Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

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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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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The Corpse at the Crystal Palace by Carola Dunn

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When I discovered this title on Net Galley, I had never heard of Daisy Dalrymple and this absolutely delightful cozy mystery series that takes place in England in the 1920’s. I love the cast of characters in this novel, which includes more than just the intrepid Daisy, but also her friends and children. While this is part of a series, it can certainly stand alone (it did for me!). I will definitely go back and read earlier installments in this well-written and plotted series; and I will look forward to new ones.

Thank you for my review copy! Description is below and a bit on the real Crystal Palace (which I had never heard of perhaps because it burned down in 1936) is at the end, compliments of You Tube.

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Here’s a glimpse of the original Crystal Palace (with sad Beethoven music):

And here’s a video from the V&A Museum with no sound that shows how it was built:

I also found this video about the walkway that used to lead to it from the subway – interesting!

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Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell

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I had never read a title by Suzanne Rindell, but I chose this book from Net Galley since I love WWII stories. The novel centers on three main characters: Louis, one of the many children of a poor farmer who carries a grudge against the Japanese family next door; Harry, the son of the Japanese farmers; and Ava, a young girl who is part of an itinerant circus group. When their paths cross, the boys sign on to be part of an air circus, doing stunts in the sky. However, as WWII reaches the US, Harry’s family is sent to an internment camp and forever changed, while Louis must struggle with his family’s long-held feud, and Ava must decide where her love lies.

I really enjoyed this story and particularly liked the characters. It’s always fun to read about California, where I grew up, and in one scene they visit the Napa Valley (yeah!). I would love to see this novel made into a movie. I bet it would have beautiful cinematography!

This may be my first Suzanne Rindell novel, but it won’t be my last. Thank you for my review e-copy!

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As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

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Oh my goodness, I loved this historical fiction novel about an ordinary family during an extraordinary time. The Bright family is moving to Philadelphia and it’s the outbreak of WWI. Along with the war comes the pandemic of Spanish Flu, which kills thousands of previously healthy young people. This family has to much loss to deal with, crisis, and challenges. Then in one of their darkest hours, one of the daughters finds a little baby and takes him home so that they can raise him and bring some light into their lives.

This story is told in the four distinct voices of the four main character women: Evelyn, the intelligent, eldest daughter, Maggie, who finds the baby and is quite determined, Willa, the spunky and headstrong youngest, and their gentle, kind mother Pauline. I loved the story and the characters and the message.

I have never read any of Meissner’s other novels, so I will need to look for them.

Thank you for my review kindle copy via Net Galley!

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Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

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B. A. Paris took everyone by storm with her debut novel Behind Closed Doors (which, I have to say, had the very best marketing campaign ever! I was getting postcards and notes from the book characters and was completely freaked out by it all!).

Her second novel, The Breakdown, was engaging, but I had figured it all out quite early on in the novel (first third), so I didn’t find it as compelling.

Her latest novel, Bring Me Back, is another suspenseful thriller (I love this genre!) where a man’s life is being turned upside down when his “missing” fiancee appears to have returned to him, and he is set to marry her sister.

This did keep me guessing, and I thought I had figured it out, but was wrong, then I re-thought and was right. I did enjoy it and couldn’t put it down. If you like the thrill of books like those of Lisa Jewell and Jillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins, then you will probably like B. A. Paris!

Thank you for my e-copy via Net Galley!

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Alan Bradley’s The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place (a Flavia de Luce novel)

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If you know me, you know I adore the Flavia de Luce series, centering on a precocious 12 year old genius in 1950’s England. Somehow, while I was distracted elsewhere (probably work), a new installment in the series came out. This one has Flavia and her sisters travelling with Dogger for a short vacation while they regroup from the untimely death of their father. The “rest” has barely begun when Flavia discovers a dead body in the village’s river, and things go from there.

(from Amazon):

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The world’s greatest adolescent British chemist/busybody/sleuth” (The Seattle Times), Flavia de Luce, returns in a twisty mystery novel from award-winning author Alan Bradley.

In the wake of an unthinkable family tragedy, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is struggling to fill her empty days. For a needed escape, Dogger, the loyal family servant, suggests a boating trip for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt drifts past the church where a notorious vicar had recently dispatched three of his female parishioners by spiking their communion wine with cyanide, Flavia, an expert chemist with a passion for poisons, is ecstatic. Suddenly something grazes her fingers as she dangles them in the water. She clamps down on the object, imagining herself Ernest Hemingway battling a marlin, and pulls up what she expects will be a giant fish. But in Flavia’s grip is something far better: a human head, attached to a human body. If anything could take Flavia’s mind off sorrow, it is solving a murder—although one that may lead the young sleuth to an early grave.

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As always, Flavia does not disappoint! I love how these mysteries always keep me guessing. I look forward to seeing what this super sleuth tackles next!

This is Book 9 in the series, and while I loved reading them in order, it can stand alone as well.

I purchased my book at a local bookstore while on a “date night” with the hubs. You can find it at your local bookstore or online or at the library!

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