Month: May 2016

Short Fiction Review: You Know When the Men Are Gone

In honor of Memorial Day: You Know When the Men are Gone

*****5/5 stars

41zvHLY+JhL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_When you read all in one sitting and get hit in the gut, right where you live, you give it five stars.

Recommended readers:

  • If you are a reader of short stories,
  • if you are in any way connected with the military,
  • and if you haven’t given your military and its wars much thought, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

While I don’t pick them up nearly as often as I ought, I have always enjoyed short stories: the all-to-brief glimpse into somewhere else; that vague feeling of unease and dissastifaction that comes with but a hint, or even a lack, of resolution. In You Know When the Men are Gone, Siobhan Fallon gives insight into the experience of soldiers and their families at war:  men and women, officers and enlisted, in Iraq and at home. Set in Fort Hood, Texas,  this series of interconnected short stories weaves together  the small details of  lives at war– separation and return, strained relationships, fear, loneliness and more– in a manner salient, spare, and devastating. It’s spot on, raw, edgy truth laid out in fiction, and goes onto my required reading list.

Available now on Amazon

 

 

Available June 7th: What We Become

Available June 7th: What We Become by Arturo Perez-Reverte

****4/5 stars-loved it

A classic tale of a beautiful woman and a gentleman thief spanning decades
51bnH-12tLL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of slow-building romantic suspense
  • fans of the Tango
  • Fans of the theft-meets-love convention

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Brand new in the U.S. from the internationally-bestselling author of Captain Alatriste, this one hardly has an English entry on Goodreads, but is well-worth the attention of English readers.  What We Become features the apparently wildly popular then-and-now convention (I can’t seem to stop picking it up, anyway). The story begins with the meeting of a gentleman thief and a beautiful and enigmatic woman (what else?) on a glamorous ocean liner, but it is much more than that. The novel moves between Buenos Aires in the 20s, Nice in the 30s, and Sorrento in the 60’s, exploring aging with grace and nostalgia for youth through the classic tale of love and theft.  Plus, there’s crime, sex, betrayal, thievery, chess, peril, and the tango– you know, all the dark smoky sexy things–all of this and beautifully, lyrically written prose (translated!) that begs highlighting and a commitment to re-read.  Loved it!

Available in the U.S. on June 7th: What We Become

Review: Into the Whirlwind by Kat Martin

Available May 31: Into the Whirlwind (BOSS, Inc)

****3.5/5 stars

Into the Whirlwind is a quick paced read with action and passion.

Recommended readers:

  • Looking for a page-turner romance
  • Want a book that both you and your guy will like?
  • Fans of Kat Martin

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Into the Whirlwind gets going so fast, you’ll check your electronic page number for fear of it ending too soon. But not to fear, Kat Martin, as she does so well in her contemporary action-romance, doesn’t leave off the pedal for long. Part of the Boss, Inc Series, this book brings in characters met in previous novels – lingerie model Megan O’Brien, a single mom, and her former body guard, Dirk Reynolds. When Megan’s son gets kidnapped, she has no where else to turn but to Dirk, who’s already been burned by Megan once. Into the Whirlwind is a quick paced read with action and passion.

Available May 31: Into the Whirlwind (BOSS, Inc)

The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R King

Available now: The Murder of Mary Russell, a novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes

***3.5/5 stars- I liked itLKing-MurderofMaryRussell

We dare you to try to get ahead of this Laurie R King mystery.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a steady-paced historical mystery
  • If you’re a fan of Laurie R. King or Anne Perry
  • And if you like intricate plots.

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

If you’re a fan or have read Laurie R. King before, you’ll know what I mean when I say: The Murder of Mary Russell is an intellectual mystery as you would expect from fictional work featuring Sherlock Holmes. With strong characters driving a dual plotline, The Murder of Mary Russell keeps you guessing throughout – as a good mystery should do. It’s a fun journey, trying to get ahead of the words you read, guessing the next step (and I doubt you will). Different from other novels in the Mary Russell series, Mary Russell isn’t the main character in the novel – and it’s a nice departure from King’s other successful mysteries. Whether you’ve read other Mary Russell-Laurie R King novels or not, this one is a intricate web of mystery and misdirection.

Available now: The Murder of Mary Russell, a novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes

 

Deep Dark by Laura Griffin

Available May 24: Deep Dark (Tracers Series)

****4.5/5 starslgriffin-deepdark

A fabulous action-thriller-romance with a cyber-murder plot, you and your man will love Deep Dark.

Recommended readers:

  • Laura Griffin or mystery-thriller drama plots
  • for action-adventure-romance lovers
  • if you’re a fan of CSI TV series, you’ll love anything Laura Griffin

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 5/5 for plot
  • 4.5/5 overall
  • 3/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Laura Griffin is my favorite go-to, never-fail mystery-action-romance author. Even without being my favorite genre, I absolutely fly through her books. Of the last three Tracer Series books I’ve read, she’s nailed it with each one. With just the right amount of action, thrills and love. In Deep Dark, Griffin takes the action to the digital world as detective Reed Novak digs into a murder and solicits the help of white-collar cyber crime gal Laney Knox. Only Laney has a history that Reed begins to uncover also. If you love watching CSI, Laura Griffin’s Deep Dark is going to keep you up all night (or at least past your bedtime).

