Month: July 2014

Quiz: Which Type of Historical Romance Heroine Are You?

Quiz-historical-romance

Take this quiz to see who you’d be – and then remember to enter to win a bundle of these books.
#1 What word best describes you?
a) effervescent
b) nonconfrontational (mostly)
c) stealthy
#2 My favorite hobby is …
a) comparative study of the male form
b) looking after my darling baron
c) target practice
#3 What is the perfect late night snack?
a) bread, cheese, meats, lemon tarts … whatever can be liberated from the kitchen
b) the baron’s kisses
c) ratafia, shaken not stirred
#4 My ideal man must have …
a) a sublime derriere
b) an aptitude for growing hardy, contrary flowers
c) brains
#5 What accessory do you never leave home without?
a) my corset (large bosoms are such a trial)
b) my composure
c) my pistol
***
If you choose mostly As … then you are as sparkling and resourceful as Her Serene Royal Highness Dagmar from The Truth About Leo by Katie MacAlister. Dagmar may have been raised in a strictly formal manner, but she’s never let that stop her from pursuing anything that catches her interest. She’s a bit quirky, marches to her own drummer, and has a fine, fine appreciation of the manly form.
If you choose mostly Bs … then you are clearly the stuff a baroness is made of, much like Millicent, from The Traitor. Milly is sweet, fierce, determined, and brave but slow to trust. Sebastian, Baron St. Clair, is ALSO sweet, fierce, determined and brave, and relentless when it comes to protecting those he cares for. Alas for both Sebastian and Milly, an enemy stalks them who is not sweet. By the time Milly is done with Sebastian’s enemies, they are not very brave either. So if you chose mostly B’s, the bad guys better steer mighty clear of you!
If you choose mostly Cs … then you are equipped to be a master spy like Jane Bonde from Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen. Jane is smart, cunning, and loyal, but she has her weaknesses too. Her latest weakness goes by the name Dominic Griffyn. Planning a wedding and defeating a villain intent upon the destruction of England is tricky, but if you’re the sort who multitasks easily, then you too have Jane’s unique skills and panache.

 

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Jane Austen’s First Love

Available August 5: Jane Austen’s First Love

****4/5 starsJane Austens First Love

Dare I say it?! It’s as if Miss Austen is writing it herself and giving us a glimpse of what she’ll soon write in her classics – Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility.

Recommended readers:

  • If you love all things Jane Austen…
  • If you ever wondered what inspired Jane Austen’s writing.
  • Did we mention Jane Austen?

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 5/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

I loved this peak into Jane Austen’s early life and of Syrie James’s translation of what events in Jane’s early life later shaped and inspired her writing. While the story takes a lot of latitude from a few pieces of research, the story of Jane’s and Edward’s meeting and romance is very real – and oh so Austen (Note: This is fiction, though the author does share some interesting tidbits at the end that inspired her fictional writing). There are so many elements and story lines in this book that you can see applying to any one of Austen’s novels – and see how her own life inspired her books. If you loved any of Jane Austen’s classic novels – Pride and PrejudiceEmmaSense and Sensibility – then this is a must-read for you. If you had a hard time enjoying her style, then you may not enjoy this book. Read on!

Get your copy on Kindle or Amazon:

Rogue with a Brogue: Suzanne Enoch

Available July 29: Rogue with a Brogue: A Scandalous Highlanders Novel

****3.5/5 stars

Join two star-crossed lovers in an adventure into the highlands.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a Highland Romance
  • If  you enjoy reading Brogue

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3.5/5 for characters
  • 4.5/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall
  • Note: 4/5 Pretty Steamy

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

From London ballrooms to the wild Highlands, Rogue with a Brogue is an adventurous read starring two influential people trying to overcome their similar (but opposite) family history. The dialogue is quite enjoyable too if you enjoy a little brogue (which I do).

Note: As a historical romance lover, I didn’t think twice about the title until someone pointed it out … Rogue with Brogue. Wow! A little obvious and silly but we can laugh at ourselves, right?

Find it:

Reading hint: To get in the the mood for a little Brogue dialogue, watch this video:

 

Review: Trapped at the Altar, Jane Feather

Available July 22: Trapped at the Altar

****3.5/5 starsJane Feather Trapped at the Altar

Trapped at the Altar great historical romance with a touch of urban-English reality.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a real taste of the life of that period
  • If you are a historical romance lover or Jane Feather fan

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3.5/5 for characters
  • 3.5/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall
  • Note: Steamy factor (3 of 5 … little steaminess)

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Jane Feather fans will not be disappointed in the first book in her next series. In Trapped at the Altar, the young Ariadne Carfax has just found love, but is forced into an arranged marriage with her childhood friend Ivor Chalfont. I loved the touch of reality that Feather features in the book – the daily tasks of keeping clean, cooking and preparing meals – and the discomfort of traveling. Often historical romances skip over the less glamours tasks of the period, but Feather weaves them into the story flawlessly without taking away from the story.  I’m excited to read the next book in the series.

