Secrets and shame. Strains of Silence has it all

Strains of Silence FB Banner copy

My Penny’s worth

Secrets and shame

We all bear secrets and shame in some form or other. I have a littered life of disasters that have followed me on my journey. Each requiring revelation and forgiveness. Nothing good can grow in the darkness of fear!

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Strains of Silence by Bethany Kaczmarek

Opening up

I welcome Strains of Silence by Bethany Kaczmarek as it opens up a can of worms that needs to see the light of day. Indeed in England, there is a campaign to educate young men and woman about what ‘no’ means in a casual or seasoned relationship. I am glad that the secrets and shame of my generation are being met head-on in the younger age groups.

A controlling nature

This book is heavy at times, but then the topic is not light-hearted. The two characters involved in this sordid mess are Kasia Bernolak and Blake Hamilton. The needs of Blake are overwhelming and controlling, so much so that Kasia seems unaware of his true nature. I have met a few of these young men in my time – not a pleasant experience. But Blake takes Kasia’s snub to a higher level.

At times I empathised with Kasia as she struggled with others taking control of her situation, all with good intentions, but sometimes stifling. The men in her life want to protect her as if she were a delicate plant. I think I would have wanted to run away to Peru too even with her secrets and shame following her.

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Strains of Silence by Bethany Kaczmarek

Biblical words

Bringing in Bible verses to show Kasia that she is worthy in God’s eyes helped reveal an essential element in this story. So often we feel we are not worthy of God’s Grace and Mercy because we have messed up. Those who have lived through the same experience as Kasia need to know how much God loves them no matter what, especially when they are Christians – we are all fallen.

The other characters

There are a lot of different people to help make the story flow, each bringing a distinct flavour to the mix. Some, in my opinion, are just extras and feel forced to make the storyline neat. Nonetheless, I think Kasia is very fortunate to have so many men running around wanting to protect her. I doubt this is the norm.

What I felt was lacking

Strains of Silence is a book of glimpses. A brief insight of Peru, a slither of Polish life, a hint of culture, the promise of music all lead me to want more. Yes I know the book is of secrets and shame. However, I felt denied as though this extra material, were an eye in the keyhole. In the blurb, it stated there would be lots of music, but I couldn’t hear it. I wanted more, to taste, smell and inhale the food and culture.

This book is not for everyone as it deals with sexual assault – I think it important to state this to give the reader a heads up.

*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

About the Book

Author: Bethany Kaczmarek

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: August 1, 2017

StrainsOfSilence_h12295_750 (2)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-fiancé, 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.

About the Author

bethany-kaczmarek-HR-2Bethany 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.
  • Blake has got authority over her—at work, 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.

It’s not just a heavy book – there is more

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. A lot of music—Kasia’s a singer/song-writer who loves indie artists (I’ve got a playlist on my website). Heritage and culture—meet her immigrant family and you’ll get a delicious taste of Poland. And 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

proud to be an autism mom, January 6

Inklings and Notions, January 7

Bibliophile Reviews, January 7

Fiction Aficionado, January 8

Genesis 5020, January 8

The Fizzy Pop Collection, January 9

Bigreadersite, January 9

Red Headed Book Lady, January 10

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

Reading Is My SuperPower, January 13

A Greater YesJanuary 13

Christian Author, J.E.Grace Blog, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

Mindy Houg Guest Review on Artistic Nobody, January 15

Janices book reviews, January 15

Faithfully Bookish, January 16

Kat’s Corner Books, January 16

Margaret Kazmierczak, January 17

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 17

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, January 18

Carpe Diem, January 18

Remebrancy, January 19

A Baker’s Perspective, January 19

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Bethany is giving away a grand grand prize 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 below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5dc

I love Authors Interview 1 this is Mimi Milan

I love Authors Interview 1

mimi

This is Mimi Milan

Welcome to “I love Authors Interview 1” in this interview we meet Mimi Milan author of The Angel Paw’s Collection.

Angel Paws Collection Cover

Let’s all give Mimi a warm greeting.

Meet Mimi Milan an interview by Margaret Kazmierczak

Welcome, Mimi. It is a pleasure to have you sitting on my oranges and lemons VIP couch today.

I’m so glad you are doing a blog tour with Celebrate Lit as it gives me an opportunity to get to know you better.

Mimi – Thank you, Margaret for inviting me.

Now you are comfortable I want you to imagine that we are on a desert island! Sun, sand and solitude!

Meet Mimi Milan an interview by Margaret Kazmierczak

My first question Mimi is, who would you like to be marooned on the island with and why?

