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December 31, 2016

Top 10 Most Viewed Articles in 2016

Here we are at the very end of 2016. It has been a very productive year as you can see from the round ups the last two days. With this post, we will have published 390 posts. I hope we have entertained you, informed you, and helped you find just the right book to read. Today, we are featuring the 10 most viewed posts this year. It features a variety of posts, from reviews to articles to guests posts to featured books.

10. A is for April Fools, Douglas Adams and Sending the Fool Further
Chris's featured article that kicked off our A to Z Challenge was a huge hit as he started off with a history lesson on April Fool's Day and tied it together with Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It is a wonderfully written piece that you must read if you missed it the first time around.

9. How Do You Know If You Want To Be a Writer? 
Byddi Lee joined Girl Who Reads this year and did a 12 part series for writers. If you are considering a writing career in 2017 this first article in the series will give you food for thought.

8. Jo March (of Little Women) is Now on Twitter, and She's Hilarious
Katie Meyer wrote a fun article in support of the Toronto Fringe production of Women and introduced Jo March's Twitter account.

7. 10 Books for Fans of Chick-lit, Women's Fiction, and Family Sagas
Susan reviewed 10 novels in the most popular genres.

6. Laura Libricz: Magic Me a Meal
Laura Libricz, the author of historical novel The Master and the Maid, provided a historically accurate view of cooking in 17th century Germany.

5. F is for Five Family Sagas to Read
Tales of family drama are always popular at Girl Who Reads. As part of the A to Z Challenge we did in April, Susan Roberts reviewed 5 superb family sagas. Kind of ironic it is the 5th most viewed post in 2016.

4. Book Diversity, Goodreads, and Native Representation
Alison Deluca's feature article for ArmchairBEA was a very popular post as it took a deeper look at diversity in books and in particular Native Americans both as characters and authors.

3. Why you should leave a comment
Every blogger wants comments. They spend a lot of time and effort on the articles they publish and leaving a comment is a small way to let them know that you enjoyed it.

2. Popular Romance Novels to Warm Your January Nights
January can be a cold month in the northern hemisphere. If you are looking for hot romances to keep you warm in the new year, take a look at some of the popular titles from January 2016.

1. Spend the Summer in the Low Country
The most viewed post this year is Susan Roberts's review of the first 4 books in Mary Alice Monroe's Lowcountry Summer series.

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December 30, 2016

Books Reviewed in 2016

We reviewed a multitude of wonderful books (and just a few so-so books) over the past 12 months from many different genres. We said goodbye to Claire Rees and Elisa Hordon but added Susan Roberts, MK French, and Emily Morley to our team of staff reviewers. Featured writers Alison DeLuca and Kathleen Barker also contributed a few reviews. If you are looking for books to add to your 2017 to read list, take a look at what we recommended.

From Alison DeLuca

Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton
Going Against Type by Sharon Black
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

From Claire Rees

The Lone Wolf's Heart by J. Jennings
Cut Too Deep by Marissa Farrar
Dear Clementina by Colin Burke
Abandoned Soul by Doug Simpson
Fifty Percent Vampire by D.K. Janotta
Sketches of the Wigwam by Mack Moyer
Dying for a Living by Kory M. Shrum
Chronology of the Apocalypse
Off Campus by Jeff Westwood and Charles Murphy
Killshot by Aria Michaels
Killing the Dead by Richard Murray
Days with the Undead by Julianne Snow
Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt
Felix Jones and the Book of Words by Julian Roderick
Felix Jones and the Honour of The Keeper by Julian Roderick
Dark Illuminations by A.A. Colvin Jr.
The Passion of Jass and Other Short Stories by Nicholas Bridgeman
Gateway to Magic by Annabelle Franklin
Town Secrets by Scott Gelowitz
Giovanni Goes to Med School by Kathy Bryson

From Donna Huber

Match Me If You Can by Michele Gorman
The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell
The Hitwoman Hires a Manny by JB Lynn
The Hitwoman and the Sacrificial Lamb by JB Lynn
Bury Me by Tara Sivec
Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce
Bayou My Love by Lauren Faulknenberry
Florida Firefight by Randy Wayne White
Two Doors Down: Secret Admirer by J. Jennings
An Invincible Summer by Betta Ferrendelli
The Hitwoman and the Chubby Cherub by JB Lynn
The Hitwoman and the Mother Load by JB Lynn
Firestorm by Katie Robison
An Acre of Fools by Aden James
(Not So) Good in a Room by Dakota Madison
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
Graveyard Shift by Angela Roquet
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Caged Lightning by Brent Rock Russell
Criminal by K.B. Hoyle
The Letterbox by Layton Green
Hitwoman Under Pressure by JB Lynn
Millicent Marie Just My Opinion by Karen Pokras Toz
Some Like It Perfect by Megan Bryce
Love is a Four-Legged Word by Michele Gorman
Dominion by Lissa Bryan
This is Sarah by Ally Malinenko
Christmas Candy by Samantha Jacobey

