Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

THE MUNICH GIRL by Phyllis Edgerly Ring


Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends. The secret surfaces with a mysterious monogrammed handkerchief, and a man, Hannes Ritter, whose Third Reich family history is entwined with Anna’s. Plunged into the world of the “ordinary” Munich girl who was her mother’s confidante—and a tyrant’s lover—Anna finds her every belief about right and wrong challenged. With Hannes’s help, she retraces the path of two women who met as teenagers, shared a friendship that spanned the years that Eva Braun was Hitler’s mistress, yet never knew that the men they loved had opposing ambitions. Eva’s story reveals that she never joined the Nazi party, had Jewish friends, and was credited at the Nuremberg Trials with saving 35,000 Allied lives. As Anna’s journey leads back through the treacherous years in wartime Germany, it uncovers long-buried secrets and unknown reaches of her heart to reveal the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war.


I received a kindle copy of this book from Ms. Ring several weeks ago. She was quite gracious and I was pleased to read her novel. I have to say that I don’t know much about Eva Braun, except for an occasional wondering of what she could have seen in A.H. I have also wondered if she knew the extent of the atrocities he committed.

This novel moves back and forth from present day (Anna) and to Eva’s time (with Anna’s mother). I have to say that I enjoyed the WWII time period better than the present day. The book has what I assume to be real pictures of Eva Braun and lots of details about her life, especially her life before A.H. and her family life. It was interesting, but I still can’t say I liked Eva, as I really can’t believe that she was innocent of supporting their cause. To be honest, Anna was a bit trying to me, as she always seemed a bit meek and helpless. I wanted her to stand up to her tyrant husband, or to make some sort of stand for herself. She was rather overwhelmed and while I wanted to feel sorry for her, I sometimes felt annoyed.

Perhaps Anna and Eva are in parallel?

Thank you for my e-copy, Ms. Ring!

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Audiobooks! For my Ears – for the past few months…

I’ve been totally remiss in documenting my audiobooks for y’all, so I wanted to do a big post on all the great stuff I’ve been listening to.

First I have to say: where would I be without Audible? I am a total convert. I’ll be honest. I did NOT want to spend the money to be an Audible subscriber, but, as someone who commutes now about 12+ hours a week (plus weekend fun!), I am hooked on books and get the most bang for my buck by digitally downloading books through Audible. I also buy them cheaply through their Daily Deal. And I still get CD’s to listen to from the library, because I love my local library.

So – here are some of the things I’ve been listening to (with blurbs from Amazon):

THE BOY IN THE SUITCASE by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis Read by Katherine Kellgren

Audie Award Nominee, Solo Narration – Female, 2013

Audie Award Nominee, Best Thriller/Suspense Category, 2013

Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is trying to live a quiet life. The last thing her husband wants is for her to go running off on another dangerous mission to help illegal refugees. But when Nina’s estranged friend, Karin, leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, and begs her to take care of its contents, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous case yet.

Because inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive. Nina’s natural instinct is to rescue the boy, but she knows the situation is risky. Is the boy a victim of child trafficking? Can he be turned over to authorities, or will they only return him to whoever sold him? In an increasingly desperate trek across Denmark, Nina tries to figure out who the boy is, where he belongs, and who exactly is hunting him down. When Karin is discovered brutally murdered, Nina realizes that her life and the boy’s are in jeopardy, too.

**This was a great story that I  got as a “deal”. Loved the narration. The plot kept me listening. And it’s the first in a series!

A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman Read by George Newbern

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon – the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell”. But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

**Hard to say why I loved this so much, but it reminded me of “Storied Life…”. Such a lovely story of a life well lived. Made me cry. I heard there’s a movie in the works. The narrator had the perfect voice quality for this novel, too.

FINDING AUDREY by Sophie Kinsella Read by Gemma Whelan

From the number-one New York Times best-selling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts 14-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

**LOVED this one- made my daughter listen to it, too. Then I asked our school librarian to get it for the middle school. The accent of the narrator was perfect.

PAX by Sara Pennypacker Read by Michael Curran-Dorsano

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather’s house 300 miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be – with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own….

From best-selling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes a beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the essential truths that define us and the devastating costs of war.Pax is destined to become a beloved classic.

**So — I got this as it was listed in one of my GoodReads groups as a potential Newbery winner. I have to say, while well-written, it just didn’t do much for me. I found it slow and my mind wandered while listening. I am thinking that I’m not a good candidate for books told from animals’ points of view.

SUMMIT LAKE by Charlie Donlea Read by Shannon McManus

“A gem of a mystery, fast-paced and suspenseful.”–Catherine Coulter, # 1 New York Timesbestselling author

Set in a small, picturesque North Carolina town, Charlie Donlea’s suspenseful debut novel tells the haunting story of a murdered law school student, the reporter assigned to her story—and the intimate connection that comes when the living walk in the footsteps of the dead.

“No suspects.  No persons of interest.  Just a girl who was alive one day and dead the next.”

Some places seem too beautiful to be touched by horror. Summit Lake, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is that kind of place, with charming stilt houses dotted along the pristine water. But two weeks ago, Becca Eckersley, a first-year law student, was brutally murdered in one of those houses. The daughter of a powerful attorney, Becca was hard-working, accomplished, and ambitious. Now, while the town reels with grief and shocked residents gather to share their theories, the police are baffled.

At first, investigative reporter Kelsey Castle thinks of the assignment as a fluff piece. But the savagery of the crime, and the determined efforts to keep the case quiet, all hint at something far more than a random attack by a stranger. As Kelsey digs deeper, pushing on despite danger and warnings, she feels a growing connection to the dead girl. And the more she learns about Becca’s friendships, her love life—and the secrets she was keeping—the more convinced she becomes that learning the truth about Becca could be the key to overcoming her own dark past…

Advance Praise for Summit Lake

“An exciting debut, with all the right touches, captivating from the first page to the last.  There’s a bright future ahead for this newcomer to the thriller genre — definitely a talent to watch.”–Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author

“Gripping! This one kept me up late into the night.”–Nancy Bush, New York Times bestselling author

“A swift, outstanding debut. Summit Lake engrossed me then knocked me cold. Charlie Donlea is a superb storyteller sure to damage the best seller lists.”–Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author

Summit Lake makes a small town come alive through the lens of madness, misunderstandings, betrayal, and a pile of the kind of secrets that makes a mystery of a life so hard to untangle from its death. The pages fly by, zinging through the twists and revelations, all the way to the shattering conclusion.”–Jamie Mason

“A brilliant, haunting thriller in which The Lovely Bones meets The Silence of the Lambs—with a bit of Twin Peaks thrown in for good measure! Charlie Donlea weaves a unique, spellbinding tale about a bond between two fascinating women—one living, one dead. Full of unexpected twists and turns, Summit Lake is an irresistible page-turner.”–Kevin O’Brien, New York Timesbestselling author

“Grabs you from the very start and doesn’t let go! This gripping thriller keeps you at the edge of your seat and gasping in all the right places. Donlea spins a perfectly crafted story of two women, both victims of violent crime, searching for justice, redemption and ultimately—peace. You won’t be able to put this book down until you’ve uncovered all the secrets hidden inside the picturesque town of Summit Lake.”–Emily Bleeker

**I liked this one! Though I had it all figured out, I still liked the twists and turns. Great narration, too.

THE WONDER by Emma Donoghue Read by Kate Lock

*The latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room*

ACCLAIM FOR THE WONDER: “Deliciously gothic…. Dark and vivid, with complicated characters, this is a novel that lodges itself deep” (USA Today, 3/4 stars);“Heartbreaking and transcendent” (New York Times); A fable as lean and discomfiting as Anna’s dwindling body…. Donoghue keeps us riveted” (Chicago Tribune);“Donoghue poses powerful questions about faith and belief” (Newsday)

In the latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels–a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

**So — I’m on chapter 12 of 17 of this one and it’s slow going. The story barely moves and there is a lot of character speculation and ruminating and not much action. I’m hoping things will suddenly pick up. And I hate to be less than positive but the narration is quite troubling to me. The reader’s regular voice is lovely – very BBC – and I wish she had read the entire book just in her regular voice. Instead she does all these voices and accents and it’s – well, let’s just say it doesn’t work for me. I often can’t understand her and the accent seems to travel all over Ireland to Scotland to Northern England (I have a thing for accents since I do theater). Perhaps this book would be a better choice to read? Regardless, I still have a couple of hours left so perhaps there will be a rousing ending? One can hope.
I must also put in a plug for NUMBER THE STARS which I’m reading with the fifth graders. Lois Lowry’s story of a young girl in WWII Copenhagen is unforgettable and the kids have loved it. Blair Brown’s narration is soothing and beautiful. All the kids agree: she’s a great reader!
I love using audiobooks in class to reinforce/build comprehension. The kids really enjoy it, too.
What are YOU listening to today?
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LIFE CREATIVE by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart with Giveaway and Facebook Party!

Today I’m part of the Litfuse Publicity tour for the new book by Christian authors, Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart:

Book info
About the book:

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom(Kregel, September 2016)

What was God thinking when He created you creativeand then gave you children?

Creative moms often feel as though they must lay their passions down. But God had something special in mind for the creative woman during this intense season of mothering.

In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children’s parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Not one born in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but rather in kitchens, nurseries, and living rooms around the world. Mothers, working in the cracks and crevices of each hectic day, are adorning the world with their gifts, and they’re showing all of us the beauty of this Life Creative.

In this book, you’ll learn:

-Why the world needs your art
-How this Life Creative begins at home
-When art can turn a profit
-Your part in this modern day Renaissance

Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood. Women like home decorator Melissa Michaels and jewelry designer Lisa Leonard, author Angie Smith, recording artist Ellie Holcomb, and many more.

Purchase a copy:

About the authors:

Wendy Speake is a trained actress and heartfelt teacher. She ministers to women’s hearts through storytelling and life applications, utilizing drama, comedy, poetry and the study of God’s Word. During her career in Hollywood, Speake found herself longing to tell stories that edify and encourage women. She is the author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses (BRU Press, 2015). Speake is a wife and homeschooling mother of three boys.

Kelli Stuart is a writer and a storyteller at heart. She has written for several websites including The Huffington Post, 5 Minutes for Mom, The MOB Society, (in)courage and Compassion International. She is the author of three books, including Like a River from Its Course (Kregel Publications, 2016) and a noted speaker. Stuart her husband live in Florida with their four children.


Is there room for creativity and children in a mother’s life? Learn how to balance home, art, and family in Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart’s new book, Life Creative. In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children’s parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood.

Join Wendy, Kelli, and other moms in celebrating the beauty of being a creative mom by entering to win the Called to Be Creative Giveaway (details below) and by attending their author chat party on October 27!


One grand prize winner will receive:


Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 10/27. The winner will be announced at the Life Creative Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Wendy, Kelli, and other creative moms, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!


Thank you, Litfuse and Kregel Publications, for my review copy!

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A father and daughter author team combines the latest scientific research with poignant, personal stories to help you engage your daughter in wise conversations about dating. Don’t miss The 10 Mythsof Teen Dating: Truths Your Daughter Needs to Know to Date Smart, Avoid Disaster, and Protect Her Future, releasing September 1. Weaving solid Biblical truths with practical application and discussion starters, Daniel and Jacquelyn seek to equip parents to teach their daughters how to date for today . . . and tomorrow.
If you have daughters in the dating scene or who are ready to embark into dating, I encourage you to read and discuss the book with her. For more information on Daniel and Jacquelyn, please visit the Myths of Dating website.
About the authors:
Daniel Anderson is a former college All-American basketball player, an expert educator, and a father of two grown daughters and a son. As a veteran high school teacher in the public school system, Daniel was troubled by how his students approached dating and relationships. He and his daughter, Jacquelyn Anderson—a twenty something and also a high school teacher—decided to address this need by equipping parents with The 10 Myths of Teen Dating, their first book together. Daniel and Jacquelyn both make their home in Portland, Oregon.
So – I received this book through Litfuse Publicity to be part of their tour. I wasn’t sure what to expect. This is a seen as a Christian book and I wondered what the message would be. Many years ago a sweet nun told me that if I ever felt overwhelmed by sexual desire before marriage to “say a prayer and read a good book”. Would this be the same?
Let me tell you – this is a GREAT book. I read it. I had my husband read it. And I strategically left it lying around so that my teenage daughter would pick it up and read it. It has good, common sense advice in it, but it is also quite realistic and practical. The “message” here is simple: “You are loved. You are unique. You are worthy. You don’t need to compromise yourself and your body”. It acknowledges that sexual desire is real and healthy, but its focus is on having young people – primarily young women – avoid having sex for all the wrong reasons.
The author is a high school teacher, so I could truly relate to him (as an educator myself), but perhaps the most striking parts of this book were the vignettes that his own daughter added throughout, about being a teen, about her relationship with her parents, etc.
 Highly recommended! Thank you so much for making me part of the tour!
Find this book at an indie near you or on Amazon, where I am an Associate:

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The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

My friends over at William Morrow offered me a review copy of THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY as they knew I love historical fiction. This was a fun read with interesting characters, following the life experiences of a young girl who comes, post WWI, to work at the Savoy Hotel, but who really wants to be a star of the stage.

‘Sometimes life gives you cotton stockings. Sometimes it gives you a Chanel gown …’

WILLIAM MORROW is thrilled to publish New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Hazel Gaynor’s third novel, THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY. Gaynor’s previous novels, The Girl Who Came Home (2014), and A Memory of Violets (2015) beautifully illustrated the harrowing era of the Titanic and the gritty streets of London in the 1800s. Now she takes readers back in time to the 1920s and envisions what it was like in one of the most dazzling ages; all while beautifully capturing the sadness of post-war Britain..

“these ordinary girls had been thrown into the most extraordinary experiences during the war, and, for many, the expectation to return to the domestic subservience of the prewar years was almost impossible. After the fear and desolation of war, is it any wonder they wanted to laugh and sing, dance and dazzle?”

