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P is for Poetry #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...

December 31, 2015

Blogging Highlights of 2015

by Donna Huber

Here we are at the end of 2015. Has it been a good year for you? We have had a great year at Girl Who Reads and it is thanks to you the readers and all the wonderful contributors. Back in February readers voted Girl Who Reads Best Book Review Site in the Indies Unlimited Excellence Awards.

Including today's post, we have published 322 articles this year featuring countless number of books, authors and advice. More than 100 books were reviewed by Claire, Elisabeth, Alison, and me. While book recommendations is the main purpose of Girl Who Reads, we also provide tips and advice on blogging, reviewing, writing, and marketing. See the list of Tips on Thursday articles for help.

Alison, Chris, Ross and Kathleen have provided dozens of articles on writing, music, television and movies, and other pop culture topics.

Chris, who started writing for Girl Who Reads in March, often starts off the new month for us with his column appearing the 1st Friday of every month. If you enjoy his writing, he has an epic fantasy series under the pen name Satis. Check out his Amazon page for details about his books.

Reading with an Eleven-Year Old (March)
Fear and Loathing in Literature (April)
What Was I Writing About (May)
What Do Authors Owe Us? (June)
Music in Stories...Stories in Music (July)
The Importance of a Sound Environment (August)
The Trials and Tribulations of a Struggling Author (September)
How to Publish - My (Less Than Helpful) Experiences (October)
Writing for the Fan(s) (November)
How Not to Turn a Book into a Movie (December)

Alison DeLuca has published a middle grades steam punk series as well as an adult retelling of Snow White. She has also appeared in two anthology. Discover all of Alison's published works on her Amazon page. Be sure to catch Alison's column every 2nd Wednesday of the month.

Oscars and Resolutions (January)
Streaming on Netflix (February)
Despite All Odds: a Review of Red Rising by Pierce Brown (March)
The Meteoric Rise of the Superhero (April)
Happily Ever After (May)
Marvel's Daredevil (June)
Breaking the Love Laws (July)
The Connection Between Kelly Link and Zombies (August)
How to Prep for the Fall Movie Season (September)
It's Under my Bed: Horror and Halloween (October)
Books for Boys (November)
Easy Christmas Cookies and Amazing Books (December)

Ross Kitson, a fantasy author, and Kathleen Barker, author of coming of age romance novels, share the 4th Wednesday of month. Take a look at their published works at Amazon - Ross's page and Kathleen's page.

Nostalgia (Ross - February)
Book vs Movie (Kathleen - March)
Potty Mouth (Ross - April)
Buried Alive (Kathleen - May)
New Who Versus Old Who (Ross - June)
Read, Clean, Write, Repeat (Kathleen - July)
After Games of Thrones: My Televisual Fantasies (Ross - August)
Cornwall and Coal, Mining for Romance in the 18th Century (Kathleen - September)
From Watchman to 300 - My Top 5 Comic Adaptations (Ross - October)
The Pull of YA Fiction (Kathleen - November)
Christmas (?) Music (Ross - December)

By the way, staff reviewer Claire published her debut novel this year under the pen name Scarlet Le Clair. Torn is a contemporary erotic novel involving a love triangle with two brothers. Buy Torn at Amazon.

We would like to say a special THANK YOU to Heather Kirchhoff. She has introduced us to a number of authors this year with her interviews. Heather has decided to Girl Who Reads to focus more on her own writing. It is with great saddens we say good bye to her. Check out her published books on her Amazon page.

Interview with Jon Messenger
Interview with Gwen Selix
Interview with Mark Mackey
Interview with J.J. Brown
Interview with Karyn Pearson
Interview with K. Webster
Interview with Christopher Slayton
Interview with H.R. Lutz
Interview with Charles Gerard Timm

A side note: we will be looking for a new interviewer. If you are interested contact me at donna(at)

In addition to our regular contributors, we had 25 guest authors write feature articles this year.

