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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...

March 12, 2016

The Irrevocable Series Sale

The Irrevocable Series Sale

March 11th – 13th

Only 99 cents

Sci-Fi/New Adult

Samantha Jacobey

Bailey Dewitt is on a crash course with Armageddon. Orphaned, she and her young brothers find themselves living with their renegade uncle. Part of a group of survivalists, she is terrified to discover they are preparing for the end of the world! Could they be right – is mankind headed for a global disaster of his own making?

While Bailey struggles with that question and what she should do about it, Caleb, a man from the group, becomes her dearest friend and the one person she can trust to love and protect her. When things spiral out of control, will their bond be enough to save the entire community, or will rival forces strip away all that they have worked for at the time they need it most…

An End of the World adventure… 

RENDERED – Buy at Amazon

RETAINED – Buy at Amazon

RECOMBINED – Buy at Amazon

BOXED SET – Buy at Amazon

Anyone who knows me could tell you, I am a friendly kind of person, never met a stranger and take up conversations any where at any time. I work hard, and my mind never seems to shut down, as I wake up often in the middle of the night with ideas pouring out and demanding to be dealt with. Of course that means much of my books were written in the middle of the night. 

I grew up and still live in the great state of Texas where everything is bigger, where we have warm weather and a central location. I love my state, my town, and my family, which includes my four sons, my significant other, and many friends as well. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the books that are currently available and hope you will enjoy reading them just as much. And of course, there will be many more stories to come.


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March 11, 2016

Another Macomber Book to Add to Your Must Read Shelf

review by Elisabeth Scherer

From 56% in my e-reader, a snippet from A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber:

Girl's Guide to Moving On
“I mean I’m okay with you not wanting to be my woman.”
“First off,” I said, drawing in a deep breath as I thrust my index finger into the air, “I’m not a piece of property -- yours or anyone else’s”
“I agree.”
“Stop being so accommodating. I’m serious.”
“So am I.”
I decided to ignore that. “And secon” -- up went a second finger -- “if there is ever going to be a committed relationship between us, we need to come to an understanding first. It isn’t something announced on the spur of the moment in a bar because neither one of us knows how to answer the question.”
Rocco relaxed. “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
I hadn’t anticipated this. I wasn’t sure how I’d expected him to respond, and I’d been prepared for an argument.
The silence stretched between us and I didn’t know how to fill it.

Rules of Friday 56
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that's ok.)
 *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it)
*Post it
*Link up at Freda’s Voice

My Thoughts

I'm a long time Debbie Macomber fan. I've read all of her Cedar Cove books, many of her smaller related novels, and her stand alone and short story novels as well.  Macomber is a master at writing books that have deep emotions. Her books are great for an anytime read and generally have happy endings.  With A Girl's Guide to Moving On I found myself plowing through the pages in now time just as I have with any of her other books and I was satisfied with how the plot movies in the story.

The general summary of the book is that Nichole (the daughter-in-law) and Leanne (the mother-in-law) both decide to leave their marriages due to their husbands' infidelity. They move into the same apartment complex and lean on each other as they navigate the nuances of life after divorce. They agree on a list of guidelines for caring for themselves and  how to move past their former relationships. Will they find happiness in their newly single lives?  You'll have to read to find out any of that information.

Both women have approached the infidelity from different angles. Nichole is devastated when she finds out her husband Jake has been cheating on her and is quick to move forward in breaking from the marriage. Leanne has lived in silence with her husband's extramarital flings for years. That is until she learns her son has done the same thing to her daughter-in-law Nichole. Both women meet new men who are interested in them and they must figure out how to proceed in the new relationships.

Nickolai is a student in Leanne’s English as a Second Language class. Nichole meets Rocco when he comes to tow her car out from a ditch. The men in the book, ex-husbands and new love interests, have a wide range of personalities and qualities that complete the ensemble of personalities without muddling up who is who. Each woman struggles with their new relationships and how to finally do as the book's title says.

Ms. Macomber does a wonderful job of making her characters genuine and emotionally realistic. It helps the reader connect with the characters and root for them as the story goes on.  The title suggests a self help book wrapped in a fictional novel and I do believe that it is an inspirational story about moving on, making oneself content, and resolving to tackle life after life as you knew it has ended. The book is definitely something you could pick up and read anywhere. The themes of friendship, duty, loyalty, love, and trust make this a great novel.

