Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Saturday Snapshot: Across the Pond!

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Over the break, we went to London!

Above is London Bridge, St. Paul’s, the V&A, and my family on the London Eye.

(Used my husband’s iPhone8 which is super for pictures!)

 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at http://www.awebofstories.com

See her site for participation details!

 

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My Fave Reads of 2018!

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Well, the new year has passed and I still haven’t found the time to post my FAVE READS for last year! I apologize – working full-time does not impact my reading time, but it does impact my blogging time!

So here – in no particular order beyond the fact that I’m reviewing my blog Jan to Dec to find them – are 16 novels, 2 audiobooks, and a podcast: my favorite reads/listens from last year:

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (wins the “I almost didn’t read it because I thought I’d hate it but instead I loved it” award)

West Cork – an audible podcast (still haunts me – true crime)

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhorn

Wildwood by Elinor Florence

The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg

Us against You by Frederic Backman (sequel to Beartown by this exquisite writer)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (having my 8th graders read it next year)

Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley (they are all brilliant!)

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner (just read her latest, too, and loved it!)

Susan Elia MacNeal’s Maggie Hope stories (all are good – WWII mysteries)

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Christmas at the Lakeside Resort by Susan Schild

The Tatooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (controversial, I know)

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas (always a great YA read from her)

And here are TWO GREAT AUDIOBOOKS I listened to this year: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

 

Please know that I read MANY wonderful books and this list is highly subjective and specific to me and what I like to read (I read to escape, to relax, to unwind).

 

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Saturday Snapshot: Hawaii, the Big Island

If you know us, you know we love to go to Hawaii! This year we went to the Big Island and enjoyed the sun and sand.

Here are a few pictures:

 

The Big Island is so unique with all it’s dark lava rocks! We were on the other side from the volcano and didn’t see it. It was a great week!

 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at Westmetromommyreads.com.

See her site for participation details!

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Saturday Snapshot: a few costumes from the Met

When we were in NYC, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of my very favorite places! One of my top choices there is to see what’s in the basement area – the costume collection. They were having a special exhibit of vestments and clothing from different Popes and no one could take pictures of it (not sure why). However, I came across two other intriguing “costumes” in an exhibition of visitors to Versailles. With my obsession with history, I love reading about Versailles and the opulent life there. I took a picture of a ladies dress from a visitor (not only magnificent, but amazingly well preserved!):

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I also took a picture of one of Ben Franklin’s suits. What struck me was that every picture or interpretation I’ve seen of Ben Franklin as an adult has him about 250-300 pounds (with the exception of his large statue at the Franklin Institute in Philly). While his suit was certainly a bit larger than those of his peers in the display, it really wasn’t very large at all (well, by American standards!): (no flash was allowed – sorry!)

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I found these two costumes memorable!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at Westmetromommyreads.com.

See her site for full participation details!

addendum: I just found online (if that’s to be trusted!) that the real Ben Franklin was 5’9 and 220 pounds.

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Saturday Snapshot: St. Pat’s Cathedral

If you know me, you know we like to go to NYC. When we do, we attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I never tire of looking at the beautiful intricacies of the architecture there, the statues, the windows, the light.

Here are a few photos I took last weekend when we were there:

 

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at westmetromommyreads.com. Stop by her site for specifics on participating!

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Some Summer Reads…

If you know me, you know I love my kindle. I can boost up the size of the print and not need my glasses and I can read when I wake up in the middle of the night (instead of staring at the ceiling and worrying about various things). However, summer is the best time for reading printed books for me because, as an educator, I have lots more time to read during the day and/or read when I’m not exhausted and bleary-eyed.

So – I recently gathered some of my paper books that I’ve been saving for summer and lined them up for a tbr pile picture:

Squee! I’ve got a little bit of everything in here — from Tudor times to a cozy mystery to some YA to a non-fiction laugh a minute memoir from a Little House on the Prairie cast member. Of course I have about 25 things on my kindle, but I’ll be getting to these while the days are long and there’s time to relax with a good book!

What are YOU reading this summer?

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HFVBTour for Anna Belfrage’s THE COLD LIGHT OF DAWN with GIVEAWAY!

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I am fortunate once again to be part of a blog tour celebrating Anna Belfrage’s novels. I love her Graham historical time travel saga, and I certainly love these British history novels, taking place in the time of Edward III (a king that I didn’t know a lot about). Anna’s characters are so real and so human and their daily life is so interesting to me, along with all the subterfuge, spying, scandal, and backstabbing that seems to make up so much of the history of British monarchs. Anne’s writing is captivating and easy to fall into. She makes history come alive.

If you enjoy historical fiction, don’t miss ANY of Anna Belfrage’s novels! Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my e-copy of this novel!

 

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The Cold Light of Dawn by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: February 16, 2018
Matador & TimeLight Press
eBook & Paperback; 434 Pages

Series: The King’s Greatest Enemy, Book #4
Genre: Historical Fiction

After Henry of Lancaster’s rebellion has been crushed early in 1329, a restless peace settles over England. However, the young Edward III is no longer content with being his regents’ puppet, no matter that neither Queen Isabella nor Roger Mortimer show any inclination to give up their power. Caught in between is Adam de Guirande, torn between his loyalty to the young king and that to his former lord, Roger Mortimer.

Edward III is growing up fast. No longer a boy to be manipulated, he resents the power of his mother, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer. His regents show little inclination of handing over their power to him, the rightful king, and Edward suspects they never will unless he forces their hand.

Adam de Guirande is first and foremost Edward’s man, and he too is of the opinion that the young king is capable of ruling on his own. But for Adam siding with his king causes heartache, as he still loves Roger Mortimer, the man who shaped him into who he is.

Inevitably, Edward and his regents march towards a final confrontation. And there is nothing Adam can do but pray and hope that somehow things will work out. Unfortunately, prayers don’t always help.

The Cold Light of Dawn is the fourth in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord and his king.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

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Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 26
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Tuesday, February 27
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, February 28
Review at A Holland Reads

Thursday, March 1
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, March 2
Review at Book Drunkard

Monday, March 5
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Tuesday, March 6
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, March 7
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, March 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Monday, March 12
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, March 13
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, March 15
Feature at Passages to the Past

Friday, March 16
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Monday, March 19
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, March 21
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 22
Review at Back Porchervations

Friday, March 23
Feature at Button Eyed Reader

Monday, March 26
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, March 28
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Impressions In Ink

Friday, March 30
Review at Bookramblings

But wait! There’s a Giveaway!

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a complete set of The King’s Greatest Enemy series to one winner & two winners will win a paperback copy of The Cold Light of Dawn!

To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– 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

 

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CHRISTMAS AT WDW (a Saturday Snapshot)

 

As a family, we LOVE going to Walt Disney World, and this year we went the week before Xmas (less people than the week afterward!). To be honest, I rarely took my phone into the park (I like to roam free with just my Magic Band) but we love, love, love the Grand Floridian and enjoyed taking pictures there of the beautiful decorations that they have out for Christmas. And yes – that is a full size real gingerbread house made with gingerbread with adults working inside it! The top right has the tree from the Polynesian, which we love to visit as we love all things Hawaiian. Top right shows the castle from Mickey’s Holiday Party — it was fantastic. It also “snowed” on Main Street, which maybe would have been more exciting if I didn’t live in New England!

 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at westmetromommyreads.com

Visit her site for more information!

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My Top 12 Reads/Listens for 2017!

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I’m a bit late to the party on this post (blame my vacation travel, Disney, NYC, or the fact that I got sick), but I wanted to share my very favorite reads (and listens) from the past year.

First I must say that EVERY book I post about is a book that I’ve enjoyed. If I’m not liking a book, I don’t finish it; and if I don’t finish it, I don’t review it (though I will book blast a book I haven’t read – I generally say just that in the post). So, ALL the books I posted about this year are great books!

Here are the ones that stand out – that stay in my mind – that I recommend most often:

(all can be found on my blog for this past year)

THE HUNDRED LIES OF LIZZIE LOVETT by Chelsea Sedoti  YA

THE CHILBURY LADIES’CHOIR by Jennifer Ryan  HF

THE ODDS OF LOVING GROVER CLEVELAND by Rebekah Crane  YA

IN FARLEIGH FIELD by Rhys Bowen   HF

ARMSTRONG AND CHARLIE by Steven B. Frank   KIDS

THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN by Ellen Marie Wiseman   HF

THE ALICE NETWORK by Kate Quinn   HF

BEARTOWN by Fredrik Backman  F

THE PARIS SPY by Susan Elia MacNeal  HF

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate  F (I listened to the audio)

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng  F (I listened to the audio)

THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE by Lisa See  F (I listened to the audio)

 

Have you read any of these? What’s on your list?

