Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


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

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko



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 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund



Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


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

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Romance, Homeschooling

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Daily Happenings, Uncategorized

Where The Fire Falls by Karen Barnett



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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

The Heart’s Appeal by Jennifer Delamere


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical fiction

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko



I can’t wait for her next book and this one is not even quite released yet. I obtained this book from NetGalley and the opinions contained herein are my own. I am purchasing a copy of my own.

You can preorder this book from Amazon or get from your local book seller and I would highly encourage you to.

Where Hope Begins 


Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

The visible invisible person…

What am I talking about?

I know, it sounds crazy. A person that is completely visible, yet invisible at the same time.

Who is the person that you first think of when you need help?

Who do you turn to when you know that something has to be done?

When information is needed or things need to be gathered, there is always that person you think of.

What about when you have something personal to celebrate in your life.

Are they that person you think of? You know you can count on them for everyday needs, but when you celebrate, are they the one you invite or do you find they are not the one you usually think of?

Invisibility is a gift at times. It can be a relief for someone that get overwhelmed by too much social interaction. But at times, it is hard when you are the person everyone needs, but no one wants.

How can we change this? How can help those that are visible in our daily life, less invisible in our social life?

It is possible to be visible to all, yet lonely and invisible in so many other ways.

I was thinking about connection one day, trying to bring up ways to connect with others, who to befriend. I realized that often connection requires giving of yourself. It requires the invisible person to become more visible. Vulnerable. It is hard on both ends to connect. For those on the outside, they may think, “Oh, that person is so busy. They may not want to come to my birthday party, baby shower, tea or get together. I won’t put that on them.”  The visible/invisible may think, “I am glad I was not invited, as it would be another thing on my list, and besides, I would likely not be someone that would add to the day anyhow.”

I think there has to be a balance from both sides. The visible/invisible has to allow themselves to move past the surface at times. I don’t just mean fun mom stories, or stories of messes your children made. I mean sometimes opening up and addressing the depth of the life you try to keep inside at times. Of course, that has to be done in a safe way, but opening up even a little can be scary.

Think of someone in your life, that you may not know that well that opened up a bit to you. Then think of them and how have you been able to be a friend to them?

I don’t mean a FB friend. I have many FB friends, that honestly barely know what my real life looks. But I am thankful for them, it just looks different than friendship. This doesn’t mean you need to have 567 friends. It is impossible to connect on a deep level with anyone that much. But maybe choose a few people and step out of your comfort zone a little with them. It might mean getting together for coffee, doing an activity you both enjoy together, or listening when they have had a hard day.

Think of that person you know you can turn to when times are hard for info or help. Do you know what they are going through right now? Maybe it might be time for you to take the time to listen and be there for them.  What is funny, is sometimes that is how we find the best friends, when we turn around and be a friend to them.

What is one thing you can do this week to be a friend to someone?

Please leave me a comment if you think of someone when you read this post, that is visible, yet invisible. You know them, but don’t really know them. Let me know how you are going to reach out this week and let them know they are visible to you.



Filed under Daily Happenings