Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

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!

Leave a comment »

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

cover140218-medium.png

Those of you who love Kate DiCamillo and her “Raymie Nightingale” will remember Louisiana Elefante. In this middle grade novel, the next chapter of Louisiana’s story is told. This was a quick read with a very distinct narrator’s voice (I don’t think Louisiana ever speaks with contractions), and while it was sad (the child is basically abandoned – twice), it has a sweet ending with a theme of accepting yourself for who you are.

I’ll be sure to recommend this one to our school library. Thank you for my review copy via Net Galley!

Description

Leave a comment »

The Christmas Forest by Rebecca Boxall

 

cover152029-medium.png

Description

A Note From the Publisher

**********************************************************
I loved this short story about quirky and endearing Enid and her online relationship with Fred and the time when she tries to go to Australia to meet him. Enid is sensitively portrayed and if you have someone in your life like her (and who doesn’t?) you can’t help but appreciate how spot on the character is with her sensitivities to certain things and her wonderful strengths. I hadn’t read a novel by Rebecca Boxall before and, to be honest, I chose this by the title and cover (beautiful!). I will look for her other work.
Thank you for my review mobi! Another great holiday read!
Leave a comment »

Audiobook Pick: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris; Narrated by Richard Armitage

 

5192ZvlVAkL._SX342_.jpg

I had heard a bit about this book, so I chose it with my Audible credit this month. What a story! First of all, it held my attention during my lengthy commute (no easy feat) and it was wonderfully narrated by Richard Armitage. The story was truly remarkable and at one point I thought that this could not possibly be true. Some of the things that happened seemed fantastic to the point of being too incredible to believe (SPOILER! for example, their finding each other after the war, or how Lale seemed to be able to get the things he needed to get by and to help others). Yet, this is a true story. While it is a story of the horrors of Auschwitz, it’s an amazing story of bravery and resistance and resiliency that makes you feel connected to these characters and wanting more of them. The last chapter and epilogue of the book could have been a whole other novel in itself. (Just a note, from a cursory glance online, most people seem to enjoy the audiobook more than the novel itself).

Here’s the overview:

This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov – an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for “tattooist”), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism – but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful recreation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

Leave a comment »

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana De Rosnay

cover136110-medium.png

Description

Leave a comment »

The Unpredictability of Being Human by Linni Ingemundsen

thumbnail_Unpredictability Cover _Final 2.jpg

I loved this story about a slightly quirky girl coming to terms with the ups and downs of life. It made a great YA read, with the message that life can throw you some curve balls, it’s how you deal with them that matters.

Here’s the description:

“If I got to be God for one day, I’d like to say I’d end world hunger and create world peace. But I wouldn’t. Because if God could fix the big stuff, he’d have done it already.”

Malin knows she can’t fix the big stuff in her life. Instead, she watches from the sidelines, as her dad yells, her brother lies, and her mum falls apart. At least after she meets Hanna, she has a friend to help her. Because being Malin is complicated – learning how to kiss, what to wear to prom, and what to do when you upset the prettiest, meanest girl in school.

It’s tough fitting in when you’re different. But what if it’s the world that’s weird, not you?

A beautiful, funny and honest coming-of-age story that never pretends life is perfect.

About the Author

Linni Ingemundsen is from Norway, though she currently lives in Malta. She does not know how to draw but is somehow a freelance cartoonist. Some of her favourite things in life include chocolate, free Wi-Fi and her yellow typewriter.

Linni has lived in three different countries and will never be done exploring the world. She has worked as a dishwasher in Australia, a volunteer journalist in Tanzania and has approximately 2.5 near-death experiences behind her. Still, what truly inspires her writing is her background growing up in a village on the south-western coast of Norway.

Linni began writing The Unpredictability of Being Human while on the Oxford Brookes MA in Creative Writing. Her dark, comical storytelling is fully displayed in this unusual, slice-of-life telling as experienced by a fourteen year old girl in Norway.

 

Highly recommend for teens and adults alike, I loved seeing the world through Malin’s eyes. While never directly stated, Malin appears to maybe on the spectrum (though I ask you, aren’t we all somewhere on multiple spectrums?). I think it’s great to read a story where the reader can experience life in what may be a slightly different way than they usually do.

Thank you for my review pdf, which I received from Incorgnito Press, the US publisher.

 

Leave a comment »

Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg

 

cover141903-medium.png

I absolutely loved Elizabeth Berg’s The Story of Arthur Truluv which I read earlier in the year (reviewed here: My Review). In fact, I love all of Berg’s novels (and there have been many!). This one continues the story of the characters from Arthur Truluv:

Description

************************************************************
And yes, I did maybe shed a little tear at the end!
Thank you for my review e-copy via Net Galley!
Leave a comment »

Christmas at the Lakeside Resort by Susan Schild

51XuJ8zUemL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Yeah!! Bring on the holiday books! It’s one of my favorite times of year and I love, love, love holiday stories. Susan Schild has written a new one and it’s a keeper – a feel-good story about a woman starting a “new life”.

Here’s the overview:

Christmas at the Lakeside Resort

Love and Adventures after 40

Forty-two year old Jenny Beckett is dreading the holidays. Her fiancé has just called off their Christmas wedding, and she’s been evicted from her darling chicken coop cottage. When her estranged father dies and leaves her eight rustic guest cabins on Heron Lake, Jenny seizes the chance to make a new life. She packs up her dogs, her miniature horse and her beat up Airstream trailer and moves to the lake.

Short on time and money, Jenny and her contractor, widower Luke, work feverishly to renovate the cabins in time for the festive holiday event she’s promised her very first guests. When an unexpected blizzard snows them in and jeopardizes the resort’s opening, Jenny and Luke work to save the event and, along the way, find true love… and the magic of Christmas.

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

I just adored this character. She loves her dogs and has a miniature horse as a pet. She is intelligent and self-sufficient. She loves curling up with her book and a cup of tea while wearing her nightgown. And she finds love in this story.

I think because I met my husband after we were 35, I have a strong affinity for these types of romances, where the main character is capable and productive, but then finds someone who loves and appreciates her. I think it would appeal to those who enjoy a “clean” read or who enjoy Christian romances (though it’s not one). (To be honest, I’d rather my protagonist curl up with a library book then be out on the town having sex indiscriminately).

This looks like part one in a series, which should be fun to read, as Jenny runs her resort and has interactions with all the different people there. Of course there will be more of Luke as well! To be honest, these books remind me a bit of the Mitford series, which I absolutely love.

Thank you so much for my review mobi, Ms. Schild! I look forward to reading more of this series. And thank you for writing about adult woman who live simply, love their pets, find a partner at 40, and remind me of me!

2 Comments »

Us Against You by Frederik Backman

514k7csJe4L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I absolutely love the writing of Frederik Backman. His novel A MAN CALLED OVE made me both laugh and cry. His story of a hockey town in crisis, BEARTOWN, also made me cry. This summer he has a new novel out, a sequel to BEARTOWN, called US AGAINST YOU. It takes up the story of the families of Beartown and brings them through the next year as they continue to struggle and cope with the actions and activities of the past. Peter and Kira struggle with their marriage. Maya struggles with trying to live her life in the shadow of her assault. Leo struggles with adolescence. And throughout, the lives of these very ordinary people are set against the struggles of a hockey team (with a new coach) and the rivalry Beartown has with neighboring Hed. “Rivalry” might be too tame of a word for it, though.

One of Backman’s gifts as a writer is that he takes the very ordinary and makes it extraordinary. He can craft a simple moment and make it memorable; and he gets to the heart of emotion and humanity in doing so.

If you haven’t read Beartown, it makes most sense to read that novel first, but this can be a stand alone title as well.

Highly recommended! Thank you for my review e-copy from Net Galley!

Here’s the overview:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown returns with “a lyrical look at how a community heals, how families recover and how individuals grow” (The Washington Post).

A small community tucked deep in the forest, Beartown is home to tough, hardworking people who don’t expect life to be easy or fair. No matter how difficult times get, they’ve always been able to take pride in their local ice hockey team. So it’s a cruel blow when they hear that Beartown ice hockey might soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in the neighboring town of Hed, take in that fact. As the tension mounts between the two adversaries, a newcomer arrives who gives Beartown hockey a surprising new coach and a chance at a comeback.

Soon a team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; always dutiful and eager-to-please Bobo; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the town’s enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big game approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt intensifies. By the time the last goal is scored, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after everything, the game they love can ever return to something as simple and innocent as a field of ice, two nets, and two teams. Us against you.

Here is a declaration of love for all the big and small, bright and dark stories that give form and color to our communities. With immense compassion and insight, Fredrik Backman reveals how loyalty, friendship, and kindness can carry a town through its most challenging days.

Leave a comment »

The Good Twin by Marti Green

cover128828-medium.png

Description

A Note From the Publisher

Evil twins? Unreliable narrators? Double-crossing husbands who get their comeuppance??
Sign me up!
This was a fast and fun read that I was afraid would disappoint me, but didn’t!
Thank you for my e-copy!
Leave a comment »