Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

For the Kids – THE KINGDOM OF OCEANA by Mitchell Charles

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My friends at Book Publicity Services recently sent me a galley of THE KINGDOM OF OCEANA, a story of two brothers, taking place in what is present-day Hawaii (you know I love Hawaii!).

Here’s the info from them:

The Kingdom of Oceana is the first book in a new Young Adult fantasy adventure series by Mitchell Charles. It was published in November 2015.

The story takes place five centuries ago, on the island now called Hawaii, where there was a kingdom filled with adventure, beauty, and magic.  When 16-year-old Prince Ailani and his brother Nahoa trespass on a forbidden burial ground and uncover an ancient tiki mask, they unleash a thousand-year-old curse that threatens to destroy their tropical paradise.

As warring factions collide for control of Oceana, it sparks an age-old conflict between rival sorcerers that threatens to erupt–just like Mauna Kea, the towering volcano. With the help of his ancestral spirit animals, his shape shifting sidekick, and a beautiful princess, Prince Ailani must overcome his own insecurities, a lifetime of sibling rivalry, and a plague of cursed sea creatures brought forth by the tiki’s spell. Can peace be restored to the kingdom? Can Prince Ailani claim his rightful place as the future king of Oceana? Two brothers, but only one can rule.

“While the book is fiction, it is heavily influenced by the rich and beautiful Hawaiian myths, legends, locales, and culture.  Many locations in the story are inspired by real places in Hawaii,” says Mitchell.

The Kingdom of Oceana takes readers on a fun and exciting adventure, with big wave surfing, fire walking, and shark taming, while also being educational and bringing to light many environmental and social issues, like ocean conservation.

The Kingdom of Oceana is currently available for sale on Amazon in kindle and paperback. The audiobook will be released in April 2016.

Praise

“This book is a real page-turner, full of action and adventure, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I hope that there will be more books like this from Mitchell Charles in the future.” – 5 Stars, Readers’ Favorite

“This is a rollicking good read — a fascinating journey into a mythological world filled with legendary characters and magnificent twists and turns.” – 5 Stars, Amazon

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I had fun with this book. It had interesting elements of Hawaiian culture and beliefs, with fantasy thrown in (shape shifting and telepathy, for instance). But at its root, it’s a story about two brothers and their sibling rivalry. I thought it’d be a great classroom book, especially if you were doing a unit on Hawaii and Hawaiian history. Many Hawaiian words are used and a glossary is provided. On my kindle, I could just click and get the meaning of them, too.

Looks like a sequel is in the works!

Thank you for my review copy!

About the Author

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Mitchell Charles’ love of the ocean and its miraculous creatures began at the age of 12 when his father taught him to SCUBA dive. From his first adventure 50 feet (15 meters) beneath the Caribbean Sea he was hooked.  He has been involved in the Oceanic Society, America’s first non-profit organization dedicated to ocean conservation, established in 1969.

Mitchell’s inspiration for The Kingdom of Oceana was born of exploring the spectacular coastline, lush valleys, and vibrant coral reefs of the Hawaiian Islands. On these excursions, he imagined what Hawaii was like hundreds of years ago. Before Captain Cook arrived from England. Before the golf courses and hotels. Before the ukulele and the Mai Tai became icons of Hawaiian culture. He dreamed of a time when the islands were an undiscovered magical paradise.

These days, Mitchell divides his time between Southern California and Hawaii. He has two teenage children and a dog named Magic.

Mitchell is currently working on the second book in the Kingdom of Oceana series, The Legend of the Nine Sacred Pearls. For more information, visit http://kingdomofoceana.com/

 

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Spotlight on the SPIRIT WARRIORS Series by D.E.L. Connor

I’m blasting it up today for the YA series: SPIRIT WARRIORS!

My daughter is a big fan of these books — teens join with their spirit animals to do good in the world.

Here’s the info – look for it at a bookstore/online/library near you!

Spirit Warriors Series #3: The Burning

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About the Book

“Do you want to spend your life like Golden Flower pining away for the love you lost? Can you imagine how hard it is to be left behind when everything you loved has left?”

In the third book of D.E.L. Connor’s magical coming of age Spirit Warriors series, Emmeline and her friends find themselves still reeling from the loss and pain caused by the evil spirit, machayiwiw- but the danger is far from over. As Emme, Charlie, Bets, Ollie, Jack and their beloved Spirit Animals prepare for the final battle against the machayiwiw, Emme struggles with a battle within her own heart. She longs for the beauty and softness she feels around Charlie, but she can’t deny the burning passion that consumes her with Jack. Will she finally let Charlie go and give her heart to Jack?
Enthralling and passionate, Spirit Warriors brings the vibrant American West to life once again and whispers its ancient secrets of love and friendship.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1O4jREK

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/22FRwyi

Apple: http://apple.co/1OthM8R

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1Tyey4b

Book Links

Other books in this series include:

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Spirit Warriors Book #1: The Concealing

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1mYCHq4

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1YZ7sqJ

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1YZ7Fue

Spirit Warriors Book #2: The Scarring

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Amazon: http://amzn.to/22FUumB

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1mYDbfT

Apple: http://apple.co/1MOs91C

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1PG7seA

The Spirit Warriors Series is also available internationally.

Please contact us directly if you do not see it on your preferred book purchase website!

About the Author

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Della Connor (D.E.L. Connor) was born in South Dakota and raised in Southeastern Montana where she acquired a keen appreciation for Western and Native American culture. She moved to Texas as a young adult and acquired her honorary Texan status. She became a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner and eventually earned her PhD in nursing. She still works as a nurse educator and as a nurse practitioner. Her nights and weekends, however, are filled with her stories and books. Her first book, “Spirit Warriors:The Concealing,” was published by Booktrope Publishing in November of 2014. The second book in the series “Spirit Warriors: The Scarring” published on July 21, 2014 and “Spirit Warriors: The Burning” rolled out on September 21, 2015. The Spirit Warriors series will consist of five books and a prequel.

The Spirit Warriors story evolved from a short story she wrote for a college English class in the early 1990’s. The professor read it, loved it and asked her to stay after class and discuss it. During this discussion, he told her that a “dark” story like hers, which was written for older children, would be unmarketable and unsaleable. The story kept floating around in her mind. Finally, J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyers and others stepped forward with amazing “dark” stories to create a new genre called Young Adult. The time was finally right for her book. She wrote book 1 in two weeks. It took another year and a half and about a 150 queries all with a “not interested” for her to find a publisher. She found Booktrope and as they say, it’s all history.

Contact Information

Website: http://dellaconnor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DelconnorSpiritwarriors

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/D.E.L.-Connor/e/B00HVRGF4A

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7460124h

Twitter: https://twitter.com/del_connor

Instagram: https://instagram.com/delconnor/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/delconnorspirit/

Email: delconnorspiritwarriors@gmail.com

Publishing/Marketing Contact

Lauren Jones
Book Marketing Manager
Booktrope Publishing
lauren.jones@booktrope.com

About Booktrope

Booktrope is a new type of publishing company, founded in 2011 in Seattle, WA. Committed to the creation of quality books and to our unique marketing methods, we’re pioneering a book development process called team publishing. Learn more at www.booktrope.com.

 

 

 

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Litfuse Blog Tour for SIMPLE PLEASURES: Stories of my Life as an Amish Mother

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Today I’m part of the Litfuse Publicity Blog Tour for Marianne Jantzi’s non-fiction book of “snapshots” of her life as an Amish mother.

I’ve always been fascinated with the Amish and how they live their lives. These stories are short glimpses into the daily life of their household, from pregnancy, to child care, to jobs, to household “dailiness”. It was a lovely read and very insightful. And that cover just brings a smile to my face whenever I see it!

I read that the publisher is one that focuses on having Amish individuals tell their stories so that the world can have a better understanding of Amish life and culture. Love this!

Here’s the description from Litfuse:

Young Amish homemaker Marianne Jantzi invites readers into her family’s life and Amish community. The mother of four young children, Jantzi writes about her daily routines and heartfelt faith with equal measures of wit and warmth. Sewing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and helping to manage the family store take up most hours in her day, but Jantzi finds time to pen columns for the Connection, a magazine beloved by Amish and Mennonite readers. Never sugarcoating the frustrations of motherhood, Jantzi tells it like it is, broken washing machine and bickering children and all. But through her busy days, Jantzi finds strength in simple pleasures of family, fellowship with her Amish community, and quiet time with God.

About Marianne:

Marianne Jantzi is an Amish writer and homemaker. Formerly a teacher in an Amish school, Jantzi now educates and inspires through her Northern Reflections column for the Connection. She and her husband have four young children and run a shoe store in the Milverton Amish community of Ontario.

Follow the tour and discover a new blog!

Tour Schedule:

4/14/2016
Mary | The Mary Book Reader
Karen | Karens Korner
Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!

4/15/2016
Pam | Southern Gal Loves to Read
Amy | Forever Beloved

4/16/2016
Amanda | Inklings and Notions

4/17/2016
Terra | Heck Of A Bunch
Cristi | Cristi’s Reviews
Lisa | A Rup Life
Margaret | The World As I See It
Shawna | Not The Former Things

4/18/2016
Laura | Lighthouse Academy
Gloria | Amish Reader
Amanda | The Talbert Report

4/19/2016
Heidi | Heidi’s Wanderings
Susan | Susan Heim on Writing
Tammy | Bluerose’s Heart

4/20/2016
Melissa | Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers
Heather | Mom 2 Mom Connection
Athena | The Loose Screw
Kathleen | Reviews From The Heart
Megan | When life gets you down…read a book
Beth-Anne | Book Reviews

4/21/2016
Brenda | WV stitcher
Kristie | Moments
Pat | Living Life With The Love’s
Colletta | Colletta’s Kitchen Sink
Sarah | Running Through The Storms
Alyssa | 1 Six 1 Five

4/22/2016
Crystal | Eccentric Eclectic Woman
JC | J.C.s BookShelf
Donna | Donna’s BookShelf
Alison | NOVA Frugal Family
Carol | Buttercup Counts Her Blessings

4/23/2016
Julie | More Of Him
Annie | Just Commonly

4/24/2016
Kemi | Homemaking Organized
LeAnne | Rockin’ My Mom Jeans

4/25/2016
Joyce | Joyce Maree
Carrie | Reading Is My SuperPower

4/26/2016
Dominique | Mama and the Bears
Beth | Beth’s Book-Nook Blog
Patty | Tammycookblogsbooks
Vicky | Walking in Grace
Alaina | The Untrained Housewife
Wendy | Life at Rossmont
Maureen | Maureen’s Musings

4/27/2016
Lindsey | Growing Kids Ministry

4/28/2016
Bethany | Perfect Beginnings
Leslie | Did you hear about the Morgan’s?

THANK YOU for my review copy and for making me part of the tour!

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Review of THE WINEMAKERS by Jan Moran

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So I somehow missed that this book was coming out. It takes place, in part, in my hometown of Napa so I knew I HAD to read it! Ms. Moran and her publicist kindly sent me a copy via Net Galley.

Here’s the overview from NG:

1956: When Caterina Rosetta inherits a cottage in the countryside of Italy from a grandmother she’s never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret — a secret so devastating, it threatens the future of everything her mother has worked for. Many years before, her mother’s hard-won dreams of staking her family’s claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragic secret that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past.

From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.

Me again! I really enjoyed this novel, which was a quick read for me. From Italy to Napa, with hidden secrets, strong women, murder, and romance, it captured my attention and kept me reading. My favorite parts were descriptions of the Valley and of winemaking. I liked the main character, Caterina, but liked her mother even more. I really enjoy a non-perfect but strong main female character! The only character who didn’t really work for me was Luca, as I found him one dimensional. Why was he so very evil? Someone read it and tell me!

Rest assured there was a happy ending (I had my doubts for a bit!) which is always a plus for me!

If you enjoy wine, romance, and the Napa Valley, then pick up a copy of THE WINEMAKERS.

A big thank you to the very gracious Ms. Moran and her publicist for my e-copy!

 

 

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HFVBTour for DEATH SITS DOWN TO DINNER by Tessa Arlen

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I’m thrilled to be part of the tour for Tessa Arlen’s new mystery: DEATH SITS DOWN TO DINNER. I really enjoyed her DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN, which I also reviewed for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours:  My Review

Here’s the overview:

02_Death Sits Down to Dinner

Death Sits Down to Dinner (Lady Montfort Mystery #2)
by Tessa Arlen

Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Minotaur Books
Hardcover & Ebook; 320 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery

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Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.

Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.

Summoned from Iyntwood, Mrs. Jackson helps her mistress trace the steps of suspects both upstairs and downstairs as Hermione’s household prepares to host a highly anticipated charity event. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson unravel the web of secrecy surrounding the bright whirlwind of London society, investigating the rich, well-connected and seeming do-gooders in a race against time to stop the murderer from striking again.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND | KOBO

Advance Praise

“Despite Clementine’s luxurious lifestyle, she’s got a head on her shoulders . . .and is as cagey as she is charming. A neatly crafted whodunit dripping with diamonds, titles and scandal . . .” -Kirkus Reviews

“The close, mutually respectful partnership between Clementine and Edith will remind Dorothy Sayers’s fans of the relationship between Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter, his manservant. Arlen does a good job of depicting a period when class distinctions have become blurred by new money and more-relaxed manners. The plot, which includes a slew of red herrings, builds to a startling denouement.” -Publisher’s Weekly

“VERDICT Real-life Edwardian personalities abound in this period historical, and the upstairs/downstairs focus delivers a clash of temperaments. This title is bound to appeal to fans of historicals set in this period and of such authors as Rhys Bowen and Ashley Weaver.” -Library Journal

About the Author

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TESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

For more information please visit Tessa Arlen’s website. Read Tessa Arlen’s blog atRedoubtable Edwardians. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, andGoodreads.

Subscribe to Tessa Arlen’s Newsletter.

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Here I am!

I love Ms. Arlen’s characters of Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson, and I love the cleverness of the plots of her books. The Edwardian period is a favorite of mine, and she has great attention to detail. I have to say that I had little bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight for the first 50 pages of the book. Thankfully there is a “cast of characters” available at the start of the novel!

If you like cozies, Edwardian “Downton type” themes, and fun female characters, along with a clever plot, then pick up a copy of one of Tessa’s books (or even pick up them all!).

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

Discover a New Blog via the Blog Tour Schedule!

Monday, March 28
Review at Laura’s Interests
Interview at Books and Benches

Tuesday, March 29
Review at A Book Geek
Interview at Historical Fiction Addicts

Wednesday, March 30
Interview at AustenProse

Thursday, March 31
Review at Buried Under Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, April 1
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

Monday, April 4
Review at Reading the Past
Spotlight at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Tuesday, April 5
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, April 6
Review at Luxury Reading

Thursday, April 7
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, April 8
Review at A Holland Reads

Monday, April 11
Review at The Absurd Book Nerd

Tuesday, April 12
Interview at The Absurd Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 13
Review at Room With Books

Thursday, April 14
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, April 15
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, April 18
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, April 19
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, April 20
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, April 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 22
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Monday, April 25
Review & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, April 29
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read

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Audiobook Review: BROOKLYN by Colm Tóibín

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So I’ve joined a new book group. Generally I don’t have good luck with book clubs since folks find my enthusiasm for books “off-putting”. Many years ago I was asked to leave a book club (filled with many women I did not know – a large group) because apparently my love of books and ability to chat about them made other people feel “insecure” (got to be honest, when I got THAT phone call, I thought they were joking; I mean who gets kicked out of a book club for liking books?!).

Anyways – I now am in a book group at my work and I figure: these gals are stuck with me EVERY DAY! So hopefully I won’t get booted.

We read BROOKLYN by Colm Tóibín. I had read his NORA WEBSTER (Review), and even though I do find that most of the popular Irish writers are brilliant writers, I find them to a be a slightly miserable lot. I have to say Tóibín captures life in its simplest, most basic form, shining a light past the veneer of what one shows to the everyday world and highlighting the starkness of emotion that lies beneath.

I purchased this book from Audible to listen to in the car. Kirsten Potter did an amazing job with the voices and accents. It runs for about 7 and a half hours.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

It is Enniscorthy in the southeast of Ireland in the early 1950s. Eilis Lacey is one among many of her generation who cannot find work at home. Thus when a job is offered in America, it is clear to everyone that she must go. Eilis heads for unfamiliar Brooklyn to a crowded boarding house. Slowly, the pain of parting is buried beneath the rhythms of her new life – until she begins to realize that she has found a sort of happiness. As she falls in love, news comes from home that forces her back to Ireland, where she finds new possibilities that conflict deeply with the life she has left behind in Brooklyn.

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Eilis (which I’ve heard pronounced Ay-lis and Eye-lish depending on if it means “Alice” or “Elizabeth”) is a fairly typical young woman for her time. I have to say that her inability to really hold on to life and love or lust or feel joy or hate was muted for me.(apparently the movie is different). She seemed to just go back and forth wherever she was told to go and wasn’t a true player in her own future. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her and yell: “Go on out there and make your future! Don’t just accept what’s put in front of you!”.

Definitely lots of fodder for book group to discuss. And of course the writing is magnificent  in the depths within its simplicity (if you know what I mean).

If you’ve read BROOKLYN – or even seen the movie (which I have coming from Netflix) – let me know what you think!

 

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Review: LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly

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If you know me, you know I love WWII stories. I picked this one from Net Galley and it was wonderful. At times both touching and heart breaking, this is an unforgettable story about three young women in three different places during the war whose paths converge.

Here’s what Net Galley has to say:

Description

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Look for Me on LITSY

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Look for me on the new social media app (iPhone/iPad/iPod) for people who love to read, share and talk about books!

I’m under BethsBookBlog (which is also my Twitter handle).

It’s a great alternative to a longer review and also gives me a chance to post while I’m reading a quick snapshot of a book I’m loving!

(google image)

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Review of FORGETTING TABITHA by Julie Dewey

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to read and review FORGETTING TABITHA by Julie Dewey.  This was a rather gritty look at life for an orphan in NYC who goes on one of the “orphan trains” to a new life if rural New York in the 1860’s.

Here’s the overview:

Forgetting Tabitha by Julie Dewey
Publication Date: December 29, 2015
Holland Press

Raised on a farm, Tabitha Salt, the daughter of Irish immigrants, leads a bucolic and sheltered existence. When tragedy strikes the family, Tabitha and her mother are forced to move to the notorious Five Points District in New York City, known for its brothels, gangs, gambling halls, corrupt politicians and thieves.

As they struggle to survive in their new living conditions, tragedy strikes again. Young Tabitha resorts to life alone on the streets of New York, dreaming of a happier future.

The Sisters of Charity are taking orphans off the streets with promises of a new life. Children are to forget their pasts, their religious beliefs, families and names. They offer Tabitha a choice: stay in Five Points or board the orphan train and go West in search of a new life.

The harrowing journey and the decision to leave everything behind launches Tabitha on a path from which she can never return.

03_Julie Dewey

About the Author
Julie Dewey is a novelist who resides with her family in Central New York. Her daughter is a singer/songwriter, and her son is a boxer. Her husband is an all-around hard working, fantastic guy with gorgeous blue eyes that had her falling for him the moment they met.

In addition to researching and writing she is an avid reader. She is also passionate about jewelry design and gemstones. She loves anything creative, whether it be knitting, stamping, scrapping, decoupaging, working with metal, or decorating.

Visit her at http://www.juliedewey.com to get your reading guide for this book and to read an excerpt from One Thousand Porches, her second novel. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

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02_Forgetting Tabitha

Okay — so here’s my take on things. The overview covers the beginning of the book and this was my favorite part of the story. I wanted little Tabitha to find a better life. I was horrified by the squalid conditions in which they had to live (which was very accurate for the time). I also have read a lot about the Orphan Trains, and felt that her experience on them (crying children, people wanting to adopt either little babies or older boys to work on their farms, etc.) was fairly typical.

SPOILER ALERT  — SPOILERS AHEAD!

Where I struggled with the story was at the midway point once Tabitha (now called Mary) was settled into her new life. New characters were introduced and sometimes these characters took over the narrative. There were several points of view portrayed, which was made less confusing by the fact that the chapter titles were the character’s names. However, and this is just for me as a reader, while I would call the first part of the book “gritty”, there were several scenes in the second half of the book that were violent and also portrayed sexual violence (which is not my bailiwick). These included a 13 year old prostitute being brutally raped. I found those scenes disturbing (especially since I wasn’t expecting it, I was still thinking “orphan trains! chance at a new and better life!”); but to be fair, if you read me regularly, you know that I am a “cozy mystery” type of person rather than a “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” type, so this just isn’t my thing.

I did like the ending and I really liked the plucky and resilient character of Tabitha/Mary. I thought it was interesting how much she changed, and yet how much she stayed the same throughout the book.

If you’d like to read and see more about the orphan trains in real life, check out the wonderful PBS special about them. More info here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/orphan/

Thank you for my review e-copy!

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Review: THE TRAVELERS by Chris Pavone

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I heard about this mystery through Blogging for Books, and it sounded good, so I sent for it via Net Galley. It just published in March through Crown Publishing.

Here’s the description:

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