Monthly Archives: March 2016

Sister Dear by Laura McNeil


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the Book:

All Allie Marshall wants is a fresh start. But when dark secrets refuse to stay buried, will her chance at a new life be shattered forever?

Convicted of a crime she didn t commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish time that can never be recovered. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name, rebuild her life, and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows.

As her commitment to finding the truth intensifies, what Allie ultimately uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret one that holds the key to Allie s freedom.”

My Review:

I have not had many reads that I feel like I don’t want to put down this year so far. But, this book surprised me.
This was a book with three main characters, and four different points of view. But instead of feeling choppy or broken, you felt engaged and drawn in by each one. As you read, trying to discover the “bad guy”, my heart started racing with anticipation.
It drew you into the story, living out what each character felt, saw, thought and did. You suspect, but don’t confirm who did what. Also, unlike complaints about Ms. McNeil’s previous book, this book did not contain any words that people would find offensive.

In the end, forgiveness is the key part of the story. Throughout the story, the story of forgiveness when falsely accused and mistreated by others is spoken again and again. I really enjoyed this story!

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Pulling towards the end..

We are pulling towards the end of the school year and I do not want this blog to only be book reviews.

I have done a rotten job of being on the computer and being production at all with my blog. Or I can say that I am spending so much time on other things, my snippets of time on the computer are too short to blog appropriately.


There is a whole bunch of my last couple weeks smashed together in pictures.

We do school with a lot of other people, as you can see. Homeschooling is totally a life dedicated to isolation. We spend all our days locked in our homes, with our noses in books and never see another human soul. =)

Hope your school days are going as well as ours!

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter



Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

She only remembers loving him. But he can’t forget the way she left.

Following a concussion, Lucy Lovett can’t remember the last seven months of her life. She doesn’t remember leaving her fiancé Zac Callahan weeks before their wedding or moving to Portland, Maine. And she sure doesn’t remember getting engaged to another man. All she remembers is loving Zac more than life itself.

It’s taken Zac months to move on after Lucy left him with no explanation. He’s thrown himself into his family’s farm and his restaurant business in Summer Harbor. Now Lucy’s back, vulnerable, homeless, and still in love with him. She needs his help putting the pieces together, but letting her back into his life is a risk—and the stakes are high. If he follows his heart he’ll win back the love of his life. But if her memory returns he’ll lose her all over again.

My Review:

I am a fan of Denise Hunter’s books, and like her others, this one was enjoyable. There were several avenues that I thought the storyline could have gone, and since it was an unusual storyline, I was a little surprised at the direction it did go.

It was more a 3.5 star for me, but I didn’t really have that option to choose here. It may have been my mood at the time, but I just wanted a few more things resolved. I really liked that counseling was mentioned and encouraged, without putting the person down.
I really thought the whole dealing with her past was handled really well, and I found that like with her other books, this was not just a romance, but a book that dealt with the hard things without being a downer.

I love this author’s books and will be always looking for more.

You can find this book for purchase here. “Goodbye Bride” for only $7.39 in paperback right now.


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Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette



A Story of Love, Desperation, and Hope During a Great Biblical Epoch

Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.

To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

My Review:

Another lovely beautiful fiction read from today. This one is told through the eyes of an Egyptian slave,  to whom a Hebrew girl befriends.

I throughly enjoyed this story although the hero of the story was a bit irritating to me. Kiya was flawed and throughly human as was her hero, which made the story all that more appealing. You could imagine it happening as they experienced the plagues, the escape, the uncertainty and lack of faith in an unseen, all knowing God.

The author, in this debut novel, really brings you into Egypt and helps you to experience what life would have been for all those in the situation. I look forward to reading more by this author.

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

This book releases April 5th and is available for preorder. Counted with the Stars 

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Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar



Before Christ called her daughter . . .

Before she stole healing by touching the hem of his garment . . .

Elianna is a young girl crushed by guilt. After her only brother is killed while in her care, Elianna tries to earn forgiveness by working for her father’s textile trade and caring for her family. When another tragedy places Elianna in sole charge of the business, her talent for design brings enormous success, but never the absolution she longs for. As her world unravels, she breaks off her betrothal to the only man she will ever love. Then illness strikes, isolating Elianna from everyone, stripping everything she has left.

No physician can cure her. No end is in sight. Until she hears whispers of a man whose mere touch can heal. After so many years of suffering and disappointment, is it possible that one man could redeem the wounds of body . . . and soul?


