Readers' Favorite

November 17, 2019

5 Books to Entertain Young Readers

by MK French

People seem to think that children need watered down stories and can't handle hearing about potentially serious topics. Children are often far more aware of these issues than adults think and can face their own struggles and triumphs even without an adult present. In these stories, the fantastic elements of the story don't detract from those themes that children often have to deal with: bullying, fear, self-confidence and discovering who they are under pressure.

November 16, 2019

Under the Guise of Death by Vivian Conroy ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Do you enjoy a story where you root for a character to be murdered? Then Under the Guise of Death by Vivian Conroy is your book.

November 15, 2019

The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls by Jen Gilroy ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

They're ordinary blueberry muffins.  A lot like her...Once, she'd been a starry-eyed girl with a golden voice who'd imagined she could make it in the music industry.  But nowadays, she was an ordinary person and she'd worked hard to convince herself that all she wanted was to raise Hannah and live her everyday life."  (p 4)

November 14, 2019

5 Tales of Romantic Fantasy You May Have Missed

by MK French

It's often fun to explore new locations for a vacation. How about entirely new worlds? Some of them are close to our own, others can be completely different from everything we've ever known. People all need and want the same kinds of things, and that includes someone they can love and care for. It often isn't the driving force for the story, but it certainly helps to give our heroes an added push.

November 13, 2019

The Institute by Stephen King ~ a Review

by Alison DeLuca

Recently I read two books, both of them urban fantasy with a touch of horror.

One was beautifully written, with poetic prose that swirled and made me read slowly to enjoy each word. The other was The Institute by Stephen King.

November 12, 2019

Fit For Flight by Casey P. Zack and Shelby P. Zack ~ a Review

by MK French

Whether you're a flight attendant or frequent flyer, you are always on the go. Any career that involves constant travel - and thus includes multiple time zone changes, long flights, hotel living, trekking through busy airports and tackling transportation in a new city - makes learning how to manage a daily routine and maintain a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle frustrating if not seemingly impossible. (p. 1)

November 11, 2019

The Evolution of Charlie Darwin by Beth Duman ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Since it is Nonfiction November and I only had a few new release ARCs to read, I dove into my backlog of old ARCs to see if there were any nonfiction books there. I found 3 and I decided to read The Evolution of Charlie Darwin: Partner with Your Dog Using Positive Training by Beth Duman.

November 10, 2019

5 Books for Women

by Susan Roberts

Women's fiction is an umbrella term for books that are marketed to female readers, and includes many mainstream novels, romantic fiction, "chick lit," and other sub-genres. It is distinct from Women's writing, which refers to literature written by (rather than promoted to) women. There exists no comparable label in English for works of fiction that are marketed to males.  (Goodreads)

As you can see from the above description of Women's Fiction, it's an umbrella term for many different genres. In today's post, I have five books that would be considered women's fiction - a suspense novel, a romance novel, two historical fiction novels and a coming of age novel.

November 9, 2019

2 Mysteries For Cozy Reading

by MK French

Mysteries are by definition difficulties that need to be solved. Not all of them are terribly intense, though they will definitely capture your imagination and make you think. If these stories take place in a small town with people that know everything about everyone else around them, that's the very definition of a cozy mystery. So pull up a comfortable armchair, brew a big mug of tea, and settle in with these books and a fluffy fleece blanket.

November 8, 2019

3 Books About Michigan

by Susan Roberts

Even though I've lived in North Carolina for over 40 years and love living here, a part of my heart still belongs in Michigan where I grew up.  Every summer my family would take a trip to somewhere different in the state so that we could learn all about it and my favorite places are the small cities along Lake Michigan.  Because of my love of the state, I really enjoy reading books about Michigan.  I recently read three books in a row about this lovely state and here are my reviews.

November 7, 2019

Camp Lake by John A. Heldt ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

While I don't read a lot of romance, I do sometimes like the sweet stories of discovering love. When I'm in the mood for such a story, I know John A. Heldt will deliver. Camp Lake is a satisfying conclusion to the Carson Chronicles.

