Saturday, January 20, 2018

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): A Song Unheard



About the Book

Title: A Song Unheard  
Author: Roseanna M. White  
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction  
Release Date: January 2, 2018

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 Thoughts

A Song Unheard is another wonderful historical romance by the incredibly talented Roseanna M. White. As a musician myself, every page resonates with me in an emotionally moving way, and I’m reading slowly so as to savor every detail and nuance. My copy just arrived a few days ago, so I’ve only read 100 pages so far and will post my complete review very soon. I can already highly recommend it!


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


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
Janices book reviews, January 19
Radiant Light, 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


Giveaway



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!


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review (+Tour GIVEAWAY): Courtship on Huckleberry Hill




About the Book

Title: A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill  
Author: Jennifer Beckstrand  
Genre: Christian Amish Fiction  
Release Date: December 26, 2017 

Elsie Helmuth’s plain-spoken ways got her in trouble once before, so she needs to make a good impression at her new teaching job. But she’s not about to let disabled student Wally Sensenig work below his potential. And she definitely won’t put up with his hot-headed older brother sabotaging her efforts, no matter how handsome he is. . . 

Sam is nearly at the end of his rope caring for his ailing, widowed mother, working their farm, and raising his siblings. He’ll admit Elsie’s ideas are bringing Wally out of his angry shell—but why does she have to be as stubborn as she is pretty? Yet as it turns out, Elsie has taught Sam something about himself as well. And he’ll do whatever it takes to make up for his mistakes—and win her heart forever.

Click here to purchase your copy.


My Thoughts

It just doesn’t get any better than returning to Huckleberry Hill and spending time with Anna and Felty, the most precious and memorable octogenarian couple I’ve ever come across. In fact, they’re among my very favorite literary couples. Beckstrand has crafted a series that brings home important spiritual truths in the midst of thoroughly engaging stories – and while each one can stand alone, I highly recommend reading all of them.

In true matchmaker form, Anna is attempting to pair up her granddaughter, Elsie, with Sam, a local Amish farmer who is taking care of his siblings after his father’s death. We see Anna and Felty at the beginning and end, but most of this project is carried on by Anna’s letters inviting Sam to their home for dinner – accompanied by her knitted gifts, of course. And her recipes are still as creative and unappealing as ever!

Courtship on Huckleberry Hill just might be my favorite of the series so far (hoping for many more, though). There’s so much going on relationally and some scenes that brought tears to my eyes. Sam and Elsie are strong, multifaceted characters. Sam is a protector, with a heart for the weak and downtrodden – yet he could be petulant, demanding, stubborn and proud. Elsie is a talented, smart, outspoken and caring teacher who tries to make a difference in her students’ lives – especially Sam’s brother, Wally, who had lost his leg and a couple of fingers in an accident. There’s also an incredibly rude and obnoxious young lady who has set her cap for Sam, making for great tension.

I believe this story will affect how readers think about people with disabilities – in a positive way. Wally was good at manipulating people into feeling sorry for him, and Sam played right into his hands by trying to make his life easier. Sam “had tried to spare Wally the pain of failure, the pain of shame and hard things. But it was the hard things that gave Wally a purpose, that made him try for happiness, even if the happiness was hard to come by and the purpose was impossible to see.”

But Wally’s peaceful world is shaken up by the arrival of Elsie and Maizy, a sweet little girl with Down syndrome. One precious scene that got to me was Maizy’s first time at bat in the children’s softball game, with Wally on first base – making this story well worth the read. The growing bond between Maizy and Wally is priceless.

I loved everything about this story and hope for many more visits to Huckleberry Hill. It would especially be wonderful for a grown-up Wally to eventually have his own story.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.



About the Author

Jennifer Beckstrand is the RITA-nominated, award-winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Her much-anticipated Amish series, The Honeybee Sisters, has created a lot of romantic buzz. Sweet as Honey received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and Sweet as Honey and A Bee in her Bonnet were both awarded Top Picks from RT Book Reviews. 

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’aendi Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-three years, and she has six children and six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.


Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand

I have a very special place in my heart for teachers. My dad was a high school math teacher. My mother taught second grade for over twenty years. My son-in-law taught choir in high school, and my daughter taught seventh-grade science. Another daughter taught American history labs at the university and still another daughter taught classes for a youth summer program. 

Elsie Stutzman is a dedicated teacher who was dismissed from her last teaching job in Ohio and is trying to make a fresh start and a good impression in Bonduel, Wisconsin. Unfortunately one of her students, Wally Sensenig, is making things difficult for her, and Wally’s hot-headed older brother seems determined to get her fired. But Elsie is a dedicated teacher, too stubborn to back down and too steadfast to give up on anybody. 

Elsie’s grandparents, Anna and Felty Helmuth, have other plans for her. They want her to fall in love with one of the local boys, but they’re finding it a little difficult to get the two young people together. 

Teachers have an immense impact on our lives. We all remember a favorite elementary school teacher who inspired a love of learning or a high school teacher who encouraged us to reach for greatness. One of my favorite teachers was Mrs. Zobell, who taught ninth grade English. I distinctly remember her reading “The Outsiders” out loud to our class. She had a way of making great books and great stories come to life, and she sparked a love of reading (and writing) that I will always be grateful for. The teacher who had the most impact on my life is my dad. He helped me through Calculus in high school and inspired me to major in math in college. 

I hope we will take the time this month to thank the teachers in our lives for all they do for us and all they do for our kids. 

Who was one of your favorite teachers and why?


Blog Stops

Blossoms and Blessings, January 16
Mommynificent, January 17
Bibliophile Reviews, January 18
The Power of Words, January 18
Multifarious, January 19
A Greater Yes, January 19
Texas Book-aholic, January 20
Karen Sue Hadley, January 21
Splashes of Joy, January 21
A Reader’s Brain, January 22
Mary Hake, January 22
SusanLovesBooks, January 23
Janices book reviews, January 24
Carpe Diem, January 25
Quiet Quilter, January 26
margaret kazmierczak, January 26 (Interview)
cherylbbookblog, January 27
Simple Harvest Reads, January 28 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Pursuing Stacie, January 28
Vicky Sluiter, January 29
Bigreadersite, January 29


Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to three winners!! 

Click image above or link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Falling for a Cowboy


On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Falling for a Cowboy
(Rocky Mountain Cowboys #2)
by Karen Rock
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 368 pages
January 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Doesn’t he get that she’s blind?

Barrel racer Amberley James wants to join the premier rodeo circuit more than anything, but she faces the ultimate hurdle when she loses her eyesight to a rare genetic condition. All she’d ever wanted seems out of reach. 

Giving up is the only option…until her best friend and local hero Jared Cade steps in. The last thing she wants is Jared’s help. But his persistence at encouraging her to get back in the saddle is ridiculously annoying. And undeniably inspiring…



Mount Sopris, Colorado


My Thoughts

I am enjoying this series so much! Karen Rock has created a family that you can’t help but fall in love with – not flawless by any means, but oh, so appealing. I was hooked by the story of Sofia and James Cade in the previous book, Christmas at Cade Ranch (click on title to see my review), and have been eagerly awaiting this next series release.

Fruit flies lived longer than Jared’s romantic relationships,
if you could call them that.
- Amberley

Jared Cade – Heisman Trophy winner, Denver Broncos halfback, and a member of Carbondale’s biggest ranching family – and Amberley, barrel racing champion, are strong leading characters. They have been best friends for years, a theme that I love, for what could be a better relational foundation than friendship and trust? But both are blindsided when they begin to discover that something more could be involved, and fearful of what that might mean for their relationship. When it came to Jared’s romantic involvements, he didn’t have the best of reputations. The romantic tension between these two if off the charts, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it all play out.

The backgrounds of both Amberley and Jared had instilled in them a desire to be winners, for nothing less was good enough – until injury and disability entered the picture. I’ve known a few people with that same drive, and it only leads to frustration and disappointment. Amberley captured my heart from the first page, for “the life she’d always wanted ended before it’d even started, and she had no contingency plan.” She saw herself as “a dusty sparrow with a broken wing.”

The author’s writing flows smoothly and she has crafted a beautiful story with more complexity than most romances. A beautiful Colorado setting, feuding families, career choices, children with disabilities, and a very special horse named Harley make for a deeply satisfying read.

My favorite takeaway is the reminder that, while some are more obvious than others, we all face some type of obstacle. I loved these words from Amberley’s interview: “Winning isn’t a number, it’s not a ribbon or trophy. It’s a willingness to go longer, to try harder and give more than anyone else.”

Between the Cade and Loveland families, there’s enough dynamic characters to keep this series going for a long time, and I certainly hope it does. Falling for a Cowboy is a thoroughly entertaining read that touches the heart.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a copy of this book through Prism Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Other Books in the Series

Christmas at Cade Ranch
(Rocky Mountain Cowboys #1)
by Karen Rock
Contemporary Romance
November 7th 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

The Christmas they never had.

James Cade has one priority: keep the family ranch running smoothly in the wake of his younger brother's death. With Jesse's ex, Sofia Gallardo, and her young son, Javi, stranded at Cade Ranch over Christmas, this task just got a lot harder. The longer Sofia and Javi stay, the harder it is to imagine the ranch without them.

James couldn't save his brother from his inner demons, but he can give his nephew a secure future. Maybe more - if he can figure out how to trust Sofia, and stop feeling like he's betraying Jesse. Because trying to stop thinking about beautiful, determined Sofia is impossible.



About the Author

In a quest to provide her ELA students with quality reading material, educator Karen Rock read everything out there and couldn't wait to add her voice to the genre. In addition to her work as a Young Adult romance novelist, she's now an author for Harlequin's Heartwarming line and thrilled to pen stories that moms can share with their teenage daughters. She's loved Harlequin books since she spent summers going through her grandmother's Presents books that she passed along in paper grocery bags each year. 

As half of the writing duo J.K. Rock, Karen also pens young adult romance. 

When she's not busy writing, Karen enjoys scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother's family recipes, reinventing her gardens to suit her moods and occasionally rescuing local wildlife from neighborhood cats. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, her very appreciated beta-reader daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels, who have yet to understand the concept of "fetch" though they know a lot about love. 

For more information about Karen's upcoming books, check out her website.

WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitterTumblrPinterest


Other Heartwarming Books by the Author



Tour Giveaway


- 1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card along with print copies of HIS KIND OF COWGIRL, A COWBOY TO KEEP, and CHRISTMAS AT CADE RANCH by Karen Rock
- US Only
- Ends January 24th

Grab Our Button!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Grand Finale (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Bringing Rosie Home


On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Bringing Rosie Home
By Loree Lough

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Note from the Author

I’m tickled pink that you’re here! Thank you for taking time from your busy day to take this book tour with me! A few words about BRINGING ROSIE HOME, the second book in my Harlequin Heartwarming “By Way of the Lighthouse” series (my third for Heartwarming!)...


"I was drawn to Bringing Rosie Home by Loree Lough because of its dramatic theme and I enjoyed it very much. The story is well written and flows at a steady pace, characters have depth, and the uplifting theme grabs the emotions from page one. . . . Bringing Rosie Home is a moving, heartwarming story and I look forward to more from this series."



Rena VanMeter volunteered to chaperone a preschool field trip, and as she saved another child in her care from falling into the bull’s pen, her own little girl was kidnapped. Guilt—and Grant’s anger at her—sent her to Fenwick Island: Separation, she hopes, will save her marriage…because hope is all she has left.


Fine. It's what she said when he asked how she was, and what he'd said when she returned the question. In truth, he'd only felt this frazzled on one other occasion: The day Rosie went missing...because Rena had been paying more attention to somebody else's kid than to their little girl.

He felt a little crazy, waffling between loving her, still, and despising her for putting them in the middle of every parent's worst nightmare.

Becky on Books - Interview

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

A dear friend of mine was the inspiration for BRINGING ROSIE HOME. Her then-eight year old son was taken during a school camping trip. My friend wasn’t one of the counselors, and had no control over where the boy went…or with whom. And yet, her guilt changed her, permanently. Changed her relationship with her husband and other children, too. All of us can identify, to some degree, with how it must feel to have a child stolen from us. But unless we’ve experienced something like that, we can’t fully ‘get’ how a kidnapping can slowly erode life as we knew it. I hope this story will help readers better understand the devastation that these parents—and the missing child’s siblings.


"This is such a powerful story about forgiveness and love. The story is about a couple's young child being kidnapped, the turmoil of that event then...fast-forward to present day. Their daughter has been found six years later. This is where the story really gets interesting and extremely difficult for the reader to put the book down. You'll find yourself rooting and cheering for Grant and Rena (the couple/parents) and wondering how the story is going to end."


She tried to read his face, searching for proof that he wasn’t happy to see her. Seeing none, she popped the trunk and retrieved the groceries she’d bought, four bags in all: Rosie’s favorite snacks, microwave popcorn, juice, and the breakfast ingredients.

Following him inside, the breath caught in Rena’s throat. He hadn’t been exaggerating when he’d said nothing had changed. It couldn’t have been easy for him, living with her decorating style—a cross between traditional and rustic—when he preferred more sleek, modern designs. She’d made sure to keep everything manly enough to make sure he felt at home in the spaces, but—


"This is a very heartwarming story. I really enjoyed reading about a family who went through some incredibly difficult times. They learned so much through their trials and were better people for it. . . . I would highly recommend this book to other readers."


"Another good book by Loree Lough. Rosie is kidnapped and found years later. Grant and Rena is getting their girl back but definitely have a lot to deal with. I felt like I was watching a movie, I could see and feel the characters."


Gripping both suitcase handles, Grant led the way into the terminal, got into line, and dropped the bags.

“Here y’go,” he said, handing her the printout of her boarding pass.

She thanked him. “Let me know how much I owe you. I brought my checkbook.”

His eyebrows drew together and his lips formed a thin line. “For Pete’s sake, Rena, You don’t owe me anything. You’re still my wife, like it or not.”

In her mind, she’d always be his wife, even if he filed for divorce.

Heidi Reads... - Guest Post


Grant VanMeter is a broken, lonely man. Despite his belief that his wife is responsible for their little girl’s abduction, he loves her still, and although he isn’t ready to admit it, he regrets that his angry accusations drove her from their home.


Rena felt the heat of an angry blush coloring her cheeks. The office grew quiet, so quiet that she could hear the steady swish of the pendulum, swaying right and left in the body of Robson’s stately grandfather clock. What was the woman waiting for…her or Grant to say that they’d split up because it seemed less agonizing than holding on to one another?

“We’re not any closer to seeing Rosie,” Grant pointed out.

“I just want to take a moment, to stress how important it is that you’re honest with yourselves. If you aren’t absolutely sure you can present a united front, it’ll be better for Rosie if you sit her down and tell her the truth, right away.”


"This book brings out a lot of emotions. You can’t choose a side because you can understand each one’s feelings. You can understand Grant’s anger and resentment because it was Rena’s job to watch Rosie. At the same time, you know it could happen to anyone and Rena really isn’t to blame. And then Rosie’s feelings surrounding the entire situation?

It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster.

This was a great, fully family, feel good read that would make a great movie!"

Among the Reads - Review

"I liked Bringing Rosie Home. It was well written and was such a heart-wrenching story. The feelings of guilt that Rena experienced were palpable. And despite his deep love for Rena, Grant’s feelings that she was guilty for Rosie’s abduction were so strong. "

Teatime and Books - Interview

Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress?

I’m working on three separate projects right now. The first is anything but a romance, even though there are romantic elements during several scenes. If asked to classify it as a specific genre, I’d choose ‘action-adventure, political thriller.’ The second is a historical, set in Idaho during the 1850s, shortly after the railroad made its way west. The third is something an editor (and my agent) asked me to write. It’s very hush-hush at this point, but I can say this: It’s a contemporary romance series that’s very different from other romances I’ve written!

Book Lover in Florida - Guest Post


There are five things on my Best Days of My Life list: The day Rena said “I do,” the morning Rosie was born, when I got the call that said she’d been found, and when Rena agreed to come home, so we could give our sweet girl a stable home life. The fifth? That’s a surprise you’ll find out about at the end of BRINGING ROSIE HOME.


"This book has so much love, respect, hurt, and pain. She takes us to depths I never imagined I would feel while reading. This book shows us forgiveness not just toward others but toward oneself."

Nicole's Book Musings - Guest Post


Hi! I’m Rosie VanMeter. My real name is Rosalie, but Mom and Dad, and all four of my grandparents have always called me Rosie. Barbara, the woman who kidnapped me, chose another name. . .


"A riveting story from start to finish! I was hooked immediately and couldn’t put it down. What a heart-wrenching subject! The characters had many conflicting thoughts and fears as they faced the daunting job of trying to put together a family that had been decimated years ago."


Grant got out of the car, pocketing his keys as he walked toward them. He scanned the yard, looking for Rena. She was probably on the porch with Christine, watching the horseplay. Because after what happened at the petting zoo, no way she’d let Rosie out of her sight.

“Daddy!” Rosie yelled, throwing her arms around his waist. “You’re home early!”

“Aren’t you supposed to be at Grandma’s?”

Her happy smile vanished. “I saw the kids,” she said, blinking up at him. “I wanted to play.”

“Where’s your mother?”

“In the house, I guess.”

“Does she know you’re over here?”

And don't forget to enter the giveaway below, if you haven't already...

Bringing Rosie Home
(By Way of the Lighthouse, #2)
by Loree Lough
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
January 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

A kidnapping shattered their family…

Rena and Grant VanMeter lived every parent’s worst nightmare when their preschool daughter was abducted. Riddled with guilt and hoping time apart would help them heal, Rena made the hardest decision of her life. But stunning news reunites her with Grant. Rosie has been found.

Putting up a united front for their child’s sake isn’t as easy as they thought. Grant hasn’t forgiven Rena for taking her eyes off Rosie for a few critical seconds. And Rena has yet to forgive herself. But their little girl needs them more than ever…

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

Other Books in the Series

The Man She Knew
(By Way of the Lighthouse, #1)
by Loree Lough
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
June 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Don't they both deserve a second chance?

Fourteen years ago, one reckless act cost Ian Sylvestry everything, including the girl he planned to marry. Since then, he has fought hard to turn his life around. Returning to his Baltimore town after serving a prison term was the first step. Winning back Maleah Turner's trust is a far more daunting challenge. From their first sparks-flying reunion, it's obvious they still have powerful feelings for each other. In fact, they might be even stronger together now. But if their second chance is going to work, Maleah has to believe that Ian is a changed man. She really wants to believe…but she simply isn't convinced.


About the Author


Bestselling author LOREE LOUGH once sang for her supper, performing across the U.S. and Canada. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two, but mostly, she writes novels that have earned hundreds of industry and "Readers' Choice" awards, 4- and 5-star reviews, and 7 book-to-movie options. The Man She Knew, #1 in her “By Way of the Lighthouse” series, her 3rd for Harlequin Heartwarming, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Harlequin.com.

Tour Giveaway

Two winners will receive a print copy of BRINGING ROSIE HOME (US only)
Three winners will receive an ebook of BRINGING ROSIE HOME (open internationally)
- Ends January 17th

Friday, January 12, 2018

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Strains of Silence





About the Book

Author: Bethany Kaczmarek  
Genre: Contemporary Romance  
Release Date: August 1, 2017

Music was her driving passion and the truest expression of her faith, but three months before her wedding, twenty-year-old Kasia Bernolak can’t even pick up her guitar. Feeling like a fraud who will ruin her dad’s pastoral reputation, she can barely meet his eyes. When Kasia finds the strength to break off her engagement, she still doesn’t realize the dangerous truth: Blake Hamilton isn’t ready to say goodbye. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her. 

Alexander “Zan” Maddox has seen what a domineering man can do to an unsuspecting woman, and Zan is sick of injustice. He gave up a college baseball scholarship so he could protect his sister from her abusive husband. When he rescues Kasia from her ex-fiancĂ©, he instinctively appoints himself her personal bodyguard. Now, all he has to do is keep from falling for her himself. 

Kasia and Zan become fast friends, but true healing and justice might cost more than either of them is willing to pay.

Click here to purchase your copy.


My Thoughts

Strains of Silence is an emotionally engaging story that shines the light on the very timely subject of domestic abuse – and while I have no personal experience in this area, I suspect it is pretty realistic. But while the topic is serious, there are moments of relief, resulting in a very uplifting read overall. And I loved how well grounded in the Scripture it is. This is a story that captured my attention from the first page and kept me eagerly turning the pages.

Blake came across as kind and caring of Kasia at first, gradually pulling her away from her godly convictions, only to become controlling and abusive as time went on. From a non-experienced viewpoint, I was frustrated at Kasia’s slow progress, poor decisions, and defense of his actions – which is probably completely true-to-life. It was an enjoyable break to “visit” Peru through Kasia’s summer missionary experience and see her grow spiritually.

I loved how the relationship between Zan and Kasia began with friendship, developing a connection he felt because of his sister’s abusive situation. Zan’s journey from a cynical disbeliever to a man of faith made him an appealing character that I came to care about.

There’s a good group of supporting characters that I liked, although I wished for more character depth overall. Sections of the story move at a steady pace, while others more slowly. Purely from a reader’s perspective, some scenes didn’t seem essential to the storyline and slowed its progress down, but it all came together in a realistic reflection of life.

Strains of Silence is a moving story that leaves readers with much to reflect upon and I look forward to much more from this author.

Recommended.

I was provided a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


About the Author

Bethany loves a home filled with family and friends. Word gets around that—at the Kaczmarek house—food is abundant, conversations are real, and anything is up for discussion. 

She and her clan are fans of laughter, indie music, sonic screwdrivers, and superheroes. Home is wherever in the world they’re all together.







Guest Post from Bethany Kaczmarek

Strains of Silence: A Novel for Anyone Who Can Say #MeToo

We’re everywhere. After years of silence, many survivors of sexual assault are raising our voices. You’ve seen the hashtag. You know someone who suffered like this—a friend, a sister, a daughter. 

Maybe you know personally what it’s like to be used. 

I’m thankful for the conversations the #MeToo campaign has started, proud of the brave women who are speaking out. But I know some are still quiet, nursing wounds. 

I could list loads of valid reasons a victim chooses to suffer in silence.
  • People won’t believe her.
  • If she doesn’t say it out loud, it’s easier to pretend it was a nightmare.
  • He’s got authority over her—at work, at church, in the family—and it’ll cost her too much. He’s done enough damage already.
  • He’s threatened to destroy her reputation, and she believes him. One, because he’ll do it without flinching. Two, because she’s already convinced that she’s living a lie.
  • Because at church, she’s supposed to be fine, smiling, rejoicing in her suffering and pressing on. Besides, people don’t want to sit with her in her pain and listen. They’d rather offer bumper-sticker theology and trite spiritual bandages.
  • The few times she’s tried to speak up, her used-to-be friend basically made her feel like it was her fault.
The list could go on, but it’s fair to say that being honest about what happened to us makes us vulnerable all over again. The idea is understandably stressful. 

But you know what? Pretending we’re fine is exhausting too. We bear a great strain when we hide our hurts, for whatever reason. 

Kasia Bernolak, the heroine of my novel Strains of Silence, gets it. She’s got reasons for keeping it quiet too. But when God brings some new people into her life, she realizes she doesn’t have to be alone. And speaking up offers a freedom, a lightness, she wants. 

It’s a freedom I want for my readers. 

I know. Strains of Silence sounds like a heavy book right now. The themes are heavy, no doubt. There’s no glossing over and prettying up sexual assault or domestic violence. But—just like in real life—it’s how well we surround and support the suffering that can set the tone. Kasia’s friends are real, they’re funny, they’re quirky, and they believe in her. 

Besides, it’s not all dark and brooding. There’s travel—an entire summer in the mountains of Peru. There’s a lot of music—Kasia’s a singer/song-writer who loves indie artists (I’ve got a playlist on my website). There’s heritage and culture—meet her immigrant family and you’ll get a delicious taste of Poland. There’s humor—enough to keep the story light when you need it to be. 

And there’s hope. Kasia’s life is absolutely full of possibility. 

So are the lives of everyone who can say #MeToo. 

Sometimes, it just helps to see someone else fight the battle on our own horizon. And if you can do it with a fantastic new playlist and some laughs, why not? 

My hope is that Strains of Silence will lead to real discussions with reader-friends, book-club gatherings that become turning points, and the true pursuit of freedom. It’s time to throw off the burdens we wear and stand up. Raise your voice, link arms with others, and fight for hope. 

Healing is within our reach.


Blog Stops

Quiet Quilter, January 6
Fiction Aficionado, January 8
Genesis 5020, January 8
Bigreadersite, January 9
Mommynificent, January 10
Texas Book-aholic, January 11
allofakindmom, January 11
Blogging With Carol, January 12 (Interview)
The Power of Words, January 12
Pursuing Stacie, January 12
A Greater Yes, January 13
Faithfully Bookish, January 16
Carpe Diem, January 18
Remebrancy, January 19


Giveaway




To celebrate her tour, Bethany is giving away a grand prize of ...

  • a signed book
  • a Polish pottery mug with two of the main character’s favorite kinds of teas, 4 of her favorite albums (Josh Garrels, Waterdeep, The Gray Havens, and Andrew Greer)
  • a box of chocolate butter cookies
  • and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Click the image above or the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!