Readers' Favorite

March 26, 2019

Tomorrow's Bread by Anna Jean Mayhew ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I Do not need my freedom when I'm dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow's bread."
(from Democracy by Langston Hughes.  In the foreword of the novel)

March 25, 2019

March Reading & Blog Wrap-up

by Donna Huber

Can you believe we are already on the last Monday of March? I know there is another full week left of the month, but I like doing my wrap-ups on the last Monday. But I will be updating the post as the week progresses. So if you are reading this as part of It's Monday! What are your reading? it may be a little different if you stop back for the Monthly Wrap Up meme.

A little note about the picture above... I have been looking for a vanity since I moved into my house nearly 16 years ago. I also need more bookshelves. I haven't located a vanity that I like enough at a price I'm willing to pay so I decided to make my own. I spent Sunday afternoon painting, assembling, and installing my new vanity/bookcase combo. I love it!

Now onto the reading and all things blogging.

March 24, 2019

Field Guide to the Spirit World by Susan B. Martinez ~ a Review

by MK French

The forward is written by Whitley Strieber and is written with the idea that people are spirits housed inside a body of flesh. Therefore, lost spirits that haunt the world can try to inhabit our bodies, and there are a number of things that can leave them vulnerable to possession. A number of mental illnesses would predispose someone to hauntings or possessions, and may even be the result of such activity. These aren't necessarily all harmful violations, as the spirits can also provide information and gifts to those open to them.

March 23, 2019

RED Hotel by Gary Grossman and Ed Fuller ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I don't think I have enough words to tell you how much I enjoyed RED Hotel by Gary Grossman and Ed Fuller. But I will try.

March 22, 2019

Dead Witch on a Bridge by Gretchen Galway ~ a Review

by MK French

Alma had never been able to kill demons for the Protectorate, so she stayed in Silverpool, a small town that's fairly isolated. She had always been able to see and hear the fae, unlike other Witches, and one draws her to the body of her dead ex. There's an influx of attention in Silverpool now, including her infamous father, who is a magical thief, ambitious Witches, dangerous fae and a charming demon. Tensions are rising in the magical community, and Alma has to find the killer before the upcoming deaths include hers.

March 20, 2019

The Perfect Watch for Steampunk Fans #JORDWatch #Giveaway

by Donna Huber

Steampunk and JORD Watch

What do you do when a corset and parasol or top hat and driving goggles are too conspicuous to wear, but you want to show your love for the steampunk genre? The Dover collection of watches from JORD, with their open gear face, is the perfect accessory. And today you can enter to win a $100 gift certificate, plus all other entrants will receive a 10% off coupon. Enter below.

About JORD Watches

JORD (pronounced Yode - like Yoda without the -a!) watches are beautifully hand-crafted from a variety of wood. They have a wide selection of styles and wood types to choose from for both men and women so you can choose the perfect combination that uniquely fits you.

JORD was founded in 2013 to create true designer watches from natural materials. Each JORD series incorporates conversation provoking natural wood with a premium quartz, chronograph, or automatic movement. JORD is located in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

The Dover Olive and Acacia Watch

JORD Watch and The Watchmake of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

As part of this sponsored promotion, I chose (and received for free) the Dover Olive and Acacia watch. The open watch face with exposed gears, combined with the color and texture of olive and acacia wood, is absolutely gorgeous. I was really blown away by its beauty when I opened the box. I knew from the pictures it was pretty, but WOW!

The visible gears are what really drew me to the Dover collection. It instantly made me think of steampunk novels. Clocks and watches are often depicted in the steampunk genre. Watches became popular in Victorian society as they became more reliable; therefore, it makes sense to be featured in writings about that time period.

Another cool feature of these watches is the fact they are automatic watches. You wind it initially and then your daily movements keep the timepiece going. There's no battery to replace, ever! This “bio-mechanical” working is definitely something you would see in a steampunk novel.

The Olive Tree has deeply rooted meaning dating back to ancient Greece and often appears in Greek mythology. It signifies friendship and peace, hence the saying, "extending the olive branch", when you want to make peace with someone.

Acacia wood is dense and extremely strong. According to an Old Dominion University website, due to deposits in the heartwood, it is unpalatable to insects and its denseness makes it impenetrable by water. These factors help the tree resist decay. Acacia wood is what was used to build the tabernacle described in Exodus 37 and 38.

This watch could signify a ‘strong friendship’ when given as a gift.

JORD Watch in box

Watches, Clocks and Time in Steampunk Novels

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and often has elements of fantasy. As the name indicates, it features technology that is steam-powered, but there is also a focus on all mechanical things. As the concept of time and ways of telling time had greatly changed during the 18th century, these often Victorian-set novels feature watches, clocks, and time. Here are just 5 steampunk novels and series that use these elements. You can find even more on the Best Steampunk Books list at Goodreads. What is your favorite steampunk novel that uses watches, clocks, and/or time in its story?

Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century #1) by Cherie Priest

In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel
Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them.

The Infernal Devices trilogy includes Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, and Clockwork Princess.

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar
In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling-or dangerous Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper from the clutches of a devious criminal demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him... for the life of the girl Jasper loves.

One false move from Jasper, and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens and tightens. From the rough streets of lower Manhattan to elegant Fifth Avenue, the motley crew of teens follows Jasper's elusive trail. And they're about to discover how far they'll go for friendship.

More than ever, Finley must rely on powerful English duke Griffin King to balance her dark magic with her good side. Yet Griffin is at war with himself over his secret attraction to Finley... and will risk his life and reputation to save her.

Now, to help those she's come to care for so deeply, Finley must infiltrate the criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much.

Timekeeper by Tara Sim

I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.

A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.

A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.

A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
In 1883, Thaniel Steepleton returns to his tiny flat to find a gold pocketwatch on his pillow. But he has worse fears than generous burglars; he is a telegraphist at the Home Office, which has just received a threat for what could be the largest-scale Fenian bombing in history.

When the watch saves Thaniel’s life in a blast that destroys Scotland Yard, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori—a kind, lonely immigrant who sweeps him into a new world of clockwork and music. Although Mori seems harmless at first, a chain of unexpected slips soon proves that he must be hiding something.

Meanwhile, Grace Carrow is sneaking into an Oxford library dressed as a man. A theoretical physicist, she is desperate to prove the existence of the luminiferous ether before her mother can force her to marry.

As the lives of these three characters become entwined, events spiral out of control until Thaniel is torn between loyalties, futures and opposing geniuses.

Also, check out our list of Steampunk novels at Amazon.

The Giveaway

JORD watch and book

The JORD watch would make an awesome gift. Especially with high school and college graduations coming up, a hand-crafted wood watch would make a timeless (sorry about the pun) gift that the graduate in your life would cherish. Now is your chance to win a $100 gift code (all other entrants will receive a 10% off code) to use when choosing the watch that uniquely matches their personality. (If you want to keep the watch for yourself, I won't tell nor would I blame you as I love mine).

Follow this link to enter the giveaway and check out the other beautiful watches at JORD:

The fine print: The giveaway is open to everyone. The giveaway ends April 14, 2019. JORD is the sponsor of this giveaway and is responsible for delivery of prizes.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

Wooden Wrist Watch

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March 19, 2019

Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter ~ a Review

by MK French

Josh and Ksenia are foster siblings that are entirely devoted to each other, though Josh has romantic feelings tangled up in that which he hopes can someday come to fruition. They're "those kids" in town, but do have friends in school that don't mind their androgynous flair and Josh's pansexuality. It's hard for others to really get close, even their best friend Lexi, so it's easy for Josh to be seduced by Prince and the other fae that he meets. Getting his wish comes at a dangerous price and one that far too many people have to pay the price for.

March 18, 2019

Low Country Hero by Lee Tobin McClain ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Low Country Hero is my first book by this author. Based on the book's title, I expected this to be a romance novel and nothing else. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that it was way more than a romance novel - even though there is romance in it. The book is about spousal abuse and how it affects not only the partner being abused but also the children who are aware of the situation.

March 17, 2019

2 New Family Dramas

by Susan Roberts

I enjoy reading books about families of all kinds. Here are reviews of two family drama books that publish in March that I thought were excellent. You will want to add them to your reading list.

March 16, 2019

The Unicorn Anthology by Peter S. Beagle, editor ~ a Review

by MK French

Peter S. Beagle has written a lot of books within the fantasy genre, but remains best known for his novel "The Last Unicorn." As a result, he was a natural choice to curate this collection. There are a number of renowned authors of fantasy included in this collection, so it's a great opportunity to see unicorn themed work from them.

March 15, 2019

Until the Day I Die by Emily Carpenter ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Until the Day I Die Quote 1

I made the mistake of starting this book late in the day. I didn't put it down until I finished it at 3 a.m. It was a roller coaster ride of a story told by two strong women that kept me guessing until the end. Emily Carpenter continues to bring us books that keep her readers in suspense from the first page until the end.

