Carol (read my review). Then around Valentine's Day I picked up Weightless. I don't usually read chick-lit around that holiday (I'm a single gal approaching 40, murder and mayhem is more my reading taste for that holiday). Yet, I couldn't pass it up as I knew it would be a fun short story. And Weightless didn't disappoint.

Next year will be my 20th high school reunion. I didn't go to my 10th. I was not in the popular crowd. I flitted between crowds, but never really belonged to any of them. So I understood Annabel's trepidation about attending her 10th high school reunion.

What if the guy you crushed on throughout high school start chatting with you at the reunion? You thought he didn't even know you existed, but here he is and dare you believe that he actually seems to be happy to see you. Then mid-mental happy dance you realize he just called you by the wrong name. And not just any wrong name, but the name of the most popular girl in the school. Do you play along or correct him? Maybe he will see what a great person you are and the perfect opportunity to tell him who you really are will come up.

Buy Weightless at Amazon

It is a case of mistaken identity, but the other party isn't the only one discovering who Annabel truly is. The main reason that this chick-lit novella didn't have me rolling my eyes at Valentine's Day is because of the message contained within the pages of Michele Gorman's Weightless. I like how she can entertain, yet remind the reader that who they are as a person is important and beautiful.

Looking for a quick read to end your weekend or perhaps some entertainment for tomorrow's lunch break. Pick up of copy of Weightless by Michele Gorman. You may also want to pick up her newly released in the US - The Expat Diaries.

Book info:
Published January 2014 by Notting Hill Press
Source: Smashwords
Read: February 2014

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. 

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