Readers' Favorite

June 20, 2015

"Great, fun read!" ~ Little Sacrifices by Jamie Scott

How much would you risk to stand up for your beliefs?

When the Powell family moves to Savannah Georgia in 1947, they hope against hope that they'll be welcomed. But they're Northerners and worse, they're white civil rights advocates almost a decade too early. The American South is deeply segregated.

At first their daughter, May, can pretend they're the same as everyone else. It means keeping quiet when she knows she should speak up, but it's worth the sacrifice to win friends. Keeping secrets has been the norm for her new home's residents for forty years anyway, and the old lady who lived in the house before them left more than her furniture when she died. May finds her diaries and letters, unravelling a tale of love and loss that reaches across the generations with devastating consequences.

"Absolute 5-star read!!!!" - RoloPoloBookBlog

"Southern Charm and Hospitality" - love2read

"Fabulous Book! Story has depth!" - VeryMary Jewelry

Buy Little Sacrifices at Amazon

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June 19, 2015

Infographic: The Anatomy of a Grammar Nerd

Anatomy of a Grammar Nerd Infographic

Thank you, Grammarly, for providing this awesome infographic.

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June 18, 2015

Dear author, I see you

by Donna Huber

The other day I saw an open letter to big book bloggers on Facebook. While I don't really think of Girl Who Reads as a big book blog, I did take slight offense to the letter. The gist of the letter was that big book bloggers weren't paying attention to small/new authors and only featuring a select set of popular authors.

I take great pride in offering a wide variety of authors opportunity to appear on Girl Who Reads and featuring their books in various ways. And when an author's review request is passed over, it doesn't mean I didn't "see" the author, but more a result of too little time.

I'm going to pull back the curtain and give you a peek into my life as a book blogger.

So far this month I have had 26 review requests, Last month I read 5 books,  but I only read 2 in April. I do have two people who also review for Girl Who Reads and I offer some of these requests to them, but still that is an awful a lot of review requests.

Then there are the requests for cover reveals, interviews, and guest post spots. While these requests don't require me to read a book, I do have to take the time to read and respond to the requests and check the schedule. I do have an interviewer, but every so often I do an interview so there's the time requirement for coming up with questions. This is often made more difficult by the fact the author sends no information about themselves or the book. Also, there is the follow-up to the accepted requests to make sure I get the post material in time to actually put together the post.

There is also the writing and formatting of posts. At this point, I've already been working on this post for 30 minutes. I usually spend 3 to 5 hours on the weekend writing and formatting posts. And that doesn't usually mean I got all the posts for the week scheduled. I format the posts for all my contributors and usually find the images to use.

I also have to find the time to actually read the books I'm reviewing. Some months I get lucky and I have a number of short books on my list (200 pages or less) other times I get stuck with a 500+ page novel. Or a a nonfiction book that is so dense that I can only read a bit at a time. Since I charge for editing, I have timed how many words I read in an hour. On average I read about 10,000 words an hour. So a 50,000 word novel takes about 5 hours. With everything else I have going on in life, particularly work, I'm lucky if I can get 30 minutes to read a day. I might get a couple of hours of reading done over the weekend. So even a relatively short book can take my more than a week to read.

Oh and author, you know all the marketing you do for your book and the time it takes each week away from your writing? I have to market my blog. People don't just wander by. I have to craft tweets and Facebook posts. There are the comments to respond to and interactions on social media. I research best practices to increase my traffic and investigate revenue sources.

I'm not complaining about the time involved. I love blogging, but I thought I should give you a realistic look at the time involved.

Why it is some authors appear on the blog more often

As you can see book blogging is time consuming and a lot of work. Outside of free books, there isn't a lot of monetary reward. And I'm okay with that, but that means sometimes I want to pick up my favorite author's new novel. You might think that I give preferential treatment (more blog time) to JB Lynn's and Chevy Stevens's books because I have read all their books. But I truly love their novels and I know when I pick one up that I'm going to be entertained. Something that's not guaranteed when I pick up the novel of a new author.

I also find I need to take a break from reviewing every once in a while. I have a different mindset when I read a book for a review than a book I'm just reading for fun. I have to think about word usage, character development, plot pacing, etc and I have to remember what I think!

Then there are the authors that appear frequently because they provide me with content that is easy to post. Often these authors are represented by the big publishers and the publicists are sending pre-made (and well done) interviews, excerpts, and press releases with their pitches. It is great to have these materials available. Particularly when I'm reading those 500+ novels and I know I'm not going to have many reviews that month.

What you can do to be noticed more

My biggest piece of advice is to be professional. Be professional in every aspect of your writing career, from creating a quality product to promoting properly.

Put together a media kit, including a press release, and provide it with your pitches. Speaking of pitches, polish them! You should know your book better than any one else and be able to tell others why they should read it. (I can figure out from the pitch that you wrote a book so you don't have to start your pitch with "I wrote a book")

Provide other material - interviews, guest posts, video, etc. I much rather have the material upfront because there isn't much worse than schedule an author a month in advance and never getting the material (not to mention it is extremely unprofessional).

A lot of bloggers also like to time their reviews with a release of a new book. So getting your review requests out early (6 - 8 weeks) is also important.

Authors, I see you

Authors I know how frustrating it can be to send out requests week after week and getting no response (or a No as a response), but unfortunately there are way more books than book bloggers.

But, please know, I do see you and I'm continually looking for ways to feature more of you on Girl Who Reads.

(and now I've been working on this post for an hour and I still need to proofread and dress it up some)

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June 17, 2015

10 Questions with Siggy Buckley (@Hernibs)

What gave you the idea of dropping out of the rat race and become organic farmers in Ireland?
It was actually a thought in Mac’s, my then husband’s head that he was harboring already without my knowledge when we got married. When he put garden tools, a wheelbarrow, a cable drum, and a pickaxe on our wedding list. That plus a book that was #1 on the best-seller list in Germany: John Seymour: The big book of Self-Sufficiency. I thought it was a joke and that he just wanted to garden a little at home in Germany in his free time.

Why Ireland?
Ireland was a mostly unpolluted country, away from the arms race and rearmament of Nato-Europe in the 80s. Mac had been there once as a student on a vacation playing golf and loved it because of its laid-back, unspoilt character and old-world charm. He kept saying, “We’ll go to Ireland when I retire.”

How did you take it?
I replied, “OK, honey.” Little did I know that he planned to retire at the age of 40. When that became clear to me, I needed counseling for over two years to cope with that idea.

How did you prepare for such a move? How did you learn the necessary skills?
We first moved to a cottage in the country where he studied the book and applied the skills in our garden. We had endless discussions about how we could survive financially.

Was there anything in your background that prepared you for such a life?
We were both academics, not one agricultural gene in our heritage.

I Once Had a Farm in Ireland
How did your family take it?
Family and friends were either appalled or ridiculed us. They accepted our being “Green” and very conscious of environmental issues, but couldn’t we practice that and live like that in Germany too? When my mother died and his parents got divorced the path to emigrating seemed to be clear. His mother, the only living relative surely could come with us, no?

Tell us about your daily routine as organic farmers?
Get up, let the geese and chickens out first, then have breakfast while grinding 1 kg of wheat into flour; then started a bread or a cake. Mac and the kids mucked out the stable. Then I got the children ready for school Mac began his workday by checking on the animals: cows, sheep, pigs, and horses. Drive kids to school in Limerick or car pool, go to college (University of Limerick)  to teach a few hours. Picked up children from school, did some shopping for groceries. Mac would have dealt with emergencies or mended fences and water-supplies; depending on the time of year calving and lambing was on the cards and looking after the flock.  Once or twice a week, I gave German classes at home at my kitchen table. Otherwise I just prepared classes for the next day in college .Then cook dinner while kids did their homework. After that, the last round checking on animals, put poultry to bed before the fox could get them in the twilight. Muck out stables again. Mac read a paper and had a glass of homebrew. Mostly we were in bed by 9 P.M. In winter, the routine slightly differed when some animals were in sheds.

What were the most difficult things about organic farming?
Organic prohibits applying herbicides or pesticides. So I picked caterpillars and other bugs from each Brussels sprout plant with a little knife and picked up slugs by hand.  Weeds I pulled by hand; on bigger areas like the tarmac yard, I tried a flame thrower but that never worked. You need to do it twice in a row on a couple of dry days. You hardly get 2 dry days however in a row in the west of Ireland.

I also found it very off-putting to transport dead animals in our Jeep to the lab to find the cause of death. Or to make hay by hand when you suffer from hay fever and asthma.

What did you like best about it?
I loved best to sit out in the sun with a book—that hardly ever happened. I enjoyed my growing flower garden and the taste of our first raspberries and red currants each year. I loved experimenting with fruit wines and preserves that I sold to the local market. I hated that there was never time for leisure activities or to go on vacations.

How long did you stick with it?
For almost 10 years. When nothing much changed in our lifestyle- like things I wanted to do, go to a movie, concert or even travel etc. -- I said to Mac: “It’s either the cows or me, one of us has to go! He chose the company of his cows. I set myself free and converted my life-sentence: I left the farm. For my first book: Next Time Lucky.

Buy I Once Had a Farm in Ireland at Amazon

About the Author
Educated in Germany with a Master’s Degree in English, Siggy Buckley lived in Ireland for over 15 years, first teaching at the University of Limerick as an adjunct professor, while building up an organic farm. She later ran her own businesses in Dublin before coming to the USA in 2003. In 2005, Siggy married an American and pursued her life-long dream of writing.
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June 16, 2015

Review: Dead Market by Gary Starta

by Claire Rees

Dead Market

Each time Hector Gonzalez examined a corpse he wished it could talk to him.
This one didn't just talk, it screamed at him, forensically speaking.
The corpse, seemingly railing against methodical detachment via the unnerving, gaping punctures on the neck, was not about to have the summation of his life be condensed into a few easy sentences for the benefit of crime scene workers. The wound, in Gonzalez's mind, gave the victim a speaking voice.

The Review

Dead Market by Gary Starta is a zombie tale with a difference. The zombies keep their personalities but have an insatiable urge for raw meat, especially human flesh. The hunger can be controlled by a pill that the infected needs to take on a regular basis for the rest of their lives or second lives as the case may be.  A pharmaceutical giant has actually manufactured this virus and the treatment In order to purposefully infect people to then sell them the pills to treat it. They stand to make billions from this and will stop at nothing to prevent the public from finding out. However there are two infected people that with the help of an infected are determined to find out who is behind the release of this disease and try to make it go public to stop anybody else from being infected. But when the death of a high profile person they asked to help them occurs they realize they are in over their heads but are not about to give up.

Dead Market was good and has a unique edge. Lorelei and police detective Burnham become infected and enlist the help of Burnham's friend Finch, the only person Burnham feels he can trust. I enjoyed the story and was eager to see if they ever got to the bottom of the mystery of who infected them and why. The characters are written well and have a small amount of background, just enough to establish them but not enough to bore you. A very interesting read; it kept me intrigued until the end.

Buy Dead Market at Amazon

Book Info
available formats: ebook
published: April 2015 by Evolutionary Publishing
ISBN13: 9781927479841
genres: horror, fantasy
target audience: young adult
read: June 2015

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June 15, 2015

Meet Karyn Pearson (@kp_writes)

by Heather Kirchoff

Welcome, Karyn Pearson! What made you decide to start writing? Was this something you always thought you’d do?

When I was eight years old and reading Harry Potter for the first time, it occurred to me that writing books was an actual career, which I thought was pretty cool to do. When I was eleven, I started writing Harry Potter fanfiction, and to my surprise, I really enjoyed writing. I've been writing ever since. In that sense, yes, I do think it's something I've always thought I'd do. It's been my childhood dream!

How do you come up with your characters or story ideas?

Honestly, I don't know how characters or story ideas come together. I'm inundated with so much pop culture that after a while, random elements throw themselves together and they happen to be character ideas or story ideas. Take for example, how I first came up with Ardentia, the main character of the Hellfire Trilogy. At the time, I'd been watching a ton of reruns of the CW TV series, Supernatural, I'd also recently seen the Hollywood adaptation of the graphic novel, Priest, and I was stuck on the character creation screen for a new fire mage in the MMO, Dragon Nest. The character avatar had red hair and red eyes, and I wanted her to have a fire-themed name. So I took the root "ardent" and femmed it up a little by adding an "-ia" at the end. Over time, I started to wonder why I'd made my character have such a unique look. Ultimately, Ardentia got a back story that helped build the post-apocalyptic world the Hellfire Trilogy is set in.

How do you get inspired to write?

Inspiration comes to me at the most random of times. Sometimes I'll be sitting in the car and see something interesting out the window, or I'll be reading a book, watching a show or a movie, and suddenly think, "Hey, you know what'd make a cool story? If I did . . ." Other times, inspiration strikes on account of book characters screaming in my head and demanding their stories to be told.

What do you do while having writers block?

If it's a particular story that I'm blocked on, I'll try to work on something else. I still have an ongoing Inuyasha fanfiction for this very reason (also I'm too stubborn to abandon it--I hate leaving things unfinished). Other times, I just try to rest my brain and do something different, since I typically get writer's block when I'm burnt out. So I'll go into a YouTube coma, binge watch anime on Netflix or Crunchyroll, play a ton of Guild Wars 2, or get dogsaulted by my adorable fur children. In time, my mental vacation helps me recharge my batteries and I can resume writing again.

What kind of stories do you write?

Right now, I'm in the paranormal YA and Adult urban fantasy genres. Though, I've got a couple sci-fi and horror story ideas rattling around upstairs. So who knows? Maybe I'll branch out into other genres.

Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite authors are J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Suzanne Collins, and Susan Ee. In the manga world, my favorites are Kishimoto Masashi, Isayama Hajime, and Kubo Tite (names have been listed in Japanese tradition).

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for thirteen years, since I was eleven years old.

What are your stories about?

Apart from life in an angel-demon post-apocalypse, I'm also working on a vampire story set in our present time where secret societies of vampire hunters and vampire factions coexist among normal people.

What are you currently working on?

Right now, there's nothing on the docket. But very soon, I'll be getting to work on the first book of my next series, Arcturian Bloodlines.

What do you do when not writing?

When I'm not writing, I'm either reading, murdering manuscripts, playing video games, playing with my dogs, or just lounging around at home with one of my dogs using me as a head rest.

Buy Spark at Amazon

About the Author:
Karyn Pearson is the author of Spark (Hellfire Trilogy #1), Inferno (Hellfire Trilogy #2), and Arcturian Bloodlines. She is a full-time pet parent of her two dogs Nikki and Jamie. Karyn has a B.A. in Anthropology and has explored dozens of cultures in her studies, but has imagined countless more. She enjoys reading, playing action RPGs, and plotting the next adventure for her characters whenever she has a spare moment free of the dreaded and undefeated "puppy dog eyes attack."
Her current projects include Embers (Hellfire Trilogy #3) and the first novel of a new vampire series. When she's not writing, Karyn can be found playing with her puppies or Googling various dangerous topics for novel research that make her constantly question why federal agents haven't yet knocked down her front door.
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The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed by guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads. 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 14, 2015

The Six #Readalong: Chapters 2 - 4

by Donna Huber

Week 2 of The Six Read Along and we are discussing chapters 2, 3 and 4. If you missed last week's discussion of the Prologue and Chapter 1, you can view it here. Author K. B. Hoyle shared some tidbits that you might not know so do read the comments.

In addition to joining the discussions, K. B. Hoyle is also offering an international giveaway where one lucky person will win ebooks of The Six, The Oracle, The White Thread, AND book 1 of her new series Breeder. The rafflecopter is at the end.

As I reminder, I'm reading an early edition The Six and there may be some differences and I would love to discuss those differences and their impact on the reading experience. Please feel free to leave comments with your thoughts. If you have questions ask them too! I really want this to be a discussion and not just me talking.

A photo posted by Donna (@girl_who_reads) on

If you haven't started the series yet, you can get a copy at Amazon.

Chapter 2: Cedar Cove

At the beginning of this chapter Darcy and her family are still in the car making their way to family camp at Cedar Cove. Darcy has relented some and agreed to play the alphabet game with Roger.

What kind car games did you play when you were a kid?
But at camp there will be Samantha and Lewis, and other people I don't know that I will have to meet and talk to. Her chest felt constricted for a moment and she pushed the thoughts away. page 16 
Funny, when I was Darcy's age meeting new people didn't induce panic. I loved going to camp. As an adult though it does bother me a bit when I think about going to a social function. Perhaps if Darcy didn't dislike Sam and Lewis so much she wouldn't be in such a panic.

If you were in Darcy's shoes, would you be excited or anxious that in 30 minutes you would be arriving at Cedar Cove?
Tall reeds bent gently in the wind, their bottoms sunk deep in the water near the road, and cedar trees hugged the sides of the bay. Crisp white daisies were strewn among ferns wherever the sun's rays could reach and the occasional bright orange lily poked out from behind mossy rocks. page 18
What do you think of the first description of Cedar Cove? If you have read Hoyle's blog or read any interviews with her, you know that she used a family camp she attended as a teenager as the basis for the setting.

We get our first glimpse of Dean in this chapter (though we don't learn his name in this chapter):
The boy was tall and thin with close-cropped dark brown hair, but he certain;y wasn't good-looking enough to be Samantha's Perry. page 19
Is he a possible love interest? 

And of course, Roger, ever the little brother, embarrasses her. I'm the youngest in my family so I didn't have to worry about this and with my sisters being several years older, I don't think I had an opportunity to cause them this embarrassment. What about you? Have a you been embarrassed by a younger sibling?

What are your favorite moments from Chapter 2?

Chapter 3: Meetings and Greetings

Of course the first person Darcy runs into (literally) is Sam. At this point, I'm probably more identifying with Sam than Darcy. I was the overly exuberant "friend" at that age. Are/Were you more like Darcy or Sam?
Darcy's dad swung the door open to reveal a small room with two windows on the far wall. Swaying cedar trees were visible beyond the glass. One tall dresser, a single end table and two bunk beds with bare mattresses made up the rest of the furnishings in the room. "Cozy," her dad said, looking around. page 24
I think Darcy's dad has it right. I thought it strange that there were two bunk beds. Now, at a camp that only had kids I would understand the bunk beds, but with adults there you would think there would be a double bed at least. When I took a cruise with a large group, we stayed in a cabin that had a queen/full bed and 4 bunks. There was a curtain that could be pulled to separate the large bed from the bunks. I would think that is more what would be at family camp. But maybe it wasn't used as a family camp all the time.

The description of the bathroom reminds me of my freshman college dorm. I think we may have had one more stall, sink, and shower, but after having a bathroom all to myself for a number of years it was an adjustment. Actually it was rare that all of the showers or stalls were in use so it wasn't much of a problem.

In this chapter we get our first glimpse of Perry:
Golden blond, deeply tanned, and athletic-looking... page 28
And this time Darcy didn't need Darcy's help in embarrassing herself. Dropping the rolls would be something I would do. What was your first impression of Perry? 

We also meet Amelia:
...a naturally pretty girl...She was tall and willowy (the next tallest after Dean, and just an inch or so taller than Perry) with very straight sandy hair that fell to her shoulders, pretty hazel eyes and even, white teeth. page 32
Maybe it was my personal experience, but I wondered if this group was only friends at camp. I know Sam and Lewis go to school with Darcy, but I can't remember if the other three see each other during the year. But they are quite the diverse group and even in middle school cliches are forming. I get the impression of Perry and Amelia would be part of the popular crowd. From Darcy's description, Sam and Lewis are bit of outcasts or part of the "misfit" group. At this point we don't know enough about Dean, but maybe he's a loner.

If you went to camp, did you have camp friends who you weren't necessarily as good of friends back home?

What are your thoughts on chapter 3?

Chapter 4: Skipping Rocks

Now if you have TWCS's edition of The Six this chapter is the prologue. I forgot to look at Mom's copy to see if her book still has chapter 4 as Skipping Rocks.

What did you think about the "tingling" Darcy experiences? Did you think it was just something she imagined, or at this point you were already considering that there was something magical about Cedar Cove?

I find it difficult to believe Darcy has never skipped rocks. If there was any pool of water and any rocks near by, as kids, we were always skipping rocks (truth be told probably even as an adult I would have the urge to skip rocks). Did you skip rocks as a kid? Were you any good at it?

Chapter 4 brings us to the point where most readers decide to keep reading or give up. How do/did you feel about the book at this point? Was it must continue, I'll keep reading for a bit more at least, or (if this your first time read) give up?

I would love to hear your thoughts so far on The Six, please leave a comment.

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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