March 14, 2019

Say You're Sorry by Karen Rose ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Clear your calendar before starting this book. I've stayed up way too late (and I'm very disciplined about going to bed on time) this week because I could not put this book down. "One more chapter" turned into 2 more hours (and several chapters) of reading each night. I'm totally exhausted, but I loved every minute of it.

March 13, 2019

The Hunger by Alma Katsu - #BookReview #Horror #DonnerParty

by Alison DeLuca

I was really excited to read The Hunger by Alma Katsu. The sneak peek on Amazon was Katsu's Prologue, which was both fascinating and scary. I'd always wanted to learn more about the Donner tragedy, so I purchased it right away.

cover of The Hunger

March 12, 2019

California Girls by Susan Mallery ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts
First Chapter, First Paragraph
The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…

March 11, 2019

Meet Ana from An Unexpected Escapade by Kandi J. Wyatt

This middle-grades fantasy is releasing on April 9th! Pre-order now for just 99 cents!

Today, we get to know Ana, one of the characters in this new book from Kandi J. West. Keep reading after the interview to enter the giveaway.

March 10, 2019

House of Stone and Ivy by Anita Stansfield ~ a Review

by MK French

Hennie and Lottie were close friends when they were in the same orphanage and workhouse. They separated afterward, but Lottie soon was able to track Hennie down to explain how she found work posing as a man. Hennie is glad to leave the job she had in order to join her, though she is increasingly nervous when she realizes it is the manor home she had lived in with her mother prior to her death. No one recognized Hennie, and she is able to pull off the deception, even making friends. It turns out that the blacksmith is her former childhood friend, also in disguise. They grow even closer and decide that their path forward eventually includes honesty for everyone.

March 9, 2019

An Interview with Kathy Curto

Kathy Curto is the author of NOT FOR NOTHING: Glimpses Into a Jersey Girlhood. Be sure to read MK French's review.

March 8, 2019

Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly ~ a Review & Teasers

by Susan Roberts

"A shiver of contentment raced through Claire's veins, overshadowed only by a strange feeling left by that dream."  (loc 86)

"Claire staggered toward the front of the station before her right foot knocked into her left and she crashed to the ground.  Forcing herself back onto her heels, she thought the outline of her palms looked like photo negatives in the gritty dirt.   She managed to stand even as her legs liquefied beneath her,  adrenaline alone keeping her afloat.  She faced the pumps and cried out 'My car!  It's gone!  My Girls!  (loc 382)

March 7, 2019

A Review of Two Books by Mandy Mikulencak

by Susan Roberts

Even though I have stacks of books to read, I still enter every contest for free books on Facebook.  I 'm not very lucky but every once in a while I win a book.  I was lucky enough to win two books by Mandy in a giveaway on a book site called 'A Novel Bee'.  This author was new to me but after reading her books, she's been added to my list of favorite authors.

March 6, 2019

Not For Nothing: Glimpses into a Jersey Girlhood by Kathy Curto ~ a Review & Excerpts

by MK French

Kathy Curto grew up in a very Italian household in New Jersey during the 1970s and 1980s. This is a memoir comprised of many different vignettes, all full of sensory details and almost visceral memories. Some are happy ones, such as dancing around when she's four years old in her father's gas station, as well as upsetting ones, like her parents' fights that involve cursing and name calling.

March 5, 2019

A Testament to Murder by Vivian Conroy ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

First Chapter, First Paragraph

It isn't often that I get to start a cozy mystery series with book 1, but Vivian Conroy has created a new series, Murder Will Follow, and A Testament to Murder is the first book in the series. I discovered Conroy a year and a half ago when I read book 4 in her Lady Alkmene Callender Mystery series, Fatal Masquerade (read my review). I fell in love with her writing in that historical cozy and was glad to see this new book at Netgalley.

March 4, 2019

Bookstore Event: Movable Feast 2019

by Susan Roberts


I attended the Movable Feast at Bookmarks this week.  It was a great event and lots of fun.  There were 18 authors there and 10 authors came to each table.  They had 10 minutes to talk about their book and answer a few questions before the bell rang and they moved to another table.  It was great fun to meet some new authors and to see some authors that I knew.  They had books for sale by each author and even though I told myself before the event that I wouldn't buy any books, I ended up buying 4 new books.  Another interesting part of this event was that I went by myself and didn't know anyone at my table of 8 people.  But book lovers are never strangers for long and it didn't take much time before we were chatting like old friends.

