The Weaver’s Daughter by Sarah Ladd

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Description

 

My Review:

You know, any book that reminds me of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, will pull me in. This one had the feel of the time period, even though it was a totally different story.  the characters are strong in their own right. The touches of mystery keep you reading and wanting to find the answers along with them.

The romance is light, more in undertones, but with an overall feeling of fighting the fact that there was romance included. The history of the weaving of cloth, the business behind it and child labor makes you stop and think a bit. I would say this book would be a great novel to use in history class as something to pique your interest in the industrial age.

I obtained this book from Netgalley and the publisher. The opinions contained herein are my own.

The book is on sale from your local booksellers and Amazon.

“The Weaver’s Daughter” 

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Dancing in the Rain by Jennifer Slattery and Eileen Rife

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko 

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About the book:

On the verge of college graduation, Loni Parker seeks employment as a music teacher, but no one will hire her since she’s blind. Or so she thinks. To take her mind off her troubles, her roommate invites her to spring retreat at Camp Hope in the gorgeous North Carolina mountains.

Camp director Michael Ackerman recognizes Lonie instantly from his past and wants to avoid her at all costs. Yet, despite the guilt pushing him from her, a growing attraction draws him to the determined woman. She sees more with her heart than the average person does with his eyes. But her presence also dredges up a long-buried anger toward his alcoholic father that he’d just as soon keep hidden. When circumstances spin out of control, Michael is forced to face a past that may destroy his present.

My Review:

I think one of the first things that would have pulled me into this story, if I had not already been familiar with one of the authors, would have been the cover. I loved the premise of a blind main character as well. I found myself intrigued by Lonie’s struggles as I read. She struggled with self worth and value, and yet, we see her through others eyes since she cannot see herself.

It is fascinating to me to see as this story weaves itself, it tells us a tale of forgiveness and value. How do we value ourselves? Are we of value in spite of our mistakes and flaws or because of them?

I would recommend this book!

This book was obtained from the author. The opinions contained herein are my own.

The book is available for purchase through Amazon on Kindle. The release date is June 4th, 2018

“Dancing in the Rain” 

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Helpful vs. Not Helpful

You know, we all have those days. You know the ones when everything irritates you.

I think of Michel on Gilmore girls saying, “People are particularly stupid today; I can’t talk to any more of them”

Those kind of days, when you just can’t even think of a way to reply, I found, that it is so important to take a deep breath and really try to listen.

Sometimes people are ignorant, but how often have you ever heard someone say, “I was really ignorant about such and such, but then some stranger on the internet or moderate acquaintance  reamed for it and I completely changed my ways.”

I bet you haven’t. Yeah, I haven’t either.

 

It made me think though, how often do we see something and want to reply sarcastically, when truly on the other side of the keyboard, there is a person in need?

Yes, they might be asking for something that is hard to find, maybe impossible.  Or perhaps it could be a post discussing  their latest read, the carseat they chose for their child, what mode of education their child is enjoying or perhaps the kind of car they drive. No matter the topic, there is always someone that will have something to say to the negative if they listen to the temptation to criticize.

A friend was looking for child care recently. He is not paying a high wage, but a decent one, and based off state standards, above normal rates. In looking for child care, someone decided to take the time to make sure he knew how stupid it was to even think that someone would be willing to work for that amount of money in taking care of his child. Since they were replying to me, instead I got to hear it.  It stung a little. Why? The person had not a shred of kindness in her replies. It was not said to be helpful, but to mock, cut down and make you feel like an idiot. You know what? Maybe my friend was needing to change the approach. However, there could have been ten dozen ways to tell me that, that could have been helpful, and the way this woman went about it was not one of them.

Another family was looking for housing and it is hard to find in the area. There are a million and one ways to reply to an inquiry, but I always hope that in the end, someone inquiring of me, even if I cannot help them, goes away feeling like maybe there is a little hope and human kindness out there.

It is hard in a world of digital words, to remember the people behind the keyboard. We tend to encourage others, “Oh, step away from the screens. Get out into the “real world” The meanness is all on the social media sites.”  You know, while that may be true, it is even worse when you hear it from the lips of a human standing before you and it is plentiful out there.

Both online and in person, let us seek to be more helpful, and not cut others with our words. They might not have asked a question you thought was very smart, or ignorance might be bubbling from their ears. In the end,  look into their eyes, think of the person behind the screen, find a kinder way to say what you need to say. Or if you can’t, skip it. There is often no use in saying anything if you can’t say something nice.

