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L is for Literary Fiction #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...

February 13, 2016

Fall in Love with these February Romances

If you are looking for your next book boyfriend, perhaps one of these novels will be your perfect match.

Bait and Switch
I’m a rescuer. It’s in my DNA.

Stray dogs. Stray women.

But this one doesn’t need rescuing.

She needs something real, but I never keep the ones I rescue.

I could let her go… but I can’t watch her walk away.

I’m an ex-Navy SEAL, and I never give up on a mission.

Bait & Switch is Book 1 in the new contemporary romance series Alphas Undone, which will each feature a new couple. This is a standalone full-length novel.

Buy Bait & Switch at Amazon

Maverick “the Avenger” Cage wants to rise to the top and become a legend in the ring. Though he keeps his identity well guarded, he's known on the fighting circuit as the new kid with a chip on his shoulder and a tattoo on his back that marks him as trouble. He's got a personal score to settle with the Underground's one and only Remington "Riptide" Tate.

As Mav trains, he meets a young girl—the only other new person in the town--and sparks fly. When things get heated between them, he finds out she's none other than Reese Dumas, the cousin of Remington Tate’s wife. A girl who's supposed to root against him and a girl he's supposed to stay away from.

But Maverick fights for the woman in his heart, and the monsters in his blood. The world’s eyes are on them and the victor will go down in history as the ultimate fighting champion; the ultimate LEGEND.

Buy Legend at Amazon

Betting the Bad Boy
Ten years ago, Duke King knew that getting involved with Grace Truman would only bring trouble into his already hard life. After all, the son of the town drunk has no business falling for the judge’s daughter…a passion that led to disaster and ended with Duke serving a ten year prison sentence. Duke never wanted to return to Destiny, especially now that he’s built a multimillion dollar custom car empire with his brothers. But when his sick aunt calls him home, he must face his past and discover a secret that instantly changes his life.

Grace never thought she would see Duke again, especially after years of silence. But when Duke comes storming back into her life, looking hotter than ever, and determined to get to know the son he never knew he had, she realizes that maybe she’d been wrong about him so many years ago. So Grace decides to make Duke a bet. If he can stay in the house with them for the next thirty days and prove he’ll be a good father, she’ll agree to letting him be part of his son’s life. If not, he’d better be prepared for a fight.

Going from single guy to family man isn’t going to be easy for Duke, especially with the still sexy, now fiery, Grace clouding his every thought. Can Duke be the man he never thought he could be or will his old bad boy ways be too much to conquer?

Buy Betting the Bad Boy at Amazon

Lady Bridget's Diary
In the first novel of Maya Rodale's stunning new series, an American heiress must learn to navigate London society and an infuriatingly irresistible rake . . .

Lord Darcy is the quintessential Englishman: wealthy, titled, impossibly proper, and horrified that a pack of Americans has inherited one of England's most respected dukedoms. But his manners, his infamous self-restraint, and his better judgment fly out the window when he finds himself with the maddening American girl next door.

Lady Bridget Cavendish has grand—but thwarted—plans to become a Perfect Lady and take the haute ton by storm. In her diary, Bridget records her disastrous attempts to assimilate into London high society, her adoration of the handsome rogue next door, her disdain for the Dreadful Lord Darcy, and some truly scandalous secrets that could ruin them all.

It was loathing at first sight for Lady Bridget and Lord Darcy. But their paths keep crossing . . . and somehow involve kissing. When Lady Bridget's diary goes missing, both Darcy and Bridget must decide what matters most of all—a sterling reputation or a perfectly imperfect love.

Buy Lady Bridget's Diary at Amazon

Runaway Vampire
The latest entry in the sizzling paranormal vampire series featuring the Argeneau family - no one does wickedly funny and irresistibly steamy like Lynsay Sands!

Dante Notte has heard it said that love hurts. He just wasn't expecting it to run him over in an RV. Still, a punctured lung and broken ribs are nothing compared to the full-body shock he feels whenever he's near the vehicle's driver, Mary Winslow. He needs to keep her safe from their pursuers while he rescues his brother. Most challenging of all, he needs to claim this smart, stubborn woman as his life mate.

The naked, injured, insanely gorgeous younger man who clambered into her RV insists they belong together. If Mary wasn't feeling their incredible connection in every inch of her being, she wouldn't believe it. But now that the men who took Dante's twin are after her too, trusting her gut means risking her life for an immortal who's the very definition of a perfect stranger.

Buy Runaway Vampire at Amazon

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February 12, 2016

Powerful and moving: With One Word by Olivia Blake

review by Elisa Hordon

With One Word

Holly is so young and so broken but she keeps going when most people would have given up all for her younger sister Willow. Holly will do anything to keep Willow safe from their drunk, abusive mother and her string of boyfriends even if it means being physically and mentally abused herself. Holly keeps herself focused on Willow nearing 18 and the time they can both run away together. Holly's best friend Trisha is away at college and Holly misses her so much. She could always take refuge at Trisha's house when she was younger but not since Trisha went away to college and not because Trisha's dad wouldn't have been happy to see Holly. Holly stayed away because she had been in love with her best friend's dad for years and even though she knows he is so much older she doesn't care. She loves him with all her heart but she would never act on it.

Grant, Trisha's dad, has known Holly since she was a kid and he and Trisha moved to town after his wife died. He loved Holly from the first day he met her. She has the kindest heart he has ever known. Grant is not sure when his love for Holly went from being a friendly love to full blown true love but it did and he was sick of denying it. Holly was a grown woman now, not a kid, and there was just something about her that kept drawing him in but guilt holds him back. He's to old for her but could he have it all and yes having it all meant a life with Holly because she is his life.

I swear I held my breath while reading this book. It is powerful and moving, the characters are strong and meaningful, there is so much heartbreak for someone so young and someone much older but Love wins out in the end as it should. I love a gut wrenching story and With One Word you get that and more.

I'm really looking forward to Willow's story next. I can't wait to see how she goes now she has left home.

Buy With One Word at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook (206 pages)
published: November 2015
genres: romance
target audience: new adult

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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.

February 11, 2016

Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

review by Susan Roberts
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald is a book about books and if you are a book lover, you are going to enjoy it.

I must admit that its the first book I've read that had me adding books to my personal list of books to be read. The premise of the story is a bit implausible - Sara arrives in Broken Wheel to stay with her pen pal Amy. When she arrives at the aptly named town of Broken Wheel, she finds that Amy has died.  The townspeople feel bad for her and let her live in Amy's house and are extremely kind to her. She decides to use Amy's books and start a bookstore in the dying town full of people who have no interest in reading to pay them back for their kindness. Sara feels that reading and books have gotten her through difficult spots in her life and that it will help the people in the town.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is full of quirky characters - some too nice to be believable - but the best part is that it is full of book references and book plots and books - books - books.  A great read for book lovers!

Buy The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (400 pages)
published: January 2016 by Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN13: 9781492623441
genres: literary humor

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.

February 10, 2016

Five Necessary Items for Losing Weight

by Alison DeLuca

Over the course of several summer months, I accomplished my goal of losing twenty pounds. The weight crept on during pregnancy and stubbornly stayed as a result of some unhealthy habits: Friday night calorie-laden hors d’oeuvres and cocktails with my husband, for example. I also love to bake, so the holidays were filled with trays of cookies and desserts I told myself I had to sample.

Like many before me, I’d lost weight before and promptly put it right back on. Winter was my nemesis – who wants to drink a weight-loss smoothie when it’s snowing outside? Stew, soup, and huge hunks of bread with butter sounded much more appetizing, thank you very much.

But the sight of that picture really made me take stock of myself. Not only had I put on weight, I’d accepted the new version of myself. I'm a mom-jeans person now, I thought as I shopped in the larger section at Macy’s.

