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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...

December 31, 2018

Donna's December Reading Wrap-up #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

Here we are: the last day of 2018. It has been a great reading year. I've read/listened to 118 books (because I'm counting the stories in A Christmas Treasury as separate "books" - I'm not going to read them all this year so I thought it was a good way to get credit for what I did read), which is 3 more than last year and 18 more than my goal of 100 books. December was an average reading month (thanks to short stories). I enjoyed a few Christmas stories and a short break from review copies.

December 30, 2018

A Year of Reviews 2018

Here we are almost at the end of 2018. It has been a great year and we so appreciate you sharing your reading life with us. We have reviewed, for the most, some really wonderful books this year. I wanted to take a moment to look back at all the books we reviewed this year in case you missed any. If you want to find out which ones were our favorites be sure to check out Donna's Books to Give as Gifts and Best of the Bunch 2018, Sue's Best of 2018 Book List, and MK's Year End Round Up.

December 29, 2018

Top Posts of 2018

We are coming down to the end of 2018. It has been a great year with a ton of posts. It looks like we will have posted 375 times this year. Most of those have been reviews, but we've had a few guest posts and interviews sprinkled in along with the articles from the featured writers. Here's a look at the most viewed posts and special posts you may have missed. On Sunday, we will have a rundown of all the books we've reviewed.

December 28, 2018

Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts book 3) by Vic James ~ a Review

by MK French

In a world dominated by the Skilled, those with extraordinary powers, those who are unSkilled are subject to the slave days. There had been revolts, which were ruthlessly crushed. Caught up within the movement, siblings Abigail and Luke Hadley work separate paths to try to bring an end to this terrible system.

December 27, 2018

Three Reviews to Finish up 2018

by Susan Roberts

I have three books to finish up my reviews for the year.  If you read my reviews, you know that I like to group similar books together in a review post.  These three books are very different from each other and there weren't similar groups to add them to so I'll just give you reviews of three very eclectic books.

December 25, 2018

A Christmas Treasury

by Donna Huber

I love Christmas books. My sister gave me Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book many years ago, and it's one of my favorite books, A few weeks ago I discovered A Christmas Treasury at Barnes & Noble and just couldn't pass it up.

December 24, 2018

Donna's Best of the Bunch 2018 #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

I've already posted a best list of sorts last month when I did my list of books to give as gifts. Since then though I've seen bloggers doing best by month type lists and I thought it would be fun to pick one book from each month that I really liked. These would make great gifts as well if you are looking for books to fill the eReader under the tree. Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2018

Reading on Snow Days in North Carolina

by Susan Roberts

We recently had a large snowstorm in my part of NC - 12 inches of snow may not sound like a lot in areas where there is always a lot of snow but in NC, this storm shut us down.  No newspaper delivery, no mail delivery and no traffic moving on the streets.  It was the perfect time to snuggle under a warm blanket with a cup of tea and read.  I read several different genres and I'd like to share my reviews with you.

December 22, 2018

All-Seeing Digital Eyes by Neville Kattakayam ~ a Review

by MK French

In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, many people are not aware of how to protect themselves or their privacy online. This guide discusses the pros and cons of technology, without intending to sway the reader into making a particular decision about it. From his own admission, Neville Kattakayam wants "to give you relevant information, so that you could take intelligent decisions, about your privacy and security." Part One of the book relates to "Privacy," with ways to secure data on networks. Part Two is "Security," looking at ways to maintain etiquette and outline potential threats. Part Three is "Literacy," outlining tips to become more literate with social media tools to maintain a more positive experience. There is no question that the negative outcomes get airtime in the news, and the risk of cyberbullying and depression is present. This book seeks to mitigate that risk.

December 21, 2018

Q&A with Jeff Henrikson, Author of A PRAYER FOR PEACE Series

Jeff Henrikson recently released the third book in his sword & sorcery series A Prayer for Peace. Learn more about his new book Do the Gods Give Us Hope? in this interview.

December 20, 2018

Death Be Blue by Katie Epstein ~ a Review

by MK French

Terra Vane is a psychic, able to see the past and glimpses of the future. This had led her to be seen as a freak where she grew up, and for her mother to admit her to an asylum where she had been treated as an experiment. In contrast, coming to the alternate dimension city of Portiside with its psychics, fey, vampires, and shifters of all kind was a miracle. While she is treated as lesser than the other shifters in the Enforcer Field Agency, she pushes herself hard to live up to the ideal. Her partner Kaleb is a wolf shifter, and the two are good friends. Neither back down from a challenge, and this latest case they have to solve has the potential to rock Portiside.

December 19, 2018

Three New Women's Fiction Books to Read

by Susan Roberts

Now that December is here, it seems like I have a lot less time to read because there is so much going on  - shopping, decorating, baking and everything else connected with the holidays.  I have three new women's fiction books that will be easy to read during December.

December 18, 2018

The Emperor's Harvest by R. A. Denny ~ a Review

by MK French

Chapter 1 -
The water lapped gently against the reeds as I waited for my casting net to fill with fish. A duck skimmed across the river for a smooth landing. As I watched the duck, my mind drifted. Ducks are the most perfect creatures because they can swim, walk, and fly. Webbies like me love to swim because of our webbed feet, but I've heard that most unwebbed humans are not even comfortable in the water. I smiled to myself. Baskrod had told me stories of people who built their homes in tall trees and flew through the air. Baskrod always told the best stories.

