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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Watching You by Lisa Jewell

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I love Lisa Jewell’s novels. They are always so suspenseful! I was able to get her latest (publishing 12/26/18) via Net Galley. Of course I read it in two days as I just could NOT stop reading! Thank you for my review copy.

Here’s the overview:

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The Rain Watcher by Tatiana De Rosnay

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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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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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Trespassing by Brandi Reeds

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I got this one free through Amazon early reads (Kindle First) for my kindle. Fast and furious, it kept me guessing until the end!

In this Amazon Charts bestselling novel of psychological suspense, a young mother follows a dangerous path to find her missing husband.

Veronica Cavanaugh’s grasp on the world is slipping. Her latest round of fertility treatments not only failed but left her on edge and unbalanced. And her three-year-old daughter, Elizabella, has a new imaginary friend, who seems much more devilish than playful. So when Veronica’s husband fails to return home from a business trip, what’s left of her stability begins to crumble.

Given her family’s history of mental illness, and Elizabella’s insistence that her daddy is dead, Veronica starts questioning herself. Every move she makes is now suspect. Worse still, Veronica is positive that someone wants her and her daughter dead, too—unless it’s all in her mind…

Somewhere beneath her paranoia is the answer to her husband’s vanishing. To find it, she’s led to a house in the Florida Keys. But once there, she isn’t sure she wants to know the truth.

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The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

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I received this one a while ago through Net Galley. I love suspenseful reads! This one wasn’t a thriller, but more of a low grade suspense as I tried to figure everything out that was going on with all these characters! I was thinking while I read it that it reminded me of Big Little Lies, and I see that one of the “real” reviews made the same comparison.

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Recommended! Let me know if you read it. Thank you for my review copy!

 

 

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A Whisper of Bones by Ellen Hart

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I read this one a while ago — it was one of those “read it in one day!” kind of mysteries that I couldn’t put down. While it is part of a series, it certainly stands alone as I haven’t read any of the other titles. Suspenseful and well-plotted, I will look for more by this author!

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Thank you for my review copy via Net Galley!

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THE TUSCAN CHILD by Rhys Bowen

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If you read me, you know I love Rhys Bowen’s mystery series (Molly Murphy and Royal Spyness, to name two of them). Every now and then she steps out and writes a stand alone (e.g. In Farleigh Field). THE TUSCAN CHILD is just that – a stand alone novel that tells the story of a WWII lost love, a young woman looking for part of her past, and the beautiful Tuscan countryside that is the setting for it all.

Here’s the scoop:

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A Note From the Publisher

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I really enjoyed this one (no surprise), and I think readers who enjoy mystery and family relationships and WWII will connect with this novel.
I received this e-copy via Ms. Bowen’s publicist and Net Galley – thank you!!
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LOSING LEAH HOLLOWAY by Lisa Regan

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A Note From the Publisher

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This novel is the second in a series, but can work as a stand-alone. I hadn’t read the previous title.
I chose this book on Net Galley as it looked intriguing and suspenseful. It was, but it was also rather sad and depressing. The novel starts with a carfull of passengers plunging off a bridge. The driver, a young mother, refuses to be saved and drowns. The story then goes from the present unraveling of the mystery to the past to uncover the chain of events that put the tragedy in motion. While at some points you know the characters’ motivations, there are some twists and surprises as well.
While this was a solid read, it felt different from a typical mystery to me. I generally don’t relate to the murder victim (especially when they die at the beginning of the novel). This story was different in that you could see why and how things came to be.  I found the final ending to be so sad for the children involved, too. Definitely not your typical mystery. Well-paced and plotted, I’d recommend it to those who want a mystery that goes beyond the action.
Thank you for my review e-copy.
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