Why Men Opt Out of the Fiction World (Leonce Gaiter)
Q&A with Melissa Pimentel
Critter Control to the Rescue (Jeannie Kaye)
Surviving Valentine's Day: Pauline Parril's Advice for Married Women (Collette Yvonne)
Chunk, Chunker, Chunkiest (Robert James Dellamano)
Fiction Writing is Not a Marathon, It's an Ironman Race (Rubin Johnson)
Q&A with B.J. Daniels
Meet Author Jay Richards
Interview with Monica Ropal
How I Created a "Book Soundtrack" for My Novel (Lee Wolf)
The Ten Most Memorable Moms in New Fiction (Andrea Lochen)
Five Awesome Books on the Craft of Writing (Susan Paulson Clark)
10 Questions with Siggy Buckley
Interview with Character Charlotte Nightingale (Pam Ferderbar)
Deleted Chapter from The Silver Ships (S.H. Jucha)
Interview with #LAPunkQueen Brenda Perlin
When a Character Shows Up and Asks for Her Story to be Told (Andrew Joyce)
A New Site for Finding Bargain Books (K.D. Emerson)
Social Science Fiction (Robert Eggleton)
You Don't Have to Go Home (Katrina Dierking)
Top Ten Most Useful Things in an Apocalypse (Lissa Bryan)
Why Wonder Woman Must Dies (Katrina Dierking)
Canada and the U.S. are Missing the Boat in the Artic (Roger Herst)
Q&A with Jacob Rubin
Writing with No Rules (Laurent Guillaume)
Irishisms in America (Byddi Lee)

By the way, Byddi Lee will be joining Girl Who Reads as a regular contributor starting in January.

This year we surpassed 1 million views since Girl Who Reads started in 2011. Readership was up with 21 articles being viewed more than 1,000 times each. The top 10 articles garnered more than 1,100 views each and the top post received more than 1,600 views. Interestingly, the most popular articles appeared in July, August, and September with the exception of an announcement for The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness paperback release that appeared in May.

Top 10 Most Viewed Articles in 2015

#10 Books to T Adaptions to Add to Your Read and Watch Lists (Donna Huber)
#9 The Connection Between Kelly Link and Zombies (Alison DeLuca)
#8 The White Thread Read Along: Chapters 19 -24 (Donna Huber)
#7 The Oracle Read Along: Chapters 12-22 (Donna Huber)
#6 The White Thread Read Along: Chapters 13 - 18 (Donna Huber)
#5 Social Science Fiction (Robert Eggleton)
#4 Interview with #LAPunkQueen Brenda Perlin (Donna Huber)
#3 Review: Natives in Exile by Dirk Harman (Elisabeth Scherer)
#2 The White Thread Read Along: Chapters 1 - 6 (Donna Huber)
#1 "Heavy Metal Hotness" ~ Bullet (Special Edition) by Jade C. Jamison (Featured Book)

I declare 2015 a success for Girl Who Reads. Again, I thank all the readers and contributors who have helped to make this site a great place for book reviews and author promotion.

I raise my glass and wish you happy reading in 2016!

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

December 30, 2015

2015 Book Reviews

2015 is winding down and while there are always more books to read than days in the year, it has been a great year of reading. One the main purposes of Girl Who Reads is to help you find your next great read. In case you missed any of our reviews this year or are at a loss as to what to read next, check out this list of all the books we reviewed in 2015.

Ghost Files by Apryl Baker: Claire's review
Chasing Invisible by Karen Pokras Toz: Donna's review
Sublime Wreckage by Charlene Zapata: Claire's review
The Marriage Match by Tracy March: Donna's review
Sublime Resistance by Charlene Zapata: Claire's review
A Whole New You by Brett Blumenthal: Donna's review
Moorehead Manor by David McMullen-Sullivan: Claire's review
The Winter Boy by Sally Wiener Grotta: Donna's review
The Oath of Nimrod by David S. Brody: Claire's review
The Abduction of Lilly Waters by T.M. Novak: Claire's review
The Legend of Stuckey's Bridge by Lori Crane: Claire's review
Champagne Jackson Kicks Zombie Ass by F. A. Tallahasse: Claire's review
Love By the Book by Melissa Pimentel: Donna's review
Red Rising by Pierce Brown: Alison's review
Red Hunter by Jennifer Loiske: Claire's review
The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan: Donna's review
The Land of Shadow by Lissa Bryan: Donna's review
Shadow Ritual by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne: Donna's review
Shadows have Gone by Lissa Bryan: Donna's review
King Callie by B. Lynch: Claire's review
Eviction Notice by Robyn Wyrick: Elisabeth's review
Infected by Jessica Gomez: Claire's review
Salem's Fury by Aaron Glavin: Claire's review
The Show by John A. Heldt: Donna's review
The Guild of the Wizards of Witchfire by Iain Reading: Donna's review
Silk by Chris Karlsen: Elizabeth's review
When You Leave by Monica Ropal: Donna's review
When the Crows Fly Low by V.J. Patterson: Claire's review
Slumber by Christy Sloat: Donna's review
The Running Game by L.E. Fitzpatrick: Claire's review
Phoenix Rising by Elise Faber: Claire's review
Divisive by John Tucker: Claire' review
A Thirty-Something Girl by Lisa M. Gott: Donna's review
How Maxwell Grover Stole My House by C.E. Vance: Claire's review
The Shadow Cartel by Layton Green: Donna's review
White Mountain by Sophie Tallis: Claire's review
Shelter Us by Laure Nicole Diamond: Donna's review
Dead Market by Gary Strata: Claire's review
Darkhaven by A.F.E. Smith: Elisabeth's review
Supernatural - Deniable by Hugh Gouws: Claire's review
In the Blood of the Greeks by Mary D. Brooks: Donna's review
Touch by David J. Linden: Donna's review
The Secret of Montrose Hall by Adam Steel: Claire's review
Those Girls by Chevy Stevens: Donna's review
The Good of the Smalls Things by Arundhati Roy: Alison's review
The Journey of the Marked by Rebecca P. McCray: Claire's reviews
5 audio book recommendations: Donna's review
Alive by Scott Sigler: Elisabeth's review
Freckled Venom: Skeletons by Juliette Douglas: Claire's review
Naked by Stacey Trombley: Donna's review
The Devil's Kitchen by Alison DeLuca: Donna's review
Malee: A Tear in the Ocean by William V.M. McAllister III: Elisabeth's review
Hollywood Witch Hunter by Valerie Tejeda: Donna's review
The Hitwoman's Act of Contrition by JB Lynn: Donna's review
The Further Adventures of Carlotta Carylye by Linda Barnes: Elisabeth's review
The Book of the Lion by Thomas Perry: Elisabeth's review
Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth: Donna's review
The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer: Donna's review
At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen: Donna's review
The SEAL's Angel by Petie McCarty: Claire's review
SEED by Lisa Heathfield: Donna's review
Natives in Exhile by Dirk Harman: Elisabeth's review
Taking Leaps and Finding Ghosts by Janet DeLee: Claire's review
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley: Donna's review
Black Diamond by Jennifer Loiske: Claire's review
12:07 The Sleeping by L. Sydney Abel: Claire's review
The Truth About Lies by Tim Chaddick: Donna's review
Tainted Deception by Aleya Michelle: Claire's review
Feels Like Rain by Janae Mitchell: Claire's review
The Heir by Kiera Cass: Donna's review
High Maintenance by Lia Fairchild: Donna's review
6 audio book recommendations: Donna's review
Darkness of Man by C.C. Genovese: Claire's review
In an Instant by Janae Mitchell: Claire's review
Dear Stephanie by Mandi Castle: Donna's review
Killing Floor by Lee Child: Claire's review
Warren the 13th and All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio: Donna's review
A Woof in Sheep's Clothing by JB Lynn: Donna's review
The Beast and Me by D. S. Wrights: Claire's review
LIFE: It Is What It Is by Lisa Sugarman: Elisabeth's review
A Camp Edson Christmas by Cynthia Davis: Donna's review
Fooling Around with Cinderella by Stacy Juba: Donna's review
#NERD by Cambria Herbert: Claire's review
A Caller on Christmas Eve by James Hampton: Donna's review
Emma vs the Tech Guy by Lia Fairchild: Donna's review
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: Donna's review
Imperfect by Claire Fraise: Donna's review
A Darcy Christmas by Sharon Lathan, Amanda Grange, and Carolyn Eberhart: Donna's review
8 audio book recommendations: Donna's review
Awakening by Catrina Burgess: Donna's review

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

December 29, 2015

Review: Awakening by Catrina Burgess

by Donna Huber

cover Awakening

"You want to learn the Death Arts?"
The look on his face was hard to read. It couldn't be everyday that someone wandered into the shop and made such a request.
I tried to look more confident than I felt. He couldn't tell my hands were trembling slightly inside my jacket pockets, could he? I forced to keep my gaze steady and resisted the urge to take my heels and run out the door.

The Review

The last review of 2015!

I chose to read Awakening by Catrina Burgess, not because it is something I would normally read, but because it looked like something my niece would read and I try to at least sort of keep up with what she is into. I was surprised just how much I enjoyed the story. When I discovered that the series had been on Wattpad I asked her if she had read it since I know she reads a number of stories there. She didn't think she had, but said it did look interesting.

I really liked 95% of this book. I loved the characters - Colina and Luke are great together. The minor characters are well rounded and used effectively in the story. The plot moved at a good pace that kept you wanting more, but didn't feel rushed. Right up to the end I couldn't put it down.

I thought Burgess could have done a bit better with the world building. I couldn't decide if they were in the real world with the added magic of Healers and Death Dealers or if it was a completely new universe. I'm leaning towards the former, but then I had trouble figuring out if it was the US or Europe. Colina mentions Scottish clans as being her people which made me think UK, but then there were other things that seemed a bit more American. Not having a clear idea of the setting was unsettling to me throughout the book.

