Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

THE THINGS WE WISH WERE TRUE by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

51jfuj848AL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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?

 

2 Comments »

Quick Review: POE by J. Lincoln Fenn

This Amazon “Breakthrough Novel” award winner was a fun find for me! It is the quick moving story of Dimitri Petrov, an obituary writer at his local newspaper. Dimitri is mourning the death of his parents from the year before. He is also writing a tome on Rasputin in his spare time. Dimitri is sent on an assignment to cover a séance at a local deserted “haunted house”, along with an annoying colleague, the medium, and a young woman he has met before and hopes to attract. What happens that night causes Dimitri to end up in the morgue as a DOA (though thankfully, he revives). After the séance, Dimitri is haunted by a female spirit he calls “Poe”, and he becomes determined to solve the mysteries surrounding the house and some murders, while protecting himself and his new girlfriend, Lisa.

This was a fun and fast read. I just loved the character of Dimitri, who was a bit hapless. He wasn’t strong, overly courageous, or sophisticated. He was smart, though, and very “real”. I couldn’t help cheering for him!

I loved how this novel combined supernatural, horror, and fantasy elements, along with humor. I look forward to more from Ms. Fenn — maybe even more with Dimitri? I would recommend for older YA as well, but be aware of some adult content and language.

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate, and where I got my Kindle copy!

Leave a comment »

Review: WISHING ON WILLOWS by Katie Ganshert

Following up her earlier novel, WILDFLOWERS IN WINTER, Katie Ganshert continues the story of the families of Peaks, Iowa in WISHING ON WILLOWS. Robin Price has struggled to build her cafe and raise her son on her own after her husband’s sudden and unexpected death. Now all she holds most dear is threatened when a developer comes to town and hopes to buy out her cafe in order to make way for condominiums. Along with Robin’s cafe, the local ministry outreach program is threatened, so Robin and her family are determined to support her restaurant and try to save it. Meanwhile, developer Ian McKay is the one sent to win over the people of Peaks. He is charming and intelligent and kind, but has his owns shadows in his past that still haunt him. He and Robin butt heads, but also find themselves attracted to each other. Who will win? And what will winning look like in the end?

I really enjoyed Ms. Ganshert’s first novel (reviewed here: https://drbethnolan.wordpress.com/2012/07/27/review-wildflowers-in-winter-by-katie-ganshert/) and enjoyed reading this sequel.   I would say that this novel has a solid plot line and good character development. Christian readers will find the message clearly in these pages, and the ending leaves one with a feeling of redemption and hope. If you enjoy reading Christian literature/romance I think you will enjoy this book – even if you haven’t read Ms. Ganshert’s other novel first!

You can see this book on Amazon where I am an Associate. I received mine from Blogging for Books and Water Brook Press in exchange for this review. Thank you for my copy!

Leave a comment »

Review: “Little Wolves” by Thomas Maltman

“Little Wolves” was a recent find on Net Galley. It tells several story lines in one (a point which at times served to confuse me!). The novel opens with a Minnesotra small town shooting, carried out by a teenager who then commits suicide. Why did he do this heinous act? How will the people left behind carry on and make sense of this tragedy? At the same time, his father is struggling to come to terms with his grief over his wife’s death — now compounded by the senseless death of his son. Small town rivalries and old hurts are cropping up all over.

On the other side of town, the preacher’s wife, who is in her last trimester of pregnancy, is dealing with the deaths, too. The shooter was her student and a valued member of her English class (she is an expert on Beowulf). She grapples with his act of violence and the fact that he had come to house that day on his way to the carnage – and is it her ghost she is seeing? At the same time she is working through the kinks in her marriage to the town minister and her past family secrets, related to the disappearance and death of her mother. Analogous to all these plot lines is Norse mythology and the story of the “little wolves” that her father told her as a child. Throughout the book, a family of coyotes (befriended by Seth previously) make an appearance.

Does all this sound confusing? At times I had a hard time keeping everything straight, but overall Maltman blends these parallel stories into the overall plot – seamlessly and suspensefully. I kept reading as I needed to know what would happen. In the end it all made sense, and I found it a satisfying read.

This book releases in early 2013. You can pre-order it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

 

Thanks, Net Galley and Soho Press, for my copy!

1 Comment »

Review: “A Thin, Dark Line” by Emma Elliot

Received from Net Galley, “A Thin, Dark Line” is a romantic suspense story (I don’t read too many of those!).

Eloise Carmichael is a small town librarian. She hires Cormac O’Malley as her handyman, however, there is one big hitch: Cormac is the town’s “bad guy”, having just returned from jail and serving time for murder. Eloise, however, knew Cormac as a child, and believes he is honestly good (though he is quite up front that he really did commit the murder).There is a lot of small town history/back story regarding Cormac’s mother and the town politicians. When Eloise starts to dig into the past, one of her former co-workers is found murdered at the library. The bodies begin to stack up, and fingers start to point at Cormac. Will Eloise’s faith in him be supported? Or will she be the next victim?

I enjoyed reading this novel, which I got as an ARC from Net Galley. I loved the character of Eloise and the relationship she had as a single woman with her best friend and her best friend’s children. Eloise and Cormac’s relationship built slowly and I appreciated that there weren’t glowing, romantic descriptions of them looking perfect. They weren’t perfect and they both knew it, and that made them all the more likable.

If you like romantic mysteries, then you will probably like “A Thin, Dark Line”. Thank you, Net Galley and The Writer’s Coffee Shop, for my copy!

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:
A Thin, Dark Line

Leave a comment »

YA Review: Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK by Betsy St. Amant (coming in January)

Through my new favorite thing, Net Galley, I received an ARC of “Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK” for my Kindle.  “PK” in this case stands for “preacher’s kid” and this novel was the first experience I’ve had of reading Christian literature for teens. It releases on January 1, 2012.

In “Addison Blakely”, Addison is your typical high school student, except for the fact that she is the (widowed) preacher’s daughter, living in a small town. For her whole life, everything she’s done has been under the microscope, so she’s lived up to the expectations of her father and his congregation: always doing the right thing, the good thing, the thing that is expected of her. Then Addison meets Wes Keegan, town bad boy, who has come to live with his father. She is drawn to him, as he is to her, but he is supposed to be off-limits to her (her father won’t even let her date, let alone hang out with “bad boys”). Addison has to deal with her feelings for Wes, a new BFF, her father’s burgeoning romantic life with her English teacher, and the realization of what is truly important to her, all set against the backdrop of a school talent show in school that Addison suddenly finds herself running.

I just loved this novel! I wanted to know how Addison would end up and what choices she would make (and why) so I kept reading. Addison was an engaging character whom I couldn’t help liking. I did find her friend Marta a bit too good to be true, especially for a seventeen-year-old, and I did find parts of the book, especially in the second half, almost preachy (some of the discussions on faith that Marta and Addison have in the latter half of the book ended up sounding like sermons to me). I did enjoy the writing, though, and would recommend this book to older YA readers who enjoy the Christian genre. Addison has a lot of choices to face in her life and in her relationships, as do teens today, and this book showed how she could use her faith to help guide her in those decisions.

See this book on Amazon where it can be pre-ordered (and where I am an Associate):

Thanks, Net Gally and Barbour Books for my free download!

3 Comments »