Readers' Favorite

September 24, 2016

Book Spotlight: Scar Tissue by M.C. Domovitch

cover of Scar Tissue
When successful model Ciara Kelly wakes up in hospital, remembering nothing of the weeks she has been missing, her only clues are the ugly words carved into her skin. According to the police, she was a victim of the Cutter, a serial killer who has already murdered three women. For her protection the police and her doctors give a press conference, announcing that because her amnesia is organically caused, her memory loss is permanent. But, whether her memory returns or not is anybody’s guess. Overnight, Ciara’s glamorous life is gone. Her scars have killed both her modelling career and her relationship with her rich boyfriend. With nothing to keep her in New York, she returns to her home town of Seattle, moves in with her sister and goes about building a new life. But when her sister lets it slip that Ciara’s memory is returning, the killer comes after her again. If Ciara is to stay alive, she must keep one step ahead of the Cutter.

So twisted. So good! ~ Laurathomas61

A real edge of your seat page turner ~ Teresa Kander

Fascinating and suspenseful ~ Living1

Start reading:

Buy Scar Tissue at Amazon

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September 23, 2016

Looking for Romance This Weekend? Try These Books

This weekend would be a great time to start a new romance. These 5 novels are some of the hottest titles this month.

cover of Roman Crazy
Avery Bardot steps off the plane in Rome, looking for a fresh start. She’s left behind a soon-to-be ex-husband in Boston and plans to spend the summer with her best friend Daisy, licking her wounds—and perhaps a gelato or two. But when her American-expat friend throws her a welcome party on her first night, Avery’s thrown for a loop when she sees a man she never thought she’d see again: Italian architect Marcello Bianchi.

Marcello was the man—the one who got away. And now her past is colliding with her present, a present where she should be mourning the loss of her marriage and—hey, that fettuccine is delicious! And so is Marcello…

Slipping easily into the good life of summertime in Rome, Avery spends her days exploring a city that makes art historians swoon, and her nights swooning over her unexpected what was old is new again romance. It’s heady, it’s fevered, it’s wanton, and it’s crazy. But could this really be her new life? Or is it just a temporary reprieve before returning to the land of twin-set cardigans and crustless sandwiches?

A celebration of great friendship, passionate romance, and wonderful food, Roman Crazy is a lighthearted story of second chances and living life to the fullest.

Buy Roman Crazy at Amazon

cover of Do You Want Start a Scandal
On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library.
•Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan?
•Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall?
•Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit … and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

Buy Do You Want to Start a Scandal at Amazon

cover of Even the Score
Single dad Andy Shaw loves his job as a sports agent, with one exception: it doesn’t leave him much time for his kids. No parent likes being sidelined, so Andy decides to hire someone to share the workload. But when one of the hottest agents in the industry applies, Andy knows that this deal is definitely trouble.

Danicka Douglas works her butt off, but being an attractive woman in a testosterone-heavy industry isn’t exactly a cakewalk. She guards her professional reputation fiercely, which means no crushing on her gorgeous boss. But the more they ignore that sexy little spark, the more it sizzles…

Just when it looks like romance might be in the game plan, Dani is threatened by a stalker with dark intentions. To keep her safe, Andy must cross the line between professional and very personal…because this time, he’s playing for keeps.

Buy Even the Score at Amazon

cover of A Stallion's Touch
The sweetest medicine

Nicholas Stallion's championship dreams are almost within reach. The star quarterback has lucrative endorsement deals, A-list friends and beautiful women on call…until a play-off injury changes his life. He's angry at the world—and butting heads with family friend Dr. Tarah Boudreaux. Yet the ambitious neurosurgeon's unwavering encouragement sparks an intimacy that blindsides them both.

The Nicholas that Tarah met before the accident had wealth, fame and charm. All of that pales in comparison to the driven, determined man she's falling for now. And when a captivating first kiss leads to an intensely tender moment, she knows she's in way over her head. But with a jealous rival in the mix, Nicholas must be willing to make the ultimate play, or lose a love he had never dreamed of finding…

Buy A Stallion's Touch at Amazon

cover of Retrieval
One story. Two couples.

