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November 14, 2014

Dawn of Steam: First Light by Jeffrey Cook (@JeffCook74)

Throughout the month of November, Girl Who Reads will feature books from authors who are participating in National Novel Writing Month. These authors are attempting to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

About the Book

Dawn of Steam: First Light
In 1815, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, two of England's wealthiest lords place a high-stakes wager on whether a popular set of books, which claim that the author has traveled to many unknown corners of the globe, are truth or, more likely, wild fiction. First Light is an epistolary novel, told primarily through the eyes of former aide-de-camp Gregory Conan Watts, describing the journeys of the airship Dame Fortuna and its crew through journals and letters to his beloved fiancee.

The first recruit is, necessarily, the airship's owner: war hero, famed genius, and literal knight in steam-powered armor Sir James Coltrane. Persuading him to lend his talents and refitted airship to the venture requires bringing along his sister, his cousin, and the crew that flew with him during the Napoleonic Wars. Only with their aid can they track down a Scottish rifleman, a pair of shady carnies, and a guide with a strong personal investment in the stories.

When they set out, the wild places of the world, including the far American West, the Australian interior, darkest Africa, and other destinations are thought to be hostile enough. No one expects the trip to involve a legendary storm – or the Year Without a Summer of 1815-1816. The voyage is further complicated by the human element. Some parties are not at all happy with the post-war political map. Most problematic of all, the crew hired by the other side of the wager seem willing to win by any means necessary

Buy Dawn of Steam: First Light at Amazon

About the Author

Jeffrey Cook lives in Maple Valley, Washington, with his wife and three large dogs. He has lived all over the United States. He’s contributed to a number of role-playing game books for Deep7 Press out of Seattle, Washington, but First Light is his first novel. When not reading, researching or writing, Jeffrey enjoys role-playing games and watching football.

website  *  Twitter  *  Goodreads  *  Facebook

Read a Sample

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

November 13, 2014

Reminder: Make back up copies regularly

by Donna Huber

Today's tip is more of a reminder than anything and as such will be short. You may have seen my announcement earlier this week about my laptop dying. Because this can happen to anyone and at anytime, I want to remind you to back up your files as well as your blog on a regular basis. I wrote about backing up your blog a few months ago (read more here).

There are a number of options for storing back ups. Cloud storage is pretty popular and companies offer some free space. I use Dropbox for a lot of my file storage, not so much as a back up but to be able to access files from any computer or device. I also use Google Drive for a lot of my files. I wrote my entire ebook, Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour, on Google Docs. So I didn't lose those files. It is important to remember that when something is offered FREE it may not always be and at any time they can yank the plug on your access. While I think most companies would give you notice and allow you time to move your files, you never know. Plus a company can go bust or their servers die. So it would be wise to store back ups in multiple locations.

It is kind of funny that I have been thinking of buying an external hard drive to move copies of files to. Unfortunately my laptop died before that could happen. I know there are things that I now don't have access to. Past tax returns - I tried to save paper and only have them stored electronically, but I don't think I stored a copy anywhere else. Photos - some are on Photobucket or I've loaded them to Facebook, Instagram, or to my blog, and I think my Europe photos are still on my camera. eBooks - this is probably my most upsetting set of files that I didn't have backed up. Since I read on a Nook any ebooks I receive directly from authors/publishers have to be added via Adobe Digital Editions. This is include Netgalley ebooks and Smashwords. I know of at least one Netgalley ebook that I downloaded but did not transfer to my Nook and now it has been archived on Netgalley so I won't be able to read it. And apparently books that are free on Smashwords are only available for download during the free period after that you have to pay to download it again. So I might have a few of those ebooks that never got added to my Nook. (This is probably the biggest disadvantage to having a Nook. I wish there was a cloud version of Adobe Digital Edition so that I could add ebooks to my Nook from any computer.)

I said this was going to be short, but I sort of lost the thread in lamenting what may be lost forever (I'm taking my laptop to a computer technician to see if the files can be pulled off it at least) - Sorry!

What I wanted to do was remind you to back up your files and or blog as you never know when your computer will malfunction.

November 12, 2014

Good Books and Movies for Thanksgiving

by Alison DeLuca

Turkey Day can mean travel plans. If you’re heading out you probably need something to read on the train or plane, so I’ve compiled some suggestions.

The Bone Clocks
1. I really liked Cloud Atlas, so The Bone Clocks is high on my list. David Mitchell bends time and genre with the best, so I’ll be interested to see how he does it with his new novel. Has anyone read it yet?

2. The Goldfinch is a long book filled with gasp-worthy writing. By ‘long’ I mean in a good way – this novel will take you right through the weekend and beyond, if you spend Friday working the sales. The main character steals a beautiful painting after a bomb goes off in a museum, setting off a long series of events and a downward spiral. It’s a lovely book, perfect for Thanksgiving if you don’t mind Russian thugs and Vegas shenanigans.

