Readers' Favorite

Featured Post

R is for Romance #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...

October 31, 2015

Halloween Short Stories: Spell of the Ball

Just in time for Halloween. Check out this spooky collection of magical short stories by eight bestselling paranormal authors.

Spirits, Hurricanes, and the Krewe of Ghoul by Deanna Chase
It’s Halloween and Pyper Rayne’s all vamped up, ready to play the vampire bride. And so is Ida May, her resident ghost. But when the “vampires” they're partying with start to appear to be real, there’s more at stake that just a little bite.

The Witch’s Halloween Hero by Kristen Painter
When a spell goes wrong on the night of Samhain for witch Corette Williams, her only hope is the man she loves, Bartholomew Stanhill. But time is running out. As the clock ticks toward midnight on Halloween, they grow closer to the moment when magic will erase him from her mind. Can Stanhill become Corette’s Halloween hero?

Bad Moon Rising by Michele Bardsley
When demon hunter Angelica Mortis receives a mysterious package, its unusual contents enacts a prophecy that brings a smart-ass (but cute) wizard named Roc into her life—and threatens to unravel her secret past.

A Charming Death by Tonya Kappes
June Heal and Oscar Park’s upcoming nuptials are sending the Dark Sider and Good Sider spiritual in a tail spin on this All Hallow’s Eve wedding celebration. Aunt Helena wants Junes to have a Good Sider ceremony, while Aunt Eloise wants Oscar to have a Dark Sider ceremony. When one of the Aunts is poisoned, June and Oscar aren’t sure they will have enough time to figure out who is sabotaging their wedding before Mr. Prince Charming walks her down the aisle?

Mission Impawsible by Melanie James
Everything happens for a reason, even if it’s caused by incompetence.
What happens when you take one very powerful wand, crack open an ancient spell book and mix thoroughly with a pair of inexperienced witches? For Kelly and Randy it’s a spell gone wild. With no idea what sort of magical mayhem they’ve created, they have to choose between waiting for the Witches Union to hunt them down or take their chances with a life on the run. But there is another choice, to figure out the spell and try to undo it before it’s too late.

When Kelly learns her spell has direct consequences on her were-bear boyfriend, she has no choice but to gather up the witches of Karma, Inc for a new adventure. The gang will take on a new cast of troublemakers in paranormal-infested Caldron Falls. It’s up to Kelly to see if she has what it takes to lead her crew of witchy buffoons on a Mission Impawsible to save her were-bear.

One Charmed Evening by Rose Pressey
Leader of the Underworld Halloween LaVeau is attending an award ceremony. Brothers Liam and Nicolas have been nominated for Coven Leader of the Year. Things take a strange turn when ghosts and magic collide during the ceremony. There will be no awards given out if Halloween doesn’t gain control of the event.

Catatonic by Liz Schulte
Young woman are falling asleep, but never waking up. When bounty hunter, Femi, is asked to look into the case, she’ll do something she never thought she’d do: risk her own life to save a bunch of humans.

Desperate Housewives of Olympus by Saranna DeWylde
A new goddess is taking control of her happily ever after. Hyacinth, errant daughter of Apollo is on fire. Literally. And the only one who can put out the flame is the cold, reluctant God of the North Wind, Boreas. Too bad he’s burning with her. It’ll take a night of passion at the Ambrosia Lane Halloween Ball to prove once and for all that this goddess is a woman in charge of her own destiny.

Very fun stories ~ Kindle Customer

Short fun reads for the Halloween holiday ~ Illinois Reader

Great set of stories ~ Kristen Gough

Buy Spell of the Ball 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.

October 30, 2015

#Halloween Flash Fiction: Killer in the Woods by C Wilson Trull

Crisp autumn air cut into her lungs as she ran down the hill through the woods. The road was just there, just on the other side of those trees. A few more yards and she would be safe. Each footfall jarred and shook through her whole body with a ferocity that made her teeth chatter. She was Varsity Track, so she was used to running. But this was different. This was not a graceful cross country race, this was a flight of terror. A race for survival. She didn’t have to turn to know that the man with the hatchet was right behind her.

