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September 24, 2018

Monthly Wrap-up: September 2018 #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

It has been another busy month at Girl Who Reads. Thankfully work has fallen into a routine again so it is more manageable. I'm loving my spin class, but it wears me out. Instead of more energy, I seem to have to take a nap every day. I hope that my body will adjust soon to the increased activity. I've picked up a couple of new TV shows this month, both on PBS - The Miniaturist and The Great American Read. I didn't read The Miniaturist as it isn't my kind of book, and though I'm enjoying the show I still don't think I would read the book. I enjoy hearing about a wide range of books and getting some literary history during The Great American Read. Fall television kicks off this week, so we'll see how much reading I get done the next couple of months. I only have to read 8 more books to meet my Goodreads Challenge of 100 books.

Here's what's happened around Girl Who Reads this month: (the links will take you to the posts)

Susan Roberts discussed The Stand by Stephen King and The Color Purple by Alice Walker from The Great American Read list. She reviewed The Space Between and Whisper Me This, The Secret of the Irish Castle by Santa Montefiore, Tear Me Apart by JT Ellison, Warm Transfer and Thread for PearlsThe Boy at the Keyhole by Stephen Giles, and When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica. Stop back this week on Tuesday for her review of Lies by T. M. Logan and on Saturday for The Fourteen of September.

MK French reviewed Drawn to the Marquess by Bronwen Evans, The Girl in the Locked Room by Mary Downing, The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri, The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz, Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham, My Own Devices by Dessa, and Trust Me by Earl Javorsky, and The One Unspoken by Sarah Bryant. This week she will review An Unexpected Adventure by Kandi Wyatt on Tuesday, Ginseng Tango by Cheryl Pallent on Friday, and The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March on Sunday.

C. M. North discussed writing opening paragraphs to keep readers reading in Shocking Introductions: Crafting the Perfect Start to a Story.

Alison Deluca took at look at Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.

I reviewed The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal and Clutch by Lisa Becker, both of which I read last month. I also discussed the new television show, Jack Ryan. On Thursday, I'll discuss some more bookish TV.

September 23, 2018

The One Unspoken by Sarah Bryant ~ A Review

by MK French

The One Unspoken
April 2018; Curiosity Quills;
ebook, print ( pages); historical, fantasy
Sidonie Verdier was born in the middle of a storm and is raised by Adelis, the midwife and former slave that birthed her. Her father had run off while her mother was still pregnant, and her mother died soon after the childbirth. Sidonie and Adelis were close, especially as it became clear that they both were able to see and communicate with ghosts. When her father returns to make a Creole debutante out of her, Sidonie's only escapes are her music and occasionally talking with her neighbor, Gabriel St. Martin, the only son of a free black plantation owner.

Antebellum New Orleans and Louisiana make up the setting of the novel, including its gorgeous architecture, socially rigid structures based on class and race, as well as the heartbreak and cruelties of slavery and the state of marriage in the day. Sidonie, not brought up with those perspectives, is as horrified by those stories and injustices as we are while reading about it. Gabriel is at least a free man of color, so his lot is much better than the slaves' are. Even so, the microaggressions and the laws are against the free people of color, so those with money and talent have to go to Europe for further training.

There are hints at a larger kind of mystery, as multiple people know Adelis and her gift. Sidonie's mother had it as well, as there are complicated ties between Sidonie's family and the St. Martin family. It's eventually revealed, and the ties between them have tightened further as Sidonie's and Gabriel's relationship deepened and changed over time. The story is beautiful and beautifully tragic, as any interracial love would be in that period. Both are very likable characters, even with mistakes or unkind words that they say.

The plot really draws me in, and I lost track of time while reading the book because I was so immersed in it. This is a fantastic and gripping novel.

Buy The One Unspoken at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French 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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September 22, 2018

The Bone Whistle by @KBHoyle_author ~ a Review #TheGatewayChronicles

by Donna Huber

I have now finished my third reading of The Gateway Chronicles and I loved it just as much as the first time I read it. I kind of dreaded reading The Bone Whistle partly because it would mean the end of the series. But I also dreaded the deterioration of the relationship between Darcy and her family.

September 21, 2018

When the Lights Go Out by @MaryKubica ~ a @HarlequinBooks Review

by Susan Roberts

How it begins...


The city surrounds me. A panorama. With arms outstretched, I can't help but spin, taking it all in. Enjoying the view, knowing fully well this may be the last thing my eyes ever see.

September 20, 2018

Save the Date by Morgan Matson ~ an @Audible_com Review

by Donna Huber

After reading Never Let Me Go and The Woodcutter, I wanted some light frivolity and the young adult novel Save the Date seemed just the right book. And indeed it was the fun read (er...listen) that I was looking for.

September 19, 2018

Trust Me by Earl Javorsky ~ a Review

by MK French

Jeff Fenner had an up and down kind of career, but it's come crashing to a halt. Police are investigating him, he owes money to the wrong people, and he doesn't have much of a future. His sister commits suicide, but that isn't like her at all. It leads him to try to investigate the death, and he meets Ron Pool, the reporter that covered his sister's death and thinks others might be related. In addition, there is also the relatively new member Holly Barnes. She's troubled and involved in the same self-help group that seems implicated in a string of suicides eerily like his sister's. The worst part? Holly seems to be next.

September 18, 2018

Broken Branches by Ben Ellis ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Broken Branches a page-turner of a dystopian that is focused on eugenics. I loved the main characters of Tom, Grace, and Charlie. Set in England, it is believable that genetic evidence of parentage would be required given their long history with peerage and class. The science is a little less believable. Overall, I enjoyed the book.

