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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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The Dangers of “Healthy Eating”…

I  don’t usually like to talk about topics that are controversial. I know there are so many opinions on this topic, but something that has gained in popularity is healthy eating. I love healthy eating! It is a wonderful thing that can make you feel much better. There are certain foods that are not as good for you as others, we all know that.

But I see in some circles, it has extended to beyond just normal healthy eating. Instead of promoting healthy eating, we see the promotion of cutting out food groups. While this can be needed with children with severe food allergies, intolerances, etc by the doctors orders, it should not be the norm.

When a child goes through puberty, it can be a difficult time. Everything is changing. Often for girls, they begin to develop, which can make them feel uncomfortable with their body shapes. There is joint pain, they are tired all the time, sleeping constantly, and eating patterns change. If someone suggests a special diet, often that word is associated with weight loss. That may not be the parent’s idea of why to do it, but it can trigger a thought pattern that is setting your child up for unhealthy habits if you start cutting out food groups, and severely limiting eating.

There have been articles written on “Allergies. The new eating disorders.”. Others talk about Orthorexia, or basically a pure fear of food at times. I have seen some of these in younger and younger children. Some are rooted in real things. But many are developing a type of eating pattern that may harm your child for the rest of their life.

I would love to see more people seeking out and promoting eating real food, whole foods, avoiding chemicals, preservatives, instead of things like dairy, grains, meat, eggs, and even legumes. Some people are beginning to believe that “Gluten free” is a form of health food. While it is healthier for those that need it, it is not as healthy for those that are not intolerant or allergic. Others may have ethical reasons for not wanting to eat certain foods. Mainly, I am speaking of the general parent that doesn’t think much about cutting out dairy, wheat and eggs out of a child’s diet.

As someone that has struggled with my relationship with food since I was twelve, I beg you, don’t do this lightly. Make sure you express to your child that cutting out food from your diet is something you only do with a serious illness.

 

Instead of focusing on the foods they cannot eat, make a list of foods they must eat everyday if possible.

-Leafy Greens

-Whole grains

-Legumes

-Whole fruits and vegetables

-Lean meats

-Non-processed dairy

Discuss with their care provider what vitamins and how much they should be getting everyday. Focus on the healthy amount of exercise and fuel they need for their body.

Don’t promote eating disorders as healthy. Encourage a healthy body image.

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The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Eakes

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the Book:

Ashley Tolliver has tended to the women of her small Appalachian community for years. As their midwife, she has seen it all. Until a young woman gives birth to a baby at Ashley’s home and is abducted just as Ashley tries to take her to the nearest hospital. The new mother is dangerously bleeding and needs medical attention. Now Ashley is on a mission to find the woman and her newborn baby . . . before it’s too late.
Hunter McDermott is on a quest—to track down his birth mother. After receiving more media attention than he could ever want from a daring rescue of a young girl, he received a mysterious phone call from the middle of Virginia from a woman claiming to be his mother. He seeks out the aid of the local midwife—her family has assisted in the births of most babies for many generations; surely she can shed some light on his own family background.

My Review:

All the other books I had read by Ms. Eakes had been historical, so I was pleasantly surprised by a contemporary. I enjoy history, but there is something about a well written historical. When it is about midwives, birth and such, it is even better. This book portrays the life of a nurse midwife that works in a small Appalachian community. As such, she gives her viewpoint as such.

I enjoyed the storyline, with a mystery interwoven throughout, bringing us full circle from wealth to the backwoods. The real trials that face women that live those areas was painted in broad strokes.

It made me want to research some of the laws for midwifery in that area, and learn more about what is available there.

If you enjoy books on midwifery, birth or just a good story, pick this book up. It will be released Dec. 15th.

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