Category Archives: Book Reviews

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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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical fiction

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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Before I Saw You by Amy Sorrells

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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About the book:

Folks are dying fast as the ash trees in the southern Indiana town ravaged by the heroin epidemic, where Jaycee Givens lives with nothing more than a thread of hope and a quirky neighbor, Sudie, who rescues injured wildlife. After a tragedy leaves her mother in prison, Jaycee is carrying grief and an unplanned pregnancy she conceals because she trusts no one, including the kind and handsome Gabe, who is new to town and to the local diner where she works.

Dividing her time between the diner and Sudie’s place, Jaycee nurses her broken heart among a collection of unlikely friends who are the closest thing to family that she has.  Ultimately, Jaycee must decide whether the truest form of love means hanging on or letting go.

My Review:

Adoption is a topic that is very close to me. My grandmother was adopted. She was loved by two mothers, the one that gave birth to her, loved her and cared for her until she was six weeks, while keeping it a secret from everyone. The second one was the mother that adopted her, an amazing mother whom had nothing, but love for her daughter, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. She was incredible. Always laughing, and giving something of herself to others.

When I read this story of Jaycee, I knew that the story was very different than that of my grandmother. But her mother that gave birth to her was similar in that she felt she had no choice. In that time, you didn’t keep a child when you were not married.

This story touched me as you felt the love of a birth mother for her child. The sacrifice she gave to give a child life. Often that is neglected in the story of adoption to show the incredible love that is there.

I wish that we were more supportive of mothers, so they do feel they have options, like Jaycee, that if they want to parent or release their child to be parented by another set of parents, we would see there is love in both actions.

I would recommend this book to anyone that has adoption as a part of their life, to see a glimpse inside the world of a mother that chose adoption, but not only them, almost anyone that would want their heart to be touched to glimpse into how we can love, self sacrificially in so many ways.

This book was obtained by me from the publisher, Tyndale House. The opinions contained herein are my own.

You can purchase your own copy in your local bookstore, or online.

“Before I Saw You”

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Becoming The Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Book Description

Twin sisters Waverly and Charlie Talbot have drifted far apart as they pursue opposite dreams of stardom and service to the poor. On an astonishing journey across Central Europe, they must come together to face their fears, find their courage and fight for what they love.

Celebrity chef Waverly Ross has built a successful career with her home-entertaining show Simply Perfect. Yet she and her husband, Andrew, have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly’s heart: to become a mother. Meanwhile Waverly’s twin sister, Charlie Talbot, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worked in Budapest, Hungary.

When the beloved aunt who raised them passes away, Waverly and Charlie come together in their grief after living years on separate continents. Struck by a fierce desire to bridge the distance between them, Charlie offers Waverly and her husband the selfless gift of surrogacy.

But soon the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, seemingly putting their dreams on hold once again. When Waverly shows up unannounced in Budapest with a plan to rescue Simply Perfect, the sisters embark on an adventure across Central Europe that could save them both from occupational hazards. Though the twins haven’t had to rely on each other since childhood, an unforeseen dangerous turn in their journey across Europe forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.

My Review:

I was not sure what to expect when I picked up this book. I had heard good things about it and was looking forward to it. It went in so many different directions than I thought it would. I throughly enjoyed this story.

This book would be classified as women’s fiction without a focus on romance, while there are hints of it, it is more about the relationship and life issues the characters faced. The story was beautifully interwoven with hard life stories, with the HGTV cooking show feel in the middle of it.

One of my favorite scenes was a labor scene. I thought the beautiful descriptions without being dramatic, gross or anything offensive in the labor scene was one of the highlights of the book. It takes talent to do that.

I would highly recommend you pick up this story, especially if you are looking for something with some good discussion and will make you think.

This book is available for purchase from your local booksellers and Amazon.

“Becoming The Talbot Sisters”

This book was obtained from BookLook bloggers. The opinions contained herein are my own.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

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Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Book Description

After Brady Collins’ ex-wife dies, he receives devastating news—his nine-month-old son Sam isn’t his son at all. And Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents want custody of the child. Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.

Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiance.

Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and after a happy accident she’s finally offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.

As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find.

My Review:

This modern tale of a marriage of convenience between two friends was just bordering on cheesy, with a touch of reality.  I found myself drawn into the story very quickly, with very little effort and enjoyed it. I didn’t find it completely realistic, although there were parts that were amazingly so.

I did overall love the father’s love for a child that was shown throughout, that goes beyond blood. It was a fun, easy read, great for summer and on the beach!

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

 I review for BookLook Bloggers

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The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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The Bashful Bride by Vanessa Riley

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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My Review:

The books in this series are stand alone, but I found that I believe more enjoyable when read in order. Vanessa Riley brings to life a time period and culture from a time period that is rarely written about. She does so in this beautiful tale of love, where people are willing to do anything for another person’s care and devotion.

However, there are also forced marriages, evil uncles, and controlling parents to add to the mix, along with racial prejudices. This novel is both entertaining and educational, all wrapped in a well written package. Check this one out!

“The Bashful Bride” is available on Amazon.

This was obtained through Netgalley. The opinions contained herein are my own.

 

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A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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My Review:
So, if the cover and the beautiful hair adornments on the front of this book were not enough to get you to pick it up, you have to pick it up for the history. I never knew plumbing, and the chemistry of the purification of water could be so interesting. I mean, forget history books, put a few more of these on the shelves and  history is fascinating.
Was there a storyline besides that? Oh, of course. What is  a book without a storyline? Well, a textbook, but this was no textbook. I found myself wanting to pull out and study them though. I cannot wait for the next book in this series when I was done, but this story throughly wraps up the details in the end. It is not one that you are upset that you have a year to wait, but you are wanting more of the story and the characters.
I am not sure that I have seen a narcissistic character so well portrayed as in this book. She had nice moments, but in the end, she seeks to make her own way by hurting others to make herself better. Secondary character, one you will recognize from the first book, but a memorable one.
Life lessons learned from this book? 
  • -Thankfulness that so far, chlorine has not been proven deadly when used in small amounts to purify water.
  • Deceit never pays off. Not in books, nor in real life. If you think you are stuck in a jam and can’t tell anyone, likely that is when you should tell someone.
  • Don’t try to understand a narcissistic person. They will end up just hurting you more in the end, no matter your good intentions.
  • Cholera was awful. I am so thankful we don’t have that anymore.
I highly recommend this series. It is the second book in the series, but they could be read as a stand alone, I would recommend you read the first book before this one, as I feel you will enjoy it more and know the characters better.
This series would be excellent to make a whole high school unit study from as well.
This book was just recently released, but is available at your local booksellers (hopefully) and Amazon.
I obtained this book from the publisher and NetGalley. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical fiction