Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Quick Audiobook Review: “World without End” by Ken Follett

I loved the book and miniseries “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett, so I was thrilled to find the audiobook for its sequel, “World without End”, at the library (read by John Lee).

While this story takes place in Kingsbridge, the town that is the setting for “Pillars of the Earth”, it stands alone as a novel, being set 200 years later and with new characters (though references are sometimes made to the previous characters).

The story starts with four children, playing in the woods. They witness a murder and a secret, and this event sets the stage for the events of their lives, which are chronicled. Follett draws us a picture of Medieval England that is vivid and accurate. His characters are unique and the main characters are all quite different. I listened to this story in the car while driving and still could easily follow the plot (which was definitely not for the kids at times!). John Lee’s narration was a great touch to the story; he excels at providing unique character voices.

All in all, a great story!

 

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Review: “Wildflowers from Winter” by Katie Ganshert

Through Blogging for Books, I received a free download of “Wildflowers from Winter” to review.
In “Wildflowers from Winter”, Bethany Quinn returns to her home (which she vowed to leave behind forever) when her childhood friend’s husband dies. Bethany is uncomfortable with her mother, her friend, and her town. She hasn’t spoken to her friend in years. She relishes the time she spends with her grandfather, who owns a farm where she spent many happy childhood hours.

Evan Price is her grandfather’s farmhand, and her friend’s brother-in-law. Bethany and Evan clash from the start. Bethany is a high-powered city architect who is tough and seemingly careless. Evan is a hard-working farmer and a Christian. He’s somewhat disgusted by Bethany self-centeredness. Bethany is derisive of his faith. When a further tragedy and then a work crisis strike, Bethany is drawn to stay at home and begins to rebuild and rethink her life’s decisions.

I really enjoyed reading this book! At first I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a good fit for me as I thought I might find it predictable. I liked the story and character development. It was well-written. I also found the discussions of faith realistic.

Thank you, WaterBrook Press, for my copy!

You can visit Katie Ganshert’s website:

www.katieganshert.com

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

 Wildflowers from Winter: A Novel

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Review: Simple Skincare, Beautiful Skin: a Back-to-Basics Approach by Ahmed Abdullah, MD

I found this little gem on Net Galley, and since I’m a person who has ten thousand products in her bathroom, I couldn’t wait to read it!
“Simple Skincare, Beautiful Skin” is a great primer on basic skin care. Dr. Abdullah starts with the facts so that the average person can understand their skin. By reviewing how skin “works” he then proposes his approach: cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, protect. Lots of information is given which helps the reader to decide what products to use and what products are unnecessary. Additionally, he has special chapters on understanding and treating acne and also the special needs of skin that has undergone cancer treatment (radiation, etc.).

I just loved this book! I found it so readable and so interesting. I have always been a bit obsessed with beauty products, but since reading this book, I feel I am a more educated consumer. Some product claims that sounded too good to be true to me, or illogical, really are! Also, Dr. Abdullah has his own line of skin care products and I’ll be honest: I was afraid that the book would turn into a commercial for them, but it does not. Except for a few references to his “skin care line”, I would have only found information on his products in his bio.

I’d recommend this book for those who want to better understand their skin. There is something in this book for all ages, teen to older adult.

Thanks, Net Galley and Green Leaf Book Group Press, for my copy!
This book releases on 9/1/12.

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Review of the latest ‘Her Royal Spyness’ Cozy: “Naughty in Nice” by Rhys Bowen

Last month while at the library I noticed a new release of the latest Royal Spyness mystery: Naughty in Nice. If you read me, you know I love this cozy series, centering on the likable but less-than-perfect Georgie (related to royalty) in 1930’s England. This time around, the Queen herself has sent Georgie on a mission to retrieve a “borrowed” snuff-box, and Georgie is sent to Nice, France – winter playground of the wealthy. Before Georgie can get the box back, her neighbor is murdered; and after floundering her way through a fashion show of Coco Chanel’s line, the priceless necklace Georgie is wearing is stolen. Now she must find two items and solve a murder!

Love this series!

See it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

Naughty in Nice

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Quick Review: The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith

I received the new No. 1 Ladies book for Mothers’ Day (and I’m seriously delinquent in posting about it!). This thirteenth addition to the series is just as enjoyable as its predecessors. This time Fanwell, the apprentice, is in trouble and Precious is determined to help him;  Grace and Phuti are building a house, which has issues of its own; and Mma Potokwane has been mysteriously dismissed from her position at the orphanage. In addition, the very illustrious Clovis Andersen shows up and helps Precious and Grace with their work.

I enjoyed this novel from start to finish!

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection: No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (13)

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Review: Finding Our Way Home by Charlene Ann Baumbich

I recently signed up with “Blogging for Books” and this is the first book I’ve received to review. “Finding Our Way Home” tells the story of two women: Sasha Davis, a prima ballerina injured in a tragic accident, and Evelyn Burt, her kind-hearted but bumbling and very naive assistant. Both women are on a journey to self-discovery and healing, where they learn that God’s grace is what they need to get them through their troubles. This book is part of Ms. Baumbich’s “Snowglobe” series.

After Sasha Davis is seriously injured in a dancing accident, she leaves her dancer husband and returns to her childhood home in Wisconsin to begin the process of healing. Evelyn Burt, a larger than life nineteen-year-old, is hired as her personal assistant. Sasha is angry, bitter, and scared. Evelyn is newly engaged, naive, and enthusiastic. Her engagement, however, has strained her relationship with her parents. Both women are seeking to repair important relationships and find new freedoms. This story is their journey.

While I enjoyed reading this novel (which reminded me a bit of my beloved Mitford books), I did have some trouble keeping with it. I felt the pacing was slow and the characters were a bit unbelievable. Would Sasha really turn her back completely on her beloved husband who only wants to be there for her? Could Evelyn really be that incredibly naive? I found it stretched my imagination a bit too much. That said, I did enjoy the story and felt that Ms. Baumbich draws in God’s presence with a light touch that is simple yet very effective.

You can find out more about this novel:

Visit Charlene Ann Baumbich’s website:

http://charleneannbaumbich.com/index.html

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307444732/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0307444732&linkCode=as2&tag=betsboonooblo-20

Read the first chapter: 

http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/blog/2011/11/15/sneak-peek-finding-our-way-home-by-charlene-ann-baumbich/

Thank you, Water Brook Press and Blogging for Books, for my copy!

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