March 3, 2019

The Art of Power Reading

by Donna Huber

It is the weekend before my book club meets and as usual, I'm just now starting the book. Thankfully it is a relatively short read - about 220 pages. But still, with only 5 days (I started yesterday), I knew I would need to employ a bit of power reading.

March 2, 2019

Bad Blood by Robyn Bachar ~ a Review

by MK French

After getting book 5 in the Bad Witch series from Netgalley, I went back and bought book 1 (it's free right now) so I've included my review of Blood, Smoke and Mirrors as well.

March 1, 2019

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

We Hope for Better Things;  It will raise us from the ashes (Detroit City Motto)

"Aunt Nora had been wrong when she said the history was written by the victors, for the victors in one generation may turn to be the villains of the next.  And the only way to get closer to the truth was to refuse to quit looking for it."

February 28, 2019

Best Reads of February 2019

by staff

This month has been filled with one outstanding new release after the next. It may be difficult to choose your next read based on all of our glowing reviews. To help you out, Alison, MK, Susan, and Donna have named their favorite read of the month.

February 27, 2019

Chocolate Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Last year when I was going through my big binge read of cozy mysteries, I discovered Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen series. It is a fun, foodie series set in Lake Eden, Minnesota. I listened to the first 3 books in audio from my local digital library. I read the first three and then took a break (or maybe there weren't any more audiobooks at the digital library). Whatever the reason, when I found Chocolate Cream Pie Murder at Netgalley, I knew I had to request it.

February 26, 2019

It's Getting Scot in Here by Suzanne Enoch ~ Review & Excerpt

by MK French

Francesca MacTaggert may have had a whirlwind romance with a Highlander, but she couldn't bear to stay there. She returned to London with her infant daughter, leaving her husband and three sons at his ancestral home with a caveat: if the boys aren't married when her daughter is engaged, she will have to choose English brides for them. None of the MacTaggert boys had known about it until now when their sister Eloise is engaged. The three men arrive in London, and Francesca had chosen Amelia-Rose Baxter for her eldest, Coll. However, he has no interest in her. The youngest, Niall, definitely does have an interest, and that interest is mutual.

February 25, 2019

Reading Wrap up ~ February 2019

by Donna Huber

Image by Devanath on Pixabay

We have made to the end of February. It was an exhausting month for me. I volunteer with a children's basketball program and we had our last Game Day on Saturday followed by the End of Season Celebration on Sunday. I was in charge of gathering door prizes. I didn't want to go the gift card route so I put together a movie night family pack with movies, popcorn, and candy; family game night with a bunch of games and a few snacks; and a make your own ice cream sundae kit. It was a lot of work to gather all the stuff together but I think they turned out well.

Reading life slowed a bit because I was just plain tired. I'm actually pretty pleased that I've read as much as I did this month - thank you audiobooks. Let's take a closer look at what happened at Girl Who Reads and in my reading life.

February 24, 2019

8 More February Books You Don't Want to Miss

by Susan Roberts

There are lots of fantastic books publishing in February.  Earlier I posted about the books I've read that published on February 5.  Now I have reviews for you of several fantastic books that published mid-February and 3 books that come out this coming Tuesday.

What were some of your favorite February books?

February 23, 2019

A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

This year I'm trying to add a bit of diversity to my reading. I thought this was important as I often use reading to explore issues, cultures, and time periods that I would have little contact with in my real life. A Deadly Divide, the fifth book in the Rachel Getty & Esa Khattak series, features two Canadian officers with Community Policing. Their mandate is to work with minority groups.

February 22, 2019

The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder by Emanuella Hristova ~ a Review

by MK French

Emanuella's book is a collection of poetry written over the course of a very tumultuous year. A romantic relationship began and ended, and her sister died. The poems were a way to cope with all of the emotions. She also has a website and an Instagram account.

February 21, 2019

2 Well Done Novellas

by Susan Roberts

I don't read many short stories because I prefer novels where the characters and action can be better explained.  I have read two novellas recently that were very well done and very interesting.

Definition of Novella:  A novella is a text of written, fictional, narrative prose normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel, somewhere between 17,500 and 40,000 words. The English word "novella" derives from the Italian novella, feminine of novello, which means "new".

February 20, 2019

Ascension by E.A. Weston ~ a Review

by MK French

Reagan Lunasa had gone between the human and fairy world of Avalon and is determined to help her true love, the prince of Avalon. There is still doubt about their bond because of her humanity, as well as the risk of other fairies actually working for Connor to help him keep the throne. It's going to be a question of war, and she's determined to help.

February 18, 2019

The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Even before stepping into the cottage, Gary knows that this is bad.

It's the sickly-sweet smell drifting out through the open door, the flies buzzing around, the sticky, hot hallway and, if that isn't a dead giveaway that something about this house is not right, not right in the worst possible way, then the silence confirms it." Prologue, pg 1

February 17, 2019

Love of Finished Years by Gregory Erich Phillips ~ a Review

by MK French

Elsa came to New York in the early 1900's for opportunities and knew she could only rely on herself to make a new life. She worked in a Manhattan sweatshop and soon had the opportunity to work for a wealthy family on Long Island. This introduces her to the world of the elites right before the precarious entry into the Great War.

February 16, 2019

Remembering Rosamunde Pilcher 1924 - 2019

by Susan Roberts

Rosamunde Pilcher

"Rosamunde Pilcher, a British writer whose romance and generation-spanning novels like “The Shell Seekers” regularly made best-seller lists and were turned into television movies and mini-series, died on Wednesday in Dundee, Scotland. She was 94." ~ The New York Times

“Rosamunde Pilcher was groundbreaking as she was the first to bring family sagas to the wider public. Houses full of secrets, families full of lies, beautiful settings, page-turning plots,” said novelist Katie Fforde, who is president of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. “With The Shell Seekers she changed the face of romantic fiction.” ~ The Guardian

February 15, 2019

The Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish ~ a Review

by MK French

Wanting to leave behind memories of her former marriage after her adult daughter moved away from home, Hannah moved to Edinburgh. Now she and her colleagues are tour guides, leading visitors through Henderson Close. They act out and recreate stories of ghosts and murder, which is fun for Hannah until it starts to feel all too real. There is a figure that seems to appear and reappear, odd happenings in the estate, and a girl with no face. The old legends of Henderson Close now feel all too real.

February 14, 2019

How to Experience Death for Beginners by Jessica Branton ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

When I was a teenager I probably would have loved this dark and angsty tale. I think my teen-self would have overlooked the bit of paranormal (I didn't read fantasy as a teen).

February 13, 2019

Game of Thrones and The Woman in White

by Alison DeLuca

cover of A Game of Thrones

I've fallen hard for Game of Thrones lately. At the same time, I'm rereading The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Called a 'perfect murder mystery,' TWIW is a novel about marriage, betrayal, and murder.

February 12, 2019

Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I'm always on the lookout for cozy mysteries to read and since this one featured a librarian as the amateur sleuth it sounded like the perfect read.

February 11, 2019

The Curiosities by Susan Gloss ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

It's been a long wait for a new book by Susan Gloss but I am happy to tell you that the wait is over and the new book is fantastic! It has everything needed to make a good novel - great characters, friendship, loss, and love plus the added descriptions of paintings and sculptures.

February 10, 2019

The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Since discovering Rhys Bowen's cozy mystery series Her Royal Spyness, I've been trying to read all her other books. Last winter, I read my first stand-alone novel by her, The Tuscan Child (read my review) and loved it. So when I saw The Victory Garden on Netgalley, I knew I had to read.

February 9, 2019

Junction by Daniel M. Bensen ~ a Review

by MK French

Daisuke Matsumori is a nature show host in Japan and finds himself on an alien world. He joins others through a wormhole that connects Papua New Guinea to a world that is a combination of different alien ecosystems. He and the biologist Anne Houlihan are accompanying soldiers and civilians, but it's more than just the dangers of nature that are a threat to them all.

February 8, 2019

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

This is a wonderful, well-written, well-researched historical fiction novel about strong women in adverse conditions. It's about a group of women in WWII who were left out of the history books and left out of popular WWII fiction. I highly recommend it!

February 7, 2019

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

“It only hurts you to hold on to the hate.” 

This fantastic new book is a prequel to The Lilac Girls. It features Caroline's mother, Eliza during the time period of WWI and the Russian revolution. As with the Lilac Girls, this book features strong women who are working and sacrificing to make the world a better place during a difficult time in world history. (Note - you don't need to read The Lilac Girls before you read Lost Roses. However, Lilac Girls is such a fantastic book that you need to make sure that you read it soon.)

