Month: October 2015

Review: Wherever there is Light

Available November 3rd:  Wherever There is Light by Peter Golden

****4/5 stars-loved it

The love affair between a Jewish immigrant and the granddaughter of a slave moves with the grand sweep of twentieth-century American history.

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of historical fiction
  • Fans of life-long love sagas

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

I tend to get myself in trends, so in the World War II/Light in Paris vein, I was more than willing to give Wherever There is Light a try, and I’m glad I did. The story covers a lot of territory and all manner of historical sins,  centering around two people from very different backgrounds who grapple both with their desire for each other and for independence, through the World War II period and beyond. He is a Jewish immigrant, and for all intents and purposes a gangster; she is the daughter of a founder of a black college, an aspiring artist who makes a name for herself in photography. It’s the kind of story sucks you right in and pulls you right along, as if you are there, completely absorbing to the point that you don’t even question its grand scope.  Because it makes perfect sense to sweep from the Jim Crow south to the New Jersey of gangsters to the Post-war Paris of the artists… right?

Available on Amazon November 3rd:  Wherever There is Light

Review: Under the Mistletoe Novella Collection

Available October 27: What Happens Under the Mistletoe

***3/5 starschristmas-collection-multiple authors

What Happens Under the Mistletoe is a quick reading, fun collection of short historical romances ideal for getting us ready for our favorite time of year.

Recommended readers:

  • If you don’t want to commit to a novel, this collection has the perfect collection of 1-hour reads
  • If you enjoy Christmas Hallmark movies
  • If you’re a fan of historical romances or any of these authors: Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp, Meredith Duran

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Four great novellas just in time for Christmas! What Happens Under the Mistletoe is a the collection of quick reads from of the best historical romance authors- each about 100 pages and taking less than an hour to read. Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp and Meredith Duran each tell a unique story. And the stories just get better … my only complaint: They weren’t long enough.

Available on Amazon: What Happens Under the Mistletoe

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

Available October 2015: Named of the Dragon

***3.5/5 stars- liked to the edge of love- call it a stage I crush.skearsley-named-of-a-dragon

Wuthering Heights with a contemporary feel and romance, you’ll love Named of the Dragon for its multi-genre appeal.

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of a multi-genre book,
  • if you like Jojo Moyes (especially her contemporary novels)
  • and if you bemoan a contemporary romance as lacking substance.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3.5/5 for characters
  • 3.5/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Next up on my ‘authors to keep an eye out for’ and ‘authors I need to read more of’ is Susanna Kearsley – and for good reason thanks to her latest novel Named of the Dragon. While I originally selected Named of the Dragon because it’s in the romance genre, it is so much more – with intrigue, mystery and a wonderful storyline of personal pain and recovery.  When a literary agent accepts her star client’s invitation to spend Thanksgiving in South Wales, she gets more than she bargained for with a cast of fabulous characters, eerie dreams and odd occurrences (not to mention a mysterious, brooding local). It’s a fabulous read

Available on Amazon: Named of the Dragon

Available October 27th: Tess Gerritsen’s Playing With Fire

Available October 27th: Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

***3/5 stars Did I LIKE it?  Um, no.  But it was scary good.

From the creator of the Rizzoli and Isles series, a historical thriller about a mysterious piece of music that inspires violence.

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of mystery and suspense
  • Fans of historical thrillers

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Just in time for Halloween, Tess Gerritsen delivers a terrifying new historical thriller: When musician Julia Andsell plays a strange piece of music she picked up while in Rome, her daughter is moved to strange acts of violence and she blacks out.  Determined to find the truth and put an end to the madness, she journeys to Venice to discover the dark truth about the origins of The Incendio Waltz, dating to the Holocaust. Like an episode of a crime series, Playing with Fire is Fast paced, engrossing, and absolutely chilling.

Available on Amazon October 27th: Playing With Fire

Available this month: Twain’s End

Available now: Twain’s End by Lynn Cullen

**** 3.5/5 stars- Liked it to the edge of love- call it a stage I crushtwains-end-LCullen

Mark Twain is famously known as a talented, maybe eccentric author; Twain’s End shares a peak into the truly dark person who Twain likely was.

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of Mark Twain (or at least curious about the real man)
  • If you like a peak into a historical famous person (especially from literature)
  • and if you’re a history or literature buff.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 5/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall
  • Steaminess: 0 of 5  (see our scale here)

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

A truly fascinating person, Mark Twain, is still revered today and at the time he was idolized and probably the most famous person of his time, respected in various circles from politics to music and business. Twain’s End is a fabulous story-telling and peek into the man that few people knew: Sam Clemens. I can’t even come up with a good genre to explain the book – part biography, part family drama-saga, and part romance; Regardless, Twain’s End is eye-opening, dark and very real. Based on several real documents – from diaries to letters – Lynn Cullen weaves a painfully real story of the real Mark Twain and the suffering he created to those around him.

Available now Amazon: Twain’s End

An Outlander delayed reaction

It took a little time to get over last season’s Outlander season finale, and no little effort to unsee a thing or two.  All in all, I have to admit I was appalled by the episode, and not for the reasons you might think (well, not entirely.)