In short Debbie Macomber, using her classic method of storytelling and her elaborate way to make the reader care for the cast of characters, has created another gem worth reading.

Buy A Girl's Guide to Moving On at Amazon

Book info
available formats: ebook, audio, print (352 pages)
published: February 2016 by Ballantine Books
ISBN13: 978-0553391923
genre: women's fiction

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: An 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.

March 10, 2016

Political Intrigue at Its Best #BookReview

review by Susan Roberts

The Final Approach

The Final Approach by John J. Nance

WARNING: This is NOT the book to read during a long airline flight - especially if you are a nervous flyer like I am! The book scared me, while I was reading it sitting on my couch, can't imagine how I'd have felt if I was on a plane while I was reading parts of it!

On a stormy night in Kansas City, an Airbus plane coming in for a landing, shears the top off of a Boeing 737 that is waiting to take off. There is a fire and most of the people in both planes are killed by either the crash or the fire.

The NTSB is called in to investigate but as with all government agencies, there is the investigation and then there are the politics surrounding the investigation. While the NTSB is trying to figure out if the crash was caused by system failure, pilot error or some other reason, the media gets involved and starts talking about possible sabotage.

The lead investigator for the NTSB, Joe Wallingford, is an interesting character who wants to find out why the planes collided but is hampered by the airlines and by people in Washington.  Add a little bit of romance into this mix along with some congressional secrets and the ever present media and you have a great story.

Even though this book was written in 1992, its just as relevant today as when it was written.

Buy Final Approach at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: print, ebook (418 pages)
published: January 2016 by Open Road Media
genres: technothriller
source: Netgalley

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March 9, 2016

The Well-Dressed Character

by Alison DeLuca

I’m not exactly a fashion plate, something you'd pick right up if you ever met me and my well-worn t-shirts from Monkees concerts. Instead of hitting the mall or city for a day of buying new clothes, I’d rather stay at home with a book and a cup of tea. Let’s just say online shopping sites are my friend.

So, since in real life I’m no clotheshorse, I love living vicariously through books with wonderful fashions. Some characters are lucky enough to have amazing clothes. Obvious examples are (and my 80’s side is showing here) the women in Judith Krantz novels, always waltzing around in Chanel.

Sometimes an author uses her descriptions of dress to add to the novel. For example, a person’s character will be reflected by what he wears or, if the author is really clever, the action is amplified by color and attitude – just as designers in films set a certain style with costumes. Writers can also reveal a time period or setting by what the characters have on, and if they’ve done their research, the result is amazing.

1. Georgette Heyer did exactly that, spending days in museums sketching actual clothes from the 19th century so she could use them in her novels. One character in Cotillion, Freddy, is well-known for being a “veritable Tulip or Bond Street Beau”:

Upon his brown locks, carefully anointed with Russian oil, and cropped a la titus, he wore a high-crowned beaver hat, set at an exact angle between the rakish and the precise; on his hands were gloves of York tan; under one arm he carried a Malacca cane.

And of course her heroines are beautifully dressed as well:

From Wikipedia

Meg swept in upon them , resplendent in a new pelisse of Sardinian blue velvet, and a bonnet with an audaciously curtailed poke and a forest of curled plumes…

2. In The Danish Girl, women’s clothes are pivotal images that begins an entire series of events and the plot of the book:

The shoes were like the ones they had seen the previous week in the window of Fennesbech’s department store, displayed on a mannequin in a midneight-dress. Einar and Greata had stopped to admire the window, which was trimmed with a garland of jonquils. Great said, “Pretty, yes?” When he didn’t respond, his reflection wide-eyed in the plate, Greata had to pull him away from Fonnesbech’s window. She tugged him down the street, past the pipe shop, saying, “Einar, are you all right?”

