Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Educated by Tara Westover

Since I still have my lengthier than ever commute, I used my Audible credit last month for this novel which I had heard so much about. Everyone has been VERY EFFUSIVE about it, so I assumed that I wouldn’t like it, because I rarely like the things that everyone else raves over (I’m weird like that).

However, I was wrong. This was a fascinating read/listen about an amazing young woman who overcame significant odds to become the person she is today. The description is about education (hence, the title) but there is so much more in this book about family and sibling relationships. Julia Whelan’s narration was spot on perfect and I highly recommend the audiobook. Readers should note that there are some triggers in this story in regards to emotional and physical abuse.

Here’s the overview, which pretty much sums it up!

Number-one New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Boston Globe best seller

Named One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review

One of President Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of the Year

Bill Gates’s Holiday Reading List

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s Award in Autobiography

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize for Best First Book

Finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award 

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by: The Washington PostO: The Oprah Magazine Time NPR Good Morning America San Francisco Chronicle The Guardian The Economist Financial TimesNewsday New York Post theSkimm Refinery29 Bloomberg Self Real Simple Town & Country Bustle Paste Publishers Weekly Library Journal LibraryReads BookRiot Pamela Paul, KQED New York Public Library 

An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home. 

“Beautiful and propulsive…. Despite the singularity of [Tara Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?” (Vogue

“Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.” (The New York Times Book Review)

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The Daughter’s Tale by Armando Lucas Correa

I was thrilled to be offered this title via Net Galley since I had read and reviewed The German Girl a while back in 2016 (see review here: https://drbethnolan.com/2016/11/03/the-german-girl-by-armando-lucas-correa/). It was yet another story that was based in fact and unforgettable. Again, the ability of Jewish families to get passage to other countries where they will be safe is featured, and it is so disturbing to see how not many countries were helpful. I felt for the main character in this novel, Amanda, as she had so much loss. And yet, her story is most probably not too different from many women of that time and place.

Recommended for those who enjoy reading of WWII and of normal people who are forced to face extraordinary things. This novel has been called “heartbreaking” – and it is.

Thank you for my review copy.

Description

The Daughter’s Tale is immersive, both heartbreaking and redemptive, steeped in harrowing historical events and heroic acts of compassion that will have you reflecting on the best and worst the human heart has to offer. Fans of WWII history and book clubs will find depth and skillful storytelling here, but on a deeper level, searing questions about life, love, and the choices we make in the most impossible of circumstances.” —Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

From the internationally bestselling author of The German Girl, an unforgettable family saga exploring a hidden piece of World War II history and the lengths a mother will go to protect her children—perfect for fans of Lilac GirlsWe Were the Lucky Ones, and The Alice Network.

BERLIN, 1939. The dreams that Amanda Sternberg and her husband, Julius, had for their daughters are shattered when the Nazis descend on Berlin, burning down their beloved family bookshop and sending Julius to a concentration camp. Desperate to save her children, Amanda flees toward the south of France, where the widow of an old friend of her husband’s has agreed to take her in. Along the way, a refugee ship headed for Cuba offers another chance at escape and there, at the dock, Amanda is forced to make an impossible choice that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Once in Haute-Vienne, her brief respite is inter­rupted by the arrival of Nazi forces, and Amanda finds herself in a labor camp where she must once again make a heroic sacrifice.

NEW YORK, 2015. Eighty-year-old Elise Duval receives a call from a woman bearing messages from a time and country that she forced herself to forget. A French Catholic who arrived in New York after World War II, Elise is shocked to discover that the letters were from her mother, written in German during the war. Despite Elise’s best efforts to stave off her past, seven decades of secrets begin to unravel.

Based on true events, The Daughter’s Tale chronicles one of the most harrowing atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis during the war. Heart­breaking and immersive, it is a beautifully crafted family saga of love, survival, and redemption.

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The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

I bought this title as a present for myself because I had heard about it online (and it was already past Pub Day!). If you know me, you know I love WWII stories, and this one was so interesting and intriguing. It focused on a group of female spies in Europe during the war and their activities. It was based on true accounts.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

1946, Manhattan

One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

Highly recommended for those who like stories from this era!

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Silent Lee and the Adventure of the Side Door Key by Alex Hiam

My friends over at Smith Publicity send me an electronic copy of the fun middle grade book (grades 4-8) about an intelligent and resourceful young girl, Silent Lee, and her adventures in time travel in Boston.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

As if life isn’t already complicated when you have to sneak out a magical side door and enter a different century just to get to school each morning.

And now Silent has to figure out what happened to her beloved Aunt Generous, the woman who raised her–which would be complicated enough even if CIA agents in black SUVs weren’t chasing her–but they definitely are!

This was such a fun read – especially since I live in the Boston area. Even though this title was a stand alone, I know that there are more stories about Silent Lee that are coming!

Thank you for sharing your book with me, Mr. Hiam!