I'm not typically into the dark stuff, but even the possibility of zombies didn't turn me off as the main story line was too good. I still had a quarter of the book left and I was already anticipating the next book in the series. But then there was a twist and my love for the book was crushed. I won't give it away, but I think it was a very big risk the author took. Seeing as the series had over 3 million reads on Wattpad (source: Goodreads entry) I guess others weren't as turned off by it as I was.

Awakening is a very dark book. It gave me the same feel as Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series.

Buy Awakening at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (336 pages)
published: October 2015 by Full Fathom Five Digital
ISBN13: 9781633700833
genres: horror, fantasy
target audience: young adult
source: Netgalley
read: November/December 2015

A free ebook was provided for this review. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

December 28, 2015

8 Audio Books to Listen to #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber 

Are you wrapping up 2015 with travel? If you so here are 8 audio books sure to entertain!

cover Bones on Ice
Bones on Ice by Kathy Reichs

Now that I realize that the Temperance Brennan in the books is not the same as the Temperance Brennan on the television show Bones, I found I enjoyed this novella better than the one I listened to in August. I prefer the television show, but it was a nice way to fill the silence at work. 

It is called the “death zone”: the point on Everest, nearly five miles high, above which a climber cannot be rescued. More than 250 souls have lost their lives there. Most of the bodies remain, abandoned, frozen in place. When an earthquake leads to a miraculous recovery, Dr. Temperance Brennan is hired to identify the frozen mummified human corpse. The victim is the daughter of a wealthy Charlotte couple who never got the chance to say goodbye. But far from offering solace and closure, Tempe’s findings only provoke more questions. What happened on Mount Everest? Was the young woman’s death an accident? Why aren’t the other climbers talking? And how far will those hiding the truth go to make sure the past stays buried?

Buy Bones on Ice at Amazon

cover Love May Fail
Love May Fail by Matthew Quick

Having enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook, I was happy to see my digital library have a copy of Love May Fail. Unfortunately this one fell a little flat for me. I felt that it was the same characters in a slightly different situation. I even looked to see if the narrator was the same person as the high school English teacher sounded like Pat. But it all different narrators.

Portia Kane is having a meltdown. After escaping her ritzy Florida life and her cheating pornographer husband, she finds herself transported back to South Jersey, where things remain largely unchanged from her unhappy childhood. In need of saving herself, she sets out to find and resurrect a beloved high school English teacher who has retired after a horrific scandal. Will a sassy nun, an ex-heroin addict, a metal-head little boy, and her hoarder mother help or hurt Portia's chances in this bid for renewed hope in the human race? This is a story of the great highs and lows of existence: the heartache and daring choices it takes to become the person you know (deep down) you are meant to be.

Buy Love May Fail at Amazon

cover The Christmas Train
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

This was fun to listen to. The cast of characters that Tom meets along his train trip are not to be missed. They totally made the story. If you enjoy Mark Twain stories, then you should definitely pick up this book. There is even a nod to Twain in the story line. I also think this one of the best audio book productions I have listened to. The musical interludes added something special to the story.

Tom Langdon, a weary, cash-strapped journalist, must get to Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his girlfriend. Flying is not an option, so he opts for a transcontinental train ride -- thus beginning one of the most hilarious and heartwarming journeys ever. Along the way he encounters mechanical failures, derailments, and the odd eccentric, including Agnes Joe, who rides trains all of the time, though no one knows why. There's also a mysterious passenger whom Tom suspects may be a fugitive, an avalanche that threatens everyone's Christmas plans, and an unexpected romance. As the mighty Southwest Chief chugs from Washington, D.C., to the City of Angels via Chicago, Tom Langdon's unforgettable train adventure will rekindle the holiday spirits of one and all -- and reacquaint listeners with the magic that makes Christmas truly special.

Buy The Christmas Train at Amazon

cover Longbourn
Longbourn by Jo Baker

I saw this on another blog during a Tuesday meme I did. Though I haven't read Pride and Prejudice, I was intrigued by the servants downstairs. If you are fan of Jane Austen or Downtown Abbey I believe you will enjoy this story. My only complaint was the narrator was a bit too soft spoken and I at times had trouble hearing the story over regular office equipment noise.

The servants at Longbourn estate--only glancingly mentioned in Jane Austen's classic--take centre stage in Jo Baker's lively, cunning new novel. Here are the Bennets as we have never known them: seen through the eyes of those scrubbing the floors, cooking the meals, emptying the chamber pots. Our heroine is Sarah, an orphaned housemaid beginning to chafe against the boundaries of her class. When the militia marches into town, a new footman arrives under mysterious circumstances, and Sarah finds herself the object of the attentions of an ambitious young former slave working at neighboring Netherfield Hall, the carefully choreographed world downstairs at Longbourn threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, up-ended. From the stern but soft-hearted housekeeper to the starry-eyed kitchen maid, these new characters come vividly to life in this already beloved world. Jo Baker shows us what Jane Austen wouldn't in a captivating, wonderfully evocative, moving work of fiction.

Buy Longbourn at Amazon

cover Friction
Friction by Sandra Brown

I featured this book as a new release and when I saw it at the digital library I was so excited. I immediately put a hold on it. This was the end of September and my turn finally came at the beginning of December. It was well worth the wait. It was so good! Most of the time with audio books I half listen to them while working. Not with this book. I finally had to give up listening to it at work because the story consumed my attention. Which was a good thing because there were some descriptive sex scenes that I would have been super embarrassed had someone walked into my office while it was being read. If you liked the television show Justified, you will love this book.

Crawford Hunt wants his daughter back. Following the death of his wife four years ago, Crawford, a Texas Ranger, fell into a downward spiral that left him relegated to deskwork and with his five-year-old daughter Georgia in the custody of her grandparents. But Crawford has cleaned up his act, met all the court imposed requirements, and now the fate of his family lies with Judge Holly Spencer.

Holly, ambitious and confident, temporarily occupies the bench of her recently deceased mentor. With an election upcoming, she must prove herself worthy of making her judgeship permanent. Every decision is high-stakes. Despite Crawford's obvious love for his child and his commitment to being an ideal parent, Holly is wary of his checkered past. Her opinion of him is radically changed when a masked gunman barges into the courtroom during the custody hearing. Crawford reacts instinctually, saving Holly from a bullet.

But his heroism soon takes on the taint of recklessness. The cloud over him grows even darker after he uncovers a horrifying truth about the courtroom gunman and realizes that the unknown person behind the shooting remains at large . . .and a threat.

Catching the real culprit becomes a personal fight for Crawford. But pursuing the killer in his customary diehard fashion will jeopardize his chances of gaining custody of his daughter, and further compromise Judge Holly Spencer, who needs protection not only from an assassin, but from Crawford himself and the forbidden attraction between them.

FRICTION will keep you on the edge of your seat with breathtaking plot twists and the unforgettable characters that make Sandra Brown one of the world's best-loved authors. It is an extraordinary novel about the powerful ties that bind us to the ones we love and the secrets we keep to protect them.

Buy Friction at Amazon

cover Dashing Through the Snow
Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

After listening to the note from the author at the beginning, I knew this was going to be the perfect book for me. Like me, Debbie thinks Christmas time is the perfect time for a romantic comedy. And she delivered a great one. It is a short one at only about 4.5 hours. This would be a fun story to wrap up the year with.

Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.

At first they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard—never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.

Buy Dashing Through the Snow at Amazon

cover Containment
Containment by Christian Cantrell

This is another audio book that I had been waiting on since August. Not as good as Friction, but an entertaining story none-the-less. Particularly if you like conspiracy. It kind of reminded me of Across the Universe by Beth Revis. I also thought it was very heavy on science, even for a science fiction novel.

As Earth's ability to support human life begins to diminish, the Global Space Agency establishes a colony on Venus. When Arik Ockley, part of the first generation to be born and raised off-Earth, undertakes research on artificial photosynthesis to save the life of his unborn child, everything he has ever known is called into question.

Buy Containment at Amazon

cover Nerd
#Nerd by Cambria Hebert

After reading Claire's review, I saw this at the digital library and decided to try it out. It was fun. I had a bit of trouble with the plot. It seemed a bit juvenile for college kids, but the descriptive sex scenes would have been inappropriate for young adult. (Because of those scenes I wouldn't recommend listening to it at work unless you use headphones). I thought the characters were similar in personality to Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. So if you liked that book, then you will probably enjoy #Nerd.

Two people from completely different worlds are about to be thrown together . . . in more ways than one.She wants to keep her scholarship. He wants to stay on the team. An awkward alliance doesn't even begin to cover Rimmel and Romeo's relationship. But that's about to change.It starts with a dare. An initiation. A challenge. Quickly, it turns into more. But when you're a victim of your status, there is no room for anything real. The rules are clear and simple: Stick to your circle. And never fall in love with anyone on the outside.

Buy #Nerd at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

December 27, 2015

Review: A Darcy Christmas by Sharon Lathan, Amanda Grange, and Carolyn Eberhart

by Donna Huber

cover A Darcy Christmas
If you are are a fan of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and enjoy the creative license that authors have taken with the universe she created, then A Darcy Christmas will be just thing to wrap up your Christmas season. This treasury of short stories from Sharon Lathan, Amanda Grange, and Carolyn Eberhart was an enjoyable read.

