Blog Tour Book Review: Stones Don’t Speak by Gry Finsnes

34080564Title: Stones Don’t Speak by Gry Finsnes
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 311 pages
Format: E-Book (ARC)
Publisher: White Stag (an imprint of Ravenswood Publishing)
Publication Date: February 25, 2017
Rating – 4 stars

1941, Norway. The population tries to cope with the German occupation. After her successful debut concert as a pianist, Ellen Langmo, resists the Nazis who want to use her talent in their endeavor to convince people that Hitler’s ideas are right. At the same time the resistance movements begin to take form and her friends want to involve her. Trying to escape the conflicting and dangerous demands, she flees from Oslo to Stavanger on the West Coast where life is calmer. She is still looking for Friedrich but tries to accept his death when she has a strange encounter.

Hello! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Stones Don’t Speak. I’d like to thank the author and the publisher for giving me the chance to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review of it.

Stone’s Don’t Speak is a historical fiction romance set during Hitler’s regime and the Nazi occupation of Norway. The story centers around Ellen, a professional pianist whose fiancee has disappeared without a trace and who finds herself being pulled in different directions because of her unique talent and associations she made in trying to find her fiancee. Her fellow Norwegians start to see her as compassionate to the Nazi agenda due to events in her past and her attempt to befriend a German officer in order to get information for the resistance. In the midst of all of this, her missing fiancee and the love they shared is never far from her mind.

It has been a couple of months I think since I last read a book that was set during WWII. Every time I return to that time period in a book, I am completely blown away by the tragedy, the danger and even the hope that is found there. This book definitely added to that for me. I really enjoyed this book, especially our main character Ellen. I thought she was great and really believable. The whole book I found myself rooting for her and for Freddie, hoping against all hope that they would be reunited somehow, some way. I felt the danger she felt as she was placed in these situations that I imagine would be harrowing to be in.  I enjoyed working through her struggles with her.

What I liked most about this book though was the writing. I thought it was beautifully written. It was one of those books where you can smell what the character is smelling and taste what they are tasting. I especially can’t get the opening scene out of my mind because I think it was just so beautifully done. It completely hooked me on the first paragraph. It was a slower read but most historical fiction books are because they unpack a lot and this one definitely had to give the reader a little bit of background on Ellen’s past and of course, the political atmosphere of her world at the time. While I thought the romance aspect of this book was good, I don’t think it was the thing that stood out the most for me. What I took out of it was of course all the tragedy that occurs but also what I focused on alot during this story was the resistance and Ellen’s place in it. I was also struck by all of the women who took the reins in the movement whether it be gathering and dissemination of information by spying or being  a leader of a resistance group. I really enjoyed this book, four stars from me!

If you love historical fiction with romance and danger, this one may be for you!

image descriptionGry Finsnes, Norwegian, has lived in Sweden, India, England, Germany and France. After university studies in Oslo in French and English literature, she started her career as a teacher, but had to give it up as she moved out of the country. She has published two thrillers in Swedish but has recently written in English.

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Blog Tour Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

About American Gods

• Paperback: 576 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; The Tenth Anniversary Edition, with TV Tie-in jacket art (March 28, 2017)

Now a STARZ® Original Series produced by FremantleMedia North America starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, and Pablo Schreiber | Premiering Sunday, April 30, at 9pm EST

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies . . . and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.

PLUS… don’t miss American Gods: The Official Coloring Book, featuring illustrations by Yvonne Gilbert, Craig Phillips, and Jon Proctor. Indulge your inner artist and revel in the stunning imagery of the gods and people, places and artifacts of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

Purchase Links for the TV Tie-in Paperback

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Happy Monday everyone! Welcome to my stop in the blog tour for American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through TLC book tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

Truthfully I have had American Gods on my TBR list for so long so I was really excited at the possibility of reviewing the anniversary edition. This is only the third Neil Gaiman book that I have read but I admit that I had pretty high expectations for it because I loved the other two.