September 17, 2018

The Boy at the Keyhole by Stephen Giles ~ a @HanoverSquarePress Review #MondayBlogs

by Susan Roberts

The Boy at the Keyhole is an interesting suspense novel that takes place within a manor house in England.

September 16, 2018

2 Excellent Debut Novels You Must Read

by Susan Roberts

Today I have reviews for you of a debut novel by Laura Holtz and the first historical fiction novel by Lauren Speeth.  Both of them were excellent and it was difficult to believe that these were new paths for both authors.

September 15, 2018

My Own Devices by Dessa ~ a Review

by MK French

Dessa is a hip-hop singer/songwriter with solo performances as well as through the group Doomtree. I had first heard of her through the song "Call Off Your Ghost" that was featured on the podcast Welcome To Night Vale. It's a song that grabbed me immediately with it's emotion and her singing. I looked up the rest of her discography at the time, which I enjoyed just as much. It's an eclectic mix of rap and hip-hop rhythms with some classical allusions along with the everyday elements of heartbreak, sadness and trying to relate to others.

September 14, 2018

Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison ~ a @harlequinbooks Review

by Susan Roberts

The first paragraph of the prologue.

Wow -- this is an intense, exciting book that will keep you enthralled until the last page. I must admit, I was up after midnight last night because I had to find out how it ended. There were so many twists and turns in this novel and just when I thought I had it all figured out, I found out that I was totally wrong. The ending is a surprise but is absolutely perfect.

September 13, 2018

Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham ~ a Review

by MK French

Ella Boudreaux managed to leave an abusive marriage and settle in Cottonbloom, a small town straddling the Mississippi River. She invested money in the Abbot Garage, hoping to help get it into the modern era and evoke some of her happiest memories. Unfortunately, buying out a portion of the garage set off Mack Abbott, who wants to keep the garage all family owned. The two are at odds but still attracted to each other.

September 12, 2018

Review of Educated: a Memoir by Tara Westover

by Alison DeLuca

Educated: A Memoir is on the summer reading list put out by the 44th president. It's a fascinating entry since the author grew up in a survivalist family that was deeply suspicious of the government. Tara Westover's book is the story of what it was like to grow up as a home-schooled Mormon, a girl taught that women had to submit to men, and, that around every corner, the Feds waited to take her rights away.

September 11, 2018

The Color Purple by Alice Walker #GreatReadPBS

by Susan Roberts

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, published in 1982, tells the story of Celie, a Black woman in the South. Celie writes letters to God in which she tells about her life–her roles as daughter, wife, sister, and mother. In the course of her story, Celie meets a series of other Black women who shape her life: Nettie, Celie’s sister, who becomes a missionary teacher in Africa; Shug Avery, the Blues singer her husband Mr. ______ is in love with, and who becomes Celie’s salvation; Sofia, the strong-willed daughter-in-law whose strength and courage inspire Celie; and Squeak, who goes through awakenings of her own. Throughout the story, though, Celie is the center of this community of women, the one who knows how to survive.

September 10, 2018

The Secret of the Irish Castle by Santa Montefiore ~ a Review #MondayBlogs

by Susan Roberts

1939: Peace has flourished since the Great War ended, but much has changed for the Deverill family as now a new generation is waiting in the wings to make their mark.

September 9, 2018

Bookish TV: Jack Ryan on @PrimeVideo

by Donna Huber

I mentioned in my August wrap-up post that I was looking forward to watching Jack Ryan on Amazon. I was a bit worried about how it would translate to television. I recently binge watched the 8 episode season and here are my thoughts. Have you watched it?

September 8, 2018

The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz ~ a Review

by MK French

Jane Hawk is a fugitive former FBI agent and fighting to bring to light the truth regarding the Techno Arcadians, a group of people organized into cells that will take out any opposition, any who are likely to be an opposing force, and subdue the will of the people with a mesh of nanobots that assemble inside the brain. One team is trying to track her whereabouts directly, sure she will try to go to her son now that his guardians are dead. Another team is tracking her in-laws in the hopes that they know where their only grandchild is hidden. There are rare side effects of the nanobots, including sudden and total psychological collapse, and it seems to be infectious.

September 7, 2018

Shocking Introductions: Crafting the Perfect Start to a Story

by C. M. North

One of the main criticisms levied against my debut novel, 22 Scars, is that it takes a while to get into. It lacks initial momentum, for lack of a better phrase; it starts with a whisper, and although (I like to believe) it builds to a heightened crescendo of emotional turmoil and unexpected revelations, it doesn’t necessarily shout out from the opening lines that this is going to be a story that will reward your emotional investment. Enough people have said it eventually gets there that I want to believe I achieved something at least good, if not great, but it’s certainly taught me a lesson about how to start a book.

The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri ~ a Review

by MK French

Four friends had made a pact to meet every year in Castelfranco, their hometown. When Art doesn't show up, his friends try to track him down. There is an illegal marijuana farm on his property, a book he had apparently written, and bizarre rumors about his apparent miraculous abilities. The book he wrote, called "The Book of Hidden Things," promises to reveal dark wonders and secrets. Art had traveled around the world before settling back in Italy, and he was always the leader of their group of friends. Fabio became a photographer, Mauro became a lawyer, and Tony became a surgeon. As the novel unfolds around Art's disappearance, we get flashes back to their friendship together as teens, and there are teases of a larger mystery. Art had disappeared for a week inside an ancient olive grove, and apparently, he was never the same afterward. Fabio is the first to make the connection to the old grove, but the mystery around Art's disappearances continue.

September 6, 2018

2 Final Books to Read Before the Heat of Summer Disappears

by Susan Roberts

July and August is typically the time of the year that Southerners refer to as DOG DAYS - a period of stagnation or inactivity due to the hot temperatures.  We spend as much time in air conditioning as possible.  The way the weather looks this year, it isn't just the South that is having hot and muggy days, and just because we are past Labor Day it doesn't mean the summer heat is gone. Since you can't do much outside due to the heat, it's time to add a few new books to your reading lists.  Both of these books kept me so interested that I barely even knew that the sun was out.

September 5, 2018

Clutch by Lisa Becker ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I originally passed on reviewing Clutch when it was originally released a few years ago. Then I read Links by Lisa Becker (read my review). So when I was asked again several months ago to review the re-release of the book, I agreed. I was really looking forward it since I loved Links so much. Some e-reader problems kept me from getting to it until recently. Did it live up to my expectations?

September 3, 2018

The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal ~ An @Audible_com Review #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

I was so thrilled when I finished The Calculating Stars (read my review) that I only had to wait a few days until the release of the book 2 in the Lady Astronaut series, The Fated Sky, came out. Now I'm sad because I finished it and it was so incredibly good that I didn't want it to end.

September 2, 2018

Drawn to the Marquess by Bronwen Evans ~ a Review

by MK French

Drawn to the Marquess
September 2018; Loveswept
ebook (223 pages); Regency romance
Penelope had been trapped in a terrible marriage for six years before her husband died, allowing her prior properties and money to revert back to her. Her brother-in-law wants to seize that fortune by proving that her husband's death was murder, so Penelope enlists Stephen Hornsby, the Marquess of Clarendon. He's a rake she's determined not to fall for and has contacts that could help her.

This is a rather seasoned formula for Regency romances, as the titled lord with contacts must be convinced to rescue the damsel in distress. Penelope isn't fresh out of the schoolroom, which is nice, and she is very self-assured and helpful to the people in her country village. Stephen has his own issue, as he is slowly going blind and trying to race against time to see every beautiful thing he can before that happens. Penelope figures out his secret fairly early on, and Stephen figures out her secret toward the end of the novel, temporarily driving a wedge between them. The two really do make a good match, as they're both stubborn and independent while longing for someone special to share their lives with. They are surrounded by loving and supportive friends and family, which makes for a warm and easygoing story before the action kicks in at the very end.

Buy Drawn to Marquess at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French 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.

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.

September 1, 2018

The Stand by Stephen King #GreatReadPBS

by Susan Roberts

The Stand
This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides -- or are chosen.

When a man escapes from a biological testing facility, he sets in motion a deadly domino effect, spreading a mutated strain of the flu that will wipe out 99 percent of humanity within a few weeks. The survivors who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge--Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious "Dark Man" who delights in chaos and violence.

The Stand by Stephen King is one of the top 100 Best Loved Books on the new PBS Series American Reads.

Have you read it?  Do you agree that it should be one of the top American books?

August 31, 2018

Domani by Carolyn Gross ~ a Review

by MK French

Lulu always listened to the sermons given by the doyen on the steps of the Sanctuary. Their world of Dalia lay in the shadows of the gas planet above them, which protected them from the fiery star that was slowly burning everything on their planet outside of the city. In a world of darkness and ash, Lulu thought the words of the doyen would lift her spirits. This changed when he instead talked about how Dalia would burn, and one of the crawlers, the enhanced sentinels of the Sanctuary attempted to assassinate him on the steps. Lulu interfered with that plan, setting in motion a chain of events that revealed not only the truth about Dalia, but of herself, the doyen, and the reason why her life had progressed as it had to that point.

August 30, 2018

The Scroll by @KBHoyle_author ~ a Review #TheGatewayChronicles

by Donna Huber

I'm almost at the end of the re-read of this wonderful series. The Scroll is book 5 and there are only 6 books in the series. This is my 3rd time reading the series (which I have also bought 3 times as I've bought sets for my mom and niece) and still absolutely love it. I'm excited that two of my neighbors are reading it after meeting K.B. Hoyle last Saturday at our town's book festival.

August 29, 2018

Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully ~ a Review @macmillanusa #thomasdunnebooks

by Susan Roberts

Hotel on Shadow Lake has a dual timeline. One timeline is about Martha in Munich in the years leading up to WWII. The second timeline is Maya's story. Maya is Martha's granddaughter and her story takes place in Munich and New York state during present times. Both storylines were very well written but I liked Martha's story better. I felt more compassion for Martha and the hard life she was facing balancing her views of Hitler with what was going on in Munich during this time period.  She was a strong and brave character and I thought that Maya was a bit too tentative in how she approached life.

August 28, 2018

Girls' Night Out by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Women need their friends to help them through the problems in their lives and to be there to celebrate the good times. Sometimes over time these friendships fracture and can't be put back together no matter how hard we try.

August 27, 2018

Donna's August Reading Round-up #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

K.B. Hoyle and me at Bogart's Books & More Festival (picture by: Bowen Craig)

Here we are at the last Monday of the month. It has been a busy month with the university starting back with its fall semester. While I don't deal with students so much there were somethings at work that follow the academic schedule so my days were a bit more structured by those activities. The exercise classes that are free to staff at the university also started back. I've been taking the yoga class, but I decided to try the indoor cycling class. I couldn't walk for 3 days after the first class. I'm not pushing myself quite as hard and have really enjoyed the last two classes so I will keep up with that.

