Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

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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Lies by T. M. Logan

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This was the perfect read in advance of going back to school this week! Suspenseful and exciting, I read it late into the night, relishing the suspense. The poor guy who is at the center of this novel – he could not catch a break. I thought I might have figured this one out, but all I’ll say (so I don’t spoil anything!) is that I was halfway correct.

This one will publish on 9/11/18. If you enjoy a fast and suspenseful read, don’t miss it!

Thank you for my review e-copy through Net Galley.

Description from NG:

Six days ago, Joe Lynch was a happily married man, a devoted father, and a respected teacher living in a well-to-do London suburb. But that was before he spotted his wife’s car entering a hotel parking garage. Before he saw her in a heated argument with her best friend’s husband. Before Joe confronted the other man in an altercation where he left him for dead, bleeding and unconscious.

Now, Joe’s life is unraveling. His wife has lied to him. Her deception has put their entire family in jeopardy. The man she met at the hotel has vanished. And as the police investigate his disappearance, suspicion falls on Joe.

Unable to trust the woman he loves, Joe finds himself at the mercy of her revelations and deceits, unsure of who or what to believe. All he knows is that her actions have brought someone dangerous into their lives—someone obsessed with her and determined to tear Joe’s world apart.

What if your whole life was based on LIES?

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The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall

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Today is Pub Day for The Subway Girls, which I read a few months ago after getting it from Net Galley. I love historical fiction, and this story took place in two time periods: post-WWII NYC and current day NYC. I liked the main character from the 40’s particularly (Charlotte) and was so interested in reading about the real Subway Girls in history! This is the first title I’ve read by Ms. Schnall and I really enjoyed it. It was part history, part romance.

Thank you for my review e-copy!

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The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic

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So — if you read me, you know I love suspenseful novels, and this one was no exception. There are lots of things happening in this story and you need to pay attention to them (or end up confused!). I thought I had it all figured out (twice) but I was wrong. I will say that I had to suspend my disbelief just a tad with the ending. Overall, it was a fast and fun read that kept me eerily on edge!
Thank you for my review copy via Net Galley!
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WILDWOOD by Elinor Florence

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I loved Elinor Florence’s Bird’s Eye View, so I was excited to see that she had a new book out: Wildwood. Wildwood tells the story of Molly Bannister, who leaves Arizona with her young daughter to go to northernmost Canada as she has inherited a farm from her great aunt. The conditions are: live on the farm for one year (no plumbing, no electricity) and then you can sell it. Molly needs money and the farm is prime land for oil fracking. She moves north (where it’s way colder than she’s ever experienced!) and slowly pioneers her way through the year, with four-year-old Bridget by her side. Finding her great aunt’s diary from her first year at Wildwood in the 20’s is an added bonus. Along the way, Molly begins to find that connecting with the land may be the best thing that has ever happened to her and her daughter.

I just loved this story – especially since I’m a big fan of a pioneer story and this one essentially had two in it: Molly’s and her great aunt’s. I loved how Molly was tough and self-sufficient, but also overwhelmed by the demands of living off the grid. Molly’s little girl, Bridget, is selective mute, something that is near and dear to me if you know me personally, and I loved the character of little Bridget. It was interesting to read about Canadian winter (I thought we had it bad in New England!) and the indigenous people of Canada as well.

Thank you so much for my review e-copy! I truly enjoyed it!!

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A Note From the Publisher

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I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

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When I was in my early twenties, I went through what I called my “Romanov stage”. I read every book in the library on the Romanovs and all the books about people who claimed to be Anastasia or Alexei rescued and grown. I was fascinated by their lifestyle and their tragic story, and I wanted so much to think that one of those beautiful children had survived and was alive and well.
This story had me at the title. I love Lawhon’s writing and have read all her other novels. The timeline was unique: Anastasia’s story starts with her family’s imprisonment and continues to their last days and the tragedy in the cellar. Anna’s story starts with the near present and moves backward to that same period.
You can tell that Ms. Lawhon spent her time researching not only the details, but the personalities and characteristics of the characters of this novel, from the sisters to Alexei to the servants.
A sad yet unforgettable read — especially for those, like me, who once went through an “Anastasia phase”.
Thank you for my review e-copy via Net Galley!
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Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

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Oh my goodness, I loved this historical fiction novel that followed the life of Ernest Young, from his early childhood in China at the turn of the 20th century, to his life in Seattle, including being a charity case in a boarding school and spending many happy years as the house boy in a brothel. The story moved from the present (with Ernest, his wife, and his two grown daughters) to the past, where the Seattle Expo of 1909 is taking place. I grew to love these emotional and realistic characters, and I laughed and cried while reading this book.

Highly recommended! Thank you for my review e-copy!

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For My Ears: ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman

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So I had heard about this book as folks chatted about it in the blogisphere. Everyone seemed to love it, so I was immediately suspicious. I find that if everyone loooooves a book, I can’t stand it. Then I end up feeling rather clumsy and socially awkward, like something is wrong with me. However, I got this one with my audible credit and listened to it during my commute. At first I was wondering where it was going, but then I was drawn in and grew to love Eleanor and Raymond and Eleanor’s story. I ended up laughing and cheering and crying and generally being a possible road hazard. It was also delightfully read by Cathleen McCarron and I loved her accent.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes…

The only way to survive is to open your heart.

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For My Ears: BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate – Read by Emily Rankin

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Wow! This story was recommended online in the blogisphere, and I thought I might enjoy it, but I was blown away by this story of a family torn apart and the young girl who tries to keep her siblings together against all odds.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for fans of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge – until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents – but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals – in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country – Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

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While these children weren’t real, this is based on true events, and you will be forever haunted at the shocking and terrible things that happened to poor families in the Depression and post-Depression era South. Normally I don’t like disturbing books centered on children, but this story was so compelling, and I loved the character of Rill so much, along with the fact that the present day protagonist was unraveling the mystery of the family tree, I just could not stop listening!

Beautifully narrated, it’s a story you won’t soon forget.

I used my audible credit for this one.

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SUGAR PINE TRAIL by RaeAnne Thayne

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Bring On the Christmas Novels and Romances!!

Oh, it’s my favorite time of year and the time I love to enjoy a light and happy read of folks finding love at Christmas. I have to be honest == I used to scoff at these type of books. True Confession! However, I told myself that I should not turn them away until I actually READ one (easy to be critical of things you don’t actually now about). I started reading them about ten years ago and I can’t tell you how happy they make me. Some times, in the stress of life, you just want to read a sweet book where you know that everything is not going to end up like the evening news. You can trust that there is going to be a happy ending. They make me smile.

So – this was the first one I read this year. I read it way back at the end of summer and read it in a day. It’s a true feel good story and I completely related to the main character as she was like me when I was single. I even had a list like she did. And yes, I met my husband right before Christmas time — and we’ve been married 15 years — my own happy ending! 🙂

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for my e-copy!

Here’s the overview:

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