For My Ears: Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Description (via Amazon) –

How much can a family forgive?

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

Ask Again, Yes by award-winning author Mary Beth Keane, is a beautifully moving exploration of the friendship and love that blossoms between Francis’ youngest daughter, Kate, and Brian’s son, Peter, who are born six months apart. In the spring of Kate and Peter’s eighth grade year, a violent event divides the neighbors, the Stanhopes are forced to move away, and the children are forbidden to have any further contact. 

But Kate and Peter find a way back to each other, and their relationship is tested by the echoes from their past. Ask Again, Yes reveals how the events of childhood look different when reexamined from the distance of adulthood – villains lose their menace, and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace. 

Narrated by Molly Pope, this was an intriguing and at times heart-breaking story of two families and the events and love that bind them together. Unforgettable and as tragic as it is redemptive, this is one that you won’t soon forget.

I got mine through Audible.

The 19th Christmas by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

I love this series – the Women’s Murder Club – with Lindsay Boxer as the narrator and a variety of other women friends of hers that help solve mysteries in San Francisco. As time has gone by, the characters have evolved and grown and had relationships, etc. I feel like one of them died at some point in the past (but I could be remembering wrong). Anyhow, I had not read one of these books in several years and it popped up as an Amazon recommendation to me so I bought it for my kindle (I rarely buy books these days so this was a treat).

Here’s the overview:

#1 New York Times bestseller –If the Women’s Murder Club can’t be together this Christmas, a killer is to blame.As the holidays approach, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends in the Women’s Murder Club have much to celebrate. Crime is down. The medical examiner’s office is quiet. Even the courts are showing some Christmas spirit. And the news cycle is so slow that journalist Cindy Thomas is on assignment to tell a story about the true meaning of the season for San Francisco.
Then a fearsome criminal known only as “Loman” seizes control of the headlines. Solving crimes never happens on schedule, but as this criminal mastermind unleashes credible threats by the hour, the month of December is upended for the Women’s Murder Club. Avoiding tragedy is the only holiday miracle they seek.

I started this on Friday and finished this morning (Sunday), so it’s quick and suspenseful. It is “typical Patterson/Paetro” fare for those who enjoy these mysteries!

As an aside, some of you might remember when they tried to make this a miniseries or something. It was awful! The characters were nothing like they are in the book. Instead of being smart and interesting, they were annoying and didn’t look like they are described in the novels. So – don’t judge the books on that foray into tv land!

A Merry Murder by Kate Kingsbury

I found this little gem on Net Galley — I was not familiar with this series of cozy mysteries set in an Edwardian hotel — and it was a delightful read! It was just what I needed to start thinking about the holidays (though the mystery was the main part of the story, not the holidays).

I will look for more by Ms. Kingsbury! Thank you for my copy!

Description

It is an Edwardian Christmas, and the Pennyfoot Hotel is all dressed up. But when one of the guests turns up dead, owner Cecily Sinclair Baxter realizes it is not only the Pennyfoot that is back in business—the hotel’s Christmas curse is, too…

The Pennyfoot halls are decked with boughs of holly, a magnificently decorated tree graces the lobby, and the hotel’s bookings are finally looking up. Owner of the Pennyfoot, Cecily Sinclair Baxter is in high holiday spirits until disaster strikes, threatening to ruin yet another Yuletide. Her chief housemaid Gertie McBride has found a man’s body in the hotel laundry room—with a woman’s scarf wrapped around his neck and a note in his pocket from the hotel’s new maid.

Cecily is determined to track down the culprit, but with multiple suspects icing her out of crucial clues, she realizes this killer may be more slippery than most. With Christmas right around the corner, it is up to Cecily to prevent this holiday season at the Pennyfoot from turning out more fatal than festive.

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski

Description

“A subtly but relentlessly unsettling novel.” —TANA FRENCH, author of The Witch Elm

It was the perfect place to disappear…

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…

I read this novel several weeks ago, but it’s rather haunting so I still remember it! It was well-plotted and suspenseful, moving back and forth in time as it tells Allison’s and Maureen’s stories.

Hard to believe it’s a debut novel! Recommended to those who like a suspenseful mystery. Thank you for my copy!