3. And it isn’t just adults who wear lovely clothes, as in this excerpt from A Little Princess:

Sara stayed with her father at his hotel for several days; in fact, she remained with him until he sailed away again to India. They went out and visited many big shops together, and bought a great many things. They bought, indeed, a great many more things than Sara needed; but Captain Crewe was a rash, innocent young man, and wanted his little girl to have everything she admired and everything he admired himself, so between them they collected a wardrobe much too grand for a child of seven. There were velvet dresses trimmed with costly furs, and lace dresses, and embroidered ones, and hats with great, soft ostrich feathers, and ermine coats and muffs, and boxes of tiny gloves and handkerchiefs and silk stockings in such abundant supplies that the ploite young women behind the counters whispered to each other that the odd little girl with the big, solemn eyes must be at least some foreign princess – perhaps the little daughter of an Indian rajah.

4. In Jane Eyre characterization is made really clear in Jane’s dress versus Blanche Ingram’s fancy gowns:

I remember her appearance at the moment, -it was very graceful and very striking: she wore a morning robe of sky-blue crape; a gauzy azure scarf was twisted in her hair.

Jane, on the other hand, doesn’t even get a fancy dress for her wedding:

Sophie came at seven to dress me; she was very long indeed in accomplishing her task – so long that Mr. Rochester, grown, I suppose, impatient of my delay, sent up to ask why I did not come. She was just fastening my veil (the plain square of blond after all)to my hair with a brooch; I hurred from under her hands as soon as I could.
‘Stop!’ she cried in French. ‘Look at yourself in the mirror: you have not taken one peep.’So I turned at the door: I saw a robed and veiled figure, so unlike my usual self that it seemed almost the image of a stranger.

5. Modern fiction characterizes with clothes as well. Two of my favorites are the next two passages. The first is Plainsong. Maggie Jones, a teacher, is described with Haruf’s classic economy of writing:

A tall healthy dark-haired woman, she was dressed in a black skirt and white blouse and wore considerable silver jewelry.

6. The Accidental Tourist highlights the two women in Macon Leary’s life. Like Jane Eyre, Anne Tyler points out the difference between them with clothes.

He said, “Sarah?”She wore a beige suit, and she carried two pieces of matched luggage, and she brought a kind of breeze of efficiency with her.

Muriel, Macon’s girlfriend after Sarah leaves him, is completely different.

To each the pilot said, “Hey, how you doing.” He let his eyes rest longest on Muriel. Either he found her the most attractive or else he was struck by her outfit. She wore her highest heels, black stockings spattered with black net roses, and a flippy little fuschia dress under a short fat coat that she referred to as her “fun fur.” Her hair was caught all to one side in a great bloom of frizz, and there was a silvery dust of some kind on her eyelids. Macon knew she’d overdone it, but at the same time he liked her considering this such an occasion.

7. In Have His Carcase, Dorothy Sayers points out Harriet Vane’s personality not only by what she wears but also by what she doesn’t.

…her luggage was not burdened by skin-creams, insect-lotions, silk frocks, portable electric irons…. She was dressed sensibly in a short skirt and thin sweater and carried, in addition to a change of linen and an extra provision off footwaear, little else beyond a pocket edition o f Tristram Shandy, a vest-pocket camera, a small first-aid outfit and a sandwich lunch.

8. When the books and movies get costumes right, it can be magical. Katniss’s dresses show imagination and make the world of The Hunger Games come alive.
from giphy.gif

He places a half crown like the one I received as victor on my head, but it’s made of a heavy black metal, not gold. Then he adjusts the light in the room to mimic twilight and presses a button just inside the fabric on my wrist. I look down, fascinated, as my ensemble slowly comes to life, first with a soft golden light but gradually transforming to the orange-red of burning coal. I look as if I have been coated in glowing embers – no, that I am a glowing ember straight from our fireplace. The colors rise and fall, shift and blend, in exactly the way the coals do.

 9. And let’s not forget graphic novels. Perhaps the finest example of the genre is Watchmen, and clothes (or the lack of them, in Dr. Manhattan’s case) are really important. Laurie starts in a matronly vest and mom jeans, reverts to a sexy superhero costume as The Silk Spectre, and winds up nude. Like everything else in the book, her clothes amplify the action.

This is my kind of shopping, living in the skins of characters who are dressed in fantasy and imagination. Reading about them is just so much better than crowded food courts and stale churros!

