Posted in Books, character introduction

Character Introduction: Willa Forsythe

Willa Forsythe.png

 

Welcome to the first monthly “Character Introduction” post, featuring Willa Forsythe from “A Song Unheard” by Roseanna M. White!  The idea behind this post is just to spotlight the character a bit, give a little description of her personality, and for fun, a few books I’d recommend to her if I could. ^.^ Enjoy!

 

 

Emily Blunt, photographed by Peter Lindbergh for IWC Schaffhausen - A Sparkle to the Wrist - Portofino Midsize Collection, 2014.

Willa Forsythe

She is a prodigy–and a thief.

 

Stubborn. She’s “Willa-ful” :), but has a fierce love for her family and a strong passion for her music. Her music-playing is pretty much unmatched, and she’s…snarky. Impossible perhaps, but loveable all the same. Daring, and comes across as fearless.  In “A Song Unheard” we see her struggle with some feelings of mistrust, insecurities, and fear, and yet she still remains such a strong character, growing even more throughout the story.

 

 

Books I’d recommend to her:

 

 

_I don't want fame. Or awards or...I just want to play. That's all. To have the music._.png

You can find more about Willa Forsythe and her background in “A Song Unheard” by Roseanna M. White, which I definitely recommend! If interested, you can also read my review here.

 

 

(*The image of “Willa” is taken from Roseanna M. White’s Pinterest just for the fun of it. I do not claim any rights to it.)

Willa Forsythe.png

Posted in Book reviews

“A Song Unheard” by Roseanna M. White ~ Book Review

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“A Song Unheard” by Roseanna M. White

Book Two in the Shadows Over England series

Review copy from the author/publishers as apart of the Launch Team.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

Image result for curly q

 

About the Book:

 

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.

 

Image result for curly q

 

My Thoughts:

 

This book was beautiful. I wasn’t sure how the next book in this series would stand next to the first, “A Name Unknown” (because I loooved that one), but wow! It exceeded my expectations. Utterly delightful, and vivid and strong. I love how it wasn’t ‘heavy’, but it was deep. It was so easy to get caught up into, and so refreshing. This is definitely one of those books that you don’t just read – you live in its pages. You feel like you know the characters personally – not like you’re just reading about them. Spectacular!
And the settings were rich – London. Wales. Belgium.
“A Song Unheard” really does pull you in effortlessly.
There was so much to it, that I’m not even sure how to capture it all in my review! The music aspect was glorious. I’m not really a musician, but wow! Stunning. And the strength of family – maybe not by-blood-family, but still family. That was touching. And the faith-element – absolutely fantastic, and heartwarming. It was real, and not just ‘fluff’.
The characters were all spot-on.
Willa Forsythe…oh Willa. What a character she was! So developed, so complex, so broken, but so lovely. And strong. And willa-ful. ;) I loved her! What else can I say than that she was amazing? Her struggles, and trials – the walls she put up, and the ending conclusion – ahh, so good!
Lukas De Wilde being a playboy – I was curious to see how his character would go. But wow, I loved him too! His flirtation towards Willa was extremely amusing, and his devotion endearing. He had great depth too, and I loved “getting to know” him and seeing his transformation in the book.
Parts of this story shared the POV of Lukas’ sister, Margot. She was positively delightful! Her math-brain – goodness, I wish I had that! ;) And her loyalty to the Lord, and her faith – inspiring. I believe I heard that we’ll get to see more of her character in another series possibly? I sure hope so!
“A Song Unheard” is full of so much beauty, and depth, as I said, it’s impossible to cover all of it within one review, but I definitely recommend it! Music, intrigue, danger, hard-won-romance, a family of thieves, a world-renowned violinist – this book is enticing to say the least! It’s lovely to have a series set during the start of WWI – and a series so well written at that!
Image result for curly q

Quotes:

 

“We are in God’s hands, and God’s alone. War is knocking on our door, and it is bigger than any of us. But the Lord is bigger than war. He will take care of us, if it is His will. And if it is not, then it will be to His glory. Rest in Him.” – words from Lukas’ mother’s letter.

