Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

THE ALICE NETWORK by Kate Quinn

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I had heard some chatter about this novel when it first came out earlier this summer, so I was excited to score a copy through Edelweiss. This was a compelling story about female Resistance members and spies in both WWI and WWII (which you rarely get in a novel!).

Here’s the overview via Amazon:

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the “queen of spies,” who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. That is until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth . . . no matter where it leads.

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Oh my goodness — how I loved these characters, Charlie and Eve! Such strong women who could truly fight for a cause. I love it when the main characters are just so perfectly imperfect. You love them because they seem so real.

This was a solid story — at times sad, at times I laughed.

Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction!

Thank you for my review copy!!

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DEVOTION by Meg Kerr

A few months ago, Prism Publishers in Canada sent me a pdf of Meg Kerr’s new novel DEVOTION, a continuation of Pride and Prejudice. Thank you!!

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Here’s the overview:

After answering in her first novel Experience some burning questions that Pride & Prejudice fans have always asked — just how happy ever after were Elizabeth and Darcy following their wedding? And what became of the other Bennet sisters?— in her companion novel Devotion Meg continues  the story of the Darcy family, with particular attention to Darcy’s younger sister, Georgiana.

Devotion follows the now 20-year-old Georgiana Darcy. While her brother sets out without her knowledge to secure her a husband, Georgiana, upon receipt of a long-delayed letter, embarks on a secret journey—leading to a chance meeting with a charming yet wicked young man with nefarious intentions.

The story is full of intrigue, romance and humour, it also brings to the forefront stories of some other characters first introduced in Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice, including Caroline Bingley and Pen Harrington, and seamlessly introduces new characters while maintaining the integrity of Austen’s beloved classic tale.

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I have to be honest, now, and say that normally I detest these types of novels as authors rarely “get it right” (remember – I spend my spare time cavorting around the home of the Alcott’s and I consider Louisa May a kindred spirit. No one has captured LMA’s storytelling skills to date.).

I have to say that I loved this story! I loved the writing and was amazed by how well Ms. Kerr captured the nuances of 19th century style. I enjoyed the storyline and I think that others who love Austen will, too.

FROM JULY 15-JULY 19, 2017 YOU CAN GET DEVOTION FREE FOR YOUR KINDLE VIA AMAZON! Woot!

Here’s a bit about her (I want her to visit Boston so I can show her Orchard House and we can talk about the 1800’s. I will wear my hoop skirt!):

What do you do when you live in the twenty-first century but a piece of your heart lies in the nineteenth? If you are author Meg Kerr you let your head and hand follow your heart. With her love of country life—dogs and horses, long walks in the woods and fields, dining with family and neighbours and dancing with friends, reading and writing and the best conversation—and her familiarity with eighteenth and nineteenth century history and literature, Meg has a natural gift to inhabit, explore and reimagine the world that Jane Austen both dwelt in and created, and to draw readers there with her.

Her forthcoming book, Devotion, will be available in the summer of 2017.

 Here are a few videos of Meg talking about her novel – check them out!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/472d9xav1c9qprc/DEVOTION_3TheOthers.mp4?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/l8uxexsw4qsz6pz/DEVOTION_2MrDarcy.mp4?dl=0

 

 

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THE ROANOKE GIRLS by Amy Engel

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I found this title on Net Galley a while ago, and received an e-copy. It was a compelling and suspenseful read, but also disturbing.

Here’s the overview:

Description

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Trigger warning: disturbing sexual content
This is a well-written mystery novel with a storyline that is (hopefully) a bit hard to believe. I would have liked it better if I hadn’t found it so (wait for it —- ) disturbing! I’d love to hear from others who read it, too. Recommended for those who loved VC Andrews back in the day…
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THE WITCHFINDER’S SISTER by Beth Underdown

So — I recently found this novel on Net Galley and since I love historical fiction and things like Salem, I thought it would be a great read.

This book totally haunted me and I was horrified to find out it was based on many real events. It was very well done and well-written but also very disturbing. The characters are well developed and more than once I was thankful that I did not live in those times!

Here’s the overview via Net Galley (I loved the gorgeous cover!):

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Thank you for my review copy!
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The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

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I had heard about this book, so I was excited when I saw it come up on sale for kindle recently. I bought it and read it on my recent vacation. I’m a huge Christie fan, and I knew about her time “missing” when she was dealing with her marriage issues and stress. This book takes it the next step to create the situation of Agatha taking the Orient Express in order to recuperate from her divorce and to not think about her husband’s upcoming marriage. She meets two women – both with something to hide, and the three become friends, sharing some adventures and excitement along the way.

Here’s the overview via Amazon:

Hoping to make a clean break from a fractured marriage, Agatha Christie boards the Orient Express in disguise. But unlike her famous detective Hercule Poirot, she can’t neatly unravel the mysteries she encounters on this fateful journey.