– Hazel Gaynor

 Here’s the overview:

In THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY, we meet Dolly Lane, a dreamer but a downtrodden maid fractured by the Great War. Memories of the soldier Dolly loved, of secret shame and profound loss, by turns pull her back and spur her on to make a better life. But once Dolly makes her way as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, she takes a step closer to the glittering lives of the Bright Young Things who thrive on champagne, jazz and rebellion.

Soon after Dolly makes her way to The Savoy, her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to a struggling songwriter’s ad for a ‘muse’ and finds herself thrust into London’s exhilarating theatre scene and into the lives of celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry. In the end, Dolly must choose between everything she knows and everything she dreams of. A brighter future is tantalizingly close—but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?

A deeply compelling and emotional rags to riches story, Gaynor makes the dazzling era of the 1920s come alive within the pages of THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY.



I loved this well-written story, which inspired a variety of emotions in me, from amusement to poignancy. While lengthy (over 400 pages), it read quickly, and I found myself easily engaged in Dolly’s story, primarily, but in the other characters, too. Of course, I always love to read about theater as well.

A recommended historical fiction read if you enjoy this time period.

Thank you for my review copy!

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MONSOON SUMMER by Julia Gregson


I just loved this wonderful historical fiction novel about a young British woman and her Indian doctor husband, post WWII, as they return to India for her to work as a midwife.

There were so many different layers in this story, about culture, family, traditions. Beautifully written, with evocative descriptions of an amazing country, it is one to keep!

Thank you for my review e-copy, Net Galley!

Here’s the overview:

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I absolutely love the Maggie Hope mystery series; it’s about a young English woman working for intelligence during WWII. Maggie is a great character who is both complicated and very “human”. Each time I read one of these books, I learn more about Maggie and her relationships, her hopes and past experiences. I also learn more about WWII and what it was like to work for the government (MI5) at that time. I love that Maggie is a whiz at math and thus at code breaking.

Here’s the overview on the novel from Amazon:

Spy and code-breaker extraordinaire Maggie Hope returns to war-weary London, where she is thrust into the dangerous hunt for a monster, as the New York Timesbestselling mystery series for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry continues.
England, 1942. The Nazis’ relentless Blitz may have paused, but London’s nightly blackouts continue. Now, under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. What’s more, he’s targeting women who are reporting for duty to be Winston Churchill’s spies and saboteurs abroad. The officers at MI-5 quickly realize they need the help of special agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed “the Blackout Beast.” A trap is set. But once the murderer has his sights on Maggie, not even Buckingham Palace can protect the resourceful spy from her fate.


Me again!

I am so happy with this series and the fact that I never tire of it. The characters keep developing. The plots never go silly. I anxiously await the next installment!

I got mine via Net Galley (thank you!). You can get yours online or at your favorite indie. It publishes Oct. 4, 2016.

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HFVBTours’ Cover Reveal for Suzy Henderson’s THE BEAUTY SHOP


Today I’m helping reveal the cover of Suzy Henderson’s new novel!

Here’s a note from Suzy:

03_Suzy Henderson.jpg

Hello and welcome! Today, I’m thrilled to finally reveal the cover of my upcoming novel, The Beauty Shop. As the novel is set during the dark days of World War Two, the title might appear to be rather unusual. The beauty shop was a nickname for a ward at a small hospital in East Grinstead, a market town in southern England, where a maverick New Zealand plastic surgeon cared for severely burned airmen.

Such was the humour of the men there that one airman said to a visitor one day, “Stick around here long enough, miss and they’ll whip a piece off you and stick it on one of us.”

This was no ordinary hospital ward. There was beer for one thing, and pretty girls for nurses, music all day long and dancing. The air that flowed here drifted through smiles, laughter, love, and loss. And when surgeon Archie McIndoe spoke to each man, his eyes shone with such radiance, and his words sang with such confidence and compassion, instilling each man with fresh hope.

Based on a true story, via three interlocking experiences of WWII, The Beauty Shop explores the nature of good looks, social acceptance and the true meaning of ‘skin deep’.

02_The Beauty Shop_Cover.jpg

The Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson

Publication Date: November 2016
eBook & Paperback; 350 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance

England, 1942. After three years of WWII, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more.

Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell and back, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.

Shy, decent and sensible, Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realises her own battle has only just begun.

Based on a true story, The Beauty Shop is a moving tale of love, compassion, and determination against a backdrop of wartime tragedy.

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THE TEA PLANTER’S WIFE by Dinah Jefferies


I had heard good things about this book, so I was thrilled to recently receive it through Net Galley. It is historical fiction set in Ceylon – now known as Sri Lanka.


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OXBLOOD by Annalisa Grant


Description via Net Galley —

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