Month: August 2014

Learn How to Tame Your Duke, Master your Marquis, and School Your Scoundrel in one orgy of reading

Available now: The Princess in Hiding Series

How to Tame Your Duke

How to Master your Marquis

How to School Your Scoundrel

 

****4/5 stars

Combine three disguised German princesses, three members of the English peerage, and three absurdly stereotypical titles with one spy mastering, matchmaking uncle and what do you have? Solid gold escapist romance, that’s what!

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a saucy, independent heroine…
  • if you get a kick out of that whole reformed rake witty banter thing…
  • and if you’re a fan of Beatriz Williams (it’s the same chic!), then this series is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall
  • 4/5 steaminess (goodness)

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

When you last heard from me, I was bemoaning the end of my stack of Beatriz Williams books.  Imagine my delight when I discovered that she had a trashy romance novel alias!  And I was not disappointed. I blushed, I giggled, I laughed out loud.  Think same delightful characters and same witty banter combined with blush worthy sex and farfetched absurdly entertaining plots. A series full of swashbuckling good fun!  And yes, there’s another one.

Available on Amazon: 

 

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Review: The Secret Life of Violet Grant

Available now: The Secret Life of Violet Grant

****4.5/5 stars

I picked up Beatriz Williams’ latest because I was in the mood to just love a book.  The good news:  it was terrific.  The bad news:  now I am all out of Beatriz Williamses.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a saucy, independent heroine…
  • if you like a smart historical romance, with a little mystery thrown in for good measure…
  • If you enjoy a good plot-driven page turner, with a stunner of a character to root for…
  • and, naturally, if you liked her other offerings, A Hundred Summers & Overseas, this book is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4.5/5 for characters
  • 4.5/5 for plot
  • 4.5/5 overall
  • 2/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Two independent women, two romances, and a mysterious parcel later, I’m still a fan of Beatriz Williams’ seemingly trademarked brand of historical fiction AND romance, with a bit of mystery to boot.  Williams’  latest is pure delicious fun, in the same vein as her other two offerings, but with a darker mystery and a stunner of a main character- two in fact- I could really get behind.  I may have noted plot driving over character development in her other novels, but this one has both in spades.  Her command of banter is flawless.  Looking forward to a fourth, please!

Available on Amazon: 

More books for kids: Pete the Cat

Do you know about Pete the Cat?  If you don’t, you should.  He’s an unruffled cool cat and he sings groovy songs.  You can even sing along!

He’s got magic sunglassesfour groovy buttons, white shoes, and he rocks in them.  Check him out!

 

And if that’s not enough, you can learn to read with him too:

 

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Top 10 Books for Toddlers/Preschoolers

School’s back! And our kids will start getting into the reading spirit. For those with toddlers and preschoolers … or even those with infants and babies on the way: Below are my son Ryder’s favorite books as a toddler and during his preschool years (ages 2-5).  These may be a little boy-centric … and reading is such a personal thing even for little ones that yours will probably vary.  Regardless, here’s a good start to our favorite children’s books:

Here’s a look at my son’s top 10 favorite books in his toddler and preschool years (in no particular order):

  1. Tiger Tiger. It’s a colorful book for the kids … and a fun one for parents to read – allowing us to dramatize and make the book our own production.
  2. Wings, Horns and Things. Not only is about almost any little boy’s favorite topic – Dinosaurs – but it helpfully spells out the pronunciation of all those crazy dinosaur names. I read this so much with my son that he was saying Compsognathus at three.
  3. Barn Dance. If you don’t mind trying out a little singing with your reading, your child will love this book.  Other than that, I can’t quite figure out why my son loved this so much.  It’s one of those.
  4. Slinky Malinki. There’s something about a poetic children’s read … and my son loved the silly things this troublemaker cat dragged home.
  5. Good Night Moon. A classic and easily available at every major retailer and most baby stores.  It’s a fun, simple read – and must have the just the perfect amount of colors and items on each page for little minds to enjoy.
  6. Over in the Garden. It’s a lyrical read for parents – and there’s the added fun of trying to find the hidden number on each page.
  7. Curious George. This catalog of Curious George stories was always a joy.  My son took almost more time trying to figure out which story he wanted to read than we did reading the actual story.
  8. How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? This is a delightful, delightful story … the humor of docile dinosaur going to bed is fun for mom.
  9. Courage of the Blue Boy. This tale is a colorful adventure and my son loved it.
  10. Did I Ever Tell You How Luck You Are? I knew a Dr. Seuss book would end up in our top 10 … and I was a little surprised this was it. Though after reading it a million times, I’m glad it was this … each page has an ridiculous adventure and story of its own and even I didn’t get sick of reading it.

And since top 10 isn’t enough … I added in my personal favorite: Skippyjon Jones … and here’s a perfect excerpt to show/explain why it’s the best:

My name is Skippito Friskito.
I fear not a single bandito.
My manners are mellow,
I’m sweet like the Jell-O,
I get the job done, yes indeed-o.

Find any of these books on
Amazon.com: Books for Her, Top 10 Children’s Books for Toddlers-Preschoolers

We’d love to add some your children’s favorites to the list too – so please leave a comment and we’ll compile to post another top list.

Tell us: What books would you add to this list of favorite toddler/preschool books to read:

Her Last Whisper Review: Karen Robards

Available August 26: Her Last Whisper: A Novel (Dr. Charlotte Stone)

****3.5/5 stars

CSI meets Sixth Sense in this mystery-thriller-romance.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like mystery-suspense with some supernatural.
  • If you like an 80-20 mix of crime-drama to supernatural.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall
  • Note: 2/5 some steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Another great suspense-thriller, Karen Robards delivers an exciting, interesting read with Her Last Whisper.  When serial killer expert Dr. Charlotte Stone gets dragged into another mystery, not only does she have a background in serial killers but she’s got some supernatural skills to bring along. In this CSI-meets-Sixth-Sense thriller, you’ll enjoy a story has exciting as any – and if you’re a fan of supernatural added in, you’ll love this.  It’s about a 80/20 mix of suspense to supernatural. Despite not being a big fan of supernatural, I enjoyed this book.  And I’m ready to see what’s next for Dr. Stone.

Available at Amazon:

James Patterson Private Series

James Patterson: Private Down Under

Available for the first time in the US and Canada (Aug 26): Private Down Under with James Patterson and Michael White

****3/5 stars

You can go wrong with James Patterson and Private Down Under – especially if you’re looking for a good story.

Recommended readers:

  • James Patterson and all mystery-suspense readers

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 2/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 3/5 overall
  • Note: 2/5 some disturbing steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

James Patterson is a no-brainer … if you are shopping for a good plot, it’s a guarantee James Patterson will deliver action and entertainment.  And in his Private Series, he’s partnered with authors in a specific country to write a mystery-thriller set in their homeland.  In Private Down Under Patterson and Australian Michael White introduce Craig Gisto, who starts an elite investigation agency. There’s lots of blood, gore and mystery as the team works to solve two separate mysteries. You’ll love the action, but don’t expect too much from the characters.  It’s a good read.

Available at Amazon:

The Laird by Grace Burrowes

Available August 26: The Laird (Captive Hearts)

*****3.5/5 stars

This Irish-English tale has the makings of a saga.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like Scottish romances.
  • If you like historical romances.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 for characters
  • 3.5/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall
  • Note: 2/5 some steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

In her latest Highland romance Grace Burrowes brings us the ultimate heroine – Brenna, who has worked honestly and tirelessly in her husband’s absence.  When Michael Brodie, laird of  this struggling Highland castle, returns after almost a decade of war, he will need to fight for Brenna in more ways than one. The Laird is an enjoyable read, and it’s obvious that Grace Burrowes has many great novels up her sleeve. She’s a must-read for any historical romance fan. Make sure you add The Laird to your historical romance reading list.

Available at Amazon:

We Are Not Ourselves: Matthew Thomas

Available today: We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

***3/5 stars

An upwardly mobile Irish girl dreams of a better life, but finds herself in caught in the tragic cycle  of everyday heartbreak in midcentury America.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like epic family sagas…
  • If you’ve got a penchant for a touch of the tragic Irish…
  • and if you’re willing to slow down for prose, this book is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 3/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

This one is not what you’d call a page turner- you don’t exactly yearn to pick it up, though it sneaks up behind you and bashes you on the head with its subtle truths when you do. The title and overall tone are excellent play on Shakespeare’s King Lear- We are not ourselves/When Nature, being oppressed, commands the mind/To suffer with the body. The characters are darkly rich and full, the prose is quietly brilliant.  But it’s a bit of a tough pill to swallow– it’s a novel delivered with poise and poetry, but without much joy.

The Maiden of Ireland by Susan Wiggs

Available August 26: The Maiden of Ireland

*****4/5 stars

This Irish-English tale has the makings of a saga.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like characters from opposing sides.
  • if you prefer a little more history in your typical romance.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall
  • Note: 2/5 some steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

A thoroughly enjoyable read, The Maiden of Ireland has the potential of a great saga (think Outlander).  John Wesley Hawkins is an English spy being manipulated by his Lord Protector and meets the pridefully strong Caitlin McBride as he carries out a mission that is directly in opposition of Caitlin. Wiggs weaves in some nice historical details and persons into the plot, giving The Maiden of Ireland a little more historical depth than a typical historical romance. It’s a must-read for any historical romance lover – but also has the potential to appeal to other genres.

Available at Amazon: