Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Saturday Snapshot: US Open Tennis

Before we met, my husband attended the US Open every year. Things have been a bit trickier since getting married and having children, but this year all four of us went with friends. It was a great day!

Because we bought our tickets far in advance, we didn’t know who we would be seeing. I think we lucked out!

We saw Venus Williams play and win:

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We saw Djokovic play and win,too:

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We also had fun playing “virtual tennis” against Maria Sharapova:

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It was a fun day!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at westmetromommyreads.com. See her site for participation details and lots of other fun Saturday Snapshot moments!

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Saturday Snapshot: Edith Wharton’s MOUNT

Last week we were out at the Berkshires and had the chance to visit Edith Wharton’s beautiful home THE MOUNT. It was a lovely day to take a few pictures and walk through the beautiful rooms and gardens.


 Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at westmetromommyreads.com. See her site for participation details and more pictures!

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Coming in the fall — calling all Alcott fans!

I was taking part in the summer conversational series this week and had the pleasure of meeting Jeannine Atkins, author of the upcoming LITTLE WOMAN IN BLUE – A Novel of May Alcott. I am SO excited to read this, and Jeannine kindly gave me an ARC. I will be reading it and then posting my thoughts closer to its Pub Day in September.

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One more from BEA – Young Adult Buzz Titles

I almost forgot! Along with the Middle Grade Buzz session, there is a Young Adult Buzz session at BEA. I did not attend this year as I was in line to meet Alice Hoffman (yeah!!). However, the program has the list of titles/authors.

According to the industry, these are the ones to watch for in YA this fall (links are to Amazon where I am an Associate):

Dream Things True: A Novel by Marie Marquardt (9/1 release)

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Synopsis from Amazon:

Evan and Alma have spent fifteen years living in the same town, connected in a dozen different ways but also living worlds apart — until the day he jumps into her dad’s truck and slams on the brakes.
The nephew of a senator, Evan seems to have it all – except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two, surrounded by a large (sometimes smothering) Mexican family. They both want out of this town. His one-way ticket is soccer; hers is academic success.

When they fall in love, they fall hard, trying to ignore their differences. Then Immigration and Customs Enforcement begins raids in their town, and Alma knows that she needs to share her secret. But how will she tell her country-club boyfriend that she and almost everyone she’s close to are undocumented immigrants?

What follows is a beautiful, nuanced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one’s family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives. This page-turning debut asks tough questions, reminding us that love is more powerful than fear.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (9/1 release)

downloadEVERYTHING

Synopsis from Amazon:

This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski (9/22 release)

downloadNIGHTFALL

Synopsis from Amazon:

A story where edge-of-your-seat horror meets post-apocalyptic thriller, perfect for fans of Lois Lowry and The Mazerunner

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

And it may already be too late.

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume 1: At the Edge of Empire by Daniel Kraus (10/27 release)

downloadZEBULON

Synopsis from Amazon:

A murdered teen is resurrected to walk the earth for centuries in this sweeping historical epic in the spirit of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, from the author of Rotters and Scowler.

Twenty minutes after his murder on the shores of Lake Michigan in 1896, seventeen-year-old Zebulon Finch awakens, resurrected to suffer an eternity upon the planet. But of all people…why him?

Is it because he was a violent Chicago gangster and this is his chance at redemption?

Is it because he is a modern-day Job whose suffering is beyond human comprehension?

Over the next century—or two—he will try to find out. With a sly aristocratic voice and a healthy appetite for women and anarchy, Zebulon Finch spins a tale of his travels across a young America, watching the country grow and mature, knowing that his mind and body will never do the same.

Yes, he is witty. He is also vain. Absolutely brilliant, too. And he is always entertaining. But have no doubt—Zebulon Finch has a heart as vulnerable as anyone’s. Too bad he doesn’t learn to use it till after it has stopped beating…

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (releasing 12/22)

downloadLIGHT

Synopsis from Amazon:

Can the best thing happen at the worst time?

