Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

City of Flickering Light by Juliette Fay

I really enjoy Juliette Fay’s writing and was thrilled to receive her City of Flickering Light, about the early days of Hollywood, via Net Galley! It tells the story of three friends who are a bit down and out and head to Hollywood to make their fortunes, having a lot of adventures and ups and downs along the way.

Here’s the overview from NG:

Description

Juliette Fay—“one of the best authors of women’s fiction” (Library Journal)—transports us back to the Golden Age of Hollywood and the raucous Roaring Twenties, as three friends struggle to earn their places among the stars of the silent screen—perfect for fans of La La Land and Rules of Civility

It’s July 1921, “flickers” are all the rage, and Irene Van Beck has just declared her own independence by jumping off a moving train to escape her fate in a traveling burlesque show. When her friends, fellow dancer Millie Martin and comedian Henry Weiss, leap after her, the trio finds their way to the bright lights of Hollywood with hopes of making it big in the burgeoning silent film industry.

At first glance, Hollywood in the 1920s is like no other place on earth—iridescent, scandalous, and utterly exhilarating—and the three friends yearn for a life they could only have dreamed of before. But despite the glamour and seduction of Tinseltown, success doesn’t come easy, and nothing can prepare Irene, Millie, and Henry for the poverty, temptation, and heartbreak that lie ahead. With their ambitions challenged by both the men above them and the prejudice surrounding them, their friendship is the only constant through desperate times, as each struggles to find their true calling in an uncertain world. What begins as a quest for fame and fortune soon becomes a collective search for love, acceptance, and fulfillment as they navigate the backlots and stage sets where the illusions of the silver screen are brought to life.

With her “trademark wit and grace” (Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Murderer’s Daughters), Juliette Fay crafts another radiant and fascinating historical novel as thrilling as the bygone era of Hollywood itself.

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One fun thing in this novel is the return of one of the Tumbling Turner sisters from Ms. Fay’s earlier novels! Reviewed here by me:https://drbethnolan.com/2016/06/11/the-tumbling-turner-sisters-by-juliette-fay/

While it took me a few chapters to get into this story, I ended up really enjoying it and loving the characters. I look forward to more great historical fiction from Ms. Fay and I hope to meet her sometime as she lives just a few towns over from me!

Thank you for my review e-copy!

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The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

I loved Susan Meissner’s As Bright as Heaven: https://drbethnolan.com/2018/07/11/as-bright-as-heaven-by-susan-meissner/

so I was excited to get her new novel, The Last Year of the War. This story was so interesting to me, because while I knew about the relocation of Japanese Americans into war camps, I had no idea that our government also rounded up and interred German nationals and German American citizens, too. This touching novel tells the story of two girls, one German and one Japanese, who become friends in the camp during 1944.

Description via NG

From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and As Bright as Heaven comes a novel about a German American teenager whose life changes forever when her immigrant family is sent to an internment camp during World War II.

Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943–aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.

The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.

But when the Sontag family is exchanged for American prisoners behind enemy lines in Germany, Elise will face head-on the person the war desires to make of her. In that devastating crucible she must discover if she has the will to rise above prejudice and hatred and re-claim her own destiny, or disappear into the image others have cast upon her.

The Last Year of the War tells a little-known story of World War II with great resonance for our own times and challenges the very notion of who we are when who we’ve always been is called into question.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy WWII novels! Thank you for my review copy!

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The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

Publishing in March, 2019

If you know me, you know that I LOVE the novels of Lisa See and that I have read them all! Her writing is so evocative and beautiful, and her stories often focus on the power of family, love, and friendship. I also always learn something new! This novel was no different. I loved it and couldn’t put it down. From the interesting facts about the Korean women divers, to the tragedies that befell their families and villages, to the storyline of Mi-Ja and Young-Sook’s friendship, this novel was pure Lisa See goodness!

Description via Net Galley (thank you for my review copy!)

A new novel from Lisa See, the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and family secrets on a small Korean island.

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger.

Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story—one of women’s friendships and the larger forces that shape them—The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce and unforgettable female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.

But wait! There’s more! I get Lisa See’s newsletter and her website has wonderful resources, information, and in depth looks at the stories behind her novels. I highly recommend you check it out! Additionally, Lisa has information on tea you can serve at your book club and how to Skype with her, too. It’s all at http://www.lisasee.com

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Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Description via NG

Winner of the 2019 Newbery Medal

Thoughtful, strong-willed sixth-grader Merci Suarez navigates difficult changes with friends, family, and everyone in between in a resonant new novel from Meg Medina.

Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren’t going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci what’s going on, so she’s left to her own worries, while also feeling all on her own at school. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.

I loved reading this touching and memorable story about plucky Merci and her family. The portrayal of family and culture were so moving, and Merci’s navigating of her private school world should be required reading for many private school classrooms. If I had one less than positive thing to say, it is that the story felt a bit long for children. I loved it – but I’m a reader and I regularly read 300 page novels when I was a middle-schooler. This story deserves to be read by all children, not just those that will stick with it for the whole 300 pages.

Thank you so much for my review copy via Net Galley!

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She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

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Description (via Net Galley)

We all know that I love a suspenseful read! Winter is the best time to pick up a thriller and to try to reason out who the killer is. I was a bit worried that this one might really bother me since the victim is a teen, but I was okay as it was certainly troubling/disturbing/sad but not overly graphic. (see tags for possible triggers)
A great read while cuddled up in bed! Thank you for my review e-copy!
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PICTour for THE SWEDISH GIRL by Alex Gray

The Swedish Girl

by Alex Gray

Tour January 8 – February 12, 2018

The Swedish Girl by Alex Gray

Another gripping Lorimer novel from Alex Gray, evoking Glasgow like no other writer can

When Kirsty Wilson lands a room in a luxury Glasgow flat owned by Swedish fellow student Eva Magnusson she can’t believe her luck. But Kirsty’s delight turns to terror when she finds the beautiful Swedish girl lying dead in their home and their male flatmate accused of her murder. Kirsty refuses to accept that he is guilty and, inspired by family friend Detective Superintendent Lorimer, sets out to clear his name.

Meanwhile, Lorimer calls on trusted psychologist Solly Brightman to help unravel the truth behind the enigmatic Eva’s life and death. But it is not long until another woman, bearing a marked resemblance to Eva, is brutally murdered. Horrified, Lorimer realises that Kirsty could be right. Is it possible that Glasgow’s finest detective has put the wrong man behind bars? And is there a cold-blooded killer out there orchestrating the death of the next innocent victim?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 9th 2018
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780062659255
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #10 (Stand Alone)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | HarperCollins 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

 I so enjoy Alex Gray’s novels with Scottish detective DCI Lorimer and his colleagues. This was was particularly entertaining as it focused on his friend’s college-age daughter and her friends. Alex Gray never disappoints! Her writing is smooth and her mysteries well-plotted. While they are crime mysteries, I don’t find them overly graphic. DCI Lorimer is in all the books, but each can stand alone.

Thanks for making me a part of the tour!

Author Bio:

Alex GrayAlex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English. Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing. A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Catch Up With Alex Gray On: Website 🔗Goodreads 🔗, & Twitter 🔗

 But wait! There’s more! Enter below for a giveaway copy of this novel!!

Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winner of one (1) eBook copy of Alex Gray’s A Pound of Flesh. The giveaway begins on January 8 and runs through February 14, 2018.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE by Melanie Benjamin

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I love Melanie Benjamin’s writing, so I was excited to find this book on Net Galley. If you know me, you know I LOVE reading about the heyday of Hollywood. This novel is a fictionalized account based on the true story of the relationship between Frances Marion and Mary Pickford.  I didn’t know any of this and found it both interesting, and a bit sad. If you like reading about old Hollywood, you’ll enjoy this one!

Here’s the description:

Description

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Virtual Author Book Tour for LUCKY STRIKE by Bobbie Pyron

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I’m happy today to be part of the blog tour for Bobbie Pyron’s middle grade read: LUCKY STRIKE.

