Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Partners in Crime Blog Tour for BONE WHITE by Wendy Corsi Staub with Giveaway!

This year I’ve started doing some tours with Partners in Crime and I really enjoy all the e-books they send me! This one linked past and present in subsequent chapters and since I love love love historical mysteries, I enjoyed it a lot! This book is part of a series but it is definitely a stand-alone title as well.

Here’s the overview:

Bone White

by Wendy Corsi Staub

on Tour April 1-30, 2017

Bone White by Wendy Corsi Staub

In Mundy’s Landing, bygone bloodshed has become a big business. During the rigorous winter of 1666, all but five colonists in the small Hudson Valley settlement died of starvation. Accused of unimaginable crimes, James and Elizabeth Mundy and their three children survived, but the couple were later accused of murder and executed. Left to fend for themselves in a hostile community, their offspring lived out exemplary lives in a town that would bear the family name. They never reveal the secret that died with their parents on the gallows… or did they?

“We Shall Never Tell.” Spurred by the cryptic phrase in a centuries-old letter, Emerson Mundy has flown cross-country to her ancestral hometown in hopes of tracing her ancestral past—and perhaps building a future. In Mundy’s Landing, she discovers long lost relatives, a welcoming ancestral home… and a closet full of skeletons.

A year has passed since former NYPD Detective Sullivan Leary solved the historic Sleeping Beauty Murders, apprehended a copycat killer, and made a fresh start in the Hudson Valley. Banking on an uneventful future in a village that’s seen more than its share of bloodshed, Sully is in for an unpleasant surprise when a historic skull reveals a notorious truth. Now she’s on the trail of a murky predator determined to destroy the Mundy family tree, branch by branch.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Published by: William Morrow Mass Market
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0062349775 (ISBN13: 9780062349774)
Series: Mundy’s Landing #3 (Stand Alone)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Wendy Corsi Staub

Author Bio:

New York Times bestseller Wendy Corsi Staub is the award-winning author of more than seventy novels. Wendy now lives in the New York City suburbs with her husband and their two children.

Catch Up With Wendy On Her Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Wendy Corsi Staub and William Morrow. There will be 3 winners of one (1) Print copy of Bone White by Wendy Corsi Staub. The giveaway begins on March 30th and runs through May 2nd, 2017. This giveaway is for US residents only. Void where prohibited by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my review copy!
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THE THINGS WE WISH WERE TRUE by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

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I found this title as a deal of the day on Amazon for my kindle. It was a really captivating story about a group of neighborhood friends who are affected by near-tragic circumstances one summer. It is told through multiple points of view, and with each chapter, you discover a little more about each person as the layers are lifted away. There’s a bit of mystery, a bit of romance, a bit of intrigue. I really enjoyed this read and the ending was quite satisfying! Honestly, it’s the perfect summer read!

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

 

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HFVBTour for BEYOND DERRYNANE by Kevin O’Connell

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I’m so happy to be taking part in the Historical Fiction Blog Tour for DERRYNANE, a story of Ireland in the 1700’s and the start of a saga. It is a beautifully written and engaging story, and the start of a larger chronicle. Here’s the scoop:

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Beyond Derrynane by Kevin O’ Connell

Publication Date: July 7, 2016
Gortcullinane Press
eBook & Paperback; 348 Pages

Series: The Derrynane Saga, Volume 1
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Wed in an arranged marriage to a man nearly fifty years her senior, sixteen-year-old Eileen O’Connell goes from being one of five unmarried sisters to become the mistress of Ballyhar, the great estate of John O’Connor, one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Ireland.

When O’Connor dies suddenly seven months into their marriage, Eileen must decide whether she will fulfill her brother’s strategic goals for her family by marrying her late husband’s son.

Headstrong and outspoken, Eileen frustrates her brother’s wishes, as, through the auspices of her uncle, General Moritz O’Connell of the Imperial Austrian Army, she, along with her ebullient elder sister, Abigail, spend the ensuing richly-dramatic and eventful years at the court of the Empress Maria Theresa in Vienna.The sisters learn to navigate the complex and frequently contradictory ways of the court–making a place for themselves in a world far different from remote Derrynane. Together with the general, they experience a complex life at the pinnacle of the Hapsburg Empire.

Beyond Derrynane – and the three books to follow in The Derrynane Saga – will present 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” (of which the O’Connells were counted as being amongst its few basically still-intact families) at the courts of Catholic Europe, as well as relating their complex, at times dangerous, lives at home in Protestant Ascendancy-ruled Ireland.

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 threads around which the tale itself is woven, into which strategic additions of numerous historical and fictional personalities and events intertwine seamlessly.

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Me again — I loved the character of Eileen in this book. She was quite strong and independent. As someone who’s great grandparents came from Ireland, I thought I was fairly familiar with Irish history, but I really did not know about the expat Irish who went to court in Europe (full disclosure: I came from a fairly long line of farmers not aristocracy!). This book was so interesting and also well-written.