She burst through the trees and saw two boys standing by a roadside marker. Her throat tightened as she tried to yell for help, but it was no use, she had no breath in her to call out. Stumbling back into a run she thrusted herself towards the two boys. Panic rose as she could hear the man again, laughing as he ran after her, crashing recklessly through the underbrush.

Her raw bare feet, cut, bleeding and bruised from the sharp sticks and twigs of the forest, slapped against the street. She felt the man’s hand claw at the back of her blouse, the hatchet shearing through the air above her head. She tumbled down against the pavement at the two boys’ feet. She looked up, dumbfounded at their lack of interest. They just stood staring at the marker.

She turned, looked at the marker, and started to cry.

“That’s where she died,” she overheard the older boy explain. “Exactly 12 years ago on Halloween night. If you listen close, they say you can still hear her crying ghost as she runs through the forest from the Killer in the Woods.”

About the Writer
C Wilson Trull is an aspiring writer of Horror and the macabre. Strongly influenced by Lumley, Barker, and King, he strives to chill his readers through his blog.

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.

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.

October 29, 2015

Finding Images for Your Posts

by Donna Huber

As book bloggers we are use to working with words - after all the "product" we are talking about is filled with words. However, we must think about what is eye-catching. Much like the cover of a book can attract a reader, images you use in your posts can attract readers.

Create your own images

We already know that we should include the book cover in our posts. With image sites like Pinterest and Instagram becoming increasingly popular, you will want images that really "pop" or are attractive.

Sometimes a bookcover alone will be spectacular enough to catch the eye, but you may need to get creative. Now if you have only the electronic cover it may be more difficult. I know some bloggers make banners and other images that include the cover. However, you do not own the image of the cover and you could be violating copyright.

Now if the book is available in hard copy, then you have more options. (Even if you don't own the book, you may be able to find it in your library or at the local bookstore). I know it is strange to think about, but doing a "photo shoot" with books can be a fun way to promote your posts.

I took the picture above when I was reading The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer. While reading the book I kept thinking "life is like a bowl of cherries". So I thought it made a good photo op.

You can use more than book covers in your posts. Perhaps a book is set in a place you have visited and you have pictures from your trip. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness takes place partially in Prague and a few years ago I went there. Though my pictures were not from the 1590s I did have pictures of some of the places mentioned in the book. 

You won't necessarily have to travel far and wide for images. Was a field of flowers the site of a favorite scene or was the book about a country girl visiting a big city for the first time? These are images you may be able to find near you. 

Use stock images

Taking pictures isn't really my forte. I often think "that" would make a great photo, after the fact. Or maybe I have the "perfect" picture, except it is a little blurry. Thankfully there are a number of great photographers that make their work available for free under a creative commons license.

There are a number of sites that offer royalty-free stock images, but as a blogger you may not have the budget for purchasing such photos. I know I don't and am always on the lookout for FREE photos. 

One place I find creative commons and public domain images is Wikimedia Commons. It can be a bit of a hit or miss in finding the right image and you may have to wade through some less than spectacular quality. What I like best about the site is that it provides all the info you need to accurately attribute images.

A similar site where I have found most of my images is PhotoPin. The quality of the images is wonderful and I have always found an appropriate image. Again it gives the appropriate attribution for each image and it allows you to choose what size you want to download. A drawback though is that is difficult to attribute a image used on social media. Posts on Facebook and even Twitter get more engagement when accompanied by a photo.

That is why I was happy to discover Hubspot is offering more then 500 free stock images that require NO attribution. Another author mentioned LibreStock and I have taken a look around.

It is basically a search engines for images. It links out to free stock images on other sites. I took a look at the site and it has a wonderful photos. I also like that many of the images do not require any attribution. 

A word of caution

Whenever using images that are not your own you are responsible for ensuring the legal use of that image. You are required to perform due diligence in making sure that the site you got the image from has the legal right to offer the image for use. 

There have been cases were someone uploaded an image to a site as either public domain or under a creative commons license when in fact that person did not have any rights to the image. Anyone who used the images, though they thought they were using it legally, were found at fault for violating copyright. 

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.

