Readers' Favorite

December 2, 2016

Reading New Genres

by Susan Roberts

Like many people, I often get stuck in a rut and only read specific genres of books but it's always nice to step out of your comfort zone and try something different.  Here are a few of my recent reads that I really enjoyed even though they are not my normal topics.

Do you get stuck in a rut with the books you read?  Do you think that's good or are you ready for a change?

Blackbeard's Daughter by Diana Strenka

cover Blackbeard's Daughter
a free book was provided for this review
Colonial dreams have become piratical nightmares. Margaret takes one disastrous turn after the other as she confronts the perils of murder, war, and revenge. When her father decides to pursue criminal mischief aboard a pirate's vessel, Margaret joins him in an effort to save his life. Will she weather the storms ahead, or will they destroy her?

This is a historical fiction novel about the daughter of Edward Teach, more commonly known as the pirate Blackbeard. It was quite an interesting look at the lives of Edward and his family mainly told through the eyes of his daughter Margaret. It tells of Edward's earlier life and his love of the sea and the things that happened in his life that made him become a pirate. Margaret also had a rough life after the family moved to America and the author goes into lots of detail on why she wanted to be a pirate like her beloved father. Overall, it was a very interesting look at a time in history that was new to me as a reader. Margaret was a strong female character and I enjoyed her story.

Buy Blackbeard's Daughter at Amazon

The Blood Led Her by Robert DiGiacomo

cover The Blood Led Her
a free book was for this review
Claudia doesn't care who Jesus is supposed to be. Her husband Decius has a job to do-kill him. She helps bathe him when he gets home, grasping the scroll that carried his orders. When Claudia accidentally swallows some of the blood of Jesus, Decius suddenly dies.
Centuries later in Philadelphia, Al Campo's trying to distance himself from government agencies counting on him to do their dirty work. He unexpectedly saves Eva, a twelve-year-old girl, when he's almost shot by an assailant chasing her down. She can't explain much about why she's totally alone, and she won't part with her backpack. Al later discovers the scroll she carries as they visit his sick friend. What he can't begin to imagine is its immense power.
Only two things are for certain. Whoever's after her won't give up, and Al's all she has. So it's a race for survival as he remains her protector. But in the end, who's protecting whom?

This is an interesting book and even though it is not one of the genre's that I usually read it kept my interest throughout. Lots of twists and turns and a great job with an interesting concept.

Buy The Blood Led Her at Amazon

A Solitary Awakening: Book One of the Warren Files by Kevin Cady

cover A Solitary Awakening
a free book was provided for this review
Elijah Warren's world has always been one haunted by murderers. His personal life is non-existent, though it's not like he's noticed. Work consumes him, and he's buried himself in the FBI's exhaustive demands. There's no time for romance with killers to track--that is, until the beautiful and erudite Aurelia Blanc is thrown into his life, along with the so-called "Poetic Murderer."
The Poetic Murderer makes murder an art form, each crime scene an exhibit. To catch him, Elijah and Aurelia must decipher cryptic poems and study imaginative death scenes. They traverse the United States, into the uncharted past of a killer most twisted, whose brutal violence evokes not only empathy for the victims, but an interest in the killer himself.
In time, what these detectives discover about both themselves and the Poetic Murderer will change their lives forever. First, they must understand him. Then, they must stop him, but will a romantic liaison make the killings more personal? If Elijah and Aurelia don't stay focused, one could end up dead at the hand of a Poetic Murderer.
This is the debut novel by Kevin Cady and based on this novel, he has a great future ahead of him. This is a murder mystery but it has an extra twist, the killer leaves poems at the crime scenes as clues for the FBI. There were a lot of great literary references which made the book more interesting than the normal books in this genre.

Elijah is a solitary person who appears to have a very lonely life. His job in the FBI is his life until he starts to spend time with Aurelia, a forensic pathologist in the FBI. As they race around the country following the poems that the Poetic Murderer leaves as clues, their relationship changes considerably. In the beginning, they didn't even like each other but as their time together increased so did their feelings for each other. They worked very well together and I am looking forward to the additional books in this series to see if their relationship will continue. Along with a little love interest, the murders and the clues are full of twists and turns. WARNING - the killer is extremely sadistic and some of the crime scenes that are described are pretty gruesome.

This was an enjoyable book that kept me turning pages very fast to see if and how the crime spree would be solved.

Buy A Solitary Awakening at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in NC when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, 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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December 1, 2016

New Releases - December 2016

It's the last month of 2016. Are you still working toward your reading goal? Or perhaps you are working on bonus reads. Either way, you'll want to grab these last new releases of 2016.

cover The Roman
Raven and her sister, Cara, are at the mercy of a small detachment of Florentine vampyres, who are delivering them as a peace offering to the feared Curia in Rome.

