Readers' Favorite

August 15, 2014

Spotlight: Bailey's Revenge by Allison Bruning

Historical Romance

Bailey's Revenge

Born into poverty by parents who once ruled over Kilmore, Kathleen McGillpatrick never longed for an affluent life just a peaceful one. Death and destruction follow her as her older brother, Bailey, leads Irish rebels to depose Earl Isaac Turner and reclaim his birthright as heir of Kilmore. Kathleen's chance encounter with Earl Turner gives Bailey an idea. Since the English Earl is so smitten by Kathleen, she should seduce him and reclaim the estate through marriage. There's only one problem. Kathleen loves Isaac and despises Bailey. Torn between her love for the English noble and her family loyalty, Kathleen must chose to honor one of the other in order to stop Bailey before he destroys everything.

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About the Author

Bestselling author Allison Bruning has always had a passion for the literary arts. She originally hails from Marion, Ohio but lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband and their Australian Cattle Dog, Lakota Sioux. Allison is the author of four historical fiction series: Children of the Shawnee, The Secret Heritage, IrishTwist of Fate, and Cherokee Tears. 
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August 14, 2014

Coming Back from a Break

by Donna Huber

Summer is winding down and schools are starting back up. Many bloggers took the last few weeks off as they enjoyed end of summer activities and the back to school buying rush. Now schedules will start to normalize and it's time to get back to blogging. But it can be difficult to get back into it, particularly if you took an extended period of time off. Here are some tips to help you get groove back.

Take Stock of Reviews
Have you read books, but haven't written the reviews for them? I have several reviews to write. They will probably take me to the end of August to get them all posted if I only do one a week. Even if the books weren't read for review, does not mean you can't review it. Did you catch up on a series from the library or did you take advantage of daily free deals to load up your Kindle? Any outstanding reviews will buy you some time while you are working out the new school year schedule.

Host Guest Posts
Guest posts can help with setting a regular posting schedule again without you having to write all the posts. Put a call out for submissions on Twitter and Facebook. Also you can reach out to some of your favorite authors, particularly if they are a small press or indie author.

Participate in a Meme
To get your brain going again in terms of blogging, memes can assist you with topics and ideas. Sometimes just getting back to a regular schedule can be difficult. Memes can be useful in they give you a focus but also usually a day of the week to post.

Sign up for a Tour
A tour can help you focus on setting a schedule as well as giving you books to read and material to post. It can also help reboot your traffic. The number of visitors may have dropped during you break and being on a tour will give you added exposure.

Sign up for my Newsletter
By signing up for my publicity newsletter you will have access to books to review (on your own time and not as part of tour); materials for spotlights, guest posts, and interviews; as well as tours and events coming up in the next few months. You can sign up here:

I hope these tips help you transition back in to blogging.

Donna is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour. She reads most genres (NO horror or erotica), but her favorite books are psychological thrillers and stories that highlight the survival of the human spirit against unbelievable circumstances.

August 13, 2014

Remembering the Eighties – A Decade in Books

by Alison DeLuca

Still Life with Woodpecker
We listened to The Cars and Madonna. When it was time to go out, we put on Members’ Only jackets, mini skirts, cut off sweatshirts, and lace gloves. It was the decade of movies, so we watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Say Anything, The Breakfast Club, Aliens, and anything with Harrison Ford in it.

There are some books from the 80’s that were a product of that neon-colored, high-waisted, new-waved time. When Still Life with Woodpecker came out my friends and I saved our money until we could finally afford the book, Camel cigarettes and all. I stayed way past my bedtime to finish Gorky Park, a novel that seems dated in the post-Cold War era but still enchants me with its gorgeous writing, luminous love story, and incredible ending.

Many of my friends loved The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher’s saga of money, legacy, death, and how art transcends all of those. I preferred The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler – it was more prosaic and comforting, even as it dealt with the unimaginable subject of losing one’s child. I loved Macon and his determined pursuer, Muriel Pritchett, and even the minor characters (Macon’s boss, Julian, and his sister, Rose) sprang off the page as living people.

It was the era of The Clan of the Cave Bear – original, frustrating, addictive – and its sequels. Stephen King was at his high point, penning Christine, It, Misery, and incredible collections of short stories. I loved his book The Eyes of the Dragon for what it was: a fantasy for those readers who don’t mind letting go of adulthood and suspending disbelief.

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale arrived in all its metaphorical, apocalyptic glory. Shocking at the time, Margaret Atwood’s “cautionary feminism” took its place in college reading lists across the country, never to leave again. I enjoyed the story as a well-written book with hidden layers, and I loved the way Atwood confronted horrific themes head-on with great audacity.

Because it does take audacity to write such a book. It is easy to write romance and adventure, but confronting incest, sexuality, and abuse in one volume is an incredibly difficult task. Certainly Alice Walker had a wonderful success with The Color Purple. This amazing book is one that still resonates with its readers. The movie was good, but the book is so tender, and at the time so original. The Color Purple is an act of courage, above any other novels I ever read. 

The Joy Luck Club was the same – parts of it are still difficult to read, although I love the snippy, bitchy cousins who offered mah jong along with history, moon cakes with nagging. Amy Tan changed the landscape of fiction forever when she published the book, one so wild and bright it could never be captured properly in a movie.

If you really want some eighties throwbacks, take a look at the Sweet Valley High series. Readers sighed over the stories of the twins and their brother. You can dismiss them as schmaltz, but there were some interesting themes in the books that were pretty shocking at the time (the storyline involving their brother, Steven Wakefield.) Reading those books is like watching a soap opera for teens.

Stranger with My Face
There was the Babysitter’s Club, more cookie cutter books that middle schoolers snapped up by the dozen. Lois Duncan provided more complex fare with books like Stranger With My Face.

Frederick Forsyth and Ken Follett ruled the bestseller lists. James Michenor was in his prime, and Lake Wobegone hit the bookstands and public radio with a vengeance. In the non-fiction aisles, readers snapped up Gay Talese's Thy Neighbor’s Wife, Fatherhood by Bill Cosby, and anything by Andy Rooney.

Overall, the decade was an incredibly inventive one for all types of media. Appetites were primed for entertainment after so much seventies’ soul-searching – the eighties were the era of Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, and The Goonies. It seemed as though creativity in music, movies, and books was exploding, reinventing ways to while away a few hours before it was time to head out to the club and dance to Wham! and Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

What were your favorites?

Alison DeLuca is a features writer at Girl Who Reads. Alison is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain. Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey. Connect with Alison on FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest, and her blog.

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

August 12, 2014

Review: Salem's Vengeance by Aaron Galvin (@aarongalvin5)

by Claire Rees

Salem's Vengeance
A terrifying tale of witchcraft and revenge!

As a lover of all things paranormal/supernatural I was super excited when Aaron Galvin asked me to review Salem's Vengeance. I have always been interested in Salem and it's horrible past and was eager to see this author's story about it.

Sarah lives a simple farm life with her family but has now taken to dancing in the woods with her three friends for fun and to ease the boredom of her daily chores. Little do they know that there is nothing innocent about this dance and that something a lot more sinister hides in the shadows; but not for long. They are soon joined by strangers from out of town to dance and her two friends take a special powder that is offered to them. Scared by what they see, Sarah and her friend Emma leave the dance early and promise to not attend again. When her friends start to act strangely, as if possessed and her father gets involved Sarah is scared to find out that her father is not who he claims to be and now people from his past in Salem have come back to seek vengeance. They must now try to fight off the witches and the savages they have sent for Sarah. 

There are many losses with few gains in the book, some of which shocked me but in my opinion made the book that much better.

Salem's Vengeance by Aaron Galvin has lots of fear and suspense with lots of action and well kept secrets. The characters and story line are so well written it is very easy to lose yourself in it. I recommend this book to all who have an interest in witchcraft and the Salem trials.

Buy Salem's Vengeance at Amazon

US readers can enter to win a paperback copy at Goodreads.

Book info
Published: July 2014 by Aames & Abernathy
ISBN13: 9781500375256
Source: Author
Read: August 2014

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is paid by Amazon when purchases are made through the above link. A free book was provided for this review.

August 11, 2014

Review: Broken by Elizabeth Pulford

by Donna Huber

I really enjoyed Broken by Elizabeth Pulford.It has been sitting on my "to review" shelf for a very long time. It just kept getting pushed aside. My niece had asked me several time what it was about since it was a middle grades book. Finally this summer I made it a priority to read it. And I'm so glad I did.

There has been a motorcycle accident and the main character Zara is in a coma. The story is completely told from Zara's point of view. I know you are thinking - she's unconscious. And I was worried about a story told by a comatose patient. It could have gone very badly. Buy Pulford makes it work. Zara isn't aware that she is in a coma, but she knows she must find her brother Jem. Her search takes her into her brother's favorite comic series. To fulfill her quest and presumably return to land of the living she must face the dark corners of her mind. Places she has securely locked away memories of a traumatic incident.

Buy Broken at Amazon

While reading Broken, I was trying to determine if it would be something either my niece or nephew would like. My niece is more into epic fantasy so I don't think it is her type of book. However, I'm sure my nephew would enjoy the comic drawings included through the story. But I kept wondering if the topic was appropriate for an 11 year old.

First there is the motorcycle accident that has left one in a coma and one dead. Then there is the secret Zara has buried deep within herself. It is not graphic or even that horrific. I think the foreshadowing of the "secret" had my mind going much darker. But then I remembered the books I was reading in middle school. It isn't any "darker" than The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney. It might even be less so as the story really isn't about the "secret", but facing your fear and healing. I was, though, an eight grader when I read The Face on the Milk Carton. But I can tell you, if Broken had been in the book fair when I was a kid it would have been a book I bought. 

The "I don't know if this is for kids" feeling I was getting was because I now read much darker material and have been exposed to much more evil in the world. I know what can happen to children in the situation Zara is running from. But for a kid, I'm sure their mind won't be conjuring up the worst, or at least (and I so do hope) their "worst" isn't the worst I can imagine.

Also for the involved parent, the book would open up conversations about talking to strangers and being open with "secrets" that are painful but need to be healed. 

You aren't "down the rabbit hole" the whole time. Throughout the book there are moments where Zara is more in the present, just below the surface of consciousness. You hear her family and friends. It reminds you that this isn't just some fantasy story, but a drama. I thought Pulford is a great job of giving the reader the feeling of Zara disorientation and confusion (Zara doesn't realize she's in a coma) without actually disorienting and confusing the reader. Even as an adult, I found myself very much enjoying Broken by Elizabeth Pulford and would have loved it as a younger young adult.

Book Info
paperback, 240 pages
Published August 2013 by Running Press Kids
ISBN13: 9780762450046
Source: Publisher
Read: June 2014

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made through the above link. An ARC was provided for this review.