November 6, 2019

Maiden, Mother, and Crone edited by Gwen Benaway ~ a Review

by MK French

Maiden, Mother, and Crone is an anthology of stories written by trans women involving various genres of fantasy. There is high fantasy of the sword and sorcery type, as well as alternate universes and supernatural creatures. Each story uses the classical tropes of fantasy, with heroines battling various challenges and progressing with bravery and cunning. These heroines are trans, and as Gwen Benaway puts it in her forward, "The reality of our lives as trans women is never far from the surface of our fantastical stories, but within their magical bounds, we have the agency and capacity to change worlds."

November 5, 2019

November Road by Lou Berney ~ an Excerpt

Behold! The Big Easy in all its wicked splendor!
Frank Guidry paused at the corner of Toulouse to bask in the neon furnace glow. He's lived in New Orleans the better part of his thirty-seven years on earth, but the dirty glitter and sizzle of the French Quarter still hit his bloodstream like a drug. Yokels and locals, muggers and hustlers, fire-eaters and magicians. A go-go girl was draped over the wrought-iron rail of a second-floor balcony, one book sprung free from her sequenced negligee and swaying like a metronome to the beat of the jazz trio inside. Bass, drums, piano, tearing through "Night and Day." But that was New Orleans for you. Even the worst band in the crummiest clip joint in the city could swing, man, swing. (p. 3)

November 4, 2019

A Midnight Clear by Sam Hooker, et al. ~ a Review

by MK French

Christmas is seen as a time of cheer and joy, but not everyone enjoys the season. This collection of six short stories plays off the darker potential in the season, sometimes dipping into outright horror.

November 3, 2019

The Hitwoman and the Fallen Angel by JB Lynn ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman is the only series that I started reading when book 1 first came out and am still reading (and loving) 21 books later.

November 2, 2019

4 Books for Fans of Historical Fiction

by Susan Roberts

I enjoy reading historical fiction books especially if they mainly focus on women.  Here are several that I've read recently.

November 1, 2019

Meant To Be Yours by Susan Mallery ~ a Review

by MK French

Jasper left the military with severe PTSD and found a talent for writing novels. He still sees himself as broken and has never gotten involved in relationships for more than sex. This suits Renee just fine because she had back luck with relationships in the past. They wind up getting closer to each other, and maybe there is more than just the physical between them.

October 31, 2019

October's Best Reads

October can be a big book month as authors and publishers are trying to get books published in time for book award deadlines. It is also when Christmas books starting hitting shelves and so many favorite authors are publishing them these days that you have to start before Halloween to get them all read by the Christmas holidays. We read a bunch of different genres this month, everything from our go-to genres like cozy mysteries, women's fiction, and historical fiction to holiday reads, both for Halloween and Christmas. Here is our attempt to name the one book we read this month that is our favorite.

October 30, 2019

A Merry Murder by Kate Kingsbury ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I love cozy mysteries, and I love Christmas stories. When these two genres collide I'm usually a very happy reader. Though I have not read any of the previous books in the Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery series, I could not pass up A Merry Murder. It's not just a cozy mystery, and it's not just a Christmas story. It promised to be an old fashion English Christmas. What could be better?

October 29, 2019

This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman ~ a Review & Excerpt

by MK French

Georgiana Caversteed is a shipping heiress fed up with fortune hunters of the ton and the cousin that wants to force her into marriage. She knows widows have more freedom, so she is determined to marry a condemned man. Unfortunately, the man she winds up marrying is none other than Benedict William Henry Wylde, the Earl of Morcott's second son, who was in Newgate prison undercover, working for Bow Street. She never expected to actually see him in Society, and he is determined to court his wife so that they will remain married.

October 28, 2019

October Reading and Blogging Wrap Up

by Donna Huber

October has been filled with a bunch of books. So many of my favorite authors published books this month that I wound up with 8 ARCs. I usually read about 5 books a month (no including the audiobooks I listen to), so I was a little stressed when I looked at my calendar. Thankfully, several of them were Christmas stories so they were quick reads. I took a week off work to thoroughly scrub my house - August and September were so hot and dry that I barely cleaned a thing and I did want to close in the dirt when I close the windows for winter. I spent a day per room and got it all done. My house is sparkling! While I was off I went to a watercolor class at the library where we made 3 bookmarks. I want to add some quotes to mine.

October 27, 2019

Christmas Sweets: 3 Novellas ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Christmas Sweets is a collection of novellas from Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier. If you haven't read these authors this is a great introduction to their series.

October 26, 2019

An Excuse for Murder by Vanessa Westermann ~ a Review

by MK French

Gary Fenris had made mistakes as a bodyguard in the past, the primary ones being letting the woman he loved die and thinking that vengeance would solve his problems. The man he killed was one of the tenants in Kate's great-aunt's homes, and she was something of an amateur sleuth and lockpick. She started looking into the murder, and Gary is drawn to her.

October 25, 2019

How Fires End by Marco Rafalà ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Sunlight shown through the bay windows and threw their shadows on the wall - small shadows cast by their younger selves.  The selves they left behind when they came here, carrying the ghosts of the people they could have been." (p 63)

October 24, 2019

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"And all at once Audrey understood that decades of unspoken stories were like strata of ancient rock: layer upon layer of family secrets impacting on one another until the truth was hidden so far beneath the surface that only the most committed could excavate  it." (p 309) 

October 23, 2019

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland ~ a Review

by MK French

Ailsa Rae had a heart transplant just in the nick of time, so now she can act like every other twenty-eight-year-old. She has a complicated relationship with her mother, wants to find her missing father, and isn't sure what will happen with her lost love Lennox. She's a changed woman, and there is going to be a lot more of it going forward.

October 22, 2019

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Each scent holds a mystery, its own story. That was the first lesson Papa taught me. "To be a parfumeur is to be a detective, Sophie," he'd say, bent in deep concentration over the mixing tube with a dropper of perfume oil. He would mix the solvent and sniff, mix and sniff, until he was satisfied. Only then would he soak a mouillette, a narrow strip of paper, and hand it to me. "What do you see?" he'd ask. (p 4)

October 21, 2019

A Mrs. Miracle Christmas by Debbie Macomber ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I know some people don't think it is Christmas until they've read Debbie Macomber's latest Christmas novel. As someone who was on a waiting list until March for a previous Christmas book by her, I'm thrilled that I received an advance copy. This year she brings back the beloved character Mrs. Miracle and you don't want to miss it.

October 20, 2019

3 Books about Strong Women of WWII

by Susan Roberts

I read a lot of WWII fiction but I especially enjoy books that are about the strength of women during the war and the differences they made during this time.  For too many years, we've only heard stories about the brave men during the war so it's fantastic to read about women who were also very brave and got involved in dangerous situations to help their country.  All of my books today take place in France.

October 19, 2019

Death Beside the Seaside by T.E. Kinsey ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Last year, I listened to the first book in the Lady Hardcastle Mysteries series, A Quiet Life in the Country, and I really enjoyed the characters. I have not continued with the series, but when I saw book 6 Death Beside the Seaside at NetGalley, I had to request it.

October 18, 2019

A Distance Too Grand by Regina Scott ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Yet it was already August. They had at best two months, barely enough time for the survey, before snow began to fall along the North Rim. The Grand Canyon they called it and everything he'd read said searching for a way to ford it, by wagon, would be an adventure." (p 18)

October 17, 2019

4 Books of Folklore and Fairy Tales

by MK French

Fairy tales and folklore are short stories involving fantastic creatures that don't exist in nature, often teaching lessons to readers/listeners as the story progresses. Many of these stories are told and retold in different ways; many of the core themes in these stories actually date back thousands of years. Most of the time, fairy tales are considered stories we tell children, and that grown-ups don't need to listen to the stories themselves. They dismiss the warnings within the stories as silly things that only children would believe and feel that they don't apply to adults anymore. The wonder has gone out of those adults, which is a sad thing. There are still so many lessons that adults can learn from these stories, especially when they're reinterpreted for modern times.

