Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

The Dead Ringer by M. C. Beaton

 

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I love all the Agatha Raisin books and this one was particularly good. It’s funny but I feel like this installment, as compared to the most recent one, had a different tone to it, and it was more like the tone of the earlier Agatha Raisin books. Sometimes the jocularity can be a bit overdone and the characters seem caricaturist, but not in this one. Agatha has her issues – with romance, men, and jealous women – and she is as cranky as ever, but she’s not as irascible as she’s been in the past few novels. The storyline with her and Charles is heating up again as well.

I love the Acorn tv series and may have to purchase Acorn so that I can get it more easily (along with other awesome British series — the Brits just do television better than we do in the States!).

If you enjoy Agatha, don’t miss The Dead Ringer!

Thank you for my review e-copy!

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The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl

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So — I found this title on Net Galley and I love a suspenseful read, even more if it takes place in Norway! This was well-plotted and suspenseful, though I did figure out what was happening. Moving through time and place with different narrators, the stories eventually weave together to the present.
I have to say that I did not like the main character, Annika, at all. I wanted to feel something for her — sympathy, empathy, pity, a connection, something! — but I didn’t. She was pretty much a self-centered, selfish, egotistical, cruel, immature, and heartless person. Pretty much.
If you like suspense, you should check out The Boy at the Door. Thank you for my review e-copy!
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The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

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I am so very excited that Kate Morton, an author whom I adore, has a new novel coming out in October. I had the opportunity to read it via Net Galley and I really enjoyed it!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is wonderful historical fiction, and it follows the story of Birdie, a spirit who tells her own story within the story of a house and all the intertwining lives that play a role there over time. This story stretches from 1862 to present day, but eventually you come to see how all the lives are actually impacting each other through time and place, through love, murder, loss, and mystery. Though the story can sometimes be a bit confusing as the narrator changes, and the story does not move chronologically, I loved making the connections and guessing what would come next. It’s a bit of a sad story, but interesting, and with a cast of characters that is as memorable as it is unique.

Fans of Morton will love this treat, and new readers of her should not miss it!

Thank you for my review copy!

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And because you can find anything on the Internet, here’s a You Tube video of Kate Morton herself discussing the novel:
https://youtu.be/AzefRB67TYQ
I watched this and just wished that I could shout out to her that I love her writing and I even have bangs, too!! We could be kindred spirits if she came to visit Boston!! 🙂
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Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz

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I loved this memorable and touching children’s story about a little girl who lives in a graveyard in the Philippines with her mother and her struggle to find her mother when she goes missing. Appropriate for grades 4 to 7, in my opinion, it sensitively tells Nora’s story while focusing on themes of friendship and loyalty.

I was fascinated with this idea of living in a cemetery, and here’s a great article with pictures in it from the New York Times about North Cemetery in Manila, where this story takes place.

Thanks, Net Galley, for my review e-copy! This title publishes in the beginning of October (2018).

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The Forbidden Place by Susanne Jansson

 

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Creepy and weird — if you like books that are somewhat haunting and creepy and very “atmospheric”, this is one for you! This novel is a mystery centered around deaths (murders?) at a bog and our protagonist lives right next to it and is drawn to it. I liked the bit of history woven into the story about how human sacrifices were done many years ago and how the bog was used for ritual.

I liked the main character in this story, though she has a sad back story – a story which becomes apparent as the novel unfolds. I almost wondered if there could be a sequel to this book when I reached the end – ?? Overall, it was compelling and mysterious and I enjoyed it!

Thank you for my review copy via Net Galley.

Description via N.G. –

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Lies by T. M. Logan

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This was the perfect read in advance of going back to school this week! Suspenseful and exciting, I read it late into the night, relishing the suspense. The poor guy who is at the center of this novel – he could not catch a break. I thought I might have figured this one out, but all I’ll say (so I don’t spoil anything!) is that I was halfway correct.

This one will publish on 9/11/18. If you enjoy a fast and suspenseful read, don’t miss it!

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

Description from NG:

Six days ago, Joe Lynch was a happily married man, a devoted father, and a respected teacher living in a well-to-do London suburb. But that was before he spotted his wife’s car entering a hotel parking garage. Before he saw her in a heated argument with her best friend’s husband. Before Joe confronted the other man in an altercation where he left him for dead, bleeding and unconscious.

Now, Joe’s life is unraveling. His wife has lied to him. Her deception has put their entire family in jeopardy. The man she met at the hotel has vanished. And as the police investigate his disappearance, suspicion falls on Joe.

Unable to trust the woman he loves, Joe finds himself at the mercy of her revelations and deceits, unsure of who or what to believe. All he knows is that her actions have brought someone dangerous into their lives—someone obsessed with her and determined to tear Joe’s world apart.

What if your whole life was based on LIES?

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When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

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I love Mary Kubica’s writing. It’s always suspenseful and has a high “can’t put down” rating for me. This novel was no different. I really liked the character of Jessie, though I felt badly for her as she’d had a tough time with her mother’s death and then struggling to figure out her identity (truly her identity, as in, she had no SSN or legal birth certificate).
I don’t want to give away too much, so I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that I had figured out one part of the novel, but had another part — one the author pretty much leads you to (possibly as a red herring) incorrect. I liked this story and will look forward to Ms. Kubica’s next one!
Thank you for my e-copy from Net Galley!
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Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

 

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A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes the story behind the picture is worth a thousand more…

Philadelphia, 1931. A young, ambitious reporter named Ellis Reed photographs a pair of young siblings on the front porch of a farmhouse next to a sign: “2 children for sale.”

With the help of newspaper secretary Lily Palmer, Ellis writes an article to accompany the photo. Capturing the hardships of American families during the Great Depression, the feature story generates national attention and Ellis’s career skyrockets.

But the photograph also leads to consequences more devastating than ever imagined—and it will take jeopardizing everything Ellis and Lily value to unravel the mystery and set things right.

Inspired by an actual newspaper photo that stunned readers throughout the country, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of ambition, redemption, love, and family.

 

I love Kristina McMorris’ writing, and was thrilled to receive this galley through Net Galley. I actually thought of the picture that this novel is based on as I’ve seen it, too, so I had the picture perfect (no pun intended) image in mind while reading. This is such a sad but moving story, reminding us that sometimes desperate people do desperate things. The main characters, Ellis and Lily, want to right the wrong that was done and put themselves on the line to do it.

I love a book that has self-forgiveness and redemption as a theme, and that ran throughout, culminating in a satisfying ending.

I follow Ms. McMorris on Facebook and she seems like a lovely and positive person. This is the second novel of hers that I’ve read – and it won’t be the last! Thank you for my e-copy!

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Our House by Louise Candlish

 

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Oh my — I chose this book through Net Galley and it was one of those “I can’t put it down” reads! The poor guy in this novel makes some bad choices, and instead of doing the right thing, he makes more bad choices. Meanwhile, the main female in the story, his wife Fiona, suffers the consequences and makes some bad choices herself. I kept reading and thinking, “Oh no. This is not going to turn out okay!”.
Loved the ironic twist at the end, which made me keep thinking about this book long after it was over.
My only challenge with it was that it was told in real time (omniscient narrator from each character’s point of view – Fi’s and Bram’s) and also as a podcast in Fi’s voice with listener comments that I found distracting. The timelines varied throughout, which could confuse some people. I found myself double checking the dates for each chapter so I knew where we were chronologically.
Overall, a suspenseful and satisfying read! Thanks for my e-copy!
SPOILER ALERT — I almost didn’t keep reading this book as I feared Bram had killed the children and I didn’t want any part of that, but no fear, the kids are fine – they are just at grandma’s!
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HFVBTour for Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton with Giveaway!