The Emperor had essentially gone mad with power and wants to keep it for himself. There has been a prophecy heralded by the arrival of a new star, and he believes his brother will rise from the dead to take back his throne. As a result, he has begun to "harvest" people from the various tribes and races of the world. The people of mud, rock, and trees are all affected by the Emperor, and now one of each race is on a journey to the distant capital of Tzoladia.

December 17, 2018

MK French's Year End Round-up #MondayBlogs

by MK French

I have always been a voracious reader, and the sheer quantity of reviews here definitely speaks to that! This has been a great opportunity to read wonderful books and let you know about them, so collecting a few highlights for the year might also help you pick out some books to give as gifts to someone else or yourself. Books always make great gifts, right? Right.

December 16, 2018

Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs by Kelly Klober ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

This is not a book we normally review on Girl Who Reads, but what you may not know is that I was once a hog farmer. It was my 4-H/FFA project starting when I was 13 (my parents had farmed when I was really little but we weren't currently farming). By the time I graduated high school I had a herd of 18 hogs though through the years I had many more between the show markets that I bought and the feeder pigs I bred and sold to consumers. Earlier this year I joined a local chapter of the National Ladies Homestead Gathering. So when I saw Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs on Netgalley I thought it would be interesting to see what was currently going on in the swine world.

December 15, 2018

What Can You Do to Help Your Favorite Authors?

by Susan Roberts

Did you know that most authors are NOT rich?  In fact, most make less than $10,000 a year.  We hear a lot about the rich authors - 

  • JK Rowling made $95 million dollars last year
  • Stephen King averages $40 million a year
  • Nora Roberts made $23 million last year
  • James Patterson is worth $310 million

But other than a small percentage of rich authors, most authors treat their writing like a small business and many of them work full-time jobs and write when they can find the time.

December 14, 2018

Scath Oran by Stacy Overby ~ a Review

by MK French

This is a poetry collection inspired by faeries and oral traditions within mythology. The book blurb says that the poems are taken from the halls of Tír na nÓg; this lets you know right off the bat that the mythology is heavily Celtic inspired. A few mention Norse creatures, but there's enough historical and geographical overlap that it makes sense there's a little influence. It might help to know the different kinds of fae mentioned in the poems, but it's hardly necessary. There is enough emotion and imagery that the reader will know the intent of the pieces.

December 13, 2018

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Till Death do Us Part"

'I doubt it would be easy to take a life.  But I think if you had to - I mean if we had to - We could absolutely get away with it.'

This is an addictive page-turner that will have you clearing your calendar and staying home to read. It presents a clear dilemma - how far would a parent go to punish someone who has hurt their child? Would a parent plan to murder the person that abused their child? Would they????? Would you???

December 12, 2018

Tomorrow, When the War Began: Review #Survival #Australia #TeenLit

by Alison DeLuca

I stumbled across Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden on Twitter. One of the reading blogs I follow suggested it as a great read. Since I never have enough teen lit in my life, I picked up the book and was instantly fascinated.

December 11, 2018

The Reader by Traci Chee ~ a Review

by MK French

There were redcoats on the road. The gravel path that cut through the tangled jungle was teeming with people, and the mounted Oxscinian soldiers rode above the seas of foot traffic like lords in a parade: their fine red jackets unblemished, their black boots polished to a high shine. At their waists, their sword hilts and gun grips glinted in the gray morning light. ~ first chapter, first paragraph.

Sefia has been in hiding or on the run her entire life, and now her Aunt Nin has been captured by the same people that had murdered her father. They were looking an object that he had been hiding, with symbols that gradually Sefia learns to understand. In a society that has no written language, the power of a book is also the power of magic, and some people will do just about anything to get it.

December 10, 2018

Sue's Best of 2018 Book List #MondayBlogs

by Susan Roberts

2018 is coming to an end.  I have exceeded my reading goal and have read some fantastic books this year which makes it even more difficult to pick my favorites.  The best I could do is to come up with my top 15 books - I just couldn't narrow it down to 10.  The books are in alphabetic order by author and there are links so you can see my original review from Girl Who Reads (and since I often review groups of books together you will often discover more great reads by following the link).

Amazon is offering $5 off $20 book orders until 11:59 pm (PST) on December 21, 2018 with code GIFTBOOK18. (Terms & Conditions)

December 9, 2018

The Jacobite's Wife by Morag Edwards ~ a Review

by MK French

Lady Winifred's childhood was marred by both of her parents imprisoned for treason for supporting the Catholic king of England, then their exile in France after they were released. When she was ultimately summoned to join them, her brother was imprisoned as well. She eventually meets a young Scottish man at court, and it's a love match as well as one of politics. The shine eventually wears off when finances are strained, and her husband supports the Jacobite movement, trying to put a Catholic king back on the throne of England. She isn't as staunch a supporter because of her prior losses, but she's torn between her duty to her husband and trying to keep him out of prison.

December 8, 2018

Sharing Passion During the Holiday Season

by C.M. North

Black Friday is so-called, the tale goes, because it was the first day of the financial year that businesses could expect to make a profit - for their ledger to go from red to black. The day after Thanksgiving, when the corporate world was off from work, was a ripe opportunity for the sales world to make a killing.

