Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Review: The Midwife's Tale

The Midwife's Tale 
by Delia Parr 
(At Home In Trinity book 1)

From the back cover:

Martha Cade comes from a long line of midwives who have served the families of Trinity, Pennsylvania for generations. A widow with two grown children, she's hopeful that her daughter will follow in her footsteps, but when Victoria runs off, Martha's world is shattered.

Worse, a new doctor has arrived in town, threatening her job, and she can't remember a time when her faith has been tested more. Still determined to do the work she knows God intended for her, Martha is unprepared for all that waits ahead. Whether it's trying to stop a town scandal, mending broken relationship, or feeling the first whispers of an unexpected romance, she faces every trial and every opportunity with hope and faith.


I hate to give negative reviews, but sometimes it can't be helped. This book was, for the most part, extremely boring. I feel like it could have been done way better, as there were some good ideas and plots presented, but unfortunately, they were nothing more than ideas, because hardly anything happened in this book. 
(SPOILERS AHEAD) By the end of chapter one  Martha finds out that her daughter has run off with a troupe of traveling actors and decides she should leave to try and find her. At that point, I'm thinking, "Oh, exciting! Already the book is starting off with a journey! Maybe it will even switch to Victoria's POV and show some snippets of her life as a traveling actor!" Not so. Chapter two starts off with Martha returning from her journey three months later and then gives us a hardy dose of narrative summary of how she failed to find Victoria and what happened on her journey. In fact, whenever anything exciting was about to happen in this book it skipped over it and instead tells us how it went in the next chapter or scene. When I read a book, I want to be thrown right into the action, I want to experience everything right along with the characters. I do not want to read about how it all went down after it's over with. No thank you. 
The book did have a few exciting, right there in the action scenes, but not enough to really count. So basically the book was about Martha wandering around the town thinking about how she's failed as a mother, thinking about what she's going to do. She eats a ton of sweets, befriends a bird and a little boy, and there are a few birth scenes, but really not as many as there should have been considering the book's title. And then there's her love interest... at least I think he was her love interest?? I don't know, because they loved each other in the past but now all she does is think about how she turned him down in the past and is now confused about her feelings for him, and said love interest might as well have been a cardboard cutout. 
One thing I did like was the friendship that started to grow between Martha and the new doctor who moved into town. (Maybe he was the love interest?? But he's young enough to be her son!) 
So, in conclusion, I feel like this book was sorely lacking, and that the author might have had a good idea for a book ending, or a series, but had to come up with some kind of beginning and middle so she threw some stuff in that was pretty irrelevant to the plot. I have a feeling the next book might dive into more action and finally get things rolling, but if that's the case, this book really didn't need to exist, and unfortunately I won't know because I have no interest in reading the next book in the series. 
I give this book a rating of 2.5 out of 5 because of the ideas that were good, the few scenes that did grip my interest, and the friendship between Martha and Doctor McMillan. (and I also enjoyed learning a bit about what midwifery was like back in those days).

I was provided a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Book Review: Guide Me Home

Guide Me Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Working as a guide in Mammoth Cave might allow
Rebekah the chance to bring joy back to her family.
But will the cave claim more than it gives?

After tragedy leaves its mark on Rebekah Hardin's family, she plans to help her parents and six siblings honor her beloved brother's memory and alleviate their poverty by working as a guide in the dangerous cave system. Kentucky's renowned Mammoth Cave presents profitable opportunities for hardworking, capable men. But Rebekah is determined, and if it means presenting herself as a himself, then she's up to the job.
Under the wing of experienced guide Tolly Sandford, "Reb" begins to learn the complexities of the cave. The two are joined by an aspiring young cartographer, Devlin Bale. The university student has traveled to the hill country to map tunnels---not to fall for a girl in disguise. 
Can the God who designed miles of underground astonishment shape Devlin's ambitious plans and free Reb from the weight of her past?


Kim Vogel Sawyer is one of my favorite authors and once again she did not disappoint. She always keeps her stories moving, never lingering too long on the same scene or bogging the story down with too much description. I like that the idea for this story is new and fresh; how many stories can you think of that the plot centers around a cave? She did well writing it, and it kept me interested as far as plot. However, I didn't much like either of the two main characters. They just felt a little bland in my opinion, and it was like they fell in love simply because they were the hero and heroine and that's what was supposed to happen. There was no chemistry between them, no real reason for them to fall in love. Honestly, my favorite character was Rebekah's sister, who had a side story in the novel. I don't know if this will be part of a series, but if so, I hope the next book is about her! 
Also, there seemed to be a few plot holes and it felt like the story hadn't fully concluded by the end (which is another reason I'm hoping for a sequel!). I give the book 4 out of 5 for the original plot, good writing, and interesting side characters. Overall an enjoyable read!

Many thanks to Waterbrook Press for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Book review: The Well

The Well by Stephanie Landsem


For the women of the Samaritan village of Sychar, the well is a place of blessing---the place where they gather to draw their water and share their lives---but not for Mara. Shunned for the many sins of her mother, Nava, Mara struggles against the constant threats of starvation or exile.
Mara and Nava's lives are forever changed with the arrival of two men: Shem, a mysterious young man from Caesarea, and Jesus, a Jewish teacher. Nava is transformed by Jesus, but his teachings come too late and she is stoned by the unforgiving villagers. Desperate to save her dying mother, Mara and Shem embark on a journey to seek Jesus' help---a journey that brings unexpected love and unimaginable heartbreak.
For some reason I find it difficult to write a review for this book, but it isn't because it wasn't good. This book was, in fact, a masterpiece. If you know me at all you'll know that coming from me, it must be a good book. 
Landsem had me captivated by the first page with her vivid descriptions and ability to keep the story flowing without feeling too rushed. Not to mention, her phenomenal skills at storytelling! This book was brilliantly written and had everything a good book should have. It kept my interest throughout the entire book and I eagerly gobbled it up in less than a week. It is now easily one of the best books I have ever read. It had the ability to make me cry at parts, which is also really something coming from me! Maybe some people don't like books that make them cry, but to me, it just makes the book that much better! It shows supurb skills in writing on the author's part, which is admirable and inspiring to me. This was the first book I've had the pleasure of reading by this author, and now I hope to be able to read her others! It easily receives a 5 out of 5 star rating from me, and if you are a fan of biblical fiction, or any Christian fiction, I highly recommend it! (Thanks to my niece for letting me borrow it!)