Agatha isn’t the only passenger on board with secrets. Her cabinmate Katharine Keeling’s first marriage ended in tragedy, propelling her toward a second relationship mired in deceit. Nancy Nelson—newly married but carrying another man’s child—is desperate to conceal the pregnancy and teeters on the brink of utter despair. Each woman hides her past from the others, ferociously guarding her secrets. But as the train bound for the Middle East speeds down the track, the parallel courses of their lives shift to intersect—with lasting repercussions.

Filled with evocative imagery, suspense, and emotional complexity, The Woman on the Orient Express explores the bonds of sisterhood forged by shared pain and the power of secrets.

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I loved this novel! It did an excellent job in portraying Ms. Christie and the pain and struggle that comes with a major life change. There was a bit of a mystery, along with a range of emotions. It was an excellent read and I highly recommend it to lovers of historical fiction (and Agatha Christie!).

 

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Litfuse Publicity Tour for THE CAPTAIN’S DAUGHTER by Jennifer Delamere

I’m happy to take part in the Litfuse tour for this lovely book by Jennifer Delamere: THE CAPTAIN’S DAUGHTER. I would classify it as a Victorian/Christian Romance. It is the story of an orphan (now young woman) who makes her way in London, in part by becoming part of a Gilbert and Sullivan stage show. As a theater buff, I really enjoyed that aspect of the book! Overall, the word “gentle” comes to mind when I read this story- it’s a clean read and a happy ending.

I received an e-copy to review – thank you! And thank you for making me part of the tour.

Book info

About the book:
Warm-hearted Victorian romance brings 1880s London to life.
 
When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.
A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.

About the author:
 
Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, “An Heiress at Heart,” was a 2013 RITA award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, “A Lady Most Lovely,” received a starred review from “Publishers Weekly” and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.
 
Find out more about Jennifer at jenniferdelamere.com.
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 Blog Tour Schedule
Landing page:

Tour Schedule:
6/20
Amy | A Nest in the Rocks
Debra | 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too !
Heidi | Heidi Reads…
Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!
Kayleigh | Neverending Stories
Rachel | Smiling Book Reviews
Stacey | Books,Dreams,Life
Vik Tory | Manuscript Tunes

6/21
Carrie | Reading Is My SuperPower
Megan | Pursuing Intentional Living
Mimi | Woven by Words
Sally | Proverbial Reads

6/22
Annie | Just Commonly
Colleen | ColleenRichman.com
Erin | For Him and My Family
Keri | My Table of Three
Lena Nelson | A Christian Writer’s World

6/23
Chantal | This Chattanooga Mommy Saves
Gayle | BOOKS REVEIWS ETC
Hallie | Book by Book
Leah | As We Walk Along the Road
Michelle | I Hope You Dance

6/24
Marissa | The Review Stew

6/25
Becky | Christian Chick’s Thoughts
Carole | The Power of Words
Deana | Texas Book-aholic
Lisa | A Rup Life
Sarah | Running Through The Storms

6/26
Billy | Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
Kelly | Leafy Not Beefy
Lindsey | Books for Christian Girls
Tressa | Wishful Endings
Katie | Fiction Aficionado

6/27
Charity | Giveaway Lady
Kristie | Moments
Mackenzie | Spreading His Grace
Pamela | Daysong Reflections
Stacie | Pursuing Stacie
Carla | Working Mommy Journal

6/28
Kathleen | Reviews From The Heart
Lisa | Seeking with All yur Heart
Loraine | Loraine D. Nunley, Author
Madelyn | Literary Cafe
Maureen | Maureen’s Musings
Rachel | Bookworm Mama
Renee | Little Homeschool on the Prairie

6/29
Sydney | Singing Librarian Books

6/30
Alex | Inspiration Clothesline
Amanda | Inklings and notions
Amy | Pause for Tales
Andi | Radiant Light
Erin | ReviewsByErin
Stephanie | Have A Wonderful Day

7/1
Amanda | The Talbert Report
Elisha | Rainy Day Reviews
Julie | More Of Him
Renee | Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot
Vera | Chat With Vera
Veronica | Veronica’s ‘Views
Beth | Beth’s Book-Nook Blog

7/2
Barbara | I’m Hooked on Books
Erica | Live.Love.Read.
Katie | Too Read or Not Too Read

7/3
Andrea | Writing to Inspire
Becky | Living Outside the Lines
Molly | Cafinated Reads

7/4
Beth | For The Love of Books
Carolina | Cisneros Cafe
Nancy | sunny island breezes

7/5
Ashley | What’s She Reading?
Sherry | My Reading Journeys

7/6
Paphapin | Feeling in Red
Bree | Bibliophile Reviews
Charity | aTransParentMom
Heather | Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
Mindy | A Room Wihtout Books is Empty

7/7
Bethany | The Perfect beginning
Dela | Pastries and Novel Thoughts
Tarah | Literary Time Out
Trish | View from the Birdhouse
Faye | Labor Not in Vain

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THE UNLIKELIES by Carrie Firestone

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Another great YA read was this novel about some unlikely friends who set out to be do-gooders.

