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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

July 18, 2015

"A fun cozy mystery" ~ A Woof in Sheep's Clothing by JB Lynn

A Woof in Sheep's Clothing
While investigating the disappearance of a psychic matchmaker, Detective Brian Griswald meets dog trainer Stephanie Browne, a beautiful woman who can be just as prickly as the rescue mutts she works with.

Like her dogs, Stephanie’s not quick to trust, which is why she rejects the charming detective when he tries to pursue a relationship with her, but when Brian is dragged into a case involving Stephanie’s beloved dogs, the two must work together to find the truth.

Solving the mystery proves challenging for both of them and dangerous for Stephanie. Can Brian and a canine cavalry save her before it’s too late?

"a fun light-hearted book" ~ Linda Quick

"the mutts steel the show!" ~ Susan

"Pets, and mystery, and one awesome book." ~ B. E.

Buy A Woof in Sheep's Clothing 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.

July 17, 2015

Review: Naked by Stacey Trombley

by Donna Huber


Luis and I were jumped that one time and he had to pull a gun to get away. Not that kind of fear.
This is bone deep. The kind that stings your eyes with a deep pain in your heart. The kind that you know you'll never heal from because it's not physical.
Doesn't she get it? Doesn't she understand that I want to forget about everything that happened in New York? Good. Bad. It's over. page "56" egalley

The Review

I have been dying to tell you about Naked by Stacey Trombley. Perhaps you have already discovered it for yourself as it came out last week. If you were a fan of The Face on the Milk Carton growing up, then this is definitely a book you will want to read.

Anna is a runaway. She thought at the tender age of thirteen she knew everything about the world and her parents knew nothing. Sounds like a typical teenager, right? Well, there's more to Anna than just hormones. Her parents, her dad in particular, want her to be perfect. He wants a trophy daughter to stand beside his trophy wife. A few years on the streets has taught Anna more than she imagine. And now she just wants to go home. No not just to go home, but to start over. Anna wants a clean slate.

Naked is a heartwrenching, thrill of a read. From the outside Anna seemed to have a the perfect family, perhaps a bit strict, but Anna had a bit of a wild streak too. She has the normal pre-teen struggles of feeling misunderstood and wanting to spread her wings. But where she winds up is never a place she thought she would be in.

Throughout the novel, we follow Anna as she comes to grips with her past and present. And when she does it is gut-wrenching as she realizes that she may have truly lost everything. But as the pieces are picked up she learns that she may have gained the most important thing: acceptance.

I loved Trombley's writing. She strikes a perfect balance in creating a story full of intensity, without being overly explicit.

She created fully fleshed out characters where you know their motivations, and therefore their actions naturally flow from their personalities. Sarah was perhaps my favorite character. She seems to be the first one to truly see Anna, but she doesn't judge her. If one of the characters in Naked were to get their own story told, I would want it to be Sarah.

In a time when we don't peer too closely into the lives of our neighbors and friends, Trombley expertly draws back the curtains on this perfect family until they are completely exposed - bared Naked.

Buy Naked at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebooks and print (304 pages)
published: July 2015 by Entangled Teen
ISBN13: 9781633750074
genres: literary fiction
target audience: young adult
source: Netgalley
read: June 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.

July 16, 2015

Making Money Blogging: A Case Study

by Donna Huber

I recently had dinner with a couple that was interested in blogging and wanted some insight into the world. Whereas I took to blogging because I was passionate about talking about books. this couple is wanting to make money. The guy (as he was the one that wanted to run the blog) wanted to know what topic was the most profitable. He wasn't necessarily interested in writing about a passion.

Since that dinner, I have been thinking a lot more about how to make blogging profitable. When I started Girl Who Reads, I knew that it probably wouldn't let me quit my day job and I've told other book bloggers you don't blog about books to get rich. But can book blogging be profitable?

I think so.

Take a look at I'm pretty sure they are making some money. And looking at what they do can provide a number of lessons for other book bloggers that want to be profitable.

Lesson #1. Post more than once a day

Take a look a their homepage. I count 17 posts dated 7/14/2015.

I have tested out posting more than once a day a few times and have found it increases the traffic to the site. More traffic means more ad revenue from impressions and increases the likelihood of someone clicking on an ad or Amazon link. It can be difficult to post multiple times a day, especially if you are blogging alone. I have 7 people that regularly contribute to Girl Who Reads and I still have days where I'm struggling to post something.

It can be a goal to work up to, but posting more isn't the only reason they are profitable.

Lesson #2. Create content rich posts

Their posts aren't just promos, they provide real content. To be a profitable book blog you need to provide more than "hey look this book is out today" kinds of posts. isn't just reviews either. It provides news and commentary about the book world.