 

_Our faith is the rock we stand on, Willa - but we don't demand anyone else stand here with us. Though if you ever wanted to, there is plenty of room.__God is real, my friend. And I dare

_There is a saying, I believe, about hiding our lights under a basket. Perhaps Jesus was talking of our faith, but I believe it applies to the gifts He has given us as well, n'cest-ce pa

_Music is like a person, oui_ You must make friends. Court it. Listen to it speak, let it find its voice._

_I don't want fame. Or awards or...I just want to play. That's all. To have the music._

_There is a saying, I believe, about hiding our lights under a basket. Perhaps Jesus was talking of our faith, but I believe it applies to the gifts He has given us as well, n'cest-ce pa

It felt, just now, impossible. But impossible was all he had to hope in.png

 

 

*Read an interview with the author, Roseanna M. White HERE. And stay tuned for this next Monday, where Willa Forsythe will get her own post. :) Also….pop in on Valentine’s Day to see a special cover reveal!! Lots of fun!

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

 

Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “Whither Shall I Go?” by Gina Holder

Oct (11)

“Whither Shall I Go?” by Gina Holder

Review copy from the author

 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

“I miss him too, Bitty, but God knows best. Someday you’ll see.” If only I could believe that…
In 1911, Ellie Williams struggles to see God’s hand in her life when she loses both parents and is sent to live with her wealthy, estranged aunt, who transforms her from awkward country bumpkin to socialite heiress. Six years later, she meets a young preacher and finds hope as they serve the Lord together.
Robert Hampton is deeply devoted to God and desires to take the gospel to the unreached natives of Brazil. He didn’t expect to fall in love. When he is drafted, Robert is torn between his duty as a soldier and his budding affections for Ellie. Will Robert survive the trenches? Will he lose the only woman he’s ever loved?
Ellie’s journey takes her from her home in Cades Cove, Tennessee, to the concrete jungle of New York City, and finally to the harsh unforgiving world of the Amazon River Basin, where she meets Paul, a doctor who’s lost his way, and Jack, a soldier with amnesia. Encountering anacondas, jaguars, and an antagonistic shaman, will Ellie give in to the fears that threaten to overwhelm her?
Or can she depend on God’s grace to bring about His will for her life?
Whither Shall I Go? combines compelling characters, sweet romance, vivid setting, and historical details in this emotionally-charged story of one woman’s struggle to surrender to God’s plan and allow His grace to work in her life. Can life take her anywhere that his hand does not lead and his presence cannot be found?

 

 

My Thoughts:

I loved how this book started out with a Bible passage before the prologue. And how so many verses were sprinkled throughout the story – I very much appreciated that and enjoyed that aspect! To me, you can never get enough Jesus. His Word, His truths, they’re amazing and should be used more often in fiction.
Another thing I really liked about “Whither Shall I Go?” was the emphasis on waiting and following God’s will – that His will for our lives is so much more important than following anything else. If God leads us to do something, we must forsake all else to follow Him.
This is a book that follows the main characters through their lives. Ellie is the majority of the book’s main character, but we also follow along with Robert and his journey, and Paul and his family’s journey too, till they all meet up in a satisfying ending.
This book was a little slow at times, and didn’t have a huge build-up – it was really more of a journey – but it was still good, and I enjoyed reading it. It was really neat to see how God’s plan for the characters lives was orchestrated completely, and glory given to His name for it.
There were some instances of behaviour by the characters that I couldn’t relate to – things would happen and the characters wouldn’t react to it – they wouldn’t do anything about it, and were…passive. Which seemed weird to me. I’d explain more but I don’t want to give any spoilers.
I didn’t agree with all of the character’s behaviours (like the parents of Paul sometimes), but they were realistically portrayed.
I did enjoy how a fair part of this book was missions-related, as missions are close to my heart.
“Whither Shall I Go?” is a unique story, filled with Biblical truths, and the real factors of life.
“Just keep your trust in the Lord. He knows every thought and intent of the heart. Remember, the will of God won’t lead you where the grace of God can’t keep you.”
“We can’t let heartache keep us from loving. We can’t let the bad memories cover the good ones.  Just think of all the good times. Would you give them up just to be rid of the pain you feel now?”
“But I do know that God is always leading us, even when we don’t understand. Even if it feels like we’ve done made our bed in hell; the Bible says, ‘when I awake I am still with Thee.’ …God knows the horror we lived through, but He brought us through it. And He’s going to bring you through this too.”