Here is a bit on Alex Hiam, too:

As a child, writer and artist Alex Hiam spent holidays in the mysterious Boston mansion of his great-grandmother on Dartmouth Street. A graduate of Harvard College and UC Berkeley, Hiam was awarded the English Department’s Arnold Prize. But the honor he is most proud of was being entrusted as a student with the key to the iron gates of Mount Auburn Cemetery, where he would let himself in at dawn on Spring mornings to study the migrating birds before the rest of Cambridge awoke. Previously a teacher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, today he teaches Making Writing Exciting! at North Star, a learning center for self-directed teens. He has sailed the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, logging thousands of nautical miles and plans some day to write a book about pirates. Hiam lives with his wife and daughters in an old farmhouse in Amherst, Massachusetts.

This title publishes today – happy Pub Day! 🙂

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The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

You know I love me a good ghost story! This one drew my attention via Net Galley and I read it a while ago. I couldn’t put it down and read it straight through to the end. I really liked the ending!

Thank you, Doubleday Books, for my e-copy via Net Galley!

Description via NG:

A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Times bestselling author of The Winter People returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don’t simply move into a haunted house–they build one . . .

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate have abandoned the comforts of suburbia to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this beautiful property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the local legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. With her passion for artifacts, Helen finds special materials to incorporate into the house–a beam from an old schoolroom, bricks from a mill, a mantel from a farmhouse–objects that draw her deeper into the story of Hattie and her descendants, three generations of Breckenridge women, each of whom died suspiciously. As the building project progresses, the house will become a place of menace and unfinished business: a new home, now haunted, that beckons its owners and their neighbors toward unimaginable danger.

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I Know You by Erik Therme

I had read several of Mr. Therme’s earlier novels (Mortem, Keep Her Close), so I was honored that he offered me an ARC of his new novel via Net Galley.

Here’s the overview:

Description

‘I can help you save your sister. But I need something from you …’

Sisters Bree and Alissa Walker share a special bond. Neglected by their parents, they have always looked out for one another. But one day, sixteen-year-old Alissa goes missing. When Bree discovers her green backpack with all her belongings, abandoned on the steps of their run-down trailer, she knows that something bad has happened …

Then she receives a chilling text message. Someone has Alissa. But Bree will have to give up something very precious in exchange.

Desperate to save Alissa, Bree looks at everyone close to their family. She’s sure that Alissa’s best friend is keeping something back about her little sister and a boy at school, and why has their estranged uncle, who they’ve not seen in years, been hanging around again?

It soon becomes clear that the person behind the message knows a lot about the dark truths within the Walker family and will go to any lengths to get revenge. And as the search for Alissa continues, Bree discovers something about her brother Tyler that she wishes she hadn’t, a dangerous secret, which is also the key to bringing her little sister back home …

A gripping and addictive thriller about family secrets and lies and the lengths people will go to protect them. Perfect for fans of Teresa Driscoll and Louise Jensen. 

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So – to be honest – this novel took me longer to get into than the previous ones I had read by Erik. There was a lot of dialogue and internal thinking, with less emphasis on action and descriptions. I had some trouble picturing things as I read, especially as there were a lot of twists and turns. I wasn’t sure where things were going as I read along, but I liked how they ended up.

Thank you, Mr. Therme, for giving me a chance to review another title of yours!

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City of Flickering Light by Juliette Fay

I really enjoy Juliette Fay’s writing and was thrilled to receive her City of Flickering Light, about the early days of Hollywood, via Net Galley! It tells the story of three friends who are a bit down and out and head to Hollywood to make their fortunes, having a lot of adventures and ups and downs along the way.

Here’s the overview from NG:

Description

Juliette Fay—“one of the best authors of women’s fiction” (Library Journal)—transports us back to the Golden Age of Hollywood and the raucous Roaring Twenties, as three friends struggle to earn their places among the stars of the silent screen—perfect for fans of La La Land and Rules of Civility

It’s July 1921, “flickers” are all the rage, and Irene Van Beck has just declared her own independence by jumping off a moving train to escape her fate in a traveling burlesque show. When her friends, fellow dancer Millie Martin and comedian Henry Weiss, leap after her, the trio finds their way to the bright lights of Hollywood with hopes of making it big in the burgeoning silent film industry.

At first glance, Hollywood in the 1920s is like no other place on earth—iridescent, scandalous, and utterly exhilarating—and the three friends yearn for a life they could only have dreamed of before. But despite the glamour and seduction of Tinseltown, success doesn’t come easy, and nothing can prepare Irene, Millie, and Henry for the poverty, temptation, and heartbreak that lie ahead. With their ambitions challenged by both the men above them and the prejudice surrounding them, their friendship is the only constant through desperate times, as each struggles to find their true calling in an uncertain world. What begins as a quest for fame and fortune soon becomes a collective search for love, acceptance, and fulfillment as they navigate the backlots and stage sets where the illusions of the silver screen are brought to life.

With her “trademark wit and grace” (Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Murderer’s Daughters), Juliette Fay crafts another radiant and fascinating historical novel as thrilling as the bygone era of Hollywood itself.

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One fun thing in this novel is the return of one of the Tumbling Turner sisters from Ms. Fay’s earlier novels! Reviewed here by me:https://drbethnolan.com/2016/06/11/the-tumbling-turner-sisters-by-juliette-fay/

While it took me a few chapters to get into this story, I ended up really enjoying it and loving the characters. I look forward to more great historical fiction from Ms. Fay and I hope to meet her sometime as she lives just a few towns over from me!

Thank you for my review e-copy!

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Treading the Uneven Road – a short story collection by L.M. Brown

I received an electronic copy of this wonderful collection of stories from the author a few months ago. They take place in Ireland and are all inter-related.

Description:
The stories in this collection are set 1980’s and 90’s Ireland. A by-pass around a small village has rid the residents of their once busy traffic. They feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later and the woman whose dreams are shattered because of a married lover. Treading the Uneven Road introduces us to a society that is unraveling and we cannot help feel for Brown’s characters who need to make a choice on how to carry on.

Me again!! I love Ireland and I love short stories where there is a connecting thread throughout them all. These aren’t all happiness and light, but they do leave you thinking about the characters and wondering about their lives. Brown has the ability to develop character and evoke setting, so that these stories are vividly impressed upon you as you read.

Thank you so much for my review copy! You can find it on Amazon and other online retailers!

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PIC Tour for The Buried Girl by Richard Montanari

I’m happy today to be part of the Partners in Crime blog tour for Richard Montanari’s new suspense novel: The Buried Girl. You know I love these heart-stopping, can’t-put-downable reads! I read this one through in two days as I wanted to see what would happen! It was complex, and I didn’t guess it all. I’d love to see more books with Will Hardy as the protagonist from Mr. Montanari!

The Buried Girl
by Richard Montanari
PIC Tour March 1 – March 31, 2019
 Synopsis:A haunting, nerve-jangling psychological thriller from Sunday Times bestselling author Richard Montanari, set in a small town hiding a very dark secret
New York psychologist Will Hardy had it all—a loving family, a flourishing career, a bestselling book. Until the night it all ended in a tempest of fire and ash, leaving only Will and his fifteen-year-old daughter Bernadette to stand in the ruins. Haunted and grief-stricken, Will accepts an enigmatic invitation from his family’s past to begin their lives anew in the small town of Abbeville, Ohio. Meanwhile, Abbeville Chief of Police Ivy Holgrave is investigating the death of a local girl, convinced this may only be the latest in a long line of murders dating back decades—including her own long-missing sister.But what place does Will’s new home have in the story of the missing girls? And what links the killings to the diary of a young woman written over a century earlier? The disappearances in Abbeville have happened before, and now Will’s own daughter might be next…
Book Details:Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 8th 2019
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 0062467468 (ISBN13: 9780062467461)
Series: Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #10
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Author Bio:RICHARD MONTANARI is the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Echo Man, The Devil’s Garden, Play Dead, The Rosary Girls, The Skin Gods and Broken Angels, as well as the internationally acclaimed thrillers Kiss of Evil, Don’t Look Now (previously published as Deviant Way) and The Violet Hour. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.Catch Up With Our Richard On:
WebsiteGoodreadsBookBubTwitter, & Facebook
But wait! There’s more! A Giveaway!
GIVEAWAY:This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Richard Montanari and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) physical copy of The Echo Man by Richard Montanari . The giveaway begins on March 1, 2019 and runs through April 1, 2019. U.S. addresses only.  Void where prohibited.
Click below to enter:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f24bf84b610/”

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my review electronic copy!
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Between the Lies by Michelle Adams

I always love a good suspenseful thriller, and this novel was no exception. I find winter is the best time to read these types of books that I can’t put down. This one I read through in two days! The protagonist has suffered amnesia from a car accident and is trying to remember her life and all the people in it, but she comes to suspect that everyone – even her family – is lying to her. It was a bit creepy and definitely suspenseful, with a satisfying ending.

Thank you for my review e-copy through Net Galley!

Description via NG

In the vein of Allison Brennan, Michelle Adams’s Between the Lies is an addictive psychological thriller with twists that keep the reader guessing until the last page, in which a woman who’s lost her memory is back home with a family she doesn’t know—who are keeping secrets of their own. 

The truth is hiding between the lies.

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What would you do if you woke up and didn’t know who you were?

Chloe Daniels regains consciousness in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. 
She doesn’t recognise the strangers who call themselves family. She can’t even remember her own name.

What if your past remained a mystery?

As she slowly recovers, her parents and sister begin to share details of her life. 
The successful career. The seaside home. The near-fatal car crash.
But Chloe senses they’re keeping dark secrets—and her determination to uncover the truth will have devastating consequences.

What if the people you should be able to trust are lying to you?

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