Readers' Favorite

May 24, 2014

Series Saturday: What She Knew by K. R. Hughes and T. L. Burns

by Claire Rees

Book 1: Fateful Night by K.R Hughes & T.L.Burns

Fateful Night
Have you ever wondered what her life would have been like if Marilyn Monroe had lived?  And what if J.F.Kennedy had not really been shot and killed?

Whilst there are some historical facts in the story, most of it is fictional created by two amazing imaginative minds. We join the president and his family, as he socialises with society’s high rollers, that we have all read about and love from our history.

The story starts off by focusing on J.F.k’s affair with Marilyn Monroe and describes how she tried to warn him that both of their lives were in danger but he would not listen. It shows how unhappy Jackie Kennedy and the presidents family was that he was flaunting his affair in public. Was it Jackie who ordered the hit on Marilyn or Joe Kennedy, or did Marilyn really know too much about the wrong person?

Buy Fateful Night at Amazon

The cast is star studded with men like, Frank Sinatra, James dean and the rat pack in frequent contact with J.F.K. and his family especially his brother Robert aka Bobby Kennedy and their brother in law Peter Lawford.

K. R. Hughes and T. L. Burns theorise how her life would have been if Marilyn's death had been faked and she had been forced to give up everything, to hide in the shadows to keep herself safe, even keeping it from the man she loved and wanted to marry.

It also gives and inside peek into the life of a president and how they believe politics really worked. The story leads up to the death of the president in 1963.

The story is full of conspiracies, murder, affairs, mobsters and politics, but also of love, family, loyalty and duty.

This book was written so well that I became hooked after the first few pages. I have even researched the Kennedy family and the other members of this cast in real life so I have a clearer idea of what they looked like.

I would recommend Fateful Night to anyone who loves historical books, mysteries and “What if?” books.

Book 2: Darkest Day K.R Hughes & T.L.Burns

Darkest Day
Book two takes off where book one finishes. Marilyn is now living under the name Norma Baker and still in hiding. JF Kennedy who is literally dead to the world, is also now in hiding and is more than shocked when Marilyn walks into his hotel to help him.

Jackie Kennedy now a grieving widow is secretly sleeping with one of JF Kennedy’s oldest enemies and trying to get as much money off him as possible to keep her in the manner she has become accustomed to.
Bobby, Peter, Marilyn, Jack and a few close friends are getting closer every day to uncovering the people who attempted to kill them both. Will they ever uncover the secret or will it be buried along with their old lives?

We also get to see what the new president is getting up to and the pressures him and his wife are inder now that they have been promoted.

Buy Darkest Day at Amazon

Again I really enjoyed this book. It was fun to imagine what the characters will get up to next. Once again you can see that the authors have done a large amount of research into the Kennedy family and their friends/acquaintances and the other cast members.

I am very much looking forward to book three to see how the writers wrap up the mystery and what the characters will do with their lives next.

Book info:
format: ebook
published: May 2013 (book 1), September 2013 (book 2) by Master Koda Select Publishing
source: Author
read: May 2014

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the links above. Girl Who Reads uses smartURLs to connect to Amazon in US, UK, and EU. Free books were provided for this review.

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May 23, 2014

A Conversation with Brenda Perlin and Rex Baughman

Two of the authors of Ty the Bull recently chatted about the book and the important message contained within its pages:

Everything seemed to fall apart for Ty when his parents got a divorce. At his wits end after being bullied endlessly, he started to ditch school. It wasn't until he met up with a skater named Peacock that things somehow turned around and he put the pieces of his life back together.

Brenda Perlin, author of the Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles, and Kim Mutch Emerson, publisher at Master Koda Select Publishing, teamed up with 11 year old Rex Baughman to tell an illustrated story based on the real life of an average 10 year old kid. Here is the transcript of a recent conversation Brenda and Rex had about bullying, writing a book and more.

Brenda:   Why do you think kids bully other kids?

Rex:   Because.they are mad at themselves and they are not feeling good and they want everybody else to feel the same way they do?Brenda   That is such a really good answer! I wouldn’t have thought of all that. So you think they have low-self-esteem?

Ty the BullRex:   Yeah

Brenda:   What are some of the things kids have bullied you about?

Rex:   Like your fat and your stupid.

Brenda:   But you are not fat you are not stupid.

Rex:   I know. But I don’t know why.

Brenda:   You have said people even pick on your name.

Rex:   I know. It doesn’t make any sense.

Brenda:   Why do you think a story about bullies is important?

Rex:   To make others feel like that they shouldn’t care about what other people say or think. Just move on and don’t think about it. Just ignore it.