 

 

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Storm Front by Susan May Warren

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
Description
A tornado has destroyed a small Minnesota community and among the missing are not only a group of students but PEAK Rescue team leader Chet King. Ty Remington will stop at nothing to rescue his mentor, not even when the girl he loved–and lost–walks back into his life. But Brette needs his help more than he knows, despite her stubborn determination to push him away. And when he gets a second chance, loving her just might cost him more than he can imagine.

A blogger for Vortex Storm Chasers, Brette Arnold didn’t expect her adventures to land her in the same place as Ty, the guy who she walked–no, ran–from over a year ago. She had her reasons–good ones. The kind that tell her that falling for him again would only lead to heartache. But Ty isn’t the kind of man to give up–not on the missing students, or on her.

Life and love hang in the balance in Susan May Warren’s breathless story of holding on to hope during a deadly summer of storms.

 

My Review:

What could be more fun? Mention of Montana? Echo Lake Cafe? Or following storm chasers in the book. Susan May Warren sure had my heart pounding a few times in this book, from feeling the bookshelves crashing in on them with flying glass and other heart pounding events.

I think my favorite part of this book was the non-typical romantic storyline. Yeah, sure, it was boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. But there are complications. That was typical. But I loved how the author took a story and put in the complications of real life pain into this book from cancer, abandonment, grief, PTSD, and other issues that the real living heroes of our everyday life face. You could totally relate to them as they faced their human weakness, and saved lives or tramped after tornados in Minnesota.

I obtained this book through NetGalley and from the publisher. The opinions contained herein are my own.

This book released today and is available for purchase from Amazon or your local booksellers. I would recommend you read the others in the series before reading this one, if you like to read things in a row.

“Storm Front”

 

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The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Book Description

What if You Woke up One Morning and the Darkest Parts of Yourself Were Gone?

Toren Daniels vanished eight months back, and his wife and kids have moved on—with more than a little relief. Toren was a good man but carried a raging temper that often exploded without warning. So when he shows up on their doorstep out of the blue, they’re shocked to see him alive. But more shocked to see he’s changed. Radically.

His anger is gone. He’s oddly patient. Kind. Fun. The man he always wanted to be. Toren has no clue where he’s been but knows he’s been utterly transformed. He focuses on three things: Finding out where he’s been. Finding out how it happened. And winning back his family.

But then shards of his old self start to rise from deep inside—like the man kicked out of the NFL for his fury—and Toren must face the supreme battle of his life.

In this fresh take on the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, James L. Rubart explores the war between the good and evil within each of us—and one man’s only chance to overcome the greatest divide of the soul.

My Review:

I never quite know what to expect when I pick up a book by James L. Rubart. This one really had me stopping, setting the book down and thinking before I could pick it up again.
There is never a book that touches everyone. For me, this genre is not my normal genre. I love women’s fiction and historical. This is nowhere near either of those genres. For me, this story is a tale of a man that allowed the evil to control him, the evil that is within many, and it nearly destroyed his life and his family. It is the story of the journey that he takes to conquer it, which when done in your own strength is impossible.
I was deeply touched at certain parts of the book. Some of the thoughts were so deep, it made me have to wrap my mind around it.

I will say while this book is not about domestic abuse or child abuse, it touches on both of those. There are a couple of descriptive scenes that if you have been there, will either endear you to the characters, or will cause a trigger to arise depending on where you are in your healing. For me, it was healing.

If you read this book with the mindset that you are just going to read a nice story, you may not get the meaning of this one. It is much more than that. But if you are reading this book to see what true love and repentance can look like, this one does share that.
Very unique story, that I highly recommend.

I obtained this book from the publisher and BookLookBloggers. The opinions contained herein are my own.

This book is available for purchase from your local booksellers, (hopefully) and Amazon as well as many other places. I highly encourage you to purchase a copy for yourself. It will be a  journey that you will want to go on.

“The Man He Never Was”  (Plus, it is only $1.99 right now on Kindle)

 

 I review for BookLook Bloggers

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No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Description

My Review:
In the times we live in, this book struck a nerve that I think everyone should feel deeply.  From racism to attachment issues with adoption, this book hits some strong points. I have come to expect not just hard topics, but a well written novel by Ms. Ganshert. I was not disappointed. This will be one that I would recommend as a book club read, book group or anything like that, as you will want to talk about it with someone.
You won’t want to miss this book. You know how you can’t stop thinking about a book after you read it? This is one of those.
I obtained this book through NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions contained herein are my own.
You can purchase this book from your local bookseller or it is available to order through Amazon.  No One Ever Asked 

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Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

 

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Description

My Review:
The first book in this series (and these are not stand alone books), was not about the traditional orphan trains as much as I thought it would be. This one was more traditional.  I enjoyed the storyline, and following up on Marianne’s story a bit more, getting to know her, as it were.
Ms. Hedlund is talented at pulling out pieces of history that actually happened, real life stories, both the sad and the good. This book was no exception.
It addresses something that many of us face, the ability to blame ourselves for things that we are not responsible for. It often seems easier to blame us as we believe it of ourselves.
This story could be used to demonstrate lessons, but also if you were studying history, a way to learn about some of the orphan trains and their history.
I obtained this book from NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions contained herein are my own.
This book is available for pre-order and ships May 1st. You can find it from your local book sellers and here on Amazon. Together Forever

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The Rules of Communication

“No More Quiet”

A bumper sticker that our local library gives out, loudly proclaimed the message of change, but the carefully penned words underneath gave voice to the way some of the users felt about it.

“Talking is okay. But no cell phones.”

Who makes the rules?

It seems everywhere I look, read, turn, I hear a rule about what you should say, shouldn’t say, how you should visit, how you should talk, and so on. I was struck by the above statement as when I was a young mom, sometimes the only quiet time I got was at the library.

I would take my children and they were occupied by the activities, the computer, new books, and toys and I got a moment to sit and read for a minute. The way the library is set up now, it is conducive to visiting, children playing, reading, learning and all that combined.

As I read the message about cell phones, I have noticed that people have a lot of anger about what they believe to be out of place or wrong. I encouraged someone recently, whose life was jam packed with impossible expectations, to take 5 minutes in the car and call someone. She needed it to regain some focus. But when you were the car passing her in the turn lane, and saw she was on her phone, anger could strike you. “Why is she on her phone? She didn’t speed through that light with the speed that I think she should have. I am now 10 seconds later than I would have been otherwise.”

No, we don’t really say all that, but we might think it. What if we instead looked at the young mother on the phone in the library, while her kids playing and realized that might be the first minute she had to talk to her mom all week. Maybe we can see the person in the car and realize that this is the first time her grandmother had heard her voice in several months. It could be that it was a phone call from the doctors office, letting her know that her tests had come back with questionable results.  Perhaps that student you called out in public, was answering a phone call from her mother that she had to take or checking the text to see that her grandma died.

Cell phones, social media, computers, technology are all a part of our lives now. When we react to others that use them with anger and frustration, we become part of the problem. We set rules that are impossible to follow.

I would ask. Do you think before you react?  Do we stop to listen to the conversation to see what it is about? It may not sound important to you, but who are you to say that you are more important than the phone call?

I recently had a text letting me know of a death from someone I knew. I was in a public place, in a bible study. I knew I had to answer it. I could not ignore it, yet it would be rude to withdraw from the group. It took me 10 seconds to send condolences and comfort. I did not explain to the group, but it is hard to not wonder if someone wonders why.

My job ends up putting me in the path where I am a bit tied to my phone and social media. I hate it sometimes. But I have learned to have mercy on those on the phone in their cars, in public places and lend a little love when they are distracted.

So, as I seek to find grace, I also seek to not make more rules of communication for others.

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Where The Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

 

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the Book:

Stunning Yosemite National Park sets the stage for this late 1920s historical romance with mystery, adventure, heart, and a sense of the place John Muir described as “pervaded with divine light.”

Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford fashioned her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty.

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the choice of becoming a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

My Review:

A book that details some intriguing secrets of the characters hidden within, while investigating another national park of the US in a story set in the late twenties completely intrigued me. I know that it will hold all it promises! The author drew me in from the first chapter.

The history of the parks, along with a story of new beginnings had me reading far into the night.

This book was obtained through Blogging for Books. The opinions contained herein were my own.

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The Heart’s Appeal by Jennifer Delamere

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Description

My Review:
I really enjoyed the first book in this series and the second was no less enjoyable. Each book is about one of the set of sisters, so I would recommend they be read in order. I enjoyed the historical aspect of this novel. It showed the darker side of London, without being overly graphic, but just enough to give you a taste.
Another fascinating aspect of this book, was to show how the wealthy were often forced into marriages they did not desire as well, even men. The medical side of things was interesting, including the delivery of a baby which was also done fairly well. If you enjoy seeing some more unique history from this time period, I would recommend it. It would be appropriate for teens as well as adults, in my opinion.
I obtained this book from the publisher and Netgalley. The opinions contained herein are my own.
This book is available for purchase from local booksellers and on Amazon.

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