Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

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Saturday Snapshot: St. Pat’s Cathedral

If you know me, you know we like to go to NYC. When we do, we attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I never tire of looking at the beautiful intricacies of the architecture there, the statues, the windows, the light.

Here are a few photos I took last weekend when we were there:

 

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at westmetromommyreads.com. Stop by her site for specifics on participating!

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Death at the Selig Studios by Frances McNamara

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The early summer of 1909 finds Emily Cabot eagerly anticipating a relaxing vacation with her family. Before they can depart, however, she receives news that her brother, Alden, has been involved in a shooting death at the Selig Polyscope silent movie studios on Chicago’s northwest side. She races to investigate, along with her friend Detective Henry Whitbread. There they discover a sprawling backlot, complete with ferocious jungle animals and the celluloid cowboys Tom Mix and Broncho Billy. As they dig deeper into the situation, they uncover furtive romantic liaisons between budding movie stars and an attempt by Thomas Edison to maintain his stranglehold over the emerging film industry. Before the intrepid amateur sleuth can clear her brother’s name she faces a serious break with the detective; a struggle with her adolescent daughter, who is obsessed with the filming of the original Wizard of Oz movie; and threats upon her own life. (via Amazon)

This is book 7 of the Emily Cabot mysteries, and I love this entertaining and well-plotted series that blends interesting facts from history with a lively fictional protagonist. Each volume can stand alone. Emily finds herself mixed up with film makers in Chicago in this installment. To be honest, I didn’t realize that the early film industry was in part in Chicago before it came to California. At the end of this post I’ve included a You Tube link of a Selig Studios rendition of The Wizard of Oz from 1910, the movie they were filming in this novel. It certainly is different from the movie version most of us grew up with!

Ms. McNamara’s writing is always a treat and she often can write a mystery that I can’t figure out. This novel was yet another winner from her.

Thank you for my review copy, sent from the publishers: Allium Press of Chicago.

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Us Against You by Frederik Backman

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I absolutely love the writing of Frederik Backman. His novel A MAN CALLED OVE made me both laugh and cry. His story of a hockey town in crisis, BEARTOWN, also made me cry. This summer he has a new novel out, a sequel to BEARTOWN, called US AGAINST YOU. It takes up the story of the families of Beartown and brings them through the next year as they continue to struggle and cope with the actions and activities of the past. Peter and Kira struggle with their marriage. Maya struggles with trying to live her life in the shadow of her assault. Leo struggles with adolescence. And throughout, the lives of these very ordinary people are set against the struggles of a hockey team (with a new coach) and the rivalry Beartown has with neighboring Hed. “Rivalry” might be too tame of a word for it, though.

One of Backman’s gifts as a writer is that he takes the very ordinary and makes it extraordinary. He can craft a simple moment and make it memorable; and he gets to the heart of emotion and humanity in doing so.

If you haven’t read Beartown, it makes most sense to read that novel first, but this can be a stand alone title as well.

Highly recommended! Thank you for my review e-copy from Net Galley!

Here’s the overview:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown returns with “a lyrical look at how a community heals, how families recover and how individuals grow” (The Washington Post).

A small community tucked deep in the forest, Beartown is home to tough, hardworking people who don’t expect life to be easy or fair. No matter how difficult times get, they’ve always been able to take pride in their local ice hockey team. So it’s a cruel blow when they hear that Beartown ice hockey might soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in the neighboring town of Hed, take in that fact. As the tension mounts between the two adversaries, a newcomer arrives who gives Beartown hockey a surprising new coach and a chance at a comeback.

Soon a team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; always dutiful and eager-to-please Bobo; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the town’s enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big game approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt intensifies. By the time the last goal is scored, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after everything, the game they love can ever return to something as simple and innocent as a field of ice, two nets, and two teams. Us against you.

Here is a declaration of love for all the big and small, bright and dark stories that give form and color to our communities. With immense compassion and insight, Fredrik Backman reveals how loyalty, friendship, and kindness can carry a town through its most challenging days.

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Some Summer Reads…

If you know me, you know I love my kindle. I can boost up the size of the print and not need my glasses and I can read when I wake up in the middle of the night (instead of staring at the ceiling and worrying about various things). However, summer is the best time for reading printed books for me because, as an educator, I have lots more time to read during the day and/or read when I’m not exhausted and bleary-eyed.

So – I recently gathered some of my paper books that I’ve been saving for summer and lined them up for a tbr pile picture:

Squee! I’ve got a little bit of everything in here — from Tudor times to a cozy mystery to some YA to a non-fiction laugh a minute memoir from a Little House on the Prairie cast member. Of course I have about 25 things on my kindle, but I’ll be getting to these while the days are long and there’s time to relax with a good book!

What are YOU reading this summer?

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The Good Twin by Marti Green

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A Note From the Publisher

Evil twins? Unreliable narrators? Double-crossing husbands who get their comeuppance??
Sign me up!
This was a fast and fun read that I was afraid would disappoint me, but didn’t!
Thank you for my e-copy!
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Trespassing by Brandi Reeds

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I got this one free through Amazon early reads (Kindle First) for my kindle. Fast and furious, it kept me guessing until the end!

In this Amazon Charts bestselling novel of psychological suspense, a young mother follows a dangerous path to find her missing husband.

Veronica Cavanaugh’s grasp on the world is slipping. Her latest round of fertility treatments not only failed but left her on edge and unbalanced. And her three-year-old daughter, Elizabella, has a new imaginary friend, who seems much more devilish than playful. So when Veronica’s husband fails to return home from a business trip, what’s left of her stability begins to crumble.

Given her family’s history of mental illness, and Elizabella’s insistence that her daddy is dead, Veronica starts questioning herself. Every move she makes is now suspect. Worse still, Veronica is positive that someone wants her and her daughter dead, too—unless it’s all in her mind…

Somewhere beneath her paranoia is the answer to her husband’s vanishing. To find it, she’s led to a house in the Florida Keys. But once there, she isn’t sure she wants to know the truth.

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The Sound of Freedom by Kathy Kacer

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This was a wonderful young readers’ story about a family escaping Europe during WWII through an orchestra that was created to save Jewish musicians in the Holocaust. Based on true events, I’d recommend it for grades 5 and up.

Thank you for my e-copy!

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A Note From the Publisher

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