Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng (Read by Jennifer Lim)

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From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

(from Amazon)

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Wow! I loved Celeste Ng’s first book, EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU, and I loved this one as well. What a great story. Ng has a way with words, and her prose paints such a vivid depiction of daily life. It’s all in the details.

This was a captivating story, which I listened to on my commute. You could see where things were headed and that disaster was looming on the horizons, but I just couldn’t stop listening. Devastating yet memorable, this was one of my fave books of 2017.

I got mine from Audible, and you can, too — or get it an your local favorite indie bookshop, online, or at the library!

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For My Ears: BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate – Read by Emily Rankin

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Wow! This story was recommended online in the blogisphere, and I thought I might enjoy it, but I was blown away by this story of a family torn apart and the young girl who tries to keep her siblings together against all odds.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for fans of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge – until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents – but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals – in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country – Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

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While these children weren’t real, this is based on true events, and you will be forever haunted at the shocking and terrible things that happened to poor families in the Depression and post-Depression era South. Normally I don’t like disturbing books centered on children, but this story was so compelling, and I loved the character of Rill so much, along with the fact that the present day protagonist was unraveling the mystery of the family tree, I just could not stop listening!

Beautifully narrated, it’s a story you won’t soon forget.

I used my audible credit for this one.

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SUGAR PINE TRAIL by RaeAnne Thayne

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Bring On the Christmas Novels and Romances!!

Oh, it’s my favorite time of year and the time I love to enjoy a light and happy read of folks finding love at Christmas. I have to be honest == I used to scoff at these type of books. True Confession! However, I told myself that I should not turn them away until I actually READ one (easy to be critical of things you don’t actually now about). I started reading them about ten years ago and I can’t tell you how happy they make me. Some times, in the stress of life, you just want to read a sweet book where you know that everything is not going to end up like the evening news. You can trust that there is going to be a happy ending. They make me smile.

So – this was the first one I read this year. I read it way back at the end of summer and read it in a day. It’s a true feel good story and I completely related to the main character as she was like me when I was single. I even had a list like she did. And yes, I met my husband right before Christmas time — and we’ve been married 15 years — my own happy ending! 🙂

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for my e-copy!

Here’s the overview:

Description

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THE TRICK by Emanuel Bergmann

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I read this novel at the end of summer and it was a treat. This was a at times humorous at times touching story of a young boy who wants to find a (basically) old, washed up magician, because he wants him to teach him how to keep two people (his parents) in love. It is sweet yet funny (the magician is rather cranky and is happy to take advantage of people), yet there is a twist to the story, too.

Moving between two time periods, the writing flows easily, and I read it in two days. I didn’t want to stop reading! They liken it to All the Light… and The Nightingale. Well – no. I’ve read both and they are not like this novel at all, except that they both do include WWII and All the Light has the young girl in it. This novel is much lighter with much more humor (though there are certainly serious moments, esp. in the section on WWII), and has a true feel good ending.

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for my e-copy!

Here’s the overview:

Description

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WAIT FOR THE RAIN by Maria Murnane

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The very lovely Maria Murnane sent me an e-copy of her novel, WAIT FOR THE RAIN, along with her novel BRIDGES (reviewed here earlier). I chose to end my summer with it.

This is a realistic but feel-good story about a young woman getting herself back on her feet after going through a divorce:

From the author of the bestselling Waverly Bryson series.

Daphne White is staring down the barrel of forty—and is distraught at what she sees. Her ex-husband is getting remarried, her teenage daughter hardly needs her anymore, and the career she once dreamed about has somehow slipped from her grasp. She’s almost lost sight of the spirited and optimistic young woman she used to be.

As she heads off to a Caribbean island to mark the new decade with her best friends from college, Daphne’s in anything but the mood to celebrate. But when she meets Clay Hanson, a much younger man, she ignores her inner voice warning her that she’s too old for a fling. In fact, this tropical getaway might be the perfect opportunity to picture her future in a new sun-drenched light.

With the help of her friends, Daphne rediscovers her enthusiasm for life, as well as her love for herself—and realizes that her best years are still ahead.

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I think just about anyone can find something in common with one of these characters, who are quite believable. I couldn’t help but root for Daphne, and believe me – I know what she was going through.