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.
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BEA “Buzz Authors” for Middle Grade Fiction

One great thing about the Book Expo is that you can find out what the “hot” titles are that are forthcoming. This year I stumbled into this session late (couldn’t find it) and they were just finishing talking about the first title. A young man from Scholastic was giving a heartfelt entreaty for folks to read and love and support their upcoming release of GEORGE. Here are the books that were cited as the ones to watch (links are to Amazon where I am an Associate) – they all release in August or September:

George by Alex Gino – about a young boy who knows he’s really a girl and wants to play Charlotte in the school play of “Charlotte’s Web”.

Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre – about a spunky young girl who seeks to save her Civil War era home.

The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon – about a young boy who goes on an adventure to save his grandparents who are stranded on an iceberg.

The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB by Adam Shaughnessy – first in a series about two friends having adventures in the world of Viking gods they discover under their town.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin – about a young girl dealing with the death of her best friend.

When I came out of the session I found myself right in front of a table with EACH of these books on it as a free gift for us! I was able to get a copy of each and look forward to reading them.

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Some top picks from BEA15

Last week I went to part of the Book Expo in NYC. As always it was particularly awesome to meet some of my favorite authors and get their upcoming/new books.

While I got many wonderful reads (I limited myself to about two dozen this year), this picture shows the ones that I REALLY wanted to get and stood in line for, for what felt like ages:

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Publishing in October, Geraldine Brooks’ (People of the Book, March, etc.) new novel is about King David. Melanie Benjamin’s (The Aviator’s Wife) novel is about high society in NYC back in the day and the friendship between Truman Capote and Babe Paley (got to wait for this one until 1/2016). Charles Belfoure’s (The Paris Architect) new one is a mystery set in 1880’s New York. It publishes in September. Alice Hoffman’s (Nightbird, The Dovekeepers, etc.) new novel hits the shelves in August and is about the parents of artist Camille Pissarro.

All of this is SO very exciting! Plus I met each author (albeit briefly). Yeah!

You can see these books on Amazon where they can be preordered (and where I am an Associate):

The Secret Chord: A Novel

The Swans of Fifth Avenue: A Novel

House of Thieves: A Novel

The Marriage of Opposites

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Saturday Snapshot: Hawaii!

We are just back from a week in Honolulu. Hawaii is one of our favorite places – so beautiful and warm and relaxing!

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at Westmetromommyreads.com. See her site for participation details.

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HFVBT Book Blast — MADEMOISELLE CHANEL by C.W. Gortner — and Giveaway!!

We are blasting it up today to celebrate C.W. Gortner’s newly published book: MADEMOISELLE CHANEL — which is definitely on my TBR list!!

Here’s some info from HFVBT —

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About Mademoiselle Chanel

Publication Date: March 17, 2015
William Morrow/HarperCollins
Formats: Hardover, eBook, Audio Book

Genre: Historical Fiction

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DRAMA, PASSION, TRAGEDY, AND BEAUTY: C.W.’s new novel stunningly imagines the life of Coco Chanel—the iconic fashion designer whose staggering creativity built an empire and made her one of the 20th century’s most influential, and controversial, figures.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her sisters are sent to a convent orphanage after their mother’s death. Here, the nuns nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel her into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. Her little black dress, her signature perfume No. 5; her dramatic friendships, affairs, and rivalries with luminaries of her era increase her wealth and fame. But as the years pass, success cannot save her from heartbreak. And when Paris falls to the Nazis during World War II, Coco finds herself at a dangerous crossroads, forced to make choices that will forever change her.

An enthralling portrayal of an extraordinary woman who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel is Coco’s intimate story.

Praise for Mademoiselle Chanel

“In this deliciously satisfying novel, C.W. Gortner tells the epic, rags-to-riches story of how this brilliant, mercurial, self-created woman became a legend.” (Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train)

“In a novel as brilliant and complicated as Coco Chanel herself, C. W. Gortner’s prose is so electric and luminous it could be a film, and not just any film, but one of the grandest biopics of our time. Divine!” (Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl)

“A richly imagined, deftly researched novel, in which the ever fascinating Coco Chanel comes to life in all her woe and splendor, her story unfolding as elegantly as a Chanel gown.” (Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls)

“From her heart-wrenching early years through her decades of struggle and glory, Gabrielle Chanel was fascinating—as is C.W. Gortner’s Mademoiselle Chanel. Coco lives again in this rich tale of brilliance, determination, and fierce self-creation.” (Ania Szado, author of Studio Saint-Ex)

“Gortner brings to life a woman who was as alluring and captivating as her signature scent. ” (Historical Novels Review)

“Gortner brings history to life in a fascinating study of one woman’s unstoppable ambition.” (Booklist)

“Well-written and historically accurate . . . An homage to a couture icon whose influence is still powerful today.” (Kirkus Reviews)

About the Author

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin’s Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information visit C.W. Gortner’swebsite and blog. You can also find him onFacebook, Twittter, Goodreads, Pinterest, andYouTube. Sign up for C.W. Gortner’sNewsletter for updates.

Giveaway! Starts March 17th

Three Chanel-style black and white beaded bracelets will up for grabs during this blast, follow along for chances to win!

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– Giveaway starts on March 17th at 12:01am and ends on April 3rd at 11:59pm EST.
– 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.

Here is the link to the Mademoiselle Chanel giveaway: https://gleam.io/n4EVt/mademoiselle-chanel-book-blast-giveaway.

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A Look Back at February…

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Here’s what was happening around here during the month of February —

Heather Webb came to speak at the Concord Bookshop. I’m reading her book RODIN’S LOVER now (it’s great!).

I reviewed a really great cookbook – A GOOD FOOD DAY by Marco Canora (highly recommended)

I reviewed THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN by Kristy Cambron (and I will be part of her blog tour for her next book in this series in April).

I reviewed Laurie King’s DREAMING SPIES (which I loved). I posted about a large giveaway through her publicist and also did my own blog giveaway of her new book!

I reviewed the mystery thriller THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS by Sara Blaedel (Nordic crime!)

I reviewed THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins (suspense/thriller), THINGS HALF IN SHADOW by Alan Finn (historical mystery), THE HALF-BROTHER by Holly LeCraw (fiction), and EIGHT MINUTES by Lori Reisenbichler (supernatural suspense).

I posted about a giveaway for Sandra Byrd’s MIST OF MIDNIGHT, reviewed Melissa D’Arabian’s SUPERMARKET HEALTHY, and reviewed two audiobooks – RIPPER by Isabel Allende and THE NIGHT STRANGERS by Chris Bohjalian.

I took part in the HFVB Tour for THE WITCH HUNTER’S TALE by Sam Thomas (historical fiction) and did a book blast for HFVBT for LETTERS TO KEZIA by Peni Jo Renner.

Phew! It was a busier month than I realized!

Next month you can look for more historical fiction blog tours and book blasts and more book reviews, ranging from Coco Chanel to two sisters disguised as boys in the Civil War to a young woman solving mysteries Nancy Drew style. I’ll also have a few special Saturday Snapshots to share with sandy beaches and sun!

Happy Reading!

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A Look Back at January..

January was a busy month for me!

Over the course of the month I posted reviews on:

BLACKWATER BEN by William Durbin (kids)

NORA WEBSTER by Colm Toibin (fiction)

VERONICA MARS #2 by Rob Thomas (YA/new adult/mystery)

WHEN by Victoria Laurie (YA)

THE BLOOD OF THE FIFTH KNIGHT by E.M. Powell (HF)

THE DIABETES SOLUTION and THE ACID REFLUX SOLUTION by Dr. Jorge Rodriguez (self-help/diet)

MY THINNING YEARS by Jon Derek Croteau (memoir)

DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN by Tessa Arlen (HF)

SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMEONE DEAD by M.C. Beaton (cozy)

DOWN BY THE RIVER by Lin Stepp (Christian/fiction)

THE DARING LADIES OF LOWELL by Kate Alcott (audiobook – HF)

THE SCHOOL OF NIGHT by Colin Falconer (HF)

THE WICKED AWAKENING OF ANNE MERCHANT by Joanna Wiebe (YA)

THE AFTER HOUSE by Phillip Michael Cash (Supernatural/suspense)

THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah (HF)

I also did a few Saturday Snapshots:

NYC for New Year’s

More NYC

Blizzard of 2015

And posted on a giveaway for Dreaming Spies!

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