 

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews, Litfuse

“A Name Unknown” by Roseanna M. White ~ Book Review

A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England #1)

“A Name Unknown” by Roseanna M. White

First book in Shadows Over England.

Review copy from publishers through Litfuse Blogger Program

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered. 

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

The cover alone makes this book a worthy addition to any bookshelf. But add in the amazing story, and you know “A Name unknown” is a definite keeper!
The story pulled me in immediately, and I was drawn right into the world of these characters. There were many unique twists, and mysteries, and the history was woven beautifully into the story. But one of the best elements of this book was the heart of it – the Faith aspect. I was very pleased with it, and there were many places I marked down. It was gentle, and beautiful, and meaningful. To me, a Christian fiction’s main theme should be revolved around a godly message – one that is filled with Christ, and I was ever so pleased to discover that in this novel. Personally, when I pick up a CF title, I don’t want it to just be ‘clean’, I want it to be filling. And “A Name Unknown” was that.
I loved the characters – Rosemary and Peter. Oh, Peter was just darling! I liked him right away, and Rosemary too. They were very different characters to be sure, but blended so well and balanced each other out.
Rosemary a thief, and Peter a secret novelist. They both have so much richness to them!
As a writer myself, I loved Peter and seeing his writing mind take over; how he’d get lost when thinking up a new idea – very relatable. :) And his overall love of books and letters! Be still my heart. ;) He was just splendid.
I just really loved the characters – how real they were, and how they didn’t always do what you expected. Life doesn’t always go as expected, and that was portrayed so well in this book.
Every page begged to be turned again, not left unread. If only I had an ample amount of time to read from beginning to end! But still, I savoured this book for the time it took me, thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. And set right before WWI broke out – a very fascinating time to read a novel in.
So yes, I can definitely recommend this one! Fellow booklovers, you will fall in love with “A Name Unknown”!

 

Those were just a couple of my favourite quotes. I have several others, just without images:

 

“Were he a different man, one who could command a presence and charm people wherever he went, perhaps he would have struck off to see more of the world than this imitation jungle. Perhaps he would have made his own way, cut his own path with machete and pistol. As it was, even the jungle of London sent him running for cover.” – Pg 30
“Treasures were never where one sought it.” Pg 48
“I am by no means an expert, of course, but love of the written word runs deep in my family- also no great mystery to you, having seen the library. But I do hold fiction in especial esteem. Fiction is a way to express mankind’s deepest heart. His fears. His hopes. His failings. His successes. Fiction is truth…in a pretty wrapping.” Pg 56
“Everyone needs a distraction from sad things. Especially when there is nothing they can do about them.” – Pg 211
“Peter had used it as an example in one of his notes this week. That giving one’s life to God was very much like what she’d done with those dresses of Jenny’s. It was still the same fabric – still the same basic person. But just as she’d changed the shape and drape and the seams, God remade the old man into a new one. But unlike the dress, which had no say, people had to choose to put themselves in God’s hands. He wouldn’t start snipping and sewing against their will.” – Pg 292
“You listen to me, Rosemary Gresham. If Jesus could save tax collectors, and harlots, thieves and hypocrites, who are you to say you’re too far gone, hmm? Our God is bigger than our sins. And if there’s something saying otherwise into your ea, know it’s a lie straight from the devil.” – pg 383
And believe it or not, I still have more that I marked down, but I won’t overload you with them all. ;)

 

 

Posted in Book reviews

“High as the Heavens” by Kate Breslin ~ Book Review

(Click on book cover image to go to its amazon page)

 

“High as the Heavens” by Kate Breslin

Review copy from publisher/author

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle’s café. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She’s a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.