I also helped organize my town's Book & More Festival this month. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet a favorite author, K. B. Hoyle, for the first time in person. After the festival, we went to dinner and had a great conversation about publishing, the changes going on in young adult literature, how to handle diversity and the #MeToo movement in storytelling, family, food, and of course the re-release of her fantasy series The Gateway Chronicles. It was fun to get her perspective on certain parts of the books and characters that I have been thinking about. (You can learn more about her books below).

Even with all the was going on, I still managed to read 11 books: 4 audiobooks (2 of which were for a review), 7 print/ebooks (5 of which were for a review).

I hope I can keep up with my reading as we move into fall, but there are several television shows starting next month that I enjoy which might cut into my reading time. I'm excited about the new Amazon Prime show Jack Ryan. I love the series by Tom Clancy and I hope they did a good job translating it into a television series.

August 26, 2018

5 Novels to Read Before the End of Summer

by MK French

Summer may be winding down, but great summer reading doesn't have to with these 5 books coming out on Tuesday. While it is mostly romances in this list there is one horror novel mixed in for those wanting something a little darker.

August 25, 2018

3 Books for Late Summer Reading

by Susan Roberts

closeup of a chalkboard with the text bye, bye summer written in it, on the sand of a beach Stock Photo - 44292697

Summer is almost over and it's time for the kids to go back to school.  The weather is still hot but we know that fall is getting close. Here are three books publishing in late August that I enjoyed.  One is psychological suspense, one is dystopian and one is historical fiction so there should be a book for everyone to enjoy!

August 24, 2018

The Enchanted by @KBHoyle_author ~ a Review #TheGatewayChronicles

by Donna Huber

When I started re-reading this series, for the 3rd time, I couldn't wait to get to The Enchanted as it has always been my favorite book in the series. I didn't want to race through it, but I just can't put any of the books in this series down once I start. If I had this book in hand when I finished The White Thread I would've been a chain reader and picked it up as soon as I read the last word of The White Thread.

August 23, 2018

After Nightfall by A.J. Banner ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

This is a fantastically well-written suspense novel that had me guessing until the last chapter. There were clues and false clues all through the books and I was sure knew who the 'bad guy' was several times and then found out a few pages later that I was totally wrong.

August 22, 2018

Serial Rites by Cortez Law III ~ a Review

by MK French

Malcolm X. Hobbs' wife was killed on their wedding day, sending him into a spiral of despair and doubt about his faith. In the meantime, a serial killer calling himself the Profiler was on the streets of Atlanta. Malcolm leads a team of homicide detectives in the Criminal Investigations Department that are known as X-Men, and they are trying to catch the killer before he strikes again.

August 21, 2018

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett ~ a Review

by MK French

In the city of Tevanne, the four Guild Houses own approximately 80% of the city property and function almost like city-states. The remaining 20% are the Commons, where those that don't belong to a Guild House live. There are no laws to protect the people, and it is in this place where Sancia Grado lives as a thief with extraordinary abilities. She stole an item from the docks, and it turns out to be more than an ordinary magical technological item. This one isn't scrived with the usual magical languages and is able to overwrite the magic the Guild Houses use. That would allow it to control all of reality if Sancia hands it over. When she decides not to fulfill the job, she has to collect allies and figure out a way to survive in Tevanne.

August 20, 2018

Rush by Lisa Patton ~ a Review #MondayBlogs

by Susan Roberts

Setting - Alpha Delta Beta sorority at Ole Miss University in Oxford, Mississippi.
438 sorority sisters - 437 white and one black

Miss Pearl is a black domestic worker at the sorority house but more importantly, she is the heart of the house - the girls rely on her for advice and for motherly love. When Miss Pearl is faced with blatant discrimination, the sorority sisters have to decide whether to take a stand or let things stay as they are.

August 19, 2018

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal ~ an @Audible_com Review

by Donna Huber

I was a bit apprehensive when I chose The Calculating Stars as it is an alternate history novel set in the 1950s, but, wow, it was so much better than I had expected.

August 18, 2018

Zone 23 by CJ Hopkins ~ a Review

by MK French

In a post-apocalyptic world, all dissent and nonconformity have been declared anomalies that need to be genetically modified. This is to maintain peace in the corporate controlled world of 2610. Any variation from a peaceful and average existence is further medicated, and the surveillance and reporting sent those unresponsive to "pharmatherapy" to different zones, quarantining them far from those that were variant-positive.

August 17, 2018

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

This was an interesting look at how you can love and hate a sibling at the same time and about the bond between sisters. I had a bit of trouble with this book as I have a fantastic relationship with my sisters and had trouble imagining the love/hate relationship that the two sisters in this novel had. Plus I really didn't like either sister and found both of them to be very difficult to feel any sympathy for. That said, I found this an interesting look at how secrets can ruin a relationship even among sisters.

August 16, 2018

Infidelity by @AnnPearlman ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Infidelity is a well-written, emotional memoir, but to be honest it probably wouldn't have been a book I picked up for myself because of the subject matter. As a person with trust issues, it confirmed that I couldn't marry.

August 15, 2018

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone (@VictoriaDahl) ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

I was up until 2 am finishing this novel because I had to see how it ended. I am tired today but it was well worth the lack of sleep to read the amazing conclusion to this novel.

August 14, 2018

The White Thread by @KBHoyle_author ~ a Review #TheGatewayChronicles

by Donna Huber

The opening paragraph of the third book in The Gateway Chronicles may seem a bit mundane, but this story is anything but mundane. In The White Thread, we delve more into the prophecy of the six who are to rid the evil from Alitheia.

