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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...

August 20, 2016

Review: Knowing Yourself by Lisa Shea

by MK French

cover of Knowing Yourself
In the first book of the Sword of Glastonbury series, Kay has to marry in order to have a husband help her protect her home. Because she isn't thrilled with the idea, her father allows her to choose one from a selection of men. Her sister is already married and lives elsewhere, but agrees to pretend to be Kay in order to interview five potential suitors that stay at the castle. Kay then pretends to be her maidservant in order to get to know the five potential suitors, and choose the one she wants to marry.

She loves her home, a keep near the sea, and wants to choose a husband that will help her take care of it if neighboring clans attack, and appreciate the beauty in its isolated location. Her sister Em is a wonderful confidante and diplomat and manages to send away the men that Kay refuses in such a way that they think it's their idea. Once down to the final suitors, a traitor is revealed, and Kay is able to outwit the villain and save her people without sacrificing the ones she loves.

The book is written in a more contemporary language, making it a very easy and quick read. History purists might not like that, but they would also be able to tell if the swordsmanship (or swordswomanship?) displayed by the sisters is accurate to the medieval period. I did enjoy that part of Kay's characterization, and that it also was a way to showcase her determination, ability to persevere through difficult situations and that she cared more for others' safety.

The romance was very believable and chastely done, so those who don't like explicit reads will enjoy this. The villainous characters are a bit cliche in their motivations, and that when offered mercy refuse to take it. The epilogue feels a bit rushed compared to how the rest of the book progressed but neatly ties up the story for all of our main characters.

The sword of the series title doesn't figure prominently in the story itself but is a linking mechanism between the books of the series. The sword is presented to a young woman in a time of trouble, and once she is safe and meets a woman in need of it, she should pass it along to the next woman. I haven't read the other books in the series yet (Amazon says there are thirteen books) but I suspect they will be just as much fun and enjoyable to read as this book had been for me.

Buy Knowing Yourself at Amazon

MK French, reviewer. Born and raised in New York City, M.K. started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (240 pages)
published: December 2011 by Minerva Webworks
ISBN13: 9780979837760
genres: romance, historical, medieval

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August 19, 2016

Don’t Lose the Plot!

by Byddi Lee

Starting is the hardest part. A blank new page may hold a world of possibilities, but all those choices can be terrifying. Imagine having a framework, a checklist of what to write and when to write it. That is your plot outline. Spend time at the beginning planning the pathway through your story, and you will get that time back further into the process.

It took me six years to write my first book, March to November. I started at what I thought was the beginning. By the time I was half way through, I needed to go back and rewrite huge chunks of the story because I’d not properly planned the structure of the book. All the way through, I struggled with word count in order to keep the length to an acceptable publishing standard for that genre. The original first chapter became the fourth chapter, other chapters had to be ditched altogether and characters needed massaging - in a literary sense, not literally!

Rather than plot my story, I’d focused solely on the characters. They took over, driving the direction of the story in a number of places. That in itself is not a bad thing. The characters come across as real, but as a writer, you want control of your story. I didn’t want to hand it over to a bunch of unruly, self-serving characters! In the end, I needed to work extra hard to produce a good quality product.

I learned my lesson. For my second book, I spent time discovering who my characters were but didn’t commit them to action until I’d plotted the course of that story. I was in charge. At each stage of the story, I knew what needed to be achieved and how many words I should use to do that. I directed the characters from the beginning rather than having to go back and coerce them. That book took three years to write. It’s the first in a trilogy. Even before I publish book one, I want to have the plots for books two and three nailed down. Your plot is your writing road map; without it, you run the risk of getting lost or worse, derailed.

That said there will be times when scenes, dialogue or critical moments in your story hammer at the inside of your skull begging to be written. That’s okay - write when the muse strikes. Worst case scenario, you may never use these muse-nuggets, but they may give you an insight into the world you have created. They may even make it into the final draft. So go ahead - you will never waste time by writing.

So what does a plot look like? 

Your story needs a beginning, a middle and an end.