I proposed on our first date.
She laughed and told me I was insane. Less than a day later, she said yes.
It was a whirlwind, but we were happy…
Until we got greedy and wanted a family.

It was a life I couldn’t give her, not for lack of trying. Fertility just wasn’t on our side. We sought out doctors and treatments. Spent money we didn’t have. Lied to our families. Smiled for our friends. Put on a brave face for a world that didn’t understand.
Finally, we were successful…
Until we were forced to bury our son.

We were left broken, battered, and destroyed.
They say love is in the details, but it was the details that ruined us.

This is the story of how I took back what had always been mine.
The retrieval of my wife and our family.

Buy Retrieval at Amazon

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September 22, 2016

Book Review Writing Styles

by Donna Huber

As a book reviewer, I'm always trying to educate myself on best practices and latest trends. Lately, I've been reading about the differences between consumer reviews, editorial reviews, and book critic reviews. Shortly after starting Girl Who Reads I set a goal of it being more of a literary ezine than a personal blog about books. Adding regular feature writers was one step and now I'm investigating our review style.

We are all familiar with consumer reviews. These are the reviews that general readers leave, usually at retail sites, after purchasing a book. Editorial reviews, on the other hand, come from professionals in the book industry. Typically they are editors. I found a nice description of what an editorial review is at Chanticleer Book Reviews,
Editorial reviews tend to focus on the technical aspects (grammar, formatting, spelling, consistency, punctuation, POV, etc.) of a work along with  the writing craft of the author by an editing professional.

Other descriptions of editorial reviews I have seen are based on how review requests and assignments are handled. If the reviewer is reviewing what they want then it may be more of a consumer review. However, if the reviewer is assigned or provided the option to review, then it is deemed an editorial review.

I also looked at what The New York Times Book Review considers their review since they are a prominent source of reviews in the industry. They refer to their reviewers as book critics. The daily reviews are provided by 3 staff critics who choose the books they review. The critics for Sunday Book Reviews are freelancers and typically are professional literary critics, novelists, academics, and other people who work in media or a particular genre.

Just a note: should an author receive a review from The New York Times, a quote from that review would be included in the editorial section of retail sites such as Amazon. So in this case, critical reviews and editorial reviews are considered closely, if not equivalently, the same thing.

As with many things in the publishing industry, the digital age has blurred the lines. Book blogging has blurred the lines of consumer, editorial, and critical reviews. Most book bloggers got started because they are avid readers, so definitely their reviews could be considered consumer reviews. Most book bloggers are not professional editors, though many have since picked up the necessary skills and act in the role of editor for a number self-published authors. However, editorial reviews are sometimes only shared between reviewer and author or published publicly on approval of the author. So book bloggers could be editorial reviewers, but more than likely not (at least in the strictest sense).

That leaves us with book critic and critical reviews. I believe to meet the goal I set forth for Girl Who Reads, then our staff should strive for critical reviews.

What are critical reviews?

In my research, I ran across an article at Scribendi on writing book reviews that I particularly liked. I shared it with my review staff. I have also been compiling a checklist of sorts of elements to consider when preparing a book review as critical reviews should provide more information than general enjoyment (or dislike):

  • Standalone novel or series. 
  • For books in a series: book number in series (i.e 4th book), can be read as a standalone or must be read in order
  • Genre (strict adherence to genre tropes or a blend of genres) 
  • target audience
  • Comparable authors/books/movies/TV shows
  • Debut novel (or the first in a particular genre for the author)
  • Information about the author
  • Brief summary (2 - 3 sentences)
  • Thoughts on the writing style (uses of descriptions, symbolism, etc.)
  • Effectiveness of the story's point of view (POV)
  • Thoughts on character development
  • Ensemble cast or definite main and secondary characters
  • Character or plot driven story
  • The setting - was it important to the story?
  • Overall impression of the plot 
  • Highlights ('favorite parts') 
  • Problems with the book

What other elements should be we be considering? Is there certain information you like to see discussed in a review?

If you are book blogging, do you consider yourself a consumer or editorial reviewer or a book critic? Do you care? There is no right or wrong answer. That's the great thing about book blogging - we can do what we want. If you are going for a particular style of review, though, it is important to review (pun intended) your approach to book reviewing.

Note: The inclusion of Chanticleer Book Review and Scribendi in this article should not be considered an endorsement of their services.

Donna Huber, founder & publisher. Donna is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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September 21, 2016

Review: Hidden Deception by Colleen Helme

by Elisa Hordon

cover of Hidden Deception
Hidden Deception is the 9th book in the brilliant Shelby Nichols Mystery series and I am such a huge fan.

Shelby and her family are home from Paris, and Shelby is ready for some normal quiet family time........ Like that ever happens in Shelby's world.

After a call from Uncle Joey and a stop by the police station to see detective dimples, Shelby is now full steam ahead into mayhem and chaos ........ again.

In Hidden Deception, I found Shelby as a character was self-assured in previous books she still had some lack of self-confidence but in this book she really seemed to have it together so much more and I loved that. Even when Shelby was in trouble she handled herself perfectly, and when she found herself in a situation where she may have had jealousy issues in the past she again handled herself with style and it made the story even better. I really love reading a series with a strong female lead character who continues to gain strength and confidence with each story and we have seen a lot of character growth with Shelby over 9 books now.

I want to touch on Chris and Shelby. When I first started this series, I was not much of a fan of Chris. I felt he really didn't know his wife; he seemed to dismiss her a lot, and he always seemed to put her down. But after reading 9 books, I have a better understanding of just how much he has always loved Shelby. He worries about her so much more these days than he used to, which is understandable: her new abilities would be enough to make anyone close to her worry. I really love that even though they love each other unconditionally and know they are both together forever they can still get jealous of others showing interest. It's sweet and funny, especially Chris with Ramos. He wants to hate the guy but he can't because Ramos always keeps Shelby safe when Chris can't.

Everything felt more cohesive in this book. Shelby seemed to have the balance of home, Uncle Joey and Dimples working better than ever, and I loved that it really felt better like a family all coming together. I even felt a shift in Chris with Uncle Joey, which will certainly make for a more interesting storyline in the future. I am looking forward to reading about what Uncle Joey has planned there.

There was nothing I didn't like in this story. It really was well written; the mysteries were awesome. I always love how there are multiple mysteries in each story and how some link together it really makes trying to puzzle it all out more of an adventure. There were some great new characters. I really love Chris's new executive assistant and the new young lawyer working with Chris. I think they will really add to future stories and I loved that Shelby's kids and Miguel were in this story more.

All in all, I found Hidden Deception a delightfully adventurous mystery.

Buy Hidden Deception 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 (304 pages)
published: July 2016 
ISBN13: 978-1535311816
genres: cozy mystery, supernatural
a free ebook was provided for this review

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September 20, 2016

Featured Book: Songbyrd by Anna Silver (@saysannasilver)

cover of Songbyrd
Living on the road with her mother, all she's ever really wanted is a normal, stable life in one place. Innocence is plagued by nightmares of a terrible event in her past, and the ever-growing fear that whatever she and her mother have been running from will finally catch up. In Stonetop, a small town in the Texas Hill Country, she meets Jace, a charming and sensitive guy but he's not the only one drawn to her. Suffering from PTSD symptoms, Innocence becomes increasingly aware of her family's mysterious and sometimes frightening powers. As her own powers begin to surface, Innocence has to decide who to trust. Unable to elude their haunted past, three generations of Byrd women must not only unite, but embrace their heritage as a gift—and their key to a future of love and understanding.

great tension leading up to the secret ~ Jeri

interesting take on the siren myth ~ Devon

loved every page ~ Mary Schoenfeld 

Start Reading:

Buy Songbyrd at Amazon

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Review & Excerpt: Escape to Redemption by Peter M. Parr

by Susan Roberts

cover of Escape to Redemption
"She can hide from the police, but not from her guilt.”

Josie only had the gun to frighten Curtis Rook, but his son disturbed her. One startled reflex and now he’s dead. Josie flees to Poland leaving her boyfriend Snaz to take the rap. A reformed criminal offers her refuge from the police and the chance to begin a new life, but she cannot hide from her guilt. As the stakes rise, Josie begins to realize that only her own forgiveness can set her free.

Fast-paced and original, Peter M. Parr’s contemporary take on Crime and Punishment challenges traditional ideas about guilt and redemption, and the meaning of forgiveness.

Praise for Escape To Redemption by Peter M. Parr
“…Parr’s superb understanding of the way human beings justify their sins (especially to themselves) make Josie and Snaz utterly convincing and compelling. An engrossing, realistic morality tale.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Gripped from the start, I found Escape To Redemption a real page turner. Peter Parr knows how to create believable modern day characters and conflicts, and never lets up on the tension. This is a book that will appeal to young and old, male and female.” –Mel Menzies, bestselling author, Time to Shine

“What happens when flawed but essentially decent people do something that will haunt them for the rest of their lives? Escape to Redemption is a powerful and insightful story of guilt and forgiveness. Peter Parr has a talent for suspense.- Mike Brooks, author of The Machine Society

My Review of Escape to Redemption
This is a book of twists and turns - will Josie grow up and take the blame for the killing, will Snaz keep his mouth shut and take the blame - after all he already has been in trouble with the law and he knows that Josie is way above him in society. Read the book and find out the answers and enjoy a great read at the same time.   At the beginning of this novel, I disliked Josie- she was a spoiled brat who used other people and had no thought for the consequences of her actions.  However, as the novel progressed and I started to understand her character, my attitude towards her changed.  She is the character in this novel that changes the most and her journey is the basis of the entire story.  I definitely enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to readers who enjoy a great book.

Excerpt from Escape to Redemption
Before long, Josie heard Kogut knock on her bedroom door. ‘Are you ready?’ he said from the corridor. ‘It is time to go.’
‘Arkadiusz,’ she called him by his name for the first time, uncertain if she’d got the pronunciation right.
The door opened a little and he peered around it. He’d changed into a dinner jacket and bow tie. He looked at her like a critic would a painting. She had always felt self-conscious wearing white.
‘Maybe I shouldn’t go,’ she said. ‘I’m not feeling up to meeting anyone. You go, if you like. I’ll be okay here by myself.’
He shook his head. ‘It is Christmas evening, Wigilia. There is no way I can leave you on your own. Besides, Helena and Roman are expecting us. They have prepared a meal for us both. The company will do you good.’
‘But you want me to stay in Poland,’ Josie said. ‘What if the people we’re visiting tell the police I’m staying with you?’
‘They will not tell.’
‘How can you be sure?’
‘Because they are my friends.’
‘Well, what if someone else sees me?’
‘You will be out of the car for less than a minute. Still, I will find a scarf for you to wear on your head. I’m sure Yvonna won’t mind if you borrow one of hers.’ He laid his hand on her arm. ‘Josephine, I promise you, I would do nothing to put your safety at risk.’

Josie followed Kogut down the steps to his black Mercedes. He carried two large bags in one hand and a magnum of wine in the other. ‘Would you hold this for me while I drive please?’ He gave her the bottle and she glanced at the label, but couldn’t read it in the dark.
‘What’s in those?’ she asked, as he placed the bags in the boot. 
‘Christmas presents. The rest are already in here.’ He opened the passenger door for her, then walked around the front of the car.
When he sat beside her, Josie drew down the hem of her skirt to cover her knees. The iron gates parted ahead of them and they turned onto a tree-lined road. Through gaps in the row of tall evergreens, Josie spied townhouses and villas, though she saw none as impressive as Kogut’s. ‘Who are these people we’re going to meet?’ she asked.
‘My friends Helena and Roman, and Ola, their daughter.’
‘They don’t know what I’ve done, do they? You can’t make me see them if they know.’
‘Of course not. I explained your situation to them only in general terms.’
‘But they might find out? They might read about me in the papers, or see the news?’
‘Then I will tell them you are innocent. You are innocent,’ he added. ‘Try to relax. An evening out will do you good.’ 
At the end of the long tarmacked lane, they came to a barrier. Kogut lowered the window and stretched out his arm, but couldn’t quite reach the reader on the post to swipe his pass. He had to undo his seatbelt and get out of the car. 
She noticed, stuck to the steering wheel, a laminated card with the word PAMIETAM written on it in a large bold font. She’d seen the same word in a frame on Kogut’s desk, and also on the mirror in the hall. 
Kogut waited at the junction for a gap in the traffic. A couple of times Josie would have pulled out if she’d been driving, but Kogut hesitated.
‘What does pamietam mean?’ she asked him.
He corrected her pronunciation. ‘Pum-ien-tam. In English, it would be “I remember”. It is to remind me of who I am.’ 
‘You forget, do you?’ she said, perplexed.
‘Sometimes. We all forget who we are.’

After driving in the dark for ten minutes, they came to a village. Kogut stopped alongside a parked car and put the gearbox into reverse. He began backing into the space but then, shaking his head, drove forward again. Reversing once more, he started turning the wheel out again too soon. He gave up manoeuvring backwards and forwards and switched off the engine with the car still half a metre from the kerb.
‘Don’t worry about the presents, I will come back for them later, after dinner,’ he said as they got out the car. ‘You can give me the wine.’
They walked to a modern apartment block, much smarter than the one Pete’s family lived in. Josie asked Kogut, ‘What did you mean before, when you said we forget who we are?’
He stopped. ‘Look at the sky.’
She stared where he pointed, away from the town. One by one, specks of light appeared. The longer she watched, the more stars she could see.
‘There are over a hundred billion stars in the galaxy, and a hundred billion galaxies beyond our own. The light from some of them takes thousands of years to reach us, millions even.’ He breathed in deeply and finally exhaled. ‘Seventy years we live for, eighty if we are lucky. And after that, do we simply die? It would be illogical if we were nothing but flesh and bone. We have a body. We have a mind. But what we are is Spirit. Divine, eternal Spirit. Me, you...your father. Spirit never dies.’  

Buy Escape to Redemption at Amazon

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.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (280 pages)
published: June 2016 by Roundfire Books
genres: crime fiction, metaphysical
a free ebook was provided for this review

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September 19, 2016

A Conversation with Liz Lazarus, author of Free of Malice

cover of Free of Malice
Free of Malice is Atlanta-based author Liz Lazarus's debut novel. Loosely based on the author's own experiences, Free of Malice follows the after effects of a foiled attack; a woman's healing and the struggle with the legal system to acknowledge her right to self-defense.

Where did you get the idea for the book?

Like the main character, I was attacked by a stranger in my home in the middle of the night. In order to heal, I started to write about how I was feeling and what had changed in my life. At the time, I didn’t know about EMDR therapy to heal from trauma, so I used writing as a catharsis. Also like the main character, all I had for self-defense was a can of Mace. After the attack, I said to my brother-in-law, if I had owned a gun, I would have shot the guy as he left. My brother-in-law informed me that I was fortunate that I didn’t—as the shooting might not have been a clear case of self-defense. That idea sparked my interest in learning about the criminal justice system and inspired me to write the hypothetical case portrayed in the book. The ending, which I won’t spoil, was prompted by a question from my mother. Once you’ve finished the book, you can write to me at and I’ll tell you more about that.

What traits and other tidbits do you share with the main character?

Like Laura, I went to Georgia Tech for an engineering degree, though I graduated. Laura transferred to the University of Georgia for a journalism degree. Also like Laura, I live in Atlanta, have an older sister and lost my dad to a heart attack. I suppose all writers have portions of ourselves in the characters we portray, which makes us vulnerable but was the only way I knew to tell the story and be authentic.

What made you decide to self-publish?

The publishing industry has changed so much over the years and self-publishing has become a viable alternative, especially for an unknown, first-time author.

Are there any specific authors whose writing styles or subject matter inspired your book?

I actually like non-fiction—biographies, probably because I like learning about other people and their journey. I’ve just recently reread my grandfather’s book, Follow My Leader. It’s a children’s book first published in 1957 and still has fans to this day. I also love thrillers with interesting female characters like Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson, Girl  On The Train by Paula Hawkins, and of course, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Why should someone want to read your book?

One of the best compliments I received was that my book was educational while entertaining. It has a lot of information about therapy, gun ownership and the criminal defense system, but wrapped into a suspenseful thriller. I wrote it to be a fun beach read...and maybe a movie! And if you know Atlanta, you’ll enjoy reading about all the familiar places.

What advice would you give to authors who are thinking about writing their first book?

I postponed writing this book for many years to pursue other opportunities—I moved to Paris, got my MBA from Northwestern and got my pilot’s license. But this book kept nagging me to write it so I finally relented. I would tell other authors, if you have the calling, listen to it.

What is your writing process?

I used a huge wall calendar to outline the six months in which the book took place from June to December. I would list the events that occurred on the calendar which helped me sequence the story and also allowed me to circle back to clues I had dropped in earlier chapters. I had the great fortune to work with a certified EMDR therapist (Karen McCarty) and two criminal defense lawyers (Alison Frutoz and Ruth Rocker) to be sure those portions of the book were accurate.

What interesting topics does your book shed light on?

Recovering from an attack, EMDR therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, gun ownership, criminal defense system, and race.

Do you have another project in the works? If so, what is it?

To my surprise and delight, many of my readers want to know more about what happens next for Laura. I have a few ideas on a new case.

What is your favorite past time activity?

I like anything that allows me to be creative. For example, I recently co-produced a music CD with my friend, Thomas Barnette. He inspired the character of Thomas and his song, Let Me Breathe, is the theme song for my book. You can listen to the song at

About Liz Lazarus
Liz grew up in Valdosta, Georgia, known for its high school football and as the last watering hole on highway I-75 before entering Florida. She was editor of her high school newspaper and salutatorian of her class. Liz graduated from Georgia Tech with an engineering degree and went on to a successful career at General Electric before joining a consulting firm.

Buy Free of Malice at Amazon

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: This interview was provided by the author. The beliefs, opinions, and views 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.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

I feel like I have reading ADD as I can't seem to settle on one book long enough to finish them. I'm currently working on 5 books! They are all good and I'm enjoying them, but I just can't seem to sit down and commit to just one of them. Since it might be a while before I get to the reviews, I thought I would share my current reading list.


cover of Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death
Amazon recently added a selection of audiobooks that are free to stream to Prime members. While I've never used my free ebook offer through Prime, I quickly jumped on Audible to see what was available. There were several books that piqued by interest and I chose a cozy mystery that in some ways reminds me of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple series.

What it's about: Meet Agatha Raisin, high-flying public relations boss turned village sleuth. After her many years of bullying and cajoling others, her early retirement to a picture-perfect village in the Cotswolds is a dream come true.

Buy Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death at Amazon

In paperback:

cover of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
With the release of a new Harry Potter book, I decided to re-read the entire series. I'm up to book 4 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I once read an interview with Rowling where she said something along the lines that if she could go back she would probably cut more out of book 4 as there is so much going on. In the movie version, a whole lot was taken out including the subplot of freeing house elves. I'm looking forward to seeing what details I have forgotten over the years.

What it's about: Harry Potter is midway through both his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event that supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for hundreds of years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal - even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly.

Buy Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at Amazon

cover of The Confirmation
During Armchair BEA I won The Confirmation in one of the blogger giveaways. It is pretty interesting. Though it is the least one I pick up, whenever I do I immediately get sucked into the story. I'm still in the 'get to know' stage, I think this is going to be a great suspense story when I get to the meat of the book.

What it's about: Newly elected U.S. president Bob Long is weighing reports of nuclear weapons in Iran when he learns Justice Peter Corbin Franklin, 86-year-old liberal conscience of the Supreme Court, has suffered a massive stroke. With pressing same-sex marriage and abortion laws as well as a huge antitrust case on the court's docket, the door is open for Long to appoint a conservative replacement, repaying the twenty-one million evangelicals who voted for him.

But it won't be that easy. Long suffers a series of political missteps while his court nominee, Marco Diaz, endures vicious character accusations in the media for his religious beliefs and rumors of a tragic past.

Meanwhile, terrorists in Iran have hijacked more nuclear materials and are threatening to bomb a major city if the U.S. or Israel attacks. Chaos reigns in the nation's capitol . . .

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cover of Unlocking Worlds
Even with the other books I'm reading for fun, I'm still trying to make it through my pile of review copies. One of those books that I've been looking forward to is Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers. I love the cover. It isn't really the kind of book you read straight through as it is mostly comprised of book reviews. Sally Allen is a faculty member of Post University and has taught courses in writing and literature. She discusses some of her favorite books and why they have made her list of "good literature". I enjoy reading what she thought of books I have also read and enjoyed as well as books that I have wanted to read. There are other books that I have never heard of (or the author) and those are a mix bag - occasionally I think I want to read the book she's discussing and other times I struggle to get through the passage because I have no interest in the book.

What it's about: Award-winning writer and teacher Sally Allen knows that good books don’t just draw us in; they talk to us, shape us, and transport us to times, places, and minds different from our own. In Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, Allen deftly weaves personal stories with fifteen thematized, annotated, and illustrated reading lists for what to read next. By sharing some of the treasures in her library and the secret lives they reveal, she gives us permission to embrace the shameless book lover inside each of us. Unlocking Worlds is a testament to how reading passionately—and compassionately—can unlock the world beyond our backyard. Celebrating books and those who read them, Allen shows how the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection. Thought-provoking and eloquent, Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a must-have for anyone who can’t leave the house without a book in hand.

Buy Unlocking Worlds at Amazon


cover of The Hitwoman Under Pressure
On my eReader, I have another treat in The Hitwoman Under Pressure. I can't believe it is book 15 in the series and I haven't grown bored with the series either. Even though I feel the series is drawing close to the end, I'm enjoying every moment and will be sadden when I have to say goodbye to Maggie and the rest of this fun crew of characters.

What it's about: Maggie Lee's dedication to her family knows no limits.

Even though her life is in chaos, she'll take any chance to repair her fractured family.

All she has do is:
Get out of the loony bin
Eliminate the killer who’s hunting her sister
Make sure her family doesn’t go off the rails (yup, this one’s the toughest)

Thankfully she’s got the help of an ex-lover, a conman, and a sexy sailor, along with her psychic friend, her loyal, but bickering, pets, and her favorite mob boss.

If only she could rely on them to help her stop the man who wants her sister dead. With two hitmen already killed for going after him, Maggie could use all the help she can get.

Maggie’s skills (and sanity) are put to the test and the stakes have never been higher.

Buy The Hitwoman Under Pressure at Amazon

Donna Huber, founder & publisher. Donna is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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September 18, 2016

Forensic Handwriting Mystery: Outside the Lines by Sheila Lowe

by Susan Roberts

cover of Outside the Lines

Handwriting analysis is the examination of someone's writing as a way of determining what kind of person they are.  It is used by law enforcement to help solve crimes and the results are admissible in court.

The main characters in Outside the Lines (book 6 in the Forensic Handwriting Mystery Series) are Claudia, who is a forensic handwriting analyst and her fiancĂ© Joel, a homicide detective.  She often helps him solve his homicide cases with her expertise even though she sometimes oversteps how involved she should be in the case.  As the novel begins, she is testifying in a court case and is attacked by the person who is being tried for murder.  She ends up in the hospital and once she goes home, she is afraid to leave the house.  Joel helps her get over these feelings by getting her involved in his new case to try to find out who planted the bomb in the mailbox of the CEO of a major corporation that produces pesticides.  I really enjoyed the chemistry between Claudia and Joel - it was apparent that they were in love but they had faults and arguments which I found to be very refreshing and real.

What I enjoyed most about the novel was the information about forensic handwriting analysis.  A specialist in the field examines handwriting to find out two major pieces of information:

  • They interpret the findings in order to determine the writer's identity - who wrote the document.
  • The interpret the findings to try to find out the personality of the writer - mental and physical health, sex and age.

This was a very enjoyable book and I plan to go back and read the first five books in the series and I hope that there is a book 7 in the not too distant future.

NOTE:  The author, Sheila Lowe is a Handwriting Analyst and is the president of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation.

Buy Outside the Lines at Amazon

Susan Roberts, reviewer, lives in NC when she isn't traveling all around the world.  She and her husband love to travel and garden and help 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.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (268 pages)
published: August 2016 by Suspense Publishing
ISBN13: 9781535367844
genres: Suspense
a free book was provided by the author for this review

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