Tuesday, July 26, 2016

BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW - The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose

02_The Secret Language of Stones

The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose

Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Atria Books
Hardcover & eBook; 320 Pages

Series: The Daughters of La Lune, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

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As World War I rages and the Romanov dynasty reaches its sudden, brutal end, a young jewelry maker discovers love, passion, and her own healing powers in this rich and romantic ghost story, the perfect follow-up to M.J. Rose’s “brilliantly crafted” (Providence Journal) novel The Witch of Painted Sorrows.

Nestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.

So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.

But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.

So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family. Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave, The Secret Language of Stones is yet another “spellbindingly haunting” (Suspense magazine), “entrancing read that will long be savored” (Library Journal, starred review).

A spellbinding ghost story that communicates the power of love and redemption through Rose's extraordinary, magical lens.” (Alyson Richman, internationally bestselling author of The Lost Wife)

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My Review

The Secret Language of Stones is another hit by author M. J. Rose. I fell in love with the story of Sandrine and the gifts passed down by her ancestor La Lune in The Witch of Painted Sorrows, so it was easy for me to pick right back up with the story of Sandrine’s daughter, Opaline, in this novel. I love that M.J. Rose’s novels have major elements of magic, spiritualism, and the supernatural, yet I still feel like I'm reading a historical fiction novel. The existence of La Lune and her history is woven seamlessly into this novel, and the author shows the effects that La Lune's inherited “gifts” have on the lives of Opaline and her mother, Sandrine. I love that Ms. Rose is able to do this in a way that makes it completely believable. I usually am not a huge fan of novels that involve the supernatural, but it works perfectly with both The Witch of Painted Sorrows and The Secret Language of Stones. It also helps that the historical aspects of this (and the last) novel are so well-written. It’s obvious that it was well researched, and being that I am not overly familiar with the background of World War I, this novel really helped me to see the war from the viewpoint of someone who was right in the midst of it. Opaline’s character is definitely a favorite of mine. The relationships that she has with others, flesh and blood or other, are easy for readers to relate to. It’s easy to connect with Opaline, and to in a way share the experiences she is having while she learns how the secrets of her heritage fit into her life.

This novel takes the reader through war-torn Paris, at the height of World War I, through Opaline’s relationships with those grieving for their lost soldiers, and on to her interactions with Russian royalty. While dealing with all the upheaval around her and in her life, Opaline is also learning more about her heritage and how to use her gifts from La Lune. A lot is covered in this novel, but I never felt rushed, or that the author skimped on the story to fit everything into this novel. The transitions were smooth, and the book is written in a way that allows the reader to become lost within its pages for long periods of time. There is romance, intrigue, mystery, the supernatural, magick, and much, much more in The Secret Language of Stones, and I highly recommend that anyone who is looking for a good read purchase it immediately. This is the second novel in The Daughters of La Lune series, but it can definitely be read as a standalone. However, the first novel in the series, The Witch of Painted Sorrows, is amazing as well, so I would definitely suggest reading both books!

There is no way that I can give this novel anything less than a FIVE out of FIVE stars. It honestly includes everything that makes a book interesting and easy to read, not to mention, the cover of print edition of the book is gorgeous! Amazing job M.J. Rose, I look forward to your next novel!

About the Author

03_M.J. Rose AuthorM.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed.

She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com.

Connect with M.J. Rose on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Sign up for M.J. Rose’s newsletter and get information about new releases, free book downloads, contests, excerpts and more.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 12
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, July 13
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 14
Spotlight at Teddy Rose Book Reviews

Friday, July 15
Review at A Dream within a Dream

Monday, July 18
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, July 19
Review at First Impressions Reviews

Wednesday, July 20
Review at Laura's Interests

Thursday, July 21
Review at Read Love Blog

Friday, July 22
Review at Nerd in New York
Spotlight at I Heart Reading

Monday, July 25
Review at Broken Teepee
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, July 26
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, July 27
Interview at First Impressions Reviews

Thursday, July 28
Review at Creating Herstory

Friday, July 29
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Monday, August 1
Review at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, August 2
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, August 3
Review at Diana's Book Reviews

Thursday, August 4
Interview at Diana's Book Reviews

Friday, August 5
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, August 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, August 9
Review at Worth Getting in Bed For

Wednesday, August 10
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, August 11
Review at Girls Just Reading

Friday, August 12
Review at Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Monday, August 15
Review at Fangirls Ahead!