We were treated to all the psychological trauma Black Jack could summon, but we get NO CLAIRE THE EXCORIST?!  C’mon, Starz!  You didn’t shy away from one tough scene, how could you skip the whole ransoming the soul part?  I’m not sure a few slaps really covers it, and I’m definitely not sure you deserved to use that episode title.

Instead we get a little, Och, you’re right Sassenach, let’s cut out the brand and get on a ship and let the wind blow through our hair. (In fairness, that scene DID make me feel much better)

outlander_s1finale_postmortem_moore

Other departures of note?

Claire’s got a bun in already.  Cause we all know a baby fixes things.

But are we tuning in early 2016 to see where Outlander takes us next?  Absolutely.

In the meantime, if you’d like a little historical drama a bit lighter on the deep emotional trauma, might we suggest: Turn: Washington’s Spies on AMC, based on the book by Alexander Rose or one of our other recommendations in: If you like Outlander TV Series, You’ll like …

Review: Once A Duchess

Available now: Once a Duchess by Elizabeth Boyce

****3/5 stars- Liked it

A duchess and her duke get a second chance at romance

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of solid stock romance
  • fans of regency romance

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Once upon a time, Isabelle Lockwood was a duchess.  Wrongly accused of adultery, divorced, and cast aside, she’s been hiding in the countryside… until she runs into her duke again by chance. This is one of those comfortable, stock romances: Pretty much exactly as you expect and all the more delightful for it. Complete with a nasty mummy-in-law!

Once a Duchess is available now

 

Coming October 13th: The Adventuress

Available October 13th: The Adventuress by Tasha Alexander

****3.5/5 stars- Liked it to the edge of love- call it a stage I crush

An engagement party on the French Riviera, a shocking murder: Lady Emily is on the case.

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of Britishy witty banter novels
  • and if you could use a new series to catch up on, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3.5/5 for characters
  • 3.5/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Historical fiction, mystery, and suspense unite with just a touch of romance in this novel by Tasha Alexander: as it turns out, 10th in a series starring Lady Emily Hargreaves, Victorian-era sleuth. This time, Lady Emily and her dashing husband are on the French Riviera, celebrating the engagement of her childhood friend (and a bit of a point in a love triangle, actually) to a vivacious American Heiress. When a friend of the groom turns up dead after stag night, Lady Emily has reason to expect foul play.  I’m a big fan of the dual-perspective storytelling tactic of suspense, and  if there’s anything I like more than a good historical mystery novel, it’s a good historical-mystery-adventure series. It’s clear from #10 that this one is worth catching up on, though enough was explained to the reader to stand alone.

The first three in the series are available through Oyster Books

The Adventuress will be available October 13th through Amazon

 

Some Like It Scot: Suzanne Enoch

Available Oct. 6: Some Like It Scot (Scandalous Highlanders)

****3.5/5 starsscot-senoch

A fighting lady in trousers meets a Highland bachelor.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a Highland Romance
  • If  you enjoy reading Brogue
  • and if you’re a sucker for a fighting lady

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Suzanne Enoch’s Scandalous Highlanders series is just too much fun.  And the family of MacLowry’s are fabulous too. In the final of the series, young, bullish brother Munro runs across a lad shooting a deer – only to find that the lad is actually a lady who he can’t get out of his mind. And when Catriona, who’s helped her sister escape from a terrible engagement, is discovered hiding in ruins on Munro’s family lands, she’s ready to fight. There’s everything to enjoy in this fast-paced, quick-reading Scottish romance.

Note: The naming of Suzanne Enoch’s novels are just too fun! … Rogue with Brogue and now Some Like it Scot. Wow! We can laugh at ourselves, right?

Available on Amazon:Some Like It Scot (Scandalous Highlanders)

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

 

Rereleased: Laurie McBain’s Dominick Trilogy

Available Oct. 6 (rerelease): Chance the Winds of Fortune (Dominick Trilogy)
and Dark Before the Rising Sun (Dominick Trilogy)

***3/5 stars- Liked itdark-lmcbainchance-lmcbain

From lush England to Caribbean waters and mysterious estates, Laurie McBain’s Dominick Trilogy spans the globe.

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of Laurie McBain (rereleased!)
  • If you like pirates, colonial US and countryside England
  • and if you enjoy historical romance with a nod to espionage, these are for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

With the re-release of Laurie McBain’s Dominick Trilogy, you’ll get a chance to enjoy a classic historical romance and author who wrote during the times of one of my all-time favorites (Kathleen Woodiwiss). The second book, Chance the Winds of Fortune and my favorite of the trio, young lady Rhea Claire is kidnapped from her countryside family home and sold as an indentured servant. In the final book, Dark Before the Rising Sun, while the romance and relationship is solid, the ground that they are trying to build on is not. The final book carries more mystery and less character conflict. Regardless, McBain’s classic historical romance has a nice, steady pace that won’t keep you reading through the night but is still enjoyable.

Available on Amazon on Oct 6 (rerelease): Chance the Winds of Fortune (Dominick Trilogy)
and Dark Before the Rising Sun (Dominick Trilogy)