August 13, 2018

Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill ~ A Review #MondayBlogs

by MK French

Elisa Sullivan is the only vampire child that had ever been born. She is regarded like royalty in Chicago, so she had gone to get her education in Paris and experience what it was like to be an ordinary vampire. She volunteered to be part of one of the European vampire houses, following their tradition of a year of service in exchange for sponsorship in education. As a result, when Chicago vampires host European delegates from multiple houses to try to broker a peace treaty as the supernatural creatures of Chicago have. Unfortunately, one of the Spanish delegates is slain and a Chicago werewolf if blamed for the deed. Elisa had known the shifter and is aware that he was framed. Trying to prove his innocence opens old conflicts and puts Chicago in danger.

August 12, 2018

Harlow by Karyn Rae ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"When coming of age arrives late."

This was my first book by Karyn Rae but it certainly won't be my last. This book had me interested from the first page and I had trouble putting it down until the end. I am thrilled to know that this is part of a series and can't wait to read the next book.

August 11, 2018

Looking for Literary Gifts? Try This Site

by Donna Huber

There are only 136 days until Christmas! And between now and then, how many birthday, anniversary, and just because gifts will you need to buy? How many book lovers are on your list? They can be the hardest to buy for. They love books, but chances are they've already grabbed the latest novels by their favorite authors. So what do you get them? has some ideas for you.

August 10, 2018

The Raging Ones by Krista and Becca Ritchie ~ A Review

by MK French

On a planet plagued by relentless cold and poor food supplies, everyone knows the day they're going to die. Babes die before they turn six, Fast Trackers before thirty, and Influentials grow to old age and are given the opportunities to learn and affect change. Three teens have survived past their death days: Franny Bluecastle, Court Icecastle, and Mykal Kickfall. They are also inexplicably connected, in that they feel each others' emotions and physical reactions to events. No one else they know of has ever survived past their death day, and they fear what would happen if others knew that they did. The trio plans to escape their planet by winning spots on the coveted space mission, but that will involve pretending to be Influential and outperforming the others competing for the same five spots.

August 9, 2018

The Love Letter by @RachelHauck ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

This religious historical fiction novel takes place in two time periods. One is Revolutionary War America and the other is present day in Hollywood. There is a connection between the two time periods that is known throughout the book but it is solidified with a surprise ending. I enjoyed the stories from both time periods but preferred the Revolutionary War couple because their relationship seemed more real. The current day Hollywood couple were both living with extreme guilt from situations that had happened earlier in their lives and continued to adversely affect their day to day lives.

August 8, 2018

Crowdsourcing to Fund Your Project ~ a guest post by Mike Lowery

Hello, Girl Who Reads readers!

I’m Mike Lowery, an author and illustrator.  I’ve had the immense pleasure of working on dozens of books for kids and adults (mostly for kids!) and last year I collected hundreds of weird-but-true little tidbits that I’d learned into a book called Random Illustrated Facts.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - #GreatReadPBS

by Alison DeLuca

Anne of Green Gables is on the Great American Read list, and it's one of those books that definitely belongs there. I first read Anne when I was in 5th grade, and it quickly became one of my favorite novels.

August 7, 2018

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen ~ A Review

by Donna Huber

Prince Harry and Megan Markle aren't the only ones having a royal wedding this summer. Lady Georgiana Rannoch is finally getting her happily ever after in Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen.

August 6, 2018

3 Late Summer Books to Read #MondayBlogs

by Susan Roberts

August is one of the hottest months of the year so if you are staying in the air conditioning to keep cool, I have reviews of three recent books for you.  One is a romance, one is historical fiction and the third is dystopian fiction.  Enjoy!

August 5, 2018

Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg ~ Review

by M. K. French

Dr. Voth is a professor who had come across the apparent autobiography of Jack Sheppard and Bess Khan, two figures within London's underworld in the early 1700's. He annotates the work, discovering facts about Jack and Bess that haven't before been seen in academic circles: Jack is actually transgender, and Bess is a woman of color.

August 4, 2018

August 3, 2018

Paradox Forged in Blood by Mary Frances Fisher ~ A Review

by MK French

On December 23, 1938, a murder during a robbery in Millionaire's Row shocks the families. Louis Sheridan was a socialite and left behind his wife, two sons and infant daughter, who was looked after by Ellen O'Malley, who had previously experienced loss herself. Over the next five decades, the Sheridan and O'Malley families are linked together not just by this tragedy, but by friendship and guilt as well.

August 2, 2018

This Series Causes Me to Lose Sleep ~ #TheGatewayChronicles by @KBHoyle_Author

by Donna Huber

Even though I've read The Gateway Chronicles at least 3 times, I still stay up way too late reading it every night. I'm seriously sleep deprived at the moment, but I can't put the books down. If you haven't read this series now is the perfect time to start. K. B. Hoyle is releasing updated and, in some cases slightly expanded, editions this summer.

August 1, 2018

The Solace of Water by @ElizabethYounts ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

"It was like lamenting over thirst while the solace of water was close at hand. But I'd remained empty and instead of taking a long drink of healing and offering forgiveness, I'd poured the water onto the earth to satisfy the bitter roots I harvested daily.  Could water even satisfy my thirst anymore?"

July 31, 2018

July 30, 2018

Donna's Month of Reading #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber
In my mailbox

July has been a good month for reading - 12 books finished! Probably because I took a week off from the day job. I did a few projects around the house: replaced dryer vent, mailbox, and bathroom faucet. But then I hung out with my niece, spent time in the pool, and read. The above picture is of the fun stuff I found in the mailbox this month. I took advantage of a great Prime Day deal to get a Kindle to replace my now non-supported 1st generation Nook. I tried the Nook Glowlight 3 that B&N was offering a great deal on for those who would be affected when they took the 1st generation Nook offline, but it just didn't work for me and was just way too frustrating. I'm very happy with my Kindle Paperwhite.

July 29, 2018

Shadow's Bane by Karen Chance ~ A Review

by MK French

Dory is a dhampir, half human and half vampire. She was given a spot on the Vampire Senate because there is an upcoming war between vampires and Faerie, and they want a position of strength. In addition to the inevitable politicking and threats to her life, she is looking for a friend's missing nephew, which leads to the discovery of an illegal fight club ring. There's a bigger conspiracy at work, and Dory's vampire half is aware of more of it than she is.

July 28, 2018

The View From Here by Lynne Hinton ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

How it begins...

The View From Here
June 2018; NewSouth Books
978-1588383471; ebook, print (226 pages)
women's fiction
Some people will claim it was the plight of the great loblolly pines nestled in the White Oak bottomland behind the Garver farm that drew my eyes skyward and pulled my feet from the earth. That it was the plans of Hatch and Brownfield Construction Company that made me climb and perch - their senior housing, nursing home village, and rehabilitation center a nightmare for the blackwater river basin by a Medicare bonanza for the developers. A few may make mention of the divorce as the cause, Dwayne finally packing up his model car collection and sweeping out the garage, tidying up his side of the room like he was getting it ready for my next husband.

But the truth is not one of those reasons really explains why I came up here.

It wasn't grief or boredom or political grandstanding. It wasn't even the red-cockaded woodpecker, critically endangered and not usually expected n a loblolly but rather in a longleaf pine forest, that was spotted first by Lilly Carol sitting high on my shoulders sixteen days ago on the outing to plant pine sapling back behind the dilapidated barn and deep into the tangle of old trees.

July 27, 2018

Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood ~ A Review

by MK French

The Wolf had vowed revenge against Clan Kincaid and is bringing a small army to lay siege to the castles held by the clan. Derryth MacLaren is sent from the castle she is staying in to avoid capture, but is unfortunately found by the very army they were hoping to bypass. Cull the Nameless is in charge of the army and claims her as his prize in order to keep her safe from lecherous warriors intent on assaulting her. That puts them in close proximity so that they get to know each other, and Derryth learns secrets that others would prefer stay hidden.

July 26, 2018

3 Wonderful Books Featuring Strong Female Characters

by Susan Roberts

I love reading books with strong female characters.  It's ok to me that at times she seems fearful or weak just so that she makes decisions that ultimately show her strength.

July 25, 2018

Ronaldo: Rudi's Birthday Extravaganza by Maxine Sylvester ~ A #KidLit Review

by MK French

Ronaldo's best friend Rudi is having a birthday party, and their favorite magician Monty the Moose is going to perform. There's a lot to do before the party, though. Rudi hurt his hoof and has to see Doctor Kloppen. Ronaldo offers to deliver cakes for celebrity baker Mrs. Sorensson as well, but the shortcut through the forest includes bullies lurking in the bushes.

July 24, 2018

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger #GreatReadPBS

by Donna Huber 

That was one long paragraph! Have you read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger? I thought I was supposed to have read it in high school, but I looked in my "box of literature" and discovered it wasn't on the list (I sometimes confuse it with Catch-22, which was on my list). The Catcher in the Rye is one of 100 books nominated for The Great American Read which is being hosted by PBS.

July 23, 2018

The Everything Trilogy by Kerry Lonsdale ~ A Series Review #MondayBlogs

by Susan Roberts

After what seems like a long wait, the third book in the trilogy by Kerry Lonsdale is publishing in July.  So that you are ready for book 3, I thought I'd post my earlier reviews of book 1 and 2 along with my review of book 3.  If you haven't read these books, I can highly recommend them.

July 22, 2018

Moral Panic by K.M. Ecke ~ An @Audible_com Review

by Donna Huber

In an age of increasing fake news and data collection, the plot of Moral Panic could happen in the not too distant future.

July 20, 2018

The Hitwoman in a Pickle by @JB_Lynn_Author ~ A Review

by Donna Huber

I get a little giddy (and I might do a little wiggle dance) when I read that opening line because I know I'm in for a fun read. In case you haven't read the series, each book starts with "you just know it's going to be a bad day when..."

July 19, 2018

4 Recently Released Summer Books

by Susan Roberts

There don't seem to be as many books published in the summer as there are the rest of the year and the books that are published appear to be lighter and more fun.  Today I have reviews of four very different types of books that published this month - a mystery, historical fiction, psychological suspense and a romance.

July 18, 2018

A Shadow Away by Joan K. Lacy ~ A Review

by MK French

Alex Cort is a former police officer that now works in retrieving artifacts and lost items for museums. He has a close working relationship with the British archaeologist Andrew Seaton, who is currently based out of LA. His rival Guelf is after the same golden statue that is rumored to be part of the treasures of El Dorado. As they travel through the Amazon, a woman named Angel literally appears and disappears as she helps them find the city.

July 16, 2018

4 Fantasy Novels for Teens #MondayBlogs

by MK French

Summer is winding down but there is still time to fit in some pleasure reading before school and mandatory reading lists begin. Here are 4 novels for fans of young adult fantasy.

July 15, 2018

Excellent Short Stories from Legendary Authors of Domestic Suspense

by Donna Huber

I discovered quite a great gem on my review shelf this summer, Troubled Daughter, Twisted Wives. I don't typically like short stories, but after reading this anthology edited by Sarah Weinman I'm starting to think that I was just reading the wrong type of short stories.

July 14, 2018

The Coffin Maker by Breeann Allison ~ A Review

by MK French

Jesse Burns lives in the town of Gregor's Hollow and builds coffins in the shop his father used to work in until his disappearance. It's a quaint little town with many Victorian and Gothic touches, which attracts tourists. Death himself orders eight coffins to be built for his victims, who will be citizens of Gregor's Hollow. In exchange, Death will tell Jesse what happened to his father.

July 13, 2018

Rainy Day Friends by @jillshalvis ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

How it begins...

Most of the time karma was a bitch, but every once in a while she could be surprisingly nice, even kind. Lanie Jacobs, way past overdue for both of those things, told herself this was her time. Seize the day and all that. She drew a deep breath as she exited the highway at Wildstone.

RAINY DAY FRIENDS in the third book in the Wildstone series but I had no problems reading it as a stand-alone. I enjoyed it so much that I've just ordered the first two books in the series.

July 12, 2018

I Can Handle Him by @Debbie_K_Lum ~ A Review

by MK French

Quinn always loved Nick, who is seen as a troublemaker. It doesn't help that his last girlfriend Sienna had died in a car explosion. Most people in San Antonio think it was his fault and that he got away with murder, including Sienna's brother Reed. There are further circumstances that affect Nick, including resentment that he opened up a coffee shop to rival the one he, Quinn and their friend Tory used to work at. With her background in law, Tory starts looking into the problems affecting Nick to help him and avoid the creepy ex-boyfriend that continues to text her.

July 11, 2018

Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

The Deep South in the 70s with its unwritten rules and slow-moving life is beautifully written about in MOURNING DOVE. The story is told in that languid, slow and relaxed pace that life in the upper echelons of Memphis society occupied during this time.

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee - #BookReview #SummerReading

by Alison DeLuca

picture of a pair kissing, only their feet in sneakers visible
picture courtesy of isorepublic
I’m back from hiatus with a review of an addictive book: The Thousandth Floor. Our past few months have been packed with 8th-grade activities: school dances, parent breakfasts, and a big graduation ceremony. It’s been fun but intensely busy.

July 10, 2018

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim ~ A Review

by Donna Huber

Thea Lim has created an emotionally engaging, character-driven story of what one will do for love in her sophomore novel An Ocean of Minutes.

July 9, 2018

Between You and Me by Susan Wiggs ~ A Review #MondayBlogs

by Susan Roberts

Between You and Me is another wonderful book by Susan Wiggs - her books never fail to deliver a wonderful story of family and love and this one is a definite winner and my new favorite book by her.

July 8, 2018

Mr. Hotshot CEO (Kwan Sisters #2) by Jackie Lau ~ A Review

by MK French

Julian Fong, the CEO of his family company, is such an intense workaholic that his family forces him to take a two-week vacation. With no idea how to spend that time, he impulsively hires the woman he meets at a coffee shop to teach him how to relax. Courtney Kwan is a biomedical researcher, but knows how to enjoy the little things and is up for the challenge. The problem comes when the vacation is up and Julian has to return to work.

July 7, 2018

Catwalk Fail by Jason Godfrey ~ A Review

by MK French

Colin Bryce Hamilton is a male model hooking up with models, flying around the world, nurturing his body and trying hard to be part of the Milan fashion scene. Everything seems to come grinding to halt: he has a sex injury, he's losing bookings to a former roommate, a new female model isn't into him at all, his agency abruptly drops him, and his younger sister isn't as discouraged from joining the modeling scene as he wants her to be. 

July 6, 2018

My Life as a Star by Ruth Kaufman ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

My Life as a Star is a fun read - a funny romance that will have you laughing as Marla Goldberg tries to become a star. This is the second book about Marla - the first was My Life as an Extra. I haven't read it but enjoyed My Life as a Star so much that I plan to order it.

July 5, 2018

Lady Mechanika Vol. 4: Clockwork Assassin by Joe Benitez and M. M. Chen ~ A Review

by MK French

A series of brutal murders seems to link back to Mr. Lewis, as the victims are former coworkers. Detective Inspector Singh has to evaluate if Lady Mechanika is a hero or a cold-blooded killer, as she seems to be one of the few people physically capable of slicing people in half.

July 4, 2018

Celebrate Freedom With Free Reads

by Donna Huber

While not everything is rosy right now in the great U.S.A, we still have it better than a lot of the world. We enjoy a vast number of freedoms; freedoms we often take for granted. Today, as we (in the U.S.) celebrate our independence and freedoms that have been hard won, I want to focus on a freedom we somwtimes take for granted: the freedom to read and the free exchange of ideas.

July 2, 2018

Alpha by Jus Accardo ~ A Review #MondayBlogs

by MK French

Sera had no memory of her past before being experimented on. G was the boy in the cell next to hers, and having him to talk to kept her sane. He felt the same way about her and had once been an experiment called Alpha. They're on the run, but G needs an antidote to the poison that was released into his body, and Sera has a faulty chip implanted. As a result, both have an "expiration date" of sorts, as well as their own tangled feelings for each other.

July 1, 2018

3 New Summer Books To Read Now

by Susan Roberts

Are you still trying to find your perfect summer read? Here are 3 great books that came out earlier this summer that you need to try.

June 30, 2018

Micromium by David Gittlin ~ A Review

by Donna Huber

I was considering Micromium: Clean Energy from Mars for the post-apocalyptic book club I attend, but after reading it I don't think it would be a good fit as it is more science fiction than dystopia.

June 29, 2018

June 28, 2018

Faraday Files by Kate McIntyre ~ A Series Review

by MK French

The Faraday Files is a series of steampunk novels that involves a good deal of mystery. There are so far 3 books in the series.

June 27, 2018

The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

The Lost Vintage is the first book that I've read by Ann Mah and it definitely won't be the last. This was a fantastic well-written novel that takes place in France with a dual time line of present day and the 1940s during WWII. It had mystery, romance and took place in France - what can be better than that?

June 26, 2018

This I Know by Eldonna Edwards ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

This is a wonderfully written coming of age novel with an added ingredient. Not only is Grace, an 11-year-old girl, trying to navigate life but she also has a special gift that she calls 'the knowing' that makes her able to see people's pasts and futures.

June 25, 2018

Donna's June Reading Round Up #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

This month has gone by really quickly. I had a 2-day conference at the beginning of the month and ending the month at a 3-day intensive science writing workshop. In between these work obligations, I've squeezed in a few books, including 2 audiobooks to celebrate Audio Book Month.

June 24, 2018

One for the Rogue by Manda Collins ~ A Review

by MK French

Gemma Hastings, one of the four scholars that Lady Celeste had bequeathed her estate to, is determined to further her studies into geology and fossils. She has no interest in marriage, and especially not with her brother-in-law, Lord Cameron Lisle. But rumors of a fantastic fossil skull on the grounds of the estate leads to death and danger for everyone involved.

June 23, 2018

The Beedog by Addie Broussard ~ A #KidLit Review & Giveaway

by Donna Huber

The Beedog Tour

Have you ever encountered something so fascinating that you had to tell everyone about it?

The Beedog introduces readers to an intriguing little insect that author Addie Broussard encountered while on a trip in Portugal.

But this is no ordinary bug.

Its uniqueness will capture the imagination of young ones while peaking their interest in scientific discovery.

June 22, 2018

3 Novels for Fantasy Fans

by MK French

Fantasy is a huge genre and today I have magical realism, paranormal and epic. Do you have a preferred subgenre of fantasy?

June 20, 2018

5 Books I Hope to Read by the Pool

by Donna Huber

Both MK and Susan have provided recommendations of books to read at the beach this summer. I'm not much of a beach fan (I love the ocean, but not the sand). Instead, I spend my weekends at my parents' pool. I have five books that I hope to read this summer.

June 19, 2018

A Demon In Silver by R. S. Ford ~ A Review

by MK French

If the opening paragraph doesn't quite catch your attention, there's a longer excerpt from A Demon in Silver after the review.

June 18, 2018

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline ~ A Review #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

If you only read one book this summer, After Anna should be it. It is such a good read; I didn't want to put it down.

June 17, 2018

2 Excellent Psychological Thrillers to Read Today

by Susan Roberts

Last Monday, MK French recommended some thrillers. I've also read two excellent psychological thrillers this month that I'd like to share with you.  If you enjoy this genre of books, you don't want to miss either of these.

June 15, 2018

Write What You Know ~ by guest @RuthKaufman

“Write what you know.” If all authors followed that supposedly sage advice, there’d be no historical or paranormal romance novels. No books set anywhere but the author’s hometown or places she’d lived. That is, unless some of us were reincarnated, have time-traveled or inhabited worlds the rest of us don’t know about.

June 14, 2018

Agent in Place by Mark Greaney ~ An @Audible_com Review

by Donna Huber

I will start off by saying you probably need to have read at least the first book in this series to understand what is going on, or maybe more of who the Gray Man is. Agent in Place is book 7 in the Gray Man series.

June 13, 2018

June 12, 2018

Breathless by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan ~ A Review & Giveaway

by MK French

excerpt from Breathless
First Chapter, First Paragraph (and a little more)

In the 1800's, the Swan was a celebrated courtesan until her fall led her to be shipwrecked in Catalan. In the present day, Dr. Brenna Anderson impulsively hops on a plane after a new painting in the Siren Series is found, hoping to determine its authenticity and finally put a name to the subject. That would help repair her reputation at Harvard, where donations are threatening to dry up if she continues to teach there despite her tenure. The only thing that throws a wrench in her plans is Fitch Wilder, the art hunter who is also following the trail of the paintings.

June 11, 2018

4 Thrillers To Lose Yourself In #MondayBlogs

by MK French

Thrillers evoke strong emotions of excitement, suspense, anxiety, and anticipation in the reader. Typically they get our blood pumping as we get wrapped up in what is happening to the characters. Here are four thrillers to lose yourself in.

June 10, 2018

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

I used to read every word that Nora Roberts wrote.  I loved her romances and her trilogies and I didn't miss a book.  As my reading preferences have changed, I don't read much romance and I don't like the trilogies that she writes because most of them have a lot of fantasy and magic in them.  I do, however, like the new book that she publishes every spring in the Romantic Suspense category.  These are longer books and have lots more character development than many of her earlier books.  There is some romance in these books but it's definitely less than previous - the main focus is on character development and suspense.  Her new book, SHELTER IN PLACE, is a real page-turner.

June 9, 2018

4 Mysteries to Bring Out Your Inner Detective

by MK French

Mysteries can be fun reads as the reader tries to solve the crime before the characters in the story. Here are 4 mysteries to satisfy your inner detective.

June 8, 2018

3 New Books to Put on Your Summer Reading List

by Susan Roberts

girl outside

June is here and summer officially arrives this month.  The days get longer and there's more time to do things outside.  To me, longer days means more time to read!  There are plenty of new June books to talk about so this is part 1 of June reviews.


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