I find it difficult to summarize this book in my own words because it’s super unique and I think it’s one that you have to go into without knowing anything about it. It’s been so long since I saw the synopsis myself so I felt like I was going into my reading experience of it pretty blind as well. There are different layers to this book, there is the surface story which is awesome but that serves as an allegory and is a really wonderful blend of genres.

I always go into a Neil Gaiman book assuming that I am going to be falling into a story that is super unique and a little odd but in the best way possible. I think that accurately describes this book for me. I was completely enthralled from the first page throughout. I have heard that this book is very divisive and Neil also mentions this in the introduction to the book, you either love it or you hate it, you get it or you don’t. On that spectrum I definitely fell into the category of loving it. After reading this book and being completely pulled in by it I have come to the conclusion that there is just something about Neil Gaimans writing that jives with me, I think it’s gorgeous and masterful and I love the way he can craft a narrative that is so different and wonderful. It’s the perfect balance of show and tell where most books are either one or the other.
I’ve never read anything like this and I think I said the same thing about Neverwhere. I would love to just live in his mind for a day. This story was intricate, fun, dangerous, odd and just a really fantastic read, I’d count this book among y favorite reads. I loved it, 5 out of 5 stars for me. I cannot wait to begin the TV show which I will be doing within the next few days.

Also I must thank the publisher and TLC Book Tours for also sending me a copy of the American Gods coloring book. I adore it, it’s beautiful and I am so appreciative of it. Here are a few pics of it. I’m having a great time coloring it, I haven’t finished one yet because of my colors are running out but the pictures are gorgeous and just everything.


What about you, have you read American Gods? Did you love it, yay or nay? Are you going to check out the TV show? I am hearing great things about it so far and I’m super stoked to see what I think!

Anyway, thanks for stopping in and I hope everyone has a great reading week!

Photo by Beowulf Sheehan

About Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

Find out more about Neil at his website, find all his books at his online bookstore, and follow him on InstagramFacebooktumblr, Twitter, and his blog.

Bridges by Maria Murnane Virtual Launch Party

Hey everyone! I just wanted to post an invitation to the Bridges Virtual Launch Party today! It is being hosted on Facebook! It is being held 6-9 CDT and 7-10 EDT to celebrate the release of this wonderful book. Everyone is invited and there will be an Ask the Author segment, relationship advice, party favors and just sounds like a good time. This is the first virtual launch party I’ll be attending and I think it’s a super cute idea. Hope to see you there!

If you would like to attend here is the link: Bridges Virtual Launch Party . If you want to check out my review of Bridges, you can do so here: Bridges by Maria Murnane Review 

Blog Tour Book Review: The Wisdom of Moms/Amazing Dads by Bridget E. Hamilton

About The Wisdom of Moms

• Hardcover: 96 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (March 28, 2017)

There is so much we can learn about motherhood from the animal kingdom. We can learn how to be the strong role model a child needs, like the snow leopard that teaches her children to survive and thrive on dangerous mountain slopes; to be as resilient as the hardworking sea otter mom; and to serve our communities like the pika, a rabbit-like animal native to northern climates. This is a beautiful tribute to mothers, full of adorable animal photographs and touching anecdotes that show your appreciation for all the wisdom and care that Mom provides.

Purchase Links

National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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About Amazing Dads

• Hardcover: 96 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (May 2, 2017)

This fun, lighthearted book is a great way to show Dad how much he means to you. Page after page of stunning animal photographs and heartwarming stories of fatherhood in the animal kingdom showcases the bond between dads and their loved ones. This package is the best way to share words of gratitude and appreciation and express your love for the dad, grandpa, uncle, or stepfather in your life.

Stories of remarkable animal dads include:

  • Golden lion tamarins that mash bananas into a mush to hand-feed their babies

  • Wolves that enjoy playful roughhousing with youngsters of the pack

  • Foxes that bury food near the den to teach pups to hunt

  • Rheas, South American birds that not only incubate eggs solo but also serve as single parents

  • Seahorses that carry eggs in their own brood pouch

Purchase Links

National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Happy Friday!!

