Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Litfuse Publicity Tour for THE CAPTAIN’S DAUGHTER by Jennifer Delamere

I’m happy to take part in the Litfuse tour for this lovely book by Jennifer Delamere: THE CAPTAIN’S DAUGHTER. I would classify it as a Victorian/Christian Romance. It is the story of an orphan (now young woman) who makes her way in London, in part by becoming part of a Gilbert and Sullivan stage show. As a theater buff, I really enjoyed that aspect of the book! Overall, the word “gentle” comes to mind when I read this story- it’s a clean read and a happy ending.

I received an e-copy to review – thank you! And thank you for making me part of the tour.

Book info

About the book:
Warm-hearted Victorian romance brings 1880s London to life.
 
When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.
A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.

About the author:
 
Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, “An Heiress at Heart,” was a 2013 RITA award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, “A Lady Most Lovely,” received a starred review from “Publishers Weekly” and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.
 
Find out more about Jennifer at jenniferdelamere.com.
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Find us on Pinterest

 Blog Tour Schedule
Landing page:

Tour Schedule:
6/20
Amy | A Nest in the Rocks
Debra | 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too !
Heidi | Heidi Reads…
Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!
Kayleigh | Neverending Stories
Rachel | Smiling Book Reviews
Stacey | Books,Dreams,Life
Vik Tory | Manuscript Tunes

6/21
Carrie | Reading Is My SuperPower
Megan | Pursuing Intentional Living
Mimi | Woven by Words
Sally | Proverbial Reads

6/22
Annie | Just Commonly
Colleen | ColleenRichman.com
Erin | For Him and My Family
Keri | My Table of Three
Lena Nelson | A Christian Writer’s World

6/23
Chantal | This Chattanooga Mommy Saves
Gayle | BOOKS REVEIWS ETC
Hallie | Book by Book
Leah | As We Walk Along the Road
Michelle | I Hope You Dance

6/24
Marissa | The Review Stew

6/25
Becky | Christian Chick’s Thoughts
Carole | The Power of Words
Deana | Texas Book-aholic
Lisa | A Rup Life
Sarah | Running Through The Storms

6/26
Billy | Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
Kelly | Leafy Not Beefy
Lindsey | Books for Christian Girls
Tressa | Wishful Endings
Katie | Fiction Aficionado

6/27
Charity | Giveaway Lady
Kristie | Moments
Mackenzie | Spreading His Grace
Pamela | Daysong Reflections
Stacie | Pursuing Stacie
Carla | Working Mommy Journal

6/28
Kathleen | Reviews From The Heart
Lisa | Seeking with All yur Heart
Loraine | Loraine D. Nunley, Author
Madelyn | Literary Cafe
Maureen | Maureen’s Musings
Rachel | Bookworm Mama
Renee | Little Homeschool on the Prairie

6/29
Sydney | Singing Librarian Books

6/30
Alex | Inspiration Clothesline
Amanda | Inklings and notions
Amy | Pause for Tales
Andi | Radiant Light
Erin | ReviewsByErin
Stephanie | Have A Wonderful Day

7/1
Amanda | The Talbert Report
Elisha | Rainy Day Reviews
Julie | More Of Him
Renee | Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot
Vera | Chat With Vera
Veronica | Veronica’s ‘Views
Beth | Beth’s Book-Nook Blog

7/2
Barbara | I’m Hooked on Books
Erica | Live.Love.Read.
Katie | Too Read or Not Too Read

7/3
Andrea | Writing to Inspire
Becky | Living Outside the Lines
Molly | Cafinated Reads

7/4
Beth | For The Love of Books
Carolina | Cisneros Cafe
Nancy | sunny island breezes

7/5
Ashley | What’s She Reading?
Sherry | My Reading Journeys

7/6
Paphapin | Feeling in Red
Bree | Bibliophile Reviews
Charity | aTransParentMom
Heather | Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
Mindy | A Room Wihtout Books is Empty

7/7
Bethany | The Perfect beginning
Dela | Pastries and Novel Thoughts
Tarah | Literary Time Out
Trish | View from the Birdhouse
Faye | Labor Not in Vain

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

My friends over at William Morrow offered me a review copy of THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY as they knew I love historical fiction. This was a fun read with interesting characters, following the life experiences of a young girl who comes, post WWI, to work at the Savoy Hotel, but who really wants to be a star of the stage.

‘Sometimes life gives you cotton stockings. Sometimes it gives you a Chanel gown …’

WILLIAM MORROW is thrilled to publish New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Hazel Gaynor’s third novel, THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY. Gaynor’s previous novels, The Girl Who Came Home (2014), and A Memory of Violets (2015) beautifully illustrated the harrowing era of the Titanic and the gritty streets of London in the 1800s. Now she takes readers back in time to the 1920s and envisions what it was like in one of the most dazzling ages; all while beautifully capturing the sadness of post-war Britain..

“these ordinary girls had been thrown into the most extraordinary experiences during the war, and, for many, the expectation to return to the domestic subservience of the prewar years was almost impossible. After the fear and desolation of war, is it any wonder they wanted to laugh and sing, dance and dazzle?”

– Hazel Gaynor

 Here’s the overview:

In THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY, we meet Dolly Lane, a dreamer but a downtrodden maid fractured by the Great War. Memories of the soldier Dolly loved, of secret shame and profound loss, by turns pull her back and spur her on to make a better life. But once Dolly makes her way as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, she takes a step closer to the glittering lives of the Bright Young Things who thrive on champagne, jazz and rebellion.

Soon after Dolly makes her way to The Savoy, her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to a struggling songwriter’s ad for a ‘muse’ and finds herself thrust into London’s exhilarating theatre scene and into the lives of celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry. In the end, Dolly must choose between everything she knows and everything she dreams of. A brighter future is tantalizingly close—but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?

A deeply compelling and emotional rags to riches story, Gaynor makes the dazzling era of the 1920s come alive within the pages of THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY.

 

*************************************************

I loved this well-written story, which inspired a variety of emotions in me, from amusement to poignancy. While lengthy (over 400 pages), it read quickly, and I found myself easily engaged in Dolly’s story, primarily, but in the other characters, too. Of course, I always love to read about theater as well.

A recommended historical fiction read if you enjoy this time period.

Thank you for my review copy!

Leave a comment »

HFVBT Book Blast for DEATH OF AN ALCHEMIST by Mary Lawrence

04_Outrageous_Book Blast Banner_FINAL (1)

I’m blasting it up today for a fun sounding read through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours: DEATH OF AN ALCHEMIST.

Here’s what they have to say:

02_Death-of-an-Alchemist

DEATH OF AN ALCHEMIST: A BIANCA GODDARD MYSTERY (BIANCA GODDARD MYSTERIES, BOOK 2)
BY MARY LAWRENCE

Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Kensington Books
Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery

Add to GR Button

 

 

In the mid sixteenth century, Henry VIII sits on the throne, and Bianca Goddard tends to the sick and suffering in London’s slums, where disease can take a life as quickly as murder…

For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Having tested his remedy successfully on an animal, Stannum intends to send his alchemy journal to a colleague in Cairo for confirmation. But the next day his body is found and the journal is gone.

Bianca, the daughter of an alchemist, is well acquainted with the mystical healing arts. When her husband John falls ill with the sweating sickness, she dares to hope Stannum’s journal could contain the secret to his recovery. But first she must solve the alchemist’s murder. As she ventures into a world of treachery and deceit, Stannum’s death is only the first in a series of murders—and Bianca’s quest becomes a matter of life and death, not only for her husband, but for herself…

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | INDIEBOUND

Praise for The Alchemist’s Daughter (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 1)

“A realistic evocation of 16th century London’s underside. The various strands of the plot are so skillfully plaited together.” —Fiona Buckley

“Mystery and Tudor fans alike will raise a glass to this new series.” —Karen Harper

About the Author

03_Mary-Lawrence-150x150

Mary Lawrence studied biology and chemistry, graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Cytotechnology. Along with writing and farming, Lawrence works as a cytologist near Boston. She lives in Maine. The Alchemist’s Daughter is the first book in the Bianca Goddard Mystery series.