Mimi – My family, of course. My children are young (all three of them are under nine years old). I would be worried sick that they were well cared for.

Ah, so there won’t be any solitude with three youngsters around!

Tell me, Mimi, what luxury would you like to have washed up on the beach?

Mimi – A satellite phone to get us out of there! 😀

Um, I suppose I did ask what luxury you would like – I fell into that one Mimi!

Something a bit different now – you are given one wish, but there is a clause which means you can only ask to be an animal. What creature would you like to be Mimi?

Mimi – Well, if I’m stuck on an island, then I guess I’d wish to be an eagle or some other bird that could fly away.

I love eagles Mimi – that reminds me of my favourite song.

In some undergrowth Mimi you find a rowing boat hidden in a cave, what name would you paint on it and why?

Mimi – Hope Floats (like the movie). Mostly because I would be hopeful it would float me away to safety!

I like that name, Mimi. It could catch on.

I think you have escaped the desert island!

Finally, back on homeland, I am curious to know what favourite sentence you like from your most recent published book?

Mimi – By the time this blog takes place, my most recent publication will be The Dancing Lady. It’s a Christmas story, and I absolutely LOVE it (so do my beta readers – which is a great thing). My favorite line in it is this:

“I would sacrifice a thousand dances in any life if only to love you forever in this one.”

That’s beautiful Mimi. I hope your latest book is successful.

Sadly our time is up, so thank you, Mimi, for being such a good sport.  It has been a delight sharing my couch with you and I hope you have a great blog tour with The Angel Paws Collection.

Please give a round of applause for Mimi Milan, and if you would like to purchase her book click here.

For more about Mimi Milan The Angel Paws Collection plus a great giveaway continue reading…..

The Angel Paws Collection

About the Author

mimiMimi Milan is an award-winning, bestselling author of both historical and contemporary romance. Currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University, she spends most of her time in the suburbs of Charlotte, crafting stories her family and imaginary friends inspire.

About the Book

Name of book: The Angel Paws Collection

Author: Mimi Milan

Genre: Multicultural, Contemporary Romance

Release date: December 7, 2017

Scent of an AngelAngel Paws Collection Cover

To fight… or fall in love?

The only thing Tanner McKoy wants is to disappear into the backwoods of North Carolina, hopefully forgetting about his tour in Afghanistan. However, forgetting seems improbable. And disappearing is impossible when a determined grad student uses her new shelter rescues to track him down.

After a miserable breakup with her fiance, Eva Perez returns to grad school to complete her thesis and become a physical therapist. Unfortunately, that means assisting on several case studies – one of which includes a surly army veteran who refuses help. How can she win a battle with someone still stuck in combat mode?

Touched by an Angel

*Sweet Contemporary*

An explosion during a tour in Afghanistan took Rhett Marshall’s sight, but not his mind. Too bad his family can’t seem to grasp that fact. He’ll do anything to regain control over his life again… even take drastic measures like marrying a complete stranger just so he can call his own shots.

Luciana Lopez came to the United States on a student visa – which is about to expire. Unfortunately, finding an employer to petition for her so she can stay in the country has proven impossible. Could marriage to a desperate army veteran be the answer to her immigration problem?

Enjoy the second novel in the groundbreaking, heartwarming series, Angel Paws Rescue, that donates twenty percent of proceeds to help army veterans and shelter animals.

When Angels Sing

Fast food, fast cars, and fast women…

Eddie Rivera, a Chicano rock star hoping to break into the American music scene, has always lived life in the fast lane. The last thing he planned on was a country cutie with the belief that a guy “won’t buy the cow if he’s getting the milk for free.” Can a shot at her lifelong dreams and a rescue kitty help him change her mind?

From boys to battlefields, Rachel Linden may have lost her hearing but she has never lost a fight. Of course, she’s never had her dream of singing dangled in front of her either. Is there a strategy she can employ to win a war of wishes… without losing her heart?

Blog Stops

Avid Reader Book Reviews, December 7

Artistic Nobody, December 8 (Spotlight)

A Greater YesDecember 9

Carpe Diem, December 10

Texas Book-aholic, December 11

Blogging With CarolDecember 12

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, December 13

The Power of Words, December 14 (Spotlight)

Christian Bookaholic, December 15

Reading is My Superpower, December 16 (Interview)

Zerina Blossom’s Books, December 17

Books, Books, and More Books, December 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 19

God is Love, December 20

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Mimi is giving away a grand prize of The Angel Paws Collection Celebration Tour Giveaway!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5db