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Wisdom of Moms and Amazing Dads. I received both of these book for free from the publisher National Geographic through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of them.

The Wisdom of Moms is a book of photographs of animal moms and their babies. Not only is it filled with beautiful photographs, but it also includes inspirational quotes and facts about animals…some familiar and some that were really suprising and fun to learn. This book is a really cute appreciation of moms of all kinds and how they show their love and protection for their kids. (5 stars)

Amazing Dads is also a book of photgaprahs, quotes and facts but this time it is an appreciation for animal Dads and how they care for their young. This one was a bit different from The Wisdom of Moms as this one also showed photos of baby animals on their own which I didn’t expect. There weren’t many like that but there were maybe 1 or 2. I did learn a few things going through this book as I had no clue about some of things the animals Dads did for their young especially the ones who serve as the primary caregiver. Super interesting.(4.5 Stars)

Overall, as an animal lover I really enjoyed these books. I thought the photographs were beautiful and moving. I didn’t know I needed these photographs in my life until I held these books in my hand. One thing I will say is that I feel like the animal facts should have been the dominant feature on the page with the quote and the fact but that wasn’t that big of a deal. It’s still the same content it just would have made more sense to me that way. I also urge you to take your time going through this book and the photos therein, take the time to fully appreciate every one because they are so beautiful. I think the release of these two small books is timely with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day coming up. They might serve as a cute gift whether to a parent, an animal lover or even a child. I also think these are beautiful coffee table books that people will want to look through.

Blog Tour Book Review: Killing Wonder Woman by Tenaya T.J. Tyson

About Killing Wonder Woman

Paperback: 264 pages

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing (February 27, 2017)

POW! BLAM! OOF!

Working women of faith are subjected to daily blows of lies and deception. We are barraged with messages that we’re not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, spiritual enough. We believe that our professions mean very little in the eyes of God. We’re feeling tired and discouraged from holding ourselves to impossible standards. These damaging lies and labels now have a name: Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman is a symbol of the unobtainable. She is a blend of all the women both real and fictional–that we idolize. She is the whispers of doubt and negative self-talk that run rampantly through our minds. It’s time to stop listening. It’s time to slay Wonder Woman!

Killing Wonder Woman is more than a book. It’s a long-overdue weapon that we, as working women of faith, can yield to cut down burnout, destroy discouragement, and set ourselves free of unrealistic expectations. Once we break loose of Wonder Woman’s deception, we can open ourselves more fully to trust God’s plan and integrate Him into all aspects of our lives, including in our workplace calling.

Are you ready to win at work and soar in faith? This is your call to arms.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Thank you to the author and TLC Book Tours for the chance to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review of it.

Killing Wonder Woman is a nonfiction book all about killing labels with confidence, self love and most of all faith. It is a faith based book with a lot of concepts and teaching rooted in scriptures.

I really liked the message in this book about not living life according to labels that society, our family and even that we, place on ourselves. It’s about shirking the assumptions that if we aren’t perfect like Wonder Woman or or if we don’t look exactly  like women on magazine covers or if our house isn’t as big as our friends that we are somehow failures. It’s about proactively defeating those little voices and allowing our own light to shine because no matter someone else’s timeline or even ours, God has a plan for our life and has made us unique for our own purposes…and that’s okay. Better than okay. 

I am not someone who reads books like this often so at times it was a little much for me. The author did acknowledge that these concepts might seem foreign or uncomfortable to some so I think that was to be expected. I’m also pretty private about my relationship with God so this book shook that up for me which was a good thing I think.  I do agree with some points discussed in this book but I don’t agree with all of them which is normal. I went into this with an open mind and definitely am taking some good strategies on dealing with challenges that present themselves internally and also at work and such. 

Overall, this book had a good message if you are willing to listen and take it in. 3 stars, I enjoyed it and liked it. It was also a super short, inspirational read. 