  1. The beginning should set the scene, show the incident that sets the rest of the events in motion, and outlines your protagonist’s goals.
  2. The middle, the main body of your story, should keep us riveted with escalating tension, action, or drama as the hero tries and fails to accomplish those goals. This is where you are really mean to your characters - go on, be nasty! The midpoint of the story is a point of no return. The main characters and their world, either internally or externally, are irreversibly changed and they can never go back to the way things were at the start. Towards the end of the middle, the hero sees the darkest hour, life or death, and sets up the climax. 
  3. The end should start with a rip-roaring, nail-biting, edge-of-seat climax where your hero either triumphs or fails to achieve both their external goals and internal goals. Interestingly, failure is an option and makes for great stories too. There are many graphs that all boil down to describing one thing - rising action peaking at a climax and then falling action (search online for images of “plot diagram for writing.”) The denouement comes after the climax and ties up all the loose ends before leaving the reader with a satisfying finishing scene. 

Approaches to Plotting

There are many ways to approach plotting. The important part is finding an approach that suits your needs. I have my favorites, the things that work for me. I’m a list person. I like to have my road map laid out step by step. I’ll have my little muse-nuggets waiting in the wings to be inserted in the appropriate spot when I get to it. So I tend to work in a linear fashion. Here are three of the most helpful outlining tools I’ve come across. You can use one or even a combination all of them

  • Randy Ingermanson’s Snow Flake Method - a recursive method that begins with a one-line statement on what your book is about. Through a ten-step process, you build your outline. This is less linear, but great of you are beginning with a concept or fairly simple “what if.” I use it to get me started, but I’ll switch to the next tactic at a certain point.
  • Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey - a more linear approach with prompts to help with each stage of the story. It is great for helping with your character development and character arch.
  • Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat Beat Sheet - This is my favorite. This is actually developed for screenwriting, but I found it incredibly easy and flexible for use in writing books too. Handy downloadable spreadsheets are available online with the beat sheet points and a calculator that allows you to enter the word count of your book showing you the recommended word count for each beat in your story. 

With all of these methods, it is important to give yourself wiggle room. Your story may not fit nicely into all the boxes, but it’s still better that being halfway through and wondering, “What’s next?”

So whether you use a spreadsheet, graphs, notepad and pen, posters and sharpies, or even crayons, to draw up your story outline, the important thing is that you produce something that allows you to stick to the plan, and remember - don’t lose the plot!

Byddi Lee, features writer. Byddi grew up in Armagh, Ireland, and moved to Belfast to study Biology at Queen’s University when she was 18. She made Belfast her home for twenty-one years, teaching science and writing for pleasure. In 2002 she took a sabbatical from teaching and traveled around the world for two years, writing blogs about her adventures as she went. She returned to Ireland in 2004 and resumed teaching. In 2008 she and her husband moved to San Jose, California where she made writing a full-time career. After the publication of her short story, Death of a Seannachai, she decided it was time to write, March to November. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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August 18, 2016

10 Books for Fans of Chick-lit, Women's Fiction, and Family Sagas

by Susan Roberts


Chick-lit is a genre of books that concentrates on women's issues.  Personally, I think it's a misnomer because those issues are shared by everyone.  I prefer to think of these books as contemporary relationship novels.  What about you -- do you like the term chick-lit or would you prefer to rename the category?

cover of Triple Love Score
Triple Love Score by Brandi Megan Granett

Miranda is a poetry professor who lives a solitary life. She had long been in love with Scott but he disappeared years before without a trace. Scott had been a family friend and was always there to help her when she needed before he disappeared. As the novel starts, Scott shows up at Miranda's parents with a young daughter that no one knew about. Seeing him again and his refusal to answer her questions about his past is the catalyst that causes Miranda to make some poor decisions in her life. At the same time, she starts making small poems on a Scrabble board and posting them on social media as the Blocked Poet. So while her personal life is a mess, her life as the Blocked Poet goes viral. Can she rekindle her relationship with Scott and does she really need to in order to be a happy person?

I loved this book and the character of Miranda is so well done that you feel her pain and confusion. I also loved the Scrabble board poetry and that the author shows the main poems as part of the story. This is a fun book to read and a great debut novel for Brandi Megan Granett.

Buy Triple Love Score at Amazon
(a free book was provided for this review)

cover of Results May Vary
Results May Vary: A Novel by Bethany Chase

Carolyn and Adam have been married over 10 years and have a perfect life together. They are still madly in love and their friends envy their relationship. Carolyn is serene and happy with her life just the way it is and basks in Adam's love. Until....she finds out that Adam is having an ongoing affair with another man. Carolyn's whole world is turned upside down and she begins to question their entire marriage and their love for each other. She tries to make Adam tell her WHY but when he is unable and unwilling to explain, she realizes that she will never be able to trust him again.

I enjoyed this book and thought that the plot was very well done and credible. However, there were times in the novel that I didn't like Carolyn. Her life after the separation just seemed too easy and she didn't seem to suffer enough before she started living her own life. There are two great secondary characters in this book - Carolyn's best friend Jonathan and her sister Ruby.

This was a very good book about love and loss and learning how to find yourself again after a devastating experience.

Buy Results May Vary at Amazon
(a free galley was provided by NetGalley for this review)

cover of Happy People Read and Drink Coffee
Happy People Read and Drink Coffee by Agnès Martin-Lugand

Diane has a happy life. She lives in Paris with her husband and 5-year-old daughter and owns a bookstore called Happy People Read and Drink Coffee. As the novel begins, she quickly goes from a happy person to one who is consumed with grief after her husband and daughter are killed in a car accident. For over a year, she becomes a recluse - she doesn't leave her house and only sees her best friend Felix. She finally realizes that to heal, she needs to move out of the house that she shared with her family so she moved to a cottage in a small town in Ireland. Here she can either heal or become more withdrawn from the rest of the world.

Parts of this book were very sad as Diane goes through the grieving process. At times, though, I just wanted to shake her and tell her to snap out of it. There are several supporting characters who make the story more interesting. In the author notes at the end of the book, we are told that there will be a sequel to this book. It will be good to Find out if Diane is able to overcome her sadness.

Buy Happy People Read and Drink Coffee at Amazon
(a free galley was provided by NetGalley for this review)

cover of Sweet Breath of Memory
Sweet Breath of Memory by Ariella Cohen

Cate arrives in the small town of Amberly as a depressed and broken woman. She has no family and her beloved husband has been killed in Iraq. She has lost her home and she is searching for peace and for somewhere to live where she won't constantly be reminded of John. At first, the women In Town appear to be nosy busybodies but as Cate starts to share her life story, she finds that they are loving and caring friends. They all have a story of their own but the women band together to help Cate heal.

This is a fantastic book full of wonderful characters. I laughed - especially with Lulu, the town car mechanic and I cried along with Cate. This is a wonderful story about love and friendship and about the resiliency that Cate needs to make changes in her life. I highly recommend it.

Buy Sweet Breath of Memory at Amazon
(a free galley was provided by NetGalley for this review)

cover of Everything We Keep
Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

I have one word for this book WOW! I loved it - it had everything - mystery, suspense, romance, great characters and an ending that I didn't see coming! How much better can you get? I am anxiously waiting for her next book.

On Aimee's wedding day, she is at the church but instead of a wedding, she is at her fiance's funeral. Her boyfriend had to make a trip to Mexico before the wedding and he disappeared from the fishing boat he was on. Aimee, of course, was devastated - she and James had been friends since childhood and he was part of her memories of growing up, even before they fell in love. He was going to quit the family business and paint and she was going to open a restaurant. Now, none of it was going to happen, so Aimee lost not only her husband to be but also all of her plans for the future. Luckily she had two very good friends who helped her handle her life. Just as she is starting to feel stronger, a stranger shows up and tells her that James is still alive. She can't move forward with her life if this is possible and the story becomes her quest to find out the truth.

I loved the characters in this novel, Aimee's grief was so real that I cried with her and applauded her struggles to move on. I also loved Ian but I'm not going to write anything about him because I don't want to give anything away.

This is a fantastic book - add it to your TBR list for August. You won't be disappointed!

Buy Everything We Keep at Amazon
(a free book was provided by the author for this review)

cover of Overlook
Overlook by Elizabeth Hein

This book is set in a small town in the South in the 70s where everyone knows everyone else's business and is quick to share what they know. Kitty is married to Seth and they have two children. She is one of the leaders in Overlook, a small group of upscale homes in a lake and wants to be in the know about everyone while she is hiding secrets of her own -- Seth has been unfaithful and has given her an STD. Her best friend Stacia is the real leader and her goal is to make sure that she protects her community from harm. The two women together tackle the problems of motherhood and family issues. This book has everything - a little sex, a bit of intrigue, family issues, some laughs and a whole lot of gossip. Most important of all, it shows the importance of friendship between women and how friendship keeps them all from going crazy! Fun read!

Buy Overlook at Amazon
(a free book was provided by the author for this review)

cover of Escape Plan
Escape Plan by Elizabeth Hein

This is the second book in the Overlook series and you need to read Book 1 (Overlook) before this book.

Once again, Elizabeth Hein takes us to the fictional NC housing development of Overlook in the mid-70s. This book starts right where Overlook ended, but I can't tell you about that without spoiling Overlook. Kitty and her friend Stacia, work together to cover up a crime that Kitty committed in Overlook. They come up with a plan that will make it appear that the crime was committed by Seth's pregnant mistress (Seth is Kitty's husband). However, their guilt and money problems make covering up this crime more and more difficult.

I'd like to say more about this book but it's difficult to say too much without spoiling Overlook. What I will say is that this is a fun read, I enjoyed learning more about Kitty and Stacia and seeing their friendship grow. It's a fun book about strong women -- what more do you need to make a good novel?
(Thanks to the author for a copy of this book for a fair and unbiased review.)

Buy Escape Plan at Amazon
(a free book was provided by the author for this review)

Whether you refer to it as Chick Lit or Women's Fiction, there are a lot of great books that fit into this category.  I prefer to refer to this genre as Family Relationships.  Here are reviews of three books about families that I read recently.

cover of Rainy Day Sisters
Rainy Day Sisters (Hartley-by-the-Sea) by Kate Hewitt

Juliet and Lucy are half-sisters who have never really gotten to know each other. They are 11years apart and Lucy and their Mom moved to Boston when Lucy was only 6 and Juliet stayed in England. To say that they aren't close at the beginning of the novel is an understatement. Even though they don't really know each other, Juliet invites Lucy to her b&b in Hartley-by-the-Sea when her life in Boston falls apart. Juliet is very unfriendly and resentful of the life that Lucy lived with their mother and is very unfriendly to Lucy.

So now we have two sisters who dislike and resent each other but they still need each other. They both need family and need to learn to be each other's family despite their earlier feelings. Their struggle to learn whether they can depend on each other is the major theme of the novel.

The novel is very good. There were times that I didn't like either one of the sisters but once I understood their backgrounds, they became more likable. I enjoyed this book for the story and for the wonderful scenery in small town England.

Buy Rainy Day Sisters from Amazon

cover of Now and Then Friends
Now and Then Friends (Hartley-by-the-Sea) by Kate Hewitt

This is Kate Hewitt's second book with a setting of Hartley-by-the-Sea, a small town in England. There are a few references to the characters in the first book but this can be read as a stand alone with no confusion.

Claire Westland and Rachel Campbell were best friends in school until Claire started to hang out with the popular crowd in junior high. Claire left town as soon as possible to live in Spain and Rachel stayed to take care of her mother and sisters and to take over the family's housecleaning business. When Claire returns to town, Rachel is filled with resentment. She is sure that Claire has led an exotic life while she was stuck in the same place and she sees no reason to rekindle their friendship. But Claire's life has a lot of issues and they both really need a friend but can they get past their resentment of each other and become friends again?

Kate Hewitt does a fantastic job of creating her two main characters - they are very real and both have a lot of problems and faults. Both were unlikable at times but once their whole story is revealed, they are both fantastic characters.

This is a fun summer read and I highly recommend it.

Buy Now and Then Friends from Amazon
(a free book was provided by the author for a review)

cover of Sweet Carolina Morning
Sweet Carolina Morning by Susan Schild

This is book 2 in the Willow Hill series. It's best to read this series in order to best understand all of the characters.

Linny is twice widowed and has started a new relationship with Jack, the town veterinarian. Their new engagement meets many obstacles and Linny isn't sure that she'll finally get her 'happily ever after'. There is Neal - Jack's teenage son who continues to talk about how wonderful his mom is, jack's parents who appear to be less than thrilled to get a new daughter in law, jack's ex and her husband (who was once Jack's best friend) continue to talk trash about Linny. For her part, Linny is trying too hard to get Neal to accept her, working to start a new business and hoping for happiness.

This book discusses serious issues but at times is laugh out loud funny especially when Linny is with her sister or her mom. She is a great character and I was rooting for her throughout the book.

I am anxiously waiting for a continuation of Linny's story in book 3 in the series due to publish in January 2017.

Buy Sweet Carolina Morning from Amazon
(A free galley was provided by NetGalley for a review)

Susan Roberts, reviewer. Susan lives in NC when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy travelling and gardening and helping to take care of their grandson.  Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

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August 17, 2016

Review: Scorch by Liliana Hart

by Elisa Hordon

cover of Scorch
The long-awaited next book in the awesome Mackenzie series by Liliana Hart is finally here, and yes, Scorch was worth the wait.

I have been loving the Mackenzie family since 2011. I have loved every story in this series, and as we get closer to the final Mackenzie book I just have to say how much I enjoyed this series.

From Dane, the very first Mackenzie novella, through to Scorch, the latest release being Shane's story. I have laughed, cried, held my breath and enjoyed every word in these books. I do have to say Cade, book 6 is my all-time favourite; there was just something extra special about this story that left me speechless, and it is the Mackenzie story I re-read the most.

But back to Scorch which was released on July 26th. Fans of the Mackenzie series had been eagerly awaiting this release as we all knew from the end of Declan’s story that Shane had lost one leg saving Declan’s now wife Sofia. We all knew Shane was struggling with his new life, what we didn't know was Dr. Lacy Shaw's background and how she was brought into Mackenzie Security. Her story is fascinating, and I totally see how she was drawn to Shane.

I really loved that Declan saw something unique in Lacy all those years ago, and he did whatever he could to make her part of his family. However, it wasn't until Shane that Lacy could really feel a part of the Mackenzie clan and the way she finally embraces Shane, his family and everything else that goes along with being a Mackenzie is just amazing.

Shane is, well, truly amazing. He has always lived his life on the edge: 1000% adrenaline until that day when his world exploded into pieces along with his leg. But he saved his brother's woman and that’s what counts. Now he either wants to die or he has to find a new reason to live: a reason without his command, a reason without his SEALS. Shane is too lost right now to see any reason to live. Can he pull himself together to see what's in the mirror? Shane needs to live for himself first then everything else will fall into place, but if he can't see that as a person he is enough then coming back from this may not be possible for him.

Dr. Lacy Shaw is brilliant at her job. She is an amazing surgeon and researcher. Her mind is something else and is the main reason she has nothing to do with her own family, a family who never once treated her as anything but a science experiment. Lacy owes everything to Mackenzie Security and Declan Mackenzie, the man who saw something in her and believed in her. When Declan asks Lacy to help with Shane’s recovery, it's not just because she is a brilliant doctor, it's because Declan knows all about Lacy's past and he is hoping that by bringing two broken souls together they can help each other in more ways than one.

Scorch is a thrill a minute with a road full of twists and turns you won't see coming and an ending to die for.

Buy Scorch at Amazon

Elisa Hordon, reviewerElisa lives in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia where she spends her days reading, journaling, painting, cooking and homeschooling her daughter. She has always been an avid reader, Elisa loves reading many genres of books except horror; her favourite genres would be mystery, romance, and paranormal. Elisa also loves pursuing many creative outlets if she is not relaxing with a book she can be found writing, sketching, painting or cooking. Elisa loves to share her obsession with books especially with her family and friends. Reading and reviewing books is a favourite pastime of Elisa’s.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (286 pages)
published: July 2016 by 7th Press
ISNBN13: 978-1940499437
genres: romance, suspense, military

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August 16, 2016

Review: Run Girl by Eva Hudson

by MK French

cover of Run Girl
Run Girl by Eva Hudson is the first book in the Ingrid Skyberg thrillers.

The novella length book introduces Ingrid, an FBI agent currently in London. The United States Secretary of State is in Paris to broker peace talks, and her granddaughter Rebecca had accompanied her after an argument with her parents. While the Secretary of State is occupied with the talks, Rebecca runs away to London. Hoping to avoid an international incident, Ingrid is selected by the consulate to look for Rebecca, along with Nick, an agent from a private security company based in London that they frequently use. It's an unofficial search, so Ingrid can't use any government resources to track down Rebecca.

Maybe because it's a novella, it was hard for me to really connect with any of the characters. There were some descriptions of their appearance or relationships with others, but for the most part, it was moving from one aspect of the search to another. Nick seemed to be unusually abrasive from the start, but Ingrid also seemed to have a more prickly response to him than was warranted. Perhaps if the novella was expanded a bit, to really get to know the characters and some of their background, their responses would have made more sense. While the book takes place over the course of two days, it still seems almost unnaturally rushed.

This is the introduction to a series of novels, so I do hope that we get a chance to see more of the characters and what makes them tick. The search itself was an interesting ride through London and the countryside, and there were tantalizing hints at more backstory. It probably gets elaborated further in later novels of the series, and I can't wait to see what else is in store for Ingrid.

Buy Run Girl at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (174 pages)
published: April 2015 by Venatrix
ISBN13: 978-0993267901
genres: thriller, pulp, crime
source: purchased

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.