Easy to read with a realistic but fun plot and likable characters, both WAIT FOR THE RAIN and BRIDGES are winners for me.

Thank you, Maria, for sharing your novels with me!

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BRIDGES by Maria Murnane

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A while ago I was contacted by the very pleasant author of this novel, Maria Murnane, to see if I’d like to read and review her novels – BRIDGES and WAITING FOR THE RAIN. I had a tbr list of 35 titles, but said yes and Ms. Murnane has been quite patient in awaiting my thoughts on her novels!

This appealing story covers a long weekend in NYC when three best friends from college get together for a girls’ weekend. Each woman has something on her mind and challenges she is facing. Here’s the overview from Amazon:

It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here’s to the power of friendship!

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The women in this story are all around 40 years old, and that really appealed to me, because personally I have trouble connecting with free-wheeling 20-somethings that often are peppered throughout books like this. These women’s challenges are familiar and their relationship is one that has gone through the test of time, reminding me of my own friends. While certainly problems exist, this is a light read, perfect for summer, with likable characters and an uplifting and positive ending. I really enjoyed it!

Here’s some info on Maria:

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Biography

The story of how Maria became an author is a little crazy. She used to work in high-tech PR but hated it, so she quit and ended up playing semi-pro soccer in Argentina for a year. While she was down there she decided to write a novel, which was something she’d always dreamed of doing. Fast forward a few years, and she’s now the bestselling author of the Waverly Bryson series (Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two, which garnered a starred review in Publishers Weekly), plus Katwalk, 2015 International Book Award winner Cassidy Lane, Wait for the Rain, and Bridges. And yes, she still plays a lot of soccer!

Learn more and sign up for her mailing list at http://www.mariamurnane.com

If you enjoy Maria’s books, please tweet @mariamurnane and “like” her fan page at http://www.facebook.com/mariamurnane.

To contact her via email, send a note to maria@mariamurnane.com. She loves hearing from readers and personally responds to every message!

THANK YOU so much for my review copy of BRIDGES! WAITING FOR THE RAIN (which has the same characters and actually comes before this title) is next!
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Beartown by Fredrik Backman

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I absolutely loved the book A MAN CALLED OVE, so I was thrilled to receive Backman’s latest book, Beartown, through Net Galley.

This was an incredible story of a small town that is centered on its hockey team, the inhabitants, and the repercussions of the actions of one night. It’s memorable and somewhat haunting. But what amazes me about Backman’s books is that they are SO perceptive of human nature. He writes so eloquently, yet simply, of human feelings and actions. While he is the consummate writer, he is truly an observer of human nature as well.

So glad that I received this to review – thank you! Highly recommended!

Please note: some may find the act of violence in this book (and subsequent effects) disturbing/unsettling.

Here’s the overview:

Description

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Litfuse Publicity Tour for THE CAPTAIN’S DAUGHTER by Jennifer Delamere

I’m happy to take part in the Litfuse tour for this lovely book by Jennifer Delamere: THE CAPTAIN’S DAUGHTER. I would classify it as a Victorian/Christian Romance. It is the story of an orphan (now young woman) who makes her way in London, in part by becoming part of a Gilbert and Sullivan stage show. As a theater buff, I really enjoyed that aspect of the book! Overall, the word “gentle” comes to mind when I read this story- it’s a clean read and a happy ending.

I received an e-copy to review – thank you! And thank you for making me part of the tour.

Book info

About the book:
Warm-hearted Victorian romance brings 1880s London to life.
 
When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.
A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.

About the author:
 
Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, “An Heiress at Heart,” was a 2013 RITA award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, “A Lady Most Lovely,” received a starred review from “Publishers Weekly” and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.
 