Though she s unsure William survived the coup that toppled his principality, Raven is determined to protect her sister at all costs, even if it means challenging Borek, the commander of the detachment.

In an effort to keep Raven from falling into the hands of his enemies, William puts himself at the mercy of the Roman, the dangerous and mysterious vampyre king of Italy. But the Roman is not what he expects

Alliances and enmities will shift and merge as William struggles to save the woman he loves and his principality, without plunging the vampyre population into a world war.

This stunning conclusion to the Florentine series will take readers across Italy and beyond as the lovers fight to remain together. Forever."

Available December 6
Buy The Roman at Amazon

cover True Faith and Allegience
The #1 New York Times–bestselling series is back with the most shocking revelation of all. After years of facing international threats, President Jack Ryan learns that the greatest dangers always come from within. . . .

It begins with a family dinner in Princeton, New Jersey. After months at sea, U.S. Navy Commander Scott Hagan, captain of the USS James Greer, is on leave when he is attacked by an armed man in a crowded restaurant. Hagan is shot, but he manages to fight off the attacker. Though severely wounded, the gunman reveals he is a Russian whose brother was killed when his submarine was destroyed by Commander Hagan’s ship.

Hagan demands to know how the would-be assassin knew his exact location, but the man dies before he says more.

In the international arrivals section of Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport, a Canadian businessman puts his fingerprint on a reader while chatting pleasantly with the customs official. Seconds later he is shuffled off to interrogation. He is actually an American CIA operative who has made this trip into Iran more than a dozen times, but now the Iranians have his fingerprints and know who he is. He is now a prisoner of the Iranians.

As more deadly events involving American military and intelligence personnel follow, all over the globe, it becomes clear that there has been some kind of massive information breach and that a wide array of America’s most dangerous enemies have made a weapon of the stolen data. With U.S. intelligence agencies potentially compromised, it’s up to John Clark and the rest of The Campus to track the leak to its source.

Their investigation uncovers an unholy threat that has wormed its way into the heart of our nation. A danger that has set a clock ticking and can be stopped by only one man . . . President Jack Ryan.

Available December 6
Buy True Faith and Allegiance at Amazon

cover River of Time
Bestselling author and Grammy-winning musical superstar Naomi Judd shares her devastating personal story with depression to spread awareness and encourage others with the disease.

The world knows Naomi Judd as one of the most successful and best-loved country music stars ever. What the world doesn't know--until now--is that after her 2010 and 2011 North American tour with Wynonna, Naomi fell into a debilitating and terrifying depression that seemingly came out of nowhere. Just months after the successful tour ended, Naomi truly believed she had every reason to end her life. Facing severe depression, terrorizing panic attacks, PTSD, toxic drug poisoning, and addiction, she spent the next two and a half years in psychiatric hospitals undergoing treatments and searching for answers. In River Of Time, Naomi describes the agonizing toll this took on her and shares her message of hope after surviving the most painful period in her life.

Available December 6
Buy River of Time at Amazon

cover Maybe Tomorrow
Zoe Dawson returns to Laurel Falls, Montana, where big sky meets true love in Maybe Tomorrow, as a jaded New Yorker and a small-town mayor teach each other that the good things in life are meant to be savored.

After growing up dirt poor, Greg Chambers relishes his job as the CEO of a high-powered marketing agency. He couldn’t imagine leaving New York for Laurel Falls, a town so rundown he can practically see the tumbleweeds. But while there to spearhead a new tourism campaign, Greg admits that there’s one bright spot: the widowed mayor whose fighting spirit and exquisite good looks have him struggling to keep things professional.

Trinity Gill is doing everything in her power to revitalize her dazzling but declining town—even while mourning her husband and trying to keep her family together. The last thing she needs is a distraction like Greg, a fast-talking city slicker who works hard and plays harder. So why does her body long for his touch? And why can’t she get his open smile and gleaming eyes off her mind?

Greg has been running on empty for years, but when he finally takes the time to smell the roses, he makes a startling realization: He can be the one to heal Trinity’s wounded heart. And if Trinity would face her deepest fears, maybe tomorrow could be the start of a whole new beginning—together.

Available December 12
Buy Maybe Tomorrow at Amazon

cover Ever the Hunted
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

Available December 27
Buy Ever the Hunted at Amazon

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November 30, 2016

Top 5 Science Fiction Books You MUST Read This Fall

by Adam Ferraresi

Popularized by the likes of Jules Verne, Douglas Adams, and Arthur Clark, the science fiction genre has been gaining tremendous popularity since the second half of the twentieth century. There’s something about our innate curiosity that makes us thrilled at the very mention of interplanetary space travel, or contact with an alien civilization, which are just some of the themes that the science fiction genre explores.

Nowadays, post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi is also incredibly popular, such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Willam R. Fortschen’s The Second After, and many more like them. Whatever your particular taste is, we’re sure that there’s some Sci-Fi book out there that’s going to appeal to you.

We’ve put together a small list of some of the best Sci-Fi novels released lately, so if you’re feeling like reading some science fiction, you might want to check them out.

All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

cover All the Birds in the Sky
The story of two childhood friends,  an engineering genius named Lawrence trying to utilize his affinity towards technology to prevent a worldwide catastrophe, and Patricia, a graduate of a hidden academy of magicians that seeks to heal the world with her magic. Countless years later, mysterious circumstances will reunite Patricia and Lawrence so they can aid one another in a common interest – to stop their world from falling apart.

Definitely, check out this title if you’re a fan of both the Sci-Fi and the classic fantasy genre, we guarantee that it’ll appeal to you.

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

cover Morning Star
Morning Star is the final installment of Brown’s immersive revolutionary thriller trilogy including Red Rising and Golden Son. The trilogy follows the life of Darrow, a former slave who’s succeeded in infiltrating the ranks of the elite called the Golds, and now does all that he can in order to sabotage their society. In Morning Star his journey is coming to a close, and we finally get to see if he succeeds in utterly demolishing the aristocrats’ hold over his world.

Brown has already gained a pretty impressive fan base with his first two novels, and Morning Star definitely lives up to the expectations his fans have managed to build up while waiting for the final installment. If futuristic dystopia is your cup of tea, Morning Star is a fantastic choice.

Central Station by Lavie Tidhar

cover Central Station
In light of a massive immigration effort, more than two hundred thousand people are stuck at the foot of Central Station – a massive space station orbiting Earth, and the gateway to an advanced alien force that humanity has dubbed the Others. Thanks to this alien presence, humanity is evolving and changing at a rapid pace. Back on Earth, we’re given a glimpse into a small border town between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, where children are the subject of genetic engineering and drug dealers are turning themselves into cyborgs.

Tidhar does a marvelous job of depicting his vision of Earth’s future, and after a few pages, you’re completely immersed in his semi-dystopian, realistic version of Tel Aviv, many years from now. The novel itself is little more than multiple short stories that Tidhar has been releasing throughout the years, although very carefully selected and interwoven to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts. If you’re partial to apocalyptic, dystopian Sci-Fi, you should definitely give this one a read.

Infomocracy by Malka Older

cover Infomocracy
Infomocracy depicts a futuristic world in which the entire world’s population is broken down and divided into centenals - groups of 100,000 people that each have the right to vote for any one of the given worldly governments that they wish to be supervised by. The governments are diverse, ranging from Liberty, a policy-based democratic group to Phillip Morris, a capitalistic corporation-dominated government. Information, a globally active association is tasked with policing the elections and ensuring that the governments go through with all of their election promises.

One day a researcher for one of the governments is lead to a conspiracy and discovers that the elections are indeed rigged; after which he teams up with a special agent from Information in order to unearth the truth while trying to escape the wrath of the governments themselves and get the truth out to the people. What’s so impressive about this novel is that Older managed to depict a future that indeed seems entirely plausible, and gives a really realistic outlook as to how our society could begin to evolve in the years to come.

The Medusa Chronicles by Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter

cover The Medusa Chronicles
This novel is actually a follow-up to one of Arthur Clark’s classics from 1971, titled A Meeting With Medusa. The Medusa Chronicles takes us back to the story of Howard Falcon, whose body was preserved thanks to technology after sustaining a grievous injury on his mission to Jupiter. He is now half man, half machine, enhanced and sustained by cybernetics and prosthetics.

Meanwhile, the solar system has been going through quite a few changes. Super-intelligent primates declare their independence, and machines have become capable of sentient thought, however, bureaucracy and politics still plague humanity as a whole as if nothing had changed. As the protagonist, Falcon is plunged right into the middle of events concerning the entire world, and his actions and decisions will have an impact on the crisis grasping the very solar system.

An impressive pick-up of one of the most brilliant Sci-Fi novels in history, and if you liked the original we guarantee that The Medusa Chronicles will not disappoint.