In this enjoyable novel, Nate Harlow turns 11 on April 11. He has always had the worst luck, and he’s never been popular, so he makes a wish that his luck will change. For the first time, he blows out all the candles on his cake. And then things get a little crazy. Nate is struck by lightning and when he recovers he finds he has the power to make anything he touches “lucky”. But how much is real luck, and how much is just believing in yourself? And will Nate’s new-found popularity cause him to forget his true friends?

I really enjoyed this book and will be giving it to my ten-year old son to read. Nate is a likable and realistic character, and the characters of his small Florida town are fairly unforgettable. My favorite was his best friend Gen (Genesis — daughter of the pastor), who is as brilliant as she is unpopular and misunderstood.

Great messages in this story, and yet fun to read and well-paced. I’d recommend it for summer reading!

Thank you for having me be part of the blog tour and for my copy of the book!

You, too, can follow the tour, read other reviews and excerpts, and even win a copy!

Follow the Tour:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Apr 2  Spotlight & Giveaway

Rockin’ Book Reviews Apr 7 Interview & Giveaway

Hott Books Apr 8 Review

Always Reiding Apr 9 Review & Excerpt

Geo Librarian Apr 10 Review

Curling Up With A Good Book Apr, 13 Interview & Excerpt

fuonlyknew Apr 14 Review & Giveaway

Once Upon A Story Apr 15 Review & Excerpt

Beneath the Jacket Reviews Apr 16

Indie Review Behind the Scenes Apr 17 Live I 6 pm cst

Cassandra M’s Place Apr 20 Review & Giveaway

The Crypto-Caper Review Apr 21 Review

In Bed With Books Apr 22 Review,Interview & Excerpt

Allison’s Book Bag May 24 Review & Interview

Mary’s Cup of Tea Apr 27 Review

Deal Sharing Aunt Apr 28 Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Bound for Escape Apr 30 Review

What U Talking Bout Willis? May 1 Review

Lisa’s Writopia May 4 Review

Books, Books, and More Books May 5 Review & Excerpt

Beth’s Book-Nook Blog May 8 Review

Sweet Southern Home May 11 Review

One Frugal Girl May 15 Review

You can find out more about author Bobbie Pyron on her website:

Bobbie Pyron Outside

http://www.bobbiepyron.com/

LUCKY STRIKE front cover

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Quick YA Review: CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein

Since I had recently read ROSE UNDER FIRE, I went back and read CODE NAME VERITY, which comes first (though it can be a stand alone book). This is an extraordinary depiction of a friendship during WWII, told from the writings of a British female POW, held by Germans for spying, and then from the perspective of her friend, the female pilot who flew them there. Their story is heart-breaking and haunting, and stayed with me long after I finished reading.

An intense read, I’d recommend it to older YA readers and definitely to adults who enjoy historical fiction of the WWII era.

I can’t say more without giving it all away. I’ve debated for weeks how to even write this review, and settled on this very short blurb!

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate and where I got mine:

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Review: SILENT NOON by Trilby Kent

If you read my blog, you know I enjoy reading books by a former student (now grown up!), Trilby Kent. Trilby published SILENT NOON this summer in Great Britain and Canada. I was able to get it on Kindle here in the States.

In SILENT NOON, it is the early 1950’s, and Barney Holland is sent on scholarship to a boys’ boarding school in England. Post-war England is still recovering and the boys are a scrappy lot. Barney doesn’t fit well with the others, and finds a companion in the older (but troubled) pupil Ivor. Then one of the teacher’s daughters starts attending school as the only girl (she was sent home from her boarding school) and she and Barney form an unlikely friendship. Unfortunately, all the plots converge into a somewhat traumatic and unsettling ending.

There’s a lot going on in this book: peer relationships, budding sexuality, a ghost story, and more. Trilby has a wonderful way of making post-war Britain come alive. The details of daily life are quite vivid and one can feel both the coldness of the dormitory and the coldness of the relationships. One note: if you are looking for a neatly tied up ending with full resolution to all plot lines, this isn’t the read for you! I really enjoyed it, and it kept me thinking about it afterwards.

You can see it on Amazon for Kindle, where I got mine (and where I am an Associate):

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