Tuesday, August 16
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review at The True Book Addict

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

REVIEW & GUEST POST: Book Blast with GIVEAWAY - Snow in July by Kim Iverson Headlee

Snow in July - Tour Banner


TITLE – Snow in July AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee GENRE – Paranormal Historical Romance PUBLICATION DATE – July 2014 LENTH (Pages/# Words) – 386 pages/94K words PUBLISHER – Pendragon Cove Press COVER DESIGNER – Natasha Brown

Snow in July - Book Cover


Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate's Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people's lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady. Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother.

Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman… unless it snows in July.

Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman "squire." But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.

My Review

Snow in July by Kim Iverson Headlee was truly a wonderful historical romance to read. I love that the author endeavored to keep true to history by setting this novel during the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings, yet also add a mixture of magic and intrigue to entertain readers! This novel is the perfect addition to a summer reading list, especially for fans of cleaner historical romances that are not “bodice rippers”.

Alain and Kendra have an instant connection, but also seem to have insurmountable obstacles which they need to cross before they can finally be together and be happy. Alain is not honest with Kendra at the beginning, in fact, Kendra has no idea that Alain is her soon to be betrothed, as he is posing as a squire to check out the strange things that have been happening around his future English estate. Kendra is completely against marrying a Norman, as they invaded her country, and because of this her brother, whom she deeply loved and adored, was killed in battle. It takes a little bit for things between them to finally come together, and the main thing holding them back from seizing happiness were vows that made to loved ones which they were unable to fulfill. Alain and Kendra’s characters are written extremely well, and are very easy for readers to relate to. You can definitely feel their anguish and despair at losing a loved one, and feeling as though they are somewhat responsible for their death. It’s also easy to lose yourself in their romance as it grows.

There is a supernatural aspect to this novel, but it is not the main focus, so don’t let that turn you away. If anything, the supernatural element adds some additional interest to what would otherwise be just another well-written historical romance novel. I whole-heartedly recommend this novel for a great summer read that you can get completely lost in this summer. It definitely gets a FIVE out of FIVE stars from me!



Please Note There Is a Book Special Set for July 25th The Book Will Be On Sale for Just $0.99


(Hero's first impression of heroine)
A young woman was standing on the staircase’s top landing as Alain approached. No, he amended, feeling his eyes widen and his blood heat, a goddess. The suggestive clinging of her grayish-blue gown made him forget his blasphemous lapse. 
He shifted from foot to foot to mask his reaction. Her ashblonde curls, creamy complexion, and alluring curves conquered his fear of failure. As his heart thrummed its praises of her beauty, he vowed to protect this lady unto the ends of the earth. 
But he tempered his lauds with a petition for wisdom, for he needed to ascertain her heart. Experience had taught him the folly of loving a beautiful but title-hungry woman like Marie. 
Yet sorrow enveloped this lady like a shroud. The slope of her delicately boned shoulders, the tilt of her petite chin, the hooded reserve of her slate-blue eyes, the slight pout of her full lips all sang the same dirge. 
Blessed Virgin, could I be the cause of her misery? Please, let it not be so! 
He wanted nothing more than to gather her into his arms and kiss those lips until their song transformed from sorrow to joy. 
Their gazes met. Her look, a cross between appreciation and reprimand, made him remember his “station,” and he looked down.


4 Fun Facts about Snow in July...

  • The medieval-inspired interior art used as character glyphs for chapter and scene headings was created by Kim Headlee’s daughter Jessica.
  • The route that the hero Alain walks between St. Mary’s Church and the tavern in Chapter 2 was adapted straight off a map of medieval Winchester, England.
  • Alain wanted to name his canine ally “Seigneur Noir” (“Black Lord”), but Noir decided that was too much of a mouthful.
  • The story adapts the legend that the wounded King Harold survived the Battle of Hastings and lived out the remainder of his days as a monk, and Snow in July also references the legendary manner in which Joseph of Arimathea (a merchant and contemporary of Jesus) established the first Christian church in Britain, as well as the legends of King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the Round Table.


Author Photo - Kim HeadleeKim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet. She has been an award-winning novelist since 1999 (Dawnflight, first edition, Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster) and has been studying the Arthurian Legends for nigh on half a century.

Snow in July - Book Spine





1 autographed copy of SNOW IN JULY (US Only) 5 copies of SNOW IN JULY e-book (International)

Click Here To Enter Kim Headlee's Awesome Giveaway