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I am recommending this one to my 8th grader. It will give us a good opportunity to discuss drug use (or I should say continue the discussion), as the portrayal in this book is, I think, very realistic.
Thank you, Net Galley, for my e-copy!
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THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN by Ellen Marie Wiseman

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Another book I “wished” for on Net Galley – and was lucky enough to receive! – was THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN by Ellen Marie Wiseman. I had been hearing good things about this story of a girl who joins the circus. This was a really memorable read, interesting yet disturbing, and eventually I felt haunted by the ending. But – it was soooo good! If you like historical fiction, and can handle the disturbing child neglect/abuse, then you should check out this novel!

Description

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Some readers may find the alternating points of view confusing, but each story was moving along a tangent where you know they would eventually converge.
If I had one issue, it’s that I like a happy ending that is neat and tidy.
This one still haunts me…
Thank you for my review copy!
You can find this book on Amazon where I am an Associate. It publishes in late July:

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LEMONS by Melissa Savage

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If you read me, you know I love my kid lit, and this book was a great addition to that popular genre. Here’s the overview:

Description

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Fun to read with a story that is both humorous yet touching, LEMONS is one I will be recommending at my school!
Thank you for my review copy!
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Audiobooks I’ve Been Enjoying…

I’m embarrassed to say that I am way way WAY behind in blogging about the audiobooks I’ve been listening to during the commute from Hades. I purchase most of my audiobooks via Audible/Amazon (links to Amazon where I am an Associate and where you can read more about them).

A while ago I listened to THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead and narrated by Bahni Turpin. Let’s be honest, everyone was reading this and I heard nothing but amazing reviews. It was well written but I found it too violently disturbing and graphic. Not sure what I was expecting from a novel on slavery, but I did struggle to get through this one.

THE MAGICIAN’S ELEPHANT by Kate DiCamillo, read by Juliet Stevenson, was one I got for the kids. This was a sweet, solid story.

WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE by Maria Semple and narrated by Kathleen Wilhoite was a novel that I’ve been avoiding because I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. Boy was I wrong. I loved this story and the characters! It was a great listen and I’m so happy I finally got to it. I thought it would be depressing but it wasn’t.

HILLBILLY ELEGY written and read by JD Vance was one for our work book club. To be honest, I feared this non-fiction read would be boring. Not at all! This was a relatively short listen (about 7 hours) and I loved it! It was incredibly interesting, and having it read in Mr. Vance’s voice made it even more compelling. I have no hillbilly background, but this story speaks to more than one area of the US. It’s a commentary on social class and economic status and how these things separate us and how difficult it is for someone to pull themself from poverty. Fascinating and well done!

I followed ELEGY with MY BRILLIANT FRIEND by Elena Ferrante, read by Hilary Huber. Where has this series been all my life? This was an incredibly gritty look (book one of a series) at a life growing up outside of Naples. I loved it as that’s where my heritage is – culture, family values, and faith were main players in guiding these folks lives, and I can’t wait to get the next novel in this series.

Nothing helps the commute from Hades than something suspenseful, so I got a deal on SK Tremayne’s THE FIRE CHILD, read by Imogen Church. Suspenseful and fun, this one kept me entertained while fighting Boston traffic.

I received a free copy from the publicist of Amity Allen’s POISON MY PRETTY, the first in the cozy witch mystery series (read by Rachel Fulginiti). This was a great cozy read, following a mystery, a beauty pageant, and a young woman who is part witch. I look forward to hearing about (no pun intended!) more books in the series!

I was SO excited to get LINCOLN IN THE BARDO (read by a whole host of people) because I heard this was the best thing since — well — The Underground Railroad. All I can ask is: what is happening in this story? I was so confused. Perhaps it’s one you should not listen to in traffic? Who were all those people? I feel like I should have had an introduction to whatever was going on well before I purchased it. I DNF’ed it.

Slightly less confusing, but still confusing, was INTO THE WATER by Paula Hawkins, read by Laura Aikman et al. I loved Girl on the Train and I expected more of the same. Well, it was and it wasn’t. Again – confusing while commuting as I was asking myself who all these people were. While I eventually “got it”, I had to work at it, which is hard to do in traffic, so I think this one is better read.

Finally, I’ve ended this week on the high of an incredible read: Lisa See’s THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE, read by Ruthie Ann Miles et al. I love everything Lisa See has ever written and this historical fiction piece following a young woman in China and the baby she gives up for adoption was just sublime.

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