Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White

Shadows Over England #2
January 2nd 2018, Bethany House, 418 Pages
Print, ebook, and audio 

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.
Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

Click here to purchase your copy!


My Review 

I think I enjoyed this book more than that last one. The plot was strong, suspenseful and full of intrigue in which it was never certain who was safe or trustworthy, even the seemingly ‘good’ characters. The characters were also great, well-drawn and realistically flawed. One thing that makes this series and others like it so strong, is that it breaks some of the rules of the genre: its Edwardian Fiction, but breaks away from the mould of polite aristocratic settings, focusing instead on a gang of former London street kids, thieves now working for the government. Also, the protagonists are not all nice sweet Christians.

Willa’s beliefs reflected her background: the child of a single mother who never met her father and was abandoned by her mother at the age of six. She’s tough, independent, stubborn and disinclined towards romanticism or the genteel. Her understanding of God reflected her view of her own absent father who never wanted her. Lukas was a charming rake who cared for his family and was forced to rethink his priorities to find his missing mother and sister. I could believe the characterization of Lukas’ mathematical genius sister: as people with these skills often have some form of Autism or other learning disabilities.

The story wears its historical research well, without it being overwhelming or pretentious: facts about musical scores, mathematics, secret codes, and the plight of Belgium under German occupation abound in the story, as well as some interesting details about the small Welsh city of Aberystwyth at the turn of the last century. I also appreciated the nuanced portrayal of all the sides in the War: not all Germans were presented as bad, and not all Belgians or British people as good. The spiritual themes were also worked well into the story: there were no implausible instantaneous conversions or overt preachiness. The characters’ faith showed more through their lives and the example they showed to others.

As with the last book, I was able to get so caught up in this story that I was almost able to forget it was written by an American: except for a couple of lapses. At one point the British Willa referred to the ‘sidewalk’, and a few other Americanisms. I was a little annoyed by the lack of Welsh accents in a book set in Wales, but its not an easy accent to represent on the page: and a hard language to learn. Recommended for all lovers of historical fiction.

I requested this book from a blogging/professional reading organization including Netgalley and Celebrate Lit Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

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For the Celebrate Lit Blog Tour I'm also including a Guest Post from the author.  

About the Author


Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Guest post from Roseanna White


I started playing the piano when I was 7. I didn’t discover any long-dormant genius or anything, but I liked it. When my sister quit, I kept playing. In middle school, I switched teachers, and moving from the lady at my church that I knew so well to someone who was just my piano teacher made a difference in how I applied myself. It deepened my love of music.

We all know how some random moments stand out forever in our memory. One such for me happened on the school bus. I was sitting with my best friend, talking about the new piano piece I was learning. “Via Delorosa” means Road of Sorrow, and it’s a song that tells musically about Jesus’ journey to Golgotha—ending with the faint chime of the nails being driven into his palms. As my beloved Mrs. Peto went through this song with me the night before, I remember her circling a D♯ that I’d missed and saying how important that note was. That it made the whole line weep.
That it would make the hearers weep. An epiphany so huge I had to share it with my friend. A well placed sharp could make music weep! Who knew?

That was but one lesson Mrs. Peto taught me in how music could evoke things words never could. A woman of strong faith, she also taught me how a song could preach the Gospel. Music can be medicine. It can be hope. It can be tears. It can be truth. Music can be Jesus to a hurting heart that turns its back on words.
This is a lesson I never forgot, and I had it always in mind as I was writing A Song Unheard. In this story, both my hero and heroine are musicians—violinists. But Willa (who is SO STUBBORN) wouldn’t listen to words of faith from any of the people in her life “suddenly spouting such nonsense.”

But then, in her darkest hour, she hears a slip of melody. And she realizes it’s the Lord.
I pray as readers move through the story of Willa Forsythe—violin prodigy and top-notch thief—that their spirits’ ears hear more than words, more than just a story. I pray they hear the Lord whispering that ultimate song. The one that says, “I love you.”

Want to hear the song Willa eventually wrote in the book? You can! The violin music in this trailer is officially dubbed “Willa’s Song” and written specifically for this book. I hope you enjoy it! http://bit.ly/ASongUnheardTrailer

Enter the giveaway and visit some of the other Blogs involved in the tour below. 
 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a Grand Prize Package of a signed copy of the book as well as a lovely album of soothing songs based on the Scriptures called Hidden in My Heart (winner’s choice of CD or digital download)!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c72a


Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, January 11
Genesis 5020, January 11
Bookworm Mama, January 11
Blogging With Carol, January 12
Multifarious, January 12
Faithfully Bookish, January 13
Karen Sue Hadley, January 13
Mary Hake, January 13
A Greater Yes, January 13
Remembrancy, January 14
Texas Book-aholic, January 14
A Reader’s Brain, January 15
Cordially Barbara, January 15
Pursuing Stacie, January 15
Bigreadersite, January 16
Mommynificent, January 17
Baker Kella, January 17
allofakindmom, January 18
Pause for Tales, January 19
Just Commonly, January 19
Radiant Light, January 20
The Power of Words , January 20
Book by Book, January 20
CAC Devourer, January 20
Splashes of Joy, January 21
Neverending Stories, January 21
The PhD Mamma, January 22
Cafinated Reads, January 22
Daysong Reflections, January 22
Purposeful Learning, January 23
Carpe Diem, January 23
Henry Happens, January 24
Joy of Reading, January 24

Friday, January 19, 2018

First Line Fridays 20# The Peacock Throne by Lisa Karon Richardson



That time of the week again. Reading goals are going well this week, I've finished A Song Unheard by Roseanna White. Look out for my review for the Celebrate Lit Blog Tour scheduled for Tuesday.  I've also nearly done with my other book, from last year's to read list, a contemporary mystery by Donna Fletcher Crow. 

I usually read two novels at once, and since I have already done a post on the new fantasy novel The Edict by P. J. Keyworth,  I'm going to include the other book that I have just begun today. Its a historical mystery/Romance by an American author and a British Publisher. 
The book came out in November 2015 so you won't find it on any new release lists: and it 's been on my shelf for a couple of years, but I am trying to get through my to read list. 

When Miss Lydia Garrett's guardian is murdered, and the authorities refuse to investigate the odd circumstances, she vows to catch the culprit. The same night the Earl of Danbury is murdered in his bed. Against all odds it appears that the murders are related - and Anthony Douglas, the new Lord Danbury, is bent on revenge. 
The clues point to the former Earl's first naval command. In 1758 the Earl spirited away and hid the magnificent Peacock Throne at the behest of the Indian royal family. To draw out the murderer, Anthony and Lydia agree that they must locate the throne. 

However, they are not the only ones interested in the Peacock Throne. Marcus Wiltshire, agent of His Majesty's intelligence services, has received hints that Bonaparte intends to return the throne to India and leverage its mystical significance to foment rebellion and cut England off from her most important trading partner. When the amateur sleuths join forces with the professional agent, the quest for the throne leads them around the globe on an adventure steeped in danger, treachery, and romance.



https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/tag/first-line-fridays/

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen

Tales from Ivy Hill #2
December 5th 2017, 448 Pages 
Bethany House, Print, ebook and audio 
Return to Ivy Hill in The Ladies of Ivy Cottage as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold.

Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?

Rachel's friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls' school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what--or who--has captured each man's attention? The truth may surprise them all.

Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return--but where is he?
As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?
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Its been nearly a year since I finished the last book in this series, and since I have read so much since then I’ve been rather remiss in remembering all the characters from the last book. It took a while and a read of my review to refresh my memory on the background of Rachel, one of the protagonists of this book (one of the Ladies of Ivy Cottage). 
 Leaving behind my lapses of memory though, I very much enjoyed this book with the detailed setting, prose, and colourful characters beloved of Klassen novels. Like the last one, this book was more character driven and could seem a little slow, but that was not an issue for me. The story picks up a few months after the last, with the unmarried ladies Mercy and Rachel starting a new venture with a school for village girls, and a lending library. 

Characters old and new converge on the fictional Berkshire village, and it was good to see the story develop with the established ones. Romance is even in the air for Patrick, Rachel, and even Jayne still struggling to come to terms with past heartbreak. Nods to literary classics were provided with characters having to come to terms with the opposition of family, pride, arrogance, social expectations, and family secrets. 

Even a faint hint of mystery reminiscent of Klassen’s former works. A few Americanisms were my only gripe, and some readers may want to note that there are some references to sexual activity outside of marriage (no actual sex scenes, just mentions of it), with a mention of a woman who was a mistress, and an illegitimate child. 

I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and their UK distributors. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
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