3. Cress, by Marissa Meyer. I really enjoyed Cinder, although Scarlet fell a bit flat. However, I’m fascinated by the idea of Cress, the hacker queen sequestered on a satellite. And if you haven’t read Cinder, the steam / cyberpunk version of Cinderella, go and pick it up. It’s touching, exciting, and romantic.

4. I’m a Murakami freak, so I’ll definitely pick up Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. 1Q84 was just okay (definitely very long – probably 400 pages too long.) This seems a return to the days of Norwegian Wood, with less magic and more musings on reality and sadness in the style the author does so well.

5. Tad Williams’ Otherworld. I’m rereading the entire series since I enjoyed it so much the first go-round. It’s even better the second time. If you like plausible future with ethnic characters and lots of virtual reality, you’ll love Otherworld.

Since turkeys are filled with tryptophan, that sleep-inducing chemical, a movie or two after the big meal will coast you right into a nap.

1. My first recommendation is the Captain America movies during the most American of holidays. Marvel can be over-the-top, but the Steve Rogers series focuses on friendship, love, and the meaning of heroism. Plus the kids will be happy with the selection, so – winning.

2. Silver Linings Playbook – When this came on Netflix I bit my nails through the film, thoroughly invested in the characters and their little daily dramas. The ending made me whoop and laugh out loud.

Pieces of April
3. I know it’s an oldie, but Frequency is one of my favorite films of all time. It’s about reestablishing a relationship, one severed by tragic death, through a quirk of nature that allows a homicide detective to reconnect with his dead father. Exciting and emotional, my husband stood up in our living room and cheered at several points. Cheered!

4. Pieces of April – Probably the quintessential Thanksgiving movie. My sister keeps bugging me to see it, and I’m ashamed to say I haven’t watched it yet. So, PoA is on my list this November.

5. The Blind Side – I keep telling myself I won’t sniffle as I watch this feel-good film about a rich family adopting a kid from the projects, but I always do. The real-life photos at the end always, always get me. This bio of right tackle Michael Oher delivers football, family, and oh yes – a Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m certain I’ve left out a lot of favorite books and movies for the media marathon. What else would you recommend?

November 11, 2014

Four Fatal Flaws of a Romantic Hero by Jassy De Jong

My first introduction to romance novels were the piles of old Mills & Boons which could be found in every bookshelf in our house (I have three older sisters). This was in the early 1980s, when romantic heroes were very different from what they are today. As an impressionable pre-teen, my role models were the flashing-eyed, self-obsessed, controlling and jealous archetypes that populated those pages. No wonder I started off dating all the wrong guys… it took me decades to overcome this conditioning.

So, in the spirit of public service, here are four “don’ts” to avoid in a romantic hero, whether real life or fictional. I’ve included made-up 80s excerpts to illustrate.

Jealous 80s excerpt:

Roger’s eyes blazed. “Don’t let me see you speaking to that man again… ever!” he exclaimed. “You are mine… all mine and only mine. I’ll have no stranger devouring you with his lustful gaze!”

“B-but Roger,” I stammered, “that man is my brother Tom!”

Jealousy… definitely one of the least likeable and most destructive traits a romantic hero can possess. A heroine who ends up with a jealous man can expect to be alienated from her friends, estranged from her family, and have her choices criticised and controlled. Which brings me to the second flaw…

Controlling 80s excerpt:

“What will it be, Monsieur?” the waitron asked, as I admired the sumptuous decor of this three-Michelin-starred restaurant.

Roger’s powerful jaw tightened decisively. “We’ll have a bottle of the Chianti, the caviar starters, and the lobster mains, Luigi.”

By all means choose Mr Controlling as your romantic hero if it’s the last choice you ever want to make. He’ll decide everything for his heroine, from what she wears to what she eats and where she travels. She’ll never get another look at a wine list, and if she’s on a diet and he fancies dessert – well, let her eat cake.

Violent 80s excerpt:

“We’re leaving now!” Eyes flashing, Roger grasped my arm in his own powerful, muscular grip, holding me so tightly with his sculpted fingers that I cried out in pain.

If the alarm bells aren’t ringing so loudly for this romantic heroine they sound like a fire truck, she must be deaf. The only time your hero should grasp your arm tightly enough to cause pain is when he’s pulling you out of the path of a runaway train, or a charging elephant.

Patronizing 80s excerpt:

“What’s that” I asked, looking at the small clockwork gadget with interest.

“Oh, it’s an invention I put together in between writing my PhD and winning my Olympic gold fencing medal,” Roger told me dismissively, adjusting the collar of his starched Armani shirt. “I’d explain how it works, but it’s rather complicated and you wouldn’t understand.”

The subtext here, of course, is that you need to be the owner of a penis to understand this. Really, why would a romantic heroine want to trouble her frail, feminine mind with its workings… or with any knowledge at all beyond how to remove her lacy underwear on command? In future, she must do the sensible thing and leave these weighty issues to the menfolk… or, of course, she could make the really smart choice, and look for a different hero!

Buy Drowning at Amazon

About the Author

Jassy de Jong
Jassy de Jong was inspired to write her first novel, Random Violence, after getting hijacked at gunpoint in her own driveway.  She has written several other thrillers including Stolen Lives and The Place for Fallen Horses, and edits a hair and beauty magazine.  She lives in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg with her partner Dion, two horses and two cats. Her new novel, Drowning, is an exotic romance set in South Africa.