From Elisa Hordon

Restless Spirits by Kathy Bryson
Fighting Mad by Kathy Bryson
Sinister by Jana Deleon
With One World by Olivia Blake
Killer Kolada by Sybil Hodge
One Little Wish by Gina LaManna
Urban Mermaid by Howard Parsons
Center Stage by Denise Grover Swank
Heartbreaker by Kat Bastion
Spiced by Gina LaManna
A Good Man Gone by A.W. Hartoin
Sprinkled by Gina LaManna
Who, What, Where, When Die by Amanda M. Lee
Christmas Spirit by Morgana Best
Bubblegum Blonde by Anna Snow
The Wife of Riley by A.W. Hortoin
No Money Down by Julie Moffett
No One Lives Twice by Julie Moffett
No One to Trust by Julie Moffett
No Place Like Rome by Julie Moffett
No Biz Like Showbiz by Julie Moffett
No Test for the Wicked by Julie Moffett
No Woman Left Behind by Julie Moffett
No Room for Error by Julie Moffett
No Strings Attached by Julie Moffett
Hex on the Beach by Gina LaManna
The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith
People in Season by Simon Faye
Rescued by Stephanie St. Klaire
Amaretto Amber by Traci Andrighetti
Witchy Sour by Gina LaManna
One Paris Summer by Denis Grover Swank
Kitten Kaboodle by Kathi Daley
Hidden by Stephanie St Klaire
Death by Diploma by Kelley Kaye
Melody Bittersweet and the Girls' Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French
New Corpse in Town by Lucy Quinn
Scorch by Liliana Hart
Two Little Lies by Gina LaManna
Lights, Camera, Murder by Nikki Haverstock
How to Bake a Murder by K.J. Emrick
David by Johnny Worthen
Hidden Deception by Colleen Helme

From Elisabeth Scherer

Even the Dead Will Bleed by Steven Ramirez
A Girl's Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber
Antonia Barclay and her Scottish Claymore by Jane Carter Barrett
Hatter Madigan: Ghost in the H.A.T.B.O.X. by Frank Beddor
Chasing the Surface by Sharon Mentyka

From Emily Morley

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Skim by Mariko Tamaki
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

From Kathleen Barker

The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
All the Life We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

From MK French

Run Girl by Eva Hudson
Knowing Yourself by Lisa Shea
Chiaroscuro by Matthew S. Cox
Writer's Retweet by Piers Anthony
The Metronome by D.R. Bell
Jack-in-the-Box by William W. Johnstone
Mirror Image by Michael Scott
The Bacchanal and Other Horrific Tales
Tokens and Omens by Jeri Baird
A Night of Forever by Bronwen Evans
Nightmares Anthology by Ellen Datlow
A Raven's Heart by K.C. Bateman
Pigeon Blood Red by Ed Duncan
Eye of the Storm by Frank Cavallo
Too Wyrd by Sarah Buhrman
The Next One Will Kill You by Neil S. Plakcy
Rarity From the Hollow by Robert Eggleton
Kookabuk Shares His Shovel by Kevin and Jesse Howard MK
Rule Breaker by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion
A Very Ruby Christmas by Lavinia Kent

From Susan Roberts

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig
The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
Come Away with Me by Karma Brown
The Wiregrass by Pam Weber
A Jingle Valley Wedding by Martha Reynolds 
She's Not There by Joy Fielding 
I'll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable 
Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf
Final Approach by John J. Nance
The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Lives by Theresa Brown
Riot by Charles S. Isaacs
The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman
The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale
As Close to Us as Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner
Somewhere Out There by Amy Hatvany
Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen
Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Scout's Honor by Dori Ann Dupre
Center Ring by Nicole Waggoner
Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
Iris and Ruby by Rosie Thomas
The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
Linny's Sweet Dream List by Susan Schild
Paris is Always a Good Idea by Nicola Barreau
The Promise of Provence by Patricia Sands
67 Shots: Kent State and the End of American Innocence by Howard Means
Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O'Keeffe by Dawn Tripp
The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton
Memory House by Bette Lee Crosby
The Loft Bette Lee Crosby
What the Heart Remembers by Bette Lee Crosby
Baby Girl by Bette Lee Crosby
The Dreams of Stillwater by Steena Holmes
The Secrets of Flight by Maggie Leffler
When He Fell by Kate Hewitt
The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda
The Winemakers by Jan Moran
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
The Summer Girls by Mary Alice Monroe
The Summer Wind by Mary Alice Monroe
The Summer's End by Mary Alice Monroe
A Lowcountry Wedding by Mary Alice Monroe
Luna Tree by Maya Berger
When We Were Sisters by Emilie Richards
Saving Abby by Steena Holmes
Remember by Beauties by Lynne Hugo
The Children by Ann Leary
The Gravity-Assist Technique by Dalene Flannigan
Start at the Beginning by Judy Mollen Walters
She Poured Out Her Heart by Jean Thompson
Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Face Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
The North Water by Ian McGuire
One Man's War by P.M. Kippert
Revenants: The Odyssey Home by Scott Kauffman
Remember the Ladies by Gina Mulligan
The Girls by Emma Cline
The A to Z of Normal by Helen Barbour
One Last Fling by Leela Lou Dahlin
Sweet Tomorrows by Debbie Macomber
The Choices We Make by Karma Brown
Love, Luck & Lemon Pie by Amy Reichert
The Torch is Passed by Bill Powers
Everything and a Happy Ending by Tia Shurina
Detroit Hustle by Amy Haimerl
Dimestore: A Writer's Life by Lee Smith
The Michigan Murders by Edward Keys
The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner
Age of Consent by Marti Leimbach
I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around by Ann Garvin
Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul
All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank
Flight Patterns by Karen White
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
Family Tree by Susan Wiggs
The Promise by Fredrik Nath
Clean Break by Abby Vegas
Guiding Fate by Tamra Lassiter
Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter
Triple Love Score by Brandi Megan Granett
Results May Vary by Bethany Chase
Happy People Read and Drink Coffee by Agnes Martin-Lugand
Sweet Breath of Memory by Ariella Chen
Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
Overlook by Elizabeth Hein
Escape Plan by Elizabeth Hein
Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt
Now and Then Friends by Kate Hewitt
Sweet Carolina Morning by Susan Schild
The Stone Necklace by Carla Damron
The Language of Sisters by Cathy Lamb
Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely
Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson
Redemption Road by John Hart
Forever Beach by Shelley Noble
The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
The Legacy of Us by Kristin Contino
Since She Went Away by David J. Bell
The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown
A Violet and Two Gentlemen by Petronela Ungureanu
Trumped! Beyond Politically Correct by Peter Davidson
Escape to Redemption by Peter M. Parr
Outside the Lines by Sheila Lowe
Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White
A Question of Mercy by Elizabeth Cox
Dive! by Deborah Hopkinson
As Good as Gone by Larry Watson
Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt
Leave Me by Gayle Forman
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Fractured by Catherine McKenzie
All the Time in the World by Caroline Angell
I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows
Root, Petal, Thorn by Ella Joy Olsen
The Widower's Wife by Cate Holahan
Lovers and Newcomers by Rosie Thomas
Shelby's Creek by Mark Matthiessen
The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman
Mischling by Affinity Konar
Daughters of the Bride by Susan Mallery
Two Across by Jeff Bartsch
Falling by Jane Green
The Promise Kitchen by Peggy Lampman  
The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo
Frontline Angel by Genevieve Jordayne
Circle of Trust by Jacqueline Simon Gunn
A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe
Blackbeard's Daughter by Diana Strenka
The Blood Led Her by Robert DiGiacomo
A Solitary Awakening by Kevin Cady
I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb
Miss Christmas by Gigi Garrett
Wallflower Blooming by Amy Rivers
All the Breaking Waves by Kerry Lonsdale

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December 29, 2016

Featured Articles of 2016

Each month Girl Who Reads provides a variety of articles on books, authors, reading, writing, blogging and even a couple of flash fiction stories. Many of these articles are provided by our wonderful staff of writers, but we have also had awesome guest writers and interviews over the past 12 months. In case you have missed any of them here is a run down.

From guest writers:

Stephen Swartz: Writing True Life
RP Channing: Why YA?
Diana Stevan: Taking My Writing Off the Back Burner
Joan Cusake Handler: Orphaned in Adulthood: An Unexamined Life Stage
Laura Libricz: Magic Me a Meal!
Andrew Joyce: No Earthly Good 
Michael Landweber on Character Development 
Brenda Perlin: GET YOUR REBEL ON! 
Brantwijn Serrah: 13 Fun Facts about The Pact 


Interview with Mona Awad, Author of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
Interview with Author Paul Krueger
Q&A with Kim Addonizio, author of Bukowski in a Sundress
A Conversation with Liz Lazarus, author of Free of Malice

From Chris:

Chris's New Year’s Resolutions
The Fairytale Ending
April Fools, Douglas Adams and Sending the Fool Further 
Iconic Story in Children's Literature Hits the Big Screen: The BFG
Writing Drafts
Writing Seasons
Endings: Good, Bad, Never-ending and Unfinished
The Thing that Scared our Cat
Flash Fiction: Ghosts in Fire
Flash Fiction: Anti-Santa

From Alison DeLuca:

A List of Books for 2016
Five Necessary Items for Losing Weight

From Byddi Lee:

How do you know if you want to be a writer?
Write It, Share It
Writers Groups - Nasty or Nurturing?
Make Your Own Writing Group
Have You Got the Write Time?
The Write Place
Minding Your P’s and Q’s: the Rules of Writing
Don’t Lose the Plot!
Getting to Know Your Characters
Let’s Talk About Writing Dialogue
Gone With The Wind – Conflict in Writing
The Importance of Being Edited

From Kathleen Barker:

Elena Who And What The Heck Is A Neapolitan Novel?
Think You Know Alexander Hamilton? Read This Before You Answer

From Ross Kitson:

Mature Marvel
W is for Wizard
D and D and Me
Stranger Days
From Tiara to Tough Guy, the Rise of Luke Cage
Six Books From a Six Year Old

From Donna Huber:

Why You Should Leave a Comment
Spending Valentine's Day Alone? It Could be Your Grammar
Build Online Relationships with Engaging Content

From Elisabeth Scherer:

Juxtaposition, June 2015, and Jumping back into a Familiar World
Tempting Tomes and To-Read Books
National Mad Hatter Day: Books to Read

From Elisa Hordon

A Love of Witches
Culinary Cozy Capers - Recipes Included
Shelby Nichols Adventures
Cozy Mysteries with Female PIs
Kenzie Cox Takes on Shifters in Two New Series 
Unbelievable Ghostly Drama

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December 28, 2016

Six books from a Six Year Old

by Ross Kitson

One of the things I missed when my eldest two children got to that stage when they became independent readers was the bedtime story. Sure, at times, it could be a chore, especially when you have a dozen things still to do in that sacred 'kids in bed' period in the evening. But when it was gone, it left a void—and so when we were blessed with a third child and an age gap of six years—I was grateful for the return of bedtime stories.

I was chatting with my six-year-old, Henry, the other day about what books he's enjoyed the most. This last year he's progressed onto 'chapter books' as he calls them, and this has opened up a cornucopia of great reads. And given that it's the festive season, and anyone with kids/ nephews/ nieces/ grandkids are always eager for recommendations I thought I'd give you the top five from the brain of a six-year-old lad.

cover Mt Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire
Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire by Andy Stanton

I truly can't quantify how awesome these books are. The chaotic illustrations and bizarre storylines are reminiscent of Roald Dahl books, and there are scenes that are seriously hilarious. It also has the vibe of something that just wouldn't do well filmed, which makes it extra special in my eyes! Mr Gum is the villain of the piece, with his grotty habits and his naughty schemes, he spends his days plotting the downfall of the village of Lamonic Biber. In this, the second book, the heroes are joined by the eccentric billionaire gingerbread man (powered by electric limbs), Alan Taylor. Alan must learn important lessons about value and wealth, in a suitably irreverent way. Just great.

cover Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants
Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants by Dav Pilkey

I'm sure if you haven’t heard of Captain Underpants yet then by the end of this coming year you'll be saturated by him. Dreamworks are making a movie of him for summer 2017, and the villain is the superbly named Prof Poopypants. Dav Pilkey got the mix just right, with toilet gags, superheroes, mean principles, and two likeable heroes in the form of George and Harold. There's a nice subversive streak in the books, which I think appeals to the kids. Henry loves these books, and it inspired him to draw and scribble his own cartoons with writing underneath (the Adventures of Stinky and Henry if you're curious).

cover The Jolley-Rogers and the Cave of Doom
The Jolley-Rogers and the Cave of Doom by Jonny Duddle

Is there a six-year-old not into pirates? Not in our neighbourhood. This series is about a girl Matilda who befriends a family of pirates who take residence in the port of Dull-on-Sea. What makes the series is the clever plots, the gentle and occasional deadpan humour, and the wonderful illustrations. Of the latter, the style is perfect and I'd struggle moving through the book as I'd be looking at the great pictures.

cover Horrid Henry and the Mega Mean Time Machine

Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machine by Francesca Simons

I'd read the HH books with my eldest, and so it was with great satisfaction that I coerced my Henry into reading about his namesake, with over half the 24 books saved in our study! There's so many to choose from, but this one is probably our favourite as the four stories are all great: notably the title story, and the trip to Restaurant Le Posh. As well as Henry and his naughty tricks, the collection of supporting characters (especially poor Perfect Peter) really shine in this book. And Henry's trick is really funny in this book, even for adults determined to ease their kids down the Peter way of life rather than the Henry one.

cover The Brilliant World of Tom Gates
The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

This one reminded me of an English version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which I enjoyed reading with my eldest years ago. It didn't quite have the bite of the Wimpy Kid, but Henry really enjoyed it as it balances the easy-going story with plenty of doodles and cartoons. It looks more like a diary than Wimpy Kid and had some moments of genuine well-observed family humour that adults would chuckle about. We've bought another two in the series for Xmas, so let's see if Santa comes up with a winning series for Henry on Xmas day.

cover Day the Crayons Quit
So those are the five top chapter books (and series) on Henry's shelves. Naturally, we still have short picture books that now he can read alone a little he's returning to (Oliver Jeffers awesome illustrations, both in his own books and in the Day the Crayons Quit are my personal faves), but more and more it's the chapters books he's loving. And I'm wondering how long I can stretch the bedtime stories out for, and who knows maybe he'll return the favour when my eyesight's gone and I'm in the mood for a chapter book or two!

Have a great yuletide, and I hope Santa brought you plenty of books.

Ross Kitson is a doctor, occasional blogger, full-time geek, and sporadic author of fantasy and YA sci-fi. Connect with Ross on Twitter. Read Ross's articles.

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December 27, 2016

The Story of a Murderess: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

by Emily Morley

Of all my many murders, committed for love and for better reasons, the first was the most important.

So begins Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (March 2016, G.P Putnam's Sons, ISBN13: 978-0399169496). Who can resist an opening line like that? Between the incredible cover art and those first few words, I was roped in and along for the ride. I didn’t even bother to read the inside cover. One quick swipe of my library card and Jane Steele was coming home with me.

The book, it turns out, is a historical novel. Set in what I suspect to be nineteenth-century England, this novel is like no historical novel I’ve ever read before.

Jane begins as a quiet girl with a deceased, rich father and a French mother who can do little but paint or drown her sorrows with alcohol. They live on the edge of a large estate that Jane is destined to inherit, but everything changes after her mother dies. In a matter of days, her aunt gains control of the property and her older cousin attempts to assault her. When she pushes him over a small cliff in self-defense, she commits her first murder and never looks back.

Life takes Jane many sordid places after that including boarding school and London, and no matter how tight of a spot she’s in, she always keeps murder in the back of her mind as a means to escape. As a reader, you come to expect Jane to kill, but the fun is in watching how she does it and why. My favorite kind of character is one that I can root for, even in the face of them doing horrible deeds.

And I do want Jane to succeed.

She seeks vengeance, seeks to take back what’s been stolen from her, and I’m sticking around until the end of the novel to see how she does it. Her revenge was delicious. I was cheering as I read, thinking more historical novels ought to have bad girls like Jane.

My big criticism of the book is that there seems to be a huge pause in the middle. For the first half of the novel, Jane is trying to survive her Aunt taking over the estate, getting shipped off to boarding school, and traveling to London. About halfway through, everything comes screeching to a halt as she abandons the life she’s built to reclaim her lost estate. This was a little jarring to me, but pushing through to the end of the book was definitely the right choice.

Another slight annoyance was Faye’s reliance on the constant comparisons between Jane Steele and Jane Eyre. In fact, there are so many references, that I’d recommend brushing up on the plot line if you haven’t read the book or seen the film. The epitaphs at the beginning of each chapter will shed some light, but I often found myself skipping them.

To be truly honest, I have little patience for them and even less for Jane Eyre. It’s not one of my favorite books, but this homage convinced me that maybe I need to give it a second chance. I’ll definitely be checking out Faye’s other books.

Born and raised in Michigan, Emily Morley is an artist and aspiring author who’s been writing and illustrating books since she was six years old. She gravitates towards fantasy (hello, fellow Harry Potter fans) and books about complicated characters overcoming the impossible. She’s also an avid traveler who’s managed to read on six continents and hopes to add the seventh soon. When she is home, she likes to curl up with a huge cup of steaming tea and a good, thick book. 

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December 26, 2016

Books Under the Christmas Tree #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

It is no secret that I come from a reading family. So of course, there were a few books under our Christmas tree this year, mostly for my niece and nephew, but I got one surprise too. What books did you get or give this year?

For my niece:

cover A Torch Against the Night
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir is the second book in the An Ember in the Ashes series that my niece recently discovered. I purchased it back in September and I was a little worried that she might have already picked it up for herself when we got closer to Christmas and I asked her what books she wanted. Then on our shopping day, she sees the display and she asks me if I've read the series. I haven't and I asked her if she had the second book. How glad I was when she said no.

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.
~cover and description from

cover Empire of the Storms
My niece absolutely loves The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J, Maas. I knew she was eagerly awaiting the release of book five in the series - Empire of Storms. This one I knew she hadn't gotten because in our texts about books that she might want for Christmas she was quick to ask for this title again. She was absolutely thrilled when she opened the box.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?
~cover and description from

cover United as One
The kids are in the teens now and my mom thought they might want to get clothes or something for Christmas so we took a day last week and went shopping (since they live out of state we didn't to worry about getting the wrong size). But wouldn't you know it, my niece really just wanted to go the bookstore. She picked out this United as One by Pittacus Lore, which my mom went home and wrapped to put under the tree. What torture that must have been for my niece.

The seventh and final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling I Am Number Four series! With United as One, this action-packed series comes to a surprising, breathtaking, and utterly satisfying conclusion. The Garde didn’t start this war, but they’ll do whatever it takes to end it once and for all. . . .

The Mogadorians have invaded Earth. Their warships loom over our most populated cities, and no country will risk taking them head on. The Garde are all that stand in the way, but they’ll need an army of their own to win this fight.

They’ve teamed up with the US military, but it might not be enough. The Garde need reinforcements, and they’ve found them in the most unexpected place. Teenagers from across the globe, like John Smith’s best friend, Sam, have developed abilities. So John and the others must get to them before the Mogs, because if they don’t their enemies will use these gifted teens for their own sinister plan.

But after all the Mogadorians have taken from John—his home, his family, his friends, and the person he loves most—he might not want to put any more lives in danger. He’s got nothing left to lose, and he’s just discovered he has been given an incredible new Legacy. Now he can turn himself into the ultimate weapon. So will he risk his life to save the world, or will he realize that power in numbers will save us all?
~cover and description from

For my nephew:

cover To Kill a Mockingbird
My nephew was a big reader for an early age. Unfortunately, he is at the age where video games are cooler than books, but that didn't keep him from asking for a book this Christmas (even it is on his required reading list for next semester).

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into ten languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
~cover and description from

For me:

cover THe Beauty of the Fall
I don't often get books as presents since I receive so many books for review or pick up ebooks when I find a great deal. But on Christmas Eve, I happened to look out the window at the same time as the mail carrier was delivering my mail. And behold! I saw a cardboard box just the size for a book being put in my mailbox (the mailbox was a Christmas present a few years ago, and it is big enough for book deliveries - my previous mailbox was too small, but I wouldn't buy myself a new one making it the perfect gift.). I received The Beauty of the Fall by Rich Marcello, which I won at Goodreads, and it was wrapped up in plain paper like a Christmas present.

A technology executive charts a high-risk, unconventional path while grieving the loss of his son.

Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss, Olivia Whitmore, fires Dan from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, he crashes and isolates himself.

Willow, a poet and domestic violence survivor, helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting Fortune 500 companies to flesh out a software start-up idea. When Dan returns home with a fully formed vision, he recruits the help of three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change.

Guided by Dan’s generative leadership, Conversationworks enjoys some early successes, but its existence is soon threatened on multiple fronts. Will Dan survive the ensuing corporate battles and realize the potential of his company? Or will he be defeated by his enemies and consumed by his grief?
~cover and description from

Donna Huber 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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December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas from Girl Who Reads

I hope your Christmas was as magical as the story within the pages of your favorite book. 

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