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I’m thrilled today to take part with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours to promote Janet Benton’s amazing novel: Lilli de Jong (which I originally received from Net Galley)

LILLI DE JONG BY JANET BENTON

Paperback Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Anchor Books
Paperback; 352 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

Philadelphia, 1883. Twenty-three-year-old Lilli de Jong is pregnant and alone—abandoned by her lover and banished from her Quaker home. She gives birth at a charity for wronged women, planning to give up the baby. But the power of their bond sets her on a completely unexpected path. Unwed mothers in 1883 face staggering prejudice, yet Lilli refuses to give up her baby girl. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep the two of them alive.

Lilli confides this story to her diary as it unfolds, taking readers from a charity for unwed mothers to a wealthy family’s home and onto the streets of a burgeoning American city. Her story offers a rare and harrowing view into a time when a mother’s milk is crucial for infant survival. Written with startling intimacy and compassion, this accomplished novel is both a rich historical depiction and a testament to the saving force of a woman’s love.

Awards

NPR Best Books of 2017
Library Journal Best Historical Fiction 2017
Bustle The 17 Best Debut Novels by Woman in 2017
An Amazon Best Book of May 2017
Semifinalist in historical fiction, Goodreads Choice Awards, 2017
Finalist, David J. Langum Prize in Historical Fiction, 2017

Praise for Lilli de Jong

“A heartrending debut…Lilli’s inspiring power and touching determination are timeless.”—Publishers Weekly

“Powerful, authentic… A heart-smashing debut that completely satisfies.” —Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

“I loved this novel. It’s deeply moving and richly imagined, both tragic and joyous.”—Sandra Gulland, author of the internationally bestselling Josephine B. Trilogy

“Beautifully written, emotionally resonant, and psychologically astute…A gripping read.”—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Piece of the World

“[A] gorgeously written debut . . . Devastatingly relevant and achingly beautiful.”—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow

“A captivating, page-turning, and well-researched novel about the power of a mother’s love.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“A confident debut . . . Sentence by carefully-crafted sentence, Benton ensnares the reader.”—The Millions

“Writing with a historical eye akin to Geraldine Brooks and incisive prose matching that of Anthony Doerr… Stunning!”—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Kommandant’s Girl

“Benton combines rich, carefully researched detail with an imaginative boldness that is a joy to behold.” —Valerie Martin, author of The Ghost of the Mary Celeste

“A stunning ode to motherhood.” —Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of The Mapmaker’s Children

“A new feminist classic…Benton’s writing is shrewd and beautiful.”—Philly Voice

“Eloquent and powerful.”—HuffPost Books

“This is both a super lush historical novel and an amazing feminist manifesto…Buy it for everyone.”—Book Riot

“You would be hard-pressed to find a more intimate—even revolutionary—depiction of the emotional and sensory experiences of motherhood.”—UMass Magazine

“A brilliantly quiet novel with a spine of steel.”—Read It Forward

“[What a] monumental accomplishment the novel achieves. . . . Benton holds a mirror up to the past and in doing so, illustrates how far we have come as well as how far we have yet to go.”—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

JANET BENTON’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Glimmer Train, and many other publications. She has cowritten and edited historical documentaries for television. She holds a B.A. in religious studies from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. For decades she has taught writing at universities and privately and has helped individuals and organizations craft their stories. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Lilli de Jong is her first novel.

Visit www.janetbentonauthor.com for more information. You can also find Janet on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 13
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, August 15
Review at Cup of Sensibility

Friday, August 17
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Monday, August 20
Feature at Clarissa Reads it All

Thursday, August 23
Feature at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Feature at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 28
Review at Dressed to Read

Friday, August 31
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Monday, September 3
Review at Oh, October

Friday, September 7
Review at The Book Mind

Tuesday, September 11
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, September 12
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, September 13
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a copy of Lilli de Jong to one lucky reader! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/competitions/ZGnpb-lilli-de-jong-paperback

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