Readers' Favorite

December 12, 2015

Featured Book: Home for Christmas by Jan Ruth #ASMSG

An emotive trio of stories with festive themes.

Rudolph the Brown-Nosed Reindeer
Rick isn’t looking forward to his lonely corporate Christmas, but it’s the season of goodwill and magic is in the air.

An off-beat love story. It’s time Rick wore his heart on his sleeve, or is it too late? Lessons in love from an unlikely source.

Jim’s Christmas Carol

Santa and Satan pay a visit. One brings presents, the other an unwelcome presence.

Paranormal reality. Jim’s played with fire it’s time he got his comeuppance, but from who?

Home for Christmas

Deck the halls with boughs of holly. Fa la-la la-la, la-la la-la. Tis the Season to be jolly…

Romantic-comedy. Pip might accidentally find her true vocation, but the folly of her fibs are about to catch up with her.

Delightful festive read... ~ jaffareadstoo

Perfect seasonal reading ~ CathyR

A wonderful collection. ~ Elaine Fryatt

Buy Home for Christmas at Amazon

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December 11, 2015

Popular #YA Books: December 2015

teens reading

Kids will soon be home and will be "bored". Here are some popular titles to recommend. They would also make great gifts to put under the tree.

cover This Raging Light
Can the best thing happen at the worst time?

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she's about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend's brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure's soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

Buy This Raging Light at Amazon

cover Blood, Ink and Fire
Imagine a world without books…
In the future, books are a distant memory. The written word has been replaced by an ever-present stream of images known as Verity. In the controlling dominion of the United Vales of Fell, reading is obsolete and forbidden, and readers themselves do not—cannot—exist.
But where others see images in the stream, teenager Noelle Hartley sees words. She’s obsessed with what they mean, where they came from, and why they found her.

Noelle’s been keeping her dangerous fixation with words a secret, but on the night before her seventeenth birthday, a rare interruption in the stream leads her to a mysterious volume linked to an underworld of rebel book lovers known as the Nine of the Rising. With the help of the Risers and the beguiling boy Ledger, Noelle discovers that the words within her are precious clues to the books of the earlier time—and as a child of their bookless age, she might be the world’s last hope of bringing them back.

Blood, Ink & Fire is a gripping, evocative tale that asks, who would we be without books?

Buy Blood, Ink & Fire at Amazon

cover Inherit the Stars
Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive.

Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren's life . . . possibly from the hands of their own father.

But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?

Buy Inherit the Stars at Amazon

cover Not if I See You First
The Rules: 

Don't deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don't help me unless I ask. Otherwise you're just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don't be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I'm just like you only smarter. 

Parker Grant doesn't need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there's only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that's right, her eyes don't work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened--both with Scott, and her dad--the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Buy Not If I See You First at Amazon

cover Thicker Than Water
On his own

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

Buy Thicker Than Water 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.

December 10, 2015

#Reading During the Holidays

by Donna Huber

For Americans the mad dash to the end of the year starts with Thanksgiving and doesn't slow down until the middle of January, especially if you have kids. There's the round of Christmas parties and family gatherings, school plays and Christmas concerts, and in between you are finding time for present buying and wrapping, decorating the house, and baking cookies.

Often time our favorite past-time gets pushed to the back burner. But as an avid reader it can be like withdrawing from an addiction and the holidays are already stressful enough. Here's some tips to getting your reading fix.

Short stories and novellas

I've been featuring the short stories and novellas that I've read on Sundays. These stories have been life savers and fun reads. I usual start wrapping things up an hour or so before bed and these books are great way to unwind.

While not usually considered novellas, I find chick lit novels to typically be quick reads. And this time of year I eat-up fun romance. I've been known to pull out my Nook while waiting in long lines at stores, so books that have short chapters or section breaks are also good choices.

Audio books

I love audio books. I listen to them when things are slow at work or I'm cleaning the house. If you are finding it difficult to find the time to pick up a book, perhaps audio books would be the way to go. Pick something family friendly and play it while baking cookies or making ornaments with your kids. Another benefit of listening to audio books this time a year - a break from the endless loop of Christmas songs on the radio.

Familiar books

This is the time of year to pick up your favorite books and re-reading them. They read faster because you know the story and you might not feel so bad about only reading more than a paragraph or two at a time.

