Month: June 2015

Review: A Duke but No Gentleman

Available June 30: A Duke but No Gentleman: A Masters of Seduction Novel

***3/5 stars – Liked it.

A disturbing villain and reforming rake complete A Duke but No Gentleman.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a troubled villain
  • If you enjoy historical romances

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

The Duke of Blackbern and the Marquess of Norgrave are childhood friends, troublemakers and when they make a bet to bed a new debutante, one of them finds it’s more than a bet for him. Lady Imogene Sunter is trying to sort through her suitors and understand her feelings. A Duke but No Gentleman is one of the darker historical romance I’ve read thanks (or no thanks to) a seriously disturbed villain.

Available on Amazon: A Duke but No Gentleman: A Masters of Seduction Novel

The Paris Wife: A Review (Or, why I like historical fiction about famous people)

Available Now: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

*****4.5/5 stars- loved it and probably stayed up all night reading and developing real feelings for… real people? Real fictional people?  Real people portrayed fictitiously?

A journey into Hemingway’s Paris, from the perspective of his first wife, Hadley.

Recommended readers:

  • If you dream of Hemingway’s Paris and loved A Moveable Feast
  • if you love Hemingway,
  • if you hate Hemingway,
  • if you love to hate Hemingway,
  • and if you like romantic historical fiction, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

It’s done too often, you might say, too many liberties. But I like historical fiction about famous people- especially about famous people.  I think it’s fascinating to pull down those larger-than-lifes and take a good look.  I like putting words in their mouths and thoughts in their heads. I like that somehow, constructing fiction actually makes them more real, because it forces it to occur to you that they did have hidden thoughts, feelings, and words in addition to those so public and immortalized.  And I like Hemingway. I like his terse modern style.  I like his big loomy, moody presence, and that he was such a mac daddy no one woman was enough for him. Would I shack up with that myself? No way, no how.  But I will read about the ones who did, every darn time. And The Paris wife does a wonderful job of bringing his first wife to life, or at least the idea of being her.

Available Now:  The Paris Wife

And coming soon to Books for Her: Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun

Non Fiction Review: Pirate Hunters

Available now: Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

****3.5/5 stars- liked to the edge of love- call it a stage I crush.rkurson-piratehunters

Sometimes searching for a legendary pirate ship take more than technology, as you’ll find in Pirate Hunters.

Recommended readers:

  • For scuba divers, underwater adventurers
  • For lovers of pirates, history and ships
  • For fans of historical fiction who want a fun, factual read

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 characters
  • 5/5 plot
  • 3.5/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

A little out of my usual historical fiction, Pirate Hunters caught my eye immediately with an adventurous cover and intriguing title. My favorite character in any historical romance, I love pirates and novels set on a ship. And adding Pirate Hunters to the book list seemed like a great toe-in-the-water to get a little more fact with my fiction. The story begins with two famed scuba divers/treasure hunters and their search for one of the greatest pirate ships ever. The two collect all the latest technology to start their search and when they realize that technology is only going to get them so far, they dig deeper to try to discover not only the ship, but the real story behind one of the most intriguing pirate captains ever. As a fiction reader, I wanted a little more emotion, a little more personal depth in the story (and maybe its just too hard to do in this format) – but there’s no denying the excitement of following these two men and their trek to find a legend.

Available on Amazon: Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

Summer Secrets by Jane Green

Available June 23: Summer Secrets: A Novel

***3/5 stars- liked itjgreen-summersecret

An emotional and tragic tale of addiction told in classic Jane Green style.

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of Jane Green, Elin Hildrebrand and Emily Griffin
  • If you like emotional family dramas
  • and if you can relate (or want to) substance abuse

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Cat is young, living an exciting life in PR – parties, drinking and hangovers. When her mother reveals a life-changing secret, Cat goes to Nantucket to learn more. But her alcoholism spirals out of control. Summer Secrets is emotional, tragic and exhausting – in true Jane Green fashion. Green takes the everyday struggle of alcoholism and makes it so real – and in flashback style, Summer Secrets takes the reader from Cat’s young struggles to her 40s. If you’re looking for a deep, emotional read – this is for you, but not if you want some action and fun.

Summer Secrets: A Novel is available on Amazon.

Ever After by Jude Deveraux

Available June 23: Ever After: A Nantucket Brides Novel (Nantucket Brides Trilogy)

****4/5 stars– loved it!JudeDeverauxEverAfter

In true Jude Deveraux style, you’ll stay up all night enjoying the third book in the Nantucket Brides Triology.

Recommended readers:

  • If you love Jude Deveraux, Nora Roberts
  • For those looking for the perfect summer/beach read
  • And for those looking for a fun, fast all-nighter type of read

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Since she was young, Hallie has taken care of her stepsister – from postponing her college education to help her through school to sacrificing to allow her sister to pursue her Hollywood dream. So when her sister tries to steal her surprise inheritance, Hallie has had enough and takes a chance with an opportunity in Nantucket. The third book in the Nantucket Brides trilogy, Ever After is a fabulously fast and fun read – you’ll want to pull an all-nighter. With a touch of supernatural and two characters with painful pasts, you’ll love the twists and turns the story takes. So take a few trips to the beach, or curl up on your shabby-chic couch and enjoy this idyllic Nantucket setting.
Available on Amazon: Ever After: A Nantucket Brides Novel (Nantucket Brides Trilogy)

Available June 23rd: The Little Paris Bookshop

Available June 23rd:  The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

***4/5 stars- loved it!

A tale of great love lost and a journey to put what has been broken back together again, told with soul, depth, and lyricism.

