Monday, March 27, 2017

Beethoven in Love - Spotlight



We're happy to host Howard J. Smith's BEETHOVEN IN LOVE: OPUS 139 Virtual Book Tour today! Please leave a comment to let him know you stopped by!



Title: BEETHOVEN IN LOVE; OPUS 139
Author: Howard Jay Smith
Publisher: SYQ
Pages: 385
Genre: Literary Fiction/Biographical Fiction

At the moment of his death, Ludwig van Beethoven pleads with Providence to grant him a final wish—one day, just a single day of pure joy. But first he must confront the many failings in his life, so the great composer and exceedingly complex man begins an odyssey into the netherworld of his past life led by a spirit guide who certainly seems to be Napoleon, who died six years before. This ghost of the former emperor, whom the historical Beethoven both revered and despised, struggles to compel the composer to confront the ugliness as well as the beauty and accomplishments of his past. 
As Beethoven ultimately faces the realities of his just-ended life, we encounter the women who loved and inspired him. In their own voices, we discover their Beethoven—a lover with whom they savor the profound beauty and passion of his creations. And it’s in the arms of his beloveds that he comes to terms with the meaning of his life and experiences the moment of true joy he has always sought.

Purchase Information:

Amazon



Book Excerpt:
Prologue:
The Death of Beethoven
Vienna, 5:00 pm, March 26, 1827  
Outside Beethoven’s rooms at the Schwarzspanierhaus, a fresh measure of snow from a late season thunderstorm muffles the chimes of St. Stephens Cathedral as they ring out the hours for the old city.
    Ein, Zwei, Drei, Vier… Funf  Uhr.  Five O’clock.
    Beethoven, three months past his fifty-sixth birthday, lies in a coma, as he has now for two nights, his body bound by the betrayal of an illness whose only virtue was that it proved incurable and would, thankfully, be his last. Though his chest muscles and his lungs wrestle like giants against the approaching blackness, his breathing is so labored that the death rattle can be heard over the grumblings of the heavens throughout his apartment. 
     Muss es sein? Must it be? Ja, es muss sein. Beethoven is dying. From on high, the Gods vent their grief at his imminent passing and hurl a spear of lightening at Vienna.
     Their jagged bolt of electricity explodes outside the frost covered windows of the Schwarzspanierhaus with a clap of thunder so violent it startles the composer to consciousness. 
     Beethoven’s eyes open, glassy, unfocused. He looks upward – only the Gods know what he sees, if anything. He raises his right hand, a hand that has graced a thousand sonatas, and clenches his fist for perhaps the last time. His arm trembles as if railing against the heavens. Tears flood his eyes.
     His arm falls back to the bed… His eyelids close… And then he is gone ...




About the Author

Howard Jay Smith is an award-winning writer from Santa Barbara, California. BEETHOVEN IN LOVE; OPUS 139 is his third book. A former Washington, D.C. Commission for the Arts Fellow, & Bread Loaf Writers Conference Scholar, he taught for many years in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and has lectured nationally. His short stories, articles and photographs have appeared in the Washington Post, Horizon Magazine, the Journal of the Writers Guild of America, the Ojai Quarterly, and numerous literary and trade publications. While an executive at ABC Television, Embassy TV, and Academy Home Entertainment, he worked on numerous film, television, radio, and commercial projects. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Symphony - "The Best Small City Symphony in America" -  and is a member of the American Beethoven Society.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

INTERVIEW BOOK CIRCLE ONLINE AT YOUTUBE

INTERVIEW BLOGTALK RADIO


http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Death by Any Other Name Blog Tour and Review

A Death by Any Other Name by Tessa Arlen
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication date: March 14, 2017
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Publisher for an honest review

Description:
Building on the success of her last two mysteries in the same series, Tessa Arlen returns us to the same universe full of secrets, intrigue, and, this time, roses in 'A Death By Any Other Name'. 

The elegant Lady Montfort and her redoubtable housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, investigate a murder among a group of amateur rose-breeders while the idyllic English summer days count down to the start of the First World War.

When Mrs. Jackson receives a visit from a cook who believes she was an indirect witness to murder from a poisoned dish of breakfast kedgeree Lady Montfort promises to do what she can to clear the cook’s name, and contrives an invitation to Hyde Castle, the home of a self-made millionaire, to investigate a murder of concealed passions and secret desires. 

With the help of the invaluable Jackson Lady Montfort sets about solving the puzzle surrounding the death of the rose society’s most popular member and discovers a villain of audacious cunning among a group of mild-mannered, amateur rose-breeders. 

While they investigate, the headlines bring news of the growing crisis in the Balkans following the assassination of.the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire. As each day brings more threatening news and the very real fear that Britain will be drawn into war, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson must race against the clock to solve the mystery before Britain declares on Germany.

Brimming with intrigue, Tessa Arlen's latest does not disappoint.


My Take:


As with each of the other Tessa Arlen novels, I thoroughly enjoyed A Death by Any Other Name. The Lady Montfort mysteries have become my favorite escape reads. In the third novel, Mrs. Jackson hears about a suspicious death which was blamed on food poisoning and a woman loses her job with no prospects for future employment. Mrs. Jackson is sympathetic towards the woman and knows that her employer, Lady Montfort, would love to investigate the incident. Despite her reservations, Mrs. Jackson does bring the matter to Lady Montfort and they are soon contriving to obtain invitations to the home and embark on a new investigation and adventure.

This mystery was quite fun to read -- there are some great supporting characters, some with lots of quirks and great potential murderers. The backdrop to the novel is a meeting of amateur rose breeders who are very devoted to their pastime - for some, maybe too devoted. Despite the beautiful summer days, there is also much political turmoil as the country gets closer to war. The tension from both the rivalry among friends and the idea of war on the horizon help lend to the sense of urgency for solving the mysterious death for the women.

A Death by Any Other Name is a lovely, cozy mystery that is fast paced without being frenzied or too stressful -- sometimes I really enjoy this beautiful type of mystery -- the scenery is lovely, the people are polite and refined and yet the mystery is engaging and the resolutions is satisfactory. At the end of each of the novels, I am happy and yet a little anxious to see what the next mystery will be. I don't think a mystery reader could ask for much more than that. The Lady Montfort Mysteries have become my favorite suggestion to friends and family and A Death by Any Other Name is a great addition to the series.





About the Author

TESSA ARLEN is the author of Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman. She is the daughter of a British diplomat, and had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington