Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Spotlight on BEASTIA by Zoe Cruz

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So I’m spotlighting a new YA fantasy title today that sounds really good — BEASTIA by Zoe Cruz. I haven’t read it myself (yet), but here’s the overview:

What if beauty became the beast?

IN A DARK NEW RETELLING OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST,

A MEAN GIRL FALLS PREY TO A MADMAN

The meanest of the mean girls, Rebekah Austin rules her Chicago school with sharp outfits and an even sharper tongue. She has a way of eviscerating even the most beautiful and brilliant girls in her class to maintain her cold grip on the high school social hierarchy. But underneath the queen-bee façade is someone who feels ugly, repulsive… beastly.

An edgy thriller from a dynamic new voice on the YA scene, Beastia by Zoe Cruz [March 17, 2017, Createspace] joins best-selling novels like Cinder and Princess of Thorns in the buzzy canon of modern fairytale retellings that explore deeper themes of the original story.

More than an exploration of Beauty and the Beast, Cruz flips the script by challenging the mainstream media representation of conventionally beautiful women falling in love with not-so-attractive men (in this case, literally a beast) when the opposite is so rarely portrayed. Love and friendship aren’t exclusive to the conventionally attractive, which is a subjective standard to begin with. As Rebekah learns lessons about beauty, love and self worth, the reader finds their own assumptions and prejudices challenged.

“Going through life alone is impossible, especially when dealing with heavy things like depression and/or anxiety,” Cruz says. “I think everyone needs and deserves to have people in their lives that are present through difficult times and that allow them to see life in a different way, more positively regardless of external signifiers.”

About the Author:

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Zoe Cruz is a writer, reader and self-professed geek who loves all things sci-fi and fantasy. She wrote Beastia while living in Spain working with humanitarian organizations. You can find her watching Star Trek, eating pizza or playing Skyrim.

Connect with Zoe Cruz on twitter.com/zoe_rogue and at https://zoecruzblog.wordpress.com.

Beastia [Createspace] will be released March 17, 2017, and will be available via Amazon.

Thank you to my friends at Smith Publicity for making me part of the tour and for sending me an ecopy!

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The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane

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Oh my goodness — I just loved this YA book that I found as a kindle deal a while ago. This was a touching and sensitive book about teens at a summer camp for kids with mental health challenges. It was the kind of book that made you laugh, yet made you cry. I loved the sense of self-forgiveness and positive hope that came at the end!

I got mine via Amazon – you can find it online or in your favorite bookstore!

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

According to sixteen-year-old Zander Osborne, nowhere is an actual place—and she’s just fine there. But her parents insist that she get out of her head—and her home state—and attend Camp Padua, a summer camp for at-risk teens.

Zander does not fit in—or so she thinks. She has only one word for her fellow campers:crazy. In fact, the whole camp population exists somewhere between disaster and diagnosis. There’s her cabinmate Cassie, a self-described manic-depressive-bipolar-anorexic. Grover Cleveland (yes, like the president), a cute but confrontational boy who expects to be schizophrenic someday, odds being what they are. And Bek, a charmingly confounding pathological liar.

But amid group “share-apy” sessions and forbidden late-night outings, unlikely friendships form, and as the Michigan summer heats up, the four teens begin to reveal their tragic secrets. Zander finds herself inextricably drawn to Grover’s earnest charms, and she begins to wonder if she could be happy. But first she must come completely unraveled to have any hope of putting herself back together again.

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It has some serious issues in it, so I’d recommend it for high school.

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THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH by Lindsey Lee Johnson

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Here’s another book that I’ve just been waiting and waiting for Pub Day for so that I can tell you about it! I got it on Net Galley months ago and read it in a day.

Now to be honest, I’m not sure I’d compare it to Celeste Ng’s novel (which I loved) and I guess it can be like PREP as it’s about wealthy kids in high school. I also wouldn’t say, as someone does, that it reads like Jane Austen. I, however, found it fascinating because you can watch the trajectory that this teacher is on in terms of her behavior and her actions and even her motivations and you just want to stop her because things are headed for a cataclysm.

If you’ve forgotten what high school was like (really? can anyone, ever?) or if you want to revisit it, especially through the eyes of a young and impressionable (though well-meaning but naive) teacher, pick up this book!

Here’s the look/see from NG:

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Recognition

January 2017 Indie Next selection
January 2017 LibraryReads selection
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The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

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Weeks ago I found this great YA book on Net Galley and I’ve been waiting for it to publish so that I can say how much I love it!

Well, the time has come: I loved this book!!

Here’s the overview:

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Advance Praise

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FAITHFUL by Alice Hoffman

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I always love Alice Hoffman’s writing and this new novel was no exception.