December 7, 2018

Evil is Always Human by Eddie Whitlock ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

When I went to the Indie Author Event at a local library earlier this year, I ran into Eddie Whitlock. He is the librarian that runs the post-apocalyptic book club I attend. I didn't know he is an author. Though the genres he writes aren't really my favorites, he wanted me to give his southern novel a try.

December 6, 2018

Whippoorwill by R. L. Bartram ~ a Review

by MK French

Ceci Prejean was a tomboy running around in Louisiana before her father enlisted help to turn her into a proper Creole lady. She fell in love with Trent Sinclaire, a northerner, and they were engaged to be married. Before the wedding, the Civil War breaks out, and Trent is recalled north to fight. Heartbroken after her family is killed in the Battle of New Orleans, Ceci turns to spymaster Henry Doucet.

December 5, 2018

Q&A with Elizabeth Hutchinson Bernard, Author of Temptation Rag

Elizabeth Hutchinson Bernard is celebrating the release of her new historical novel this week. She was kind of nice to give an interview to let you know more about her and her novel Temptation Rag.

December 4, 2018

Unreasonable Doubts by Reyna Marder Gentin ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

This may be categorized as a legal thriller but it's so much more. It's a book about love and friendship and trying to decide what's really important in life. This is a debut novel for this author and based on this book, I expect that we'll see many more fantastic books from her in the future.

December 3, 2018

Limetown by Cote Smith ~ a Review #MondayBlogs

by MK French

Lia Haddock is a teenager in high school when she hears of Limetown - a town of over three hundred people, including her uncle Emile, who simply vanished overnight. She decided to try to investigate a bit on her own, but she wasn't the only one trying to find answers.

December 2, 2018

4 New Books with Strong Female Main Characters

by Susan Roberts

I love to read books with strong female main characters who can handle whatever the world throws at them.  I have reviews of 4 new books today with strong women ranging from teenagers to grandmas.

December 1, 2018

Chin-Williams Series by Jackie Lau ~ a Review

by MK French

If you are looking for some diversity in your romance novels, then check out this new series about Asian professionals from Jackie Lau. Also be sure to check out my reviews of her previous books: Grumpy Fake Boyfriend and Mr. Hotshot CEO.

November 30, 2018

A Hard Rain by Frye Gaillard ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

How it begins
The 60s were the defining years of my life. In 1961, I turned 13 so all of my formative teenage years were lived during this tumultuous decade. When I think back on those years and some of the things that happened, I wonder if I am remembering it all correctly. Frye Gaillard's new book was a reminder for me of all that went on in those years. Some people will view A HARD RAIN as a history book, I view it as a way to remember those years.

November 28, 2018

An Everyday Mama Finds a Passionate Life by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence ~ a Nonfiction Review

by Donna Huber

I have met Olga a couple of times this year at local book events. She is definitely a passionate person. You can't help but feel your spirits lifts when you talk to her. I like reading local authors and since it is Non-Fiction November, I decided to pick up her book from the pile (even though I'm not a mama).

November 26, 2018

November's Reading Round-up #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

Books received in the mail this month
We are almost to the end of 2018 and I've already reached my reading goal of 100 books. I'm now hoping to read 120 before the end of the year. I didn't read quite as many books in November as I did in October, but it was still a good month. Since last month I read a ton of ebooks, and not many review copies, I tried to focus on my print pile and review copies this month. Let's see how I did.

November 25, 2018

Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi ~ a Review

by MK French

The goddess Artemis requires all of her huntresses to obey her and to never fall in love. In order to save the huntress Atalanta, Kahina disobeys the goddess and then is cast out. She has to fulfill a mission given by the goddess in order to prove her loyalty, and that brings her into Atalanta's path again.

November 24, 2018

Edge of Yesterday by Robin Stevens Payes ~ a Series Review

by Donna Huber

I recently read the first two books in the middle grades time travel series Edge of Yesterday. Charlotte (aka Charley) is obsessed with Leonardo Da Vinci and is determined to prove time travel is possible with Da Vinci's time machine. In the second book, Da Vinci's Way, we join Charley in Renaissance Florence.

November 23, 2018

Books to Give as Gifts this Holiday Season

by Donna Huber

I've read some really great books this year. Many of them I would recommend you buy for the book lover on your holiday gift list, both adults and kids. Since I listened to a lot more audiobooks this year, I'm grouping them into their own category. With Amazon giving $5 off book purchases of $20 or more until 11:59 pm PT on December 21, now is the time to check the readers off your list. Use Promo Code GIFTBOOK18 at checkout. (Amazon's Terms & Conditions)

November 22, 2018

The Gift of the Quoxxel by Richard Titus ~ a #KidLit Review

by MK French

King Norr would like to leave the idyllic world he lives in, determined to experience life at the fullest. He has adventures and encounters mysterious figures throughout his journey.

November 21, 2018

Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

I met Pat Conroy at three different book signings.  He always gave an interesting and hilarious talk about his current book and then took the time to talk with every person who wanted a book signed and wrote a personal remark in each book.  He was my favorite author and I was saddened when he died in 2016 knowing that his creative gifts and love of language would be silenced.  I really believe that Prince of Tides should have been one of the 100 Great American Books for the PBS series.  Or Beach Music, The Great Santini, South of Broad - all of them are worthy of being included in the list of 100 great American books.

November 20, 2018

All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

First chapter, first paragraph
When I saw All the Lives We Never Lived at NetGalley, I was drawn to it for a few reasons. 1. It was set in India and I can't recall ever reading a book set in India. 2. The author is Indian and I've been trying to read more international literature. 3. It mentioned WWII in the description and I haven't read any WWII novels set outside of Europe and the U.S. Basically I wanted to read it because it was different than what I normally read.

November 19, 2018

The Surgeon by John Pence ~ a Review #MondayBlogs

by MK French

In a post-apocalyptic world, Dr. Jenny Hanover often trades her skills as a doctor and surgeon for a place to stay, meals and tools. With the way that the world is, she is just as skilled with a sword as a scalpel and prefers to be on the move at all times. She wants to stay away from the violence in the eastern seaboard of the US, and would rather take off.

November 18, 2018

2 New Romance Novels to Warm the Winter Nights

by Susan Roberts

I don't read many romance novels but there are times in my life that they are the perfect kind of books to read.  I have reviews of two new romance novels that I read this month that I really enjoyed.

November 17, 2018

Restricted Fantasies by Kevin Kneupper ~ a Review

by MK French

This collection of short stories explores the blurred lines between identity and reality when the virtual world is concerned. There is a futuristic child protective services worker having to dive into an unpleasant simulation where a man is raising his two children in a Neo-Nazi realm against custody agreements. Rumspringa is now in a virtual world for the Amish. The cheat code for the universe is used with disastrous consequences. There are those who are willing to push themselves with drugs in order to earn a few minutes of virtual gaming time. Communicating with alien cultures is an information diver's dream, but doesn't go according to plan. A virtual prison can't be escaped, especially if the warden is a computer program without humanity.

November 16, 2018

Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

How it begins
Time's Convert is a good as I expected it to be. I fell in love with the All Souls Trilogy back in 2012 when I read A Discovery of Witches. Since the conclusion of that series I've wanted more as have all the fans. There is now a television show (it airs in the US in 2019 and has already been renewed for seasons 2 and 3). But really I wanted more books and so I was excited about Time Convert's which is focused on Marcus and Phoebe, two characters from the All Souls Trilogy.

November 15, 2018

The Last Oracle by Melissa McShane ~ a Series Review

by MK French

This is a fun series. I hope for many more books based in this great universe McShane has created.

November 14, 2018

Viking Queen: Rachel Tsoumbakos - A Series Review

by Alison DeLuca

The Ragnar series by Rachel Tsoumbakos is based on the bloodthirsty spectacle that is The Vikings. Filled with love, magic, and war, Tsoumbakos has merged Norse myth with adventure and created a series based around Ragnar Lothbrok and his wives.

Ragnara snd Lagertha from The Vikings
Lagertha and Ragnar from the Vikings series

November 12, 2018

Children of a Good War by Jack Woodville London ~ a Review #MondayBlogs

by Susan Roberts

This is the third book of a trilogy called FRENCH LETTERS. I have not read the first two books and was able to read Book 3 as a standalone with minimal confusion. After reading book 3, I plan to go back and read the first 2 books in the trilogy to get more background information on some of the characters.

November 11, 2018

Kate's Really Good at Hockey by Christina Frey & Howard Shapiro ~ a Review

by MK French

Kate was finally accepted to go to an elite hockey camp in Denver over the summer. While she was looking forward to staying in the dorm, her mother decides that she should stay with her grandmother instead. Her grandmother had never shown an interest in hockey, so Kate is disappointed. There are girls who bully her and a coach that seems to let it happen, which makes her summer even worse. When Kate discovers secrets family members kept from her, she is upset and feels as though her summer is ruined.

November 10, 2018

2 Fun Books to Read This Weekend

by Susan Roberts

The two books that I'm reviewing are light reads that are full of quirky characters and have a relaxing plot that will make you feel good.

November 9, 2018

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Dust by James Lovegrove ~ a Review

by MK French

How it begins
Mrs. Hudson's friend and fellow landlady is suspected of murder when one of her lodgers is found dead. He had been a civil servant returned from India and had scrawled a mysterious message prior to his death. Allan Quartermain is spotted near the scene of the crime so Holmes and Watson will team up with him to uncover the truth behind the death.

November 8, 2018

2 New Books about Life after WWII

by Susan Roberts

There are so many WWII era books that it always amazes when someone writes a book from a perspective that I haven't read before.  I recently read two new books that look at WWII in the years following the war.  A Quiet Genocide takes place in Amsterdam and is about the after-effect of the war on a family.  The Lonely Tree takes place as the Jewish people attempt to establish the country of Israel after the war.

November 7, 2018

Solace Island by Meg Tilly ~ a Review

by MK French

Maggie was dumped the day before her wedding, so she retreats to Solace Island in the Pacific Northwest with her sister Eve. She doesn't need Eve trying to fix her up with their neighbor Luke, even if he is really handsome and the two click almost immediately. She absolutely doesn't need the black vehicle trying to run her down in the middle of town or the feeling that she's being followed, as well as discovering there's more to Luke than she thought.

