Readers' Favorite

September 5, 2014

Books Coming Out in September

One More Chance
The unforgettable story of Grant and Harlow from Take a Chance continues in this brand-new novel in the Rosemary Beach series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines.

She was it. His one. His only. Then he made the mistake of letting her go.

After fighting his way into Harlow Manning's heart and revealing a side of himself no one had ever seen before—Grant Carter destroyed his own heart by giving in to his greatest fears and doubts. Months later, he’s stuck in a miserable routine. Work relentlessly. Beg his best friend Rush for news about Harlow. Avoid all other friends. Leave nightly voicemails for Harlow, pleading with her to come back to Rosemary Beach. Fall asleep alone. Repeat.

Miles away, on her brother's Texas ranch, Harlow can't bring herself to listen to Grant's voicemails. Though she wants to be with him, and knows he regrets letting her go, she doesn't know if she can trust him. When he discovered the truth behind her sheltered upbringing, it shattered their relationship, but the secret she carries now has far greater consequences. Can she risk giving Grant one more chance, or will the gamble ultimately destroy her?

Available September 2
Buy One More Chance at Amazon

Angels Walking
When former national baseball star Tyler Ames suffers a career-ending injury, all he can think about is putting his life back together the way it was before. He has lost everyone he loves on his way to the big leagues. Then just when things seem to be turning around, Tyler hits rock bottom. Across the country, Tyler’s one true love Sami Dawson has moved on.

A series of small miracles leads Tyler to a maintenance job at a retirement home and a friendship with Virginia Hutcheson, an old woman with Alzheimer’s who strangely might have the answers he so desperately seeks.

A team of Angels Walking take on the mission to restore hope for Tyler, Sami, and Virginia. Can such small and seemingly insignificant actions of the unseen bring healing and redemption? And can the words of a stranger rekindle lost love? Every journey begins with a step.

It is time for the mission to begin…

Available September 2
Buy Angels Walking at Amazon

Space Taxi: Water Planet Rescue
Archie Morningstar's dad drives a taxi through outer space! And with the help of a talking cat named Pockets, Archie and his dad help fight crime across the universe.

In the second book in this series, Archie, his dad, and Pockets fly to a planet in peril: someone is stealing the water from this underwater world! Can Archie and Pockets save the day?

Available September 9
Buy Space Taxi: Water Planet Rescue at Amazon

The Human Age
Ackerman is justly celebrated for her unique insight into the natural world and our place in it. In this landmark book, she confronts the unprecedented reality that one prodigiously intelligent and meddlesome creature, Homo sapiens, is now the dominant force shaping the future of planet Earth. Humans have "subdued 75 percent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness." We tinker with nature at every opportunity; we garden the planet with our preferred species of plants and animals, many of them invasive; and we have even altered the climate, threatening our own extinction. Yet we reckon with our own destructive capabilities in extraordinary acts of hope-filled creativity: we collect the DNA of vanishing species in a "frozen ark," equip orangutans with iPads, and create wearable technologies and synthetic species that might one day outsmart us. With her distinctive gift for making scientific discovery intelligible to the layperson, Ackerman takes us on an exhilarating journey through our new reality, introducing us to many of the people and ideas now creating perhaps saving our future and that of our fellow creatures.

Available September 10
Buy The Human Age at Amazon

Take Down
Christmastime is here, and justice is the gift that keeps on giving for the Sisterhood and their menfolk in the third part of an exhilarating series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels.

Victory is sweet, but for the Sisterhood and their allies, it’s also short-lived. Now that they’ve convinced some coldblooded slum landlords to pay very dearly for their crimes, they’re ready for another mission. While Jack Emery prepares a Christmas feast at his house, the gang gathers to provide one of their own with a yuletide miracle.

Nikki, Jack’s significant other, has been handling class-action lawsuits filed by victims of Andover Pharmaceuticals. A new leukemia drug was supposed to save children’s lives. Instead, it destroyed them. Andover is fighting the suit with all its wealth and influence, and Nikki is losing hope. It’s time for Jack and his crew to give Andover a taste of its own medicine—and show them that messing with the Sisterhood’s other half has all kinds of unpleasant side effects…

Available September 16
Buy Take Down at Amazon

The Bone Whistle
Darcy burned with the pain of knowing she’d failed. What happened when a prophecy didn’t come true? It must not have been much of a prophecy in the first place. And if they couldn’t trust in that, then they couldn’t trust in anything at all.

Five years ago, Darcy first received the prophecy of the Six, which stated she and her friends would save the land of Alitheia from a shadowy foe. For five years, she hasn’t known what the end will look like, but she certainly didn’t expect this.

Thrust back into Alitheia through unexpected means, Darcy winds up alone, scared, and without her recent memory. As she struggles to regain her lost memories and reunite with the ones she loves, she pieces together the prophecies and the oracles to find they all converge into one story—a story that tells her just how much she’ll have to give to save both worlds, and everyone she loves.

Available September 18
Buy The Bone Whistle at Amazon

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) has stars in her eyes. She and her daughter, Minnie, have joined husband Luke in LA—city of herbal smoothies, multimillion-dollar yoga retreats, and the lure of celebrity. Luke is there to help manage the career of famous actress Sage Seymour—and Becky is convinced she is destined to be Sage’s personal stylist, and go from there to every A-list celebrity in Hollywood! But things become complicated when Becky joins the team of Sage’s archrival. How will charming and supportive Luke deal with this conflict? Is it possible that what Becky wants most will end up hurting those she loves most? Shopaholic fans old and new will devour Sophie Kinsella’s newest adventure!

Available September 25
Buy Shopaholic to the Stars at Amazon

Before AmenWe all pray . . . some.

We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray.

But wouldn't we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency?

Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests.

We aren't the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested.

And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn't we use the same?

In "Before Amen" best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.

Available September 30
Buy Before Amen at Amazon

The Breaking Point
Past, present, and future collide to throw respected forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton’s successful, secure life into devastating turmoil in this poignant novel in the New York Times bestselling Body Farm mystery series

“The Real Deal.” —Kathy Reichs

It’s been ten years since Dr. Bill Brockton created the Body Farm—the world’s first postmortem research facility dedicated to advancing the frontiers of forensic science—and the researcher is at the pinnacle of his career. Under his leadership, the University of Tennessee’s forensic anthropology program has become the most prominent in the world, and Brockton’s skills and knowledge are in high demand among top law enforcement. Calling him in for a number of high profile cases, the FBI now wants him to identify the charred remains of a maverick millionaire, killed in a fiery plane crash.

But a storm is about to hit Brockton with cataclysmic force. First, his identification of the crash victim is called into question. Then he receives a threatening message from the serial killer who attempted to murder the scientist and his family a decade ago. And from Brockton’s beloved wife Kathleen—his lodestone and his source of security—he gets the most shocking news of all. Will Brockton be able to weather this deluge . . . or has he finally reached the breaking point?

Available September 30
Buy The Breaking Point at Amazon

Tessa's Wish
Tessa Haines never imagined she’d be a single mom at the age of twenty-two. Jilted at the altar by her college boyfriend; she had no choice but to drop her dreams of a career in the theater for a more lucrative job in finance. Between working overtime for her unappreciative and over-demanding boss and taking care of her daughter, Tessa had no time for a social life. Nor was she anxious to have one. Men couldn’t be trusted. Period. But when Todd Mitchell, the handsome assistant of one of her wealthy clients comes to her office, she begins to have second thoughts. Is it safe to let Todd into her heart, or will her heart and wishes be broken once again?

Available September 30
Buy Tessa's Wishes at Amazon

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September 4, 2014

A Challenge for Better Interviews

by Donna Huber

I have been thinking about interviews lately. I know a lot of authors want to do interviews because they think they are easy. And given the type of questions bloggers typically ask (including me) they are easier than say writing a guest post. But I have to wonder if we are cheating the readers with our "easy" interviews.

If an author does many interviews it gets old answering the "what inspired you" question and I think it probably gets old for readers. I know I don't read many interviews. Why? Because I don't get much information or at least not the information I want. I don't care if an author prefers Coca-Cola to Pepsi. I want to hear about the book with tidbits sprinkled through about the author and writing process. Given the numbers, I have to say my readers agree.

One of the more popular interviews was one done by Deborah Harkness. It was an interview that was sent out to a lot of bloggers and could be found on many sites. Yes, it could be argued that the post did well because of the giveaway, but one comment mentioned the great interview.

I know that the interview was done by a publicist and was probably done one-on-one. Bloggers might not have the time and authors may not want to do an "in person" interview. Though with chatting programs like Skype, Google Hangouts, and even Facebook chat it might not be that difficult. I do know time zones can complicate things.