The collection includes A Darcy Christmas by Sharon Lathan, Christmas Present by Amanda Grange, and Mr. Darcy's Christmas Carol by Carolyn Eberhart.

As I'm not really a Jane Austen fan and have not read Pride and Prejudice, but I did watch the BBC's 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice.  Based on that "research" I feel that these authors did a good job of being faithful to the universe.

(If you are wondering why I had this ebook on my Nook since I'm not an Austen fan. I pickup the Friday Free ebook from Barnes and Noble and this was the feature ebook one week).

In Mr. Darcy's Christmas Carol by Carolyn Eberhart , the first story in the collection, Jane Austen meets Charles Dickens. Ironically, I decided this year to read Dickens's A Christmas Carol (read my review). I had just read the first Stave when I picked up A Darcy Christmas and I did a double take as Mr. Darcy's Christmas Carol begins the same way as Dickens's classic. And I do mean word for word. The similarities continued for the majority of the book. I will also assume that the parts that I knew should have been in Pride and Prejudice (Darcy's proposal and Elizabeth's refusal) were identical. I did feel that creatively this was a bit of a lazy way of writing the story. I expect it in fan fiction, but not in a published book. Though, I guess there is nothing legally wrong as presumably the copyright on these novels have expired.

Christmas Present by Amanda Grange was short and enjoyable, though somewhat forgettable. If you want a glimpse into what the future may hold for the Darcys then you will enjoy this story.

It was the last story in the collection, A Darcy Christmas by Sharon Lathan, that really made me feel that this was more of a collection of fan fiction stories. One of the tropes of fan fiction is the infusion of sex in a story that the original lacked. While the sex was not overly descriptive and therefore not a full blown lemon, it had enough citrus to be a slice. (If you don't read fan fiction: lemons are sex scenes). In addition, this "short story" was a collection of Christmas scenes, or in fan fiction language: one-shots.

I read fan fiction so I'm not against it, but it is not what I'm expecting in a published novel or collection. I'm also not against derivative works of fiction. I recently listened to the audio book version of Longbourn by Jo Baker and I really liked this story about the people below stairs in the Pride and Prejudice universe. It didn't feel like fan fiction.

A Darcy Christmas will satisfy Darcy and Elizabeth fans that need more than what Austen provided.

Buy A Darcy Christmas at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (290 pages)
published: October 2010 by Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN13: 9781402258053
genre: romance
source: B&N
read: December 2015

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

December 26, 2015

Featured Book: Merry Wishes by Karen Pokras

A Whispered Wishes Novella:

An ugly divorce behind her, Carly Cater is looking forward to a truly Merry Christmas. With interest for her art from a high-powered fashion designer and a new romance with her handsome contractor, Jason Hardy, her life is finally heading in the right direction. That is, until her ex-husband suddenly returns to interfere, and mysterious texts draw Jason away. Is this another holiday disaster in the making, or will an offer to create a mural for the brain-injury patients at Greenbriar Manor bring her the Christmas joy she’d been seeking?

Not quite ready to say good-bye to Christmas? Then you should pick up this novella from Karen Pokras. It's only 99 cents and would be a great addition to that new Kindle you got.

Buy Merry Wishes at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

December 24, 2015

Tips of 2015

by Donna Huber

A little present from me to you - all the tips posts of 2015 in one place. Whether you need content ideas or exploring a new social media platform in the new year, I hope you will find useful information that you may have missed or overlooked in the first time around. There's even a few tips for readers and authors.

Blogging Goals for 2015
Facebook Changes and Your Promotion
Expanding Beyond the Blog
Join a Book Club
Book Marketing 101
Why Use Calibre, The Easier Way to Organize eBooks
Getting "Content" on Triberr
This Sucks
Points to Consider When Writing a Review
Support Your Favorite Blog: Use Their Affiliate Links
Dealing with Blogging Burnout
Make Friends with Bloggers
So You Want to Start a Book Blog
My Blog Doesn't need to be Babysat
My 3 Triberr Pet Peeves
Earn Review Rewards with Reading Alley
Armchair BEA: Social Media
Read the Review Policy
Dear Author, I See You
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December 23, 2015

Christmas(?) Music

by Ross Kitson

When I was a lad, those many yuletides ago, there were a few things that I looked forward to beyond the standard Xmas trappings of presents, crackers, trifle, and turkey. On the TV there was usually a Bond film, Xmas specials, and a Disney special—which in the pre- VCR era was the only way to see those beloved scenes from the films. And there was Xmas Top of the Pops, a great showcase of the year’s top hits and the coveted Christmas Number One.

image source: www,

Genuinely, it was always a buzz in my adolescence to find out what held that annual honour—at least until the point of my teenage years when it became uncool to like ‘chart music.’ And through the Seventies and Eighties there were some iconic records at Xmas: Slade - "Merry Xmas Everyone"; Mud - "Lonely this Christmas"; Boney M - "Mary’s Boy Child"; Band Aid - "Do they Know It’s Christmas". Perhaps it floundered a little in the Nineties, when the Spice Girls managed three years running at the top spot, and Bob the Builder brought in the first Xmas of the new millennium. And even though they missed the number one spot, such great records as "Fairytale of New York", by the Pogues, "Thank God it’s Christmas" by Queen, and "Happy Xmas (War is Over)", by Jon and Yoko were great tunes that have stood the test of Xmas compilations ever since.

Yet for the last decade the number one slot at Xmas has been dominated by the singles released by the victor of the UK singing contest, the X-Factor. 7 out of the last 10 Xmas number ones have been X-Factor contestants. Don’t get me wrong—some songs were pretty OK: Alexandra Burke’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah" was entertaining, and Matt Cardle didn’t totally slaughter Biffy Clyro’s "Many of Horror" (despite its re-naming)—but the blatant commercial exploitation is hardly in the Xmas spirit. Is it?

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Well those that lament the commercialisation of Xmas and the materialism that seems to get worse year on year might disagree. Maybe it’s a sign of our times that we are so enslaved to the media that the massive boost in attention to an artist that winning the X-Factor gives dominates our music purchase nationally, a throw away single with no more meaning at Xmas than to perhaps highlight how gullible folk are.

In 2009 the X-Factor winner Joe McElderry’s debut single, "The Climb" (a Miley Cyrus cover) was beaten to the Xmas number one slot in the UK by Rage Against the Machine’s "Killing in the Name". This was the culmination of a Facebook campaign to prevent the X-Factor securing the number one slot for the fifth year running, and ironically was dubbed as ‘stupid and cynical’ by high-trousered music mogul Simon Cowell. The first ever exclusively download only single to reach number one at Xmas, it hardly illustrates the Xmas spirit, but is perhaps a sobering indicator of the power of social media and a lesson that maybe the population aren’t as slavish as the media think.

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So this year, as I write this the week before the big day, the race for the UK Xmas spot is rather varied. According to the bookmakers it’s between the Xfactor winner, Louisa Johnson—and three others: Justin Bieber, NHS choir, and the Stormyz. NHS choir’s song is in support of NHS staff (of which I’m one) in face of impending contractual negotiations and comments made by the Health Secretary—and is a mash-up of Coldplay and Simon and Garfunkel. The Bieber is looking strong, and although every iota of my being screams ‘Nooooo,’ it would be a welcome reprieve from the X-Factor domination of Xmas. Stormyz is a UK Grime rap artist (apparently a sub-genre of garage hip-hop, rather than them not washing as they rap) whose single ‘Shut up’ is a re-release following his award winning at the Mobo’s.

Finally it warmed my heart to see the rather unseasonal Star Wars theme racing up the charts as an outside contender. A cultural event only slightly less lucrative than Xmas, it could sneak to the top if Bieber fans run low on pocket money, and Jedi mind tricks win through….

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For those across the pond, as of writing, Adele sits tidily at number one with ‘Hello,’ with young Mr Bieber apologising at number two with ‘Sorry.’ Perhaps not carrying the same kudos as over here, yet I hope Adele hangs onto to that top spot.

So perhaps this year I’ll lock the kids in a separate room, and settle down to the Top of the Pops special and hope for some Xmas tunes sneaking through the irrelevance, perhaps a troupe of Stormtroopers dancing to John William’s epic theme tune, or at least Coldplay, James Bay and Hozier performing their tunes whilst balloons are bounced off their heads.

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December 22, 2015

Review: Imperfect by Claire Fraise

by Donna Huber

cover Imperfect

Earth is a mess.
A genuine, freaking mess.
I'm not talking about the kind of mess you get after not cleaning your room for three month. That kind of mess is easily fixed by a long, painstaking cleanup while jamming out to the radio as you throw all your belongings into a massive heap in the hallway.
No. This kind of mess is the result of humans living on the earth for thousands upon thousands of years, changing and molding our society and planet itself as if they were Play-Doh. It;s the kind of mess that can be blamed solely on human nature and pure idiocy.
Honestly, I don't know how people managed to do it.

The Review

If I hadn't already done my favorite reads list for 2015 Imperfect by Claire Fraise would definitely be on the list. I absolutely LOVED this book. And had I not been told it was written by a 16 year old, I would never had know it.