November 4, 2018

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood #GreatReadPBS

by Donna Huber

The voting may be over for The Great American Read, but we are still discussing books from the list. My post-apocalyptic book club chose to read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood for its November meeting (all the library book clubs chose books from the list and thanks to a grant the library was able to purchase the books for the members). I volunteered to lead the discussion. Below is the guide I created and some of my thoughts on the book.

November 3, 2018

3 Books for Fans of Romantic Fantasy

by MK French

Romantic fantasy is a popular sub-genre of fantasy. It is particularly popular with the young adult demographic but there are plenty for the adult reader as well. The explosion of paranormal romance, which is actually a sub-genre of romance, has somewhat eclipsed the romantic fantasy in the public eye. However, sometimes these subgenres blur the lines and are often enjoyed by the same reader. So there is a paranormal romance thrown into this list.

November 2, 2018

4 Books for Fans of Historical Fiction

by Susan Roberts

Fall so far has yielded some excellent historical fiction. I reviewed 3 last month and here are 4 more that you will want to pick up.

Time, Take Two by @CMNorthauthor

In a stab at shameless self-promotion, I’m going to announce here that I have a new book released this week: written under my pen name, Satis, The Redemption of Erâth: Ancients & Death hits digital shelves on Sunday, and marks the third installment in the ongoing Redemption of Erâth series. It’s a beast, at nearly 600 pages (that’s after a near 25% cut), but I hope that it doesn’t outstay its welcome: a lot happens.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.

November 1, 2018

First Earl I See Tonight by @AnnaBennett ~ a Review & Excerpt

by MK French

David Gray, the Earl of Davenport, was recently rejected by his fiancee because of the disrepair of his estate and lack of finances. He isn't in search of a wife any longer but receives a proposal by letter from Fiona Hartley. She is an artist and the daughter of a successful businessman, but she's not looking to the Earl as a husband because of his title. He was kind to her when she had fallen at her debut ball, and she is currently being blackmailed. Her father is always busy with business, and her stepmother won't give her the large sum she would need so she would have to marry to get a portion of her money.

October 31, 2018

October 30, 2018

October 29, 2018

An Explosion of Books! #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

Perfect fall day: book, cinnamon tea, and pumpkin teacakes

Wow! What a month October has been. We have featured a bunch of books and I personally have read 15 books. I think this is the most books I have read in one month in a long time. I had a bit of a health scare this month so I think I retreated into the world of fiction to escape the stress. All is well now, but I hope to keep the reading momentum going. Let's take a look at this month.

October 28, 2018

Halloween Reads: Horror & Paranormal Fantasy Edition

by MK French

It that time of year for all things scary, creepy, macabre, and other-worldly. Here's a list of books that range from supernatural thriller to fairytale fantasy to horror. If you prefer lighter fun in your Halloween reads, then check out Donna's list of paranormal cozy mysteries.

October 27, 2018

Halloween Reads: Paranormal Cozy Mysteries

by Donna Huber

Cooler weather has finally arrived in the south and what pairs better with a cozy blanket than a cozy mystery. Since Halloween is around the corner I decided to indulge in some paranormal cozy mysteries as I prefer the fun side of Halloween. As paranormal isn't something I usually read, I went to my favorite best sellers list at Amazon and stocked up on free paranormal cozy mysteries. As you know it can be hit or miss on on the freebies. Here's a look the cozies I've read this month to see if they were trick or treats!

October 26, 2018

The Rain Watcher by @TatianaDeRosnay ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

I will start with the tree. Because everything begins, and ends, with the tree. The tree is the tallest one. It was planted way before the others. I’m not sure how old it is, exactly. Perhaps three or four hundred years old. It is ancient and powerful. It has weathered terrible storms, braced against unbridled winds. It is not afraid.

October 25, 2018

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (@pcalhenry) ~ a @tlcbooktours Review #Narnia

by Susan Roberts

'In a most improbable friendship, she found love
In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.'

I will start out telling you that I've never read anything by Joy Davidman or C.S. Lewis - yes, I've heard of C.S. Lewis but for some reason have never read his books. Despite the fact that I went into this novel very blind to the two main characters and the earlier biographies written about them, I found this to be a well written, emotional historical fiction novel. It is very apparent that the author did extensive research into her subjects. I am now very interested in their lives and plan to read some of the books by both authors.

October 24, 2018

Bedside Manners by Heather Frimmer ~ a Review

by MK French

Joyce Novak has a lot of positive things in her life, including her daughter Marnie's upcoming wedding and start to her medical career. She soon receives the news that she has breast cancer, and the treatments put her in the role of patient rather than caregiver. This makes her uncomfortable, so she tries to focus more on Marnie's wedding planning. Marnie, in the meantime, starts to see the realities of being a doctor, and has to balance the different roles in her life as well. Both mother and daughter have a lot of changes to make in their lives.

October 23, 2018

The Gift That I Can Give by Kathie Lee Gifford, illustrated by Julia Seal ~ a #KidLit Review

by MK French

This is a children's book aimed at a very young audience and helps teach children that they can have an impact no matter what age they are. Gifts can be the obvious ones, like dancing, singing, or playing in sports. There are less obvious ones, like being kind and caring, being a good friend, and sharing love.

October 22, 2018

The Man She Married by Cathy Lamb ~ a Review #MondayBlogs

by Susan Roberts

I love Cathy Lamb's book and this is one of her best. I loved the characters, the plot, the location - I loved it all. It made me laugh and it made me cry and it taught me how life can change so much after brain damage and how difficult it is to recover.

