Readers' Favorite

June 13, 2015

"So freaking funny" ~ Finding Fraser by kc dyer

Crow Hollow

I met Jamie Fraser when I was nineteen years old. He was tall, red-headed, and at our first meeting at least, a virgin. I fell in love hard, fast and completely. He knew how to ride a horse, wield a sword and stitch a wound. He was, in fact, the perfect man.

That he was fictional hardly entered into it.

At 29, Emma Sheridan’s life is a disaster and she’s tired of waiting for the perfect boyfriend to step from the pages of her favorite book. There’s only one place to look, and it means selling everything and leaving her world behind. With an unexpected collection of allies along the way, can Emma face down a naked fishmonger, a randy gnome, a perfidious thief, and even her own abdominal muscles on the journey to find her Fraser?

"quirky, witty, laugh out loud hilarious" ~ deb

"Quick-paced read and great story" ~ Mercedes

"captivated then charmed" ~ Sonya A. Caldwell

Buy Finding Fraser at Amazon

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June 12, 2015

Summer's Hottest YA Titles

The Night We said Yes
A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

Buy The Night We Said Yes at Amazon

The Stars Never Rise
Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.

Buy The Stars Never Rise at Amazon

More Happy Than Not
The Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto -- miracle cure-alls don't tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can't forget how he's grown up poor or how his friends aren't always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it's not enough.

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn't mind Aaron's obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn't mind talking about Aaron's past. But Aaron's newfound happiness isn't welcome on his block. Since he's can't stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

Adam Silvera's extraordinary debut novel offers a unique confrontation of race, class and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

Buy More Happy Than Not at Amazon

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
With a harrowing poetic voice, this contemporary page-turner is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, Julie Berry's All The Truth That's in Me, and the works of Ellen Hopkins.

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something—but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

Buy The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly at Amazon

A Book of Spirits and Thieves
Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….

Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.

Buy A Book of Spirits and Thieves at Amazon

Covers and descriptions courtesy of Goodreads. 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.

June 11, 2015

Read the Review Policy

by Donna Huber

There is a certain amount of trust between an author/publisher and reviewer when books are pitched for reviews. The author/publisher trusts that a reviewer will honestly review the book with a certain level of professionalism and the reviewer trusts that the author/publisher has taken a moment to read the review policy for that publication. Yet, based on pitches I receive I don't think the latter is happening all that often.

My number one tip for authors looking for reviews is to READ THE REVIEW POLICY before submitting a request. 

Believe me I know how difficult and time consuming pitching books for reviews is (I used to do it for a publisher and then freelancing). But taking the time to read the review policy will benefit you in the long run.

Benefits to reading the review policy

  1. You won't waste your time pitching books to authors who have no interest in your book. Most reviewers list the genres they will and will not read. It is important to take note of what genres they don't read. 
  2. Get your book featured on better blogs. Reviewers who have taken the time to think about and write a quality review policy typically run better blogs. It is one of those things that set more serious reviewers apart from the casual reader who writes reviews.
  3. Saves you time in the future. Once you vetted the blogs you won't have to again in the future. (Caveat: you should do at least a cursory review of blogs that you haven't worked with in a year as things do change). Take notes, set a spreadsheet, or whatever you use to keep organize as you go through blogs. In particular, pay attention to whether they are open to reviews at this time, what genres they do/don't read, and accepted formats. (You may also want to note if they offer guest posts or interviews.) If your current book doesn't fit them right now, you may write a book future that is right up their alley.
Think about it, would you submit an article to a magazine or a manuscript to a publisher without reading their submission guidelines? Then why would you submit a review request without first reading the review request. It is a waste of your time and a waste of the reviewers time. I see authors all the time noting that they get few acceptances for the number of review requests. It may have nothing to do with their request, but the fact the reviewer is having to wade through a ton of poorly written or poorly matched requests each week.

And let's face it I didn't write a review policy for my benefit alone because I much rather being reading. (And if you read my review policy I might just be reading your book!)

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June 10, 2015

Marvel’s Daredevil (@alisondeluca)

by Alison DeLuca

It’s the summer of Marvel with Age of Ultron out in theaters and Ant-Man waiting in the movie wings. I saw the first and look forward to Paul Rudd in the second. However, Marvel truly blew me away with Daredevil, the series currently streaming on Netflix.

The setting is Hell’s Kitchen, a real-world Sin City attacked by the Kingpin of Wilson Fisk. Daredevil avoids the obvious cartoonlike black and whites of Sin City, seeking grays and the scratch of white paint on canvas – an image that soothes the character of Wilson Fisk in a horrifically complicated way.