Order on Amazon: Deep Dark (Tracers Series)

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Available now: Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice

****4/5 stars- loved it

Eligible is a fabulous modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, on point and on trend too.

Recommended readers:

  • If like Pride and Prejudice but also chic lit
  • if you like contemporary romance
  • and if you identify with having a large, crazy family

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Now available, Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld is a fabulous, fun and witty translation of what Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice could be like in modern times. Sittenfeld sticks close to the famous classic by keeping the same characters and adding modern twists to the plot, utilizing current issues and trends from transgender and reality TV, to Crossfit and the Paleo Diet. It’s so cleverly done. The appeal may be more geared toward the chic lit or general contemporary romance reader – rather than the die-hard Jane Austen classic fan – but Eligible is a fun, fast and clever read for anyone. And if you have some Pride and Prejudice memories, that will make it even more fun to read and compare.

Available now on Amazon: Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice

I Thee Wed by Celeste Bradley

Available this month: I Thee Wed (The Wicked Worthington Series)

***3.5/5 stars- Really liked itcbradley-itheewed

This Celeste Bradley novel is lighthearted fun – from beginning to end.

Recommended readers:

  • Readers of English historical fiction
  • Looking for a fun, lighthearted romance
  • Fans of Celeste Bradley, Sabrina Jeffries and more

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

From rabbits to pesky sisters to exploding experiments, I Thee Wed is fabulous fun from beginning to end. Despite being the least dramatic member of the Worthington family, Orion Worthington’s lovestory is anything but boring … thanks in part to his counterpart, Francesca Penrose, a budding scientist who hopes to overcome gender bias of the time. Celeste Bradley has a knack for writing fun, passionate and witty stories. Any historical romance buff will enjoy Bradley’s latest in the Worthington Series.

Available on Amazon this month:  I Thee Wed (The Wicked Worthington Series)

 

Review: One Pink Rose by Julie Garwood

Available now: One Pink Rose

****4/5 starsjgarwood-onepinkrose

Action filled with the perfect mix of romantic tension, anyone will love Against the Sky.

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of Julie Garwood (because who isn’t by now)
  • Looking for good, ole’ fashioned romance (without the sex)
  • Fans of Western Romance

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall
  • 2/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:
A re-release by Pocket Star Books, One Pink Rose by Julie Garwood (see blog note below) is still fabulous and good, clean romance. Travis Clayborne gets the unlucky assignment to escort mail-order bride Emily Finnegan to her soon-to-be husband in Montana.

If I had a teenage daughter who loved to read, I’d feel good about giving her this book. I’m not sure if so much has changed in the historical romance scene since, but what the passionate build-up seems so different now in historical romance.

Blog note: This summer, Julie Garwood’s three stories of the Clayborne brothers will be available as separate EBooks. Look for One Pink Rose (POCKET Star EBooks; May 9, 2016; $1.99), followed by One White Rose (POCKET Star EBooks; June 13, 2016; $2.99) and One Red Rose (POCKET Star EBooks; July 11, 2016; $2.99). Julie Garwood “knows how to reach out and touch readers’ hearts” with this “laugh-out-loud little read…all delight, pure fun, and yummy” (RT Book Reviews on One Pink Rose).

Available now: One Pink Rose

Much Ado About Highlanders by May McGoldrick

Available on Kindle: Much Ado About Highlanders

****4/5 stars- loved it

Much Ado About Highlanders is a fast-read with action-packed Highland charm.

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of Scottish Romance
  • If you like Monica McCarthy, Kat Martin and others
  • and if you like a fast-reading romance

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

After a few months off of Scottish historical romance, Much Ado About Highlanders reminded me why it’s one of my favorite genres. From political and war drama to person mini-conflicts, there is so much to love about the Highland heroes and their heroic women – and May McGoldrick captures it all. Strong characters and interesting twists add to the characters: Alexander Macpherson is the quintessential Highland leader – brave, sexy and fierce. And he’s met his match with Kenna Mackay, his runaway wife.

After enjoying the novel, I’ve added May McGoldrick to my to-read list and have checked out their full list on Amazon.

Available on Kindle: Much Ado About Highlanders

James Maxted #2: The Corners of the Globe

Available June 7th:  The Corners of the Globe (James Maxted #2)

***3.5/5 stars- really liked it

The adventures of ace pilot-turned-spy James “Max” Maxted continue in the tumult of postwar Europe. 18657619

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of spy novels
  • fans of historical mysteries
  • fans of Maisie Dobbs
  • and readers of WWI-era fiction

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

The second in Robert Goddard’s The Wide World adventure trilogy picks up where The Ways of the World left off (and ends, just FYI, in a major cliff hanger readers will likely have to wait a year to continue, unless you can get ahold of the British edition). Having discovered the truth behind the death of his father, Max now commits himself as a double agent between great powers seeking to reconstruct Post WWI-Europe (and we all know how well that turned out). With a racing plot moving between characters, The Corners of the Globe is a plot and character-driven thriller that proves the only way to win is to stand and fight.

The Corners of the Globe is available in the U.S. on June 7th

Also see our review of Book one in the series: The Ways of the World