Category Archives: Book Reviews

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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Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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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 

 

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A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the book:

Mercy McClain joined the school board to protect the children of Teaville, Kansas, from the bullying she experienced as a child. When the worst offender from her school days applies for a teaching position, she is dead set against it. Yet Aaron Firebrook claims to be a changed man. Can he earn Mercy’s trust–and her support for the challenges to come?

My Review:

I have to say that I have come to expect quality and a subject matter that other authors won’t touch in this author’s books. I was not disappointed. Bullying was only one topic that could have been considered highly emotionally driven in this story, but other topics that are touched on are sexual abuse, dealing with a handicap, theft, parental abuse, abuse of power, revenge, and other such topics.

All that, but this book is so well done that it is not as if you are reading a book that is going to leave you feeling dirty. Instead, you will feel that you found hope in this book. Each character that seeks redemption, finds it. Those that are determined to not see the wrongful bent of their ways, are clearly shown to be not healthy.

While some may feel some of the subject matter to be above teenage reading level, I would say that this is what our teens need to be reading. We need to be giving them literature that causes them to think about these matters. How would they handle it if a childhood bully came back into their lives? Would they seek revenge? Or would they struggle with trusting them?

I know that a childhood bully came back into my life as an adult. I struggled with it. He deeply apologized, and seems to be a changed man, a wonderful father and raising his children to not be like he was. It was hard for me, and I felt that I could relate to this story in so many ways.  I loved the stories of the orphan’s and my only complaint was that I wanted to see the in-between progress of some, like Jimmy in particular, a little more.

Great book series! I highly recommend it!

This book was obtained from the publisher. The opinion contained herein are my own.

You can purchase this book from local booksellers or on Amazon. A Chance at Forever

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Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt

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My Review:
This series on the Silent years is quite unique. This one in particular, I would say, is about a time period you rarely read of. It referred several times to the Maccabees, and quoted from it. While I loved many things about this book, I found it heart-wrenching as well. This is not really a book with romance in it, but more a book of the life of the wife of a warrior that loved his wife, but rarely saw her. It may have been my mood, but it was really hard to read about death after death.
However, the author really weaves a tale where you picture yourself there. I felt as though I was experiencing the battles, the pain the wife felt in seeing her husband leave and with every chapter, I learned something. If you love history of that time period, pick this one up. It will fascinate you.
This book was obtained through the publisher and NetGalley. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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Keturah by Lisa Bergren

 

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the Book:

In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father’s estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.
Although it flies against all the conventions, they’re determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, conventions are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined-and that’s just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this harsh and unfamiliar world.
Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.
To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

My Review:

This book is beautifully written, and really unique, which I enjoyed. It was a fresh look in a different setting that I have rarely read books in.
It also discussed slavery in that time period, as well as touched on the master’s that took advantage of slaves as well. I would have liked to see this topic addressed a bit more, but I understood because of the novel’s bent, they did not.

It was a little on the lighter side for a novel with heavy subject matter, if that makes sense. I loved the main character’s name and she was a woman you could admire as being weak and strong at the same time. She was terrified to her very bones, (or so I felt), but pushed through to be strong for her sisters and what had to be done.
There is romance in this book, and while it is a focus of the book, it doesn’t take over the book, if that makes sense. It does touch on some things like assault (briefly), and a mistress relationship in the novel, so just to be aware of that, if you were looking for younger teens. It is all handled very tastefully and without details.

I would recommend this book, if you were interested in learning more about that time period, the islands and sugar harvesting/money making of that time, as well as the plight women found themselves in often as orphans or widows.

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Enter to win a copy of Keturah. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced March 13 on the Litfuse blog!

I obtained this book from the publisher through Litfuse. The opinions contained herein are my own. http://litfusegroup.com/author/LBergren

You can purchase this novel at any local bookseller or online. Keturah by Lisa Bergren.

 

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The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron “Giveaway”

 

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the book:

A thirteenth century castle, Chateau de Doux Reves, has been forgotten for generations, left to ruin in a storybook forest nestled deep in France’s picturesque Loire Valley. It survived a sacking in the French Revolution, was brought back to life and fashioned into a storybook chateau in the Gilded Age, and was eventually felled and deserted after a disastrous fire in the 1930s.

