Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

WAIT FOR THE RAIN by Maria Murnane

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The very lovely Maria Murnane sent me an e-copy of her novel, WAIT FOR THE RAIN, along with her novel BRIDGES (reviewed here earlier). I chose to end my summer with it.

This is a realistic but feel-good story about a young woman getting herself back on her feet after going through a divorce:

From the author of the bestselling Waverly Bryson series.

Daphne White is staring down the barrel of forty—and is distraught at what she sees. Her ex-husband is getting remarried, her teenage daughter hardly needs her anymore, and the career she once dreamed about has somehow slipped from her grasp. She’s almost lost sight of the spirited and optimistic young woman she used to be.

As she heads off to a Caribbean island to mark the new decade with her best friends from college, Daphne’s in anything but the mood to celebrate. But when she meets Clay Hanson, a much younger man, she ignores her inner voice warning her that she’s too old for a fling. In fact, this tropical getaway might be the perfect opportunity to picture her future in a new sun-drenched light.

With the help of her friends, Daphne rediscovers her enthusiasm for life, as well as her love for herself—and realizes that her best years are still ahead.

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I think just about anyone can find something in common with one of these characters, who are quite believable. I couldn’t help but root for Daphne, and believe me – I know what she was going through.

Easy to read with a realistic but fun plot and likable characters, both WAIT FOR THE RAIN and BRIDGES are winners for me.

Thank you, Maria, for sharing your novels with me!

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BRIDGES by Maria Murnane

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A while ago I was contacted by the very pleasant author of this novel, Maria Murnane, to see if I’d like to read and review her novels – BRIDGES and WAITING FOR THE RAIN. I had a tbr list of 35 titles, but said yes and Ms. Murnane has been quite patient in awaiting my thoughts on her novels!

This appealing story covers a long weekend in NYC when three best friends from college get together for a girls’ weekend. Each woman has something on her mind and challenges she is facing. Here’s the overview from Amazon:

It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here’s to the power of friendship!

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The women in this story are all around 40 years old, and that really appealed to me, because personally I have trouble connecting with free-wheeling 20-somethings that often are peppered throughout books like this. These women’s challenges are familiar and their relationship is one that has gone through the test of time, reminding me of my own friends. While certainly problems exist, this is a light read, perfect for summer, with likable characters and an uplifting and positive ending. I really enjoyed it!

Here’s some info on Maria:

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Biography

The story of how Maria became an author is a little crazy. She used to work in high-tech PR but hated it, so she quit and ended up playing semi-pro soccer in Argentina for a year. While she was down there she decided to write a novel, which was something she’d always dreamed of doing. Fast forward a few years, and she’s now the bestselling author of the Waverly Bryson series (Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two, which garnered a starred review in Publishers Weekly), plus Katwalk, 2015 International Book Award winner Cassidy Lane, Wait for the Rain, and Bridges. And yes, she still plays a lot of soccer!

Learn more and sign up for her mailing list at http://www.mariamurnane.com

If you enjoy Maria’s books, please tweet @mariamurnane and “like” her fan page at http://www.facebook.com/mariamurnane.

To contact her via email, send a note to maria@mariamurnane.com. She loves hearing from readers and personally responds to every message!

THANK YOU so much for my review copy of BRIDGES! WAITING FOR THE RAIN (which has the same characters and actually comes before this title) is next!
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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:

Description

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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 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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Quick Kids’ Review: NIGHTBIRD by Alice Hoffman

I absolutely adored this middle grade novel which I got from Net Galley.

Twig and her family live in Sidwell, Massachusetts, but her life is far from ordinary. Her brother is kept hidden because he bears the effect of a curse put upon the family years ago by witchcraft. When two young girls move in next door Twig wants to befriend them, but doing so may put her brother at risk. Even worse, the girls are the descendants of the witch who first cursed Twig’s family. Can Twig and her friends reverse the curse before it is too late?

Loved loved loved this beautifully written story about love, family, and self-acceptance.

Highly recommended!

Thank you, Net Galley and Random House, for my copy.

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Audiobook Review: A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve (read by Linda Emond)

Now that fall is firmly here, I like an audio book to listen to as I drive to my children’s school and wait for them at pick up. I found A WEDDING IN DECEMBER at the library. I’ve always been an Anita Shreve fan, and I hadn’t read this one.

In A WEDDING IN DECEMBER, several old high school friends gather for the wedding of Bill and Bridget, who reconnected at their 25 year reunion. Each guest has their own skeletons in the closet and past (as well as present!) issues. Bridget is battling cancer. Bill has left his wife for her. Nora is dealing with widowhood and her feelings for past beau, Harrison. Agnes is the most interesting to me – the single friend who never left their old school and remains there as a history teacher, while writing on the side. These friends (and several more) are haunted by the death of Stephen, one of their own, during their senior year.

There’s a lot going on in this story, and at times I had some difficulty keeping everyone straight. I found Agnes’ story which she was writing, about a doctor during the Halifax disaster of 1917, intriguing and while I could see the parallels to the main story, I did find it jarring to suddenly be in Halifax with a host of other people and their problems.

Anita Shreve does here what she does best, though, which is to make people so very real and alive, that they stay with you long after reading. Linda Emond’s soothing voice adds just the right touch to this narrative.

You can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate, or get yours where I got mine: the library!

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Quick Kids’ Review: How to Make Friends and Monsters by Ron Bates

I received HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AND MONSTERS from my friends at Zondervan and gave it to my 4th grader to read. Here’s the blurb from Amazon on it:

Some Friends Are Just Worth Making For Howard Boward, science genius, making friends in middle school is hard. The other kids have more fun creatively expanding Howard’s name than actually hanging out, as in How-weird or How-Lame. . So, why not actually make a friend? A little wonder putty, some DNA, a few accidentally spilled chemicals and—boom!—instant friend. Monster friend, that is. Franklin ends up being cool in middle school, and he helps Howard climb the uber-popular ladder, becoming How-Cool. But the new fame and friendship isn’t exactly everything Howard hoped. Turns out real friendship might not be so simple, even when you create your own friends from scratch.

Mini Me says that the theme of this book is it’s hard to be a new kid. Overall, she says it is really funny and fun to read. It had some hard words, but not too many. At 352 pages, she was fine with it, but it may seem like a long book to some. We made sure we got a copy for our school library!

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

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