Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN by Ellen Marie Wiseman

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Another book I “wished” for on Net Galley – and was lucky enough to receive! – was THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN by Ellen Marie Wiseman. I had been hearing good things about this story of a girl who joins the circus. This was a really memorable read, interesting yet disturbing, and eventually I felt haunted by the ending. But – it was soooo good! If you like historical fiction, and can handle the disturbing child neglect/abuse, then you should check out this novel!

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Some readers may find the alternating points of view confusing, but each story was moving along a tangent where you know they would eventually converge.
If I had one issue, it’s that I like a happy ending that is neat and tidy.
This one still haunts me…
Thank you for my review copy!
You can find this book on Amazon where I am an Associate. It publishes in late July:

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LEMONS by Melissa Savage

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If you read me, you know I love my kid lit, and this book was a great addition to that popular genre. Here’s the overview:

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Fun to read with a story that is both humorous yet touching, LEMONS is one I will be recommending at my school!
Thank you for my review copy!
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Audiobooks I’ve Been Enjoying…

I’m embarrassed to say that I am way way WAY behind in blogging about the audiobooks I’ve been listening to during the commute from Hades. I purchase most of my audiobooks via Audible/Amazon (links to Amazon where I am an Associate and where you can read more about them).

A while ago I listened to THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead and narrated by Bahni Turpin. Let’s be honest, everyone was reading this and I heard nothing but amazing reviews. It was well written but I found it too violently disturbing and graphic. Not sure what I was expecting from a novel on slavery, but I did struggle to get through this one.

THE MAGICIAN’S ELEPHANT by Kate DiCamillo, read by Juliet Stevenson, was one I got for the kids. This was a sweet, solid story.

WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE by Maria Semple and narrated by Kathleen Wilhoite was a novel that I’ve been avoiding because I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. Boy was I wrong. I loved this story and the characters! It was a great listen and I’m so happy I finally got to it. I thought it would be depressing but it wasn’t.

HILLBILLY ELEGY written and read by JD Vance was one for our work book club. To be honest, I feared this non-fiction read would be boring. Not at all! This was a relatively short listen (about 7 hours) and I loved it! It was incredibly interesting, and having it read in Mr. Vance’s voice made it even more compelling. I have no hillbilly background, but this story speaks to more than one area of the US. It’s a commentary on social class and economic status and how these things separate us and how difficult it is for someone to pull themself from poverty. Fascinating and well done!

I followed ELEGY with MY BRILLIANT FRIEND by Elena Ferrante, read by Hilary Huber. Where has this series been all my life? This was an incredibly gritty look (book one of a series) at a life growing up outside of Naples. I loved it as that’s where my heritage is – culture, family values, and faith were main players in guiding these folks lives, and I can’t wait to get the next novel in this series.

Nothing helps the commute from Hades than something suspenseful, so I got a deal on SK Tremayne’s THE FIRE CHILD, read by Imogen Church. Suspenseful and fun, this one kept me entertained while fighting Boston traffic.

I received a free copy from the publicist of Amity Allen’s POISON MY PRETTY, the first in the cozy witch mystery series (read by Rachel Fulginiti). This was a great cozy read, following a mystery, a beauty pageant, and a young woman who is part witch. I look forward to hearing about (no pun intended!) more books in the series!

I was SO excited to get LINCOLN IN THE BARDO (read by a whole host of people) because I heard this was the best thing since — well — The Underground Railroad. All I can ask is: what is happening in this story? I was so confused. Perhaps it’s one you should not listen to in traffic? Who were all those people? I feel like I should have had an introduction to whatever was going on well before I purchased it. I DNF’ed it.

Slightly less confusing, but still confusing, was INTO THE WATER by Paula Hawkins, read by Laura Aikman et al. I loved Girl on the Train and I expected more of the same. Well, it was and it wasn’t. Again – confusing while commuting as I was asking myself who all these people were. While I eventually “got it”, I had to work at it, which is hard to do in traffic, so I think this one is better read.

Finally, I’ve ended this week on the high of an incredible read: Lisa See’s THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE, read by Ruthie Ann Miles et al. I love everything Lisa See has ever written and this historical fiction piece following a young woman in China and the baby she gives up for adoption was just sublime.

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IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE by Christina June

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Net Galley has a section where you can “wish” for a book — it’s not readily available for request or to all audiences. Well I wished and got this one – and I’m so happy I did! While this is billed as a “Cinderella story”, I found it to be a well-written and insightful YA novel about a teen girl dealing with coming of age issues. I’ll be recommending it to my 14 year old and to my middle schoolers.

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Thank you SO MUCH for making me part of the “wishes granted” group. I feel like Cinderella!

You can find this book at your local library or favorite indie — or online at Amazon, where I am an Associate:

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THE FINISHING SCHOOL by Joanna Goodman

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I had heard about this book via the blogosphere, but I couldn’t get it via my usual sources; thus I was thrilled when the author kindly sent me a copy of it!

Here’s the overview via Amazon:

In this suspenseful, provocative novel of friendship, secrets, and deceit, a successful writer returns to her elite Swiss boarding school to get to the bottom of a tragic accident that took place while she was a student twenty years earlier.

How far would you go to uncover the truth?

One spring night in 1998 the beautiful Cressida Strauss plunges from a fourth-floor balcony at the Lycée Internationale Suisse with catastrophic consequences. Loath to draw negative publicity to the school, a bastion of European wealth and glamour, officials quickly dismiss the incident as an accident, but questions remain: Was it a suicide attempt? Or was Cressida pushed? It was no secret that she had a selfish streak and had earned as many enemies as allies in her tenure at the school. For her best friend, scholarship student Kersti Kuusk, the lingering questions surrounding Cressida’s fall continue to nag long after she leaves the Lycée.

Kersti marries and becomes a bestselling writer, but never stops wondering about Cressida’s obsession with the Helvetian Society—a secret club banned years before their arrival at the school—and a pair of its members who were expelled. When Kersti is invited as a guest to the Lycée’s 100th Anniversary, she begins probing the cover-up, unearthing a frightening underbelly of lies and abuse at the prestigious establishment. And in one portentous moment, Kersti makes a decision that will connect her to Cressida forever and raise the stakes dangerously high in her own desire to solve the mystery and redeem her past.

An unputdownable read as clever as it is compelling, The Finishing School offers a riveting glimpse into a privileged, rarefied world in which nothing is as it appears.

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So – if you read me, you know that I love novels that take place in boarding schools and that are suspenseful. This storyline pulled me in from the start and kept me reading. It does toggle back and forth in time, from the girls’ time there as students to Kersti in modern life, which I know some readers don’t like. I did figure out most of the mystery well in advance of its big reveal, but I enjoyed it anyway. At first I thought I would give it to my 8th grader to read when I was done, but sexual content and abuse included makes me say this one is really for adults or older YA readers.

Quick to read and with a story that can haunt you, The Finishing School is a suspenseful summer find! Thank you for my review copy!

Find it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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IF I RUN by Terri Blackstock

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I received this a while ago from Net Galley (thank you for my copy!) and read it in two days. It was a thrilling and suspenseful read! I see it’s the beginning of a series with “If I’m Found” as Book Two. It is a bit reminiscent of the Fugitive (or whatever that show was when I was a kid with the man accused of killing his wife and he was innocent).

Here’s the overview:

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Perfect for summer! This came out last year and the sequel this year (2017) and should be readily available at your favorite indie bookstore, online, or at your local library!

Find it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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CROSSING THE STREET by Molly D. Campbell

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Crossing the Street

by Molly D. Campbell

on Tour May 9 – July 7, 2017

Synopsis:

Crossing the Street by Molly D. CampbellThis wasn’t the way Beck Throckmorton had planned it. She wasn’t expecting to find herself in her thirties writing erotica and making flat whites for a living while she stewed over that fact that her ex had wound up with her sister. She never saw herself living in a small suburban Ohio town with an octogenarian neighbor best friend. And she definitely wouldn’t have imagined the eight-year-old great-granddaughter of that friend turning her world upside down.

As summer comes around, Beck’s life is unsettled in every way. And that’s before the crazy stuff starts: the sister taunting her with her pregnancy, the infuriatingly perfect boyfriend, the multiple trips to the emergency room. The needy, wise-beyond-her-years little girl finding places in her heart that Beck didn’t even know existed.

Beck has found herself at an emotional intersection she never anticipated. And now it’s time to cross the street.

CROSSING THE STREET is a funny, touching novel that brims life’s complexities. Filled with characters both distinctive and welcomingly familiar, it is a story that will entertain and enlighten.

 

I loved this book! It was easy to read and laugh out loud enjoyable. I love stories which feature characters that change and evolve throughout. Beck was a strong main character, but I also really enjoyed her wacky sister, her elderly neighbor (I thought I was the only one with an 80 year old bestie!), her more perfect than she is boyfriend, and of course the spunky little girl across the street. This was a positive read and perfect for summer! Giveaway is below. Please enter!!

Thank you for my review e-copy!

Book Details

Genre: Women’s Fiction
Published by: The Story Plant
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Number of Pages: 290

Purchase Crossing the Street on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Author Bio:

Molly D. CampbellMolly D. Campbell is a two-time Erma Bombeck Writing Award winner and the author of one previous novel, Keep the Ends Loose. Molly blogs at http://mollydcampbell.com. Also an artist, Molly’s work can be found at http://www.cafepress.com/notexactlypicasso. Molly lives in Dayton with her accordionist husband and four cats.

Catch Up With Molly: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Molly D. Campbell and The Story Plant. There will be 1 winner of 1 Amazon.com Gift Card AND 3 winners of 1 eBook copy of KEEP THE ENDS LOOSE by Molly D. Campbell. The giveaway begins on May 1st and runs through July 8th, 2017. This giveaway is for US residents only. Void where prohibited by law. Enter below.


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Book Blast for WHERE RAINBOWS END by Anne Marie Brear

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Where Rainbows End by AnneMarie Brear

Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Choc Lit
eBook; ASIN: B071P7KBH6

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Romance/Western

Can she hold on to her dreams…?

It’s 1850 and the Noble family have travelled to the other side of the world to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England.

Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plan for an outback farm reality, although her ambition is frowned upon by a society that has very set ideas about a woman’s place…

Pippa learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush, sometimes with devastating consequences. And when unfortunate circumstance leads to Pippa tending the farm alone, it is the friendship of neighbouring estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.

Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa’s dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family’s land, even if it means losing everything else…

“A compelling story of a headstrong woman who defies the traditional female role and forages a successful life through hard work and a strong vision. Excellent descriptions of the outback and the hardships of life in Australia in the 1850’s.” – Amazon Review

You can purchase Where Rainbows End in eBook via:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo

About the Author

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AnneMarie has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, genealogy, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate – not always in that order!

AnneMarie grew up in Australia but now lives in the UK.

For more information please visit AnneMarie Brear’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

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Monday, May 29
Tuesday, May 30
Wednesday, May 31
Thursday, June 1
Friday, June 2
Saturday, June 3
Sunday, June 4
Monday, June 5
Tuesday, June 6
Wednesday, June 7
Thursday, June 8
Friday, June 9
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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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The Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott

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I love books by Kate Alcott, so I was thrilled to see that she wrote one about the heyday of Hollywood. The Hollywood Daughter is told from the point of view of the daughter of a publicist who represents, among others, Ingrid Bergman. Jesse idolizes Ingrid Bergman and when Bergman comes to her school to film The Bells of St. Mary, Jesse’s strict Catholic upbringing and her Hollywood family life collide.

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