October 21, 2018

The Happy Home for Ladies by Lilly Bartlett ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I received this book a while ago when I was going through eReader problems and kind of forgot about it until I saw it on another blog. The first thing I noticed is that the title has changed since the ebook was released in August (probably happened when the paperback edition came out last week). Then it was called The Not So Perfect Plan to Save Friendship House. I have to say The Happy Home for Ladies is a much better title for this book.

October 20, 2018

Timothy Top Book One: The Green Pig by Gud ~ a #KidLit Review

by MK French

Timothy has a hard time dealing with parents that constantly fight and other children at school are hard to relate to. He enjoys nature and superheroes, which most of his classmates don't. On top of that, a developer is planning to renovate the park and replace it with a concrete monstrosity. He doesn't know how to save th park, but soon discovers that he was given powers that allow him to heal and grow plant life. Now he just has to figure out how to use them.

October 19, 2018

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell ~ a #GreatReadPBS

by Susan Roberts

As of October 11, Gone with the Wind was in the Top 10 of most popular books from the Great American Read.

How it begins...

Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father. But it was an arresting face, pointed of chin, square of jaw. Her eyes were pale green without a touch o hazel, starred with bristly black lashes and slightly tilted at the ends. Above them, her thick black brows slanted upward, cutting a startling oblique line in her magnolia-white skin - that skin so prized by Southern women and so carefully guarded with bonnets, veils and mittens against hot Georgia suns.

October 18, 2018

Unwritten by Tara Gilboy ~ a #KidLit Review

by MK French

Grace Freeman occasionally has very vivid nightmares that were flashes of the life she would have led if she had remained within the story world she was originally part of. Her mother had escaped into the "real world," and had hidden the part of the book that they had come from. Gracie can't help but wonder who she was "supposed" to be in that story, and seeking out information about that winds up drawing everyone that left back into the story. She doesn't know who she is anymore: the Gracie of the real world or that of the story, which is drawing ever closer to its ending.

October 17, 2018

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

To my Daughter,
You don't know me yet.  You don't know how long I've wanted you and longed for you.  You may never know me.  I don't know if I can find my way back to you.  And if I do, I might be nothing but a stranger to you.  But there's one thing that will never change.  I will always be,
Your Mother

October 16, 2018

The Hitwoman and the Gold Digger by @JB_Lynn_author ~ a Review & Giveaway

by Donna Huber

The prize.
Today, I have my review of book 19 in JB Lynn's hilarious hitwoman series. The Hitwoman and the Gold Digger comes out on Thursday. Also, to celebrate the book birthday of Further Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman (book 2), which released on this date in 2012, JB Lynn is offering the above-pictured keychain to one lucky winner so be sure to enter the giveaway below.

How The Hitwoman and the Gold Digger begins...

You know it's going to be a bad day when the phone rings at 3:24 in the morning. I mean, is there anything else that can simultaneously trigger the thoughts of "where am I" and "someone died"? Needless to say, my heart was beating triple time and I was barely about to choke out two syllables. "Hello?"

October 15, 2018

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony @granthony ~ a @harlequinbooks Review

by Susan Roberts

This is a humorous look at the strong matriarch who views her family as perfect and wants to make sure that the rest of the world is aware of their perfection. Each section is tied together by the Christmas letter that she wrote that year - boasting of all of the achievements of her husband and daughter and their perfect lives. As the novel begins, she is planning her husband's retirement party with only the best food to impress their guests. Due to a surprise announcement at the party, Violet's world comes tumbling down around her. She knows that there is no way that the shock of finding out that her unmarried daughter is both pregnant and a lesbian will allow her to keep up the facade of her perfect life. So she decides that she will take over control of her daughter's life and pregnancy so that she can be the best grandmother in the world and make everyone else envious of her again.

October 14, 2018

The Synapse Sequence by Daniel Godfrey ~ a Review

by MK French

In the future, robots work most service jobs and there are AI algorithms to determine how crimes are going to be committed, who is punished, and what jobs are going to be taken. Anna Glover is one of the most hated people in London because of her role in a war. She tries to be anonymous and developed a technology that would allow her to see the memories of various eyewitnesses to reconstruct unsolved crimes. She feels that this can atone for her role in the warfare, but the technology's owner wants to monetize it. The more she looks into the technology of the synapse sequencer, the more she sees that the underpinnings of society aren't as benevolent as she thought. Unfortunately, there are those that don't want her to know this.

October 13, 2018

Putting the Science in Fiction by Dan Koboldt ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

If you are writing medical dramas, steampunk, techno-thrillers, or any sort of science fiction, then you will want to pick up a copy of Putting the Science in Fiction.

October 12, 2018

Plumbelly by Gary Maynard ~ a Review

by MK French

How it begins...

The breeze from the southeast rippled the black water of Tongu Harbor and the only sound was the muffled clunk of the oarlocks and the quiet dipping of the oar blades as I rowed us toward Plumbelly. It was after midnight and I looked around at the silhouettes of the other boats moored in the darkness, hoped their crews were asleep, or drunk, or both. Tanya sat behind me in the bow of the skiff and Lloyd in the stern, each of us wrapped in our own silent thoughts, as sailors are wont to do on the eve of departure. It was a short row and I shipped the oars and glided alongside the sloop. Without a word, we threw over bags over the rail and climbed aboard. 

October 11, 2018

The Amendment by @AnneLParrish ~ a Review @tlcbooktours

by Susan Roberts

"That was the problem with giving advice-it always sounded too easy.  Life didn't change course based on greeting card hype and cheery generalities.  You had to dig down to the pivot point, the thing on which everything relied and nudge it in a new direction."

October 10, 2018

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - a #GreatReadPBS

By Alison DeLuca

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a great American Read even though the book is British. We're all familiar with the characters: Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts, and Alice herself.

cover of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Ooh, look at this gorgeous edition by Penguin books

When I was four, we weren't allowed to watch more than 30 minutes of television a week. Instead, I listened to books on records (real records, the kind you had to turn over and restart) including Peter Pan, the Odyssey, and Alice. I listened to Wonderland and Looking-Glass so many times I could recite lines of dialogue, intriguing tidbits about riddles, ravens, writing desks, and the iconic 'Off with her head!'

Years later I read the book to my daughter. I realized then there was no real story in the traditional sense. There isn't a mystery, or growth, or even much plot. Unique characters appear and disappear at the whim of the author, all with intriguing and illogical insights: 'We're all mad here.'

Alice attacked by a pack of playing cards
Alice being attacked by a pack of cards, by John Tenniel

Indeed, reading Alice is curious and curiouser.

Why is this book a Great American Read, since it doesn't fit the idea of a novel, or even a children's book? For one thing, Alice has been around for over a century and never gone out of print. Again - why?

As a child, I remember loving its illogic - and logic. There was problem solving throughout the book, of a surreal sort you might find inside an Escher drawing. It was as though a deck of cards came to life along with White Rabbits and a sleepy dormouse.

In college I reread the book on an entirely different level, that described by Jefferson Airplane. Then I realized just how hallucinogenic Carroll's book was, giving wild new meaning to scenes I'd read with complete gravity as a child.

And when I read the book out loud to my daughter, its sly humor struck me. The scene when Alice grows as large as a house and kicks poor Bill out of the chimney is just so - satisfactory. What child wouldn't love to control an entire household? Who wouldn't want to shrink or grow at will?

Alice being as large as a house
Just LOOK at the expression on Alice's face. 

But there are elements of horror as well - that feeling that anything could be around the corner, that everyday items might get up and walk around or talk to you.

And then there are the poems, Father William and How Doth the Little Crocodile. And the illustrations are perfect, little etched views into an alternate universe.

It strikes me that Alice can be what you want it to, not just a child's story. Each time I've read it the book is completely different, depending on my mood and situation. In a way, Alice's Adventures is a looking-glass, reflecting what we bring to the book.

It is this, therefore, that makes Alice a Great American Read. President Teddy Roosevelt loved Carroll's writing and quoted The Hunting of the Snark to a bewildered Cabinet: "What I tell you three times is true." If you haven't read it, do get a copy and give Alice a try - and Audible is a great way to experience the book.

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

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October 9, 2018

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

How it begins...

5:00 p.m.

The Center squatted on the corner of Juniper and Montfort behind a wrought-iron gate, like an old bulldog used to guarding its territory. At one point, there had been many like it in Mississippi - nondescript, unassuming buildings where services were provided and needs were met. Then came the restrictions that were designed to make these places go away: The halls had to be wide enough to accommodate two passing gurneys; any clinic where that wasn't the case had to shut down or spend thousands on reconstruction. The doctors had to have admitting privileges at local hospitals - even though most were from out of state and couldn't secure them - or the clinics where they practiced risked closing, too. One by one the clinics shuttered their windows and boarded up their doors. Now, the Center was a unicorn - a small rectangle of a structure painted a fluorescent, flagrant orange, like a flag to those who had traveled hundreds of miles to find it. It was the color of safety; the color of warning. It said: I'm here if you need me. It said. Do what you want to me; I'm not going

Would you keep reading?

October 8, 2018

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire ~ a Review #MondayBlogs

by MK French

In the aftermath of Amandine's betrayal, Toby and her fragile found family have fallen apart. She does what she does best: continues to play Faerie's knight errant and ignore the tangled knot of feelings she feels unable to unravel. That never really works for long, and this time it's because her human daughter Gillian was abducted. There are signs of Fae involvement everywhere, and so few fae actually remembered that she actually had a daughter. This means it's part of a larger conspiracy, and it's a race to find Gillian before she pays with her life.

October 7, 2018

6 Books for Fans of Women's Fiction

by Susan Roberts

Women's fiction is an umbrella term for women-centered books that focus on women's life experience that are marketed to female readers and includes many mainstream novels. The Romance Writers of America organization defines women's fiction as, "a commercial novel about a woman on the brink of life change and personal growth. Her journey details emotional reflection and action that transforms her and her relationships with others, and includes a hopeful/upbeat ending with regard to her romantic relationship"

At the Women's Fiction Writers Association women’s fiction is described as a story where the plot is driven by the main character’s emotional journey. Women’s Fiction includes layered stories about one or several characters, often multi-generational that tackles an adult character’s struggle with world issues resulting in emotional growth. It may include elements of mystery, fantasy, romance or other subgenres, but is not driven by these elements. The writing is high quality and accessible.

