For My Ears: The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante – narrated by Marisa Tomei

Soon to be a Netflix original series.

A powerful new novel set in a divided Naples by Elena Ferrante, the New York Times best-selling author of My Brilliant Friend and The Lost Daughter.

“There’s no doubt [the publication of The Lying Life of Adults] will be the literary event of the year.” (Elle

Giovanna’s pretty face is changing, turning ugly, at least so her father thinks. Giovanna, he says, looks more like her Aunt Vittoria every day. But can it be true? Is she really changing? Is she turning into Aunt Vittoria, a woman she hardly knows but whom her mother and father clearly despise? Surely there is a mirror somewhere in which she can see herself as she truly is. 

Giovanna is searching for her reflection in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: a Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and a Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves between both in search of the truth, but neither city seems to offer answers or escape. 

Named one of 2016’s most influential people by Time Magazine and frequently touted as a future Nobel Prize winner, Elena Ferrante has become one of the world’s most read and beloved writers. With this novel about the transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, Ferrante proves once again that she deserves her many accolades. 

In The Lying Life of Adults, listeners will discover another gripping, highly addictive, and totally unforgettable Neapolitan story.

A Most Anticipated Book of 2020

  • The New York Times Book Review
  • Vogue
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • Elle Magazine
  • BuzzFeed
  • The Millions
  • The Seattle Times
  • USA Today
  • Town & Country
  • Thrillist 
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Library Journal
  • Harper’s Bazaar
  • BookPage
  • Literary Hub
  • BBC Culture

I recently had the opportunity to listen to the amazing Elena Ferrante’s latest novel. Similar to her Neopolitan novels, but unique and a stand-alone, The Lying Life of Adults follows the coming of age events of Giovanna and the forces that shape her. Aptly read by Marisa Tomei, I enjoyed this story and look forward to what I assume will be a sequel!

I got mine with an Audible credit via Amazon!

Bookouture Blog Tour for: An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham

I loved taking part in this blog tour for a new WWII historical novel: An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham. Florence is a scrappy and big-hearted dancer who’s come to Paris to dance and ends up in love with a young man who’s escaping the Nazi’s. This story is told in shifting viewpoints between Florence in the 1940’s and her granddaughter that she never knew she had, Sage – a young “influencer” who has had enough of the limelight of social media.

Here’s the overview:

Book Description:
Paris, 1940: Walking through Montmartre that morning was like the eerie calm right before a storm. The roads were deserted. We carried on, arm in arm, and then finally, we saw them. Columns and columns of soldiers, spreading through the streets like a toxic grey vapour. ‘You must write about this,’ he whispered to me. ‘You must write about the day freedom left Paris.’

As Nazi troops occupy the City of Lights, American journalist Florence is determined to do everything she can to save her adopted home and the man she loves.

Florence had arrived in Paris in 1937 and on a beautiful summer’s day, met and fell in love with Otto, a Jewish artist from Austria, who had fled persecution in his homeland. But as swastikas are draped along the city’s wide boulevards, everything Otto was running from seems to have caught up with him.

Both Florence and Otto begin lending their talents to the Resistance, working to sabotage the Germans right under their noses. Florence’s society columns that, before the war were filled with tales of glamorous Parisian parties, now document life under occupation and hide coded messages for those fighting outside France for freedom. While Otto risks arrest in order to pin up the anti-Nazi posters he designs by candlelight in their tiny apartment.

But with every passing day, things become more dangerous for Otto to remain in Paris. If Florence risks everything by accepting a secret mission, can she ensure his survival so that they can be reunited once the war is over?

A sweeping wartime story that will capture your heart and never let it go. Fans of The Alice NetworkThe Lost Girls of Paris and My Name is Eva will be absolutely gripped from the very first page.

Author bio:


Siobhan Curham is an award-winning author, ghost writer, editor and writing coach. She has also written for many newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Guardian, Breathe magazine, Cosmopolitan, Writers’ Forum, DatingAdvice.com, and Spirit & Destiny. Siobhan has been a guest on various radio and TV shows, including Woman’s Hour, BBC News, GMTV and BBC Breakfast. And she has spoken at businesses, schools, universities and literary festivals around the world, including the BBC, Hay Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Bath Festival, Ilkley Festival, London Book Fair and Sharjah Reading Festival. 


https://siobhancurham.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Siobhan-Curham-Author-398343120181969
https://twitter.com/SiobhanCurham

Buy Links: (not affiliated with BBNB):
Amazon: https://bit.ly/3mlNzgj

Apple: http://apple.co/2ETJ0tT

Kobo: http://bit.ly/3nm25q2

Google: http://bit.ly/2Ss6CZI

Thank you for my review copy and making me part of the tour!

I really enjoyed this one and if you like this genre, you will, too!

Harper Collins Blog Tour for: THE CHANEL SISTERS by Judithe Little

I was thrilled to be able to take part in the blog tour for this fascinating book: The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little, about Antoinette and “Coco” Chanel. Told from Antoinette’s point of view, this novel traces their lives from their early years in a convent as poor and destitute abandoned children to their rise in the fashion industry of Europe. WWI plays a major role in the second half of the book, and I know so much more happened to them over the years. I could have kept reading and reading for another 800 pages!!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

For fans of The Paris Wife, The Only Woman in the Room, and The Woman Before Wallis, a riveting historical novel narrated by Coco Chanel’s younger sister about their struggle to rise up from poverty and orphanhood and establish what will become the world’s most iconic fashion brand in Paris.

A novel of survival, love, loss, triumph—and the sisters who changed fashion forever

Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel know they’re destined for something better. Abandoned by their family at a young age, they’ve grown up under the guidance of nuns preparing them for simple lives as the wives of tradesmen or shopkeepers. At night, their secret stash of romantic novels and magazine cutouts beneath the floorboards are all they have to keep their dreams of the future alive.

The walls of the convent can’t shield them forever, and when they’re finally of age, the Chanel sisters set out together with a fierce determination to prove themselves worthy to a society that has never accepted them. Their journey propels them out of poverty and to the stylish cafés of Moulins, the dazzling performance halls of Vichy—and to a small hat shop on the rue Cambon in Paris, where a boutique business takes hold and expands to the glamorous French resort towns.

But the sisters’ lives are again thrown into turmoil when World War I breaks out, forcing them to make irrevocable choices, and they’ll have to gather the courage to fashion their own places in the world, even if apart from each other.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JUDITHE LITTLE is the award-winning author of Wickwythe Hall. She earned a BA in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She grew up in Virginia and now lives with her husband, three teenagers, and three dogs in Houston, Texas. Find her on Instagram, @judithelittle, and on Facebook, facebook.com/judithelittle.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: http://www.judithelittle.com/

Instagram: @judithelittle

Highly recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction featuring real life people and those who like strong female protagonists!

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my review galley.

Here are some bookstore and, I assume, online events with the author, coming up in January/February:

The Lost Village by Daniela Sacerdoti

Description

1945: Two sisters give birth to two little girls on the same night, huddled under blankets, deep in the black woods that surround their village. They hold their babies close as footsteps approach. If they make even the slightest sound, the German soldiers will find them…

2006: Luce Nardini clutches a plane ticket to Italy in her trembling hands. Since her only child left home, and with her estranged husband more distant than ever, she’s been overwhelmed with loneliness. She never knew her father, or the reason why her mother cut all contact with her family in the little village of Bosconero. Lost and unravelling fast, uncovering her roots feels like Luce’s last and only hope.

As Luce searches the maze of cobbled streets, a house with a faded blue door draped in perfect white roses stops her in her tracks. Inside is the grandmother she never knew, who – with a longing look at an ornate wooden box on her nightstand – begins to tell the heart-wrenching story of a little village ravaged by war, and why Luce’s mother fled home and swore never to return.

Surrounded by new friends and faded frescoes of saints, Luce is just starting to feel like she belongs when the unthinkable happens: an earth-shattering disaster that shakes the little village of Bosconero to its core. Could it be that the secrets of Luce’s past have been buried forever?

Frightened, hopeless and feeling more alone than ever before, will the surprise arrival of the husband she thought she’d lost help sew Luce’s family back together, or tear it apart for good? One thing is certain: she must find the little wooden box amongst the rubble of the village and return it to her grandmother. But nothing will have prepared Luce for the devastating betrayal she finds inside…

An unputdownable historical romance about the secrets we keep to protect the ones we love by the author of million-copy Amazon No 1. bestseller, Watch Over Me. Perfect for anyone who loves Fiona Valpy, Lily Graham or The Letter by Kathryn Hughes.

As you know, I LOVE books from this time period and this one was quite suspenseful and exciting. At the same time, it was a bit heart-breaking. I really connected with the character Luce and her search for her past while she was going through an identity crisis of her own. Would I have made the ending different? Probably. But overall, it was a satisfying read.

Highly recommended if you like WWII period historical fiction and romance that toggles from the past to the present.

I also did a little research and you really can buy a house in some parts of Italy for 1 Euro!!

Thank you, Net Galley, for my copy!

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg

I love love love Fannie Flagg’s books and have read them all. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is probably my favorite, so I was thrilled to see this new title come up on Net Galley, telling more of Buddy’s story and the story of the people of Whistle Stop. Ms. Flagg’s books are like wrapping yourself in a cozy comforter and are reminiscent of Jan Karon’s Mitford series. You love the place, you love the people, you don’t want it to end.

Thank you for the gift of another story about these characters, Ms. Flagg!

(And yes, this is the same Fannie Flagg as from Match Game in the 70’s!).

Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A heartwarming novel about secrets of youth rediscovered, hometown memories, and the magical moments in ordinary lives, from the beloved author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

“A gift, a blessing and a triumph . . . celebrates the bonds of family and friends—and the possibilities of recovery and renewal.”—The Free Lance–Star

Bud Threadgoode grew up in the bustling little railroad town of Whistle Stop with his mother, Ruth, church-going and proper, and his Aunt Idgie, the fun-loving hell-raiser. Together they ran the town’s popular Whistle Stop Cafe, known far and wide for its fun and famous fried green tomatoes. And as Bud often said of his childhood to his daughter Ruthie, “How lucky can you get?”

But sadly, as the railroad yards shut down and Whistle Stop became a ghost town, nothing was left but boarded-up buildings and memories of a happier time.

Then one day, Bud decides to take one last trip, just to see what has become of his beloved Whistle Stop. In so doing, he discovers new friends, as well as surprises about Idgie’s life, about Ninny Threadgoode and other beloved Fannie Flagg characters, and about the town itself. He also sets off a series of events, both touching and inspiring, which change his life and the lives of his daughter and many others. Could these events all be just coincidences? Or something else? And can you really go home again?

The Doctor of Aleppo by Dan Mayland

This past summer, the very pleasant Dan Mayland reached out to me about his novel The Doctor of Aleppo. This is a gripping and vividly told story, at times heart-breaking, at times edge-of-your-seat, of a Syrian doctor who crosses paths during wartime with a young couple.

Here’s the overview:

Description

Dan Mayland, author of the bestselling Mark Sava spy novel series, pairs a thriller writer’s sensibilities with a gripping story of hope and redemption against the backdrop of war.

While working in the ancient Silk Road city of Aleppo, American Hannah Johnson and her Swedish lover Oskar are drawn into the mounting turbulence of the impending Syrian civil war.

After Oskar is wounded at a street protest one evening, he and Hannah cross paths with Dr. Samir Hasan, a renowned surgeon. As the protests swell into all-out war, Dr. Hasan tends not only to Oskar, but also risks his life, his practice, and his family to tend to a nephew the government has branded an insurgent.

Dr. Hasan’s humanitarian activities come to the attention of a vengeful, Javert-like secret police officer whose son’s death on Dr. Hasan’s watch triggers a series of events that will drag Hannah and Oskar deeper into the war and put Hannah and Dr. Hasan in the officer’s crosshairs.

Both intimate and sweeping in scope, The Doctor of Aleppo lends insight into how the most brutal, devastating war of the twenty-first century is mirrored on the personal scale, leaving scars that can never be healed.

I have to say – this was a incredibly well-written book, as I have vivid memories of scenes from it (and I read it in Aug/Sept). I haven’t read many novels taking place in Syria, to be honest, but this one really stayed with me. At the end, I had mixed feelings (where’s my tidy bow to tie up everything??) but the author has offered to send an epilogue and recipe (!!) from a reader to those who are interested, so look up Mr. Mayland at danmayland.com if you are interested!

I love stories of redemption and courage and, as Mr. Mayland reminded me I once wrote on my blog “ordinary people doing extraordinary things”, so I loved this book. You will, too. It’s definitely on my holiday list for gifting!

Thanks for sending me your novel (via Net Galley), Mr. Mayland!

About the author:

Dan Mayland is an author and professional geopolitical forecaster, helping nonprofit, private, and government organizations navigate a changing world. His Mark Sava spy series was informed by his experiences in the Caspian region and Middle East. Raised in New Jersey, Mayland now lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two children, in an old stone farmhouse he and his wife have restored.

White Ivy by Susie Yang

Wow — this was an incredible read. White Ivy is the story of a young Chinese-American girl who grows into a selfish and amibitous young woman. It is a fascinating look at race and social class, with an emphasis on white privilege and what it means to be privileged and why that privilege is so alluring. I wanted to like Ivy as a character, but I honestly didn’t, as I felt she was incredibly self-centered and self-serving. Don’t look for redemption or pureness of heart in this novel — it is somewhat dark, at times almost gritty, and yet so true in its depictions and story that you can’t help but be awed by it. An incredible first novel, Yang has a way or presenting action in a paragraph and then ending with a sentence or two of analysis that gets right to the core of the emotion and motives of the characters.

Unforgettable — definitely will be on my top reads list of 2020.

Thank you for my review copy!

Description

***LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION’S FIRST NOVEL PRIZE***

From prizewinning Chinese American author Susie Yang, this dazzling coming-of-age novel about a young woman’s dark obsession with her privileged classmate offers sharp insights into the immigrant experience.

Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her.