Matt Murdock is the hero, an attorney struggling to create a law firm with his partner, Foggy Nelson, and their assistant, Karen Page. It’s really refreshing to have a hero who isn’t incredibly rich, going through the same fight most of us do to pay the rent.

Matt becomes Daredevil when his blindness allows him to develop super-sensitive hearing. His mentor, Stick, tells Matt his blindness is an advantage to be used instead of a weakness to be overcome. Daredevil is charming, handsome, and determined to right wrongs in what he calls ‘his city’ – the sprawling underground of Hell’s Kitchen. Foggy Nelson, his partner, plays an amazing bromantic part opposite Murdock, determined to make money even in the face of Matt’s continued ‘do-good’ heroism.

Karen Page develops beautifully as well. She’s no mere figurehead to be rescued. Her first encounter with Matt puts her in danger, and Karen seems to become addicted to looking for more. Her friendly triangle with Foggy and Matt develops perfectly: there’s no awkward love-triangle, thank God. The three of them are adults who admire and are, at times, exasperated by each other. And we can’t ignore Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple, the Night Nurse who stitches Matt back together after one of his violent forays into the underworld of Hell’s Kitchen.

But the series reaches genius level when Daredevil peers into the background of its antagonist, Wilson Fisk. Tom Hiddleston, the actor who created the amazing humanity behind the monster of Loki, says Marvel is adept at making villains heroic and heroes villainous. Fisk is the Kingpin, and at first sight he seems to be the iconic villain. Huge in stature and bald as Lex Luthor, the actor Vincent D’Onofrio instantly imbues Fisk with a wrinkled uncertainty marking him as truly human even as he does monstrous things. He’s a dark mirror to Murdock as he talks about Hell’s Kitchen as ‘my city.’
More importantly, the love story in Daredevil belongs to Fisk. I’m enraptured by the idea of Villain in Love. Fisk falls for Vanessa, an art dealer, so naturally and softly the storyline becomes a sweet counterpoint to the horror going on around them in Hell’s Kitchen.

If you enjoy Marvel’s movies and like Noir film, I highly suggest Daredevil. Do clear your evenings, though, since you’ll want to stream more than one episode at a time. I was sucked in right from the blood-soaked intro, complete with incredible visuals and ominous music. The storyline, developing trope-y characters such as Foggy’s ex-girlfriend into complex personalities with depth and subtlety, kept me watching through the ending.

Important note – the violence in Daredevil makes this a series for the 18+ crowd. Don’t stream it for your younger kids.

Rumor says Daredevil will return with a new season, although the character may hit the movie screens instead. In a way, it would be a shame. The miniseries format has allowed the writers to explore Matt, Foggy, Karen, Claire, Fisk, and Vanessa with breathtaking clarity, and cramming all that into two hours would, in my opinion, diminish the story. Those who complain about Black Widow’s back-story in Age of Ultron would know what I mean, where one movie undid all the amazing character build-up in Assemble and Winter Soldier.

But we’ll see.

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June 9, 2015

Review: Shelter Us by Laura Nicole Diamond

by Donna Huber

Shelter Us

This ferris wheel revolves faster than I remember. It was Robert's idea to come tonight. "A great way to say goodbye to the old year - right, kiddos?" Oliver and Izzy jumped up and down, squealing their agreement. There was no saying no. And so we ride. pg. 1

The Review

I was drawn to Shelter Us by Laura Nicole Diamond because I love family dramas. Sarah Shaw is the stay-at-home mom of 2, well 3 if you count her daughter that only lived a few short weeks. Though it has been a few years, Sarah has not been able to pull out of her grief and it is putting a strain on her marriage. But this isn't the part that captured my attention. It was the homeless woman with a small child that captured mine and Sarah's attention.

I knew how Sarah felt as she passed by the young woman. I so want to help someone who I see is in need. Sarah feels an extra attachment to the young woman because the death of her daughter. She can't get the woman out of her mind. She must do something. Her greatest desire is to bring her home and give her shelter. Yet her husband isn't keen on the idea obviously.

The story is told through the eyes of Sarah. A woman who cares deeply for her family, even the child who didn't live to see her first birthday. However, it is the all consuming grief and guilt that keeps her from fully being in the moment with her family. It's all she can do just to go through the motion. Until she meets Josie, the homeless mother. This may just be what Sarah needs to pull herself past her grief.

The story is so well told that you begin to think of Sarah as more than a character in a book. She could be the woman you see in the pick up line at preschool or the mother sitting on the park bench as her children play in the sand box.

Normally I would not think of a story like this as a summer read. I typically think of fun and fluff. Yet, I do think Shelter Us would be a perfect book for the summer. There are layers of emotional depth without being too heavy. There are enough sweet moments to balance out the grief and guilt. The writing also has a beauty to it that makes the story flow effortlessly. Diamond's style reminded me some of Jillian Medoff, but I enjoyed Shelter Us more.