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THE TEN MYTHS OF TEEN DATING by Daniel Anderson

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A father and daughter author team combines the latest scientific research with poignant, personal stories to help you engage your daughter in wise conversations about dating. Don’t miss The 10 Mythsof Teen Dating: Truths Your Daughter Needs to Know to Date Smart, Avoid Disaster, and Protect Her Future, releasing September 1. Weaving solid Biblical truths with practical application and discussion starters, Daniel and Jacquelyn seek to equip parents to teach their daughters how to date for today . . . and tomorrow.
If you have daughters in the dating scene or who are ready to embark into dating, I encourage you to read and discuss the book with her. For more information on Daniel and Jacquelyn, please visit the Myths of Dating website.
About the authors:
 
 
Daniel Anderson is a former college All-American basketball player, an expert educator, and a father of two grown daughters and a son. As a veteran high school teacher in the public school system, Daniel was troubled by how his students approached dating and relationships. He and his daughter, Jacquelyn Anderson—a twenty something and also a high school teacher—decided to address this need by equipping parents with The 10 Myths of Teen Dating, their first book together. Daniel and Jacquelyn both make their home in Portland, Oregon.
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So – I received this book through Litfuse Publicity to be part of their tour. I wasn’t sure what to expect. This is a seen as a Christian book and I wondered what the message would be. Many years ago a sweet nun told me that if I ever felt overwhelmed by sexual desire before marriage to “say a prayer and read a good book”. Would this be the same?
Let me tell you – this is a GREAT book. I read it. I had my husband read it. And I strategically left it lying around so that my teenage daughter would pick it up and read it. It has good, common sense advice in it, but it is also quite realistic and practical. The “message” here is simple: “You are loved. You are unique. You are worthy. You don’t need to compromise yourself and your body”. It acknowledges that sexual desire is real and healthy, but its focus is on having young people – primarily young women – avoid having sex for all the wrong reasons.
The author is a high school teacher, so I could truly relate to him (as an educator myself), but perhaps the most striking parts of this book were the vignettes that his own daughter added throughout, about being a teen, about her relationship with her parents, etc.
 Highly recommended! Thank you so much for making me part of the tour!
Find this book at an indie near you or on Amazon, where I am an Associate:

http://amzn.to/2e3tAl3

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OXBLOOD by Annalisa Grant

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Description via Net Galley —

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ONCE IN A TOWN CALLED MOTH by Trilby Kent

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If you know me, you know that Trilby Kent once, many years ago, was a student at the school in which I taught. She has grown into a gifted and versatile writer and I love every novel she crafts. You can imagine my joy when I found “Once in a Town Called Moth” on Net Galley.

I never know what theme or topic Trilby may choose to address, but I always know that I will be drawn in by it. Here’s the overview from NG:

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For my ears: ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell

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So I’m totally late to the party on this one. I found it on sale on Audible and remembered that I had always meant to read it.

What a great book! I know it’s about teens, but I know that adults would love and appreciate it, too. I look forward to my daughter reading this book so we can discuss it together.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

Audie Award Finalist, Teens, 2014

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.

So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.

I’m not kidding, he says.

You should be, she says, we’re 16.

What about Romeo and Juliet?

Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.

Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.

I’m not kidding, he says.

You should be.

Set over the course of one school year, in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

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This is a sensitively written, multi-layered, insightful story that is not to be missed. I listened to mine as I commuted, and it was ably done in two voices:Rebecca Loman and Sunhil Malhotra.

If you missed this when it came out in 2013, don’t miss it any longer! Look for it at a bookstore or library near you – or online!

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BETWEEN US GIRLS by Trish Donohue – a Litfuse Book Tour

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Today I’m part of the Litfuse tour for BETWEEN US GIRLS – Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters. If you know me at all, you know I have a pre-teen daughter. This Christian book focuses on sharing and guiding your daughter through some tough discussions of adolescence.

Here’s the overview:

You feel more than mommy guilt. You feel a deep and growing conviction that you must do something to disciple your daughter. But what? How can a busy mom make sure that her daughter learns about the most important things in life: what Jesus did for her on the cross and how to be faithful to him in this broken world?

Author Trish Donohue has been there, and that’s why she wrote Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters. These twenty-six gospel-driven talks are a fun and easy guide for mothers who want to disciple their daughters but don’t know where to start. In each short chapter, moms and daughters read God’s Word, ask one another questions about their thoughts and experiences, get honest about their struggles with sin, brainstorm ways to live out their faith, and build genuine fellowship into their relationship.

Between Us Girls is more than a devotional; it’s a conversation guide, and the twenty-six “chats” are just the beginning. Ultimately, Donohue’s book teaches mothers and daughters a new way to communicate and starts them on a wonderful, lifelong journey of getting to know one another better and learning to love their Savior more.

Between Us Girls was written by a busy mom for busy moms, so no prep time is needed! Just schedule some time with your daughter, grab this book, head to your destination of choice, and cherish every moment you share with your girl.

Here’s a bit about Trish:

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Trish Donohue is a wife and mom who writes from her kitchen table in West Chester, PA. With twenty years experience as a pastor’s wife involved in women’s ministry, Trish has spoken to women in a variety of settings. A desire to disciple her own daughters combined with a love for writing inspired her first book, Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters. Trish and her husband, Jim, are the happy parents of two sons and two daughters.

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This is a lovely little book that you can do as much of as you like at a time. There are sharing questions, ice breakers, suggested scripture to read together, and things to talk about with your daughter, all focused on helping her to understand and talk about challenges in life and making good decisions. There is an emphasis on the mother’s discipleship, so this is a perfect choice for a Christian household.

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

You can find this book online (e.g. Amazon) or at a library or bookstore near you.

 

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