If you plan on doing any wet weather riding, I'd suggest you go for a disc brake bike. They're much easier on the hands during long wet descents, where v-brakes stop working great and you have to apply a lot of pressure for long periods of time, especially with small hands. Beyond that, $1k is a good price point for a decent hard tail. You obviously should be looking at aluminum frame. Carbon is more money, great as it is, it's expensive relatively. Steel is heavy and with your build and style of riding, alu is a much better material for you. I don't like recommending brands..the good ones are all very similar..Giant, Trek, Kona, Specialized..whatever fits you best and has geometry that you like. Weight is a bigger consideration for you because of your size so I'd look for a model with a better suspension fork..alu steerer for sure. Keep in mind, if you don't already have them, you should get good mountain biking shoes and shorts. These are important too. If you're in decent shape, don't bother with a triple front chainring..most MTB"s are doubles or singles in the front now and I'd say you are probably better off with a double setup in front.
EDIT: One other thing..don't go 29" wheels. Do 26 or 27.5. The 29's I don't think work well with smaller geometries. I preferred my 26" a lot of the time especially in technical stuff. I think the 27.5 is a good compromise. Try them for yourself and see.
Edited by Scott43 - 5/18/16 at 5:42pm