Drowning, by Jassy de Jong is also available in print and ebook at these retailers:

Barnes & Noble:

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link. Author photo and book cover are from

November 10, 2014

Night Watch by Linda Hall (@writerhall)

Throughout the month of November, Girl Who Reads will feature books from authors who are participating in National Novel Writing Month. These authors are attempting to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

About the Book

Night Watch
Desolate Maine shores... Murder... And peace slipping away on the outgoing tide...

For yacht delivery captain, Em Ridge, having a billionaire's daughter go overboard on her first captaining job is not a good beginning. The sailboat is new, state of the art, her crew on this trip include two close sailing friends. But an unknown fourth, who can't even tie a bowline, and the unruly owner's daughter turn the idyllic trip into an adventure not wanted.

Two years ago Em buried her husband, her soulmate, her sailing buddy, and with him buried a secret. As hours on the open seas slide by, secrets are resurrected that tie Em's past to a present, awash with murder and deception.

Will Em's career go overboard? Will the investigating detective help her or hurt her? Any why does the best boat delivery captain on the east coast pull at her heart strings?

The oft foggy coast of Maine holds secrets it does not want to give up, and a lot of bodies can be hidden in The Pine Tree State's largest city.

Buy Night Watch at Amazon

About the Author

Linda Hall
Linda Hall is an author of novels of mystery and romantic suspense. So far she has 18 in print - with more coming. Her mystery series include the Corporal Roger Sheppard mysteries, The Teri Blake-Addison PI thrillers and the Fog Point mysteries, as well as a number of romantic suspenses. Linda grew up near the coast in New Jersey, and it was there that her love of the ocean was nurtured. Most of her novels have something to do with the sea.

website  *  Twitter  *  Goodreads  *  Facebook

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

What I #amreading

by Donna Huber

My computer died this weekend so no blogging got done. My posts may be a bit hit or miss for the next little while as I try to sort out a new computer. But don't let the lack of new posts keep you away, it will be a great time to catch up on posts you may have missed. While without a computer at home I hope to catch up on my reading (though sadly a couple of ebooks that I need to read have not been downloaded from my computer to my Nook).



Like most humans, Allie's spent her life distancing herself from Seers, a race of human-like beings discovered on Earth in the early 1900s. That changes after catching her boyfriend in the arms of a hot band groupie, and Allie goes from San Francisco artist slacker to the girl wearing the GPS anklet in about sixteen seconds. Being stuck with community service is the least of her problems, though, compared to the shock of discovering who--and what--she really is.

Yanked out of her life by the mysterious Revik, who drives her crazy in all the best and worst ways, Allie finds out that her blood may not be as indisputably human as she always thought. Through Revik she learns the truth: that Seers are nothing like she thought, that the world is nothing like it appears to be... and that she has far more in common with Seers than she ever wanted to believe.

Now on the run from a group of anti-human,terrorist Seers called Rooks and her own human government, Allie must learn to navigate a secret shadow world behind her own, a world filled with superhuman Seers with their own battles raging...and their own agendas around the fate of humanity. When Allie's family and friends get dragged into that war, things suddenly get a lot more personal, and Allie learns she may be the only one who can stop it. 

Buy Rook at Amazon

Currently Reading


Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited on the Empyrean. Kieran has led the boys safely up to this point, and now that the girls are back, their mission seems slightly less impossible: to chase down the New Horizon, and save their parents from the enemy ship. But nothing is truly as it seems…Kieran’s leadership methods have raised Seth’s hackles— and Waverly’s suspicions. Is this really her fiancĂ©? The handsome, loving boy she was torn from just a short time before? More and more, she finds her thoughts aligned with Seth’s. But if Seth is Kieran’s Enemy No. 1, what does that make her?

In one night, a strange explosion rocks the Empyrean—shooting them off course and delaying their pursuit of the New Horizon—and Seth is mysteriously released from the brig. Seth is the most obvious suspect for the explosion, and Waverly the most obvious suspect for releasing him. As the tension reaches a boiling point, will Seth be able to find the true culprit before Kieran locks them both away—or worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? With the balance of power precarious and the clock ticking, every decision counts… every step brings them closer to a new beginning, or a sudden end...

Buy Spark at Amazon


New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters - or Freaks - who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight - guided by Fade's long-ago memories - in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.

Buy Enclave at Amazon


Grappling with her new identity as “Bridge,” a being meant to herald the end for all of humanity, isn’t even Allie’s biggest problem. She’s also coping with a whole new set of rules around her seer marriage, as well as the power-hungry Rook she helped put in the White House, who is currently doing his best to start a war with China. Then the boy appears. A sociopath with all of the energetic markings of Syrimne, a highly dangerous telekinetic seer who killed thousands during World War I, he doesn’t appear to have aged in one hundred years. Worse, he thinks Allie belongs to him.

Buy Shield at Amazon

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