5 star reads

Review: Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow

29430012A Gentleman in Moscow is available now

*****5/5 stars

Amor Towles does it again with prose, plot, and characters who grab hold and won’t let go.  Need a gift this Christmas?  This is it.

Recommended readers:

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

On house arrest in Moscow’s grand Metropol Hotel for being a Former Person in the new Soviet Union, Count Alexander Rostov once wrote a poem that inspired revolutionary fervor, and cannot, apparently, simply be shot at dawn. He is instead removed from his old suite of rooms and confined to the attic, where he builds a new life full of the kind of characters you can only hope to meet in your own. It’s a novel of fully-realized tragedy that somehow doesn’t get lost there, instead brimming with optimism and hope. With Rules of Civility, Towles had me for life– I looked up from the ending of that gem feeling as if it were impossible that I could be somewhere besides 1930s New York– and once again, Towles wins me over. Wonderful prose, characters, and plot, the holy trifecta for any writer, complete with literary, historic, and cinema references. With Amor Towles, know that you are reading something from someone infinitely more intelligent than you, but who writes so that you can still enjoy it, who makes you stop and think while still plunging forward to discover what happens next.

To quote the dust jacket: “He can’t leave. You won’t want to.”

Buy it now on Amazon

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

Jane Austen’s First Love

Available August 5: Jane Austen’s First Love

****4/5 starsJane Austens First Love

Dare I say it?! It’s as if Miss Austen is writing it herself and giving us a glimpse of what she’ll soon write in her classics – Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility.

Recommended readers:

  • If you love all things Jane Austen…
  • If you ever wondered what inspired Jane Austen’s writing.
  • Did we mention Jane Austen?

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

I loved this peak into Jane Austen’s early life and of Syrie James’s translation of what events in Jane’s early life later shaped and inspired her writing. While the story takes a lot of latitude from a few pieces of research, the story of Jane’s and Edward’s meeting and romance is very real – and oh so Austen (Note: This is fiction, though the author does share some interesting tidbits at the end that inspired her fictional writing). There are so many elements and story lines in this book that you can see applying to any one of Austen’s novels – and see how her own life inspired her books. If you loved any of Jane Austen’s classic novels – Pride and PrejudiceEmmaSense and Sensibility – then this is a must-read for you. If you had a hard time enjoying her style, then you may not enjoy this book. Read on!

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Fiction Review: Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore

Available August 5: Secrets of the Lighthouse: A Novel

*****5/5 stars

The epitome of a summer read, Secrets of the Lighthouse is a mystery romance with a true depth that makes you breath with the characters. Santa Montefiore is brilliant!

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a little suspense with your romance…
  • if you have ever dreamed of escaping the your long lost relatives in Ireland…
  • and if you don’t want to feel guilty for reading a romance in public.

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

This book is a treasure. The characters – and there are many of them – have an amazing, effortless depth. Montefiore brings you into their life and effortlessly ties in the ghost of a young wife.  I’m not usually much of a fantasy fan, but I loved how this ghost  haunts throughout the story. Romance is part of the plot, but there is so much more to the book – from the deep hurt of 30+ year old wound to the recent pain of death, every character in this book is touching. I’m amazed that the book switches from first-person to third-person without making me feel lost … the timing of chapters is well thought out (and maybe edited … kudos either way). This is the best book I’ve read this year.

Read this 5-star book:

Review: A Sword Upon The Rose

Available June 24: A Sword Upon the Rose (Hqn)

***** 5/5 starsA Sword Upon A Rose by Brenda Joyce

A Sword Upon the Rose is impossible to put down with the perfect mix of history, romance and intrigue.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a solid plot of war and politics tied in with your romance
  • If you like historical romance with Highland heros

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4.5/5 for characters
  • 4.5/5 for plot
  • 5/5 overall
  • Note: Steamy factor (3 of 5 … little steaminess)

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

In this captivating Highland romance, Alana, a bastard with elite  family ties meets Iain, a formidable Scottish leader for Robert Bruce. The two are swept away into a romance but stuck in the middle of war, Highland politics and ambitious men and women. The intriguing story kept me up until 2:30 a.m.. With characters so wrapped up in the Scottish politics and ambitious leaders, Brenda Joyce makes this story more than a romance and a thoroughly alluring read.

 

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Fiction Review: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Rules of Civility: A Novel on sale now

*****5/5 starsAmor Towles

It’s New Years Eve, on the dawn of 1938. A chance encounter in a Greenwich bar leads Katey Kontent on a ride to the top of New York Society with the engaging Tinker Grey—but will he stay there with her?

Recommended readers:

  • For anyone who enjoys getting totally lost in a time and place of a story
  • For anyone who wonders if men can write women
  • For anyone who revels in both great writing and great storytelling

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

I loved this book. I loved the structure, loved the prose, the literary references, the total immersion in another place and time, and most of all, Katey. She’s one of those characters who stays with you, who you have a hard time remembering isn’t someone you know. Stay tuned for a review of Towles’ second offering, Eve in Hollywood.

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