You can tell that Fraise is influenced by Veronica Roth's Divergent series and Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games series. However, Fraise has added her own unique voice to the dystopian novel that it does not feel like a copy cat.

I loved that her characters, though have taken on more adult roles (i.e. providing for their siblings), acted like teenagers. I especially liked that the way Summer's attraction to guys is there but it isn't an instant love interest. It felt more natural for teens their age. And her characters have normal names.

The beginning may have been a little slow as we are introduced to a world sort of like ours, but where the US has been divided up and are ran by corporations. Each corporations has their main production of a resource (kind of like how each district in Hunger Games was responsible for a certain resource). The sector that Summer lives in is ran by Making Perfect and its specialty is genetic engineering. Because each sector relies on the products of the other corporations, there is a mutual harmony of sorts between them. But what if one corporation wanted more power and what if that corporation had the means of creating a super race of humans?

However, once the ground rules of this new world order are laid out for the reader the story kicks into high gear and you won't want to put the book down. Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? Can you count on your allies or have they been compromised? Who can be trusted?

There were a couple of inconsistencies in the details that bugged but really my only real complaint is that I didn't have a sequel to immediately pick up.

If you are into young adult dystopian science fiction, then this is a book you won't want to miss.

Buy Imperfect at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (344 pages)
published: July 2015 by
ISBN13: 9781511660747
genres: dystopian, science fiction
target audience: young adult
source: publicist
read: November/December 2015

A free book was provided for this review. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

December 21, 2015

Elisabeth's 6 Best Books of 2015 #MondayBlogs

by Elisabeth Scherer

Here are my top 6 books of 2015. I am looking forward to trying to dwindle/build my to be read pile for 2016 and the couple gems I am already excited to share with you all.

cover Alive
Alive (The Generations Trilogy Book #1) by Scott Sigler

A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief--she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people . . . and no answers.

She knows only one thing about herself--her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin--yet she finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they're to have any chance, she must get them to trust one another.

Whatever the truth is, she is determined to find it and confront it. If she has to lead, she will make sure they survive. Maybe there's a way out, a rational explanation, and a fighting chance against the dangers to come. Or maybe a reality they cannot comprehend lies just beyond the next turn.

Read my review
Buy Alive at Amazon

cover Darkhaven
Darkhaven (The Darkhaven Novels Book #1) by A.F.E. Smith

Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven.

Yet her half-brother Myrren hasn't inherited the family's ability to shapeshift, so their father, Florentyn, forces Ayla to take over as heir to the throne.

When Ayla is accused of Florentyn's brutal murder only Myrren believes her innocent and aids her escape. A fugitive from her own guard, Ayla must now fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.

But does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Read my review
Buy Darkhaven at Amazon

cover Breeder
Breeder (The Breeder Cycle, Book #1) by K.B. Hoyle

**WINNER of the 2015 Literary Classics Silver Book Award for YA Science Fiction and recipient of the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.**

Everything about Seventeen’s life is perfect, from her genetics, to her home in Sanctuary, to her status as a Breeder in the Unified World Order. But all that changes when she meets a rogue Enforcer named Pax, who infiltrates Sanctuary and targets her for extraction from the Controlled Repopulation Program. Pax seems to know a little too much about her, and he plants dangerous doubts in her mind that accuse Sanctuary of hiding a dark secret, and that cause Seventeen to question everything she’s ever known.

When Seventeen’s life is threatened, she has little choice but to run away from Sanctuary with Pax. But for Breeders, contact with men is forbidden by law, and even the simple act of taking Pax’s hand is treason.

Mired in confusion, Seventeen travels with Pax to the outside world and takes the name Pria, the identity of her childhood. But she is far from certain she’s made the right decision when they discover an entire community of people who should no longer exist.
Seventeen, now Pria, is thrust into a position as a key player in a dangerous bid to bring down the Unified World Order. Meanwhile, Pax’s attachment to her and her growing attraction to him contribute to the ever-growing mysteries in her life.

Pria’s journey from a sheltered, na├»ve Breeder to a rebel agent requires not only external transformation but self-discovery. As her world crumbles, Pria must decide who she is and what she really believes.

But the truth comes at a cost, and uncovering it will require a greater treason than she could ever have imagined.

Read Donna's review
Buy Breeder  at Amazon

cover The Mime Order
The Mime Order (The Bone Season, Book #2)  by Samantha Shannon

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London . . .

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city's gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.

Buy The Mime Order at Amazon

cover Howling's Moving Castle
Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Castle Book 1) by Diana Wynne Jones 

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

Buy Howl's Moving Castle at Amazon

cover As You Wish
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes & Joe Layden

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.

With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

Buy As You Wish at Amazon

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