Which brings me to the first and most important item in my list:

1. Mental attitude

I stopped thinking of myself as over the hill.

When I lost the first few pounds, I hit a plateau. For weeks the scale simply didn’t budge. However, I kept at it, drinking my damn diet shakes (Beachbody’s Shakeology in Greenberry) and exercising every day. The workouts helped me to sleep better, and the shakes weren’t too bad if I added fresh fruit or veggies before blending.

Before a lunch date with a friend, I went back to Macy’s and tried my usual jeans on. Lo and behold, the mom jeans no longer fit. Those cute little boot-cut hip huggers, though, were perfect. Even though I’d hit that ledge of not losing weight, my body was still changing.

The realization I didn’t have to wear to clothes to hide behind – that I could actually feel good about my body – was huge. It really was the turning point of my diet process.

2. No more sugar

It’s really, really difficult to give up sugar – especially if you’re a chocoholic like me. During the course of several months, however, I noticed the bloody scale needle stubbornly stayed in one place if I ate sugar the day before. If I stuck to vegetables and protein, however, my diet cooperated.

Not only that, I noticed if I ate sugar I went back to feeling sluggish and bloated. It’s a difficult habit to give up, but in my case it was necessary.

I exchanged several things for sugar. Agave syrup is still glycemic, but a squirt on my oatmeal once a week doesn’t seem to have the same dastardly effect as a spoonful of brown sugar. I also developed a passion for grapefruit – fresh from the fruit stand, not juice in a bottle. (Alas, fruit juice is pure, mainlined sugar. Goodbye forever, mango nectar!)

Along with sugar, I had to curb the carbs and cut down on alcohol. Once a week I allowed myself a few squares of dark chocolate sweetened with stevia. You gotta have something, or else you’ll go insane from all the self-denial.

3. Lots of Exercise

I’m sure you already know this one. There’s no lasting weight loss without good workout habits. For me, the best and easiest were the Blogilates videos by Cassey Ho, all available on youtube. You can sign up for her blog and get a free monthly workout plan, with five or six different videos of under ten minutes each.

Going to a gym simply didn’t work for me. I don’t like traveling to work out, so exercising at home was much better. Along with the pilates videos and my own cardio, I added a pair of ten-pound weights for arm exercises and core strengthening.

4. Lots of Sleep

I noticed if I sat around at night, the desire to go and live in my pantry with all the forbidden foods overwhelmed me. Also, I found if I got 8 hours each night, it was a lot easier to exercise and eat right.

And this brings me to my final point. When I went to bed, instead of surfing the web or playing games, it was soothing to read real paperbacks for a few minutes before turning out the light. This is why my final item is:

5. Books

Unfortunately, a lot of books feature mouthwatering descriptions of food I’d given up. For example, Eat Pray Love was a no-no with its chapters set in Italian gelato bars and pizzerias. Even classic literature was overwhelming – did you ever realize how much Dickens writes about food?

For inspiration, I looked for novels about weight-loss. However, even those were turn-offs. I don’t like to be launched into diatribes on how slender bodies are so wonderful. After all, some of the most attractive people I know are on the higher end of the scale.

Besides, I wasn’t losing weight in order to become a model. I wanted to be healthy, gain energy, and maybe fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans. So a book beginning with a chunky heroine sighing over svelte women in a fashion mag just wasn’t for me.

There were a few books, however, that hit the right note. Believe it or not, Lord of the Rings is great diet fare. Frodo and Sam never have anything to eat except lembas and a few shreds of tobacco. If a couple of hobbits could do it and survive, so (I told myself) could I.

I also enjoyed She’s Come Undone. Delores Price is such a unique heroine, and the book bravely faces issues such as rape, abortion, and AIDS. Wally Lamb’s writing is engrossing enough to make me forget about the chips I had to buy for my daughter’s sleepover.

