Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

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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GIN AND PANIC by Maia Chance

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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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The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

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I had heard about this book, so I was excited when I saw it come up on sale for kindle recently. I bought it and read it on my recent vacation. I’m a huge Christie fan, and I knew about her time “missing” when she was dealing with her marriage issues and stress. This book takes it the next step to create the situation of Agatha taking the Orient Express in order to recuperate from her divorce and to not think about her husband’s upcoming marriage. She meets two women – both with something to hide, and the three become friends, sharing some adventures and excitement along the way.

Here’s the overview via Amazon:

Hoping to make a clean break from a fractured marriage, Agatha Christie boards the Orient Express in disguise. But unlike her famous detective Hercule Poirot, she can’t neatly unravel the mysteries she encounters on this fateful journey.

Agatha isn’t the only passenger on board with secrets. Her cabinmate Katharine Keeling’s first marriage ended in tragedy, propelling her toward a second relationship mired in deceit. Nancy Nelson—newly married but carrying another man’s child—is desperate to conceal the pregnancy and teeters on the brink of utter despair. Each woman hides her past from the others, ferociously guarding her secrets. But as the train bound for the Middle East speeds down the track, the parallel courses of their lives shift to intersect—with lasting repercussions.

Filled with evocative imagery, suspense, and emotional complexity, The Woman on the Orient Express explores the bonds of sisterhood forged by shared pain and the power of secrets.

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I loved this novel! It did an excellent job in portraying Ms. Christie and the pain and struggle that comes with a major life change. There was a bit of a mystery, along with a range of emotions. It was an excellent read and I highly recommend it to lovers of historical fiction (and Agatha Christie!).

 

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THE TEA PLANTER’S WIFE by Dinah Jefferies

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I had heard good things about this book, so I was thrilled to recently receive it through Net Galley. It is historical fiction set in Ceylon – now known as Sri Lanka.

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The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron

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I loved  Kristy Cambron’s books I’ve read (Sparrow in Terezin; The Butterfly and the Violin), so I was more than thrilled when I was asked to read and review her latest novel: THE RINGMASTER’S WIFE. It’s a historical fiction piece that centers on two women joining in with the circus in the early part of the 1900’s.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

An ounce of courage.

A leap of faith.

Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.

In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confi nes of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.

A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her arranged marriage. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.

When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, choosing instead the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.

A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the Greatest Show on Earth!

“Vibrant with the glamour and awe that flourished under the Big Top in the 1920s, The Ringmaster’s Wife invites the reader [into] the Greatest Show on Earth.” —Joanne Bischof, award-winning author of The Lady and the Lionheart

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If you read me, you know I love my historical fiction and this book was no exception! What an interesting look into a time and place that is no longer with us – the heyday of the American circus. I found the character of Mable Ringling quite fascinating, and spent time afterwards reading about her life online. Kristy’s writing never disappoints and I enjoyed the two storylines – even though they moved a bit in and out of chronology – and I always enjoy strong female characters!

This book is published by the Christian line at Harper Collins (Thomas Nelson) but I did not find this book to be a typical “Christian fiction” piece. Just my opinion! It read as historical fiction about two fascinating women – one whom was just as fascinating in real life.

Thank you, Elizabeth from Smith Publicity, for my ARC review copy!

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THE TUMBLING TURNER SISTERS by Juliette Fay

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I had heard about this book a while ago (it publishes on Tuesday the 14th) and I thought I would like it – I was not wrong! Juliette Fay – a new author for me – does a spectacular job of making 1920’s vaudeville come alive through the story of four sisters, and their mother, who create an acrobatic act in order to make money for their family during tough times.

Here’s the overview via Net Galley:

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Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour for THE BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN by Jeanne Mackin with GIVEAWAY!

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The Beautiful American
by Jeanne Mackin

Publication Date: June 3, 2014
NAL/Penguin Group
Formats: eBook, Paperback, Audio
352 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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As recovery from World War II begins, expat American Nora Tours travels from her home in southern France to London in search of her missing sixteen-year-old daughter. There, she unexpectedly meets up with an old acquaintance, famous model-turned-photographer Lee Miller. Neither has emerged from the war unscathed. Nora is racked with the fear that her efforts to survive under the Vichy regime may have cost her daughter’s life. Lee suffers from what she witnessed as a war correspondent photographing the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.

Nora and Lee knew each other in the heady days of late 1920’s Paris, when Nora was giddy with love for her childhood sweetheart, Lee became the celebrated mistress of the artist Man Ray, and Lee’s magnetic beauty drew them all into the glamorous lives of famous artists and their wealthy patrons. But Lee fails to realize that her friendship with Nora is even older, that it goes back to their days as children in Poughkeepsie, New York, when a devastating trauma marked Lee forever. Will Nora’s reunion with Lee give them a chance to forgive past betrayals, and break years of silence?

A novel of freedom and frailty, desire and daring, The Beautiful American portrays the extraordinary relationship between two passionate, unconventional woman.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION |GOOGLE PLAY | IBOOKSTORE | INDIEBOUND |POWELL’S

PRAISE

“Will transport you to expat Paris.” – Suzanne Rindell, author of The Other Typist

“A brilliant, beautifully written literary masterpiece” – Sandra Dallas, author of Fallen Women

“Leaves its essence of love, loss, regret and hope long after the novel concludes.” – Erika Robuck, author of Fallen Beauty

“Achingly beautiful and utterly mesmerizing…her vividly drawn characters…come heartbreakingly alive in their obsessions, tragedies and triumphs” – Jennifer Robson, author of Somewhere in France

“From Poughkeepsie to Paris, from the razzmatazz of the twenties to the turmoil of World War Two and the perfume factories of Grasse, Mackin draws you into the world of expatriate artists and photographers and tells a story of love, betrayal, survival and friendship…an engaging and unforgettable novel” – Renee Rosen, author Doll Face

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanne Mackin’s novel, The Beautiful American (New American Library), based on the life of photographer and war correspondent Lee Miller, received the 2014 CNY award for fiction. Her other novels include A Lady of Good Family, about gilded age personality Beatrix Farrand, The Sweet By and By, about nineteenth century spiritualist Maggie Fox, Dreams of Empire set in Napoleonic Egypt, The Queen’s War, about Eleanor of Aquitaine, and The Frenchwoman, set in revolutionary France and the Pennsylvania wilderness.

Jeanne Mackin is also the author of the Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers (Cornell University publications) and co-editor of The Book of Love (W.W. Norton.) She was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and a keynote speaker for The Dickens Fellowship. Her work in journalism won awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, in Washington, D.C. She has taught or conducted workshops in Pennsylvania, Hawaii and at Goddard College in Vermont.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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Here I am!

I am really excited to be part of this blog tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received an audiobook CD version of this novel and listened to it during my new, lengthy commute. This was a somewhat sad story, but interesting. 1920’s was truly a heyday in Paris and I’ve always found the ex-pat lifestyle of that time quite fascinating and love to read about it. If you read me regularly, you know I love reading about the WWII era, and this book moved into the war and the characters’ experiences before and afterwards. I found Nora’s search for her daughter heart-wreching, and kept my fingers crossed for a happy ending!

These characters were based on real people, which made the storyline even more poignant. I had never heard of Lee Miller and her work in photography. The CD’s (ten of them) moved quickly and Mackin’s writing flows easily. Her words are read in a smooth, soothing style by Kate Reading.

This was a compelling story that would engage readers who like to read of this era. Thank you for my review CD’s!

But wait – there’s more!

You can enter to win a free copy of this novel — go to:

The Beautiful American
https://js.gleam.io/e.js

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HFVBT for THE FORGOTTEN FLAPPER by Laini Giles

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I’m a stop on the historical fiction blog tour for Laini Giles’ novel: THE FORGOTTEN FLAPPER. I absolutely loved this creative novel which focuses on Olive Thomas, a real life star of stage and early film. In the novel, the ghost of Olive is living at the New Amsterdam Theater in NYC. She delves into her past and tells her story, from growing up in the midwest to becoming a star, to her work with some of the biggest names of the day. She focuses on her marriage to Jack Pickford (Mary Pickford’s brother) and then her untimely death. Her character and voice is so strong throughout this story, that I looked up Olive Thomas afterwards and found out more about her. Here’s a picture of her, taken from google images:

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I found Olive fascinating and just like the novel’s ghost, she continues to haunt me. I love just about any story about the early days of Hollywood and the heyday of big name classic movie stars, but this one is a stand out. It looks like it’s the start of a series of books about actresses so I can’t wait for the next one! Thank you for my review e-copy and making me part of the tour!

Here’s what HFBVT has to say:

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The Forgotten Flapper: A Novel of Olive Thomas (Forgotten Actress Series, Volume 1)
by Laini Giles

Publication Date: August 1, 2015
Publisher: Sepia Stories Publishing
Formats: eBook & Trade Paperback
Pages: 411

Genre: Historical Fiction/Biographical

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A presence lurks in New York City’s New Amsterdam Theatre when the lights go down and the audience goes home. They say she’s the ghost of Olive Thomas, one of the loveliest girls who ever lit up the Ziegfeld Follies and the silent screen. From her longtime home at the theater, Ollie’s ghost tells her story from her early life in Pittsburgh to her tragic death at twenty-five.

After winning a contest for “The Most Beautiful Girl in New York,” shopgirl Ollie modeled for the most famous artists in New York, and then went on to become the toast of Broadway. When Hollywood beckoned, Ollie signed first with Triangle Pictures, and then with Myron Selznick’s new production company, becoming most well known for her work as a “baby vamp,” the precursor to the flappers of the 1920s.

After a stormy courtship, she married playboy Jack Pickford, Mary Pickford’s wastrel brother. Together they developed a reputation for drinking, club-going, wrecking cars, and fighting, along with giving each other expensive make-up gifts. Ollie’s mysterious death in Paris’ Ritz Hotel in 1920 was one of Hollywood’s first scandals, ensuring that her legend lived on.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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A native of Austin, Texas, Laini Giles grew up the daughter of bookworms, and became a Nancy Drew devotee early on. When she realized there might be no escape from hairy tarantulas and bad guys with guns, she put her detective dreams on hold and wrote about them instead, finishing her first mystery novel with custom illustrations when she was eight. It was this love of mystery combined with a love of old MGM musicals and The Marx Brothers that led her to check Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon out of the library during her formative years. Ideas began to simmer.

A graduate of the University of North Texas, she put the writing on hold for a while when real life got in the way (i.e.—she met and married her Canadian husband and headed north for maple-flavored goodies and real beer). She highly recommends moving to another country and not being able to work for a year for finishing any novels you may have laying around.

Laini and her husband live in Edmonton, Alberta with their three gray girl cats, nicknamed The Supremes.

For more information visit Laini Giles’ website and blog. You can also find her on Twitter andGoodreads.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, August 3
Kick Off & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, August 4
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, August 5
Book Blast/Spotlight at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, August 6
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, August 7
Book Blast/Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, August 10
Review at Book Babe

Tuesday, August 11
Book Blast/Spotlight at Room With Books

Wednesday, August 12
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Thursday, August 13
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Friday, August 14
Spotlight & Giveaway at To Read, or Not to Read

Saturday, August 15
Book Blast/Spotlight at Please Pass the Books

Monday, August 17
Book Blast/Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, August 18
Book Blast/Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, August 19
Review at A Book Drunkard

Thursday, August 20
Spotlight & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse

Friday, August 21
Book Blast/Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, August 24
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, August 26
Review & Giveaway at Raven Haired Girl

Thursday, August 27
Book Blast/Spotlight at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

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CIRCLING THE SUN by Paula McLain

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Publishing at the end of the month (July 28, 2015) is a really fantastic novel about female aviator Beryl Markham: Paula McLain’s CIRCLING THE SUN.

I first heard of Beryl Markham when I read her memoir, WEST WITH THE NIGHT. I was going through a “female aviator phase” and was reading about Anne Lindbergh (my personal hero – don’t get me started!), Amelia Earhart, and Beryl Markham. I had not heard of Beryl before, but found her absolutely fascinating! Beryl was English, but grew up in Kenya in the early years of the 1900’s. Her mother deserted her and her father and returned to England. Beryl was a wild child: precocious, tough, and in love with the land and culture of Africa. Nothing stopped her. Again and again she pushed against the restrictions against women. She became a noted horse trainer (first female). She became a bush pilot. She actually is the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic east to west. A very personal side of Beryl is shown in this novel – her loves, her triumphs, her foibles. The love triangle with her, Karen von Blixen (Out of Africa author), and Denys Finch Hatten is portrayed in depth here. In all, you come to know Beryl Markham intimately.

I loved McLain’s earlier work, THE PARIS WIFE, and loved this novel, too. These characters came alive and are still with me, weeks after I finished the novel. They are so interesting – so real – so human. Don’t miss this one.

And if you like it, read Beryl’s own WEST WITH THE NIGHT.

Find them at an indie near you (I am an Indie Bound Affiliate):


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Thank you, Net Galley and Random House Ballantine, for my review copy!

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