If you are looking for more than fluff this summer, then I highly recommend Shelter Us by Laura Nicole Diamond.

Buy Shelter Us at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (257 pages)
published: June 2015 by She Writes Press
ISBN13: 9781631529702
genres: women's fiction
source: publisher
read: April/May 2015

A free paperback 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 support Girl Who Reads.

June 8, 2015

Review: White Mountain by Sophie E. Tallis

by Claire Rees

The White Mountain
Follow three friends; Marval, a wise old wizard, Gralen, one of the last dragons alive, and Wendya, a young witch, as they travel across the world from one magical kingdom to another meeting new friends and gaining alliances against a dark force called Morreck.

Marval is alone the first time he encounters Morreck and barely gets away with his life. He needs to recover and then takes Gralen to check on their friend Wendya. She is fine but insists on coming along to help her friend and the man she thinks of as a father to her, Marval. He must regain his powers before the sixth new moon or he will fade away and die. Along their way through magical kingdoms they encounter many different beasts most who are not friendly and they endure ferocious attacks but pull together and somehow make it to safety relatively unharmed. They also meet many old friends and make amazing new ones. At the end they all come together to fight one huge battle where many lives are lost, both good and evil.

I loved this story, the characters are so believable I began to identify with them and I felt their losses and happiness at their successes. I enjoyed exploring the magical places with them and meeting the different races and beasts both good and bad.  It was written so well that I could imagine what the places and people looked like easily. I got pulled into White Mountain by Sophie E. Tallis and felt as though I was walking or flying the same paths as the characters. My favorite parts were the pictures dotted throughout the book that the Tallis drew herself, they are amazing and really give the reader a view of what the author imagines the places and characters to look like.  I would recommend this book to all who love magical worlds, where there is evil beyond any imagination and to those who love adventure and friendship.

Buy White Mountain at Amazon

Book info
available formats: ebook and print (430 pages)
published: September 2012
ISBN13: 978-1909845978
genres: epic fantasy
source: purchased
read: June 2015

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June 7, 2015

Summer Re-Read Along: The Six by K. B. Hoyle

by Donna Huber

The Six
Ever since The Gateway Chronicles wrapped up last year, I have wanted to re-read the entire series from start to finish. I know there are many avid fans of the series and even more people who would love this series if they just started it. So I've decided to host a read along this summer (it may continue into the fall, if summer gets too busy). I hope you will join me. Plus there is a giveaway at the end!

So let's get started!

I'm reading the 2010 edition, published by K. B. Hoyle. For just 99 cents, you can get the 2012 ebook edition published by The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House at Amazon. There are slight variations in the edition that will make this re-read more fun.


In my edition, there is not a prologue. The scene described is a bit later in my book. I'm not sure I like having the prologue. I really enjoyed getting to know Darcy right how the bat in chapter 1.

What do you think about the prologue? Yay or Nay? Vote in the comments.

Chapter One: Family Vacation

I forgot that Darcy was 13 years old at the start of the series. I thought she was younger.

I still love the petulant child personna Darcy is rocking in this chapter. Hoyle did a great job setting up this character. Some of my favorite lines from this chapter describe Darcy.

Darcy snapped her gum angrily just thinking about it and huffed on the car window, adding her own fog to the condensation from the rain. page 6

I remember being that age and though I didn't mind going on vacation with my family, it didn't always eliminate the agitation of traveling together.

I swear I'm going to kill him. My brother will never see the 6th grade! page 7

Knowing what is to come in the last book, this line made be a bit weepy. Hoyle set up all the characters to experience growth throughout this series. With a large ensemble cast that can be difficult to do, and going back to beginning reminds me of how well she did it.

More of Darcy's petulance...

That's not the reason we're going, though. We're going because we don't have enough money to do anything else, Darcy thought, but wisely kept her mouth shut. page 8

We didn't have a lot of money growing up and it would have loved to be going to family camp. But Darcy is upset with the change in routine and that I totally understand.

The way the chapter ends is probably why I fell in love with this series. It is absolutely priceless.

Maybe it wouldn't be that bad. No, she thought firmly, I will NOT enjoy this trip. She couldn't give her parents, or Samantha Palm, that satisfaction. ...
Darcy followed slowly behind, imaging as she went that she was going to her doom. page 13

What are your favorite quotes from chapter 1?

Darcy mentions finding the perfect song from Linkin Park.

If you were to pick a song to match Darcy's mood what song would it be? 

Were you, like me. hooked with the first chapter?

I want to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment.

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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 support Girl Who Reads.