Sparked by the discovery of a long forgotten family heirloom, Ellie embarks on a journey to French wine country to uncover the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty–the castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale–and unearth its secrets before they’re finally silenced by time.

Set in three different time periods–the French Revolution, World War II, and present day–The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged, and an enchanted castle that inspired the epic fairy tales time left behind.

My Review:

Wow. Just, I mean, wow. It is not often that I have read a book that is set in three different time periods and been able to follow it so well. This book is masterfully written and woven to connect the time periods, the characters and to be so engaged. I loved it. I found myself wanting more as I read, wishing for each one to have the desires of their hearts. Romance? Not really. While there is a faint romantic thread to the storyline, that is not the focus of this book at all. It is so much more the fight from each character to preserve history, a legacy and grant them a reason to keep going.

If you are a historical fiction lover, pick this book up. The author will have you hooked on her books with this one. Don’t usually read historical fiction? Well, give this one a try.

I ended up with an extra copy of this book, so if you would like to enter for it,  comment on this post and tell me your favorite historical fiction book, and leave a way for me to contact you.

This book was obtained through the publisher. The opinions found herein are my own.

You can buy this book from local booksellers, but also on Amazon. “The Lost Castle”

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A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the Book:

Vivienne Rivard fled revolutionary France and seeks a new life for herself and a boy in her care, who some say is the Dauphin. But America is far from safe, as militiaman Liam Delaney knows. He proudly served in the American Revolution but is less sure of his role in the Whiskey Rebellion. Drawn together, will Liam and Vivienne find the peace they long for?

My Review:

Influenza decided to foil my best laid plans, and too sick to even pick up a book, I had to languish thinking about this story for almost a week. It was not in vain. This book lived up to the build up that I had in my mind. Ready to enter the French revolution from the inside? Each portion of the story is intricately woven, much like the lace the character has made. Small mysteries keep cropping up, along with historical info that you never knew about the United States.

Jocelyn Green does her historical research, and you will not be disappointed with this one. Well known French words sprinkled throughout the novel make it feel authentic without making you wish you had a dictionary. This story is one of love, forgiveness, and renewal. It will have you see the revolution through eyes in a different way than ever before. Are you looking for a companion book to A Tale of Two Cities for your high school student? This one would be perfect.

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

The book is available for purchase from local booksellers and online.

“A Refuge Assured” 

I would highly recommend you put this one on the top of your “must purchase” list.

 

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If I Live by Terri Blackstock

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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My Review:
This book had hints that reminded me of one of my all time favorite books, Celia Garth. Only hints, but it was very good. Ms. Frantz delves deeply into the history of the time period, along with how a woman of means would have been helpless and be used as a pawn, even with a strong character and resolve.  It was not just easy to go and make a life on your own, and forced marriages were commonplace, especially among the wealthy as well as the poor.
I thought this book did a wonderful job of helping you live that. You felt her desperation, frustration and also resolve, as she set out to sacrifice what she could for those she loved.
I am looking forward to reading Jocelyn Green’s book as well, which was mentioned in the notes at the end of the book, that while not related, has some of the same notes of flavor.
A deeper historical novel, much like her others, I wouldn’t really classify this as a romance, although it has some romantic overtones and select scenes, there is nothing that would not be appropriate for a high school student.
This book is available where books are sold and on sale from Amazon right now on eBook for under $2.
I obtained this book from the publisher. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Description

My Review:
Cities of Refuge. It is not a topic in the bible that I have read much about, but the history surrounding it fascinated me. This is a new series by this author, but previous characters from other books came up very briefly. This is a completely new series though. I will say that I was really impressed once again by this author’s talent in her writing.
So, in my reading Tessa Ashfar, Mesu Andrews, this is another one to add to the pile of must haves, must reads. She brings you into the time period, makes you feel the people and live there among them. You will see, feel and taste with the characters as if you were experiencing it with them.
As a side note, I did look up Oleander and yes, it is very poisonous. I hope I never come in contact with it… I will leave that tidbit for you to ponder as you run out and pre-order this book.
This book was obtained through NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions contained herein are my own.
You can purchase it from your local bookseller or order from Amazon. It comes out Feb. 6th, 2018.

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