Are you worried about not having anything to post on your blog?

Book lists are HUGE right now. And they can take a multitude of angles - Best Books of 2015, Favorite Books to Read Again... really the options are endless and will attract readers to your site, especially if you come up with catchy titles for your book lists.

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.

December 9, 2015

Easy #Christmas Cookies and Amazing Books

by Alison DeLuca

I wish I could post the author, but this poem is anonymous.
Have you seen the post on Facebook called The Last Time? We're approaching one of those 'last times' this Christmas. Our daughter seems to be hedging her bets on the whole Santa issue - if she keeps saying she believes, the loot keeps coming. So we'll put out the cookies and read The Night Before Christmas, and it's going to be all the sweeter for being a final year of magic.

Santa's going to bring a sack full of books, of course. Yes, there'll be other stuff in there, the Segway she wants plus all the Japanese candy and fandom articles she's into now. Hello, Pikachu onesie! Yay, Totoro socks! 

I remember those days of holiday magic, the presents under the tree, the Messiah playing in the background. My mom's Irish fruitcake and plum pudding always made their appearance, each loaded with whiskey. When we were old enough to eat them, my sister and I got loopy off the cake. Later we discovered our grandmother's recipe included this line: "While still warm, pour a large tumbler of whiskey over the cake so it can sink in."

Let's just say my mom followed that recipe to the letter.

I still recall the excitement of opening The Man Who Was Magic by Paul Gallico. He's known for his heartbreaking stories about animals (I sobbed for hours over Thomasina and Jennie) but TMWWM is relatively unknown. And it is amazing, a story centered in Magea, a city that's all about magic - the conjurer sort. Adam, a man who can do real magic, interacts with Jane ( daughter of the main magician in Magea) and Ninian, a clumsy would-be performer who keeps dropping his props.

Also, there's Mopsy - a talking dog. 

Sorry - you'd have to buy used versions of this book if you're interested, since it seems to be out of print. But if you read the reviews, they all say how it's a childhood favorite and a wonderful story.
image courtesy of Goodreads

Flash forward to 2015, and my kid is asking for Dorothy Must Die. It's a dark version of Oz (another staple from my own childhood.) She's a purist and wants the print version, but if you want to read it on the Kindle, it's only 1.99. Apocalyptic version of a childhood favorite for under two bucks? Yes, please.

Now I've got that squared away, back to the Santa issue. This year we're going to leave out a plate of cookies 'One Last Time.' While I don't want to brag, I do make some of the best cookies ever. Does the family appreciate them? No, they do not. I've learned to pull back and make these easy favorites instead:

1. Nestles Toll House with M&M's: In the past I've busted my butt to roll out perfect creations of flour, butter, and icing. Guess what happened? Our guests ignore them and devour these babies. Now I make a double batch, bake a few cookie-sheets' worth, and stow the rest of the dough in the freezer in small tupperware containers. Before guests arrive, I defrost a container for about an hour, scoop out the cookies, and top with a few m&m's. Makes your home smell like chocolate chips - better than any candle.

2. Dunked Oreos, marshmallows, and pretzels - I've crushed almonds to make my own marzipan, rolled wafer-thin lace cookies around spoon handle to create delicate curls, made my own ice cream. Each year people ignore them all of those for the Oreos I dunked in melted chocolate at the last minute. The recipe couldn't be easier: melt a bag of chocolate chips in the microwave with a tablespoon of Crisco. Stir at 1 minute intervals, depending on your microwave settings. Dunk the Oreos (or pretzels) with a fork and place on wax paper-covered trays to set. While still wet, you can top with sprinkles, candies, nuts...
Photo courtesy of

I'm telling you, those who ignore my labor-intensive rolled sugar cookies go wild for these babies.

3. Brownie and cake pops - Make a pan of brownies or box cake, scoop out some spheres with a small cookie scoop (available here) and spear it with a lolly stick (available here.) Dunk in the chocolate mix from above or use some Wilton's vari-colored chocolate melts. Add some sprinkles or decorating sugar. You'll need to throw some flour on your face for this one so you can pretend you slaved all day over a hot stove.

Stand back and modestly lower your eyes amid the Oohs and Ahhs.

Now you can go and read your new books with all that extra time you've saved.

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.

December 8, 2015

Review: #Nerd by Cambria Herbert

by Claire Rees

cover Nerd

Being nervous was stupid.
I wasn't a stupid person; even still, I couldn't shake the nerves coiling in the pit of my stomach like a cornered poisonous snake. The paper clutched in my hand trembled like the coloring leaves that dotted the trees outside in the cool autumn air.
I didn't want to be here. I'd probably rather by anywhere else. But the choice wasn't mine today. In fact, it wasn't going to be between the hours of five and seven p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the foreseeable future.

The Review

Meet Roman Anderson or Romeo as he is known around campus. The college football superstar, popular, gorgeous, has a way with the ladies and knows it. He is hoping to join the most popular fraternity on campus. But there is one problem he is failing at his classes and his coach is making him get a tutor.

Now meet Rimmel, she is a straight A student on a scholarship and the Dean of the college is making her take on Roman to tutor him.

The fraternity finally gives Roman his challenge and that is to have sex with the nerd (Rimmel).
Romeo believes this to be an easy task as never before has his charm failed with a lady. But Rimmel is after more than just good looks and charm and the more Roman spends time with her the more he falls in love with her and genuinely wants to be with her and not because he has been told to.

I was enthralled with #Nerd by Cambria Herbert from chapter one and read it in one sitting. The characters have been very well thought out and are written so well it is not hard to imagine them walking around campus. The emotional scenes both good and bad are also written very well and had my heart racing in more than one place. I was rooting for Roman and Rimmel all the way through.

If you enjoy books about the challenges of first love and how to over come them, with a roller coaster of emotions then this is the book to draw you in and keep you there until the very end. #nerd

Buy #Nerd at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook, audio, and print (472 pages)
published: November 2014
ISBN13: 978-1938857621
genres: romance, coming of age
read: November 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.

December 7, 2015

Review: Fooling Around with Cinderella by Stacy Juba #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

cover Fooling Around with Cinderela
The holidays always make me want to read chicklit and sweet romances. What can I say? I'm a romantic at heart. Fooling Around with Cinderella by Stacy Juba was the perfect book to satisfy my reading crave. I LOVED IT!

I couldn't put it down. It would be a great book to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon.

I really identified with Jaine. She's the youngest of 3 sisters and she is the one always called on to take care of things. Though her sisters are successful in their careers they rely on Jaine for personal life needs. From taking care of her niece, even going as far as picking out the after school program for her, to planning every detail of her sister's wedding, even though she is not the maid of honor. Meanwhile she is struggling with her own career and personal life.

But the family stuff isn't the only way I identified with Jaine. She is a marketer; she basically pitched the position at the place she wanted to work and they created the position for her. I did something similar.

I got Jaine and I really wanted her to have a happy ending. Thankfully there isn't much in the way of angst and only a bit of frustration. I might have silently screamed at Dylan for not seeing what was happening, but he's a guy. And, again, thankfully, the frustration was short lived.

If you are looking for a sweet romance where dreams come true, then definitely pick up Fooling Around with Cinderella. I can't wait until the next book in Stacy Juba's Storybook Valley series.

Buy Fooling Around with Cinderella at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (224 pages)
published: November 2015 by Thunder Horse Press
ISBN13: 9781515390756
genres: chicklit
source: author
read: November 2015

A free ebook 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.

December 6, 2015

Review: A Camp Edson Christmas by Cynthia Davis

by Donna Huber

cover A Camp Edson Christmas

When Christina Brannigan and the summer camp counselors return to Camp Edson to help make Christmas for a group of displaced foster kids, will a freak ice storm and a power outage be the last events on the schedule?

I found A Camp Edson Christmas on my Nook when I was looking for something for short reads and Christmas stories. This short story met both requirements and I quickly read it. I probably read it under an hour.

It was a really sweet story, though I recommend having a tissue handy.

Whether Davis was rewarding fans with a free story or luring new fans, I would say she has accomplished her goal. A Camp Edson Christmas made me want to read more. She did a great job of providing a satisfying short story for fans and new readers.

Need a reminder of what really matters this season? Pick up Cynthia Davis's A Camp Edson Christmas.

Get A Camp Edson Christmas FREE at Smashwords

Book info:
available format: ebook
published: November 2011
genre: holiday
target audience: young adult
read: November 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.