Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

THE TUSCAN CHILD by Rhys Bowen

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If you read me, you know I love Rhys Bowen’s mystery series (Molly Murphy and Royal Spyness, to name two of them). Every now and then she steps out and writes a stand alone (e.g. In Farleigh Field). THE TUSCAN CHILD is just that – a stand alone novel that tells the story of a WWII lost love, a young woman looking for part of her past, and the beautiful Tuscan countryside that is the setting for it all.

Here’s the scoop:

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A Note From the Publisher

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I really enjoyed this one (no surprise), and I think readers who enjoy mystery and family relationships and WWII will connect with this novel.
I received this e-copy via Ms. Bowen’s publicist and Net Galley – thank you!!
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SHADOW BY THE BRIDGE by Suzanne Tewan — HFVBTours — with Giveaway!

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Today I’m giving a shout out to a historical fiction novel that is based on true events: Shadow by the Bridge by Suzanne Zewan. It takes place in the early 1900’s  when a serial killer was stalking a small town in New York. Check it out!

Shadow by the Bridge by Suzanne Zewan
 
Publication Date: November 1, 2017
No Frills Buffalo
eBook & Paperback; 368 Pages
 
Genre: Historical Mystery
 
11-year-old Fritz Reynolds recalled his father telling him that man is the only creature who can find amusement in killing. Little did he realize that those words would become the theme for his teenage years growing up in the rural hamlet of Linden, New York. In this coming-of-age story, Fritz takes us back to a simpler time when neighbors gathered at the general store to listen to radio shows, drank barrel-aged cider, and worshiped at the Baptist church every Sunday. All was picturesque in his close-knit farming community until terror was unleashed on them.
 
About the Author
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Suzanne is coordinator at Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and is an adjunct professor at Buffalo State College. She has a M.A. in English and Creative Writing and a M.S.Ed. in Career and Technical Education. Other publications include a poem in Jigsaw (2014), a short story and two poems in Jigsaw (2016), and a short story in Amaranth Review (2016).
But wait! There’s more! A Giveaway!!

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two paperback copies of Shadow by the Bridge to one lucky winner! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents 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.

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THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE by Melanie Benjamin

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I love Melanie Benjamin’s writing, so I was excited to find this book on Net Galley. If you know me, you know I LOVE reading about the heyday of Hollywood. This novel is a fictionalized account based on the true story of the relationship between Frances Marion and Mary Pickford.  I didn’t know any of this and found it both interesting, and a bit sad. If you like reading about old Hollywood, you’ll enjoy this one!

Here’s the description:

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DEAD MAN’S CHEST by Kerry Greenwood

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I love watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on PBS. Phryne is definitely in a class by herself. And the costumes are to die for — very Downton! I was thrilled to find a Miss Fisher mystery on Net Galley. I have read other mysteries of favorite shows, but this one was different. It gave a greater depth to the characters and spent a lot of time in character development. There was a mystery, of course, and lots of twists and intrigue, but overall, it was a very solid and pleasant story.

Here’s the overview:

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If you enjoy the series on PBS (haven’t watched it? start now and thank me later!), you will enjoy this novel full of favorite people and fun!

Thank you for my review e-copy!

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HFVBTour for Anna Belfrage’s THERE IS ALWAYS A TOMORROW – Book 9 of the Graham Saga – with Giveaway!

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As always, I am beyond thrilled to be chatting about Anna Belfrage’s new book in the Graham Saga: THERE IS ALWAYS A TOMORROW. While all of the Graham books can stand alone as titles, I enjoy reading them in order. This time-travelling series is the only time travel books I truly enjoy (beyond Outlander) and I think that is due to Anna’s ability to capture incredibly realistic details, while creating relatable and very “human” characters, full of emotion, flaws, and lovable characteristics. This one was no exception. I immediately picked up where I left off with these characters, and enjoyed following their exploits.

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

Here’s the overview on this installment:

There is Always a Tomorrow by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: November 5, 2017
Timelight Press
eBook & Paperback; ISBN: 9781788039666

Series: Graham Saga, Book #9
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Slip

There is Always a Tomorrow is the ninth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

It is 1692 and the Colony of Maryland is still adapting to the consequences of Coode’s Rebellion some years previously. Religious tolerance in the colony is now a thing of the past, but safe in their home, Alex and Matthew Graham have no reason to suspect they will become embroiled in the ongoing religious conflicts—until one of their sons betrays their friend Carlos Muñoz to the authorities.

Matthew Graham does not leave his friends to rot—not even if they’re papist priests—so soon enough most of the Graham family is involved in a rescue attempt, desperate to save Carlos from a sentence that may well kill him.

Meanwhile, in London little Rachel is going through hell. In a matter of months she loses everything, even her surname, as apparently her father is not Master Cooke but one Jacob Graham. Not that her paternity matters when her entire life implodes.

Will Alex and Matthew be able to help their unknown grandchild? More importantly, will Rachel want their help?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

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Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

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Monday, November 27
Review at A Holland Reads

Tuesday, November 28
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Wednesday, November 29
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Thursday, November 30
Feature at WS Momma Readers Nook
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, December 1
Review at Just One More Chapter

Sunday, December 3
Feature at T’s Stuff

Monday, December 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, December 5
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, December 6
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, December 7
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Friday, December 8
Review at A Bookish Affair

Monday, December 11
Feature at View From the Birdhouse
Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Tuesday, December 12
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, December 13
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, December 14
Feature at Passages to the Past

Friday, December 15
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, December 18
Feature at A Book Geek

Tuesday, December 19
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, December 20
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, December 21
Review at Broken Teepee
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

 

Giveaway!

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 2 eBooks & 2 paperback copies of There is Always a Tomorrow! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– 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/vAREM/there-is-always-a-tomorrow

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Christmas on the Coast by Rebecca Boxall

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This was one of my many holiday reading picks from Net Galley this year. I really enjoyed this story that jumped between current day and WWII, as a woman reads her great-aunt diary.

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Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

I love both of these authors individually, so you can image my excitement when I saw that they had collaborated on a novel of WWI! Told primarily through correspondence and telegrams, Last Christmas in Paris tells the story of Evie and Thomas, family friends who have grown up together and who fall in love through their letters during the war.

Moving back in forth from the present (well, late 1960’s) to the war, this is a touching story that has a lot of detail and information in it. It makes you ponder the power of the written word and I wonder if a heartfelt letter is truly a thing of the past. It certainly is in danger of extinction!

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…

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Thank you for my review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss! Highly recommended for this holiday season — and beyond!

I also had the distinct opportunity of seeing Heather and Hazel speak at the Concord Bookshop recently for a delightful evening. I love it when authors have the chance to make their work come alive.

 

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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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