 

(image from google free photo library)

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THE IT GIRL AND ME by Laini Giles with GIVEAWAY!

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I love taking part in Amy Bruno’s blog tours for historical fiction novels!

If you know me, you know I love love love Hollywood from days of old and anything to do with theater/movies/entertainment. This novel is a story of Clara Bow – the “It Girl” from the 1920’s told from the perspective of her assistant. I like this technique for telling a story; Erika Robuck uses it in her books, too, and I find it very effective.

I am enjoying this book right now as I got a late start on it. I love reading of this time period and the writing flows easily. I read Laini Giles’ “Forgotten Flapper” and really enjoyed it — this is another book in the “forgotten actresses” series and I’m enjoying it, too! UPDATED 11/19:  I finished this novel this past weekend. What an interesting story! While told through the eyes of Clara’s assistant, the character is historical and the events, especially those at the end of the novel, while shocking, are based in fact. This story must have rocked the papers at the time, especially since Clara Bow was so well-known and beloved. This was a great read — I can’t wait to see what Laini Giles writes next!

Here’s the scoop from HFVBT:

The It Girl and Me: A Novel of Clara Bow by Laini Giles
Publication Date: March 25, 2017
Sepia Stories Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 341 Pages
Series: Forgotten Actresses, Book #2
Gere: Historical Fiction/Biographical
Daisy DeVoe has left her abusive husband, her father has been pinched for bootlegging, and she’s embarrassed by her rural Kentucky roots. But on the plus side, she’s climbing the ladder in the salon of Paramount Pictures, styling hair for actress Clara Bow.
Clara is a handful. The “It” Girl of the Jazz Age personifies the new woman of the 1920s onscreen, smoking, drinking bootleg hooch, and bursting with sex appeal. But her conduct off the set is even more scandalous. Hoping to impose a little order on Clara’s chaotic life, Paramount persuades Daisy to sign on as Clara’s personal secretary.
Thanks to Daisy, Clara’s bank account is soon flush with cash. And thanks to Clara, Daisy can finally shake off her embarrassing past and achieve respectability for herself and her family.
The trouble begins when Clara’s newest fiancé, cowboy star Rex Bell, wants to take over, and he and Daisy battle for control. Torn between her loyalty to Clara and her love for her family, Daisy has to make a difficult choice when she ends up in the county jail.
Here, Daisy sets the record straight, from her poverty-stricken childhood to her failed marriage; from a father in San Quentin to her rollercoaster time with Clara, leaving out none of the juicy details.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble Chapters
About the Author
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Originally from the counterculture mecca of Austin, Texas, Laini discovered a love of reading early on, and when she was eight, decided to be Nancy Drew. This dream was dashed when she realized she was actually a big chicken, and that there were no guarantees of rescue from tarantulas, bad guys with guns, and other fiendish plot twists. She finished her first “mystery novel” (with custom illustrations) when she was nine.
She set the writing aside for a while when life got in the way, but was led back to it through her interest in genealogy and 18 months of enforced unemployment due to moving north for maple-flavored goodies and real beer. Reading old microfilm stirred new life into her interest in writing, and watching early silent films struck the match.
Like most other writers, most of her monthly budget is spent on coffee and books. She lives with her husband and their two gray cats in Edmonton, Alberta.
For more information, please visit Laini Giles’ website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.
Blog Tour Schedule
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Wednesday, November 1
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Thursday, November 2
Feature at What Is That Book About
Friday, November 3
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, November 6
Review at Bookish
Tuesday, November 7
Feauture at WS Momma Readers Nook
Thursday, November 9
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Friday, November 10
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Monday, November 13
Review at Creating Herstory
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots
Wednesday, November 15
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Friday, November 17
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation
Monday, November 20
Feature at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, November 22
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Thursday, November 23
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Friday, November 24
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Saturday, November 25
Excerpt at T’s Stuff
Tuesday, November 28
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Wednesday, November 29
Review at A Book Drunkard
Giveaway
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 5 paperback copies of The It Girl and Me! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada 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/Ieh6N/the-it-girl-and-me
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