October 6, 2018

Gazelle in the Shadows by @MichellePeach16 (Illustrated by Janet Wylie) ~ a Review

by MK French

Elizabeth Booth was studying Arabic at Durham University in the 1990's, and went to Damascus to immerse herself in the culture and language. She is trusting and enters into a romantic relationship and makes friends in the country, but soon discovers that things are not what they seem at all.

October 5, 2018

Why Write At All?

by C. M. North

I want to take you on a journey in time for a moment, if I may - all the way back to a young, bright-eyed child, rife with imagination and blissfully ignorant of the limitations imposed by society telling us what is and isn’t possible in life. I mean, of course, me.

October 4, 2018

3 Historical Novels to Read This Fall

by Susan Roberts

As the days get shorter and the air starts to cool down, we know we are headed into fall.  This is my favorite season of the year, I love the colors and the cool crisp mornings.  I have reviews for you of three historical fiction novels in September.

October 3, 2018

The Witch of Willow Hall by @HesterBFox ~ a Review

by MK French

Lydia Montrose and her family moved from Boston to the town of New Oldbury in 1821 to escape scandal. Heartbreak seems to follow anyway, and the subtle menace in Willow Hall awakens power that Lydia had never been told about.

October 2, 2018

Hard Cider by Barbara Stark-Nemon ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

How it begins...

Alex is coming. Let there be sun or snow. January thaw is more often a cruel joke than a welcome reprieve from winter freeze in this microclimate at the tip of Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula.

There is a prologue, but this is the opening line from chapter 1. Would you keep reading?

October 1, 2018

He Could Be Another Bill Gates by Donna Levin ~ a Review #MondayBlogs

by MK French

Anna Kagen has two children with her ex-husband, sixteen-year-old Jack who is on the autism spectrum, and five-year-old Marissa. Anna is overwhelmed by single parenthood and doesn't think she would ever date again until she meets Jason, a man that has an autistic son of his own. Jack is also in the midst of a budding romance of his own.

September 30, 2018

The Christmas Wishing Tree by @EmilyMarchBooks ~ a Review & Giveaway

by MK French

Devin Murphy was adopted into the Eternity Springs family, but he still feels the call of the ocean and Australia. While on one visit home, a wrong number has him talking to six-year-old Reilly as Santa. Reilly wants a father, as his mother Jenna works hard all the time on her own. Their situation is worse when his mother is doxxed and swatted, and the perpetrator can't be found. Devin didn't think playing along as Santa would become such a big deal, but eventually, everything comes together for all of them.

September 29, 2018

The Fourteenth of September by Rita Dragonette ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

There will be some readers who will consider this book historical fiction. Other readers, like me, who lived through this tumultuous time, will consider this book as a reminder of what life was like during the late 1960s. The country was divided like never before - there were many people who felt that the war was justified and that people who spoke against it were traitors to America. There were others who felt that the government was sending soldiers to be slaughtered in a totally useless war. In The Fourteenth of September, Rita Dragonette does a fantastic job of presenting both sides of the conflict.

September 28, 2018

Ginseng Tango by Cheryl Pallant ~ a Review

by MK French

How it begins...

Two western colleagues and the department chair pick me up from the airport and drive me to my university apartment. The space, much smaller than my house in Richmond, is three pyeong large, a dorm-like 350 or square feet, with kitchen area, desk, wardrobe, bed, and night stand. The floor is heated Korean style, an ondol, something to look forward to when the weather cools or I need to dry clothes. The bathroom converts into a shower with the press of a button, a nozzle hanging from the wall near the sink. Through the sliding glass doors near my bed is a view of an angled, red tiled roof and an easily climbable railing for getting to a large flat roof which I anticipate using to extend my small deck. 

September 27, 2018

Bookish TV Shows to Watch this Fall

by Donna Huber

With so many books coming out each week and all the ones that came out before we could read, there is no way to read everything. When done well, a movie or television series can be the next best thing. I probably wouldn't have ever read Harry Potter if it hadn't been for the movies. I typically prefer television series to movies because they can delve more into the characters.

Earlier this month, I discussed the new Amazon showJack Ryan and now that fall season has officially kicked off, I have several bookish television shows to highlight for you.

September 26, 2018

Lies by T.M. Logan ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

'What if you have the Perfect life, the Perfect Wife and the perfect child - then, in one shattering moment, you discover nothing is at it seems? What if your whole life was based on lies?'

September 25, 2018

An Unexpected Adventure by Kandi J Wyatt ~ a #KidLit Review

by MK French

How it begins...

PSST, Harley." Cherise's voice, although quiet for her, was loud enough to get us into trouble with Miss Smith. "Harley!"

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.
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, When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica, Lies by T. M. Logan, and The Fourteen of September by Rita Dragonette.

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, Trust Me by Earl Javorsky, The One Unspoken by Sarah Bryant, An Unexpected Adventure by Kandi Wyatt, Ginseng Tango by Cheryl Pallent, and The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March (with giveaway).

CM North 

Discussed writing opening paragraphs to keep readers reading in Shocking Introductions: Crafting the Perfect Start to a Story.

Alison Deluca

Discussed Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.

Donna Huber

Reviewed The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal and Clutch by Lisa Becker, both of which I read last month.
Discussed the new television show, Jack Ryan and more bookish TV shows to watch this fall.