Readers' Favorite

December 31, 2020

2020 End of Year Wrap Up

by Donna Huber

Happy New Year's Eve! I don't know about you but some days I wondered if we would ever make it to the end of 2020. One shining light throughout the year though was great books. I think many of us (I know all of us at Girl Who Reads) hit a reading slump early in the pandemic but then we started having record-setting reading months. When we couldn't go out, when we needed a break from the 24/7 news, when we just wanted to escape life for a bit, we turned to books. Sometimes it was a favorite author or series and other times it was to discover new favorite authors and series. I wanted to take a moment to look back at some of the highlights of 2020 and thank the incredible writers that helped us through this very rough year.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.

December 30, 2020

The Secret of Plants in the Environment by Rishikesh Upadhyay ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I love science and in particular biology. While I read a lot of different biological subjects my favorite are about animals, plants, and the environment. It's been a while since I read a book about plants so I was really looking forward to The Secret of Plants in the Environment by Rishikesh Upadhyay.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Best Reads of December 2020

Here we are, the night before New Year's Eve. It feels like forever ago that 2020 was just beginning. It has been a most difficult year. I hope that you at least found some distraction and entertainment in the many great books that came out this year. At the end of each month, the staff of Girl Who Reads has named their favorite reads for the month. Have you enjoyed this feature? Should we continue to do so in 2021? 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.

December 29, 2020

Jennifer Valenti Tackles a Difficult Subject in THE MAVERICK

by Susan Roberts

"Everyone needs to feel like they have a place here, Jane.  I told you this before and it's not just lip service.  Every one of us is part of a single thread that works together toward a common goal.  There can be no mavericks."  (p 144)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

December 28, 2020

Secrets of Paris - 3 Books by Ella Carey

by Susan Roberts

All three of these novels are told in dual time periods with one in the present day and the other in Europe before, during, and after WWII.  They can each be read as stand-alones with no confusion, but they fit together so well that I suggest reading all three in order for the ultimate enjoyment.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

December 27, 2020

The Last Reading Month of 2020

by Donna Huber

We've finally made it to the end of 2020. In just a few days we will flip the calendar and 2020 will be hindsight. While some of the challenges of 2020 will follow us into the new year, there is hope that we will overcome them. 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.

December 26, 2020

Lose Yourself in New Psychological Thriller WRONG ALIBI by Christina Dodd

by MK French

Evelyn was eighteen years old when she landed a job as a caretaker in Alaska but soon was left with charges of theft, embezzlement, and murder. Despite being innocent, she was convicted. She went on the run, searching for the actual murder so she can get revenge. While she plans on being the hunter, there is evidence from the original crime that has to be untangled before her family is put at risk.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

December 25, 2020

Relax with a Collection of Romantic Holiday Stories

by Donna Huber

Merry Christmas! Have the presents been opened and dinner is all prepared? Then it is time to sit back and relax with one more Christmas book before the season ends. A Little Country Christmas is a collection of four holiday stories that will entertain you.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

December 24, 2020

Spend Christmas with Soul Sisters at Cedar Mountain Lodge Series

by Susan Roberts

Happy Christmas Eve! Are you still trying to squeeze in a bit more Christmas reading? I don't read many Christmas themed books but this series caught my eye because it's been written by authors that I've read and enjoyed. I didn't want you to miss it since the books started coming out in August when most of us were trying to cram in another beach read or two.   

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

December 23, 2020

Julie Klassen Pens a Beautiful Christmas Story in AN IVY HILL CHRISTMAS

by Donna Huber

The gorgeous cover of Julie Klassen's new novel An Ivy Hill Christmas matches the beautiful story inside. 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

December 22, 2020

Enjoy Some "Me Time" with 2 Holiday Romances

by MK French

Christmas is only a few days away. Are you finished with the decorating and wrapping, and baking? Then it is time to relax with a holiday romance. And because holiday romances are often like sugar cookies and you can't consume just one I have two holiday romances for you today. One is a Victorian romance that wraps up Julia London's Royal Wedding trilogy and the other is a contemporary romance in Jackie Lau's Cider Bar Sisters series.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

December 21, 2020

Dave McCluskey Adds a Fun Twist to an Old Classic: A CHRISTMAS CAROL

by Donna Huber

Are you looking for new traditions to share with your family this year? I know a lot of families have a tradition of reading or watching A Christmas Carol. This year Dave McCluskey has a new, fun adaptation that is perfect for the whole family.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free audiobook was provided for an honest review.

December 20, 2020

5 Feel-Good Books to Read This Holiday Season

by Desiree Villena

In 2020, we can all use a little cheering up, and there’s nothing more serotonin-releasing than the Christmas season. It’s why so many of us put up our trees and stockings even earlier than usual (I know I did!) — because we’ve had just about enough of this naughty year and are more than ready to embrace something nice and wholesome.

But while putting on music, sitting by the light of the tree, and drinking cocoa are all wonderful ways to boost your Christmas spirit, for us bookworms, there really is nothing quite like the perfect, feel-good holiday story. So put on your fuzziest Christmas socks and get ready to curl up by the fire with these snuggly winter reads!

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.

December 19, 2020

New Collection of Poetry from Margaret Atwood: DEARLY

by Susan Roberts

"If there were no emptiness, there would be no life.
Think about it." (loc 234)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

3 Tense Police Procedurals You Won't Want to Put Down

by MK French

The long winter nights are perfect for books that you can't put down once you start. Today, I'm sharing three police procedurals I recently read that are so tensely written I was hooked from the beginning.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

December 18, 2020

J.L. Cole's Debut Novel SILVER HEIGHTS is the Start of a Promising Career

by Susan Roberts

"Rayna lifted her face upwards to the sky, letting the droplets hit her face and slide down her chin, washing away the dust and the grime, the worries and the doubts. Letting it wash everything clean and make it new again."

December 17, 2020

Sneak in Some Reading Time with These Short Stories

by MK French

This can be a very busy time of year and finding time for ourselves is often difficult. Short stories can be a great way to get some reading in even when you are short of time.

December 16, 2020

Stacy Eaton's Hot Holiday Romance: MISTLETOE & COCOA KISSES

by Donna Huber

Tired of Christmas music? Try an audiobook while doing your holiday decorating or baking. Mistletoe & Cocoa Kisses by Stacy Eaton is a hot Hallmark movie in book form.

December 15, 2020

First Book in New Series from Kia Abdullah is a Gripping Legal Thriller: TAKE IT BACK

by Susan Roberts

"She watched her reflection in the empty glass bottle as the truth crept in with the wine in her veins. It curled around her stomach and squeeze tight, whispering words that paused before they stung, like a paper cut cutting deep: colorless at frst and then vibrant with blood." (p. 1)

December 14, 2020

Marriage and Murder are the Focus of Victoria Gilbert's Latest Cozy Mystery: A DEADLY EDITION

by Donna Huber

Victoria Gilbert is back with book 5 in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series. In A Deadly Edition, Richard and Amy are preparing for their nuptials but when a body turns up dead at a pre-wedding party will Amy have time to solve the murder and get married?

4 New Romance Novels from St. Martin's Press

by MK French

Are you looking for romances that have nothing to do with the holidays? St. Martin's Press has you covered with several new romance novels hitting shelves this month. Today, I review two romantic comedies, a Regency romance, and a contemporary romance. You should go ahead and pre-order these novels in case the holidays get busy as you don't want to miss them!

December 13, 2020

12 Books for People Who Love Hallmark Holiday Movies

by Donna Huber

I don't want to panic anyone but there are only 12 days until Christmas! One of my favorite things to do in the lead up to Christmas is to binge watch Christmas movies and read Christmas books. Christmas is about the only time I really seek out romance novels. I know the movies and books are often predictable, but I think this year in particular we want predictable and definitely need light and fluffy. As Christmas books are often quick reads, here are 12 books (one for each day) that give you everything you expect to find in a Hallmark movie. You might discover some sound familiar as some of these authors have had their books turned into movies.

December 12, 2020

Patricia Sands Celebrates 10th Anniversary of THE BRIDGE CLUB with Expanded Edition

by Susan Roberts

"The Bridge Club: eight women, close to hitting their sixty-five year sped bump.  They were never anything resembling Desperate Housewives or YA-YA candidates, but simply great friends since their footloose days of finding the way through their early twenties." (p 7)

December 11, 2020

A Tragic Story Set During the 90s AIDS Epidemic: LAZARUS RISING

by MK French

In 1992 New York City, Dempsey Coates offered firemen a place to stay as they battled a blazing fire on a cold winter night. Johnny Donegan fell in love with her and is determined to make a life together with her despite her HIV positive status. The unexpected good luck that might make it possible comes between them in a very tragic way.

December 10, 2020

Two Fantasy Novellas for Busy Readers

by MK French

Today I have reviews of two fantasy novellas. Novellas are great for busy readers (and who isn't busy this time of year?). They usually have more story and character depth than a short story but are still quick reads. Both novellas are in the subgenre of mythology or folklore. The first novella,which came out this week, is focused on Asian culture. I felt the second novella, which published this year, has a really good message.

December 9, 2020

Explore the World with Nonfiction

by Susan Roberts

My goal for 2020 was to read 10 non-fiction books.  So far this year, I've read 11 and exceeded that goal.  Here are reviews of the last three nonfiction books that I read  - two are travel books and one is about the ecological issues in the Great Lakes.

Book and Cookies - Review of The Hollow Places and Recipe for Oreo Truffles

by Alison DeLuca

If you've read my other reviews, you'll predict my Christmas reads will include ghosts. There is a reason that The Christmas Carol was always my favorite December read, and that reason was not Bob Cratchit. 

December 8, 2020

An Awesome Audiobook Filled with Great Characters: THE HEADSHRINKER'S BRIGADE

by Donna Huber

On most days, Julia Longley felt like a passable fraud. But on Friday night, as she sat in the newspaper editing room next to her friend Graham while he ran through his day's photos, this belief slid under her skin like electricity. (p. 1)

December 7, 2020

Danielle Martin's Beautiful New Novel about Friendship: GLIMMER AS YOU CAN

by Susan Roberts

"This was all so different. Lisa had been living in Brooklyn for her entire life but she had never beheld a place like this. Women streamed around the space, holding delicate cups of drink, as others sat cross-legged next to the mannequins, making pastel sketches of fashion. Still others emerged from the fitting room, modeling glamorous ensembles for clusters of friends.  It all sparkled..." (p 22)

December 6, 2020

Highly Anticipated Sequel in Paige Shelton's Alaska Wild Mysteries: COLD WIND

by Donna Huber

Cold Wind by Paige Shelton was my most anticipated new novel for December. It definitely lived up to expectations.

December 5, 2020

New Heartfelt Novel from Joy Norstrom: FLYING THE NEST

by Susan Roberts
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Lonely millennial Chad MacEwan can't seem to get it together. While his boomer Uncle Martin sails through his twilight years with a full social calendar, Chad's weekly highpoint is dutifully visiting Martin at the Eldernest Assisted Living Lodge. Maybe his uncle's magnetism and way with the ladies will rub off on him, or perhaps Chad will one day gain enough courage to strike up a conversation with the woman who works in the cafeteria.  It's not only Chad who struggles with loneliness and self-doubt; the Eldernest is teeming with residents searching for belonging. There's the animal lover who owes her spot at the affluent Eldernest to a government subsidy, and the resident who finds himself back in the closet due to the close-minded confines of communal living. Then there's the love triangle with Martin firmly ensconced in the center position. Or is he really?

As Chad becomes further entangled in the lives of Eldernest residents and staff, each person must decide how much to risk in their pursuit of companionship and connection. Flying the Nest is a heartfelt examination of our assumptions on aging and sexuality, the strength of family, and the enduring power of community.

December 4, 2020

Black Futures edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham ~ a Review

by MK French

Black Futures is a collection of artwork, transcripts of conversations, or essays written by Black artists and authors. They contemplate the nature of being Black and creative. The editors realize that the Black experience is varied and impossible to pin down with a single collection and see this volume as a jumping-off point in the conversation as a whole.

December 3, 2020

Entertaining New Cozy Mystery from Katie Gayle

by Donna Huber

The Kensington Kidnap the first book in a new cozy mystery series from the writing team known as Katie Gayle. It features Epiphany "Pip" Bloom, a twenty-something trying to find her niche in life. It looks like she might have found it when she accidentally impersonates a private investigator.

December 2, 2020

A Warm Heart in Winter by J. R. Ward ~ a Review

by MK French

Blay and Qhuinn look forward to their official mating ceremony, but tragedy strikes. The Black Dagger Brotherhood rallies around them, and hopefully, they can weather the storm.

December 1, 2020

The Guild Core 1: Dragon Bourne by T.J. Reynolds ~ an Audiobook Review

by MK French

Mindonne was like any other town in Brintosh, filled with quaint and modest people as loyal as they were ignorant of the world around them. Were it not for its proximity to the border of Hintar, an old and bitter rival, it may have remained so. (p. 13)

November 30, 2020

Great New Trilogy by Ashley Farley

by Susan Roberts

Ashley Farley is an excellent author in the women's fiction genre and has brought her readers a fantastic new series about three women who take a chance on life, discover the careers that they worked for plus find the man of their dreams. Let's take a trip to Inn at Hope Springs Farms.

Best Reads of November 2020

Can you believe there is only one month of 2020 left? I know many of us are ready to say goodbye to the year. Unfortunately, I think the start of 2021 will look much the same. Thankfully, there have been some really great books this year to keep us entertained (and we are already getting peeks at 2021 new releases and there are definitely some blockbusters on the way). If you are needing some help picking out your next read, here are our favorites of the past month.

November 29, 2020

Thankful for Books

by Donna Huber

Can you believe there is only a month left of 2020? Though in many ways this has felt like a very long year the last few months have flown by. I don't think this will be a year that we forget any time soon.

November 28, 2020

2 Books About Books

by Susan Roberts

It's always fun to read books about books and today I have a review of an old book (though a new edition was recently released) about a book club and a newer book about a book shop.

November 27, 2020

17 Books to Give This Year

by Donna Huber

The holidays are looking a bit different this year and you may be looking for gifts that are easier to ship to your loved ones. Books are great gifts to give. They provide hours of entertainment and can transport the reader to a different world. This year, more so than ever, people are looking for even brief moments to escape the constant news of disease, death, and divisiveness. If you are looking for recommendations for what books to give this year, then you are in the right place. Today, I have my list of top books that I've read this year that I think others would enjoy too.

November 26, 2020

4 More World War II Stories

by Susan Roberts

Like a lot of people, I've had extra time to read during the pandemic.  Even though the stay-at-home orders have loosened some, I still stay in as much as possible due to my age and underlying health issues.  I've always viewed World War II as a time that all Americans worked together for the common good of America, unlike the current crisis where it appears that America is more divided than ever. With that comparison in mind, I pulled several World War II books off my shelves and here are my reviews.

November 25, 2020

4 Books for Fans of Historical Fiction

by MK French

A reader can explore so many time periods with historical fiction. And the genre has a multitude of subgenres that pretty much whatever your favorite genre is who can find elements of it in historical fiction.

November 24, 2020

The Book of CarolSue by Lynne Hugo ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Charlie was already dead when I finally hung up with my sister and came in from the porch. The twilight had settled around me like a sticky damp quilt, but the sky had held the glowing embers of the day and was lovely, so I'd stayed out. "Charlie, honey," I said as I glanced at him, irritated as any wife would be, "you've dropped a hunk of pie into your lap. I can't get blueberry out of khaki. Don't touch it while I go get napkins." (p. 1)

November 23, 2020

Murder in the Snow by Verity Bright ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Lady Eleanor and her butler Clifford is back with another mystery to solve. Murder in the Snow is the fourth book in Verity Bright's Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery series. As I've only read book 3 in the series, you can enjoy this Christmas story without having read the previous books.

A Frenzy of Sparks by Kristin Fields ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

A poignant story of innocence lost and what it means to grow up too fast.

November 22, 2020

The Burning Son by TH Leatherman ~ an Audiobook Review

by Donna Huber

The Burning Son is a well-written story and a well-performed audiobook. Science fiction fans who love action-packed, technology-filled space drama don't want to miss this book.

November 21, 2020

Church of the Assassin by Ross Harrison ~ a Review

by MK French

Alexiares is an assassin that survived a deadly purge of her sect. She somehow inherits a baby girl, and is on the run with the child. All she'd ever known before was how to kill and how to repair cars, so she isn't sure how she could care for a baby. Alexiares is sure that she can only give Baby a life of pain and suffering, but Baby is now her reason to keep going despite the hunters willing to tear apart the galaxy to find them both.

November 19, 2020

Clifton Chase Adventure Series by Jaimie M. Engle ~ a Review

by MK French

This year has been tough, particularly for children and their families. Many of our normal activities have been canceled or severely curtailed. With so many schools doing virtual learning, our kids are spending more time than ever in front of screens. Holidays are coming up but they might be looking different this year. Whether you are needing a way to entertain your kids that don't involve screens and gives you some much needed "me time" or wanting to do a family read together over the holidays, you will want to pick up this middle school adventure series from Jaimie M. Engle.

November 18, 2020

2 Books about Women's Fight to Vote

by Susan Roberts

On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified to give women the right to vote.  I have reviews of two recent books about the women's suffrage movement that helped get this amendment passed.