Yet, even just sending over a list of questions I think we can do a better job at asking interview questions and making it seem like we did it in person. (Oh and I'm not putting the burden completely on the shoulders of bloggers. Authors need to step up as well on doing interviews).

One, do some research.
I know with my reading list that I don't have time to read every book where an author wants an interview. But there are ways to "cheat". AUTHORS should be providing media kits to bloggers. Within that kit there should be a more detailed synopsis than can be found on Amazon or Goodreads. Also a fuller bio will aid bloggers in creating better questions.

Read More: Author Media Kit Components

For books that are already available, you can take a look at the sample or "See Inside". Perhaps AUTHORS could also, upon request. send the first 1 - 3 chapters so that bloggers would have some first hand knowledge.

Looking at the author's social media and website can also give you ideas for more than "canned" questions. Find unique topics to discuss. Is the author a human rights activitist? How does that play a role in their books? Reading their past interviews and guest posts may also provide "follow up" questions for you to ask.

Two, ask follow up questions
I know time is always against us and just coming up with the first set of questions can be time consuming and the thought of a second round might just be too much. However, if you haven't had the resources or time to do some research before sending your questions, then perhaps starting with 3 - 5 questions that, depending on the responses, will provide room for follow-up questions would be preferable to sending 10 unrelated questions. Again AUTHORS can assist with this process. A pre-formatted interview that a blogger could gather 2 - 3 "starter" questions from and then build their unique interview upon could prove to be beneficial to both of you.

Three, make the interview more conversational.
So you have no time to make follow-up questions or even create unique questions for each author, then at least tailor the interview before posting by adding in comments and transitions. Or even cleaning up the questions that are is/are (i.e. Who is/are your favorite author(s)?) will make your interview not seem so canned. If the author answers in the plural, it would only take a second to delete "is" and the parenthesis around "s". AUTHORS could also help in tailoring the questions. When I send "canned" questions, I also tell authors that they can reword the questions to help him/her answer better.

Jane Carroll's interview a few weeks ago was a pre-formatted interview the author sent over. But it looks like we might have chatted.

Four, focus more on the book than the author.
If the interview is done well, focusing on the book will also draw out tidbits about the author's own life. I'm not saying don't ask about the author at all, but do so in a way that can draw it back to the book. Typically, a reader wants to know about the book (particularly in cases where the interview is done before the publication of the next book in a series).

Take the Challenge?
I know what I'm asking for is a lot. I'm writing this post as much as a challenge for me as for my fellow bloggers. But I truly believe stepping up our interview game will pay off for authors (particularly indie authors) and our own publications. Will it be easy? No, it won't be easy. But often the best things in life are not easy. As always when I suggest making changes in the "way" we blog, I recommend starting off slow. If you do a lot of interviews each month, shoot for making 1 or 2 each month more in depth and the rest can be your everyday variety. As with most things, each time you do it you get better and it takes less time.

So what say you? Will you take the challenge to write better interviews? If you are already doing unique interviews, do you have any tips for us?

September 3, 2014

5 Popular Book Club Books

Fall is upon us and many of you will be starting book clubs, either in real life or online. If you are looking for what your group might want to read, here are 5 titles that are popular with book clubs. Do you have recommendations for what book clubs should read? I would love to hear them, please leave a comment.

#5 Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

Buy Where'd You Go, Bernadett at Amazon

#4 The Rosie Project
The Rosie Project
An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

Buy The Rosie Project at Amazon

#3 The Invention of Wings
The Invention of Wings
Hetty "Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

Buy The Invention of Wings at Amazon

#2 Me Before You
Me Before You
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

Buy Me Before You at Amazon

#1 Orphan Train
Orphan Train
The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Buy Orphan Train at Amazon

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September 2, 2014

Review: I Dream of Zombies by @VickieJohnstone

by Claire Rees

I Dream of Zombies
I Dream of Zombies by Vickie Johnstone follows two sisters, Marla and Ellen as they try to survive the end of the world, lost to a mysterious and deadly virus. The girls find themselves haunted by terrifying dreams about the walking dead that seem too real. When the dreams start to come true, the sisters try to find help and a safe haven. Even though nobody seems to be able to tell them what has happened and they are not sure if their “safe haven” has been overrun the sisters fight on showing amazing strength and courage. Along the way the sisters meet up with other nice survivors and they bad together in this new harsh and unforgiving world.

I Dream of Zombies is packed full of action. The walking dead are not the only scary things our group of survivors have to hide from; there is a group of savage humans who would love nothing more than to capture the girls and the other survivors to use them as slaves and other horrible unimaginable things. The characters are lovable and with some touching moments between the two sisters and the other members of their group, they will worm their way into your hearts and it is very easy to identify with their feelings both before and after the apocalypse.

I would recommend Vickie Johnstone's I Dream of Zombies to anyone who likes zombie/apocalypse books, but also to those who enjoy good story that is full of horror, suspense, action, touching, light humoured moments.

Buy I Dream of Zombies at Amazon

Book info:
ebook & paperback (386 pages)
Published October 2013 by Vickie Johnstone
ISBN13: 9781496011473
Source: Author
Read: August 2014

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September 1, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It is a long holiday weekend for those of us in the US. The weather is really nice so I've been doing some yard work and such, but I'm still getting in some reading. I'm also still behind on writing reviews so I'm trying to not read more until I get the reviews done. (I'm really close to being caught thankfully).

Audio Book

The Amber Room
The Amber Room is one of the greatest treasures ever made by man: an entire room forged of exquisite amber, from its four massive walls to its finely crafted furniture. But it is also the subject of one of history’s most intriguing mysteries. Originally commissioned in 1701 by Frederick I of Prussia, the Room was later perfected Tsarskoe Selo, the Russian imperial city. In 1941, German troops invaded the Soviet Union, looting everything in their wake and seizing the Amber Room. When the Allies began the bombing of Germany in August 1944, the Room was hidden. And despite the best efforts of treasure hunters and art collectors from around the world, it has never been seen again.

Now, two powerful men have set their best operatives loose in pursuit, and the hunt has begun once more. . . .

Life is good for Atlanta judge Rachel Cutler. She loves her job, loves her kids, and remains civil to her ex-husband, Paul. But everything changes when her father, a man who survived the horrors of World War II, dies under strange circumstances—and leaves behind clues to a secret he kept his entire life . . . a secret about something called the Amber Room.

Desperate to know the truth about her father’s suspicious dealings, Rachel takes off for Germany, with Paul close behind. Shortly after arriving, they find themselves involved with a cast of shadowy characters who all claim to share their quest. But as they learn more about the history of the treasure they seek, Rachel and Paul realize they’re in way over their heads. Locked in a treacherous game with ruthless professional killers and embroiled in a treasure hunt of epic proportions, Rachel and Paul suddenly find themselves on a collision course with the forces of power, evil, and history itself.

A brilliant adventure and a scintillating tale of intrigue, deception, art, and murder, The Amber Room is a classic tale of suspense—and the debut of a strong new voice in the world of the international thriller.

Buy The Amber Room at Amazon


On the eve of World War II, young Ella McGee sits on a bus bound for her Southern hometown. Behind her in Washington, D.C., lie the broken pieces of her parents’ love story—a black father drafted; an activist mother of Scotch-Irish and Cherokee descent confronting racist thugs.

But Ella’s journey is just beginning when she reaches Hopewell County, and her disappearance into the Georgia mountains will stir up memories long suppressed. As the secrets of Ella’s family history unfold in a vivid generational saga, Glow transports us to the Blue Ridge frontier of 1836, where slave plantations adjoin the haunted glades of a razed Cherokee Nation. Ron Rash’s Appalachia cascades into Alice Walker’s Georgia red clay in this lushly written debut announcing a major new voice in Southern fiction.

Buy Glow at Amazon


The Bleiberg Project
An adrenaline-pumping ride to save the world from a conspiracy straight out of the darkest hours of history.

Are Hitler's atrocities really over?

1942, Poland. The head of the SS meets secretly with a scientist in charge of a major Third Reich project.

Present day. After another late night with yet another woman whose name he doesn't remember, self-pitying golden boy trader Jay Novacek learns that his long-lost father has died, precipitating events that lead him to board a plane to Zurich. He's got a Nazi medallion in his pocket, a hot CIA bodyguard next to him, and a clearly dangerous Mossad agent on his tail. What was his father investigating? Why was his mother assassinated? Why are unknown sides fighting over him with automatic weapons? Far from his posh apartment, he races to save the world from a horrific conspiracy. Can it be stopped?

Buy The Bleiberg Project at Amazon

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