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March 8, 2016

Review: Dying for a Living by Kory M. Shrum #TuesdayBookBlog

review by Claire Rees

Dying for a Living

“Good morning, Mr. Reynolds.” I used my best sing-song voice. “Are you ready to die today?” “I don’t think we should stand so close to him,” Ally said, pulling me away from the bed. “And don’t talk with your mouth full.” Mr. Reynolds still didn’t respond when I turned on the bedside lamp, illuminating his bedroom in a butter-yellow glow. I nudged him. “Good morning.” His eyes flew open as he jolted upright and pressed his back against the wooden headboard.

Meet Jesse Sullivan, the person paid to die so that another may live. She is one of a very few necronites (zombies), that exist in the world. Contracted by the government for their new death replacement initiative, it's her job to die in the place of her clients, and eventually after a day or two she comes back to life, her client already saved and happily getting on with their lives.

But things start to go wrong when somebody tries to kill Jesse during one of these replacements by trying to decapitate her, which would mean that when she does she would stay dead.

Then her handler goes missing and suddenly the police are very interested in her.

Not knowing if her handler wants her dead and if this angel she has started seeing is an hallucination or if he is real, the only people she can trust are her pa, boyfriend and best friends.

When Jesse’s mother dies and she goes to the funeral, a little of her terrifying past comes to light and we discover how she died the very first time before finding out that she could come back to life.

I found this story very interesting and couldn't wait to finish reading it to see what happened but at the same time I didn’t want it to end because I was enjoying it so much.

The ending was particularly emotional and really well written.

I was very pleased to find out that there are more books in the Jesse Sullivan series and have added them to my TBR (To Be Read) list.

Buy Dying for a Living at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: audio, ebook, print (400 pages)
published: March2014 by Timberlane Press
ISBN13: 9780991215805
genres: fantasy

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: 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.

March 7, 2016

Romance and Fried Dough: Review & Recipe #MondayBlogs

review by Donna Huber

Bayou My Love

I read Bayou My Love by Lauren Faulkenberry over a month ago because I was looking for a light read and this book sounded like a light-hearted chick lit novel.

Enza sounded a little bit like me. She's thirty-one, independent, and trying to find her place in the world. She works in her dad's house flipping company. She inherited her grandmother's house. A home she has fond memories of from her childhood, even though the summer visits stopped when her mother ran away. Enza wants to prove to her father that she is ready for projects on her own. I think her dad fears she will up and leave just like her mother. She heads to the bayou where things don't go quite as planned.

I felt the plot was a bit predictable. Enza shows up at the house to find a guy and his dog lounging on the front porch - if you don't know where that is headed or how it end then you probably haven't read much romance. And a part of reading a light read is not really having to think. So really it was a great escape read.

Bayou My Love is well written. I looked forwarded to sitting down with this story and letting reality slip into the background. This would have been a perfect book in my opinion if it hadn't been for the sex scenes. Long time readers know how I feel about sex in a novel (you can read my thoughts on sex in books here). The scenes didn't move the story forward and only added a little to the development of the characters.

However, I really thought Faulkenberry did a great job of creating her characters. I was immediately drawn to them and wanted to know their story. I would have liked a bit more tension between the adversaries, but then again this is a romance and not a thriller.

There were a few subplots that I didn't feel were adequately resolved and I hope there will be future books. I would be happy to head back to Louisiana.

Buy Bayou My Love at Amazon

I feel like I should give a small warning if you have a sweet tooth. You will want beignets. At least I did. I read two books set in Louisiana and they both featured this treat. I had to go looking for a recipe. I liked this one from Southern Living.

photo Zoe from Seattle, USA
What you need:
1 (1/4 oz) envelop active dry yeast
1.5 cup warm water
1/2 cup + 1 tsp granulated sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup shortening
9 cups flour
enough oil for frying
powdered sugar for dusting

What to do:
Mix the yeast, warm water, and 1 tsp granulated suger and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the milk, beaten eggs, and the rest of the sugar into yeast mixture.

Add shortening to hot water until melted, combine with yeast mixture. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat 4 cups flour slowly into the yeast and shortening mixture until smooth. Then add 2 - 3 cups of flour until it is a sticky dough. Place dough in a greased bowl (turn to grease top of dough), cover, and refrigerate 4 - 24 hours.

On a floured surface, roll dough to an 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into 2.5 inch squares.