October 16, 2019

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert: A Review

by Alison DeLuca
cover of City of Girls and its author, Elizabeth Gilbert
cover of City of Girls and its author, Elizabeth Gilbert
Over the past weekend, I took my nephew to comic con, walked several miles of city sidewalk, ate in a few Irish pubs, and read City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution by Kate Quinn, et al. ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

A breathtaking, epic novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—seven unforgettable women whose paths cross during one of the most tumultuous and transformative events in history: the French Revolution.

October 15, 2019

Christmas in Vermont by Anita Hughes ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Emma strolled through the East Village and admired the lamposts wrapped in red bows and the shop windows littered with fake snow and tinsel. Most of her friends fled New York City during Christmas, but Emma adored Manhattan during the holidays. Fifth Avenue flooded in lights was so romantic, and she could stare at the cashmere sweaters in the windows of Barney's for hours. (pg 1)

October 14, 2019

Potency by Aubrey Hadley ~ a Review

by MK French

Harper is a seventeen-year-old girl living in Reno, Nevada. She is homeschooled and feels that her mother is overly strict, so they frequently butt heads when she sneaks out to play soccer with friends. She doesn't pay much attention to news about the Maasai Mara Sleeping Sickness, an illness that induces euphoria and then lethargy before killing its victims. At least, not until it comes to her neighborhood.

October 13, 2019

Christmas Angels by Nancy Naigle ~ a Review

by MK French

Liz Westmoreland worked in Charlotte on big real estate properties and happened to find her grandparents' old bed and breakfast up for auction. She had always dreamed of owning it and had fond memories of summers there, and bought it on a whim. There was a lot of work that had to be done, some of which was already outlined by Mike Hardy, whom she had narrowly outbid. She didn't remember him from summers past, but he remembered her as well as the crush he used to have on her. It was a lot of work to refurbish the property, especially over the winter as the weather grew worse.

October 12, 2019

The Midnight Call by Jodé Millman ~ a Review

by MK French

Corporate attorney Jessie Martin received a call from her mentor Terrence Butterfield at midnight. The high school teacher states he killed someone, and she rushes to help him immediately. However, this implicates her in the murder, and he doesn't exonerate her of any charges when he has the opportunity to. Now Jessie has to figure out the truth of the murder to exonerate herself, and it literally becomes a fight for her life.

October 11, 2019

Let It Snow by Nancy Thayer ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Did you know that Nancy Thayer wrote Christmas books? I love her summer books set on Nantucket, so when I saw Let It Snow at NetGalley I had to pick it up (though I already had too many ARCs for October). It is just as wonderful as any of her beach reads. Now I don't know if I want to visit Nantucket in the summer or in the winter.

October 10, 2019

One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker ~ Review

by Susan Roberts

"The seasons don't cease to change because we haven't the time to plant or tend or harvest, because grief like a hailstorm comes up sudden and frightens us with its noise.  Once the storm rolls on, the fields remain and life goes on, whatever we prefer." (p32)

October 9, 2019

What the Dog Knows: Young Reader Edition by Cat Warren ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I typically shy away from books about animals as they often make me cry. As I had learned of this book in a science writers group I'm in, I figure it wouldn't really be sad since it was more about the science of scent and how dogs use the sense of smell. And I can tell you now that there isn't any sad stuff about the dog in this book. It is quite an interesting book, in fact.

October 8, 2019

The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller ~ a Review

by MK French

New York City, February 1, 1875
Alva Penrose Rensselaer Webster had been inside Delmonico's for nine seconds before Mrs. Henry Biddington asked the maitre d'hotel to throw her out. Alva knew because she'd counted them out: one, no one had noticed her yet; two, casual glances to see who had just come in sharpened; three, people began to nudge their neighbors; four, the whispers started; five, they turned anger; six, Mrs. Biddington, gray-haired battle-axe and leader of society, flagged her waiter down; eight, the maitre d'hotel crossed to her table; nine, Mrs. Biddington made an outraged gestured towards Alva and began to complain in a voice piercing enough to be heard clear across the room. (pg. 1)

October 7, 2019

Lost Child: The True Story of a Girl who Couldn't Ask for Help by Torey L. Hayden ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Children with reactive attachment disorder can be highly manipulative if they sense they have found a soft spot and it was possible that Jessie had surmised that sexual abuse was something that would keep me engaged. As a topic, it was beginning to dominate our conversations and I was unsure if this was because Jessie was working up the courage to reveal abuse or because she was playing me for all I was worth." (p 269)

October 6, 2019

Chandler Hill Inn Series by Judith Keim ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

The Chandler Hill Books series is set in Willamette Valley, Oregon. This is an excellent area for vineyards and wine and the characters have an inn and a winery in this lovely area. Book 1 is Going Home, Book 2 is Coming Home and the third book in the series - Home at Last will be published in 2020.

October 5, 2019

Paper Wife by Laila Ibrahim ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I don't usually write full reviews of books that I pick up for myself; I just include a short review in my monthly recap. But every once in a while I get a book that is just so great that I have to shine a little more light on it. So it was with the audiobook I listened to at the end of September. Paper Wife was so interesting and touching that I want to be sure my readers don't miss this wonderful novel.

October 4, 2019

7 Horror Novels for Halloween Reading

by MK French

Monsters come in all shapes and sizes and often make up a central element of horror novels. They sometimes arise from different mythologies eager to feast on humans or corrupt them, which is the horror element that links them all together. Monsters are the other, the things that scare us because we don't understand it and don't want to. Most of the time, monsters have horrible features, teeth and claws, scales or fur, and mystical powers that can confuse or ensnare. Humans are caught up in it, the victims in a trap they can't get out of. Some humans, however, are able to fight back. Maybe they're brave enough or have allies with powers of their own. Maybe they have special tools or skills.

Either way, it's a battle for supremacy, and only one of them will ever win.

October 3, 2019

A Spell of Murder by Kennedy Kerr ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Long-time readers of Girl Who Reads know that I don't read horror. But in October I like to read something to get me into the Halloween season. Sometimes it is a terrifying thriller and other years it is paranormal cozy mysteries. Since I've been on a cozy mystery binge this year, I picked up A Spell of Murder at NetGalley to get me ready for Halloween.

October 2, 2019

Invisible as Air by Zoe Fishman ~ a Review

 by Susan Roberts

"She unscrewed the cap, took out one of the tiny, white discs and placed it on her tongue. With a grimace, she swallowed it whole, turned off the light and began her day." (p 5)

October 1, 2019

Cursed by Thomas Wheeler, illustrated by Frank Miller ~ a Review

by MK French

FROM HER HIDING PLACE IN the straw pile and through eyes filled with tears, Nimue thought Father Carden looked like a spirit of light. It was how he stood, back to the bleached sun, and the way the clouds poured under his draping sleeves and upraised palms, like a man standing on the sky. His trembling voice rose above the din of bleating goats, crackling wood, screaming infants, and wailing mothers. “God is love. It is a love that purifies, a love that sanctifies, a love that unites us.” Carden’s pale blue eyes passed over the piteous, howling mob, prostrated in the mud, barricaded by monks in red robes. (First chapter, first paragraph)

September 30, 2019

Donna's September Reading Round Up

by Donna Huber

It is supposedly Fall, but the record high temperatures have it still feeling like summer. I went to see Downton Abbey the movie and it was so good. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. For the first time, I didn't see Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge (I've seen her in a few other things but could only think of her as Umbridge from Harry Potter). Maggie Smith is wonderful as usual, but there is one character that truly steals the show - don't worry I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't seen the movie yet.


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