About Tenaya T. J. Tison

Tenaya TJ Tison is a business leader and entrepreneur, with a proven track record as a strategic advisor and change agent within the small business sector. T.J. has held twenty-seven different jobs throughout her life and finally found her calling in helping businesses grow.

T.J. and her husband of twenty-five years have two grown children and together enjoy the peace of their Wisconsin hobby farm with a myriad of pet animals. In her spare time (ha ha), she likes to run, play golf, read, and cheer on the Minnesota Vikings.

T.J. is also the founder and executive director of Working Women of Faith, a nonprofit that exists to equip women to win at work and soar in faith. To learn more about Working Women of Faith, visit: workingwomenoffaith.com.

Connect with T. J.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Blog Tour Book Review: The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi

About The Color of Our Sky

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 18, 2017)

In the spirit of Khaled Hosseini, Nadia Hashimi and Shilpi Somaya Gowda comes this powerful debut from a talented new voice—a sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends in Mumbai, India, whose lives converge only to change forever one fateful night.

India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old village girl from the lower caste Yellama cult has come of age and must fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute, as her mother and grandmother did before her. In an attempt to escape her fate, Mukta is sent to be a house girl for an upper-middle class family in Mumbai. There she discovers a friend in the daughter of the family, high spirited eight-year-old Tara, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to an entirely different world—one of ice cream, reading, and a friendship that soon becomes a sisterhood.

But one night in 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s family home and disappears. Shortly thereafter, Tara and her father move to America. A new life in Los Angeles awaits them but Tara never recovers from the loss of her best friend, or stops wondering if she was somehow responsible for Mukta’s abduction.

Eleven years later, Tara, now an adult, returns to India determined to find Mukta. As her search takes her into the brutal underground world of human trafficking, Tara begins to uncover long-buried secrets in her own family that might explain what happened to Mukta—and why she came to live with Tara’s family in the first place.

Moving from a traditional Indian village to the bustling modern metropolis of Mumbai, to Los Angeles and back again, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and, ultimately, redemption.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Happy Monday! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi. I received a free copy of this book (ARC) from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

The Color of Our Sky is a contemporary fiction novel set in India following two women Tara and Mukta who met and became friends when they were younger when Tara’s father rescued Mukta from her village. Back in her village, Mukta was born into a line of women who were prostitutes in the name of the Goddess. A friendship blooms between these two girls until one night Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s room. Eleven years later Tara, who lives with the guilt of Mukta’s kidnapping returns to India to retrace history’s footsteps and endeavor to find Mukta.

When I read the synopsis for The Color of Our Sky, I immediately knew that this book was going to be a story that I wouldn’t want to miss. Unsurprisingly, I was correct in that assumption.

First of all, Amita Trasi’s writing is beautiful and descriptive. I am a huge fan of writing that has a poetic, descriptive feel and the writing in this book definitely fed that obsession for me. The writing completely drew me in from the first sentence and gripped me until the very end. I loved that the narrative takes place both from Tara’s point of view and from Mukta’s, alternating between the past and the present. It was a unique and ultimately satisfying way to deliver the story to the reader.

The topics that are explored in this book were completely gripping to me. I could not put this book down for the life of me. It was a really great combination of the beautiful writing and the harrowing events of the story. I just had to know what happened to Mukta and whether these two women would be able to reunite and find a way to put their past and secrets behind them.

Although beautiful, this book was at times difficult to read because this is actually the reality of the world that we live in. It’s hard to realize that somewhere in the world something similar is happening to little girls and women. I think that’s the magic of books like this, they tell the stories that, although hard for us to think about, are SO important for us to learn about so that we can be informed and maybe start doing something to create change.

I highly recommend picking this book up. It will hurt you but it will also give you hope. There were alot of themes at play in this book that combined together delivered a beautiful, tragic narrative about friendship, pain, hope, love and the danger of tradition. 5 stars! Beautiful read, one of my favorites of the year so far.

Photo by Sameer Rao

About Amita Trasi

Amita Trasi was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She has an MBA in human resource management, and currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two cats.

Find out more about Amita at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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