October 28, 2015

From Watchmen to 300—my top five comic adaptations

by Ross Kitson

It was one of the more satisfying features of my adolescence that the maturity of the comics I chose to read evolved with me. The Eighties represented a turning point for comics, with the big two—Marvel and DC—taking greater risks with content, and a greater diversity of writers. What we now accept as a norm in even mainstream comics found its origins both in the UK comic scene (of 2000AD and it compatriots) and in the US with titles such as Swamp Thing, Sandman, and the seminal Watchmen. Even old fogies like Batman got a grittier style, with Frank Miller’s work on The Dark Knight Returns, following his remarkable run on Daredevil.

Much in the way that CGI has meant that old favourites such as Spiderman, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, The Avengers and many others have had a successful transformation to big screen, we are now seeing increasingly good quality TV series, from Netflix’s Daredevil, to Gotham, Arrow, Flash and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. But not very comic adaptation involves underpants and super suits. Some other excellent comics have undergone the big screen treatment, and here are five of my favourites, with the deliberate exclusion of Manga/Anime films of which I have little knowledge!!!

1. Watchmen
How could I not start with Alan Moore’s seminal work? Watchmen marked a sea-change in comics for many, with the pursuance of how the existence of superheroes, particularly one with genuine powers, would alter world history. A work as intricate and multi-layered as this was never going to be easy to film and, barring a mini-series, some material would have to go. Yet Zack Snyder, a huge Moore fan himself, did an excellent job in my opinion. Capturing especially the characters of Rorschach and Dr Manhattan there was no scrimping on the definite mature content of the film and it probably remains the best film version from Moore’s broad catalogue—although the man himself is rarely impressed with film versions of his own work.

Image: Rotten Tomatoes

2. Road to Perdition
A film by Sam Mendes starring Hollywood A-listers Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Daniel Craig and Jude Law was originally a series of graphic novels by Max Allan Collins. Set in the great Depression it follows the story of Michael Sullivan, a mob enforcer, who flees his former patron after his son witnesses a mob shooting. It’s a wonderful tale of the emotional ties of parenthood and patronage set against the classic era of gangsters in the US, and stays reasonably faithful to its source material—with perhaps spicier language, and less gratuitous violence.


3. Sin City
I found this film fascinating—a very unusual style which attempted to recreate a comic style on film with variable success. Sin City was based on Frank Miller’s graphic novels which portray a set of pulp/ noir characters embroiled in crime in the ‘Sin’ city of Basin City. Its gritty locales of the Projects, the Docks, Kadie’s Club Pecos, and the Tar Pits are brought to the screen using a digital technique making the film black and white with odd parts of colour in it. In an unusual step, the director Rodriguez shared credits with Frank Miller, and indeed the film is a very accurate depiction of the comics. Rodriguez commented that the film is ‘less of an adaptation, than a translation.’

4. V for Vendetta
Can’t get over my love for Alan Moore’s work, this was a comic from the early Eighties that I partly read in its original (incomplete) format in the UK comic, Warrior. It was completed, in colour, by Vertigo press in a limited edition series of comics later in the Eighties. V for Vendetta tells the story of an Orwellian dystopian Britain in which the heroine, Eve, becomes involved with a mask-wearing terrorist , ‘V.’ The central theme of anarchy vs. fascism felt diluted in the film to me, and Moore shared that opinion, although the artist David Lloyd liked it. The film was adapted by the Wachowski brothers, of Matrix fame, and retains much of their stylistic action and dialogue, despite it having a different director. V is also rather too heroic rather than callous, and Eve’s transformation by V although traumatic in the film isn’t a patch on the comic. Nonetheless, compared to many adaptations, it is still a good job and an enjoyable film.

Image: Vertigo copyright DC comics 2006

5. 300
My last choice was a tough one—between 300, A History Of Violence, and Kick Ass. I’ve not seen A History of Violence, although I hear it was a superb thriller, and Kick Ass is still a sort of super-hero work, so with due apology to John Wagner and Mark Millar, it’s Frank Miller’s second adaptation on my list: 300. Directed by Zack Snyder, and utilising the digital technology similar to Sin City, it tells the story of the Battle of Thermopylae, between the Spartans and Persians. The film utilises a lot of the comic book’s panels and visuals as a storyboard, and the stylised violence and controversial political undertones were not to everyone’s tastes. However at the box office it performed head and shoulders above the others on my list: $456 million, compared to the other four which all grossed in the $132-185 range. So evidently stylised violence, and Gerard Butler’s buff torso, is worth a bob or two.

‘300’ by Miller and Varley © Dark Horse comics 2007

So many won’t agree with my list, and there’s the whole anime scene to consider, but there’s no doubt that adaptations are on the increase. With the success of TV shows I can see more comics heading to the small screen, and the runaway success of the incredible shows Daredevil, and Gotham, add strength to that. If I had a wish list of comics I’d love to see get screen versions, then I’d add in a second Judge Dredd film, Bryan Talbot’s ‘the Adventures of Luther Arkwright’ and ‘Grandeville’, and Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’ (which keeps getting close, oh so close to being done). Would be great to know any other comic fans out there and their wish lists!

top photo credit: IMG_7611 via photopin (license)
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.

October 27, 2015

Review: Darkness of Man by C.C. Genovese

by Claire Rees

cover darkness of man

Introduction - Who's at the Door?
She was in her closet like a coward. Sweat glued her hair to her forehead and mascara ran from her eyes, robbing her of the beauty she usually possessed.

The Review

Imagine if another world existed, a place where your deepest, darkest desires come to life, where its normal to be a murderer or rapist. Where people get attacked in the streets and nobody cares. What is you were sucked into his world unknowingly? That's exactly what happens to Gabe.

One minute he is leading a boring existence, boring job, girlfriend is losing Interest, and the next he is being pulled into the mirror world and his image has taken his place.

Along with other images and people who have also been dragged through the mirror Gabe fights his way through this new world full of darkness and the worst kind of creatures and people you can imagine, in order to try to get back to the normal world to save his girlfriend Allie from his image Cutter who wants to kill her and frame Gabe for it.

I enjoyed this book a lot. The writing was descriptive and so cleverly done that I actually felt like I was traveling through this dangerous world with the characters.  The nice characters were great and I felt sad when one of them got lost or died and happy if they won. The bad characters were really bad and it was easy to hate them.

I would recommend this book to all who love a good, scary adventure through dangerous and uncertain terrain, with a variety of creatures all wanting a piece of flesh.

Buy Darkness of Man at Amazon

Book info
available formats: ebook
published: August 2015
genres: horror, dark fantasy
audience: adult
read: October 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.

October 26, 2015

#MondayBlogs - Audio Book Round-up

by Donna Huber

I spent the summer listening to a whole bunch of audio books that I checked out from my library's digital library. Some of them I wrote full reviews for, however others were kind of short or books I just never got around to. But I want to mention them in case anyone else is looking for a good audio book to listen to.

cover Speak
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
This has been on my wishlist at my digital library for a while and I'm glad I got the chance to listen to it. It was a great story. If you are looking for teen angst, then you should definitely check out this book.

From her first moment at Merryweather High, Melinda Sordino knows she's an outcast. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops — a major infraction in high-school society — so her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't know glare at her. She retreats into her head, where the lies and hypocrisies of high school stand in stark relief to her own silence, making her all the more mute. But it's not so comfortable in her head, either — there's something banging around in there that she doesn't want to think about. Try as she might to avoid it, it won't go away, until there is a painful confrontation. Once that happens, she can't be silent — she must speak the truth.

In this powerful audiobook, an utterly believable, bitterly ironic heroine speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while learning that, although it's hard to speak up for yourself, keeping your mouth shut is worse.

Buy Speak at Amazon

cover The Magician's Nephew
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
I didn't read The Chronicles of Narnia as a child as I didn't like to read fantasy. But now I enjoy fantasy so I thought I would give the series a try. I can see why this one was published later. It was good and explained some things, but maybe not quite as exciting as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The secret passage to the house next door leads to a fascinating adventure.

The Magician's Nephew, the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia ... where the woods are thick and cool, where the Talking Beasts are called to life ... a new world where the adventure begins.

Digory and Polly meet and become friends one cold, wet summer in London. Their lives burst into adventure when Digory's Uncle Andrew, who thinks he is a magician, sends them hurtling to ... somewhere else. They find their way to Narnia, newborn from the Lion's song, and encounter the evil sorceress Jadis, before they finally return home.

Buy The Magician's Nephew at Amazon

cover The Selection Stories
The Selection Stories: The Prince and The Guard by Kiera Cass
It was kind of fun seeing some of the "behind the scenes" stuff. I didn't think anything really new was revealed about Maxon (though maybe if I had read it when it first came out I would feel differently, but I've already read the trilogy). I liked getting to know the maids and other background characters better in The Guard.

Before America Singer was chosen to compete in the Selection . . . She was in love with a Six named Aspen Leger . . . And there was another girl in Prince Maxon's life.

Step inside the world of the #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series with these two captivating novellas, available in print for the first time.

Also includes additional scenes from The Prince, a teaser to The One, a Q&A with author Kiera Cass, and more!

Buy The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard at Amazon

cover Swamp Bones
Swamp Bones: A Novella by Kathy Reichs
I've not read any of Kathy Reichs's books, but I really like the tv show Bones. Since I felt I knew the characters I didn't mind jumping into this novella (usually I like to start a series at the beginning). While the only familiar character is Temperance I still enjoyed the book. I didn't realize that Temperance of books realy isn't the Temperance of the show until after I read another book in the series. Still interesting though.

Although a trip to Florida is supposed to be about rest and relaxation, there’s no such thing as a day off for Dr. Temperance Brennan. She has come to visit her friend, a dedicated ornithologist who’s researching the threat that intrusive Burmese pythons pose to indigenous bird species in the Everglades. While sorting through the stomach of an eighteen-foot specimen, they make a disturbing discovery: bones that are unmistakably human.

Buy Swamp Bones at Amazon

cover Bookmarked for Death
Bookmarked for Death by Lorna Barrett
An entertaining book to listen to. Sometimes it did fade into the background while I was working so I didn't get into the mystery as much as I would had I read it. I liked the town and characters.

What do a stone book and a stabbed cake have to do with Zoë Carter's death?

Once a struggling town, Stoneham, New Hampshire is now enjoying a renaissance--thanks to booksellers like Tricia Miles, proprietor of Haven’t Got a Clue. It’s a great place to find a good mystery to read--or to solve ….

To celebrate her bookstore’s anniversary, Tricia Miles hosts a book signing for bestselling author Zoë Carter. But the event takes a terrible turn when the author is found dead in the washroom. Before long, both police and reporters are demanding the real story. So far, the author’s obnoxious assistant/niece is the only suspect. And with a sheriff who provides more obstacles than answers, Tricia will have to take matters into her own hands--and read between the lines to solve this mystery….

Buy Bookmarked for Death at Amazon

cover Under Fire
Under Fire by Grant Blackwood
I always enjoy a book in the Jack Ryan series. I think I prefer Jack Sr novels, though I'm starting to warm up to Jack, Jr.

On a routine intelligence gathering mission in Tehran, Jack Ryan, Jr., has lunch with his oldest friend, Seth Gregory, an engineer overseeing a transcontinental railway project. As they part, Seth gives Jack a key, along with a perplexing message.

The next day Jack is summoned to an apartment where two men claim Seth has disappeared—gone to ground with funds for a vital intelligence operation.  Jack’s oldest friend has turned, they insist.

They leave Jack with a warning:  If you hear from Seth Gregory, call us immediately. And do not get involved.

But they don’t know Jack. He won’t abandon a friend in need.

His pursuit of the truth will lead him across Iran, through the war-torn Caucasus, and finally deep into territory coveted by the increasingly aggressive Russian Federation. Along the way, Jack is joined by Seth’s primary agent, Ysabel, a enigmatic Iranian woman who seems to be his only clue to Seth’s whereabouts.

Jack soon finds himself lost in a maze of intrigue, lies, and betrayal where no one is who they seem to be—not even Seth, who’s harboring a secret of his own that harkens back to the Cold War. A secret that is driving him to the brink of treachery.

Racing against the clock, Jack must unravel the mystery: Who is friend and who is foe? Before it’s over, Jack Ryan, Jr., may have to choose between his loyalty to Seth and his loyalty to America.

Buy Under Fire 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.