Readers' Favorite

October 17, 2015

"Brilliant" ~ Boundary Lines by Melissa F. Olson

Fitting into the Old World isn’t going very well for Boulder boundary witch Allison “Lex” Luther: she may have earned a place in a vampire’s service, but now it seems as if every supernatural creature in town has found a reason to hate her. And when Lex and her partner are assigned to investigate the suspicious disappearance of two vampires during the night of the full moon, they find themselves with more questions than answers.

Was it murder…or mutiny?

The crusade for answers will lead Lex all over the Colorado Old World, from a prison cell for a broken werewolf to a haunted Denver brothel. And when Lex determines the responsible party, the hunt is just beginning: something has been awakened in Boulder, something as old and powerful as it is terrifying. Only the woman with death in her blood can stop what’s coming.

"A must read for paranormal lovers" ~ slloughry

"Olson's books are like crack, and I'm addicted" ~ Heather Cover

"well worth your time" ~ Kate Currie

Buy Boundary Lines at Amazon

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October 16, 2015

Halloween Flash Fiction: Soul Cakes by Patricia Hollett

Squeaking sounds from the rusty black lamplight that swung against the metal post resonated off the buildings on the narrow cobblestone street. Soft amber light helped guide Annie’s way along the street.

It would be light soon, and she needed to get home before the kids woke. The last customer paid her enough to buy the soul cakes she would give the kids for All Souls Eve later that night.

Her shoes clacked as she walked briskly down the quiet street in Whitechapel. The other night ladies talked of recent murders in the area. Hearing steps behind her alarmed her at this time of the morning. The steps grew louder so she picked up her pace, but her shoes caught on her long skirt threatening to trip her.

The echo of steps behind her stopped, and she let out a heavy sigh. Relieved, she was alone again she walked slower to catch her breath.

The scuffle of feet from someone in the alleyway beside her startled her, and she turned to look but it was too late. The predator was upon her. One arm swung around her chest, and winded her. Pulling her into him, the grip tightened. To her horror, she spied a knife under the lamplight in his other gloved hand. Annie fought to pull away, but the stranger held her tight. She tried to scream. An excruciating pain pierced her neck, slicing across. The soul cakes she cradled in her arm fell as her arm dropped limp. Shock and pain shot through her whole body, causing her to shudder. Hot liquid oozed down her neck. Her eyes fluttered, feeling the energy drain from her body, and then everything went dark. Soul cakes lay on the ground drizzled with her blood.

About the Writer:

A fashion design graduate, Patricia is a mother of three, enjoys working on various creative projects, and runs a Canadian savings group. She has completed several short stories and is currently working on completion of a novel. She continues to work on honing her craft and learning as much as possible about writing.

Writers were asked to submit a Halloween themed original story that was up to 300 words in length. Each Friday until Halloween, a new story will be featured. Please give these brave individuals applause by leaving a comment.

photo credit: The Loneliness of the Ludite via photopin (license)
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October 15, 2015

How do you decide which book to read next?

by Donnan Huber

I'm in a bit of a reading slump and to be honest I'm feeling totally overwhelmed with my TBR pile. I no clue what to read next or even the kind of story I want to read.

It would be easier to choose the next book if I knew if I was in the mood for a thriller or fantasy. I'm pretty sure I'm not in the mood for romance as I just finished a romantic novella that was good, but not fulfilling - does that make sense?

A comment last week got me thinking about how people choose their next book. For most reviewers there are titles that are coming up that need to be reviewed. For me, I try to read any Netgalleys that are coming up for archiving or ARCs that will soon be released first.

But when there are pressing deadlines, I just choose whatever I'm in the mood for. But what if I'm not sure. It's like going into a restaurant knowing you need to eat but nothing on the menu is jumping out at you.

Have you ever felt like this when trying to decide your next read?

The commenter that sparked this idea in my head mentioned that she posts a list of titles of she needs to read and then lets her readers pick her next read.

I thought that was a good idea. It gives more exposure to the titles that are sitting in the TBR pile and gets readers more actively involved. If I could narrow down the list a bit I would probably try it. But I don't even have a full list of what is waiting to be read on my Nook. And I know I couldn't narrow it to just a few choices as I don't have any idea what criteria to use.

I asked on Twitter how people choose their next book and @Tina_Bookworm mentioned she's used a random number generator (like to help her decide between a few titles. I thought was an interesting way of doing it. And again, if I could narrow it to a few choices might be the best way to go at the moment since it would totally leave it up to chance.

I'll probably give myself a few days and try to decide over the weekend. I know I have a few Netgalley titles to read. So maybe I will get started on one of them.

So tell me how to do you decide what book you will read next?

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October 14, 2015

It’s Under My Bed - Horror and Halloween

by Alison DeLuca

I love this time of year for many reasons: the beautiful weather, leaf piles, warm coffee, candy corn… Most importantly, the advent of Halloween gives me an excuse to satisfy my desire for horror.

When it comes to scary movies, I’m the biggest wimp there is. Here I am at a ‘certain age’ and still hiding behind my hands when it comes to the ghouls and blood. I have yet to watch Sixth Sense and see the room tent scene with Vomit Girl. Because you know what? I’m hiding behind the couch pillow, that’s what. Pathetic.

It’s easier with books, although I read Salem’s Lot (scariest book ever) while house-sitting for a professor. She lived in a revolutionary farmhouse wayyyyy out in the country. There were no streetlights to be seen, just me and the dog and the vampires. Of course I should have stopped reading at sundown, but Salem’s Lot is also a really good book. I read the last page at 3 am and waited for dawn with the lights on, thank you very much. But at least the experience didn’t come with a little kid singing lullabies in some creepy soundtrack or a boyfriend who thought he was funny as he grabbed my ankle in the dark.

Over the years I’ve read the rest of King’s books with a great deal of pleasure. The characters like Carrie, Mrs. Torrance and Tom Cullen grabbed me like hands appearing out of a cemetery at midnight. Perhaps my favorites (besides The Stand) were 11/22/63 and Under The Dome (so much more than the TV show.)

In fact, I just can’t get enough – it’s difficult to wait in between King releases. So when I discovered Joe Hill, I was thrilled.

Spoiler alert – Joe Hill has a very famous dad. Do you see where I’m going with this?

When I read Heart-Shaped Box, I rediscovered that creeping fear and addictive storyline. Judas Coyne, the aging rock god and his goth girlfriend, Georgia, are surprisingly relatable. What happens to them when Judas buys a ghost on eBay, or at least a haunted suit, is terrifying.

Granted, the ending is not as wonderful as the rest of the book, but we all know that’s a failing of the King family… Yeah. Joe Hill is actually Stephen King’s son – a fact I did not know until I finished Heart-Shaped Box.

He also wrote Horns, on my TBR list ever since I saw the movie with Daniel Radcliffe. But for this October I’m reading N0S4A2, another horror story with a definite Stephen King vibe.

And I have to stop here and apologize for comparing Hill to his famous dad. However, it’s just so great to get a new serving of fantastic characters and kick-ass action, plus amazing concepts.

In N0S4A2, Victoria McQueen can ride her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike over a covered bridge to a place where missing objects lie. The power gives her migraines, but she can’t stop until she follows Charles Turner Manx to Christmasland, a place where he kidnaps children.

Victoria is a great character, well able to hold her place next to King’s famous adolescent boys: Gordon LaChance of The Body, Danny Torrance of The Shining, and Ben Mears of Salem’s Lot. Victoria’s desperation and dreadful childhood drew me in immediately. Obviously Hill has discovered King’s formula to “Make the readers love the characters, and then release the monsters.”

Oh, and the Kindle edition is only 1.99, so there's that.

If you are a Stephen King fan and searching for more books, I recommend the books by Joe Hill. I plan to read my way through his catalogue, 20th Century Ghosts and Horns included.

It’s going to be a good Halloween.

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October 13, 2015

Review: The Heir by Kiera Cass

by Donna Huber

cover The Heir

I could not hold my breath for seven minutes. I couldn't even make it to one. I once tried to run a mile in seven minutes after hearing some athletes could do it in four but failed spectacularly when a side stitch crippled me about halfway in.
However, there was one thing I managed to do in seven minutes that most would say is quite impressive: I became queen.

The Review

I found myself really enjoying The Selection series by Kiera Cass last year when I finally broke down and checked out the audio books from my digital library. I was always drawn to the covers, but did't know if a teen romance was something I wanted to read. I fell in love with America Singer and Prince Maxon. And really what girl doesn't dream of being chosen by a prince?

So when I saw The Heir at the digital library this summer I put my name on the holds list. Mostly I did it because I have trouble quitting a series, but I kind of wanted to know how life turned out for them.

I was kind of disappointed that there wasn't more America and Maxon. And in the beginning I felt like this might be a little too cookie cutter for me, but as the story progressed I found myself wanting to know what happened with the characters.

I have a few favorites among the male selection candidates and while we new reading the first three books that America would eventually be the one, there is no clear winner for the heir. I've been waffling between Kyle - the boy she grew up with and is now seeing him in a new light, and Eric - the translator (yeah, I know he isn't really in the selection, but I can see Eadlyn choosing him anyways).

The book does have a different vibe with the main character, whose point of view the story is told from, being the one to make the decision. I thought that Cass missed some opportunities to develop more of the world the story in habits. After all a lot of changes have occurred since Prince Maxon became king. Then again I also thought this would be a stand alone ending with Eadlyn choosing her prince. Imaging my surprise when there were still so many candidates left and only 30 minutes of audio remained.

Eadlyn isn't well liked by all the people in the kingdom and I thought Cass did a great job with her character. I didn't particularly like her. With America I think all readers fell in love with her immediately, but even with being in Eadlyn's head there was still a barrier if you will that kept the reader from feeling close to her. I don't think we are suppose to be immediately taken with Eadlyn and I commend Cass for creating a character that isn't wholly likeable, but redeemable.

I look forward to the next book because I really want to know who she chooses and I want to see if Eadlyn can truly grow as a person.

Buy The Heir at Amazon

Book info
available formats: audio, ebook, and print (368 pages)
published: May 2015 by Harper Teen
ISBN13: 978-0062349859
genres: romance, fantasy
target audience: young adult
source: Georgia Digital Download
listened to: October 2015

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October 12, 2015

Interview with Charles Gerard Timm (@CharlesGTimm) #MondayBlogs

by Heather Kirchhoff

Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with Charles Timm, author of Sonnets

Charles, please tell us a little about yourself.

I started out as a happy child. But something was wrong. It couldn't be that I was destined for such self-expression as art—writing and acting—because nobody in my family did such things and, maybe, wouldn't allow such things. I had to be an athlete, a businessman, a medical man, a priest. So, for years, I forced myself into roles like those, taking the relevant courses of study, taking on the entry-level jobs and volunteer positions that would get me closer to working in those fields, all the while struggling to master things for which I had no passion, my confusion growing to frustration, and my attitude towards those subjects turning all the way from comfortable interest to near-contempt. Finally, I realized that my approach wasn't working. I simply wasn't able to ever be that athlete, that businessman, that doctor, that priest. I was going to have to give myself to the artist's life that I was here to live. Since then, I have been studying writing and acting, pursuing them professionally and with great passion and joy, all the while making the ironic discovery of my family's encouragement.

What's your book's genres?
cover Sonnets

Sonnets is what's known as a sonnet sequence or sonnet cycle, a book of sonnets where each one stands alone but, when taken together, tells a story. Sonnets is a book of poems in English in the sonnet form, very traditional in that each poem has fourteen lines and—almost always—the English-traditional iambic pentameter rhythm in each line. Each poem also consists of a recognizable rhyme scheme, except that here I combined the English and the Italian forms by taking the English scheme (abab, cdcd, efef, gg) and rearranging the first three stanzas to reflect more of the Italian octave pattern (abba, abba), coming up with abba, cddc, effe, gg. I did this for two reasons: I once read where the Italian pattern of abba was described as "lines holding hands," which I thought romantic, and doing so gave me more rhyming options—very helpful in a rhyme-poor language like English.

I loved reading Sonnets. It was interesting. What made you decide to write a story like that?

The idea for Sonnets came out of a desire to tell a story based on some personal experience: falling in love with someone I didn't dare tell—for reasons that, I believe, come out clearly in the poems themselves.

Was it hard writing the sonnets?

From a personal point of view, it was very easy work, because I loved doing it. But it was hard from a technical point of view, because I wanted the work to be a meaningful accomplishment, not only for myself but for literature as well; wanted to show how deeply and how seriously I felt what I felt, through a work that would not only make me forever-proud but also make something of value for the public. So, I subjected the sonnets to rigorous writing and rewriting that included the input of three different editors and lasted for seventeen months, thereby making it a physical challenge as well, as I wrote even during the hottest days of summer, the coldest of winter. This desire to do an outstanding job was also helped by the fact that I had previously published three books of fiction, two of which were received with lukewarm or, in some cases, brutal reviews over quality, and I didn't want to make the mistake ever again of publishing something beneath what I was able to achieve at my best.
What other books have you written? What are you working on?

I have previously published three works of fiction—The Asking and Other Stories, Assumptions and The Ohnegott. I am currently working on more sonnets, intended as a two-book series. I might also go back and revise Assumptions and The Ohnegott, now that I've learned my lesson about quality, my skills have improved and technology makes uploading revisions to E-books (the only format in which I've published my work so far) relatively easy once they're completed.

Thanks for allowing me to interview you!

It has been my pleasure to grant you this interview. I hope that, in some small way, I have been able to add to the value of the learning you are providing and to the happiness of those who read your postings.

Buy Sonnets at Amazon

About the Author
Charles Gerard Timm is an American creative writer from New Jersey. His writing has been called "inspirational," "classic," "poetic," and "vivid." He also acts and draws and hopes you find your time with his work well-spent.
Website *  Twitter

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.