Month: December 2014

Romance Review: Conquer the Mist

Available today: Conquer the Mist

****4/5 stars

A passionate adventure-romance, Conquer the Mist has the perfect mix of strong characters, fighting and love.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like fighting heroines and Irish history
  • If you’re a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall
  • 3/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

With an aging father and her homeland under constant strife, Irish princess Dara is trying to save her inheritance and avoid a betrothal. But Dara’s father has brought a Norman knight to rebuild their defenses and train their men. Strongheart is wealthy and landless and sees the opportunity to marry Dara, but she wants more than to be used for his ambitions. Conquer the Mist is a passionate adventure in love and life with two strong characters – absolutely perfect for a historical Irish-Wales setting.

Available on Amazon:Conquer the Mist

Out today: The Duke in My Bed

Available today: The Duke In My Bed (The Heirs’ Club)

***3.5/5 starsAmelia Gray Duke in my bed

With a slew of adorably, humorous characters, The Duke In My Bed is good, ol’ fun.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a historical romance with humor
  • If you’re a fan of orphan-type plot lines in your romance

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall
  • 3/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

When Bray Drakestone accepts a challenge to race a friend, he has no idea the consequences will lead to him promising to marry someone he’s never met. And finally, after years of putting off the deed, the new Duke of Drakestone is ready to fulfill his promise but he isn’t prepared for what the lady will bring with her.  The characters and supporting cast are adorable, entertaining and fun – probably the best part of the entire book. And the plot works well with the loveable characters. It’s a good, ol’, historical romantic read.

Available on Amazon: The Duke In My Bed (The Heirs’ Club)

Audio book review: Driving with the Top Down

Available now: Driving with the Top Down: A Novel

****4/5 starsDriving with the Top Down Audio Book

The real and unexpected journey of three characters, Driving with the Top Down is likely to strike a chord with anyone who read it.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like women’s fiction
  • If you like stories of coincidence and chance
  • If you like your fiction to be emotional, real

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 4/5 for voice-audio
  • 4/5 overall
  • 2/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

A goth teenager, an uneasy mom and an abused housewife take an unexpected journey. Their problems are diverse, some unexpected and appalling – and Beth Harbison weaves a touching and real story of each character’s struggle  through life. The story is a great audiobook and narrator Orlagh Cassidy, an award-winning voice, is excellent as each of the characters. A recommended read for women’s fiction readers and, with the diversity of the character’s problems, this book is likely to strike a chord in most readers.

Here’s an excerpt to enjoy from the narrator:

Available on Amazon: Driving with the Top Down: A Novel

Short Fiction Review: Margaret Atwood’s The Stone Mattress

The Stone Mattress: Nine Tales is available now

***3/5 stars

Leading lady Margaret Atwood returns to short fiction in nine cautionary tales.

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of Margaret Atwood,
  • If you enjoy short stories,
  • If your sense of humor tends more to the dark side,
  • and if you need to be made more aware of your own human failings and mortality, 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:

You can say any manner of those things they say about writers like Margaret Atwood: she’s the mistress of dark storytelling, she has a way with painting a picture, she pens characters you can’t forget.  Stereotypical things that all happen to be quite true. I’m a longtime lover of Margaret Atwood and her dark humor, and The Stone Mattress does not disappoint, though it tends more to the dark than the humorous.   Read it today and consider of the dangers of aging gracelessly. Stark, enlightening, and mildly disturbing, these nine tales are what you might have come to expect from the woman who brought you Penelope’s version of the Odyessey and gems such as The Robber Bride.

Available on Amazon

 

 

Romance Review: Duke of Thorns

Available now: Duke of Thorns (Heiress Games Book 1)

***3.5/5 starsDuke-of-thorns

An American almost-heiress fights for her heritage in this pre-American-Revoluationary-War romance.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like anything by Sara Ramsey
  • If you’re a fan of Regency Romances but like a little American independence thrown in for fun.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall
  • 3/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Callista Briarly’s father died and left her to run his American-based shipping company, but now she has to return to England to fight per two female cousins for the ownership of her deceased grandfather’s estate and home. In her pursuit to find a British  gentleman to marry her and give her a heads up in the race for the fortune, she meets the Duke of Thorington, who’s angling to secure a heiress for his younger brother. Duke of Thorns is a fun historical romance with a nice touch of pre-Revolutionary history.

Available on Amazon e-book only:Duke of Thorns (Heiress Games Book 1)

New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2014 Released

Just released today is the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2014. We see that Books for Her reviewed one book on the list: We are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas. It’s not a huge surprise for us to have read only one on the list as NYT focuses on impactful, culturally significant and/or deep-thinking reads, while our reviews lean toward more escapist reading.  Here’s some that sound intriguing to us:

Fiction (and Poetry):

  • FOURTH OF JULY CREEK. By Smith Henderson. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $26.99.) In Henderson’s impressive novel, an overburdened social worker becomes involved with a near-feral boy and his survivalist father in 1980 Montana.
  • THE PAYING GUESTS. By Sarah Waters. (Riverhead, $28.95.) Hard times, forbidden love, murder and justice are the themes of this nevertheless comic novel, set in London after World War I.

Non-fiction:

  • CUBED: A Secret History of the Workplace. By Nikil Saval. (Doubleday, $26.95.) This account of office design and technology since the Civil War offers insights into the changing nature of work.
  • THE EMPATHY EXAMS: Essays. By Leslie Jamison. (Graywolf, $15.)Considerations of pain, physical and emotional, and how it affects our relationships with one another and with ourselves.

If you’re looking for a little more fictional, fun reads, check out our Holiday Gift Guide: Books for Her Top Books of 2014 here.

Review: Little Miss Sure Shot

Available now:  Little Miss Sure Shot: Annie Oakley’s World

****3.5/5 stars

Fiction or non-fiction? Either way you’ll find out you know less about Annie Oakley than you thought.

Recommended readers:Little Miss Sure Shot

  • Western history lovers
  • Natives of Wyoming, especially Cody, Wyoming
  • and anyone who loves to learn about a prominent female in history

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Categorically it’s fiction, but it’s hard to think of Little Miss Sure Shot as a work of fiction; it’s more of a barely romanticized non-fiction.  Confused? I was a little too at first … until I embraced it as more of a historical read. As a native of a Cody, Wyoming – a town founded by Annie Oakley’s long-time boss William F. Cody, I was interested to learn more of this well-known historical female figure even if there were some fictional assumptions. In fact, reading the book I realized how little I actually knew (I anticipate that most will feel the same). There’s more to Annie Oakley than we knew and Jeffrey Marshall details her story and life well.

Only $3.95 on Amazon: Little Miss Sure Shot: Annie Oakley’s World