Find out more about Jennifer at jenniferdelamere.com.
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 Blog Tour Schedule
Landing page:

Tour Schedule:
6/20
Amy | A Nest in the Rocks
Debra | 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too !
Heidi | Heidi Reads…
Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!
Kayleigh | Neverending Stories
Rachel | Smiling Book Reviews
Stacey | Books,Dreams,Life
Vik Tory | Manuscript Tunes

6/21
Carrie | Reading Is My SuperPower
Megan | Pursuing Intentional Living
Mimi | Woven by Words
Sally | Proverbial Reads

6/22
Annie | Just Commonly
Colleen | ColleenRichman.com
Erin | For Him and My Family
Keri | My Table of Three
Lena Nelson | A Christian Writer’s World

6/23
Chantal | This Chattanooga Mommy Saves
Gayle | BOOKS REVEIWS ETC
Hallie | Book by Book
Leah | As We Walk Along the Road
Michelle | I Hope You Dance

6/24
Marissa | The Review Stew

6/25
Becky | Christian Chick’s Thoughts
Carole | The Power of Words
Deana | Texas Book-aholic
Lisa | A Rup Life
Sarah | Running Through The Storms

6/26
Billy | Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
Kelly | Leafy Not Beefy
Lindsey | Books for Christian Girls
Tressa | Wishful Endings
Katie | Fiction Aficionado

6/27
Charity | Giveaway Lady
Kristie | Moments
Mackenzie | Spreading His Grace
Pamela | Daysong Reflections
Stacie | Pursuing Stacie
Carla | Working Mommy Journal

6/28
Kathleen | Reviews From The Heart
Lisa | Seeking with All yur Heart
Loraine | Loraine D. Nunley, Author
Madelyn | Literary Cafe
Maureen | Maureen’s Musings
Rachel | Bookworm Mama
Renee | Little Homeschool on the Prairie

6/29
Sydney | Singing Librarian Books

6/30
Alex | Inspiration Clothesline
Amanda | Inklings and notions
Amy | Pause for Tales
Andi | Radiant Light
Erin | ReviewsByErin
Stephanie | Have A Wonderful Day

7/1
Amanda | The Talbert Report
Elisha | Rainy Day Reviews
Julie | More Of Him
Renee | Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot
Vera | Chat With Vera
Veronica | Veronica’s ‘Views
Beth | Beth’s Book-Nook Blog

7/2
Barbara | I’m Hooked on Books
Erica | Live.Love.Read.
Katie | Too Read or Not Too Read

7/3
Andrea | Writing to Inspire
Becky | Living Outside the Lines
Molly | Cafinated Reads

7/4
Beth | For The Love of Books
Carolina | Cisneros Cafe
Nancy | sunny island breezes

7/5
Ashley | What’s She Reading?
Sherry | My Reading Journeys

7/6
Paphapin | Feeling in Red
Bree | Bibliophile Reviews
Charity | aTransParentMom
Heather | Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
Mindy | A Room Wihtout Books is Empty

7/7
Bethany | The Perfect beginning
Dela | Pastries and Novel Thoughts
Tarah | Literary Time Out
Trish | View from the Birdhouse
Faye | Labor Not in Vain

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THE GOOD BOOK by Deron Spoo – Litfuse Blog Tour

I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for THE GOOD BOOK – 40 Chapters that Reveal the Bible’s Biggest Ideas by Deron Spoo. This is a great little volume to keep near your bedside to use for a daily or weekly devotional. It highlights a chapter of the Bible (included), then writes on it, tying it in to real life, then presents some reflection ideas. It is very readable!

Here is the overview:

Book Info

The Good Book 

offers a user-friendly guide to the Bible’s biggest ideas.
A chapter from the Bible accompanies each chapter of the book, which helps readers understand the context and content of the Scripture passages in a way that can open the whole Bible.
Designed as a forty-day journey through forty key chapters of the Bible,  The Good Book will appeal to those who already love and read the Bible regularly as well as to those who are just beginning their Christian journey.
The Good Book:
-is a great evangelism tool for explaining the major themes of Scripture to those who want to know more about God, Jesus, and the core beliefs of Christianity;
-gives new believers an overview of the Bible and lays a framework to help them understand Scripture passages;
-helps longtime Christians rediscover the basic themes of Scripture and experience these truths in a new way; and
-encourages Scriptural literacy as it pushes readers to read both one chapter of the book and one chapter of the Bible each day for forty days.
The Good Book is great for individuals, and it can also be used by small groups in an eight-week church-wide program or a forty-week journey that focuses on one Bible chapter each week.
 
The Good Book will help people understand and live by the transformative truths of the Bible.

Deron Spoo is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Over the past 16 years, Spoo has guided the church as it transitions from being simply a downtown church to a regional church committed to urban ministry. Church members describe him as “down to earth” and “authentic.” His television devotionals, “First Things First,” reach 100,000 people each week. Spoo is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Paula, have three children.
Find out more about Deron at http://www.readthegoodbook.com.
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I really appreciated this book and actually asked for my review copy in print (I usually always get a mobi) so I could share it with my family. As a Catholic family, I find sometimes we struggle with Biblical interpretations as the Catholic Church, while using the Bible weekly, in general has a different role for the Bible (or at least that is how it was in my 1970’s and up upbringing) with a heavy emphasis on the Gospels and a weekly emphasis on the pastor interpreting readings from the Old and New Testaments, but not a lot of individual interpretation. As an adult, I am now seeing (at least at my parish) Bible study groups and Bible reading groups, which is new to me. So – I love finding books that help me to interpret the many wonderful passages of the Bible.

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

Here is a You Tube about the book:

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Lee Wolfe Blum’s BRAVE IS THE NEW BEAUTIFUL – A Litfuse Blog Tour

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I’m happy today to take part in the Litfuse blog tour for BRAVE IS THE NEW BEAUTIFUL by Lee Wolfe Blum. I enjoyed this easy to read novel of inspirational stories about women facing hardship and challenges and coming out a changed person, with beauty truly coming from within. To be honest, I found some of the stories intense and almost disturbing in their harshness (but really, that’s life – not a bowl of cherries!). I had planned to share this novel with my young teen, but will wait a few years.
This was a good read and a strong reminder of how our culture can sometimes need to get its priorities straight.
Thank you for my review e-copy and for making me part of the tour!
Overview:
Our culture bombards women with “thinspiration” messages and pressure to “do it all” while wearing the mask of perfection. 
Women are left feeling alone and overwhelmed. How can they stop comparing themselves to others? How can they live out who they really are?
Lee Wolfe Blum offers stories from everyday women who have answered these questions with their lives-and found true beauty in the process. In Brave Is the New Beautiful, Blum weaves reflections from her own journey with inspirational stories from everyday women who chose to take off their masks and live authentically. Through call-to-action questions and ideas, she encourages readers to be brave enough to be who they really are and the beloved that God knows they are.

Lee Wolfe Blum is an energetic and passionate speaker who loves to help women find hope in healing from perfectionism and addictions. She works as a mental health practitioner in the field of Eating Disorders and Chemical Dependency. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three boys.

Find out more about Lee Wolfe at leewolfeblum.com.
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Blog Tour Schedule:
 
5/2
Ashley | Aahales.com
Stacey | Books, Dreams,Life
Leila | Leila Tualla’s Bookshelf5/3
Katherine | Katherine Scott Jones
Laura | Once Upon a Storyville

5/4
Shannon | Mrsreadsbooks

5/5
Faith | Faith Raider
Julie | Surrender Issues and Chocolate
Renn | Heart to Heart Books
Beth | Beth’s Book-Nook Blog
Jami | Jami’s Words

5/8
April | Writing and Other Acts of Faith
Heather | Compared to Who?
Marjolaine | Books, Beautiful Books

5/9
Becky | Living Outside the Lines
Erin | ReviewsByErin
Jendi | Jendi’s Journal
Kelli | Kelli Sommers

5/10
Erin | tragically dull adventures of an almost librarian
Jennifer | Adventures in Unsell Land
Kelly | God’s Writer Girl
Kristie | Moments
Jessica | Girlz 4 Christ

5/11
Aimee | Family Compassion Focus
Annie | Just Commonly
Carrie | Reading Is My SuperPower
Colleen | ColleenRichman.com
Kay | Kaisy Daisy’s Corner
Marjorie | The Writer’s Tool

5/12
Amanda | Inklings and Notions
Amanda | The Talbert Report
Amy | Pause for Tales
Carole | The Power of Words
Julie | More Of Him
Pat | An Ordinary Woman Pursing Splendor

5/13
April | Dixie n Dottie
Bree | Bibliophile Reviews
Emilie | Thinking Thoughts

5/14
Alexis | God is Love
Jennifer | A Peace of Mind
Sarah | Running Through The Storms

5/15
Denise | Ramblings of a California Couponer
Mindy | A Room without Books is Empty

5/16
Bethany | The perfect beginning
Lydia | Noveltea
Rachel | Smiling Book Reviews
Susan | In This Together
Amelia | Rejoice Evermore

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