February 6, 2019

Book to TV: Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

by Donna Huber

Vanity Fair show

The trend of making books into popular television shows (see more bookish television shows) continues with ITV/Amazon's Vanity Fair. Based on the Victorian classic of the same name by William Makepeace Thackeray, it is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

February 5, 2019

The Military Wife by Laura Trentham ~ a Review & Excerpt

by MK French

Harper Lee Wilcox lives in North Carolina with her mother and son after the death of her husband Noah, who had been in the military. Her best friend Allison Teague is also a military wife, and her husband is suffering with PTSD. Trying to help her makes her discover that the monetary reward given to her was actually money given to her by one of her husband's friends on his SEAL team, and also begins to network with other military wives that had felt stifled on the base.

February 4, 2019

Ruby in the Sky by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo ~ a Review

by MK French

Ruby Moon Hayes and her mother Dahlia have arrived in the small Vermont town that Dahlia had been born in. She remains quiet, hoping that people won't ask her what happened to her father, or why Dahlia was arrested after being in town for a week, or why she never has new clothes to wear. She doesn't want to make friends and wants to go back to where everything had been normal for her before. But Ahmad Saleem keeps trying to be her friend, and Ruby is drawn to the strange woman living in a shed and feeding the animals of the forest near her new home. The elitists in town have terrible things to say about Ruby and her new friends, and she has to figure out what she wants out of life in this town.

February 3, 2019

A Local Classic: Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

by Donna Huber

Since I've been reading through a pile of local author books, I thought I would look closer at what was possibly the first local author book I ever read: Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. I read this book some 25 years ago.

February 2, 2019

5 New Books Publishing February 5

by Susan Roberts & MK French

February is a major month for publication of new books and there are some fantastic books to look forward to during the month.  Here are reviews of five books that are all publishing on February 5. Susan reviews The Beantown Girls, The Night Olivia Fell, and The Girls at 17 Swann Street while MK reviews I Owe You One and Sisters of the Fire.

What books are you looking forward to in February?

February 1, 2019

Interview with Diane May, author of EVO

by MK French

Recently, I reviewed the crime thriller Evo by Diane May. She was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about her debut novel.

January 31, 2019

Best Reads of January 2019

We read a lot of books here at Girl Who Reads and many of them are wonderful. Sometimes though there is one that really stands out from the rest. Today, we each picked the best book from what we read this month.

January 30, 2019

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

by MK French

Amanki had arrived in the capital city and has met with Baskrod, but he didn't know what happened to Brina and Moshoi. He had to remain in hiding. In the meantime, Brina and her people were sold into slavery, and Moshoi had been presumed dead in a landslide. Moshoi's brother Tuka and their companion Burlem have taken up his quest, but there is a lot of danger that threatens them along the way.

January 29, 2019

The Forgiving Kind by Donna Everhart ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Daddy never wanted to do nothing much other than grow cotton, and the way he’d gone at it, we figured that would be the thing to kill him, but it wasn’t. We got three hundred acres in Jones County, North Carolina, first-rate land he calls it. For a girl like me, meaning a girl who'd rather spend time outside more than anywhere else, there was no better place on earth. Some might think we're stuck out in the middle of nowhere, that what we have ain't no different than any other farm along Highway 58. I see things different - I see what he does. The way freshly plowed soil looks like that rich chocolate powder Mama uses for baking. How the leaves on a cotton plant are heart shaped, and how on a sunny day, their vivid green color gets so intense, you have to squint your eyes. There's these little buds on the cotton plants, called squares, and when they bloom, they turn pale yellow, like fresh cream. Within days they go to a light pink, and then darker pink, self-pollinating, Daddy says. When our fields turn those different colors, I can't imagine how nobody wouldn't think it wasn't the prettiest sight they'd ever laid eyes. on.

January 28, 2019

Donna's January Wrap Up #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

Hello, again! Has your 2019 got off to a good start? Mine has been pretty good. I got good news about a health issue, I celebrated my 42nd birthday, and Girl Who Reads turned 8. To top it off, I've read some really good books.

January 27, 2019

Sue's 2019 Reading Plan

by Susan Roberts

Image result for free pictures of 2019

It's time to start thinking about reading plans for 2019.  I've read a lot of strong opinions recently from people who don't want to make plans because they only want to read for enjoyment to the other end of the spectrum to readers who want a regimented plan - like read a book with a green cover in April and read a book by a British author in May.  My reading plan falls somewhere in the middle. I like to keep track of how many books I read a year and I use Goodreads as well as a personal spreadsheet to track what I read. I also try to add a few items into my plans that expand my reading horizons.

January 26, 2019

A Pledge of Silence by Flora J. Solomon ~ an #Audiobook Review

by Donna Huber

I don't often do full reviews of books that I buy or borrow, but A Pledge of Silence is such a good book that I had to tell you about it.

January 25, 2019

Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves ~ a Review

by MK French

Aaron Sheridan had hoped to die in the Rim War after his entire family died in the shuttle crash he was piloting. Instead, he wound up at Corinth Station, the command school for the Fleet. Though he was detached from the brutality and posturing of the students and instructors, he did make one friend. Standing up for that friend made Aaron a target, but learning that officer training isn't the Station's only purpose made it clear that he couldn't keep himself isolated any longer.

January 24, 2019

The Fall of the Faere and Other Stories by William Timothy Murray ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I'm not much of a fantasy reader. I've read enough to have some understanding of the mythos of witches and vampires, but faere stories still elude me. It always feels like I'm missing something. So when William Timothy Murray offered me his short story collection at a local author event, I warned him that it wasn't something I normally read.

January 23, 2019

The Hollow Middle by John Popielaski ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

The Hollow Middle follows Albert Lesiak, an aging English teacher in Connecticut, who receives a windfall in delayed acknowledgment of the government’s complicity in his father’s cancer death and decides that it is time to live a different life on land he owns in Maine.

January 22, 2019

The Au Pair by Emma Rous ~ a Review #TeaserTuesday

by Susan Roberts

First chapter, first paragraph

A grand estate, terrible secrets, and a young woman who bears witness to it all. If V. C. Andrews and Kate Morton had a literary love child, Emma Rous’ The Au Pair would be it.

January 21, 2019

Bird Box: A Netflix Film Review #MondayBlogs

by Alison DeLuca

Two summers ago I wrote a column about Bird Box, the book that exploded on Netflix as a film. (If you missed my original post, read it here. It includes a recipe for a Caesar Salad bar, which you really need in your life.)

movie poster for Bird Box

January 20, 2019

EVO by Diane May ~ a Review

by MK French

Twenty years ago, a secret program posing as a fertility clinic for CIA agents was actually conducting genetic experiments. Ties to that program still exist and are slowly unearthed as The Hypnotist starts killing geneticists in Verona, Italy. The victims all appear as if they had been roasted alive, though The Hypnotist never touches them and only leaves video behind. Livio Marchioni is at his wit's end, particularly when the new coroner is a target, and accepts the help of Captain Victor Miller of Interpol. It's soon apparent that Miller has an agenda of his own, Eoand is fully aware of the prior CIA program.

January 19, 2019

True Places by Sonja Yoerg ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

'Sometimes, it takes a stranger to show you what should be obvious, how far you’ve drifted from who you want to be, from what’s right for you.’

'No one gives in without giving something up, and nothing is given up without cost.'

January 18, 2019

Girl Who Reads is 8!

by Donna Huber

This week Girl Who Reads marked its 8th anniversary. I'm not exactly sure what I thought Girl Who Reads would turn into when I started this experiment in 2011. But I have enjoyed every minute of it.

January 17, 2019

Brunch at Bittersweet Café by Carla Laureano ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Once upon a time, Melody Johansson had believed in happily ever afters.

To be truthful, she still believed in them, but with her thirtieth birthday in the rear-view mirror, the fairy tale ending had turned away from meeting a handsome prince to owning a little patisserie in Paris.  Even if sometimes, as she toiled away in her own version of Cinderella's attic, both fantasies seemed equally far-fetched."

January 16, 2019

Fool's Errand by Jenna Zark ~ a Review

by MK French

On Monday, I reviewed the first book in Jenna Zark's Beat Street series. Today, I'm sharing my thoughts on the second book - Fool's Errand.

January 15, 2019

The Light Over London by Julia Kelly ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

It's been a while since I read a WWII story, but I couldn't pass up A Light Over London when I saw it at Netgalley. It is a wonderful story told in two timelines.

January 14, 2019

The Beat on Ruby's Street by Jenna Zark ~ a #KidLit Review #MondayBlogs

by MK French

In the summer of 1958, Ruby Tabeata is proud of being a Beat and not like the "average" eleven-year-old. She lives in New York City with her Beat parents and older brother, writes poetry, hopes to attend a Jack Kerouac reading and make her way through Greenwich Village. When she's accused of stealing fruit, it starts a cascade of events that sends her a children's home and shows her the power of art and protest.

January 13, 2019

A Great American Author: Pat Conroy

by Susan Roberts

None of Pat Conroy's book turned up on the Great America Read book list.  If it had been the 'Susan Great American book list', his books would own the first three spots and the rest would be in the top 20.  Pat Conroy was my first real introduction to the genre of modern Southern Fiction.  He had a mastery of the language that pulled you into his stories so that you felt like you knew the characters and you could smell the salty air as you read.

January 12, 2019

Poseidon's Academy by Sarah A. Vogler ~ a Review

by MK French

Over sixteen hundred years ago, humans banded together to kill the gods that had been using them. The gods' powers then rained down onto humanity, so that they could wield those powers for themselves. There is a prophecy that the gods will return, and one with the power of Zeus will control lightning and save the world. Hailey Woods is the first person born with the powers of Zeus in a century, but she's thirteen years old and hardly knows how to handle the power she does have. She enrolls in Poseidon's Academy, an underwater school that is very exclusive. The benefit of being underwater also means that Hailey can't use her power or be harassed to put on a show, allowing her to feel like a normal teenager. However, she overhears nymphs plotting against the human students and will do what she can to stop them from enacting the prophecy.

January 10, 2019

Miracles of the Swan's Reflection by Rose S. King ~ a Review

by MK French

The crown prince Taj and the warrior Neriah are joined by three other warriors chosen by God to protect the various worlds of Creation. The fallen angels Bartholomew and Apollo had caused the shattering, which is now felt across realities, and are searching for the shards that give life to each world. Bartholomew is hoping to collect them, creating a holy weapon that can tip the balance against God. In addition, he had cursed Taj and Neriah so that they don't remember their prior lives when they're reborn in new worlds, which makes it more difficult to fight the fallen angels.

January 9, 2019

Literary Realism and Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary

by Donna Huber

Madame Bovary is the first translated book I remember reading. It was part of my summer reading list in high school and I really enjoyed it. Whenever I think of Madame Bovary, I remember the wedding bouquet. Perhaps in Emma, I saw my own ideas of romance being overly influenced by the novels I read.

Today, I thought I would share some background information on Flaubert and Literary Realism as well as digging a bit deeper into some of the literary themes and devices used in Madame Bovary.

January 8, 2019

White Stag by Kara Barbieri ~ a #YALit Review

by MK French

Janneke is the last child in a family of daughters, so she was raised instead as a boy would have been, hunting and tracking. As a result, she escaped the slaughter in her village but was still taken captive by Lydian. She is forced to be the thrall to his nephew Soren, who later uses the hunt for a new king after the Erlking's death to draw her further into his world. The two grow closer through the battles, and eventually, a choice has to be made in order to save both the world of monsters and that of humans.

January 7, 2019

New Women's Fiction Books for January #MondayBlogs

by Susan Roberts

There are some really great women's fiction novels coming out this year. Here are 4 that come out this month that you don't want to miss.

January 6, 2019

The Island of Always by Stephen Evans ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

The Island of Always by Stephen Evans is my first book of 2019 and it was a good one.

January 5, 2019

5 New Novels for Fans of WWII Stories

by Susan Roberts

photo of 2019 light art

Now that the holidays are over, there are lots of new books being published.  There are some fantastic new historical fiction books set during the WWII era.  Here are reviews of five of them.

January 4, 2019

Making Time for the Things You Love

by C. M. North

Goodreads has a way of making me feel nervous, joyous and depressed, all at the same time. I love it as a book community, but every time I visit (which is usually several times a day) I can’t help checking for new reviews of 22 Scars, which is where the nervousness comes in - what if there’s a new bad review?

January 3, 2019

The Duke I Once Knew by @OliviaDrake1 ~ a Review & Excerpt

by MK French

Abigail Linton and Maxwell Bryce had romantic feelings for each other when young, but Max and his infant sister were brought to London after his mother's death. Fifteen years later, Abigail had gotten fed up with her older siblings perpetually using her to soothe their lives with no consideration for her wants. She accepts the post of governess for Max's younger sister, thinking that he would be away from the estate. Circumstances send him back to the estate along with his libertine friends, and the two meet again for the first time in fifteen years.

January 2, 2019

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton ~ a Discussion

by Donna Huber

I enjoyed doing the Great Read PBS posts last year, so I think I'm going to continue to do that type post with books that I'm not truly reviewing. I hope you enjoy the fun facts and a different look at books.


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