Add enough oil to a Dutch oven to have a depth of 2 -3 inches (or you could use a deep fat fryer). Fry dough, in batches, until golden brown (2 -3 minutes on each side). Dust fried dough with powedered sugar.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (292 pages)
published: March 2016 by Velvet Morning Press
ISBN13: 9780692556238
genres: romance
source: author

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: 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.

March 6, 2016

Movies That Should Be Turned Into Books

There are a million listicles out there about books people are dying to see made into movies, but what if things were the other way around? Have you ever wanted to gain psychological insight into a movie character you felt was really interesting on screen, but left you craving more? We’ve picked out 7 original screenplays with SUPER interesting characters that we would love to learn more about through their stories retold as books.

Cruel Intentions

Cruel Intentions is technically a book already; the ‘90s classic is based on Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Cholodos. However, the movie we all know and love is QUITE different from the 18th century French novel. No smallpox included in this cult classic. It’s so complex, that we already have two separate ideas going on for a book. First, how did Kathryn become so manipulative? We want to hear all the juicy details of that complicated story. Secondly, we want to know everything that was ever written in Sebastian’s journal. It would give us a better glimpse into his mind and as to how he fell in love with Annette.

So which writer would you pick to pen Cruel Intentions: The Novel?

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel had some elements inspired from the works of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. However, seeing as this film starts off with a young girl reading from a book, which turns into the film, we guarantee that it would be a perfect novel. Perhaps a backstory to Monsieur Gustave and his courtships with older women? Or how Zero landed a job as a lobby boy after immigrating to the Republic of Zubrowka? Really, the opportunities here at endless, and each main character could potentially have a standalone novel.

In Bruges

This film is a cult classic, a tragic comedy-drama full of moral ambiguity. Taking place in the iconic setting of Bruges, two hitmen are forced to face their demons after one accidentally kills a child during a botched assassination job. We think this would make an amazing novel because of its psychologically complex characters and witty dialogue; if what the characters are saying is so funny and insightful, imagine what they are thinking.

Vanilla Sky

Who would not want to learn more about Life Extension and how it came be? It is a very high possibility that the whole company had a rocky and scandalous start, which would be perfect for a novel and probably has one morally ambiguous founder. We would also love to hear more about David and Julie’s relationship, which was probably a roller coaster of emotions. Let’s not forget about the night David becomes disfigured and the aftermath of it before he slipped into his lucid dream. Julie’s such an intense character on her own as well, that it would be great to get a peek into her mind when she finds out about Sofia.

Full Metal Jacket

Stanley Kubrick’s creative genius has never been questioned. But there has been times in his films where we have wished to know more on specific characters or places. We wish we could have gotten a complete glimpse into Pyre’s mind as it slowly unravels after the extreme torment he is forced to receive by his peers. It would definitely be a dark and twisted novel about the unravelling of the mind that would keep up you up late at night.


The concept of Birdman is brilliant, and we would love to get an actual glimpse into the heyday of Riggan Thomson and the bird-like vigilante. The downward spiral of his fame and the inner voice of Birdman would be enthralling in the written word. Perhaps even a glimpse into Sam’s mind where she watches her father lose his grasp on reality.

12 Monkeys

We want to know exactly how and why this virus was released onto the world. How did humanity survive underground? How was time travel created? This movie left us with so many questions that we desperately need answered. What about Brad Pitt’s character of Jeffrey Goines? How did he become so radicalized? How was did young James Cole deal with witnessing the shooting in the airport? While some of these questions may be answered in the new 12 Monkeys TV series, we’re still hoping this also turns into a series of novels.

Ex Machina

One of 2015’s best films had a fantastic story line that would make a terrific science fiction novel about the threat of artificial intelligence on humankind. How were Ava and Kyoko built and programmed? What were Ava’s true intentions? Again, there are many thoughts running through our mind as to what plot points a novel would focus on. Looks like this would become another series that delves into the world of Blue Book and its other softwares.

Playster, a new subscription service providing on-demand ebooks, audiobooks, music, movies and games. The company was founded in 2014 and already has partnerships with some of the world's largest publishers and distributors. You can follow the latest news and updates to Playster on Facebook and Twitter.

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The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed by guest writers 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.