Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I recently grabbed this one from Net Galley, a suspense mystery that’s a debut novel for Ms. Kovac. It was fast-paced and well-plotted. I was impressed with the incredible level of detail in the story, focusing on news production in DC and the behind the scenes events of making news come to life for viewers.

I’d love if this was the start of a series featuring this protagonist. Thank you for my review ecopy!

Here’s the overview:

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Spotlight on BEASTIA by Zoe Cruz

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So I’m spotlighting a new YA fantasy title today that sounds really good — BEASTIA by Zoe Cruz. I haven’t read it myself (yet), but here’s the overview:

What if beauty became the beast?

IN A DARK NEW RETELLING OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST,

A MEAN GIRL FALLS PREY TO A MADMAN

The meanest of the mean girls, Rebekah Austin rules her Chicago school with sharp outfits and an even sharper tongue. She has a way of eviscerating even the most beautiful and brilliant girls in her class to maintain her cold grip on the high school social hierarchy. But underneath the queen-bee façade is someone who feels ugly, repulsive… beastly.

An edgy thriller from a dynamic new voice on the YA scene, Beastia by Zoe Cruz [March 17, 2017, Createspace] joins best-selling novels like Cinder and Princess of Thorns in the buzzy canon of modern fairytale retellings that explore deeper themes of the original story.

More than an exploration of Beauty and the Beast, Cruz flips the script by challenging the mainstream media representation of conventionally beautiful women falling in love with not-so-attractive men (in this case, literally a beast) when the opposite is so rarely portrayed. Love and friendship aren’t exclusive to the conventionally attractive, which is a subjective standard to begin with. As Rebekah learns lessons about beauty, love and self worth, the reader finds their own assumptions and prejudices challenged.

“Going through life alone is impossible, especially when dealing with heavy things like depression and/or anxiety,” Cruz says. “I think everyone needs and deserves to have people in their lives that are present through difficult times and that allow them to see life in a different way, more positively regardless of external signifiers.”

About the Author:

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Zoe Cruz is a writer, reader and self-professed geek who loves all things sci-fi and fantasy. She wrote Beastia while living in Spain working with humanitarian organizations. You can find her watching Star Trek, eating pizza or playing Skyrim.

Connect with Zoe Cruz on twitter.com/zoe_rogue and at https://zoecruzblog.wordpress.com.

Beastia [Createspace] will be released March 17, 2017, and will be available via Amazon.

Thank you to my friends at Smith Publicity for making me part of the tour and for sending me an ecopy!

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A Death by Any Other Name by Tessa Arlen

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I am thrilled today to be part of the publicity blog tour for Tessa Arlen’s new mystery novel: A Death by Any Other Name. I’ve read Ms. Arlen’s other cozies: Death Sits Down to Dinner and Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman, and loved them! They are a bit in the Downtown style of Edwardian England with the lady of the house solving mysteries with the help of her trusty housekeeper.

Here’s the overview for this story:

A Death by Any Other Name is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in the English countryside. Building on the success of her last two mysteries in the same series, Tessa Arlen returns us to the same universe full of secrets, intrigue, and, this time, roses.

The elegant Lady Montfort and her redoubtable housekeeper Mrs. Jackson’s services are called upon after a cook is framed and dismissed for poisoning a guest of the Hyde Rose Society. Promising to help her regain her job and her dignity, the pair trek out to the countryside to investigate a murder of concealed passions and secret desires. There, they are to discover a villain of audacious cunning among a group of mild-mannered, amateur rose-breeders. While they investigate, the rumor mill fills with talk about a conflict over in Prussia where someone quite important was shot. There is talk of war and they must race the clock to solve the mystery as the idyllic English summer days count down to the start of WWI.

Brimming with intrigue, Tessa Arlen’s latest does not disappoint.

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Tessa Arlen is a gifted writer, and the pages come alive with the sense of the period. Though this is the third in this series with Lady Monfort, this novel is absolutely a stand alone title as well. Ms. Arlen includes a cast of characters break down at the start of the book, and I found this handy as there were a lot of characters in this novel.

Well, paced and well,plotted, this was a fun read. Highly recommended to those who enjoy cozy mysteries and/or those who may just be missing their Downton fix!

Thank you for my review copy and for making me part of the tour!

 

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THE THINGS WE WISH WERE TRUE by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

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I found this title as a deal of the day on Amazon for my kindle. It was a really captivating story about a group of neighborhood friends who are affected by near-tragic circumstances one summer. It is told through multiple points of view, and with each chapter, you discover a little more about each person as the layers are lifted away. There’s a bit of mystery, a bit of romance, a bit of intrigue. I really enjoyed this read and the ending was quite satisfying! Honestly, it’s the perfect summer read!

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

 

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I SEE YOU by Clare Mackintosh

Wowza! This is yet another Clare Mackintosh title that made me stay up all night reading!

If you like this type of suspenseful read, don’t miss I SEE YOU! Thank you for my review e-ARC from Net Galley!

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Here’s the overview:

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Partners in Crime BookBlast for PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS by Erika Janik with GIVEAWAY!

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A lively exploration of the struggles faced by women in law enforcement and mystery fiction for the past 175 years

In 1910, Alice Wells took the oath to join the all-male Los Angeles Police Department. She wore no uniform, carried no weapon, and kept her badge stuffed in her pocketbook. She wasn’t the first or only policewoman, but she became the movement’s most visible voice.

Police work from its very beginning was considered a male domain, far too dangerous and rough for a respectable woman to even contemplate doing, much less take on as a profession. A policewoman worked outside the home, walking dangerous city streets late at night to confront burglars, drunks, scam artists, and prostitutes. To solve crimes, she observed, collected evidence, and used reason and logic—traits typically associated with men. And most controversially of all, she had a purpose separate from her husband, children, and home. Women who donned the badge faced harassment and discrimination. It would take more than seventy years for women to enter the force as full-fledged officers.

Yet within the covers of popular fiction, women not only wrote mysteries but also created female characters that handily solved crimes. Smart, independent, and courageous, these nineteenth- and early twentieth-century female sleuths (including a healthy number created by male writers) set the stage for Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Sara Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski, Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta, and Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, as well as TV detectives such asPrime Suspect’s Jane Tennison and Law and Order’s Olivia Benson. The authors were not amateurs dabbling in detection but professional writers who helped define the genre and competed with men, often to greater success.

Pistols and Petticoats tells the story of women’s very early place in crime fiction and their public crusade to transform policing. Whether real or fictional, investigating women were nearly always at odds with society. Most women refused to let that stop them, paving the way to a modern professional life for women on the force and in popular culture.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, NonFiction, History
Published by: Beacon Press
Publication Date: February 28th 2017 (1st Published April 26th 2016)
Number of Pages: 248
ISBN: 0807039381 (ISBN13: 9780807039380)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Author Bio:

authorErika Janik is an award-winning writer, historian, and the executive producer of Wisconsin Life on Wisconsin Public Radio. She’s the author of five previous books, including Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Catch Up With Our Ms. Janik On: Website 🔗,Goodreads 🔗, Wisconsin Public Radio 🔗, &Twitter 🔗!

Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Erika Janik and Beacon. There will be 5 winners of one (1) print copy of Pistols and Petticoats by Erika Janik. The giveaway begins on March 3rd and runs through March 8th, 2017. The giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada only.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway
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FATAL OPTION by Chris Beakey

My friends at Smith Publicity sent me an e-copy of FATAL OPTION (thank you!) so that I could be part of the blog tour on this title.

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This story follows a father, who has already had a lot of pain and distress, as he deals with a life-changing decision he makes one snowy night. He will do anything to protect his two teens, but will he do the right thing?

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

A tragic accident. A family in crisis. And a killer watching every move.

Five months after the mysterious death of his wife, Stephen Porter is pulled from a dreamless sleep by a midnight phone call. His 17-year-old daughter Sara is stranded in a blizzard near the top of a mountain beyond their suburban home. She’s terrified and unable to stop crying as she begs him to come to her rescue.

Unfortunately Stephen went to bed just an hour before after a night of binge drinking. With his blurred vision and unsteady balance he knows it’s dangerously irresponsible to get behind the wheel. But he heads out into the snowstorm to bring Sara home.

High school teacher Kieran O’Shea is also behind the wheel, searching for his autistic younger brother Aidan, who is wandering aimlessly through the storm on that same mountain. Kieran is terrified—of the voices in his mind, that Aidan will be taken from him, and that he may soon be arrested for murdering three women.

In a matter of minutes Stephen will encounter Kieran and drive headlong into a collision that will force him to unlock the secret of his wife’s death, avoid prosecution, and protect his children from violence that hits all too close to home.

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I read this book quickly as I wanted to see what would happen. I did find it pretty heavy, though. This story had, among other things, rape, murder, suicide, incest, child abuse (sexual, physical, and emotional), and a serial killer. Just mentioning these things as I know they can be triggers for readers. I did read it to the end, and I liked the ending as I felt it was positive.  I felt for the main character as he was just an average joe who was in some bad situations and trying to make the best of it while he was trying to keep his life and his kids’ lives together. I will look for Mr. Beakey’s other titles!

Here’s a bit of info on the novel from Smith and a book trailer:

Fatal Option [February 21, Post Hill Press] is a nail-biting thriller that explores the devastating moral consequences of a dangerous choice. It’s garnered the following praise:
“A sharp, intelligent thriller. Really top-notch.”
– Neely Tucker, Washington Post staff writer & author of Only The Hunted Run
“A wintery tale of violence and redemption, artfully balanced by a touching portrayal of a family in crisis.”
– Peter Swanson, author of The Kind Worth Killing
“Fatal Option grabs you from the first page. Plan to stay up.”
– Kathleen Antrim, former Co-President of International Thriller Writers & author of Capital Offense
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Partners in Crime Book Tour Book Blast for REVEALING NICOLA by Sam Cheever

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I’m excited today to take in the book blast for REVEALING NICOLA by Sam Cheever! This post includes a giveaway!!

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Revealing Nicola by Sam Cheever

Synopsis:

She has to overcome a lifetime of secrets…the shock of discovery.

He must protect a treasure that has turned passion to hate… reason to incoherence.

Poisoned by danger, intrigue, lust, and greed…their very survival is in the balance.

Can they endure the conspiracy and find love? And if they do…will it be enough?

Book Details:

Genre:Romantic Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Electric Prose Publications
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 183
ISBN: 978-1-63587-971-1
Series: La Fortuna DeVitis #1
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | iTunes 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Author Bio:

Sam CheeverUSA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

Sam would love it if you Liked/Followed her wherever you enjoy hanging out online. Here are her online haunts:

Newsletter: http://www.samcheever.com/newsletter.html Subscribe to Sam’s newsletter and win a free copy of the fun and sexy Honeybun Fever Box Set
Text News Alerts: https://mobile-text-alerts.com/samnews
Website: www.SamCheever.com
Blog: http://samcheever.com/blog/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/samcheever
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamCheeverAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/samcheever
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/samcheever1/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/samcheever/

Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sam Cheever. There will be 1 winners of one (1) $20 Amazon.com Giftcard. The giveaway begins on February 19th and runs through February 27th, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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RARITY FROM THE HOLLOW – a SF Novel by Robert Eggleton

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Today I wanted to share information on a new book that looks to be quite unique and memorable – the adult social sci-fi story: RARITY FROM THE HOLLOW by Robert Eggleton.

Mr. Eggleton reached out to me with information on his new novel. Here’s an overview:

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”

—Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”

* Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

. “…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” –Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review

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The book is garnering praise, including two medals. Mr. Eggleton himself wrote me a piece that I’d like to share with you as well:

Literary Speculations

Historically, speculative fiction has fueled social activism, debate, and the adoption of evolving or devolving social policy depending on one’s values. In 380 B.C., Plato envisioned a utopian society in The Republic and that story represented the beginning of a long string of speculations: ecology, economics, politics, religion, technology, feminism…. In the 1970s, Ursula K. LeGuinn, was credited with coining the term, “social science fiction” to distinguish the subgenre. The impact of speculative fiction on my personal world view began in the 1960s when Ellison, Aldiss, Herbert and others wrote about the stuff that many American teens at the time were reflecting upon – social and political issues at a tumultuous time. Protests against increasing militarism during the Vietnam War were fueled by the writings of Ellison and Vonnegut. Speculative fiction then was more than escapism, as evidenced by Ursula Le Guinn winning both the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1970. More recently, consider the acceptance of and increase in GLBTQ literature in all genres, including young adult novels, such as Hero by Perry Moore and Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. Alternative sexual identity themes can be traced back to ancient mythology, Homer’s Iliad. Did such literature inadvertently lead to the legal punishment for European sodomy during the 1700s and 1800s – DEATH? Did recent increase in LBGT titles being released, and the popularity of television shows such as Modern Family, influence the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that same-sex marriage was a Constitutional right? And, is the current backlash against gay rights widely covered by today’s news sources, especially of statutes enacted in Mississippi and North Carolina, a similar phenomenon to that recorded about Europe centuries earlier?