Random thought: I struggled to properly pronounce Ariadne (in my head) … so thankfully many characters in the book called her Ari.

 

Preorder yours:

Fiction Review: Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore

Available August 5: Secrets of the Lighthouse: A Novel

*****5/5 stars

The epitome of a summer read, Secrets of the Lighthouse is a mystery romance with a true depth that makes you breath with the characters. Santa Montefiore is brilliant!

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a little suspense with your romance…
  • if you have ever dreamed of escaping the your long lost relatives in Ireland…
  • and if you don’t want to feel guilty for reading a romance in public.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 5/5 for characters
  • 5/5 for plot
  • 5/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

This book is a treasure. The characters – and there are many of them – have an amazing, effortless depth. Montefiore brings you into their life and effortlessly ties in the ghost of a young wife.  I’m not usually much of a fantasy fan, but I loved how this ghost  haunts throughout the story. Romance is part of the plot, but there is so much more to the book – from the deep hurt of 30+ year old wound to the recent pain of death, every character in this book is touching. I’m amazed that the book switches from first-person to third-person without making me feel lost … the timing of chapters is well thought out (and maybe edited … kudos either way). This is the best book I’ve read this year.

Read this 5-star book:

Amazon vs. the World

Do you keep up and wonder about the financial relationship between authors, booksellers, publishers and more recently Amazon? I’ve caught several interesting headlines on the battle between Amazon and a top-five publisher Hachette … and this article from Sound and Video Contractor does a great job explaining the honest relationship.

Here’s the full article: Amazon vs. the World.

Some notes from Books for Her:

  • Publishers and booksellers negotiate prices that retailers will sell books – along with the place where the books will be visible (for instance, the books you see at the end of an aisle). This includes ebooks.
  • Recently Hachette didn’t want to agree to Amazon’s ‘rather cutthroat terms’ so its books are not available on Amazon (for instance, J.K. Rowling’s new book The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2) was not immediately available though it now is). Authors and readers were upset by Amazon.
  • The author, Jason Bovberg, explains that Amazon has actually helped the book publishing industry to be more author-centric. For instance, its self-publishing platform allows authors who wouldn’t have been published to be seen – and potentially get bigger book deals for their next publication.

Bovberg ends his article citing another by Mishka Shubaly, “Sympathy for the Devil: In Defense of Amazon.” “Jeff Bezos didn’t build Amazon: We did. Amazon didn’t buy out and board up independent bookstores. We abandoned them. We chose convenience over community, commerce over art. The Big Five sell glossy covered, sensational page-turners and celebrity tell-alls and escapist vampire soft-porn because this is what we’ve told them we want to read.”

Who’s side are you on?

Fiction Review: Love and Let Spy

Available August 5: Love and Let Spy (Lord and Lady Spy)

****4.0/5 stars

What’s better than a historical romance? How about one with two spies who try not to fall in love. This is a seamless, escapist read with the right amount of everything.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a kick-ass heroine…
  • and a kick-ass hero who can hold his own …

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4.0/5 for characters
  • 4.0/5 for plot
  • 4.0/5 overall
  • Note: 2/5 Steaminess (Some Steaminess)

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

As a new Shana Galen reader, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But I’m a sucker for a strong, independent character in any novel, so Jane Bonde was a great introduction to Galen’s writing.  As an undercover spy known more publicly as a beautiful, untouchable ice princess, Jane Bonde is a woman we all would love to be. It was an effortless and enjoyable read. Every aspect was well done – characters, plot, romance and it had the right amount of steaminess for me.

Find it:

MyPublisher, Inc.

Available July 29th: The Fortune Hunter

Available July 29th: The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

****4.5/5 stars

The Empress of Austria, an uncommon heiress, and a deeply flawed hero struggling with great big life choices…If it’s true as they say that when it comes down to it there are very few plots in all of literature, this one hearkens a very famous classic with a nice twist.  Challenge: Read it yourself and see what comes to mind.

 

Recommended readers:

  • If you love historical fiction…
  • If you like real figures in your historical fiction…
  • and if you enjoy a little darkness and cynicism in your romantic novel, this book is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4.5/5 for characters
  • 4.5/5 for plot
  • 4.5/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

The Fortune Hunter traces three real historical figures:  Elizabeth, or “Sisi,” the famously beautiful Empress of Austria, Captain Bay Middleton, and heiress Charlotte Baird, imagining their thoughts, feelings, and the intersections of their personal lives. The Fortune Hunter is a deftly told story with all the elements of a great novel, and an excellent study of vice and caprice and human failings, but also human triumphs.  I withhold but a half a star withheld for my self-imposed “not quite life-changing” rule, but this is one that makes me consider revoking it.  A pleasure read not a hair guilty.

Here’s an excerpt from MacmillianAudio:

Click here to get the full audiobook.