 

My Thoughts:

Such a beautiful book!  
I really enjoyed this book – the plot line was fantastic, and there were twists I didn’t even see coming! You will be embarking on quite the adventure when you read “High as the Heavens”. I’ve read my fair share of WWII fiction, but not too many of WWI, and the books I’ve read by Kate Breslin set in this time period have been exemplary.
The characters are beautifully crafted, and relatable. I loved Eve in this book, as well as Simon! So good. Maddie was also a favourite character. :)
The pain and trials the characters go through are heart-achingly realistic and you so feel for them. And I really enjoyed reading the rawness of Eve’s struggles with guilt and shame, and eventually accepting God’s mercy. I think her struggles were really well written especially, and I could definitely relate.
One thing I wasn’t quite as sure on was the possible factor of ‘working for forgiveness/grace’ – I don’t believe we can work for God’s forgiveness or His mercy or grace – those are freely given from Him. This piece of the book was small, and maybe that’s not even what it was saying. But yes, that’s my thoughts on it.
I have several places marked in this book – truly, I bonded with Eve and felt some of the same struggles as she did, so the truths she received hit me as well.
And just the authentic feeling of this book – wow. So gorgeous. It’s definitely one I would read again. It was heartbreaking (because so many of the atrocities are not just “fiction” – they really happened, and oh my goodness. I cried a bit.), but with so much beauty. If you love WWI or WWII fiction with amazing characters and a fantastic plotline, definitely check this book out! Well worth the read. <3
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Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Books, Reviews, Spiritual beliefs

“Not by Sight” by Kate Breslin

(click image above to go directly to Amazon to see this book)

“Not by Sight” by Kate Breslin

WWI Fiction

Review copy source: Author and publishers

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

With Britain caught up in WWI, Jack Benningham, heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, has declared himself a conscientious objector. Instead, he secretly works for the Crown by tracking down German spies on British soil, his wild reputation and society status serving as a foolproof cover.

Blinded by patriotism and concern for her brother on the front lines, wealthy suffragette Grace Mabry will do whatever it takes to assist her country’s cause. When she sneaks into a posh London masquerade ball to hand out white feathers of cowardice, she never imagines the chain of events she’ll set off when she hands a feather to Jack.

And neither of them could anticipate the extent of the danger and betrayal that follows them–or the faith they’ll need to maintain hope.

My Thoughts:

I really, really loved Kate Breslin’s first book, “For Such a Time” – it was so excellent – so I was excited by this new release of hers and absolutely delighted when I was chosen to be part of her influencer team – it’s been immensely enjoyable!!

The book cover is gorgeous – it really is an eye-grabber (hehe, that sounds slightly on the creepy side; how about ‘attention-grabber’?) and I love all the colours blending together. It represents the novel beautifully.

While “For Such a Time” will remain my favourite between Mrs. Breslin’s two books, I must say I did enjoy “Not By Sight”. The tale was gripping, and the characters delightfully flawed, each with their own secrets, as one character, Lucy, said in the book. It’s true – we all have some kind of pain in our lives. But God can take our brokenness and create a master piece!

It took me a little while to really relate with main character Grace Mabry. Especially since it started out by her handing out the white feathers of cowardness…but as the book got going, and we got to really know her more, I did begin to really enjoy her character. And Jack’s I liked nearly right away. :) I think the romance between the two was really sweet, and I loved the banter between them. I think the romance was nicely done in this book, though one concern I had about it was the fact that between the two of them, especially for Grace, there wasn’t a problem or even wariness that Jack himself was not a strong believer in Christ. And I think that should be very important to believers – we are not to be unequally yoked together, so it is very important that we don’t simply give into the lust of the flesh and cast aside the care of faith. This is not to say the characters were completely casting aside their faith – Grace showed some faith and did genuinely desire for Jack to be saved too, but it wasn’t in the deciding factor of their relationship, which saddened me. I don’t want girls out there to think that matter isn’t important. :)

On the topic of a faith strand, there was one present, which was nice. For me, personally, I would have liked it to be stronger and imperatively evident. I didn’t necessarily see that. Sometimes it seems like it was added as a side thought, but there were deeper aspects to it, and the characters grew through out the book which is always excellent!

My favourite part was definitely the relationship between Grace and Jack! I loved it and enjoyed it. Kind of like a ‘beauty and the beast’ story, which is always lovely!!

Mrs. Breslin writes exceptionally well, and the history she entwines throughout the story is marvelous! Very real, and helpfully depicted.

My sincere thanks, Mrs. Breslin, and Bethany House for providing me with a complimentary copy of this splendid book.