Hopefully, we’ve managed to spark your interest with one of these titles, as well as inspired you to actually give one of them a shot. There are countless amazing Sci-Fi titles out there and more are being released every month, so you don’t have to worry about running out of reading material any time soon. There’s not much left to say, except  that we truly hope you’ll enjoy our suggestions. 2016 was a terrific year for Sci-Fi, and it’s still not too late for some last-minute binge-reading before the new year.

Adam Ferraresi is 23 years old, but he first became interested in writing when he was in high school. Today he’s a successful web developer living in Dallas, Texas, and one of the most trusted writers at and The VPN Lab. In his free time, he’s an avid mountain climber and enjoys playing basketball with his friends.

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November 29, 2016

Review: Too Wyrd by Sarah Buhrman

by MK French

September 2016; Black Rose Publishing;
9781612967523; ebook & print (216 pgs);
urban fantasy
a free book was provided for this review
Nicola is a single mother that is content to live out her life as an herbalist, ignoring her ex and occasionally interacting with friends. One of them, Joseph, comes to her because her stepsister seems to have gone missing when thinking about joining a cult. That her ex seems to be running. Because Nicola has always gone after her stepsister to help her out of her messes, she sends her daughter to her mother and goes to find her stepsister. This quickly embroils her in an epic journey involving magic of the earthly and unearthly variety. It's up to her to save the world, and she didn't even want that job in the first place!

I really liked Nicola from the start. She's a very down to earth character, and even with her very relate-able flaws (quick temper, impulsively lashing back in a catty way when bullied, kind of oblivious when she thinks she's Doing The Right Thing) it makes sense why she would be caught up in the quest.

It incorporates Norse mythology, which is not something that I have often seen in urban fantasy books, so it was a nice change. Of course, every iteration of fiction involving mythology makes their adjustments to fit the plot, but the adjustments here felt very natural. I really liked the commentary of how all the different supernatural and godly pantheons exist and work on different aspects of creation, and that the Bifrost is part of the astral plane.

The description of the magic that Nicola and Joseph has is very approachable so that people who aren't normally into it can still understand what they're doing. There are vivid chase and fight sequences, and the ending completes the story while setting up future books in the series. I can't wait to see what else is in store for Nicola in future books.

Buy Too Wyrd 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.

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November 28, 2016

Review: Dominion by Lissa Bryan #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

When I finished Shadows Have Gone (The End of All Things #3), I had hoped that there would be a follow novella if not a full length novel to see if the utopian-ish town Carly and Justin had set up would endure and if it did would it expand. So I was very happy to see Dominion by Lissa Bryan coming out.

December 2016; The Writer's Coffee Shop; ebook
and print; dystopian
a free ebook was provided for this review
Dominion takes place about 30 years after the end of book 3 and somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains - in the coal country (so in the Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virigina area). The story starts with a bang, quite literarly. The town is being raided by the a gang of thugs, though this isn't a random group of bandits, but The Nine - a violent group that reigns over the region much like the mafia. Taylor, who lives on the outskirts of town, is able to grab her go bag and head for the fence line. Unfortunately she doesn't get away undetected and must fight her way out. She kills one of the Nine immediately making her a hunted woman with a large bounty on her head. She escapes to a cabin in the woods, but she soon discovers she wasn't the only one to escape. The major's son Dylan also made the unlikely escape from town. Now he risks death in the wastelands as he has lived a relatively pampered life and has no survival skills. Taylor and Dylan make an uneasy pact to travel together and so starts their adventure.

There is mention of Haven, the town Carly and Justin started, as Dylan's mother came from there and that is directon Taylor and Dylan head as they have no idea where else to go except out of The Nine's territory.

There are a number of similarities between Dylan and Taylor's journey and Carly and Justin's. In a reversal of roles, Taylor has the survival skills and they aren't trying to avoid the infection, but the land they are in is just as hostile as the land Carly and Justin traveled through and they are never sure if they are coming upon friend or foe.

Even with the similarities, it was still an enjoyable story. Like the books before it, Bryan's storytelling sucked me in and I couldn't put the book down. The world in which the characters find themselves is an unpredictable one. A simple cut could mean life or death as there are no antibiotics and even clean water is hard to come by.

In 30 years, some progress has been made as more towns have been set up, though there is no overall governance. It is more like the early frontier days when people lived in walled towns and are only allied with other towns for trade purposes. As Taylor and Dylan are in a harsher climate it is understandable that more progress hasn't been made.

If you haven't read the first 3 books, that's okay. Dominion reads more like a spin-off than a sequel. If you enjoy post-apopoclyptic fiction, then this series is one of my favorites and I highly recommend reading it.

Buy Dominion at Amazon

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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