Monday, August 8, 2016

Review: "The Secret Language of the Stones" by M.J. Rose

 Synopsis:  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).

My Thoughts:  I'm going to apologize ahead of time gushing my way through this review.  M.J. Rose writes the most magical stories!  Her stories are so rich and she does a great job of developing the historical settings of her stories.  I will read anything with a Russian twist to it so I really enjoyed the intrigue, Russian spies and encounters with the royal family.  It added such a unique flair to the story.

It was fun to revisit the family of La Lune and Sandrine.  Opaline is a fascinating character.  I love the descriptions of her work as a jewelry maker; the pieces she made and the gems she worked with were fabulous.  I also enjoyed reading about how she used her powers to help the grieving mothers of Paris; the concept of her being able to connect with dead soldiers through the jewelry she made was super interesting.  The romance was beautiful; it was definitely different than anything I have read but the connection between Opaline and her love interest was amazing.

Also, this book had the best ending.  It was so unexpected and I absolutely loved it.  Overall, this was such a fun read!  I liked the first Daughter of La Lune book but this one was even better!    4 stars.

About the Author:

M.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: She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. Visit her online at

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

I received this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Mailbox Monday (65)

Time for another Mailbox Monday post!

I am so excited about all of the books that came in this week.  Because it's August and classes start in a few weeks, I probably won't get a ton of reading done this month but I know that what I do read will be awesome!

From the Library:

For Review (from HFVBT):

I have read all of Ms. Belfrage's books and I LOVE them so much.  I can't wait to read this one.

For Kindle:

I took advantage of the Kindle First book for August and got $3 from Amazon for being a loyal customer so I picked up two free ebooks this week.  Yippee!

What books did you pick up this week?  

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

July 2016 Wrap Up

 We had fun visiting the Natural History museum last week.

Summer is more than half over! I can't believe it!  July was an exhausting month.  We had family visiting on two different weekends and just a lot of stuff going on.

Despite all the goings on, I had the best reading month I've had all year.  I read 11 books!  I am now at 45 books for the year and my original goal was 52.  I know I will raise that goal at some point but I'm not sure how I'm going to raise it.  I also hit my monthly reading goals.  This month I wanted to read 2 books I own and 2 non-fiction books; I read 2 non-fiction books and 5 books I own so I'm really happy about that.  I had planned to post twice per week on the blog but this past week I didn't manage to get two posts up.  Oh well.  I managed to post 13 times on the blog this month so I think that's decent.

For August, I plan to read 5 books I own and 3 non-fiction books.  It's not always easy for me to consistently post twice a week on the blog every week and I don't want to put up garbage just to post something.  So I think I'm going to just shoot for one post a week and if I get more than that, then I'm doing good.

My reading stats for July:

-11 books read
   -2 non-fiction
   -6 historical fiction
   -1 review book
   -4 library books
   -5 books I own
   -7 ebooks

Below are the books I read in July

1.) The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose - 4 stars
2.) The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry
3.)  All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior - 3 stars
4.) The Amber Keeper by Freda Lightfoot - 4 stars
5.) See Me For Who I Am: Student Veteran's Stories of War and Coming Home ed. by David Chrisinger
6.) A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas 
7.) Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum - 3 stars
8.) Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson - 5 stars
9.) Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica - 3 stars
10.) America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie - 3 stars
11.) The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner - 2 stars

I hope everyone had a great July!
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