Of course, I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do believe that speculations sparked by artists in every venue have at least a subliminal impact on each of us, an impact that transcends our own prejudices, traditions and belief systems. Rarity from the Hollow, my debut novel, is speculative fiction written in colloquial voice that satirically and comically addresses the need to improve systems for the prevention of child maltreatment. Half of author proceeds are donated to a nonprofit child welfare agency. http://www.childhswv.org/ The final edition was released to Amazon on December 5, 2016.

Rarity circulated as an Advance Review Copy (ARC) for quite a while. The ARC received considerable praise for its social commentary, sixty-eight five and four star reviews posted on Amazon, was awarded Gold Medals by two major book review organizations and was named as one of the best books of 2015 by a Bulgarian book review organization. http://codices.info/2015/12/top-5-for-2015-ventsi/

However, it wasn’t until Donald Trump became a household name that the political allegory in the story was fully acknowledged. On 1-6-17, the first book review of the final edition was published, five stars. The closing lines were: “…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s Animal Farm. I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/5-stars-for-rarity-from-the-hollowby-robert-eggleton/

I pray that my literary speculations do not trigger a backlash like the ones that I mentioned above. It seems impossible that any force would want to intentionally harm child victims even more. But, then, the world awaits its determination as to the impact of the Trump Presidency on children’s rights worldwide. In addition to a prediction beginning in 2006 that Donald Trump would rise to political power, and without an ounce of political advocacy one way or the other, the story comically and satirically addresses many controversial issues that Americans are fighting about today, including illegal immigration, the refuge crisis, funding of community-based health and welfare services, sexual harassment…. Future lovers of historical fiction will read about and judge how we treated our kids today.

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While I have not read the book, I am intrigued, and I really like how half of the proceeds go to charity. Here’s some info on Mr. Eggleton:

About the author:

Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next — never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency.

Today, he is a retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. The Advance Review Copy of Rarity from the Hollow received considerable praise through Robert learning about the world of books as a novice. The final edition was released to Amazon on December 5, 2016. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ Robert worked for this agency in the early ‘80s and stands by its good works. He continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children that he met when delivering group psychotherapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

Purchase links:

https://www.bookdepository.com/Rarity-from-the-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton/9781907133954?ref=grid-view http://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/dp/B017REIA44 http://www.doghornpublishing.com/wordpress/books/rarity-from-the-hollow https://weightlessbooks.com/genre/fiction/novel/rarity-from-the-hollow/

Author Contacts:

http://www.lacydawnadventures.com https://www.facebook.com/Lacy-Dawn-Adventures-573354432693864/ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13603677-rarity-from-the-hollow https://twitter.com/roberteggleton1 https://plus.google.com/b/108662084126982201049/108662084126982201049/posts

 

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The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane

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Oh my goodness — I just loved this YA book that I found as a kindle deal a while ago. This was a touching and sensitive book about teens at a summer camp for kids with mental health challenges. It was the kind of book that made you laugh, yet made you cry. I loved the sense of self-forgiveness and positive hope that came at the end!

I got mine via Amazon – you can find it online or in your favorite bookstore!

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

According to sixteen-year-old Zander Osborne, nowhere is an actual place—and she’s just fine there. But her parents insist that she get out of her head—and her home state—and attend Camp Padua, a summer camp for at-risk teens.

Zander does not fit in—or so she thinks. She has only one word for her fellow campers:crazy. In fact, the whole camp population exists somewhere between disaster and diagnosis. There’s her cabinmate Cassie, a self-described manic-depressive-bipolar-anorexic. Grover Cleveland (yes, like the president), a cute but confrontational boy who expects to be schizophrenic someday, odds being what they are. And Bek, a charmingly confounding pathological liar.

But amid group “share-apy” sessions and forbidden late-night outings, unlikely friendships form, and as the Michigan summer heats up, the four teens begin to reveal their tragic secrets. Zander finds herself inextricably drawn to Grover’s earnest charms, and she begins to wonder if she could be happy. But first she must come completely unraveled to have any hope of putting herself back together again.

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It has some serious issues in it, so I’d recommend it for high school.

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