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When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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About the book:

Tess Beaumont is tired of being thought of as just a pretty face. Eager to do her part for the war effort, she joins the Navy’s newly established WAVES program for women. Perhaps there she can convince people that there is more to her than meets the eye.

Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills in the fight against German U-boats and hoping to make admiral. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. Convinced that romance will interfere with his goals, Dan is determined to stay the course, no matter how intriguing a distraction Tess is.

But love, like war, is unpredictable. When Dan is shipped out at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he finds himself torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help the beguiling Tess root out a possible spy on shore. Could this fun-loving glamour girl really be the one?

 

My Review:

From the name change to hating her looks, Tess seemed like she had something to prove. Dan Avery has his own insecurities, yet for both of them they try to cover it up well.

This is one thing that I love about Sarah Sundin’s books. Her characters are strong, smart, often beautiful/handsome and the like, but they are flawed. They are like normal people, but we get to see what they fear the most. Then top it off with a good spy ring, this book has it all.

I really enjoyed learning more about the WAVES and what the USA did on this end against the German U Boats. I always think there is nothing new to learn about WW2 history and then I am surprised! If you like WW2 history, pick this one up!

 

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The Separatist’s by Lis Wiehl

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Book Description

From New York Times bestselling author Lis Wiehl comes the final book in her Newsmakers series. Journalist and newscaster Erica Sparks is only planning to report on an explosive story—until she gets caught in the middle of it.

After getting the green light from her network to launch an investigative news show, Erica flies to Bismarck, North Dakota, to investigate Take Back Our Homeland, the largest secessionist group. What she finds is profoundly disturbing – a growing threat to the future of our union.

Back home, her husband Greg is drinking more and talking less—and taking an unusual interest in the glamorous author Leslie Burke Wilson. Erica’s teenage daughter has also begun acting out in troubling ways.

Then she discovers a potential informant murdered in her Bismarck hotel. Take Back Our Homeland might be even more dangerous than she had thought—and she’s unwittingly become one of the key players in the story. Her fear and anxiety escalate – for her marriage, her daughter, and her own life.

Bestselling novelist and former legal analyst for Fox News Lis Wiehl takes us behind the anchor’s desk in this gripping look at high-stakes reporting in a country torn apart.

My review:

This fast paced suspense novel uses relevant political unrest that anyone can relate to in this day and age, especially living where I do. Erica tends to be a bit of a mess, learning lessons  at the end of each book, that she seems to forget at the beginning of the next one. I keep saying, “When is she going to learn?!!”

I have to say at the end of this one, I am hoping there will be at least one more book, where she does finally find some good balance between news and home, but as it is published as the final book, I can only hope for her lesson to stick this time.

This book is one of those that if you want to be absorbed in a story that may feel a bit realistic without reality, pick this one up!

This book was given to me for review by BookLook Bloggers. The opinions contained herein are my own.

 

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The Witnesses by Robert Witlow

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Book Description

Young lawyer Parker House is on the rise—until his grandfather’s mysterious past puts both of their lives in danger.

Parker House’s secret inheritance is either his greatest blessing . . . or his deadliest curse. The fresh-faced North Carolina attorney shares his German grandfather’s uncanny ability to see future events in his mind’s eye—a gift that has haunted 82-year-old Frank House through decades of trying to erase a murderous wartime past.

While Parker navigates the intrigue and politics of small-town courtroom law, Frank is forced to face his darkest regrets. Then, a big career break for Parker collides with a new love he longs to nurture and the nightmares his grandfather can no longer escape. Sudden peril threatens to shatter not only Parker’s legal prospects but also his life and the lives of those dearest to him.

Two witnesses, two paths, an uncertain future.

My Review:

There are times when a book hits you just right and there are times when it doesn’t. I have enjoyed Robert Whitlow’s books previously and thought this one sounded intriguing. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete this title and so my review is sadly lacking. I just kept setting it aside for other titles and it just was not something that grabbed me.

This author does an amazing job of detailing the courtroom, the law and giving you and insiders look at the suspense that can build up in that job. However, there is also a lot of other behind the scenes work that he gives you a wonderful glimpse of as well. Check out his books if you are a fan of legal mysteries.

This book was given to me for review by BooklookBloggers. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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About the book:

Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.

Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.

To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.

Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn’t even a servant.

Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England’s monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?

My Review:

Oh, the joy that always fills my heart at another Melanie Dickerson book to read. I am not the most versed person on Disney fairy tales, but I love these retellings in a way that only Melanie can do.

This story had me grinning throughout, hoping for the best, and wishing for the communication issues to end. The medieval feel to the story gives it a romantic feel, despite the reality of the time period. I enjoyed how she wove the reality of the hardship of the times into the story, realizing that it was so much work for the common people to work then.

My Christmas tradition of reading a new book by Melanie Dickerson has thrived and I am glad she has some that come out at other times of the year, but I may have to go back and re-read the others.

These books are enjoyable for adults, and teens. The romance is there, but nothing to uncomfortable with. This book hints at domestic violence in arranged marriages, but only hints, no detailed descriptions, but enough to know that it was common. I think sometimes we can think that would be easier or more romantic, and this dashes that theory on the rocks (or the stairs as it were).

You can purchase this book wherever books are sold, or online here. “The Silent Songbird”

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Newton and Polly by Jody Hedlund

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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About the book:

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found
Now remembered as the author of the world s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father until the night he hears Polly Catlett s enchanting voice, caroling. He s immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.
An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John s reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves?
Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe.”

My Review:

In the somewhat different style of Jody Hedlund, the famous story of John Newton and his conversion is told in a fascinating way.
I found the story uplifting and inspiring. even though it was familiar to me, it was told in such new way, it seemed like a new story. I found myself realizing the cultures and customs of the time, while different from ours, Polly’s father had many reasons to dislike John as a suitor, and Polly needed to have the wisdom to listen. Often we can see a story as “just a story”, but in this case, this book would be excellent for young women to read to see the “behind the scenes” of what we might think is “romantic”, but realize that in knowing the story of John Newton, why at times our parents may think otherwise.
If for nothing else, pick up this book and just stare at the cover. It is so pretty! I loved it!

 

This book was provided for review by “Blogging for Books”. The opinions contained herein are my own.

It is available for purchase wherever books are sold, but also on Amazon.

Polly and Newton 

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Child of the River by Irma Joubert

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko 

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About the book:
Persomi’s dreams are much bigger than the world of poverty and deprivation that surround her in the Bushveld of the 1940s and 1950s in South Africa.

Persomi is young, white and poor, born the middle child of illiterate sharecroppers on the prosperous Fourie farm. Persomi’s world is extraordinarily small. She has never been to the local village and spends her days absorbed in the rhythms of the natural world around her. Her older brother, Gerbrand, is her lifeline and her connection to the outside world. When he leaves the farm to seek work in Johannesburg, Persomi’s isolated world is blown wide open. But as her very small world falls apart, bigger dreams become open to her—dreams of an education, a profession, and of love. As Persomi navigates the changing world around her—the tragedies of WWII and the devastating racial strife of her homeland—she finally discovers who she truly is and where she belongs.

A compelling coming of age story with an unlikely and utterly memorable heroine, Persomi’s English language publication solidifies Irma Joubert’s important place in the canon of inspirational historical fiction.

My Review:

This book is written with the flavor of a book written in first person, but it you look, it is not first person. The culture and language of the story are unique in their style, but I was drawn into the story from the first pages.

There is heartbreak in these pages, intertwined with the determination of a young woman trapped in a system that could seek to destroy her. I really enjoyed the history in this story that encompasses many years.

It really is more historical fiction although it has relationship elements, it is not a romantic story at all, but more gritty without details, but told in a more subtle way about some of the harder parts of life.

I really enjoyed this book, even with the different style of writing. I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys historical fiction.

I received this book for review from NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

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Busy Days…

Life has been a bit busy and my internet on my computer has been spotty, which combined means I do not get to update my blog as much. I have tons of book reviews and pictures and activities to upload.

But I guess on the good side, it means we are living life, and I just have not had time to share it with my readers.

I will update soon!

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Love’s Faithful Promise by Susan Mason

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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About the book:

When her mother suffers a stroke, medical student Deirdre O’Leary makes the difficult choice to put her career on hold to care for her. Dr. Matthew Clayborne is renowned for his amazing results with patients, but when Deirdre approaches him about helping her mother, she finds him challenging and surly. Deirdre has had enough of complicated men in her life. After her fiancé left her, she vowed never to give a man that kind of power again.

Widower Dr. Matthew Clayborne is devoted to two things: his work with wounded soldiers and his four-year-old daughter, Phoebe. He won’t abandon either of these priorities to care for one older woman. However, when Phoebe suffers a health scare, they’re offered respite at the Irish Meadows farm, where his daughter’s weakened lungs can recover–but only if he cares for Mrs. O’Leary.

My Review:

I enjoyed this story, even though I had only partially read the previous books. You will enjoy it more if you have read the first two in the series.

This book discusses a lot of the issues that soldiers, medical personnel and women faced in the time period where they were encouraged to “pick themselves up by their bootstraps”, more than seek help.

The story was intriguing, although the father in the story was tough for me to figure out. Over all, great character development, but it bothered me a bit, some of the references to her figure and beauty, more than Deidre’s brains. It was in keeping with the time period, for sure, but it felt unenjoyable for me.

The horse training and secondary story in the book was one that really pulled me in! I loved Conner and Jo.

You can find this book for purchase here as well as the rest of the series.

Irish Meadows

A Worthy Heart 

Love’s Faithful Promise 

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Budget food shopping-1970’s

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I like older cookbooks, they are fun to look at and read. 1970 was not that long ago, yet I am surprised at home much our foods we eat have changed. I often wonder  if so many people’s issues with food allergies and other issues which seem to be much more rare just 20-30 years ago, would go away if we went back to  no fast food, simple food without as many preservatives etc.

Anyhow, in this Family Circle Illustrated Library of cooking Volume 3, is a section on how to save money! Many of the tips are great still for now, but some I found interesting in how far we have come.

Give all dairy foods good care at home. This means keeping milk, butter or margarine and cheese tightly covered or wrapped and chilled. Another reminder:To enjoy these products at peak flavor, buy often and only what…

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2016 Reading Challenge

I have seen some great reading challenges on Facebook, GoodReads, and on blogs here and there. However, I thought I would try my own.

January :

Read one Series that was a Favorite in the past.

(For myself, I am thinking one of these)

The Daughter’s of Boston Series by Julie Lessman

Wings of Glory Series by Sarah Sundin

February:

Read a book by an author that I have never read before. This one is going to be a bit hard on me.

I am thinking about this one.

The Sound of Diamonds Series by Rachelle Rea

or This one.. From Dishes to Snow by Kathy Howard 

March

Read a Book that is only available on an eBook.

I was looking for one that fit this on my wish list.

A Month in Cologne by Felicia Rogers

Match Made by Erynn Magnum 

 

April

Read a non-fiction book that is on my Amazon wish-list

I was looking at these ones.

In My Defense by Leigh Ann Bryant 

The Blue Cotton Gown: A midwife’s Memoir- Patricia Harman

May

A Fiction novel with travel in it. They can travel in the USA, but they have to travel.

Any suggestions?

June

Read a book that is spring colors- pink, green, yellow, or the like…

Love Finds you in Mackinac Island, Michigan by Melanie Dobson 

 

July

We always end up doing church camps or camping in July. For this month, I am challenging myself to find a book that has camping in it.

August

Read a book about couples that are already married….

September

Read a book with childbirth in it: either fiction or non-fiction

October

Read a book about gardening- Fiction or non-fiction

November-

Read a non-fiction book that is self improvement

I am thinking about a writing book!

December

It would seem normal to read a Christmas book, but I was thinking of a cookbook. =)

 

 

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