Month: December 2015

The Rock by Monica McCarthy

Available today: The Rock (Highland Guard)

****3.5/5 starsmonicamccarthy-theRock

Another studly Highlander fights for love in the 11th Highland Guard novel from Monica McCarty.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a Highland Romance
  • and if you’re a fan of Monica McCarty or Suzanne Enoch

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:

 

As the 11th book in the Highland Guard series, The Rock has some seriously studly Scottish heroes to follow. But you’ll not be disappointed with Thomas MacGowan, who as the blacksmith’s son dreams of greater accomplishments, including the love of his Lord’s daughter, Elizabeth Douglas. From a childhood love and to bloody wars and betrayal, the two Highlanders must decide what is right for them, their families and responsibilities. Monica McCarty’s latest is good, solid historical romance – and there’s no need to read the previous 11 novels either, though you’d probably have fun doing it.

Available today on Amazon:The Rock (Highland Guard)

Ashley Bell Novel by Dean Koontz

Available now: Ashley Bell: A Novel

***3.5/5 stars Liked itDeanKoontz-AshleyBell

A suspenseful and mystical read, which at any point in book you’ll wonder if you are in Bibi’s mind or real-life adventure.

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of psychological thrillers
  • Fans of Dean Koontz

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Maybe not one to get you into the holiday spirit, but definitely one to keep your eyeballs open and flipping pages, Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz is thrilling, to say the least. And at any point you have no idea what is truth or imagination. In his newest psychological suspense, Bibi Blair, an unstoppable young woman, is diagnosed with a terminal cancer, which miraculously goes into remission. But she becomes convinced that the only reason she was saved is to save someone else. The adventure – both physical and psychological – is expertly woven from real to what is in Bibi’s mind and you’ll read until the last page trying to figure out which.

Available now on Amazon: Ashley Bell: A Novel

Jojo Moyes: After You

Available Now: After You: A Novel

****4/5 stars- Loved itjojomoyes-afteryou

Poignant and lighthearted, After You is another great from Jojo Moyes about learning to love after loss.

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of dramatic fiction
  • Fans of Jojo Moyes
  • and if you want to read the book before the movie

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall
  • 1/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

The sequel to the book (Me Before You) that put Jojo Moyes on the map, After You is a charming novel about Louisa Clark and her struggle to build a life after the love of her life’s death. With so heady a premise, the story was equally poignant and lighthearted with a touch of English wit that is fun to read. Building on the characters of both the kooky Clark and the uber-rich Traynor families, After You carries on their stories along with some new in a quick-reading, up all night drama.

You’ll definitely want to read Me Before You first – not only because it is one of Jojo Moyes best and highly acclaimed, but it provides a deeper background to the pain of Louisa’s lost love.

After You: A Novel is available now on Amazon.

BOOKS ON THE BIG SCREEN:

Exciting alert! Books for Her has learned that Me Before You is being made into a movie – and set to release in June 2016, starring Emilia Clark (Game of Thrones) as Lou and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games) as Will. We’ll keep you posted

Other Books for Her reviews of Jojo Moyes:

Sheltering Rain

The Last Letter From Your Lover

The Ship of Brides

One Plus One

 

Nonfiction Review: Guide to Vegetable Gardening

Available Dec. 23: The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in Southern California

*****5/5 stars- Loved it!VegetableGardeningSouthernCalifornia

Everything a gardener in Southern California (or your respective region) would need to know to grow vegetables.

Recommended readers:

  • Beginner to intermediate gardeners in Southern California
  • So Cal homeowners
  • Looking for a housewarming gift for your So Cal friends?

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 5/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

A 10-year Southern California native, I’ve tried my hand at vegetable gardening for years with almost no success. Vegetable gardening is too region-specific to have a catch-all guide. The Timber Press Guide provides monthly checklists, along with specific lists of recommended vegetables, fruits and herbs for the region. And based on the clarity, simplicity and organization of this book, I recommend you check out the Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening for your region: Click here to browse.

Available Dec. 23: The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in Southern California

Jojo Moyes: Sheltering Rain

Available Now: Sheltering Rain

****3/5 stars- Liked it

In this early Jojo Moyes novel, a mother and daughter find common ground in Ireland.

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of a mother-daughter saga
  • fans of Jojo Moyes
  • fans of horsey chick lit

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Three generations of mother-daughter conflict come to a head when fumbling mother Kate sends her daughter, Sabine, to visit her own estranged mother, Joy, in Ireland.  As all three women try to work through their conflict with each other, we also hear Joy’s story, from expat life and love in Australia to running a horse farm in Ireland. It’s no Ship of Brides, but Moyes is a born storyteller, adept in emotional upheaval and redemption.

Sheltering Rain  is available now

 

If you like Outlander TV Series, you’ll like … PART 2

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We are still trying to survive Droughtlander – and still have to navigate through the holidays before the next season starts. So back by popular demand is Part 2 of If you like Outlander TV Series, you’ll like … (See Part 1 here). Here’s the list of our top historical tv dramas to get you by for a bit longer.  If you liked Outlander, you’ll definitely like these too:

Velvet. The Spanish TV Series is fantastic – with two season now available on Netflix. You won’t even remember reading the English subtitles, while you enjoy the drama of a 1950s fashion store, it’s owner, workers and customers.

Velvet, a Spanish TV Series, is a gem.


The Time In Between: Funny enough, this is another Spanish dressmaker TV drama. With 17 episodes on Netflix, you’ll have plenty of material – and, bonus, this is action packed enough for your guy to like too (as long as he doesn’t mind the subtitles). Additionally funny, this IndieWire article says it will ‘cure your hankering for Downton Abbey’ too. Much like Outlander, The Time In Between was adapted from the best-selling book The Time Between Seams.

Spanish TV Series about a dressmaker.


Upstairs Downstairs: Much like Downton Abbey, Upstairs Downstairs is a fabulous class-struggle historical drama from the BBC (so you know its good). Set in 1930s London, as a wealthy family and stragglers in their family take up a special residence in London and build their household. You’ll have two full seasons to catch up on.

Upstairs Downstairs is set in 1930s England.


Home Fires. Just finishing Season 1 on PBS Masterpiece, Home Fires is set in rural England on the verge of WWII. With lots of strong women doing what they can to prepare for war, Home Fires is gaining popularity and receiving great reviews.   Season 1 purchased on Amazon or check your local PBS Masterpiece listing (search Masterpiece and then you’ll need to look at details of the listing). Season 2 airdate has not been confirmed.


Grand Hotel: Another great Netflix find, Grand Hotel has 66 episodes of good, historical drama. From spying and murder, to greed and cover-ups, Grand Hotel kicks off as a young man investigates the murder of his sister by posing as a footman at a posh hotel in the early 1900s.

Grand Hotel has 66 episodes on Netflix.

 

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Still need to feed your inner Outlander craving? Here’s everything Books for Her has covered from Outlander book reviews to the TV Series recaps and Outlander humor: READ MORE.

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Review: Stephen King’s 11/22/63

Available now: Stephen King’s 11/22/63

***4/5 stars Loved it

English teacher Jake Epping is given a chance to step back in time and prevent the Kennedy assassination.

Recommended readers:

  • Alternative history buffs
  • Fans of historical thrillers and suspense
  • Fans of time travel novels
  • and fans of Stephen King, obviously

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Having somehow managed to go through life so far with only a silver screen conception of Stephen King, I decided to start with a highly recommended time travel thriller, and I wasn’t disappointed.  This one had all the great time travel elements: what ifs and maybes, the question of consequences, and past romanticism balanced with reality, plus a little romance and just a touch of Stephen King horror.  And dancing! Loved it- but beware of the length.  It’s a doozy.

11/22/63 is available on Amazon 

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

Available now: A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

****4/5 stars- loved it

A Desperate Fortune has the makings of an award-winner: Romance, mystery, intrigue and personal pain

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of a multi-genre book,
  • if you like Jojo Moyes (especially her contemporary novels)
  • and if you like dual storylines (past and present).

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

A Goodreads Choice nominee with some other Books for Her favorites, A Desperate Fortune is compelling and immersive. When modern-day amateur code-breaker Sara Thomas has the opportunity to try to decipher the journal of an exiled Jacobite, she get the journey of a lifetime. In Susanna Kearsley style, A Desperate Fortune has intrigue, mystery and a powerful personal storyline to boot. A great read (much like her more recently release Named of a Dragon).

Available on Amazon: Named of the Dragon

The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill by Andrea Warren

Available now: The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas

**** 3.5/5 stars- Loved it – great for teens

A great read for any middle schooler (or adult really) who likes a taste of history.

Recommended readers:

  • Wyoming natives (have you been to Cody, the town founded by Buffalo Bill)
  • Western history buffs
  • Middle Schoolers

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

We all know the legend of Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show – but do we know what shaped and drove the man to be the charismatic, fearless entertainer that he was? Andrea Warren explores the sometimes sad, always challenging life that formed the man Billy Cody became. From the death of his older brother, to becoming the man of the house as early as 11. A fascinating read for an adult – and if you can get your teenager to read it too, even better.

Available now Amazon:  The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas