Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

THE IT GIRL AND ME by Laini Giles with GIVEAWAY!

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I love taking part in Amy Bruno’s blog tours for historical fiction novels!

If you know me, you know I love love love Hollywood from days of old and anything to do with theater/movies/entertainment. This novel is a story of Clara Bow – the “It Girl” from the 1920’s told from the perspective of her assistant. I like this technique for telling a story; Erika Robuck uses it in her books, too, and I find it very effective.

I am enjoying this book right now as I got a late start on it. I love reading of this time period and the writing flows easily. I read Laini Giles’ “Forgotten Flapper” and really enjoyed it — this is another book in the “forgotten actresses” series and I’m enjoying it, too! UPDATED 11/19:  I finished this novel this past weekend. What an interesting story! While told through the eyes of Clara’s assistant, the character is historical and the events, especially those at the end of the novel, while shocking, are based in fact. This story must have rocked the papers at the time, especially since Clara Bow was so well-known and beloved. This was a great read — I can’t wait to see what Laini Giles writes next!

Here’s the scoop from HFVBT:

The It Girl and Me: A Novel of Clara Bow by Laini Giles
Publication Date: March 25, 2017
Sepia Stories Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 341 Pages
Series: Forgotten Actresses, Book #2
Gere: Historical Fiction/Biographical
Daisy DeVoe has left her abusive husband, her father has been pinched for bootlegging, and she’s embarrassed by her rural Kentucky roots. But on the plus side, she’s climbing the ladder in the salon of Paramount Pictures, styling hair for actress Clara Bow.
Clara is a handful. The “It” Girl of the Jazz Age personifies the new woman of the 1920s onscreen, smoking, drinking bootleg hooch, and bursting with sex appeal. But her conduct off the set is even more scandalous. Hoping to impose a little order on Clara’s chaotic life, Paramount persuades Daisy to sign on as Clara’s personal secretary.
Thanks to Daisy, Clara’s bank account is soon flush with cash. And thanks to Clara, Daisy can finally shake off her embarrassing past and achieve respectability for herself and her family.
The trouble begins when Clara’s newest fiancé, cowboy star Rex Bell, wants to take over, and he and Daisy battle for control. Torn between her loyalty to Clara and her love for her family, Daisy has to make a difficult choice when she ends up in the county jail.
Here, Daisy sets the record straight, from her poverty-stricken childhood to her failed marriage; from a father in San Quentin to her rollercoaster time with Clara, leaving out none of the juicy details.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble Chapters
About the Author
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Originally from the counterculture mecca of Austin, Texas, Laini discovered a love of reading early on, and when she was eight, decided to be Nancy Drew. This dream was dashed when she realized she was actually a big chicken, and that there were no guarantees of rescue from tarantulas, bad guys with guns, and other fiendish plot twists. She finished her first “mystery novel” (with custom illustrations) when she was nine.
She set the writing aside for a while when life got in the way, but was led back to it through her interest in genealogy and 18 months of enforced unemployment due to moving north for maple-flavored goodies and real beer. Reading old microfilm stirred new life into her interest in writing, and watching early silent films struck the match.
Like most other writers, most of her monthly budget is spent on coffee and books. She lives with her husband and their two gray cats in Edmonton, Alberta.
For more information, please visit Laini Giles’ website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.
Blog Tour Schedule
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Wednesday, November 1
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Thursday, November 2
Feature at What Is That Book About
Friday, November 3
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, November 6
Review at Bookish
Tuesday, November 7
Feauture at WS Momma Readers Nook
Thursday, November 9
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Friday, November 10
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Monday, November 13
Review at Creating Herstory
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots
Wednesday, November 15
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Friday, November 17
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation
Monday, November 20
Feature at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, November 22
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Thursday, November 23
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Friday, November 24
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Saturday, November 25
Excerpt at T’s Stuff
Tuesday, November 28
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Wednesday, November 29
Review at A Book Drunkard
Giveaway
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 5 paperback copies of The It Girl and Me! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
 
Direct Link: https://gleam.io/Ieh6N/the-it-girl-and-me
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TWO JOURNEYS HOME by Kevin O’Connell

A while back, I read and reviewed BEYOND DERRYNANE by Kevin O’Connell, a story of an Irish family of “fallen aristocracy” in the 1700’s and how they lived with the courts of Europe when ousted from Ireland. I was thrilled that Mr. O’Connell reached out to offer me TWO JOURNEYS HOME, a sequel to DERRYNANE that continues Eileen’s story.

Here’s the overview:

It’s now the late-Summer of 1767. As the eagerly anticipated sequel to Beyond Derrynane opens, having spent almost six eventful years at the court of Maria Theresa, Eileen O’Connell has availed herself of a fortuitous opportunity to travel back to Ireland.

Her vivacious personality matched only by her arresting physical presence, Eileen returns to Derrynane this time not as a teenage widow but, rather, as one of the most recognised figures at the glittering Habsburg court. Before departing Ireland several months later she experiences a whirlwind romance, leading to a tumult of betrayal and conflict within the O’Connell clan. Once back in Vienna she unexpectedly finds her responsibilities as governess to the youngest Habsburg archduchess now linked to relations between France and Austria.

Abigail, rather than being eclipsed by her colourful younger sister, has instead ascended to the vaulted position of principal lady-in-waiting to Empress Maria Theresa. No longer “just a girl from deep in Kerry,” she is a beloved – and powerful – figure at court.

Hugh O’Connell, the youngest of the large family, leaves behind waning adolescence and a fleeting attraction to the youngest archduchess when he begins a military career in the Irish Brigade of the armies of Louis XV. But, perhaps as a foreshadowing of his adult life and career, more royal entanglement awaits him in France …

In the continuing saga, the O’Connells will confront intrigue, romance – even violence. Despite their innate wisdom, cunning and guile, what their futures hold remains to be seen.

With his uniquely-descriptive prose, Kevin O’Connell again deftly weaves threads of historical fact and fancy to create a colourful tapestry affording unique insights into the courts of eighteenth-century Catholic Europe as well as Protestant Ascendancy-ruled Ireland. Watch as the epic unfolds amongst the O’Connells, their friends and enemies, as the tumultuously-dangerous worlds in which they dwell continue to gradually – but inexorably – change.

Along with Beyond Derrynane, Two Journeys Home – and the two books to follow in The Derrynane Saga – comprise an enthralling series of historical novels, presenting a sweeping chronicle, set against the larger drama of Europe in the early stages of significant change, dramatising the roles, which have never before been treated in fiction, played by a small number of expatriate Irish Catholics of the fallen “Gaelic Aristocracy” at the courts of Catholic Europe, as well as relating their complex, at times dangerous, lives at home in an Ireland still controlled by the Sassenach.

In addition to Eileen’s, the books trace the largely-fictional lives of several other O’Connells of Derrynane, it is the tantalisingly few facts that are historically documented about them which provide the basic facts which give rise to the tale, into which strategic additions of numerous historical and fictional personalities and events mesh seamlessly.

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O’Connell is a fantastic storyteller. His prose is so rich and beautiful, it is a joy to read. The story is compelling and the characters are memorable — all the more so because they are based on real people. I must admit, I am Irish but I did not know about this piece of Irish history. It is fascinating, but historical fiction at the same time – my favorite kind of read: keeps my interest and I learn something new!

Thank you to Mr. O’Connell for my copy. Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers!

About the Author

Kevin O’Connell is a native of of New York City, descended from a young officer of what had – from 1690 to 1792 – been the Irish Brigade of the French army, believed to have arrived in French Canada sometime following the execution of Queen Marie Antoinette in October, 1793. At least one grandson subsequently returned to Ireland; Mr. O’Connell’s own grandparents arrived in New York in the early Twentieth Century. He holds both Irish and American citizenship. Given this heritage, he has been a serious student of Eighteenth Century Irish and European history for virtually all his life; one significant aspect of this has been a continuing scholarly as well as personal interest in the extended O’Connell family. As a result, in 2014, Mr. O’Connell began writing a series of historical fiction novels, now known as the Derrynane Saga. His first book, Beyond Derrynane: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe, was published by The Gortcullinane Press in July 2016, is in global circulation and has received a range of positive critical reviews, in the United States, the UK and in Europe. An alumnus of Don Bosco Preparatory School, he is a graduate of Providence College and Georgetown University Law Centre. For much of his forty-plus year long legal career, Mr. O’Connell has practiced international business transactional law, primarily involving direct-investment matters, throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East O’Connell is married, has five children and ten grandchildren. He resides with his wife, Laurette, and their golden retriever, Katie, near Annapolis, Maryland, USA.