There is a reason why many blogs that post multiple times a day posts promos - they are easy. But it isn't unique. And really how many reviews does one person read before deciding to buy a book? Does the average person even look past Amazon or Goodreads for a review?

They also use video, which gives their site an added bonus. The videos are well done so they re interesting and not filled with a bunch of "umms".

If you want your blog to be profitable you need to provide unique content. This doesn't mean you can't talk about the books everyone else is (July 14 all the posts on BookRiot were about Harper Lee's new book), but you need to talk about these popular books in a unique way.

Lesson #3. Eye-catching landing page

The design of a site definitely plays a part in its profitability. If a site isn't eye-catching from the get go, then some readers may just go.

The landing page on is engaging. You immediately see what's new today without having to scroll for miles. There's plenty of space for ads without making the site cluttered or looking like it is just ads.

I think this may be the biggest issue book bloggers have with making their site profitable. I know I'm thinking of redesigning my blog. I get offers for ads all the time, but I don't have a good way of displaying them, without them getting in the way of the content.

But it isn't just about ad placement. It is about making people want to read their content. Though there are 17 posts about Harper Lee's book. but all the images with posts aren't the book cover. Hopefully as you expand the content of your site, the images you use will also expand beyond book covers and author images. It may require you to work on your graphic design or photography skills, or purchase a few credits at a stock photo site.

Bottom Line

Is it profitable to blog about books? It takes dedication and time. If you want it replace your day job, then you are going to have to put your day job hours into your blog.

Oh and if you are wondering what topic I told the guy would make a profitable blog: Cats.

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.

July 15, 2015

Review: Freckled Venom Skeletons by Juliette Douglas

by Claire Rees

Freckled Venom Skeletons
Skeletons, book three of Juliette Douglas's Freckled Venom series, begins a few years after book two ends. Ezra's store and the town have rebuilt itself after the fire. Rawley and Lacy have settled down with their daughter Hannah and their adopted sons. All is wonderful until an old bad guy called Kannon comes back into town. Lacy and Rawley have a feeling that he is up to no good but he soon moves on again  and out of their town, or so they think. Until Rawley and Lacey are alerted that the children have been kidnapped from the school and the teacher had been tied up and left at the school house alone.

Lacy and Rawley immediately saddle up and go after the kidnappers. We also hear the story from the children's point of view, and during their time with the kidnappers, they get up to lots of mischief and mayhem, trying to escape.

The book was written very well and fits in nicely with the two before it. For me, having loved the first two books I very much enjoyed reading what had happened in the characters lives since I was last reading about them. I instantly fell in love with Hannah, Rawley and Lacey's daughter, as she reminded me of Lacy when Rawley first met her, wild and unruly. She stands up for her friends and family also. Her along with Cotton and the other children make this a wonderful read and I thoroughly enjoyed it when they got ‘one over’ on the kidnappers. The ending was great and was how I would imagine it to be. If you are a person who enjoys adventure, and characters with a lot of personality then this trilogy are the books for you.

Buy Freckled Venom Skeletons at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (276 pages)
published: June 2015
ISBN13: 978-1512173789
genres: westerns, romance
read: July 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.

July 14, 2015

Review: Alive by Scott Sigler

by Elisabeth Scherer

Disclaimer: Scott Sigler has asked that I give no spoilers for this book so you might enjoying the twists and turns. I will gladly do this as I think many would like to pick this book up and read it and experience what as Mr. Sigler says, “Makes fiction so special.”

With that said, I normally do a summary of the book in a few sentences so I am going to avoid that this time and jump to what I thought and why you might like this book. However this is also party of First Chapter, First Paragraph so here is a excerpt from the book that is part of the first chapter and a few paragraphs to whet your whistle:

A stabbing pain jolts me awake. It hits quick but deep, a here-then-gone stinging where my neck meets my shoulder.
Did something bite me?
No...just a dream. A nightmare, maybe.
That’s not how I should wake up on my birthday. I’m twelve. I can hardly believe it - I’m twelve, I’m not a little kid anymore. I should get to sleep in, I should get to sleep all day.
There should be cake, and my friends, and I shouldn’t have to go to school.
The thought of that place chases away my excitement. I’m so tired. Feels like I’ve never slept at all. If I missed my alarm, I’ll be late for classes again. Mom will kill me. I don’t want to go. At school the tooth-girls and the stars always make fun of me. And I shouldn’t be teased on my birthday. I hate school. I hate them, I…
A tingling coolness on my neck, right where I felt that sting. Tickling, spreading… I bleeding?     -- from a Netgalley e-book version
What I thought:

When I first started reading, I was unsure how I was going to like the book. The main character is twelve years old, the story told from her point of view, and she seemed like a typical twelve year old. I admit to being worried that the book would lack the chops to keep me interested. Well I will gladly tell you that I was wrong about the book. I think this could be the next Hunger Games or Divergent. If you liked those books you will definitely like this one.

Scott Sigler weaves a thrilling tale that did grabbed me and dragged me along on a heart racing, emotional journey of the main character.  She is a very complex character who finds herself in a leadership position and must use that help everyone survive and find the answers to who they all are.

I didn’t know that this book is the first in a trilogy until after I finished and there may have been some jumping around and excitement to know I can come back to this story and these characters. The book also opens me to an author I haven’t read but will now go get the rest of his books because his writing style is much like some of my favorite authors.

This book has adventure, the fear of the unknown, survival situations, emotional ups and downs of being twelve years old. The book does take a bit to get things moving, it becomes a juggernaut of a story that is riveting to the very end. I have already recommended the book to family and put this on my husband's must read list. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read the second part of the tale.

Buy Alive at Amazon

Like the intro tease above? Listen to an extended excerpt from the audio book available at Audible:

Book info:
available formats: ebook, audio, print (368 pages)
published: July 2015 by Del Rey a Random House Publishing Group
ISBN13: 9780553393101
genbres: science fiction, action & adventure
target audience: young adult (with some gory moments it may not be suitable for the younger end of young adult)
source: Netgalley
read: June 2015

A free egalley 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.

July 13, 2015

Audio Books for Short Summer Trips

by Donna Huber

Are you heading out on a day trip or maybe just a few hours away for a quick weekend getaway? I have some short audio books to help you pass the time until your destination.

Eyes On You
At just around 9 hours, Eyes On You by Kate White would make a great audio book for your weekend getaway. It started out a little slow but it was like a snowball and by the end I was so invested in the story that I didn't want to stop listening. I was suspicious and paranoid of everyone in the story. Who's out to get Robin?

Robin is a television co-host who is just starting to get her career and life back on track when strange things start happen. Does she have a stalker or is she doing it to herself for the attention?

Buy Eyes on You at Amazon

If I Stay
Have you seen the movie If I Stay? This is the book the movie is based on. If you are looking for something a bit more artsy for your road trip, then check out this one. There is a bit more detail in this 5 hour audio book than made the movie cut so even if you some in the car has watched the movie and others haven't, there will be something new for everyone.

Mia is a gifted cellist, she has a great family, a great boyfriend when everything changes. A car accident leaves it all hanging in the balance.

Buy If I Stay at Amazon

Where She Went
There is a follow up novel to If I Stay, Where She Went. I actually liked this book a bit more. It is told from Adam's point of view and I really like him. Again this is a short book (5 hours 21 minutes) so perfect for a day trip out of town.

We get to catch up with Mia and Adam and how life turned out for them. With a title like Where She Went I thought it would be from Mia's point of view so having it from Adam's was a nice surprise. I liked getting inside his head.

Buy Where She Went at Amazon

The Cinderella Substitute
Are you having a Girls' Weekend? Then this romance may be the perfect pairing for the car trip. The Cinderella Substitute by Nell Dixon. It is a REALLY short story - only 3 hours 24 minutes long. We are kind of dropped into the story of Jenni and Nate. Jenni is Nate's personal assistant but it isn't a creepy love story in that sense. It is more that they have both been focused on their own life and just haven't noticed one another in that way, but when they do the romance is a bit of a whirl wind. I thought the story was a little bland and could have been fleshed out a bit more. But it could be a fun thing to listen to with the girl friends.

Buy The Cinderella Substitute at Amazon

The Clue at the Bottom of the Lake
Got kids in the car? Then I recommend The Clue at the Bottom of the Lake by Kristiana Gregory. It was a fun little story (1 hour 40 minutes) that will keep the entire family entertained. It reminded me of Encyclopedia Brown or The Bobbsey Twins.

Buy The Clue at the Bottom of the Lake 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.

July 12, 2015

The Oracle #ReadAlong and #Giveaway: Chapters 1 - 11 @KBHoyle_author

by Donna Huber

The Oracle
We start the next book in The Gateway Chronicles, The Oracle by K. B. Hoyle. If you missed out on our discussions for The Six follow this link.

I'm reading The 2010 self-published edition of The Oracle so there may be a few differences from the 2012 TWCS Publishing House edition that you can get at Amazon.

Since we are going to try to get all the way through The Oracle this month and posts got a bit long last month with The Six, I will just be hitting the high points for me (favorite quotes, character observations, questions that pop into my head, etc.) I hope you will share yours in the comments.

Let's get started....

We once again start with Darcy's family getting ready to head to Cedar Cove for family camp. This time around Sam, Lewis, and Darcy are friends and Darcy is totally looking forward to going to camp. We never did find out really why Lewis and his mom are so cold to Darcy. I get why Lewis was - he's been Sam's best friend forever and Darcy doesn't treat her very nicely even though Sam continues try to befriend her. But why was his mom the way she was in the bathroom?

Darcy mentions to Veli when they get to Alitheia that Sam, Lewis, and Darcy are picked on. Could it have been that Lewis's mom thought Darcy was one of the kids that made fun of Sam and Lewis last year?

In chapter 6, Roger is following the gang into the woods as they run for the gateway. Do you think he saw anything?

I have kind of wondered about it specially in light of his assistance in the last book of the series. It also makes me wonder about how time works. Does everyone freeze? Or do they continue on thinking the kids are missing until they return and then time resets itself?

Along the lines of time, I know Hoyle kept detailed notes and outlines of the story, but I've always wondered if it took her a bit of time to work out how old Tellius needed to be on The Six so that he would be the right age in the end. Or if she had to stop briefly each book and work out what his age was. I know I do, along with Darcy...

Two years ago? Darcy puzzled over Vesa's wording for a moment, trying to figure it through her head. A year ago we returned to our own world after spending a year with them in Alitheia. And the, of course, time continued on for them while we lived the same year over again. So, yeah, I guess it was two years ago that we first arrived. So that would make Tellius how old now? pg 61
Oh! And cool word alert on page 60. I love that Hoyle used the word SWARTHY. A great vocabulary word for the kids reading this story (and maybe for some adults too!)

When I read the series the first time, I don't remember the introductory chapters, those chapters before they get to Alitheia, being so slow to read. But again in The Oracle I realized how much faster I read once they get to Alitheia. Was it that way for anyone else?

When we get to Alitheia we see some of the same changes that occurred in Cedar Cove also occurred in Alitheia. Which world is effecting the other?

The log down in Cedar Cover is the same as the wooden causeway in Alitheia. That one involves some natural changes, but the one that really gets me is the Cal Meridian. That one is a little freaky as it involves two groups of people in different worlds make the same decision.

Speaking of the Cal Meridian. When Torrin says it will be the flag ship of the royal highnesses, did you, like Darcy, assume he meant Tellius and Cadmus? Or did you think he was referring to Tellius and Darcy?

I had forgotten that Darcy's infatuation with Perry really kicked up a notch in The Oracle. And it doesn't seem as one sided this year. I guess it makes sense since they will be entering high school next year and girls and boys really start noticing each other at that age.

Who were you shipping at this point?

Darcy and Perry?
Darcy and Tellius?
Sam and Perry?
Sam and Lewis?
Amelia and Dean?

The whole scene between Darcy and Tellius when the six first arrives (page 78 - 79) makes me smile a bit. From Darcy's description of the gangling teenager to Tullin's prompt to the actual greeting. You can just see the rebellious teenager in Tellius.

I love this line...

Darcy looked at him then and noticed that his ears were flaming red. We could start a "we blush with our ears" club, she thought ruefully. pg 97
Darcy is still hung up on having to marry Tellius and even challenges whether it is necessary for them to marry. She is looking for any technically even semantics to get her out of it. I find her reaction to Ribidius calling their marriage a reward very funny. Since Tellius is still a pimply boy and Darcy is a bit stubborn, I can see how they think it is totally ridiculous. Plus, right now if Darcy is doodling anyone's name on her parchment it is Perry.

Didn't I tell you in the last book that instead of playing 20 questions that Darcy and Tellius should have been assigned a project? Well, in this book they find their own project and it gets them communicating more than they did during the entire first year.

Oh and Darcy isn't the only one interested in someone else. I feel sorry for Tellius as he relates his "unrequited love" that was cut short because of the prophecy. He has lost so much and I'm sure he is lonely. He only has his brother Cadmus. At least Darcy has her other five friends.

And we end today's discussion with just a hint of what is to come as Tellius's last whispered words of chapter 11 are "the Oracle".

I hope you will join me next Sunday as we discuss chapters 12 - 22.

If you have been following the read along so far this summer, you know that K. B. Hoyle has been stopping by to share little tidbits and answer pressing questions. Please feel free post a comment in the questions for her.

Also be sure to enter the giveaway for an ebook pack (if you win and already have them, you can designate a friend that you think should read the series to receive the books on your behalf).

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 supporting Girl Who Reads.