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

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

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Kevin O’Connell is a native of New York City and a descendant of 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 following the execution of Queen Marie Antoinette in October of 1793. At least one grandson subsequently returned to Ireland and Mr. O’Connell’s own grandparents came to New York in the early twentieth century. He holds both Irish and American citizenship.

He is a graduate of Providence College and Georgetown University Law Centre.

For more than four decades, O’Connell has practiced international business transactional law, primarily involving direct-investment matters, throughout Asia (principally China), Europe, and the Middle East.

Mr. O’Connell has been a serious student of selected (especially the Eighteenth Century) periods of the history of Ireland for virtually all of his life; one significant aspect of this has been a continuing scholarly as well as personal interest in the extended O’Connell family at Derrynane, many even distant and long-ago members of which, especially the characters about whom he writes, he has “known” intimately since childhood.

The father of five children and grandfather of ten, he and his wife, Laurette, live with their golden retriever, Katie, near Annapolis, Maryland.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 16
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 17
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, January 18
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, January 19
Review at Books, Dreams, Life

Friday, January 20
Review at The Book Junkie Reads

Sunday, January 22
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, January 23
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, January 24
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Wednesday, January 25
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation

Friday, January 27
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Monday, January 30
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, January 31
Review at Book Nerd

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THE WHOLE TOWN’S TALKING by Fannie Flagg

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Can we just talk about how much I love, love, love the writing of Fannie Flagg? Ms. Flagg’s novels are humorous, well-written, heart-warming, and at times poignant. While I have to claim that FRIED GREEN TOMATOES is my favorite, I love them all (have read them all) and particularly loved STANDING IN THE RAINBOW.

THE WHOLE TOWN’S TALKING is no exception.

Here’s the overview from NG:

The bestselling author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is at her superb best in this fun-loving, moving novel about what it means to be truly alive.

Elmwood Springs, Missouri, is a small town like any other, but something strange is happening at the cemetery. Still Meadows, as it’s called, is anything but still. Original, profound, The Whole Town’s Talking, a novel in the tradition of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Flagg’s own Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven, tells the story of Lordor Nordstrom, his Swedish mail-order bride, Katrina, and their neighbors and descendants as they live, love, die, and carry on in mysterious and surprising ways.

Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. “Resting place” turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking.

With her trademark humor, wild imagination, great storytelling, and deep understanding of folly and the human heart, the beloved Fannie Flagg tells an unforgettable story of life, afterlife, and the remarkable goings-on of ordinary people. In The Whole Town’s Talking, she reminds us that community is vital, life is a gift, and love never dies.

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I loved the characters in this novel, and how the story went through different generations. It was one of those books that I just did not want to end. I laughed. I cried. I particularly loved the whole idea of how they all arrived up at the cemetery and could talk to each other and see and hear their families (how comforting is that?!).

As a little girl I only knew Fannie Flagg as a funny lady on Match Game, but Ms. Flagg as an author reveals an intelligence and a warmth and an insight into her person that makes me feel like we would be friends.

This is a great “feel-good” story – a great one to gift for the holidays to those who like to read a book and then hug it close afterwards.

Thank you for my e-copy for review!

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Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour: THE DREAM OF THE CITY by Andrés Vidal

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Today I’m happy to be part of THE DREAM OF THE CITY blog tour. This novel takes place in Barcelona – a city we love to visit!

Here’s what HFVBT has to say:

The Dream of the City
by Andrés Vidal

Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Open Road Integrated Media
eBook; 557 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Part love story, part chronicle of the modernist years of Barcelona and a society about to change irrevocably, The Dream of the City is an homage to the genius of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926)—an exciting historical novel in which we tour the most bohemian parts of Barcelona.

In Barcelona, at the beginning of the 20th century, the destinies of two families, the Jufresas and the Navarros, converge: Francesc Jufresa is the head of the bourgeois family which runs the most renowned goldsmith workshop in the city. His daughter, the beautiful Laura, rejects the limited future of a housewife and mother to work with the brilliant Gaudí on the sculptures for the Sagrada Familia. Juan is the head of the Navarros, a poor family whose members must work hard to survive. Dimas, the first born, embodies his father’s hopes and resents the dangerous and ill-paying work of a streetcar mechanic. When the independent Laura and the ambitious Dimas meet, the encounter will change their lives forever.

AMAZON (KINDLE) | BARNES & NOBLE (NOOK)

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About the Author

Andrés Vidal is the pseudonym of Marius Molla. He is the author of two other novels that were successes in Spain: Inheriting the Earth (2010) and The Dream (2012). By training the author is an industrial engineer in Barcelona. Follow Andres Vidal on Facebook.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, November 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at Unshelfish

Wednesday, November 25
Excerpt at To Read, or Not to Read

Friday, November 27
Excerpt & Giveaway at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Monday, November 30
Review at Beth’s Book Nook

Tuesday, December 1
Excerpt at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, December 3
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, December 4
Interview at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, December 7
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Monday, December 21
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at Just One More Chapter

 

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Okay – I have to admit that I have not finished this novel yet! I only received it last week and it is over 500 pages. I have started it and am really enjoying it. It is well-written and intriguing and it does a great job in capturing the essence of Barcelona. I am looking forward to continuing with it. Sagrada Familia is such a spectacular place; I am really enjoying reading about the building of it.Do yourself a favor and google Sagrada Familia and look at all the spectacular pictures of it!

