Readers' Favorite

Featured Post

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...

October 15, 2016

Book Spotlight: Ghost Hampton by Ken McGorry

Lyle Hall, a controversial Bridgehampton lawyer with mounting personal issues, must save “Old Vic,” purportedly a haunted whorehouse, from demolition. An apparition he’s seen there, a sad, beautiful Victorian-era girl, has shown him a deeply disturbing inscription on a gravestone¬¬¬--his daughter’s life will end on Saturday. Worse yet, no one will believe him, especially daughter, Georgie, a dedicated, newly promoted Southampton Police detective. But locals do believe that Lyle, the village’s most successful lawyer, caused the fatal car crash last year that put him in a wheelchair and forced his retirement. Lyle emerged from coma with an uncanny psychic power to sense human suffering. Convinced that saving Old Vic will save Georgie, he files a motion in court that sweeps him into a Big Media circus. Suddenly a psychic celebrity, Lyle falls too hard for Silk, a scheming TV reporter who uses him to advance her career. Old adversaries want him to fail. Lyle befriends a young priest hiding his own dark secret. The two men break into Old Vic to find answers but their escapade proves disastrous; as do subsequent attempts. Then Lyle’s new psychic friends start to die strange deaths.

Meanwhile Georgie's investigation into a vicious drug-and-prostitution ring heats up and turns deadly--and it was Lyle who got her promoted! As everyone seems to turn against Lyle and the dreaded Saturday looms, he turns to alcohol. After a humiliating interview with Silk on live TV, he gets drunk. He revisits Old Vic one last time, alone, to meet his personal demon. His twisted plan, including a Molotov cocktail and a gun, can only fail.

compelling read...pretty creepy ~ Steven Kosinski

a steady, rollercoaster ride of suspense ~ Jacqueline Gillen

perfect amount of spooky and suspenseful ~ Robyn Croutch

Start reading:

Buy Ghost Hampton at Amazon

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.

October 14, 2016

Best of October #YA

The holidays will be here before we know it. I have already bought my niece her Christmas presents - books, of course! Are any of these titles on your teen's wish list?

cover Holding Up the Universe
Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Buy Holding Up the Universe at Amazon

cover Iron Cast
It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose "afflicted" blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.

Buy Iron Cast at Amazon

cover Still Life with Tornado
Sarah can't draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has "done the art." She thinks she's having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she explores the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she's finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can't quite recall. After decades of staying together "for the kids" and building a family on a foundation of lies and violence, Sarah's parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original —and yet it still hurts.

Buy Still Life with Tornado at Amazon

cover Nemesis
The princess didn't expect to fall in love--with her nemesis.

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king's servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora's gift could save Tarik's kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?

Buy Nemesis at Amazon

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.

October 13, 2016

Newton Frohlich: In 1492 Christopher Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue

The story begins long before 1492 does: when Rome ruled the world and many Jews went to the western reaches of the Empire we now call Spain.  They helped to build the cities and traded.  Over the next three hundred years, their population was buttressed by an influx of Moslems from the Arab world and, together, this tripod of Jews, Moslems and Christians lived in Spain, prospering, trading and farming in what many call a Golden Age.  Then, a priest decided that Jews must convert to Christianity and if they didn't they should be killed.

Many Jews converted -- they were called Conversos -- but many did not and either remained in Spain or migrated to other parts of Europe or went back to Israel.  But now the tripod was shaky and the instability continued until Isabella and Fernando, the Queen and King of Spain, decided it would be better if all Jews and Moslems were evicted.  In the process, they confiscated their property to finance their war against the Moslems.  The method they chose to accomplish all this was the Inquisition, a largely unused procedure whereby the Catholic Church investigated how authentic a conversation was  The investigation was conducted by torture -- mostly waterboarding -- and culminated in burning at the stake.

Into this nightmare stepped Christopher Columbus whose family fled Spain about 50 years before the Inquisition. He was living in Genoa, Italy, loved the sea, and had sailed down the coast of Africa and discovered that if a sailor then sailed due West he could reach land somewhere out there.  Then, after he reached land, he could sail north, pick up the "trade winds" that blew due East and sail back to Europe.  His only mistake was he thought the voyage would be shorter than it was and the mathematicians who advised the King of Portugal advised against backing him.  So, of all places, Columbus turned to Spain to gain royal backing.  His wife dead from childbirth, he took their son, Diego, with him.

Now, you know the story behind the story.  The rest is in my book, a labor of love that took eight years to research and write, has been translated into Dutch and Spanish and now, appears in a new edition prompted by the recent decision of the governments of Spain and Portugal to right the wrongs they did 525 years ago.

I hope you enjoy 1492 as much as I enjoyed writing it.  If you want to know more about it and other novels I've written or am writing, please browse my website,

Buy 1492 at Amazon

About the Author

Newton Frohlich is the award-winning author of The Shakespeare Mask: A Novel, as well as 1492: A Novel of Christopher Columbus, the Spanish Inquisition & a World at the Turning Point and Making the Best of It: A Common-Sense Guide to Negotiating a Divorce. A former lawyer in Washington, D.C., he devoted eight years to the research and writing of 1492. He has lived in Washington, D.C., the south of France, and Israel and now makes his home on Cape Cod with his wife, Martha, a musicologist.

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.

October 12, 2016

October Reading - The Girl With All the Gifts

by Alison DeLuca
cover of The Girl With All the Gifts
The Girl With all the Gifts by M.R. Carey is on my nightstand. As the nights get longer, I always think it’s time to look for some great reads that offer excitement and don’t hold back on thrills. October calls for stories with an edge, and this novel fits perfectly.

I bought this book with a clear conscience, since I already purchased my kid’s costume (Charmander) as well as a few bags of those Bats n Jacks pretzels. Plus I’m eyeing up treat recipes for our annual Trick or Treat party.

Last year I glued candy eyes on HoHo's with icing, so it doesn't take much. The kids went crazy for those things. 

No baking + happy children = WINNING

Side note – does anyone else remember those lame costumes we wore in the 1970s that included a mask and a plastic shirt? They had to print the name of the character on the crinkly shirt so people knew who you were (Fonzi, Luke Skywalker, or Farrah.)

Plus you couldn’t breathe through those masks, so halfway through the trick or treating, they morphed into hats.

Halloween illustration of pumpkins, bats, and a black cat
image courtesy of pixabay

Now costumes are far more intricate, but I still need good books. I heard a lot of buzz about The Girl With All the Gifts and picked it up in my local Target while I was shopping for back-to-school supplies. My crazy schedule wouldn't let me get to this book until now - and I'm glad I waited. It's perfect for fall, October, and Halloween.

It’s difficult to write too much about the plot without giving away major spoilers, although some people don’t worry about that. I’m looking at you, reviewers on Amazon. If you want the surprise, don’t read the reviews.

halloween jack-o-lantern and candles
image courtesy of publicdomainpictures,net

However, it won’t take long for clever readers to figure out what’s going on in the first chapter. The plot heats up quickly, ramped by figures like the Sergeant, Dr. Caldwell, Miss. Justineau, and Melanie – the Girl herself.

With spare and beautiful writing, M. R. Carey creates a horrifying and believable world. The author also writes for X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Gaiman’s Neverwhere. In fact, reading The Girl With All the Gifts is like reading a comic book. The scenes are bright, vivid, and terrifying.
black and white photo of children in 1940s halloween costumes
image courtesy of wikipedia

Carey doesn’t hold back on the gore, so keep that in mind. However, the blood is never gratuitous. Each scene moves the plot and characters forward. And did I mention the beautiful writing? It’s difficult to find a horror story with word-smithing like this:

“Melanie thinks: when your dreams come true, your true has moved. You've already stopped being the person who had the dreams, so it feels more like a weird echo of something that already happened to you a long time ago.”

If you love horror but insist on originality and great writing, The Girl With All the Gifts is worth sampling.

candles in Halloween holders
image courtesy of

Have a great Halloween – and do let me know in the comments what costumes and treats you’re planning for this month.

Buy The Girl With All the Gifts at Amazon

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain. Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.

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.

October 11, 2016

Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

by Susan Roberts

cover Small Great Things"I didn't write this novel because I thought it would be fun or easy.  I wrote it because it was the right thing to do and because the things that make us most uncomfortable are the things that teach us what we all need to know."

"There is a fire raging and we have two choices:  we can turn our backs or we can try to fight it.  Yes, talking about racism is hard to do and yes, we stumble over the words..." (Jodi Picoult in the afterword of Small Great Things)

I am a long time fan of Jodi Picoult and enjoy her way of not only presenting a wonderful story but also educating her readers on a particular subject. In her new novel, she educates us on racism. Ruth, a black labor and delivery nurse with 20 years experience is removed from taking care of a new baby born to a white supremacist couple. The results of this decision have tragic consequences that end up with Ruth on trial for murder.

Ruth is a fantastic main character and I wanted to see her vindicated of the charges. As a black woman, she has faced prejudice every day of her life. Her public defender, Kennedy, feels that she understands Ruth and her life but even she has to work through some of her deep feelings.

Small Great Things is told from three perspectives - Ruth, Kennedy, and Turk, the white supremacist. So we get a view of the broad spectrum of racism that exists in our culture today. Several times, I had to put the book down. There are parts - especially in Turk's parts, that are so full of hatred, that they were difficult to read. There are other parts, especially when Ruth is talking, that made me put the book down to think through my feelings and attitudes.

Picoult has written a fantastic book and at the end, she explains why she wrote the book and what she learned about herself while she was writing. She may get some backlash for this book because it's such a divisive subject in today's society. This is a book that should be read AND discussed in every household in America. Thank you, Jodi.

Buy Small Great Things at Amazon

Susan Roberts, reviewer. Susan grew up in the Detroit area but after deciding that city life wasn't for her she moved to North Carolina after college. She and her husband have several acres of land and they enjoy gardening and canning vegetables in the summer. They travel extensively. 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 or Twitter.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (480 pages)
published: October 2016 by Ballantine Books
ISBN13: 9780345544957
genres: family saga
a free galley was provided by NetGalley for a fair and honest review

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.

October 10, 2016

October 2016: What I'm Reading #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

I'm still working on a few of my 'fun' books from September, but I'm trying to focus a bit more on the books I have to review this month.

This weekend I finished with middle school book Millicent Marie: Just My Opinon by Karen Pokras. It is coming out soon so I will tell you more about it another day.

Reading in ebook:

cover Love is a Four-Legged Word
Michele Gorman's books are always fun chicklit and since Love is a Four-Legged Word involves animals, I think it is going to be really cute. I've just started it, but it comes out later this week.

Escape into the romantic comedy about canines, conception and fresh starts from the USA Today and Sunday Times bestseller that reviewers and readers describe as the perfect “beach read," "funny and heartbreaking” and a "feel good summer read”

Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Lindsey Kelk and Jane Costello

Best friends Scarlett and Shannon spend their days tangled up in dog leads and covered in fur, running their dog business together. Scarlett’s intensive training course, Ruff Love, fixes owners as much as their pets, while Shannon spends her days walking spoiled pooches.

They share more than their business though: they also share Scarlett's husband, Rufus, who's been Shannon's best friend since childhood. It's a cosy setup. Unless one of them has a secret...

When Scarlett and Rufus's baby plans are decimated by a surprise turn of events, their marriage hits the rocks and they both turn to Shannon. All three relationships are pushed to breaking point, but when loyalties become divided, how do you decide who's most important?

Buy Love is a Four-Legged Word at Amazon

Reading in paperback:

cover Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix
I am continuing my re-reading of Harry Potter. I'm up to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I didn't know if I was going to make it through Goblet of Fire. But I'm enjoying OOTP more than I remembered liking it before.

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...

Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

Buy Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at Amazon

Listening to in audio book:

cover SEAL Team Six
I started one audio book, but it had scenes that were not appropriate for work. Since that is where I do most audio book listening, I had to choose something else. I have discovered I like listening to memoirs so I picked up SEAL Team Six by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin.

When the Navy sends their elite, they send the SEALs. When the SEALs send their elite, they send SEAL Team Six—a secret unit tasked with counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and counterinsurgency.

In this dramatic, behind-the-scenes chronicle, Howard Wasdin takes listeners deep inside the world of Navy SEALs and Special Forces snipers, beginning with the grueling selection process of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL - the toughest and longest military training in the world.

After graduating, Wasdin faced new challenges. First, there was combat in Operation Desert Storm as a member of SEAL Team Two. Then, the Green Course: the selection process to join the legendary SEAL Team Six (ST6), with a curriculum that included practiced land warfare to unarmed combat. More than learning how to pick a lock, they learned how to blow the door off its hinges.

Finally, as member of ST6, he graduated from the most storied and challenging sniper program in the country: the Marine Corps Scout Sniper School. Eventually, of the 18 snipers in ST6, Wasdin became the best—which meant one of the best snipers on the planet.

Less than half a year after sniper school, he was fighting for his life. The mission: capture or kill Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. From rooftops, helicopters, and alleys, Wasdin hunted Aidid and killed his men whenever possible. But everything went quickly to hell when his small band of soldiers found themselves fighting for their lives, cut off from help and desperately trying to rescue downed comrades during a routine mission. The Battle of Mogadishu, as it became known, left 18 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded. Howard Wasdin had both of his legs nearly blown off while engaging the enemy. His explosive combat tales and inside details of becoming one of the world’s deadliest snipers combine to make this the most thrilling and important memoir by a navy SEAL since Lone Survivor.

Buy SEAL Team Six at Amazon

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.

October 9, 2016

Review: The Bacchanal and Other Horrific Tales

by MK French

The Bacchanal and Other Horrific Tales is a collection of short horror stories by various authors, and there isn't a connecting theme between them. Most of the stories seem to focus on the everyday events in peoples' lives, turning the ordinary into the horrific. At least, that seems to be the intent for many of them; the stories don't all seem to make that work. There are occasional minor typos in the text that are occasionally distracting.

The title story "The Bacchanal On The Roof" details an office party on a hotel roof, where alcohol flows too freely and a woman committed suicide. It's a story within a story, but the horror aspect fell flat to me. Maybe it was the format of how the story was told, but I didn't feel any emotional connection with the narrator or why witnessing the suicide would be so important to her since she feels so emotionally disconnected from everyone. Suicide is certainly a horrible situation, but it feels disjointed in the context of the story. Perhaps that's the horror of it? That someone's misery could be reduced to nothing at all is certainly terrible.

"The Encouragement Specialists" brings to mind Stephen King's "Quitters, Inc" short story that I had read years ago. Darren contracts with a company to keep up his encouragement to write a novel, which can be hard to keep up. When his inspiration fails, the punishments begin. Here, there's an air of menace and oddness from the beginning, and the ending fits with the content of the story.

"No Experience Necessary" is another short story that works well. This outlines every babysitter's worst nightmare and the creepy child actually isn't the one to be afraid of. "Extra Small Medium" tells of a psychic little girl who participates in beauty pageants, and this one is a low-key everyday kind of horror. "...and lose their own soul" is heartbreaking and sad more than horror, and the ending is haunting.

Some stories start off very ordinary, without too much of a menacing beginning, and then abruptly veer into the horror territory. "Bert and Bones" works very well that way, with the puns and odd behavior ending in a terrible way.  "Mountain Of The Lost" makes me very glad I'm not a hiker or interested in spelunking. "Art Imitates Death" is another one that starts out slow, a man grieving for his wife, and it  veers into horror territory. It's a quiet story incorporating zombie elements, and the understated ending lets you know that more terrible things are on their way. The ending actually made me stop reading to catch my breath, and is likely the most successful story in the collection.

Buy The Bacchanal and Other Horrific Tales 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 (208 pages)
published: June 2016 by Dreaming Big Publishing
ISBN13: 978-0692740583
genres: horror, short story
a free ebook was provided by the publisher for this review

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.