For more information please visit Mary’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

I’ll be adding this one to my TBR pile! I love a good historical mystery with a strong female protagonist!

You can follow the tour and discover a new blog!

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, March 7
Passages to the Past
Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, March 8
Book Nerd
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Wednesday, March 9
The Book Connection
Seize the Words: Books in Review

Thursday, March 10
Reading Is My SuperPower

Friday, March 11
Rambling Reviews

Saturday, March 12
Time 2 Read

Sunday, March 13
Susan Heim on Writing

Monday, March 14
CelticLady’s Reviews
Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, March 15
Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, March 16
A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 17
A Book Geek

Friday, March 18
The Lit Bitch
A Holland Reads

Leave a comment »

Review: A BEAUTIFUL BLUE DEATH by Charles Finch

cover73837-mediumBLUE

A while ago I received this from Net Galley. I love Sherlock Holmes and I was drawn to this mystery which sounded like a mystery from the same time period:

Description (via Net Galley)

On any given day in London, all Charles Lenox, Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer, wants to do is relax in his private study with a cup of tea, a roaring fire and a good book. But when his lifelong friend Lady Jane asks for his help, Lenox cannot resist another chance to unravel a mystery, even if it means trudging through the snow to her townhouse next door.
One of Jane’s former servants, Prudence Smith, is dead – an apparent suicide. But Lenox suspects something far more sinister: murder, by a rare and deadly poison. The house where the girl worked is full of suspects, and though Prudence dabbled with the hearts of more than a few men, Lenox is baffled by an elusive lack of motive in the girl’s death. When another body turns up during the London season’s most fashionable ball, Lenox must untangle a web of loyalties and animosities. Was it jealousy that killed Prudence? Or was it something else entirely, something that Lenox alone can uncover before the killer strikes again – disturbingly close to home?
*************************************************
I loved this book! Lenox is a great character — reminds me of Holmes but different (quirky but not overly so). I really like his friendship with Lady Jane and hope that this continues in the next books into a relationship. I liked his doctor sidekick (Thomas) and found him a somewhat tortured and interesting character, too.
This mystery was hard to figure out and I didn’t guess it before the end.
Overall, a fun read and highly recommended to those who like Victorian mysteries!
Thank you for my review copy.
Leave a comment »

Review: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

There’s been chatter about this novel for the past few months, but I was unable to get my hands on an advanced copy. After reading several other bloggers’ reviews, I knew I had to buy it!

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN starts with Rachel, a young woman in the London suburbs, who takes the train to her job each day. She passes a house every day and loves to look at the couple who live there – she calls them Jess and Jason. A few doors down lives her ex-husband with his new wife, Anna, and their baby girl. Rachel is a basically one big mess where her divorce is concerned. She’s constantly calling her ex, especially when she’s drunk, and is trying to hang on. Rachel is unraveling and is an alcoholic, suffering from blackouts from binge drinking. One day she sees “Jess” outside with another man. And then Jess (real name Megan) goes missing. Rachel can’t keep her distance and keeps involving herself in the investigation, and in the lives of her ex and his family and Megan’s husband. Things go hurtling along, like a runaway train, up to the exciting climax.

What can I say? I could not put this book down. For the first time in my life I was happy I have insomnia as I could stay up reading. I read the book through most of the night and finished it the next evening. I love a thriller with a mystery, and I especially love when you can analyze the flaws of the main characters. This book is told in three voices: Rachel, Megan (in flashback leading up to her disappearance), and Anna. Each one has her flaws, but that makes them all the more human. By the halfway point I had a theory as to what was going on, and I was right, but I just couldn’t stop reading as I needed to know what happened.

Highly addictive like “Gone Girl”, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is one book I’m not soon to forget! Someone make this into a movie!

You can find it at an indie near you. Or try the library but there are hundreds of holds on the copies in my system.

I am an indie bound affiliate:


Find it at an Indie!

1 Comment »

Review: VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar

I saw this come up on Net Galley and realized how little I knew about Virginia Woolf so I requested it. This was a truly fascinating account of Virginia and her sister Vanessa and their lives in London in the early 20th century, along with their highly gifted friends. This group came to be known as the Bloomsbury Group.

Please note the following may have some plot SPOILERS.

Parmar does an excellent job of portraying Virginia’s genius intellect, coupled with her extreme emotional neediness and her mental instability. Both women had suffered severe loss in their family and were quite devoted to each other. However, Virginia’s connection to her sister bordered on the unhealthy and was almost obsessive. At times reading this novel, I felt so sorry for Vanessa. Virginia pretty much worked to take over anything she had, and then she usually destroyed it (including Vanessa’s marriage). Vanessa herself was a gifted artist, but her life and relationships and talents were hindered, in my opinion, by her sister’s overpossessiveness.

Throughout the book we are treated to glimpses into the social interactions of their partners in the group of intellectuals (writers and artists mostly) that became the Bloomsbury Group. The story is told from Vanessa’s point of view but also through telegrams, letters, diary entries, etc. I really enjoyed this book, though it was a bit depressing. I could have kept reading for about another 10-15 years of their lives! Kudos to Ms. Parmar on what I believe is her debut novel.

You can see this book on Amazon where I am an Associate. It publishes on 12/30/14:

Vanessa and Her Sister: A Novel

 


Find Vanessa and Her Sister at an Indie (I am an Indie Bound Affiliate)

cover52789-mediumWoolf

1 Comment »

Quick YA Review: RIPPED by Shelly Dickson Carr

I downloaded the YA novel RIPPED from Net Galley before our recent trip to Hawaii.  In this fast-paced and riveting story, teenager Katie Lennox discovers she can travel through time from present day London to the time of Jack the Ripper using the “London Stone”. Katie takes on the task of thwarting Jack the Ripper before he can do his evil deeds. She also holds in her heart the secret desire to see her deceased parents again. What Katie discovers is that changing history is no easy feat, and small events can have big consequences. The theme of “be careful what you wish for” is oft-repeated in this story.

I really enjoyed reading this novel!  I see that it has won several awards, which is not surprising as it is well-written and well researched. I love historical fiction and mixing it up with time travel just makes me love it more! It is a bit lengthy (over 500 pages in print), but eager readers should have no problem plowing through it.

I look forward to more novels from Ms. Carr, and I see she lives locally, so perhaps our paths will cross.

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate. Thanks, Net Galley and New Book Partners Publishing, for my copy!

Leave a comment »

Quick Review: “Mr. Churchill’s Secretary” by Susan Elia MacNeal

A few months ago I read “Princess Elizabeth’s Spy” by Susan Elia MacNeal (see my review here: https://drbethnolan.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/quick-review-princess-elizabeths-spy-by-susan-elia-mcneal/ . I really enjoyed this period cozy mystery about Maggie Hope, a code breaker and typist to Churchill during WWII. I decided to go back and read the first book in this series: “Mr. Churchill’s Secretary”. I purchased the book from Amazon for my enjoyment (technically my husband purchased it for me because I ordered through his account while he was in Europe on business – lol).

This book introduces Maggie Hope, a British-born but American-raised twenty-something, living in London and working as a typist during WWII. Maggie has a host of friends, both male and female, all with their own subplots/developments. Her parents are deceased for many years and she has been raised by her aunt in Boston. Maggie is a math whiz, and she yearns to be a code breaker. Instead she is a typist. The more Maggie works, though, the more she uncovers. Is there a spy amongst them? What really happened to her father? And is there a coded German message right in front of their faces?

I really enjoyed this first story of the series! MacNeal is a strong writer and I enjoyed how much I learned from reading this novel. This is a cozy mystery in that it is not overly violent or graphic; however, there is a wealth of (what I presume is well-researched!) information about London during WWII, espionage, and life in the 1940’s.

I look forward to more Maggie Hope mysteries from Ms. MacNeal.

You can see this one on Amazon where I am an Associate:

Leave a comment »

2012 is not over yet! Review of “The Secret Keeper” by Kate Morton

Several weeks ago I was ordering everyone books from Amazon for Christmas and I saw this title under recommendations. It looked so intriguing that I bought it for myself for Christmas! “The Secret Keeper” starts with British teenager Laurel hiding from her younger sisters in her treehouse, when a stranger comes to their home and she witnesses her mother stab the man to death. The police rule that the homicide was self-defense, and the man is thought to be a local criminal, and so Laurel moves on and seems to forget that day.

Fifty years later, Laurel’s mother, Dorothy, is turning eighty, and close to death. She begins to tell Laurel that she has some regrets and that all is not as it seems. However, Dorothy is losing her faculties as well, and Laurel can’t get the whole story from her, so she seeks to solve the mystery herself. Just who was the man her mother killed that day, and why did he seem to know her mother? Added to these questions are some items Laurel finds hidden away: a book with an inscription, a thank you note, a picture of her mother and her friend Vivien, a small doll and an old fur coat. Will she figure out the past before Dorothy passes on?

This story is told in various voices: Laurel as a teen, Laurel in the present, Dorothy as a young girl, Dorothy as a young adult, Vivien as a child, Vivien as a young adult, etc. We move from the present to the fifties in England, to London during the Blitz, to Australia pre-WWII. I loved this style and the way the story unfolded slowly and step by step. I did not guess the ending, but once it was revealed I saw that all the clues were right before me the whole time. I really enjoyed Morton’s writing style and will look for other books by her.

Recommended for those lovers of historical fiction – WWII era – with a dash of mystery and romance thrown in. Definitely one of my fave reads of the year!

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

 

1 Comment »

REVIEW: The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of reading British author Gabrielle Donnelly’s “The Little Women Letters”. I had received the book as an advanced reader copy while attending the BBC part of BEA in New York in May. (See also my recent post of a video clip of Ms. Donnelly discussing her book). I really enjoyed reading this modern day novel of three sisters who parallel and are the descendents of the fictional March sisters of “Little Women”.

The Atwater sisters live in London and are the great great granddaughters of Jo March. Emma is the always sensible eldest, similar to Meg March. Sophie is the beautiful and somewhat self-centered youngest sister, similar to Amy March. And Lulu is the middle child, seeking to find her way, parallel to Jo March. Their mother is actually somewhat similar to the real “Mrs. March” Abba May Alcott: a feminist and social worker. They even have a crotchety old aunt from Boston – Aunt Amy in this case – similar to Aunt March. Notably, Beth March is missing (a wise choice, in my estimation). The girls seek to solve the various issues in their everyday lives, while Lulu finds a stash of letters written by Jo March to her sisters long ago. The similarities are striking and she takes solace in these letters as she struggles to find a job, a profession, and a relationship with a man.

I think I’ve written before of how I am an incredibly harsh critic of fictionalized stories of Louisa May Alcott since I am quite knowledgeable about the family and spend time at their house museum in Concord. I was a tad sceptical when I began this book as I feared I would once again be disappointed by the actions or discordant voices I might find. However, this book is not about the Alcotts, it is about the March family – and a family in modern times. I was struck by what an excellent job Ms. Donnelly did in capturing not only the voices of the March sisters of “Little Women”, but the essence of the Alcotts as well. There were too many similarities and subtleties between the real family and this novel to think that it was coincidence. Ms. Donnelly not only did her homework, but did an excellent job in capturing that embodiment of character that is Alcott. My hat’s off to her!

This is a book that I would read, put down, and then pick up again. The story moved much like “Little Women” does: a slice of life in a family of sisters. I am guessing LW fans will adore it.

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

 

Leave a comment »