Lady Oracle, by Margaret Atwood, addressed body image and mother-daughter relationships in a fun send-up of romantic travelogues. It’s funny and kept my attention through several long evenings of ‘not eating chocolate cake.’


Losing twenty pounds was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. If you’re on the same journey, I’m virtually hugging and fist-bumping you right now. Good luck, friend – and may those abs and quads ever be in your favor!

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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.

February 9, 2016

Another Great Read ~ The Hitwoman and the Sacrificial Lamb by JB Lynn

review by Donna Huber

The Hitwoman and the Sacrificial Lamb

You know it’s going to be a bad day when your happiness depends on your ability to catch a chicken.

My name is Maggie Lee and I’d never caught a chicken in my life. (Unless you count the time in the supermarket my mentally unstable mother decided that a bird would make an excellent projectile to chuck at the butcher’s head. But that bird was dead and wrapped in plastic, which, you can trust me on this, makes catching it easier.)

My birthday was a few weeks back and to celebrate I decided I was going to read for the day. It just happened that one of my favorite authors, JB Lynn, sent me her new book The Hitwoman and the Sacrificial Lamb. If you read my review last week, you know that I LOVE this series.

If you are like me and you see a new to you series is already 12 books in you are hesitant to start it because you feel like you are already behind. The good news is you can pick up any where and be good to go with this series.

That being said, I highly recommend reading this series from the start. If you are worried about it taking forever to catch up don't be. I read The Hitwoman and the Sacrificial Lamb in about 3 or 4 hours and all of the books in the series are quick reads.

A few of the questions I was left with at the end of the last book were answered in this one. For one, it does look like Maggie is keeping her side job (can't really call it a second job since she is already working 2 jobs - one is at her Aunt Lorretta's lingerie shop and the other is the new gig she has as a real estate agent - once she gets her license of course). I found the conversation that answered this question kind of funny.
I could use some more work,” I admitted.

His gaze narrowed. “Why?”

I told him about the financial burden involved with my mother’s care.

“Now that I might be able to help you with,” he said. “Give me a couple of days to think about it.”

Delveccio's response had me chuckling. In my head it was like he was saying, 'let me think about who I want to have knocked off'. Though, of course, with Maggie it isn't that easy. It can't be just any one Delveccio wants killed, the person has to be deserving of being killed.

I thought it was kind of convenient now that Katie's medical expenses are lessening, Maggie is faced with her mother's care. But I did like the heart to heart Maggie had with Aunt Susan. I think it continued the "coming-of-age" self awareness that Maggie started last book. There was also a feeling of passing the torch in the family and it felt like one more step towards the end with this series.

Patrick is back in this book. I believe that the continued (and constant) presence of Angel is really opening Maggie's eyes to her relationship with Patrick and her dissatisfaction with the little bit of time he seems to make for her. I'm still sticking with thinking that Angel would make the best partner for Maggie, the above conversation could be a real deal breaker though.

I have always thought that adding a bird to Maggie's menagerie would be interesting, and potentially very hilarious. Especially given the stink God made with bringing a cat into the fold. When Maggie left him and the chicken in the car together I thought it could be disastrous. And you will need to read the book to find out if everyone makes it to the end.

Buy The Hitwoman and the Sacrificial Lamb at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook (212 pages)
published: January 2016
genres: cozy mystery
source: author 

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.

February 8, 2016

Shaun of the Dead meets a Tarantino Movie #MondayBlogs

by Elisabeth Scherer
Even the Dead Will Bleed

There is a fantastic book from my favorite reads shelf that hit movie theaters this weekend, Pride & Prejudice and Zombies. If you liked that book, or if you like face-paced zombie thriller/horror novels you might very well like the Steven Ramirez’s Even the Dead Will Bleed.