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THE CURIOUS AFFAIR OF THE SOMNAMBULIST AND THE PSYCHIC THIEF by Lisa Tuttle

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I found this little gem on Net Galley and it seemed like the type of historical mystery that I would enjoy. I loved this duo of detectives and I particularly liked how much of this story is told from a woman’s point of view — a POV that loses sight of the intricacies of a women’s role in Victorian England.
Well-written and well-plotted, I can only hope that this is the start of a series!
Thank you for my review e-copy!
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BENEATH A SCARLET SKY by Mark Sullivan

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A Note From the Publisher

So – now I think: “this reminds me of a Mark Sullivan novel!”
I think this novel would appeal to many, and I particularly liked the afterword where Sullivan follows up on Pino and the other characters in how they lived the rest of their lives.
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THE PARIS SPY by Susan Elia MacNeal

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If you know me, you know I LOVE the Maggie Hope books! I always thought of them as cozy mysteries, but really that does not do them justice. I always learn something from reading them and they are serious, but not gory. They remind me of something I’d watch on PBS or the BBC — thoughtful and historically accurate, but entertaining. This latest is no exception. The war (WWII) is progressing, and Maggie is still hard at work for the Allies. Planning for the D-Day Invasion is the storyline behind this novel, and Maggie is trying to get top secret information through to those who need it. As always Susan Elia MacNeal has done her research and presents loads of historically accurate details to make her story come alive. I do love the strong character of Maggie, and I never get tired of reading these books!
Thank you for my review e-copy!
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HFVBTour for BLOOD MOON by Ruth Hull Chatlien with Giveaway!

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I haven’t done many book tours this summer as my tbr pile was huge and I was catching up, but I couldn’t say no to this novel – based on a true story of a woman held by Native Americans in Minnesota during the 1860’s. I enjoyed this story and found it so interesting. I particularly liked how Chatlien portrays the mixed feelings Sarah has and is faced with when she returns to her community. Her relationship with her husband is complex as is her relationship with her “captors” – whom she never feels are captors, but are her protectors. This was one of those books that I could not put down!

Here’s the scoop on it:

Blood Moon: A Captive’s Tale by Ruth Hull Chatlien

Publication Date: June 14, 2017
Amika Press
Paperback & eBook; 424 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

READ AN EXCERPT.

Southern Minnesota, August 1862. Smoke fills the horizon and blood soaks the prairie as the Sioux fight to drive white settlers from their ancestral homeland. Sarah Wakefield and her young son and baby daughter are fleeing for their lives when two warriors capture them. One is Hapa, who intends to murder them. The other is Chaska, an old acquaintance who promises to protect the family. Chaska shelters them in his mother’s tepee, but with emotions running so high among both Indians and whites, the danger only intensifies. As she struggles to protect herself and those she loves, Sarah is forced to choose between doing what others expect of her and following her own deep beliefs.

“Chatlien’s mastery of the historical period—especially the life and culture of the Sioux—is notable and creates a fictional atmosphere of authenticity. A subtle dramatization of the conflict between white settlers and Native Americans in the 19th century.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Richly detailed, Blood Moon is an intrepid tale of bravery and adventure in America’s western frontiers. Perfect for fans of immersive historical fiction.” – Stephanie Thornton, author of The Tiger Queens and The Conqueror’s Wife

“An engrossing tale of struggle and justice-of friendship, mercy, and a rare, moving love. Ruth Hull Chatlien writes with great sensitivity and vivid yet subtle prose. Blood Moon is a must-read for fans of western novels, as well as women’s historical fiction.” -Libbie Hawker, author of Tidewater

Amazon | Amika Press | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the Author

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Ruth Hull Chatlien has been a writer and editor of educational materials for nearly thirty years, specializing in U.S. and world history. She is the author of Modern American Indian Leaders for middle-grade readers. Her award-winning first novel, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte, portrays the tumultuous life of Elizabeth “Betsy” Patterson Bonaparte. Her latest novel, Blood Moon: A Captive’s Tale, is now available for pre-order.

She lives in northeastern Illinois with her husband, Michael, and a very pampered dog named Smokey. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found gardening, knitting, drawing, painting, or watching football.

For more information please visit Ruth’s website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads. Sign up for Ruth’s newsletter here.

Blog Tour Schedule

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Monday, August 7
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, August 8
Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, August 9
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, August 14
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, August 15
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, August 16
Spotlight at Cafinated Reads

Thursday, August 17
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Monday, August 21
Review at Must Read Faster

Friday, August 25
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, August 28
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, August 29
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, August 31
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, September 1
Review at Broken Teepee
Interview & Excerpt at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, September 7
Review at Locks, Hooks, and Books

Friday, September 8
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 5 copies of Blood Moon: A Captive’s Tale and two $25 Amazon Gift Cards! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

 

DIRECT LINK: https://gleam.io/y5vPi/bloodmoon

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One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn

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I found this title online and was happy to receive it through Net Galley for my iPad.

It is billed as a children’s book, but I think the content more appropriate for YA or adults. (similar to the conversations about WOLF HOLLOW — is that really a children’s book? I say not).

In this novel, young Annie is the new girl at school and she snubs an unpopular but clingy and unkind girl, who then contracts influenza and haunts Annie. Lots to think and talk about with this one in regards to how we treat others, and/or in the historical context of WWI.

Here’s the overview:

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Again — it’s not just for children! I enjoyed it and read it straight through in a sitting.
Thank you for my review copy!
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THE ALICE NETWORK by Kate Quinn

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I had heard some chatter about this novel when it first came out earlier this summer, so I was excited to score a copy through Edelweiss. This was a compelling story about female Resistance members and spies in both WWI and WWII (which you rarely get in a novel!).

Here’s the overview via Amazon:

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the “queen of spies,” who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. That is until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth . . . no matter where it leads.

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Oh my goodness — how I loved these characters, Charlie and Eve! Such strong women who could truly fight for a cause. I love it when the main characters are just so perfectly imperfect. You love them because they seem so real.

This was a solid story — at times sad, at times I laughed.

Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction!

Thank you for my review copy!!

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DEVOTION by Meg Kerr

A few months ago, Prism Publishers in Canada sent me a pdf of Meg Kerr’s new novel DEVOTION, a continuation of Pride and Prejudice. Thank you!!

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Here’s the overview:

After answering in her first novel Experience some burning questions that Pride & Prejudice fans have always asked — just how happy ever after were Elizabeth and Darcy following their wedding? And what became of the other Bennet sisters?— in her companion novel Devotion Meg continues  the story of the Darcy family, with particular attention to Darcy’s younger sister, Georgiana.

Devotion follows the now 20-year-old Georgiana Darcy. While her brother sets out without her knowledge to secure her a husband, Georgiana, upon receipt of a long-delayed letter, embarks on a secret journey—leading to a chance meeting with a charming yet wicked young man with nefarious intentions.

The story is full of intrigue, romance and humour, it also brings to the forefront stories of some other characters first introduced in Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice, including Caroline Bingley and Pen Harrington, and seamlessly introduces new characters while maintaining the integrity of Austen’s beloved classic tale.

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I have to be honest, now, and say that normally I detest these types of novels as authors rarely “get it right” (remember – I spend my spare time cavorting around the home of the Alcott’s and I consider Louisa May a kindred spirit. No one has captured LMA’s storytelling skills to date.).

I have to say that I loved this story! I loved the writing and was amazed by how well Ms. Kerr captured the nuances of 19th century style. I enjoyed the storyline and I think that others who love Austen will, too.

FROM JULY 15-JULY 19, 2017 YOU CAN GET DEVOTION FREE FOR YOUR KINDLE VIA AMAZON! Woot!

Here’s a bit about her (I want her to visit Boston so I can show her Orchard House and we can talk about the 1800’s. I will wear my hoop skirt!):

What do you do when you live in the twenty-first century but a piece of your heart lies in the nineteenth? If you are author Meg Kerr you let your head and hand follow your heart. With her love of country life—dogs and horses, long walks in the woods and fields, dining with family and neighbours and dancing with friends, reading and writing and the best conversation—and her familiarity with eighteenth and nineteenth century history and literature, Meg has a natural gift to inhabit, explore and reimagine the world that Jane Austen both dwelt in and created, and to draw readers there with her.

Her forthcoming book, Devotion, will be available in the summer of 2017.

 Here are a few videos of Meg talking about her novel – check them out!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/472d9xav1c9qprc/DEVOTION_3TheOthers.mp4?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/l8uxexsw4qsz6pz/DEVOTION_2MrDarcy.mp4?dl=0

 

 

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THE WITCHFINDER’S SISTER by Beth Underdown

So — I recently found this novel on Net Galley and since I love historical fiction and things like Salem, I thought it would be a great read.

This book totally haunted me and I was horrified to find out it was based on many real events. It was very well done and well-written but also very disturbing. The characters are well developed and more than once I was thankful that I did not live in those times!

Here’s the overview via Net Galley (I loved the gorgeous cover!):

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Thank you for my review copy!
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