My Review:

A beautiful tale of biblical fiction about a woman mentioned in one story of the bible. The woman that Jesus called daughter and healed of a very personal malady.

If the lovely cover does not draw you in, the story will. While the story does contain some harsh elements of the time period, including assault, death, and other issues, it is not a depressing story. This is for sure a more adult level read or for mature teens.

I really liked the small tidbits thrown in about weaving, dyeing cloth and the young Lydia that visits in the story. I also really found that the author wove the love and graciousness that the menfolk in the book had, despite the few harsh men characters. Since the authors background is what it is, I loved that especially.

This book was given for me for review by NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

It is available for preorder to be release May 1st. Land of Silence


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Stars over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

In this new novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life, two women working in Hollywood during its Golden Age discover the joy and heartbreak of true friendship.

Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie…

Los Angeles, 1938. Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide. What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.

My Review:

This book is mostly historical, set in the 1930’s, for the most part. I enjoy Ms. Meissner’s way of seamlessly going back and forth between era’s, but was struck how this one really kept you in the past. I liked it.

The film making history was fascinating! It reminded me of the tales my great-grandfather would tell me, as we sat sipping root beer floats and critiquing movies. We were some of the sternest critics, and yet, loved the banter.

I never watched Gone with the Wind, since like mentioned in this book, some readers had an issue with the ending. I was one of those readers and refused to put myself through the movie after that. However, I think that I was tempted after reading this lovely book.

This would be a wonderful book club read. The discussion would include topics such as adoption, film making, infertility, and whether or not there is ever a good time to tell a lie.

NetGalley and the published provided me with an eCopy of this book. The opinions contained herein are my own.

You can purchase a copy for yourself here. “Stars over Sunset….” 

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Faith by Lyn Cote

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the Book:

The Civil War battlefield is the last place Quakeress Faith Cathwell thought she’d find herself. But with a gift for nursing, Faith seizes this opportunity to join the fight for abolition–and to search for Shiloh, a freeborn childhood friend who was kidnapped and sold south by unscrupulous slave catchers.Knowing it’s much too dangerous for her to search enemy territory alone, Faith enlists the help of Colonel Devlin Knight, who is indebted to her for saving his cousin’s life. A career soldier, Dev is committed to the preservation of the Union but conflicted about freeing his own slave and confidant, who plans to enlist as soon as Dev gives him manumission papers.Blazing a trail east with the rest of Grant’s army, Dev and Faith fight their personal battles–and a growing attraction to each other. When beliefs clash and passions flare, they quickly find that the only thing more dangerous than the war surrounding them is the battle within their hearts.

My Review:

Often times books that are about the Civil War, tend to be a bit more on the gory side. This one does not have the depth in it of historical detail, but it is a sweet, heartfelt story.

It clearly shows the many conflicts that occurred on both sides of the battlefront. The love of friendship that many had across racial lines and the lack of understanding for that.

I felt that while this book lacked the depth that I have come to love from authors like Jocelyn Green or Lynn Austin, it was such a sweet story for other readers. It would be a unique story for teens. The romance is very, very light and more according to the harsh times they were in. It does speak of a cruel doctor, but doesn’t go into detail on anything much that he did.

This book was given to be for review by the publisher. The opinions contained herein are my own.

To purchase a copy go here.. Faith by Lyn Cote

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Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the book:

Trying to escape the shambles her con-man father has made of their reputation, Lucinda Curtis arrives in West Point, New York, determined to land a husband from the military academy. Campbell Conklin is first in his class and preparing to embark upon a storied career in the U.S. Army. Lucinda thinks Campbell will make the perfect husband . . . as long as he does not find out about her father.

Seth Westcott also has taken a liking to Lucinda. He’s kind, smart . . . and working extremely hard to graduate last. Tradition states that the worst cadets are assigned to the cavalry out west. And west is where Seth must head to track the swindler who stole all of Seth’s mother’s money. Seth is smart enough to vie for the top spot, but life isn’t fair and this is his chance to catch the man who ruined his family. It’s too bad Campbell is all shine and no substance, but Lucinda will surely see through all of that, won’t she?

My Review:

I had the chance to read a book by one of my favorite authors recently! It was very enjoyable.

I spent the first part of this book slightly confused at what the motivation was driving each of the main characters. But as I reached the middle, it is solidified in my mind. While jumping back and forth between two points of view, this story is told in first person. It seems to be your normal story about a poor orphan, unloving family, romantic hero, but then you see a twist, and then another twist and yet another…

Each twist makes you want to read more, to figure out what on earth is going to happen next. You have your opinions about what each character should or should not do and when you are done, you sigh in relief or tear out your hair when they did not take it.

Siri Mitchell has done it once again. She has taken a historical story and setting, brought us to it, and yet taught us about the stories behind the stories.  Life circumstances put them in the story, and yet we had to see how their choices they made impacted their life at the moment.

I throughly enjoyed this story, even though it does have a slower flavor to it. It gives you the insiders view of West Point. One of the things that I thought was fascinating was Siri’s author notes in the back of the book on Lucinda’s father. It really hit me just right and left me mulling for several days.

While there is a mild mention of unsavory lifestyles or characters, this book would be good for high school young women or men to read. It does have some mild romance, but nothing detailed at all.

To purchase a copy for yourself to read, (which I recommend that you do), you can visit here to purchase. “Flirtation Walk” by Siri Mitchell 


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The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste McHale

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko 


About the book:

When all else fails, turn to the divine taste of hummingbird cake.

In the South you always say “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” You know everybody’s business. Football is a lifestyle not a pastime. Food—especially dessert— is almost a religious experience. And you protect your friends as fiercely as you protect your family— even if the threat is something you cannot see.

In this spot-on Southern novel brimming with wit and authenticity, you’ll laugh alongside lifelong friends, navigate the sometimes rocky path of marriage, and roll through the outrageous curveballs that life sometimes throws . . . from devastating pain to absolute joy. And if you’re lucky, you just may discover the secret to hummingbird cake along the way.

My Review:

The cover, title and description caught my attention when I saw this book on a list to read one day. I had put it on my “To Be Read” pile and pushed it to the top when I actually read that it was a little more gritty than I first had believed.

I loved the fact that the bookmark that came with the book had a recipe for the cake on it. I am really going to have to make it!

The topics in this fiction book were for sure about the bond of friendship overall. But in the meanwhile, they deal with hard topics such as adultery, cancer, marriage issues, among others.

I really wanted to really like this book, but while I am not a prude about language, I would prefer some words to never find a place in Christian fiction. Sadly, this book contained a couple of “A” words, “D” word, and a few other things that were more character issues that I struggled with seeing as normal in a Christian fiction book such as excessive drinking.

I really enjoyed the story, and found it much different than I expected. I was looking for more of a “Chick Lit” book, but instead found a book that dealt with love and friendship in hard things. I really enjoyed the friendship between the girls in the story.

I would not really recommend this book to anyone other than adults because of the topics addressed, and if they are expecting the language and are okay with that. The cover is absolutely gorgeous!


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The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the Book: 

In the pre-Katrina glow of New Orleans, Amanda Salassi is anxious about chaperoning her daughter’s sixth grade field trip to the Big Easy during Halloween. And then her worst fears come true. Her daughter’s best friend, Sarah, disappears amid the magic and revelry—gone, without a trace.

Unable to cope with her guilt, Amanda’s daughter sinks in depression. And Amanda’s husband turns destructive as he watches his family succumb to grief. Before long, Amanda’s whole world has collapsed.

Set amidst the murky parishes of rural Louisiana and told through the eyes of two women who confront the darkest corners of humanity with quiet and unbreakable faith, The Feathered Bone is Julie Cantrell’s master portrait of love in a fallen world.

My Review:

I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book. However, I was not expecting to feel like my life had changed. There are not many books I say that about.

I know this book may not touch others as it did me, but I am hoping that will speak the message of hope in dark circumstances to everyone that reads it.

This book covers some really hard topics, such was depression, domestic violence, suicide, kidnapping, trafficking, and divorce. But the key element in this book was it was not a depressing book. Every page was infused with the hope that we all have if we follow the Lord.

Julie paints a picture using words to imprint on souls for eternity. When I was reading the final pages of the book, tears filled my eyes, but not with sadness. It was joy over the characters life changing experiences. None of them had it easy! I recognized the similarities between one of the characters stories to Elizabeth Smart. I read her autobiography and felt that healing joy despite the evil inflicted upon her when I read it. It was the same with this story.

Since it does deal with some hard topics, this book would be more suited for teens that are mature and their parents to read together and discuss. I think it deals with issues that even conservative teens need to read about though, so I actually do recommend that teens read, but discuss with parents after reading it. It would be an excellent book club read.

You can purchase a copy here on Amazon. “The Feathered Bone” By Julie Cantrell 

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