Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Eakes

25338095

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the Book:

Ashley Tolliver has tended to the women of her small Appalachian community for years. As their midwife, she has seen it all. Until a young woman gives birth to a baby at Ashley’s home and is abducted just as Ashley tries to take her to the nearest hospital. The new mother is dangerously bleeding and needs medical attention. Now Ashley is on a mission to find the woman and her newborn baby . . . before it’s too late.
Hunter McDermott is on a quest—to track down his birth mother. After receiving more media attention than he could ever want from a daring rescue of a young girl, he received a mysterious phone call from the middle of Virginia from a woman claiming to be his mother. He seeks out the aid of the local midwife—her family has assisted in the births of most babies for many generations; surely she can shed some light on his own family background.

My Review:

All the other books I had read by Ms. Eakes had been historical, so I was pleasantly surprised by a contemporary. I enjoy history, but there is something about a well written historical. When it is about midwives, birth and such, it is even better. This book portrays the life of a nurse midwife that works in a small Appalachian community. As such, she gives her viewpoint as such.

I enjoyed the storyline, with a mystery interwoven throughout, bringing us full circle from wealth to the backwoods. The real trials that face women that live those areas was painted in broad strokes.

It made me want to research some of the laws for midwifery in that area, and learn more about what is available there.

If you enjoy books on midwifery, birth or just a good story, pick this book up. It will be released Dec. 15th.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Politics of Grief

It is inevitable that when you are grieving that someone will point out that you are not doing it correctly.

I was struck with amazement at how once again, when attacks happened in Paris, a city where no one thinks of terror striking, when others expressed support, sadness or grief on social media, the comments flooded in on why they were doing it the wrong way.

Grief is very personal. One mother may grieve for her child by staying busy, focused on tasks at hand, while another sits listlessly in a chair sobbing. Another may seek to find the good in it, while another points out the horrible injustices in the world.

In the case of large scale deaths, often people seek comparison. “You do not have the right to be sad over the mere hundred people that died here because thousands died over here.”

The issue is grief is our own. One person may grieve in one way as a believer in God and as a Christian. Another may respond differently as someone that does not believe God exists. The critiques coming in from all groups of people have not helped anyone.

I understand the fear. Their is a fear that while bravado tries to cover it up, but when someone is murdered, killed or taken from us, we suddenly feel vulnerable. This causes us to respond with bravado, judgement, or fear based reactions.

I would ask, how does this help a grieving family? Does our boasting bring peace to the world?

“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Romans 12:15, KJV.

Instead of judging others for not grieving the people they should be grieving, or doing it the way we think they should, let’s instead see how every life is precious. Let us seek to heap coals of fire instead of using bullets.

“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” Romans 12:20, KJV.

Let us weep, mourn and wail with those that have been lost around the world and instead of biting and devouring one another with our words, use those words to comfort and stand together. We will all die someday. It is better to die in peace than in anger.

1 Comment

Filed under Daily Happenings

Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila

23834580

About the book:

“Start where you are. Feed yourself. Do your best, and then let go. Be helpful. Slow down. Don’t be afraid of food.”

Alana Chernila has these phrases taped to her fridge, and they are guiding principles helping her to stay present in her kitchen. They also provide the framework for her second book. In The Homemade Kitchen she exalts the beautiful imperfections of food made at home and extends the lessons of cooking through both the quotidian and extraordinary moments of the day. Alana sees cooking as an opportunity to live consciously, not just as a means to an end.

Written as much for the reader as the cook, The Homemade Kitchen covers a globe’s worth of flavors and includes new staples (what Alana is known for) such as chèvre, tofu, kefir, kimchi, preserved lemons, along with recipes and ideas for using them. Here, too, are dishes you’ll be inspired to try and that you will make again and again until they become your own family recipes, such as Broccoli Raab with Cheddar Polenta, a flavor-forward lunch for one; Roasted Red Pepper Corn Chowder, “late summer in a bowl”; Stuffed Winter Squash, rich with leeks, chorizo, apples, and grains; Braised Lamb Shanks that are tucked into the oven in the late afternoon and not touched again until dinner; Corn and Nectarine Salad showered with torn basil; perfect share-fare Sesame Noodles; Asparagus Carbonara, the easiest weeknight dinner ever; and sweet and savory treats such as Popovers, Cinnamon Swirl Bread, Summer Trifle made with homemade pound cake and whatever berries are ripest, and Rhubarb Snacking Cake.

My Review:

You know when a cookbook is like a beautiful story? This cookbook is one of those. You feel inspired to make real food when reading this book. It is not limited to the normal “real” or “whole” foods. There are easy sounding recipes for cheeses, goldfish crackers, animal crackers, desserts among the many main dishes, and breads. It is an amazing experience  for the palate and the eyes to read through this book. As I was reading, I kept thinking, “I want to buy one for this person, no, this person, oh, maybe that person as well.” There are so many people that will enjoy this book. It has amazing pictures throughout, stories of how she developed the recipes, as well as family stories. I loved this book!

This book was provided for me for review. The opinions contained herein are my own.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

25154582

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the book: 

The secret a mother was forbidden to share . . . the consequences a daughter could not redeem—but will risk everything in her attempt.

All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah unlocks secrets of her mother’s mysterious past, including the discovery of a grandfather living in Germany.

Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father, ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, demands a marriage for his daughter to help advance his career. But Lieselotte is in love—and her beloved Lukas secretly works against the Reich. How far will her father go to achieve his goal?

Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who hides wartime secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past, and how their legacy will shape her future.

My Review:

I had been looking forward to this read for awhile. When I was riding on the train, I was able to take the time to read this book. The skillfully written words are some that will go deep within your soul and make you think about different angles of the war.  It made me wonder how many hard mother/daughter relationships might be because of lack of communication, even today. Hannah believed her mother did not love her. Yet, her mother loved her so much, she had given up everything for her.

This book contains glimpses of inside Germany’s Reich, and some of the confused minds of the inhabitants of the country. However, because of a few of the deeds done by some of the evil men of that time, this book would be one that mature teens and adults should read. It is not graphic, but gives details that you would want to discuss with your teen.

I think it would be a good one for a book club or mother/daughter read together. The relationship between a mother and daughter can be so hard with lack of communication which this book shows so dramatically. It will also give you some inside looks at what happened after the war in Germany as well.

This book was provided for me for review. The opinions contained herein are my own.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Sea Keeper’s daughter by Lisa Wingate

cover64144-medium

About the book:

From modern-day Roanoke Island to the sweeping backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers, past and present intertwine to create an unexpected destiny.

Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at the Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a Depression-era love story change everything?

My Review:

My reading time has been limited, and since this was on my kindle, it took me awhile to get it read.
I found the historical bits and pieces fascinating and was loath to see the book end. I enjoyed the story of healing for the main character, her struggles were talked throughout. The secondary characters were really in the background and even though there was a mild romantic thread, it was really not the focus and could have even been ignored. This is the third book in a sort of series, but even though it refers to events that happened in other books, I believe you read them as stand alone. I really enjoyed this book as well as The Story Keeper. The wording is rich in both, and something you want to digest and mull over.

This book was given for review by NetGalley and Tyndale Publishers. The comments are my own.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz

cover64860-medium

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko 

Description:
There can be only one mistress of Tall Acre . . .

The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general’s past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

Triumph and tragedy, loyalty and betrayal–you will find it all in the rich pages of this newest novel from the talented pen of Laura Frantz.

My Review: 

Just when I didn’t think Laura Frantz could do it again, she meets my expectations in this novel. The unusual  storyline had me scratching my head a couple of times and wondering where she would take me next. I savored each moment of the book, loving the rich story line, set after the American Revolution. You have to pick this one up, especially if you have enjoyed her other books.

Book given to me by NetGalley and Bethany House for review. The opinions contained herein are my own.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Not By Sight by Kate Breslin

cover64613-small

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the book:

Gripping Sophomore Novel from a Rising Historical Romance Talent

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 Review:

The gorgeous cover on this book will stop you dead in your tracks to begin with. But besides that, Ms. Breslin fulfills some of the wishes in this book that she missed in her first book. Her first book became the subject of controversy earlier this year, and in this book, she totally avoids all that. Her style of writing is very good and I enjoyed the story. It had unique twists and turns, set in a time period of WW1, when not a lot of books are set now. The history is rich as well, and the characters are ones you care about.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“I’m Bored….” Boredom or laziness?

It is a common mantra that many mothers hear. My mother had eleven children and if they were ignorant enough to say it once to her, they generally never said it twice in her presence on purpose. This went for many of our friends as well.

IMG_0343

However, I have seen a common theme in homeschool parents lately. It is not just the children claiming to be bored, but the parents as well. Material is “boring”, the children are “bored” with it and they just didn’t find it exciting enough.

I am all for enjoying our schoolwork.

IMG_0353

But there comes a time when you just have to realize that we buckle down and do it. That next and newest curriculum? It won’t do a thing for you if you don’t do your work.

IMG_0921

Life is full of many things that can set us back. History can be super exciting, but sometimes that “boring” book can be the one you most enjoy because you persevered past the first chapter that you thought was horrible. A parents attitude really rubs off on the children. Most of all, when we are setting an example to them that whenever something is “boring”, we drop it and move on.

Is this what we want to teach as a character quality? The book is too mundane, so we leave it behind. The read aloud chosen was not exciting enough about bible translation, so we switched it up to read aloud about swords and knights? Did we lose out an opportunity to teach about perseverance?

It is almost everyday I am seeing another post about a mother claiming either she or her children found a particular book or subject boring. I would love to say, as my friend Tiffany said once “My mom says only boring people are bored.”

Life is what you make of it. Sometimes that means you get something you don’t like so much, but what you make of that will make you either a better person or a lazy one sometimes.

Let’s not as homeschool parents promote laziness. I know, I am guilty of it too.  But this was a challenge for me. Don’t skip the “boring stuff”. Learn to rejoice in the mundane tasks as well as the exciting ones.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized