Category Archives: Book Reviews

Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Description:

Much has happened in idyllic Ivy Hill in recent months, and while several villagers have found new love and purpose, questions remain–and a few dearly held dreams have yet to be fulfilled.

Jane Bell is torn. Gabriel Locke is back and has made his intentions clear. But Jane is reluctant to give up her inn and destine another man to a childless marriage. Then someone she never expected to see again returns to Ivy Hill. . . .

Mercy Grove has lost her school and is resigned to life as a spinster, especially as the man she admires seems out of reach. Should she uproot herself from Ivy Cottage to become a governess for a former pupil? Her decision will change more lives than her own.

A secretive new dressmaker arrives in the village, but the ladies soon suspect she isn’t who she claims to be. Will they oust the imposter, or help rescue her from a dangerous predicament?

In the meantime, everyone expects Miss Brockwell to marry a titled gentleman, even though her heart is drawn to another. While the people of Ivy Hill anticipate one wedding, an unexpected bride may surprise them all.

Don’t miss this romantic, stirring conclusion to Tales from Ivy Hill.

My Review:

I totally enjoyed this final conclusion to the series by Ms. Klassen. It had, as the others, a feel of the Austen type era. The story had several characters, and if you were not careful, you were lost for a second and had to refresh where you were.
I found myself rooting for one family, and then another when a new character was introduced. It was one of those winter evening type books that you just want to savor.
If you enjoy a good story, fairly accurate seeming to the time period, you should pick up this whole series. It is quite enjoyable!

This book was recently released. I totally enjoyed it.

 

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The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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The Butterfly Bride by Vanessa Riley

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Frederica Burghley wants to be married by Yuletide. Or else her father will set her up with one of his friends. The bonbon-loving illegitimate daughter of the duke wants to choose her own husband. Advertising in the newspaper seems like the way to go. But a sinister response, with threats against her life, leads her to enlist the help of her very handsome, dear friend Jasper Fitzwilliam, Lord Hartwell.

A father and widower, Jasper is not only tasked with keeping Frederica safe but also with helping his vibrant friend choose a suitable husband. The more he tries to keep the ever-surprising woman alive and find her a good match, the more Jasper realizes he cares for her. The two friends risk their lives for each other, so they should be able to risk their feelings for a chance at a deep and true love together. But he’s not looking for marriage and she’s not looking for convenience.

My Review:

I loved it! I don’t know what all to say, but Vanessa Riley knows how to tell a story. I have to maybe say that I have a new favorite. I loved seeing some of the characters come in from previous books, and she even did a birth scene which I loved!
I totally wanted this book to never end.

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My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge by Pepper Basham

 

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the Book:

Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?

My Review:

I love this author’s books. I just have to say that right off the bat.
From her lighter ones to her heavier ones, each one makes me want to keep reading and buying more and more of her books.
This book is kind of a Christy feel with hints of humor intermixed. There are a few heavier topics such as alcoholism brought up, but overall, I would say this is a lighter read for one of her books.

When you go to look for a book with truth and good story, I would say pick this one up. It will warm your heart!
I wished it were a tad bit longer as I wanted a little more of their story, but I guess it can’t go on forever!

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

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Shelter of the Most High Connilyn Cossette

Reviewed Martha Artyomenko

 

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About the book:

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?

My Review:

A story set in ancient times, I found myself totally enthralled with it from the first few pages. I wanted to just keep reading, but I also didn’t want to finish because I was enjoying it so much.
I found the setting so intriguing, as well as the people, possibly ancestors from Sicily that found themselves intermarrying with the Hebrews.
This author does such a great job of weaving a tale, you will want to buy every book she writes as it comes out. I know that is my plan!

I obtained this book for review from the publisher. The opinions are my own.

You can purchase this book from any booksellers or Amazon.

Shelter of the Most High

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Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Book Description

Auschwitz Lullaby brings to life the story of Helene Hannemann—a woman who sacrificed everything for family and fought furiously for the children she hoped to save.

On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family—sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.

After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.

Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz—an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.

Based on a true story, Mario Escobar’s Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity—even when all hope seems lost.

My Review:

While this story breaks a lot of the rules of what a successful book must have, it truly is an incredible story based on truth, to give us insight into the experiences of people inside the camps. It is successful in its own right because of that!

I found it especially heart-wrenching as you see so clearly that the guards, doctors and others didn’t really believe they were doing anything wrong. In fact, they believed they were doing right. It reminded me of many of things I see in our society today, where people defend treating others with inhumane treatment simply because others agree with it.

While not really a book to read for a happily ever after story, it shows the bravery of those that went before us and teaches such valuable lessons. I would say even if you are one that likes to pretend bad things do not happen, this is such a valuable piece of history, while being an easier read than some placed in this time period, I would recommend it.

 I review for BookLook Bloggers

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The Dressmaker’s Secret by Kellyn Roth

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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

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Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanna Bischof

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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My Review:

I know that when I pick up a book by Joanne Bischof, to expect something different.
This one did surprise me a little still. I loved the fact that one of the main characters was deaf. I felt for him with his struggles through the book.
The food descriptions will make you crave the recipes and send up signals begging for biscuits, apple butter and berry pies. But overall, this book, like this authors others, don’t expect everything to be cut, dry and over the top romantic. The characters have pain, struggle in their relationships and have to seek to get through hard trials.
Romantic? Yes, I guess you could say there are romantic moments in the story, but it is not the main focus.
This book touches on some of the social injustices of the time period as well. It is well written and one that will leave you thinking!

This book is available on kindle, audio and in print from Amazon.

“Sons of Blackbird Mountain” 

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Giveaway! The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

 

Want a chance to win a copy of this book that just came out in July?

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Read the following interview to find out how!

Everyone has a story but not everyone has a story like Em. Before ever riding the orphan trains she endured life on the streets of New York. Hardened by a life of survival she expects little from her future and only dreams of reuniting with her sister. Life for women in 1881 is restrictive in many ways but to be a woman that is plain and uneducated is far worse. But Em has grit and heart, two ingredients that combined with kindness allow Em to blossom.

A gunshot wound is her ticket to freedom. Broken and grasping for life she enters the town of Azure Springs, Iowa where for the first time in many years she is greeted with friendliness and compassion. But a soul that has been beaten down for so long does not recover all at once. Her journey to happily ever after is marred with pain from the past, uncertainty and hardship.

We all have character strengths and though she believes her only strength is her ability to survive readers will discover that her strengths are many. Em touches the lives of the townsfolks at the same time they are reaching out to her. Their eccentricities excite and awake her to living and not just surviving. With their help the bedraggled Em learns to smile again.

For the first time the illiterate and unwanted Em begins to believe that there might be more for her. Books and letters free her mind. The kindness of the townsfolk awaken her dreams but can the tenderness of the sheriff free her heart?

Pick up a copy of The Hope of Azure Springs to join Em on her journey! Leave a comment answering the following question on this post to enter the drawing as well.

Has foster care or adoption impacted your life at all? If so, how?

Visit Rachel Fordham at Facebook.com/rachelfordhamfans
And at Rachelfordham.com

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The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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My Review:
This debut fiction story with the lovely cover was enjoyable. The author wove minor historical caveats to this story to give you a feel of some of the lives experienced by those that road the “orphan trains” as we refer to them now.
I found the hints of suspicion and dislike from the town towards someone that was an orphan or living in a way they could not understand so relatable. It seems that often we see this with foster parents, children that have possibly been abused or even with friends that have less than ideal lives. We reject them in the name of protection of others, while at the same time losing out on wonderful relationships.
This historical tale shows how sometimes loving when someone does not look or appear lovable, can be one of the best things for all involved.
This book was obtained from NetGalley through the publisher. The opinions expressed herein are my own and no one else.
The book is available for purchase from local booksellers and Amazon.
“The Hope of Azure Springs” It is also available on Audible, which is nice as well.

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