Here’s a few from our vacation there a few years ago:

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

 

 

 

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Review: WE ARE NOT OURSELVES by Matthew Thomas

I had heard some chatter about this book at BEA this spring, and I was excited to see it come up on Net Galley. It was heralded as “a multi-generational story of an Irish immigrant family in New York City”. Honestly, I found that to be a bit of a misnomer. WE ARE NOT OURSELVES follows Eileen Tumulty as she grows up in post WWII Queens. Eileen is Irish, but this novel is more a story of a life lived rather than a multi-generational overview of several lives.

Please note that the following contains SPOILERS!

Eileen’s life is portrayed from her childhood and adolescence with alcoholic parents to her marriage to introverted scientist Edward, through motherhood to a son (Connell). Throughout, Eileen was not a character with whom I felt any sort of affinity. No matter what life threw her way she was malcontent. She pushed pushed pushed Ed to be bigger, make more money, get more prestige, buy a new house, a new car, a mink coat. She pushed Connell to be the top of his class. I had at one point thought, “Geez, Eileen, be thankful for what you have and stop being so unhappy about everything.” Then tragedy strikes when Ed is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. His decline and disease is portrayed so realistically and touchingly that at times it brought tears to my eyes. And this was when I finally felt a connection to Eileen, as she became a much better person when dealing with this terrible crisis and loss than she was when everything was fine. As for Connell, until the epilogue I found him to be incredibly self-centered and selfish. Eileen wasn’t disappointed in him, but I was.

If I had to criticize something in this novel, which is acclaimed far and wide, I’d say I thought it was about 150 pages too long. I just didn’t think it needed to be 600+ pages. I also felt until near the end that the whole thing could have been summed up as “life is hard and then you die”; but the ending left me feeling a little more upbeat. Thomas is a beautiful writer.

I would love to hear from others what their experience with this novel was like.

You can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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Review: A Trilogy of Stories by Karen Kingsbury

A while back I received the “Kingsbury Collection” to review through “Blogging for Books” and Waterbrook Multnomah, a Christian publisher. This 700+ page collection has three complete books in it: Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, and On Every Side.

In Where Yesterday Lives, young professional Ellen Barrett returns home after her father’s sudden death from a heart attack. Ellen’s family (five siblings) has grown apart over the years. Outwardly they are polite and civil, but emotionally they are torn asunder by old rivals and jealousies, along with some painful memories and bitterness. Ellen’s marriage is currently on rocky soil and she returns to her hometown alone to face her family and a barrage of memories, including memories of her younger years with boyfriend Jake Sadler. It isn’t long before a very sad and lonely Ellen is reconnecting with the man she used to love, while trying to deal with her dysfunctional family and distant husband.

I have to say, this is the first of Kingsbury’s works that I’ve read. I was drawn right into this story for various reasons, and was struck by how well Kingsbury captures the agony and inner turmoil that occurs when a parent dies suddenly. The build-up to Ellen contacting her old boyfriend had me wanting to yell: “Danger, Will Robinson!!” at her. At the essence of this story, however, is a message of forgiveness and hope and a reminder of the power of prayer and of faith. I really enjoyed it!

In When Joy Came to Stay reporter Maggie Stovall is on the verge of a breakdown. She has spent years trying to forget and move on from some difficult and painful decisions that she made when younger. However, Maggie’s choice to not be truthful to her husband, or even to herself, about her past leads her to a collapse and time recuperating in a psychiatric hospital. Meanwhile, her husband is left to figure out what happened and why and begins to realize that his “perfect” wife may not be the same woman he thinks he knows. Again, a strong message here of forgiveness and self-forgiveness (which is often the toughest to achieve!), with a focus on the importance and power of faith. Just a note – this story had the feel of a Mary Higgins Clark suspense novel at times!

The final story, On Every Side, Jordan Riley is an attorney working to take down a statue of Jesus in a public park (as a violation of the separation of church and state), while new reporter and child advocate Faith Evans (aptly named!) is working to somehow keep the statue up. Jordan has lost his faith due to hardships he suffered as a child, and the statue just happens to be located in his boyhood hometown. Who will win the battle? Kingsbury based this story, in part, on a similar true legal case involving a religious statue in a park.

As I said earlier, this was my first experience reading Ms. Kingsbury’s books and I did enjoy them. Her work has strong Christian themes and her characters (some of them at least) are often struggling to reconnect with their faith. I like how “real” they seem, though, and the problems faced are often the ones we encounter in day-to-day life.

You can see this book on Amazon where I am an Associate – and thanks, Blogging for Books, for my review copy!

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