My Initial Thoughts:
When I was given this book as an option to review I was hesitant at first because it is the third book in the Tell Me When I’m Dead Collection by Ramirez. I worried that I would be put into the middle of the story and have no idea what was going on. The back of the book blurb intrigued me so much I thought I would go ahead and see if the book could be picked up and read without reading the other two books first.  It does not disappoint and can definitely stand on its own without its predecessors.

Quick Plot Summary:
Dave is a man on a mission to kill the man responsible for the deaths of his wife, friends, and many others. He has lost everything and believes he has nothing else to do but take the bad guy down with him if it comes down to it. He has prepared to carry out his suicide mission, and yet the undercurrent of something coming.  Things don’t always work out the way you imagine, hope, or plan. Dave finds this out first hand and finds himself thrust into the role of bodyguard for a Russian girl who escapes the very person who Dave is hunting.  The hunter becomes the hunted and Dave finds him mission changes. Will Dave find something to live for after losing everything? Will the Russian girl evade those that are hunting her? Can faith and determination help you survive genetically modified super zombies? You’ll have to read Even the Dead Will Bleed to find out.

What I thought:
Ramirez does a great job giving us enough of the back story so that if you haven’t picked up his other books or if it’s been too long since you read them, that a new reader won’t be lost. He gives Dave strong supporting characters who make the story well rounded and dense. One of the truly fun things about this book is that you can tell that Ramirez loves movies and music. He effortlessly weaves these passions into his gifted story telling of Dave and his revenge quest. So along with that fundamental feeling of the zombies lurking behind you that carries the reader through the book at a quicker and quicker pace, you have a movie score to help push you further into this version of Los Angeles. As a thriller/horror novel Ramirez does not shy away from the cringe-worthy violence and butchering of humans that any good Zombie horror movie would have.

Dave as a main character is quite complex and complicated. He is single minded in being ready to face death after losing everything and yet through the events of this book the sorrow, depression, and hopelessness fall away to reveal his true character as a protector, a warrior, and a true man of faith and dignity.  Having the story told from his point of view pulls the reader through these raw emotions and helps connect the reader with Dave. It keeps your heart thumping as the violence and flesh eaters comes closer and closer.

Zombies in this novel are different from your average staggering zombie stories as they are genetically modified creatures that become this man-made juggernaut of impending doom. Cutters, who are more like ninjas with a taste of cannibalism. They are quick, methodical, and wickedly vicious. The high body count for this novel definitely make me think that Quentin Tarantino would have a wonderful time turning this novel into a movie.

Buy Even the Dead Will Bleed at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook (296 pages)
published: October 2015 by Glass Highway
genres: thriller, horror
source: author

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.

February 7, 2016

A Kindle Worlds Book ~ Overdue by Shari Hearn


Fortune takes on her toughest assignment yet: temporary librarian at the Sinful Library.

Join her as she muddles through the Little Sinful Readers’ Book Hour, discovers a dying man in the reference section, endures a fiasco at the Mudbug Roller World (where Gertie and Ida Belle reprise their roles as Roller Derby Queens), and faces not one, not two, but three attempts on her life.

Overdue, a Miss Fortune Kindle Worlds Novella takes place after the events in Jana DeLeon’s Hurricane Force, Book 7 in the Miss Fortune Mystery Series.

A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR: I was not written by Jana DeLeon. Rather it is part of the Kindle Worlds program, wherein Jana DeLeon has allowed writers to create stories using the world of Sinful and the wacky characters it’s famous for. I wish to thank Ms. DeLeon for graciously allowing other writers to explore their own writing in a most Sinful way. Also, please note that this story is being released after the events of Book 7 of Ms. DeLeon's original series. Since I have no way of knowing what she plans for Book 8 or beyond, please forgive any discrepancies with my story and future Jana DeLeon Miss Fortune books.

Great fun ~ Frankie Bow

Loved it! One of the best of the KW ~ Booklover

Hilarious ~ J. S.

Buy Overdue 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.