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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

July 1, 2017

An Explosion of New Books Coming Out in July

Have you already read through your summer reading pile? Never fear, July is filled with great new releases from some of the most popular authors. What books are you looking forward to?

Amazon affiliate links are used in this post. Covers and descriptions are from

The Reason You're Alive by Matthew Quick

The Reason You're Alive
The New York Times-bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook offers a timely novel featuring his most fascinating character yet, a Vietnam vet embarking on a quixotic crusade to track down his nemesis from the war.

After sixty-eight-year-old David Granger crashes his BMW, medical tests reveal a brain tumor that he readily attributes to his wartime Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating a name no one in his civilian life has ever heard—that of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline. David decides to return something precious he long ago stole from the man he now calls Clayton Fire Bear. It might be the only way to find closure in a world increasingly at odds with the one he served to protect. It might also help him finally recover from his wife’s untimely demise.

As David confronts his past to salvage his present, a poignant portrait emerges: that of an opinionated and goodhearted American patriot fighting like hell to stay true to his red, white, and blue heart, even as the country he loves rapidly changes in ways he doesn’t always like or understand. Hanging in the balance are Granger’s distant art-dealing son, Hank; his adoring seven-year-old granddaughter, Ella; and his best friend, Sue, a Vietnamese-American who respects David’s fearless sincerity.

Through the controversial, wrenching, and wildly honest David Granger, Matthew Quick offers a no-nonsense but ultimately hopeful view of America’s polarized psyche. By turns irascible and hilarious, insightful and inconvenient, David is a complex, wounded, honorable, and loving man. The Reason You’re Alive examines how the secrets and debts we carry from our past define us; it also challenges us to look beyond our own prejudices and search for the good in us all.

Available July 4
Buy The Reason You're Alive at Amazon

Harrison's Heart by Dale Mayer

Harrison's Heart
Welcome to Harrison’s Heart, book 7 in Heroes for Hire, reconnecting readers with the unforgettable men from SEALs of Honor in a new series of action-packed, page turning romantic suspense that fans have come to expect from USA TODAY Bestselling author Dale Mayer.

When a call for help comes from Ice’s father, Harrison steps up. A senator has been shot, his wife beaten and his kids are in the wind. It’s up to Harrison to find the answers everyone is looking for.

Including finding the senator’s ex-military and pissed at the world daughter. Only she doesn’t want anything to do with him.

Zoe is on a mission. There’s no room in her world for heroes – especially not Harrison. But he won’t take no for an answer. Only Zoe has angered the wrong people, and they won’t stop until they put an end to her meddling or better yet – to her.

With so much going on, Harrison struggles to pull the pieces together – before their world is completely blown apart – permanently.

Available July 11
Buy Harrison's Heart at Amazon

Last Breath by Karin Slaughter

Last Breath
The fantastic prequel to The Good Daughter, the stunning new standalone from the No. 1 bestselling author of the Will Trent and Grant County series.

Protecting someone always comes at a cost.

At the age of thirteen, Charlie Quinn’s childhood came to an abrupt and devastating end. Two men, with a grudge against her lawyer father, broke into her home – and after that shocking night, Charlie's world was never the same.

Now a lawyer herself, Charlie has made it her mission to defend those with no one else to turn to. So when Flora Faulkner, a motherless teen, begs for help, Charlie is reminded of her own past, and is powerless to say no.

But honour-student Flora is in far deeper trouble than Charlie could ever have anticipated. Soon she must ask herself: How far should she go to protect her client? And can she truly believe everything she is being told?

Available July 11
Buy Last Breath at Amazon

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool by Lisa Scottoline

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool
The bestselling and “perennially hilarious” mother-daughter team is back with a new collection of stories from their real lives, guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Join Lisa and Francesca as they regret drunk-shopping online, try smell-dating, and explore the freedom of a hiatus from men - a Guyatus. They offer a fresh and funny take on the triumphs and facepalm moments of modern life, showing that when it comes to navigating the crazy world we live in, you’re always your own best lifeguard.

Available July 11
Buy I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool at Amazon

Because of Lila by Abbi Glines

Because of Lila
Prim, proper, classic good girl, and her least favorite label - icy.

Lila Kate Carter has heard them all. The last one, being the newest. She is not icy. She just doesn’t care for Cruz Kerrington and his spoiled, selfish, careless ways. That doesn’t make her icy, that makes him a jerk!

Tired of being labeled and doing what is expected of her, Lila Kate leaves Rosemary Beach, Florida ready for an adventure. Wanting to recreate herself, find a new path, and become something more.

Eli Hardy is tired of women who always act the same, do the same thing and expect the same thing. He's ready to swear off women until he can get the rest of his life together.

Two weeks into his no-women-rule he meets Lila. She’s so damn sweet and polite. Like she walked right out of an etiquette book. But he’d already been drunk before she walked in so there was a good chance she might not be as stunning and perfect as he thinks. He’s just too drunk to worry about that.

The next morning, he swears he can still smell her on his skin. He just can’t remember why or what happened after that third dance.

Their worlds are about to collide, and so are the secrets and lies.

Available July 11
Buy Because of Lila at Amazon

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights
Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct...

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie's help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn't she want to be found? It's time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Available July 11
Buy Two Nights at Amazon

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

The Good Daughter
The stunning new standalone, with a chilling edge of psychological suspense, from the No. 1 bestselling author of the Will Trent and Grant County series.

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy smalltown family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – Pikeville's notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself – the archetypal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again – and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatised – Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case which can't help triggering the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried for ever …

Available July 13
Buy The Good Daughter at Amazon

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley

The Bedlam Stacks
An astonishing historical novel set in the shadowy, magical forests of South America, which draws on the captivating world of the international bestseller The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.

Deep in uncharted Peru, the holy town of Bedlam stands at the edge of a forest. The shrine statues move, and anyone who crosses the border dies. But somewhere inside are cinchona trees, whose bark yields quinine: the only known treatment for malaria.

On the other side of the Pacific, it is 1859 and India is ravaged by the disease. The hunt for a reliable source of quinine is critical and in its desperation, the India Office searches out its last qualified expeditionary. Struggling with a terrible injury from his last mission and the strange occurrences at his family's ruined estate, Merrick Tremayne finds himself under orders to bring back cinchona cuttings at any cost and dispatched, against his own better judgement, to Bedlam.

There he meets Raphael, a priest around whom the villagers spin unsettlingly familiar stories of impossible disappearances and living stone. Gradually, he realises that Raphael is the key to a legacy left by two generations of Tremayne explorers before him, one which will prove more dangerous and valuable than the India Office could ever have imagined.

Available July 13
Buy The Bedlam Stacks at Amazon

Seeds of Malice by Dale Mayer

Seeds of Malice
Charged with murder. Betrayed by her lover. Shunned by her friends.

After being acquitted of the murder, botanist Fern Geller runs from her past to learn everything she can about poisonous plants. She ends up doing a six month contract at the Garden of Death before finding the answer she’s seeking...

When she returns to the same conservatory where she’d worked before, the new boss is missing and several other men are dead. Once again, all eyes turn her way.

FBI agent, London Behring hadn’t expected Fern to look like she does now. Ethereal. Gorgeous. Gentle. Why and how had she been a murder suspect? Even more intriguing, how had she been acquitted of all charges? And more mysteriously, she’d come back to the scene of the crime… at the perfect time to fall under suspicion – again.

What magic did she possess to walk away from such crimes? And how can he stay free of her charms… a lure he’s finding impossible to resist.

Available July 18
Buy Seeds of Malice at Amazon

Collared by David Rosenfelt

Lawyer Andy Carpenter's true passion is the Tara Foundation, the dog rescue organization he runs with his friend Willie Miller. All kinds of dogs make their way to the foundation, and it isn't that surprising to find a dog abandoned at the shelter one morning, though it was accompanied by a mysterious anonymous note. But they are quite surprised when they scan the dog's embedded chip, and discover that they know this dog. He is the -DNA dog.-

Two and a half years ago, Jill Hickman was a single mother of an adopted baby. Her baby and dog were kidnapped in broad daylight in Eastside Park, and they haven't been seen since. A tip came in that ID'd a former boyfriend of Hickman's, Keith Wachtel, as the kidnapper. A search of his house showed no sign of the child but did uncover more incriminating evidence, and the clincher that generated Wachtel's arrest was some dog hair, notable since Wachtel did not have a dog. DNA tests showed conclusively that the hair belonged to Hickman's dog. Wachtel was convicted of kidnapping, but the dog and baby were never found.

Now, with the reappearance of the dog, the case is brought back to light, and the search for the child renewed. Goaded by his wife's desire to help a friend and fellow mother and Andy's desire to make sure the real kidnapper is in jail, Andy and his team enter the case. But what they start to uncover is far more complicated and dangerous than they ever expected.

Available July 18
Buy Collared at Amazon

Vanguard by Ann Aguirre

The Razorland saga continues. Since the war ended, Tegan has dreamed of an epic journey, so when she has the opportunity to sign on as ship's doctor, she can't wait. It's past time to chart her course. Millie Faraday, the kindest girl in the free territories, also yearns to outrun her reputation, and warrior-poet James Morrow would follow Tegan to the ends of the earth.

Their company seems set, but fate brings one more to their number. Tegan will battle incredible odds while aiding Szarok, the Uroch vanguard, who has ventured forth to save his people. Szarok is strange and beautiful, like a flower that blooms only in the dark. She shouldn't allow him close, as such a relationship is both alien and forbidden. But through stormy seas and strange lands, she will become stronger than she ever knew.

Available July 25
Buy Vanguard at Amazon

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June 30, 2017

Fun #RomCom: The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square by Lilly Bartlett

by Donna Huber

Welcome back to the East End! Emma and the whole crowd is back. The wedding is past, the babies have been born and Emma is trying to fulfill the dream she labored so hard through school for. You know Emma, she couldn't open a youth center. No, she is opening a cafe.

Amazon affiliate links are used in this post. A free ebook was provided for this review.

The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square
June 2017; HarperImpulse; ebook (243 pages)
romantic comedy
When I read The Big Little Wedding in Carlton Square by Lilly Bartlett I had a fleeting thought that the closed down pub they used for bathrooms would be featured in another book in the series. And what a shock it was when I was notified of The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square and it featured the closed down pub. Seriously I did a little ha ha dance because I was right about it making a great setting.

One thing you know when you pick up a Lilly Bartlett books is that it is going to be fun (in case you didn't know Bartlett is the pen name for Michele Gorman). Second Chance Cafe is a bit different than The Big Little Wedding as it is much more focused on Emma and how she balances working and being a mom. The other characters from the first book make appearances or are mentioned but they do not have a big role.

As you can imagine (or have experienced) as a new mom of twins her time is consumed with the kids. And on top of that, she renovated and opened a new cafe that employees at risk teens. If you have run your own business you know that the first year is all-consuming. So it felt real that the other characters were more in the background. But there are a few new characters to add spice to things - the two teens who work for Emma, the cafe owner down the street, Emma's Moms Group, and there is plenty of East End color.

There are some predictable moments as is par for the course for a romantic comedy, but it is still a cute story and well-worth the read.

Buy The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square at Amazon US and in the UK

Which cover do you like best? I usually favor the UK version (the large cover) over the US version (the cover in the quote graphics), but for this book, I like them both. Does on appeal more to you than the other?

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.

Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up today!. 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.

June 29, 2017

2 African American Coming-of-Age Stories from Nadine C. Keels

by MK French

Nadine. A French name, meaning, “hope.” With her lifelong passion for life-enriching fiction, Nadine C. Keels enjoys reading and writing everything from short stories to novels. Her fiction works include Love Unfeigned and The Movement of Crowns Series, and select pieces of her lyrical poetry can be found on her spoken word album, Hope. Lyricized. As the founder of Prismatic Prospects, her communication company, Nadine has served as editor for a number of titles, and through her writing, from her books to her blog posts, she aims to help spark hope, inspiration, and genius in as many as she is privileged to reach.

I've had the opportunity to review two of Nadine's stories. One is a full-length novel and the other is a novella. If you are looking to add some diversity to your reading pile, then check out these books.

June 28, 2017

Hello Darkness, my old friend

by Ross Kitson

Having just watched the official trailer for the impending season of Game of Thrones I joined the masses with an almighty squeeee. Plenty of soundbites, plenty of slow character shots, then fast cuts of incredible looking battle scenes and, of course, dragons.

June 27, 2017

Review: The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan #TLCBookTours #TheCafeByTheSea

by Susan Roberts

The Cafe by the Sea is another delightful book by Jenny Colgan.  If you enjoy light-hearted stories with easy to like characters, give her books a read.

June 26, 2017

June Books Read #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

A prize pack I won at Armchair Book Expo arrived in the mail.

Without as much television on to watch and a week of vacation, I have definitely had a good month of reading. I've gotten through some of the backlog of ebooks that I have promised myself to read this year. I've also been able to read a book from my in print review shelf and even two books that I purchased. Even though I'm still working on the classes for my Digital Marketer Certification and taking a Coursera class on historical fiction, I've listened to a few audiobooks. How was your month of reading?

June 25, 2017

Two New Coming-of-Age Novels Hit Shelves This Week

by MK French

Are you looking for something a bit different than your typical 'beach read'? Then these two coming-of-age novels may be just the thing for you. One is a fantasy novel and the other is women's fiction. Both books hit shelves on Tuesday.