Recommended readers:

  • If you could use a little something beautiful and unexpected,
  • if you dream of Paris and the south of France,
  • And if you like highlighting entire novels on your kindle, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Jean Perdu is a lost soul who specializes in literary apothecary: the matching of people to the books that might heal their wounds.  When he finally decides he must confront the wounds of his own past, he sets out on a journey to meet it head-on, accompanied by a bestselling author who would flee fame (because obviously every lost soul needs a good sidekick.)  From here, the cast of memorable supporting characters is immense, from the voice of Perdu’s lost love, to cooking Italians and women with shapely legs wearing hobbit feet, because “such is the power of books.” Written in German about France and translated into English, The Little Paris Bookshop should by all rights be disjointed but is instead beautiful and immensely quotable.  What a funky, beautiful, uncommon book!  And for heaven’s sake don’t miss the appendices.

Available on Amazon on June 23rd: The Little Paris Bookshop

Review: All the Light We Cannot See

Available now: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

****4/5 stars-loved it

The lives of a young German soldier and a blind French girl intersect in this brilliant WWII novel.

Recommended readers:

  • If you read for language, imagery, and storytelling,
  • and if you enjoy powerful war fiction that transcends the genre, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

This novel, ten years in the making, is a lot to take in, and at first I was a bit put off by the somewhat distracting structure of short 2 and 3 page chapters per character.   It’s a novel that draws you in slowly, weaving the reader together with the threads of the story:  Werner, an orphan prodigy pulled into the Hitler youth; Marie-Laure, a young blind girl fleeing Paris with her father and a priceless jewel; the German officer who seeks to find it. All the Light We Cannot See is full of science and history, the presence of both beauty and moral uncertainty, and most of all, a powerful command of language and imagery.

Available on Amazon now:  All the Light We Cannot See

Wild West Brides: Three Books

Available in June: Wild West Brides: 3-Book Series from a Bestselling Author

***3/5 stars- Liked it through and through

Three books take you on three different journeys of three brothers after the Civil War.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a little faith with your love story
  • If you like enjoy post-war romances
  • If you want three books for your spend

Here’s my Rankings:

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Set in the midwest, the three Claxton brothers return from the Civil War to start their live anew. Cole meets Wynn in The Peacemaker. Beau gets a second chance at love in The Drifter. Cass gets tricked into marriage The Maverick. Each creates a unique storyline with good characters and a dabble of faith – not to mention you get three books in one!

Available on Amazon: Wild West Brides: 3-Book Series from a Bestselling Author

Available today: The Truth According to Us

Available June 9th: The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

****4/5 stars- loved it!

From the co-author of  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society comes another portrait of  small-town charm and secrets, brimming with delightful characters.

Recommended readers:

  • For book clubs
  • For fans of character-driven novels
  • For lovers of southern lit

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

12-year-old Willa Romeyn may be too young to understand, but she’s just old enough to know that things are not as they seem. Luckily, she’s “a natural-born sneak” intent on finding out, and she’s not alone.  Together with Layla, a WPA-hired socialite- turned-historian assigned to write the history of their town, Willa sets out find out the truth about her family.  The pages of her world are brimming with a memorable cast of characters:  her golden sister, Bird; her smooth-tongued and oft-absent father, Felix; a beautiful and privileged outsider, Layla; and her aunt Jottie, the pin holding it all together, but crumpling under the pressure of the ghost that haunts them all.   Through the perspectives of Willa, Dottie, and Layla, the story slowly and deliberately unfolds, and though it holds a more bittersweet tone than the Potato Peel Pie, it is no less delightful and heartwarming.

 

Available on Amazon June 9th:  The Truth According to Us

Fiction Review: Under a Dark Summer Sky

Available June 9: Under a Dark Summer Sky

****4.5/5 stars- Loved it and probably stayed up all night reading and developing real feelings for fictional people.Underthedarksummersky

An epic tale of post-WWI struggles in a segregated world is magnified when a disastrous hurricane strikes. A must-read this summer, Under A Dark Summer Sky will appeal to all readers.

Recommended readers:

  • Book Clubs
  • If you liked The Help or To Kill A Mockingbird
  • And if like reading semi-fiction – based on true events with fictional characters

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4.5/5 for characters
  • 5/5 for plot
  • 4.5/5 overall
  • Steaminess: 1 of 5  (see our scale here)

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

After World War I in the coastal town of Heron Keys, Florida, war veterans are hired to build a bridge in the small, segregated community. In this intense drama filled with racial violence and prejudices, lost love, and power struggles, the community faces the biggest natural disaster it will ever see, a hurricane. With so many characters to love and hate, Under a Dark Summer Sky is spectacular – from the struggles of emotionally disturbed veterans returning from war, to white kids being raised by loving black servants. It all culminates with a thrilling, deadly hurricane, where everyone must make choices that decide their fate. Under the Dark Summer Sky is a must-read and perfect for summer – and the best book I’ve read this year that will appeal to a wide range of readers.

Under a Dark Summer Sky is available on Amazon June 9.