The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen



Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the book:

Return to Ivy Hill in The Ladies of Ivy Cottage as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold.

Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?

My Review:

Much like the previous book,  if you do not like Regency books that move similar to speed to Jane Austen, you may not enjoy this one. I do, hence the great enjoyment.
I had waited to read both of the books near to one another, but when I finished this one, I was dismayed that I will be waiting another year for the next one. There were some resolutions, but not nearly enough for me!
The romance is a little more in this one than the first one, but again, very, very light throughout. It is not the storyline as much as it is the tale of the “Ladies of Ivy Cottage”.
I was struck by the way that the society was set up for women to struggle when they were unmarried.
Ms. Klassen does an excellent job of giving you a complete picture and painting the set up to make you want to read the next book as well.

This book is available for purchase from booksellers near you and Amazon. If you like Regency and Jane Austen, get this one as well as the one before it.

“Ladies of Ivy Cottage”

I obtained this book through the publisher, Bethany House. My opinions and thoughts are my own.



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Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren




About the book:

Billionaire Ian Shaw can have everything he wants–except a happy ending. Or at least that’s what it feels like with his fortune recently liquidated, his niece, Esme, still missing, and the woman he loves refusing to speak to him. In fact, he doubts she would date him even if they were stranded on a deserted island.

Despite her love for Ian, Sierra Rose knows he has no room in his life for her as long as the mystery of his missing niece goes unsolved. The only problem is, Sierra has solved it, but a promise to Esme to keep her whereabouts secret has made it impossible to be around Ian.

It will take guts and gumption for the PEAK team to rescue the duo. But it will take a miracle to rescue Ian and Sierra’s relationship.

My Review:

This book is full of little mysteries, intrigue, but also the relationship issues that plague the characters. Rescues, helicopter failures, sinking yachts are only just a few of the things you might encounter while reading this adventure story.
I enjoyed the little hints of local real places that I found more in this book than some of the others. This book had me smiling, but not until the very end. I was on a plane and had to stop reading to find my connecting flight and I could not stop wondering what would happen. I was very near the end too!

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

This book is available for purchase wherever books are sold and on Amazon.

Troubled Waters 

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Homeschool Basics by Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko



About the book:

Do you long to homeschool with joy, simplicity, and success? Finally, all the best tried-and-true homeschool advice you’ve been looking for in one amazing book. With more than thirty years of combined experience, homeschooling moms Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover provide thoughtful and practical advice on how to get started and stay the course in your home-school journey. But they don’t stop there. In this book, Tricia and Kristi unpack tons of great tools that will help you take unnecessary pressure off yourself so you can focus on what is truly important. (Hint: It’s not academics!) Homeschool Basics will remind you that the best type of homeschooling starts with the heart. You’ll find ideas to help you push your fears to the side and raise kids who will grow to be life-long learners and who have a positive impact on God’s kingdom. Tricia and Kristi believe that homeschooling can transform your life, your home, and your family.

My Review:

Do you ever read a book and wish that you were just having a visit over tea and cookies with another homeschool mom instead of reading this book?
This book is the answer to that. Tricia and Kristi have laid out the basics and nitty gritty of homeschooling for you. It is simple, straight forward and written in a conversational manner. It is not done in a way that you will be lost or even feel overwhelmed.

Each chapter and topic is covered throughly, by veteran moms that are doing this still and one of them has grown children that are successful in life. Are you looking for a book where you feel the woman is telling you impossible tasks to achieve and that you have ruined your child if you are not reading to them aloud at least 3 hours daily along with lessons in Greek and latin? This is not that.

This is more, a friendly chat over tea, from moms who know. Pick it up today if you want to homeschool. It will be worth it!

Homeschool Basics by Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover 

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The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


My Review:
I am sadly derelict in my reviewing this book. I will say that if you loved Cranford, Downton Abbey, or Wives and Daughters, this is a book you will enjoy. Don’t pick it up looking for a lively romance. There are hints of romance, there throughout, but the the  main characters are widows that were not considered young, marrying age anymore. I loved the history of Inns.
If you are looking for a book that you could read with your younger teenage daughter and both throughly enjoy it as fans of the regency era, this is the book. The sequel is coming out later this month, so it is a good time to pick up both for gifts. I can’t wait for the sequel!
This book was given to me for review. The opinions contained herein are my own. I also purchased my own copy since I know I love her books and wanted it in print. I encourage you to do the same.

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The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko



My Review:

The story is one that warms your heart and has little surprises along the way. I didn’t really expect some of the little twists that the story had, but it ended with little surprises.

A fun historical mixed with the taste of a contemporary novel, I found a learned a bit. This author does a great job of bringing you into a somewhat unique story and making you care.

The history of coal mining in the Appalachia, plus just the flavor of the era and people make you enjoy the simplicity of it, as well as being caught between two worlds as the young people in the story are.
The book was provided to my by Bethany House and NetGalley. The opinions contained herein are my own.
You can purchase your own copy from Amazon. “Sound of Rain”




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The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko



Falling into the past will change their futures forever.

Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life. Working as an engineer, she genuinely enjoys her job and her colleagues – particularly a certain adorable and intelligent consultant. But something is missing. When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways.

But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath.  While Isabel rests and delights in the leisure of a Regency lady, attended by the other costume-clad guests, Mary uncovers startling truths about their shared past, who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who now stands between them.

Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts.

My Review:

I love that you never know what you are going to get in a Katherine Reay book as far as storyline. But you do know that you will get good story. I loved this story. I mean, I really did. And it is not just because I am someone that loves Jane Austen. Her way of giving us story while addressing serious life issues without any type of feeling traumatized is a gift.

For one, I would love to go on one of these excursions. It would be so much fun to be able to embrace that and experience it, but I, like the characters in the book, would need the internet to keep up at work.

I loved how topics like disassociation, abusive parents, issues with relationships were all part of this novel, but not the focus of the novel. If you did not relate to it, you likely would miss it. Many people would totally not see it at all. But for those that need it, it was there.

If you are an Austen lover, this has to be on your Christmas gift list. It is available from Amazon and wherever books are sold.

“The Austen Escape” 

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The Words of Kindness

“If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.”

Caroline Lake Ingalls


Often I think when we say words, correcting someone or telling someone what to do, I often wonder if we remember this little proverb.

I think that in this life, we have so many times listened to the words either spoken to us or even the unspoken words, with looks that mean something else and felt their sting.

I was thinking after taking part in an exercise, where you looked at other people and told them things that we saw they contributed of value to others and  in the world in general. Some these people I did not know well, but after spending a weekend together, many of their gifts shone forth.

As I returned to “normal” life, I found myself wondering how much was the truth and struggled to not fall into the pit of doubt.

Life is hard. I mean, it just is. There are so many everyday errors people may either believe you made or you actually did make. In the end, you can throw up your hands and scream or you can keep pushing on.

I can sit and ask myself the questions that roll around in my head day after day.

“What do I offer of value?”

“Are the positive words right that I have heard others say, or are they simply saying what they think they should say?”

“Are the critical words actually the truth?”

“How can I change my impact on others to be more positive?”

My mind starts to buzz with how I can change myself to be more a person of impact on others, but then as I start to do this, asking the questions, I wonder “Are those really the right questions?”  I know that I have always believed in self sacrifice, long suffering, meekness and all those things. It seems so counterproductive to say that I need to focus on the positive things about myself.

Instead asking/saying, “Do you believe in yourself? Do you think you can do this? Do you think you made the wrong choice? You messed up? That’s ok. Pick up and move on.”

There is someone I have been acquainted with, that rarely says a positive thing about anyone, unless she knows them very well. In fact, I can generally count on her saying something negative about someone until she gets to know them.

I know other people that will look at a person and if they are not fitting in the correct racial or belief boxes, they mark them off the list of approved people.

The list could go on and on. We all know those kind of people. They are not the people we tend to want to hang out with as we know that if we end up displeasing them in some way, we will be on that list.

Instead, I think of how I would love to be surrounded by people that love others despite flaws. They may not be perfectly dressed, believe the same as you, walk, talk or act like you, but they are valued and loved.

I have many friends and acquaintances that are so totally different from me, that I cherish having them in my life. I tend to be drawn to the ones that fit outside the box. It is the stories I want to tell and write. The overcomers, the “damaged” ones that succeed, the success stories. They are the ones that love best because they know pain.

As I write my stories, I never know what will become of them, but one day, I hope others will read them and love them as well.

But for now, I am going to think about Caroline Ingall’s saying, and let wisdom guide my words. I may need to look and find someone to say a positive word to. I may need to hold my tongue when a critical word comes my way. But in the end, I need to remember that I have to believe it as truth when someone tells me something they appreciate about me.

It is a choice that I must make to survive.

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The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko



My Review:
Looking for a lighter read with a chick lit feel, with relatable characters? This one might be the key that fits that lock for you. The character grows in her faith throughout the book, but is completely fallible. By this, I mean, she messes up a lot.
However, through everything, I loved the raw, gritty honesty she portrays. The romantic thread between two older unique characters really round out this book, but is not really one that I would recommend for the teen reader. That is not to say it is inappropriate, but it is more topics that would be best understood by those with more maturity.
This book is unique in a world of similar books and I really liked so many things about it. It did not hit every facet of my enjoyment scale, but it came pretty close.
I would say, don’t read this novel if you are looking for dealing with hard issues in a detailed way or realistic romance. But it does get to the heart of a few issues within the church with lighthearted jabs that pack a punch.
You can purchase it on Amazon. “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck”.
Look for it and find it! I received this book through NetGalley. The opinions contained herein are my own.


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A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko



My Review:
Sometimes you read a book that you finish and you go, “Good book.” Other times you don’t enjoy the book as much and move on easily.
This was neither of those. This was a book that I finished and thought, “Wow. I wish I had not just read that book as I would like to read it again!”
Elizabeth Camden is an exceptional author, but I love her unique characters. They have quirks, fun personalities, and flaws, yet you can love getting to know them while learning amazing historical facts without even realizing it.
Carrier pigeons, Morse code, newsrooms, spies, and narcissistic/abusive family members are only a few of the topics covered in this fast paced story. It is one you will not want to put down.
Elizabeth Camden is one of the authors that is an automatic buy for me. I see she has a new book out and I don’t even stop to think if I will enjoy it.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her writing and books! I never think I can have one that tops my favorites by her, and then another one comes along.
I obtained this book through NetGalley and Bethany House publishers. The opinions contained herein are my own.
You can purchase your own copy, (and I encourage you to do so) at local booksellers and online. “A Dangerous Legacy” 

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Launch Your Dream by Dale Partridge

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


Book Description

Bestselling author and serial entrepreneur Dale Partridge provides a concrete, easily executed plan for readers looking to start a business that will result in greater freedom, a stronger family, and healthier finances.

Dale Partridge, bestselling author and founder of and many other highly successful businesses, has helped thousands of people launch new startup businesses—and find unimaginable freedom in the process—through his highly acclaimed Startup Camp program. In Launch Your Dream, Partridge distills the essence of that course into a hyper-practical, 30-day journey for readers looking to follow their passions and realize their dreams. In clear, easily grasped steps, he teaches readers how to hone their ideas, build an audience, construct an online presence, launch a business, master social media, craft a beautiful brand, and create experiences that keep customers from ever considering competitors. Sharing time-saving “smartcuts” to make readers more efficient, Partridge also helps them identify and resolve business-killing blind spots.

For anyone looking simply to make money on the side or seeking to become a millionaire, for the CEO or the stay-at-home mom, for the would-be entrepreneur or the freelancer, Launch Your Dream provides the steps necessary to begin living your dream in just 30 days.

My Review:

I was encouraged as I picked up this book, at how simply it was laid out for the dreamer seeking to launch a business. As a newer business owner, I really appreciated that. I did not do all the steps as of yet, but as I read, I realized how encouraged I was to be on the right path!

Each chapter has the estimated time it would take you to read it, as well as an assignment to complete the task explained in the chapter. It is concise and would be excellent for young high school students wishing to launch their dream in an organized manner.

When I finished this book, I purchased a copy of “People over Profit”  on audio, for my son and I to listen to.

I would highly recommend this book to new business owners, those unfamiliar with social media marketing and anyone that is just starting up or needs a fresh start in their business. It has excellent tips and goals to achieve.

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

To purchase your own copy, Amazon sells it as well as other retailers. “Launch your Dream”

I felt this book did an excellent job of practical advice towards launching your dream beyond the basics. Pick on up today! This one is also available on audio!

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