Brenda:   What has helped you the most against bullies? I mean have you even been able to just ignore them?

Rex:  Usually, just say like what’s you're problem and they usually get stuck and move.

Brenda:    That is great.

Rex:   Yes, I just try to ignore them.

Brenda:   That’s even better.

Rex:   Yeah, I think so.

Brenda:   What is helping you the most dealing with your parents divorce?

Rex:   Probably not think about it.

Brenda:   It’s not getting easier for you?

Rex:   Not that easy.

Brenda:   You are not alone . It’s a hard topic.

Rex:   I know.

Brenda:   What makes you feel better about yourself?

Rex:   Ummm… I really don’t know.

Brenda:   Yes, you do! Rex!

Rex:   Oh yeah, when I do good in school or when I do good art work or learn a new trick on the trampoline.

Brenda:   That’s a good feeling.

Rex:   Yeah.

Brenda:   We used your artwork for the book. Do you think your work has recently improved? If so, why and how?

Rex:   Oh yeah, for sure. I have. Probably because I have been putting more time into it and more thought. And putting more details.

Brenda:   You have a natural talent but of course you have to nurture it.

Rex:  Yes, I have to be careful how I put the marks on them. It’s better when I take my time.

Brenda:  Let’s change the subject, what’s your favorite subject in school?

Rex:   History. Actually.

Brenda:   Really, how come?

Rex:   Well, I have three. History, writing and math. History because it is a pretty easy subject for me. I have a good memory so I can remember all the things I have to study for.

Brenda:   That is good. It’s not because it is interesting?

Rex:   I like writing too because you get to make up stories and math because you get to solve equations. History is probably my favorite though.

Brenda:   What do you want to do when you grow up?

Rex:   I would have to say an owner of a company that I made and designed.

Brenda:   That was fast! You are such an individual! I love that. I think you’re big on being your own person Rex!

Brenda:   How does it feel to have your name on the cover of a published book?

Rex:   I feel FAMOUS! I feel serious in the business word.

Brenda:   That is wonderful. You are making something of yourself.

Rex:   Yeah!

Watch the trailer:

Want some more fun? Join Brenda Perlin and Kim Mutch Emerson on July 12, at 10 am US Pacific Time for a quick ONE HOUR event in celebration of the launch of the new book, Ty The Bull. There will be fun & games and prizes too. Win bracelets by Rex.

This is a no bullies zone!

Head over to the even page here:

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through links on this site. The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed by guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.

May 22, 2014

Final Tips for #ArmchairBEA

by Donna Huber

Only a few more days until the start of Armchair BEA. The first day is a holiday here in the US so it will be interesting to see how that effects participation. The first day is Introduction Day and I highly recommend doing that post. There is a list of questions you can choose from on the official site. And as there are only a few days left, I wanted to round off my Armchair BEA tip series with just a few final tips to make the week a little easier.

Prep Posts

I know I mentioned this in Preparing for Armchair BEA. Given that we are heading into a holiday weekend you may want to try to get a post or two done this week. It will keep things from getting so stressful during the week and you will have time to enjoy the many blogs that are participating.

Turn Off Captcha

One of the great things about Armchair BEA is making new blogging friends. But there are a ton of bloggers participating and many will want to leave comments on the sites they visit to let you know they were there and introduce themselves. Reading and commenting takes time and one thing that has historically slowed people down or turned them off of commenting all together is CAPTCHA.

For this week only, I highly recommend turning it off to make it easier (and quicker) for people to leave comments. You can always delete any spam that does come through, but from a blogger who does not use CAPTCHA I can tell you will get little if any spasm during this one week period.

You may also wish to turn moderation off during the week so that discussion can flow freely (particularly on the genre topic days) and you won't be constantly getting email notifications of a new comment. Having to approve comments will add to your workload and will shorten the time you have to visit the other blogs.

Use This Code

Speaking of comments, you will want to leave a link to your post. If you didn't do that day's topic, you can always link about to your introduction post. You may have seen that sometimes links left in comments are clickable and other times you have to cut and paste. A little piece of html code will make the link clickable. This will save time for those who are reading through the comments as the can just click on it and not have to copy/paste. Here's the code

<a href=URL>TITLE</a>

Simple, right? You will replace URL with your post's url and TITLE with what ever text you want to show up. I usually just use Girl Who Reads. If I was linking to this post in the comments, it would look like this:

<a href=>Girl Who Reads</a>

Do NOT just leave the link; that's spammy! Instead write a comment related to their post or at least say you are visiting from Armchair BEA.


Are you hosting a giveaway on Giveaway Day? It is a huge draw to your blog if you do, but don't feel pressured to do so. If you are looking for ideas: gift cards, books you have but don't want any more ("clean your shelf" grab bag or themed box of books), blog swag or swag you have picked up at events, etc. My giveaway includes some paperbacks I have (either duplicates or unsolicited review copies) and ebooks (donated by the author).

If you are doing a giveaway you will want to keep it simple. Rafflecopter is a great way to gather entries, but if a person has a jump through a bunch of hoops to enter then they might not think it is worth it. You could have people just leave a comment and then use to pick a winner. Will your giveaway be open just that day or longer? Remember not everyone will be able to get through the giveaway list in one day so leaving it open until the end of ArmchairBEA is a good idea.

Get more info, including legal considerations, about running giveaways here.  And if you live in the US, you can enter the giveaway I'm currently running here

If you have other tips or questions about participating in Armchair BEA, drop a line in the comments. But now I'm off to work on my introduction post.

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May 21, 2014

Leslie Liautaud: Writing in Real Life

Black Bear Lake
As I’m sitting here writing this post, I have 3 sets of eyes boring into the back of my skull. I can feel them and it makes my skin crawl, like in those horror movie when the girl is walking down the street and senses someone’s presence. She won’t look behind her but starts waling faster and you scream at the screen, “RUN!”

It’s like that. Except that there’s no axe murderer. The eyes belong to my three dogs. And they want to be fed. NOW.

This is the reality of being a writer who works at home. Real life happens and it usually takes precedence over whatever piece I’m working on. The dogs need to be fed. And watered. And walked. And petted. (Let’s face it, these guys are high maintenance and needy!) My kids need rides to school events and sports. And while I’m lucky enough to be a stay at home mom, it means that all “home” stuff falls in my lap. Cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, and house cleaning all fall under this. There are also the every day things we all do: exercising, answering emails, phoning mom to check it.

Buy Black Bear Lake at Amazon

In a dream world, I’d have a cabin in the woods I could escape to four days a week, where I’d eat sleep and breathe writing. Or maybe a loft apartment in the middle of a major city with all the creative energy buzzing through the air, pushing me forward as I concentrate on a new manuscript. Honestly, I could easily spend more time daydreaming about writing by the ocean than actually writing.

But I live in Real Life and Real Life makes it tricky to carve out time to sit and concentrate on plot, character development and structure. So, what’s a gal (or guy) to do? For me, this meant turning off my phone and email for one hour intervals, because every phone call and every new message brings on a new set of tasks I need to complete. I close my office door and set the timer. When it goes off, I stop, switch out the laundry, feed the dogs, check my phone and do a quick email check. Then I set the timer for another hour. And so on and so on.

The crazy thing is that this can apply to ANYTHING, not just writing If you’re passionate about playing guitar, you can find a way to carve out an hour. And if you’re lucky, there’s a second hour waiting after that. If you love theatre, take time to read plays. If you love sewing, lay out your pattern and start pinning for an hour. We all have loves and passions and we all have responsibilities that keep us from spending every second on those things. Some of us may be lucky enough to work in our field of passion and some are able to enjoy them as hobbies. The point is, whatever you are passionate about, find time in Real Life to pursue those passions. And there’s always a way to find time.

I’d like to go on and on about all the little things that can be done to reclaim time…such as turning off the TV for an hour or shutting down FaceBook for an hour. I’d give more examples but I have to go. My son is staring at the back of my head. He needs a ride to the movies. NOW.

About the Author:

Leslie Liautaud is the author of Midnight Waltzes (2006), He Is Us (2008), The Wreck (2009), SALIGIA (2011), The Mansion (2012) and Summer Nights and Dreams (2012). She is also the author of the coming-of-age novel, Black Bear Lake (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014).
Leslie is originally from Kansas City, MO where she worked in the performing arts. Currently, she divides her time between between Key Largo, FL and Champaign, IL with her husband, three teenage children and three rambunctious dogs.
Twitter  *  Goodreads  *  website

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the links on this site. The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed by guest are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.
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May 20, 2014

Review: The Witch's Salvation by @FrancaPelaccia

by Claire Rees

The Witch's Salvation
In Francesca Pelaccia's The Witch's Salvation, Anasztasia and Mathias are both of royal blood but from two different families. Their families have been cursed by a witch and only they can undo the curse. In the beginning they do not like each other but when they get transported back in time  to one of the most scariest and dangerous points in their history and are only given a short period of time to help the witch to get what she needs, they are forced to help each other and eventually grow fond of each other.  They only have a short period of time to complete their quest  but they quickly gain allies and also the most dangerous of enemies. Will they survive, get the witch what she needs and save their families or will they fail and leave their families with this terrible curse forever?