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

I really enjoyed The Tattooist of Auschwitz (though I am aware of all the criticism it received for being unbelievable), and I was excited to find Ms. Morris’ next novel, Cilka’s Journey on Net Galley. Cilka is a character from Tatooist and the story tells what happens to her after the war.

First I must say that I struggled with the first third of this book. I found it so violent and disturbing that I feared I might not be able to continue reading as I was having nightmares, but I figured that this was someone’s story and they didn’t have the option to “stop reading” so I should stick with it. Luckily for me, things became less graphic and I got really into the plot and characters. Cilka was an amazingly strong young woman, but I was left with such a sense of sorrow – as I often am when I read stories of the Holocaust – that her young life was upended and forever changed by the atrocities of war. I also had no idea that those who “collaborated” with the Nazis in the camps (though some had no choice) by being in charge of their bunks, being forced to have sex with guards, etc. were sent to labor camps after the war.

Recommended to those who enjoyed the first story (though this is a stand alone) and stories of the Holocaust.

Here’s the overview:

Description

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz comes a new novel based on a riveting true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her — and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other women prisoners, Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly taken, equals survival.

When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? And where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was send to Auschwitz when she was still a child?

In Siberia, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she meets a kind female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Confronting death and terror daily, Cilka discovers a strength she never knew she had. And when she begins to tentatively form bonds and relationships in this harsh, new reality, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka’s journey illuminates the resilience of the human spirit—and the will we have to survive.

HFVBTour for Autumn Bardot’s The Emperor’s Assassin

I’m so very excited to take part in the blog tour for this amazing read by Autumn Bardot – The Emperor’s Assassin. I had read Dragon Lady earlier in the year and couldn’t wait to read this novel. Ms. Bardot has the gift of making history come alive! This story is full of sex, lies, and betrayal, and you will find yourself rooting for Locusta.

Thank you for my galley and for letting me be part of the tour!

THE EMPEROR’S ASSASSIN BY AUTUMN BARDOT

Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Flores Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 437 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

History paints her as the first female serial killer…

Locusta is the daughter of a winemaker in the Roman province of Gaul. She enjoys the indulged childhood of the elite, her concerns only about the day’s amusements. She rides gentle ponies, attends parties, reads Ovid, and learns the herbal arts from her servant. But the day after meeting her betrothed, Locusta discovers the consequences of possessing such dangerous knowledge.

Ordered to leave her pastoral life, Locusta is thrust into a world of intrigue, scandal, and murder—where treason lurks behind every corner and defying an emperor means death. Locusta’s life changes forever when a young Emperor Nero requires her herbal expertise. And commands her to be his personal poisoner. Caught in an imperial web, Locusta must embrace her profession or die.

Or is there another way out?

History paints her as the first female serial killer. Or is she yet another maligned woman in history?

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

About the Author:

Autumn Bardot writes historical fiction and historical erotica. Her debut historical fiction is THE IMPALER’S WIFE. Her debut historical erotica is LEGENDS OF LUST.

Autumn, a pen name, has worked as an educator for more than sixteen years. She teaches literature, writing, and the magic of words. She has a passion for history and a special affinity for the unsung courageous females that history has neglected. Or misunderstood. Autumn lives in Southern California with her husband and every-growing family. She wishes she was one-tenth as brave as the women she writes about.

Historical Fiction
~ The Impaler’s Wife
~ Dragon Lady
~ The Emperor’s Assassin ( coming Oct 1, 2019 )

Historical Erotica ( Cleis Press)
~ Legends of Lust, Erotic Myths from around the World
~ Confessions of a Sheba Queen ( coming March 10, 2020)

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 21
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 22
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, October 23
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, October 25
Review at Al-Alhambra

Monday, October 28
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Wednesday, October 30
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, October 31
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Friday, November 1
Guest Post at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, November 4
Review at Jessica Belmont

Tuesday, November 5
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, November 6
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Thursday, November 7
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Friday, November 8
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Monday, November 11
Review at Books and Zebras
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story

Tuesday, November 12
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Thursday, November 14
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, November 15
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at Jorie Loves A Story
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Giveaway!

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The Emperor’s Assassin! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback 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 suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/wvvy2/the-emperors-assassin