August 15, 2016

#Writing Advice from Harlequin Authors #MondayBlogs

cover of Six-gun showdown

"Set up a writing schedule and stick to it. The only way to get published and stay published is to write. Also, try to write the same time every day, and then it’ll become a habit." ~ Delores Fossen, author of Six-Gun Showdown

"I'm not dead." 

The voice mail rocks deputy sheriff Jax Crockett to his core. A year ago, Paige was murdered by the Moonlight Strangler. Yet his ex-wife just showed up at his ranch—out of options and out of time. There are only two reasons Paige would come back to Texas with a killer hot on her heels: Jax and their toddler son. Faking her death was the only way to keep them alive. But now it's Jax who's risking everything to protect his family. The cowboy lawman is also reawakening a powder keg of desire. A desire that's primed and ready to explode. Giving in will up the ante, igniting the embers of a love they may not live to claim.

Buy Six-Gun Showdown at Amazon

cover of Beauty and the Bodyguard
"Greatest tip I can give anyone – Perseverance – keep writing.  The more you write the better chance you’ll have of getting published and sustaining a writing career.  It took me years to get my first book published and I’ve suffered through some slumps due to lines closing – losing editors and agents, etc –but BEAUTY AND THE BODYGUARD is my 52nd published book.  No matter how many rejections I received, I kept writing.  And if an editor asked me to revise, I revised.  I once changed a book from a women’s fiction into a paranormal vampire book.  I look at revisions as a challenge to make a book even better."  ~ Lisa Childs, author of Beauty and the Bodyguard

Can this bachelor bodyguard save his true love from mortal danger…on her wedding day?

Bride-to-be Megan Lynch has just learned her ex, presumed dead marine Gage Huxton, is alive after surviving enemy captivity. But before she can break up with her fiancé, gunmen storm her wedding and take hostages! Megan will do anything to stay alive—for herself and a second chance with Gage. But there's more terror to endure before she can say yes to the dress—and her dream groom!

What do the gunmen want? Gage works double time to unravel the mystery and save the beauty who still holds his heart. As the wedding crashers open fire, Gage puts his life on the line to protect Megan and convince her of his love.

Buy Beauty and the Bodyguard at Amazon

cover of Secrets and Lies
"It’s important to write your book before you pitch it. I’ve met many aspiring authors who have written a few chapters, pitched the idea to an editor or agent, received a request for the complete manuscript, and then not been able to finish the project.  My advice: don’t open a door you won’t be able to walk through. It becomes a missed opportunity and makes a poor first impression.  When the request comes – and it will – the manuscript should be ready to send." ~ Shirlee McCoy, author of Secrets and Lies


Attacked in her classroom, widowed teacher Ariel Martin's only thought is for her unborn child. When her student's brother, rookie K-9 officer Tristan McKeller, and his faithful dog save her life, she can't thank him enough. She knows Tristan won't rest until she's safe, but she doesn't want him or his police colleagues digging into her dangerous past. After all, the only person who would want to hurt her is dead…or is he? With her and her child's life on the line, she'll have to trust Tristan with her secrets if she wants to finally get the fresh start she's been desperately seeking.

Buy Secrets and Lies at Amazon

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed by guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

August 14, 2016

Bestselling Political Thriller: Coercion by Tim Tigner

cover of Coercion
Ever been forced to do something despicable? Would you betray your family to save your child? Undermine your employer? Commit treason?

Bin Laden gave terrorism a Middle-Eastern face. Now another misguided mastermind is giving it yours. But don’t feel bad, you’re not alone….

On the eve of perestroika, Alex Ferris stumbles onto KGB General Karpov’s scheme to regain Russia’s superpower status while investigating his brother’s death. After surviving attempts on his life and assembling bizarre clues, Alex settles on a most unusual suspect only to discover that Elaine is a victim herself. Unseen masters are forcing her into traitorous acts through nefarious threats. How many silent slaves like Elaine are out there? What do her tormenters want? Can he stop them?

Alex flies from San Francisco to Siberia to find those answers and avenge his brother. In the midst of that frozen landscape and those tumultuous times, he survives infiltration, interrogation, and romance only to learn that he too is being manipulated as part of a much grander scheme.

Written by a former Green Beret and counterintelligence specialist with a decade of experience on the ground in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, COERCION brings a chilling alternative history to life with what Kirkus Reviews calls “well-paced action, appealing characters and snappy writing.”

a truly superb mystery thriller ~ MPOLLACK

Fast-paced excitement ~ SuzieQ

Tense and fast-paced ~ John C Williams

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