Buy The Witch's Curse at Amazon

I enjoyed this story from the start but really got into it once they had time traveled. I was anxious to get to the end to see how the characters fared and I was not disappointed. The characters are really well written down to their personalities. The nice characters are lovely and the bad characters are purely diabolical and easy to hate!  The writer wraps up the story very well.  I would recommend The Witch's Salvation by Francesca Pelaccia to anyone who loves a time travel story with lots of action and adventure.

Read a Sample:

Book Info:
format: ebook & paperback
published: April 2013
ISBN13: 9780991745401
source: Author
read: May 2014

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the links on this site. A free book was provided for the review.

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May 19, 2014

Review: Lexicon by @MaxBarry

by Donna Huber

Go get this book! Seriously, it ranks in my Top 5 Favorite Books Ever. If you want a story you can lose yourself in, then Lexicon by Max Barry is the book you want to get.

Words have power. But what if they allowed the speaker of certain words to have complete power, control, over another? And all that the speaker needs to know is a few things about your personality to plant a command and you are compelled to do it. The speaker can plant information inside your mind without you ever knowing. What would happen if there was just one word that effected EVERYONE this way.

If you are even a little bit intrigued by conspiracy, you will be drawn into this story and start to wonder how much of it really could be true. I'm telling you now, I'm never going to take another one of those Facebook quizzes. I loved the snippets at the end of the chapters from the anonymous poster and news clips.

I really loved the character of Emily. A teenager living on the streets. She has a tough exterior, but deep down she just wants to be loved. She wants to belong, be wanted. Who doesn't want that?

Recruited to a special school, she thinks maybe she is special, maybe she will finally find a place to fit in. However, at this school emotion is forbidden and revealing your true self is dangerous. Yet, Emily's deep seated need can't be denied and she falls in love with an older student and is drawn to a teacher (in the mentor-student sense). Will this need for love be her down fall or her saving grace?

Buy Lexicon at Amazon

Lexicon by Max Barry is a fast paced thriller that you can read in great chunks, but there is so much story that it won't finish quickly. I loved that. I didn't want to put it down, but usually I worry about getting to the end too fast and having the story be over. Not the case with this book. Yet, it never felt like I wouldn't get the end. There wasn't a boring moment. My only complaint was the separate time lines. As two time lines got closer to converging, it got a little hard to keep them straight. But that is really a small complaint given all the greatness.

If you are ready to get lost in a novel, then Lexicon should be your next read. But beware, it might leave you with a book hangover. It took me almost two weeks to want to pick up another novel.

Book Info:
format: paperback
published: April 2014 by Penguin Books
ISBN13: 9780143125426
source: Publisher
read: April 2014

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book was provided for this review.
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May 18, 2014

Two Cents Discussion: Why is the Dystopian Genre So Popular?

At the Fierce Reads book signing, Lindsay Smith, author of Sekret,  said something that I thought was very applicable to this discussion. She wanted to write a book set in an oppressive state, but she didn't want to write a dystopian novel.

I have wondered for a while why the genre is so popular, particularly in young adult literature. The thought of a dystopian society is depressive and definitely not something most people would want to live in. What about these "awful" societies is so attractive that they are selling millions of copies and landing on the big screen?

Perhaps it isn't the actual society, but what they represent. Smith's statement solidified this thought for me. We have seen dystopian type societies in history. Nazi Germany and the Jewish Ghettos, Communist Russia and the Siberian work camps, and more. I also think most people would think society as a whole is getting worse and not better. The encroachment of government in the personal lives of citizens is rapidly increasing. Yet, little is being done to combat any of this.

Which leads me to the second reason I believe dystopian novels are appealing, particularly to the next generation. I wonder if my generation is even capable of revolution. If we were living at the time of the American Revolution would we have just sat on our hands and still be bowing to a monarch? Could my generation have fueled the protest of the Civil Rights Movement? We do have the Occupy Movement, but is it really effective?

There is always a Revolutionary, whether the character wants to be or not, in a dystopian novel. I believe that is the real draw of these novels. I think at the core of our very being we want to set things right, see justice for the oppressed, stand up for freedom... Yet, for some reason we feel powerless to affect change in our own time. It is so much easier to settle for the status quo, but there in lies the problem. The status quo won't even be maintained without some effort. Those seeking power and control are master manipulators and they will chip away at our society until one day we wake up, but then it may be too late.

And there lies the reason I think the dystopian genre has become so popular. It gives us some measure of hope that someone will push back, there will be someone to rally the troops once more, to be our generation's George Washington or Martin Luther King, Jr.

What do you think? Add your two cents either in the comments or get the discussion started on your blog and link up your post below.

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