Raised outside of Boston, Ivy’s immigrant grandmother relies on Ivy’s mild appearance for cover as she teaches her granddaughter how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, and her dream instantly evaporates.

Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when Ivy bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.

Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners, and weekend getaways to the cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.

Filled with surprising twists and a nuanced exploration of class and race, White Ivy is a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.

INVISIBLE GIRL by Lisa Jewell

Ring the bells, everyone, because LISA JEWELL HAS WRITTEN A NEW BOOK AND IT’S AWESOME!

Lisa Jewell is an amazingly talented suspense writer, often focusing on families and usually taking place in England. I love her books, her plotting, her pacing, her characters.

This book is no exception!

Here’s the overview:

Description

I absolutely loved Invisible Girl—Lisa Jewell has a way of combining furiously twisty, utterly gripping plots with wonderfully rich characterization—she has such compassion for her characters, and we feel we know them utterly… A triumph!” —Lucy Foley, New York Times bestselling author

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone returns with an intricate thriller about a young woman’s disappearance and a group of strangers whose lives intersect in its wake.

Owen Pick’s life is falling apart. In his thirties and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct—accusations he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel forums, where he meets a charismatic and mysterious figure.

Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.

Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.

With evocative, vivid, and unputdownable prose and plenty of disturbing twists and turns, Jewell’s latest thriller is another “haunting, atmospheric, stay-up-way-too-late read” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author).

I read this book straight through the day I got it from Net Galley (months ago) and I loved it!

Highly Recommended!! Thank you for my ARC kindle copy.

For My Ears: Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

Oh my goodness — now that I’m commuting again (though shorter than in the past due to less cars on the road due to COVID shutdowns) I’m listening to audiobooks every day. I listened to this one in August/September and it was a doozy. Naratted by several apt actors (Caoilfhionn Dunne, David McFetridge, and Lesley McGuire), it tells the story of a family and the secrets they hide.

Here’s the overview via Amazon/Audible:

From the international best-selling author of Unraveling Oliver, an “unputdownable psychological thriller with an ending that lingers long after turning the final page” (The Irish Times) about a Dublin family whose dark secrets and twisted relationships are suddenly revealed.  

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it. 

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life – wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax. 

For fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn, this novel is a “seductively sinister story. The twists come together in a superbly scary denouncement, which delivers a final sting in the tail. Brilliantly macabre” (Sunday Mirror).

So this is the kind of story that starts off with a bang. You fall into the dark hole of it and you never are able to climb your way out.

I have to be honest and say that while this was superbly plotted and well-written I HATED the ending. Hated it. Almost cried from frustration and upset. Still can’t stop thinking about it. So – it’s good. Really good. It just didn’t make me happy (and I like happy).

Let me know what you thought! I got mine with an Audible credit.

YA Blog Tour for The Summer I Drowned by Taylor Hale

I’m so happy to take part in the blog tour for this suspenseful YA novel: The Summer I Drowned by Taylor Hale. This was one I could not put down. You know I love a good YA suspenseful mystery!

Here’s the overview:

Title: The Summer I Drowned

Author: Taylor Hale

Publisher: Wattpad Books

Release Date: May 26, 2020

Genre: Teens & YA

ISBN: 9781989365182

Price: $10.99 (USD)

Description:

Five years after almost drowning, Olivia Cathart returns home to Caldwell Beach determined to face her fears and take some risks—not just by swimming, but by opening her heart. Hoping to rekindle her friendships, she’s excited about a carefree summer with her best friends Keely and Miles. But life in the sleepy town has changed, and no one and nothing is as it seems.

When a series of startling crimes threaten Olivia’s fragile state, she is plunged into a terrifying game of cat and mouse. Her only solace from the chaos is West, Miles’s disowned and ruggedly handsome brother, but even he can’t answer the question on everyone’s minds—is Olivia really in danger or is it simply all in her head?

Author Bio:

Taylor Hale was born in Southwestern Ontario, and started writing on Wattpad in 2015. When she isn’t writing, she can be found bartending at a live music venue, and thinking up her next idea. The Summer I Drowned is her first novel.

Fun, fun, fun! I always like a book with a strong, female, teen protagonist. If I could have changed anything, I would have had less focus on the romance piece and more on the action. I also had a chuckle in that every character seemed to have a unique “smell” that I really haven’t found in real life, something like “He smelled like balsam and cinnamon”. “She smelled like vanilla and lavender”. “He smelled like ocean breeze and hickory”. Things like that. In real life I’m more inclined to say, “Mmmm – what’s that smell??”

Thank you for my copy and for having me as part of the tour! I would recommend this book for older YA readers due to sexual content and “heavy” content or potential triggers (e.g. drowning, relationship abuse, animal abuse, parental neglect, teen drinking, drinking and driving, sexual assault, etc.).