A Woman's Voice

Book Review – The Poppy Fields

D.G. TorrensThe Poppy Fields by Author D.G. Torrens

Emily Matthews is a young woman who is very devoted to her work at a charitable organization that raises funds to help wounded soldiers as they return from the battlefield. Some are amputees…but all of the survivors who benefit from her organization have been scarred one way or the other, whether physically or emotionally. The effects of war and the negative consequences are near and dear to Emily’s heart. She lost the love of her life, Robby, to the war in Afghanistan and after two long and lonely years, she still mourns his loving absence from her life. Now Emily is reluctant to ever fall in love again and is determined to close her heart to such a possibility. Every year she spends time in the much loved poppy field near her home where she relives one of her fondest memories of better times with Robby.

James Harrison, on the other hand, is in his late twenties and a former rifleman who experienced three tours of duty in Afghanistan. He returns to the UK after being injured in battle and receives new training as a physiotherapist. He is also a man whose heart has been broken. James has been in a previous serious relationship with long time girlfriend, Naomi, who decided she no longer wanted to live in Benton Cross. She subsequently leaves to pursue a career in London and James is emotionally crushed when they go their separate ways. He is determined to immerse himself in his work as he caters to the wounded survivors of war. However, in a local bookstore as he peeks up between the shelves of books, he is intrigued and captivated by the most incredible eyes looking back at him…

From then on, an enticing love story ensues between these two very reticent and awe struck individuals. Of course, they certainly meet their fair share of challenges which readily entice the reader as their relationship unfolds…

Author D.G. Torrens is fast becoming a seasoned author with several well-written novels now published. I have had the honor of reading and reviewing two others and “The Poppy Fields” is another crowd pleaser with its many unpredictable twists and turns. I truly enjoy a good love story and this one certainly fits the bill. There are plenty of historical facts and medical data included to spice up the story line and give this fictional novel the required authenticity. There is a cliff hanger at the end of this easy-to-read romantic novel, therefore, I know there is more “good stuff” to come! I can’t wait to read the next installment…

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Unwilling Wife

ReneeUnwilling Wife by Author Renee Roszel

My book review of “Unwilling Wife” is going to be short and sweet just like the content of this fictional romance novel. Married couple, Gina and David Baron are headed for a divorce after ten years of marriage. Gina is soon turning thirty and is questioning her submissive role in her marriage to Physics Professor and would-be Dean at the Einstein University…that’s if David fulfills his ambitious dream. She can no longer live in the shadows of her husband as she decides to move away and pursue her own dream of writing a book. Gina leaves to take up residence in a lighthouse home she has inherited from her uncle just outside the town of Maryvale. David has agreed to a month separation so she can sort things out but he is totally dismayed when he receives divorce papers from her lawyer. David unexpectedly appears at her doorstep and then the fun begins…

Seasoned Author Renee Roszel spins a captivating tale as these two star-crossed lovers figure things out. She tastefully shows the steamy side of their relationship without going into excessive detail. I consider this romance novel to be both captivating and refreshing. It turned out to be a “feel good” book because that’s exactly the way I felt after reading the Epilogue at the end of it.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte


Book Reviews ~ River Oaks Plantation

Barbara Robinson Page-Turner with Southern Charm…a Brilliant Masterpiece

B.J. Robinson’s books just keep getting better and better. This one sports a dual storyline and makes for a real page-turner with Southern charm. It’s a blend of the Civil War era plantation times and contemporary during 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area and surrounding parishes. Her characters are realistic. You’ll fall in love with both heroes, but Maggie and Danny were my favorite couple.

If you enjoy plantation novels or novels about the Civil War era, you’ll love this one. I loved the twist at the end. The plot is awesome. I’ll read more of this author, and I hope there’s another plantation novel coming soon. If you haven’t read her, don’t miss this book. It’s like reading two romantic historical novels in one, love in the antebellum South and love in contemporary times with alternating chapters. You’ll get your money’s worth in this one. You’ll laugh, cry, and fall in love. The book pulls you in quickly and holds you hostage.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Anya’s Story

Julia Gousseva
Anya’s Story by Author Julia Gousseva

Talented Author Julia Gousseva has done it again! She has penned another captivating novel for both the young and older reading audience. It is chockfull of a combination of Russian history and romance which is bound to capture the interest of the most discerning readers who enjoy this genre.

Best friends, Anya and Katia are finishing up their last year of high school in Moscow and are enjoying their time together before their new life commences as college students. Anya’s boyfriend Victor, is off to navy military school in Leningrad to fulfill his dream of working on a submarine. As he embarks on this career choice, Anya already misses him as his arduous training will occupy him for five years. The first two years are the most vigorous and they will not be able to fulfill their dream of marrying and spending the rest of their lives together as planned, at least not for some time in the near future.

On the home front, Anya’s parents decide to entertain some old friends that they haven’t seen for years. They come over to enjoy a meal and bring their now, twenty-one year old son with them. Yuri, is also a trainee at the military academy in Leningrad. However, due to his more senior status, when Anya and Katia go to Victor’s oath taking ceremony, it is Yuri who has the time to show them the sights.

Anya….the protagonist in this descriptive and charming novel is forced to face great disappointment and what she considers to be betrayal from Victor, the love of her life. In her innocence and naivety, she is extremely hurt by what appears to be Victor’s duplicity and finds much solace and comfort in the open arms of Yuri. They share a warm friendship before Yuri unexpectantly proposes to the much surprised and somewhat confused Anya. She sees no reason to refuse and accepts his proposal. They marry a few short months later. After graduation, Yuri is posted at a northern military base, Vidayevo in Murmansk, where Anya discovers the friendship of a lovely couple from Georgia.

When Yuri gets his first assignment…a three month stint on the submarine K-626, Anya continues with her correspondence courses. When she returns to Moscow to write her exams, she contacts her dear friend Katia and has the opportunity to share a fun-filled time with her, her husband Evgeni, and some of their old high school friends. Unbeknownst to Anya, Victor arrives with one of his naval academy friends, Fyodor. When Fyodor and Anya have a few moments alone, he inadvertently shares a story with her about Victor and Yuri that has lasting and irreversible ramifications…

I absolutely loved this fictional novel. Author Julia Gousseva’s writing style is wonderfully refreshing….no sexually explicit scenes….no cursing…just great old-fashioned story telling….a gifted raconteur at her best. She adeptly pens a realistic story that reaches out from the written page and grabs at the heartstrings in an indescribable and heart wrenching way. I enjoyed every word of this novel and I could literally not put it down. I especially love this quote from the book and feel it needs to be shared. It’s about the special bell that Anya kept as a memento of her grandmother’s words…“Bells keep our souls alive, revive us, and remind us that life always moves forward”. Now Anya, at such a young age and with all her past trials and tribulations, must heed this sage advice.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ My Life Untold

Sean & Sarah Gee BuroMy Life Untold by Authors Sarah & Sean Gee Buro

What a lovely story and so well-told. It is epic in its vastness as it starts with Magda’s parents and Magda herself, as a young child crossing the ocean and landing on Ellis Island in New York. The journey is harsh but what occurs makes it even worse. Magda’s father is accused of stealing a pocket watch from the ship’s captain and other items from his fellow passengers. As a punishment, his tongue is cut off and thrown overboard. Now as a mute…it is initially very hard for him to find employment in this new country where he hoped to have a better life for his family. He eventually succeeds and with the combined efforts and income of both he and his wife…after several years, they manage to save enough money to buy a farm in Gettysburg.

Magda has been homeschooled thus far but she now must attend school with the other local children. She does not fit in well with her peers. With the exception of Samuel who seeks her out on a regular basis, she pretty much sticks to herself. Right from the onset, he is smitten with her but Magda does not return his affection. She is intent on burying her head in the books so generously provided by her kind and caring teacher Mr. Dawson.

The farm house and land known as Stone Croft are in much need of repair and refurbishment. After much hard work and determination, this hardworking family restores Stone Croft to its former condition. Eventually, they are able to purchase an adjacent piece of farming property. However, in order to operate it, they hire a handsome farm helper by the name of Lars. There is only a few years difference in age between Lars and Magda and soon an inevitable attraction occurs between the two of them. And then….Magda’s life turns upside down with the start of the American Civil War. Initially, Lars is determined to enlist for a period of three months but much to the frustration, anger, and sorrow of love struck Magda, he re-enlists for a period of three years.

Magda, the protagonist in this captivating and heart wrenching story, faces a bleak future after a series of sorrowful events. Death, betrayal, and unprecedented challenges crop up in every corner of her life. She then decides to do the unthinkable when she takes matters into her own hands…

You will not want to miss Magda’s breath-taking story as penned by this talented author duo, Sean and Sarah Gee Buro. They have captured a wonderful combination of romance and American history in this refreshing, well-written, romantic fictional novel. Kudos to them for such an enjoyable read!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Casa de Naomi – House of Blessing (Book 1)

PaulaSometimes you read a book merely for pleasure…other times, you read a book to gather information or increase your knowledge of a subject…and sometimes you find a wonderful book that offers both regardless of your choice for reading it. In “Casa de Naomi – House of Blessing – Book I”, I must admit that I lucked out. I am very grateful to have discovered this captivating fictional novel filled with historical relevance which is sure to capture the interest of the most discerning readers. It certainly captured mine!

Naomi the protagonist, as a teenager secretly leaves her homeland to start a new life in America where she thinks she will have the freedom to live a full life without religious prejudice. Due to the untimely death of the elderly lady who has hired her as a travel companion and…upon her arrival at the Immigration Office on Ellis Island, without a sponsor, Naomi is about to be turned away. Fortunately, she is “adopted” by Tia Vida, as many before her, who have been swept up by her desire to help these young women in finding a support system in Spanish Harlem. Her every hope is to offer these “ninas” a better life and safe haven until they qualify to become American citizens. Tia Vida has sacrificed her life for this noble cause and has opened her heart and her home to these young girls. Little does Naomi know what Tia Vida has in mind for her future.

In this captivating, intriguing, and heart wrenching novel, the reader quickly learns about the necessity to be so secretive when embracing these young women. However, there is an even great mystery that lies within the heart and soul of Naomi. She fled her country for more than one reason. Not only is she an illegal immigrant, she is also a young Jewish girl who is in hiding because of her beliefs. As a result of the Spanish Inquisition, along with many other people of Jewish faith, she is forced to either become a Catholic convert or at least look like one and practice her faith in the privacy of her own home. Naomi chooses the latter….and so her double life commences as she takes over the Casa when Tia Vida bequeaths it to her upon her death and all the responsibilities that go with it. Naomi is a natural as she is so loving and kind. She quickly becomes a blessing to all in her community and is highly regarded and respected. She even manages to find the love of a life time and marries Chaz who pursues her with fervor and an ardent love that is unexpectedly matched by her own…but then along comes Lola, a new young immigrant teenager about to be turned away and life is never the same for dear trusting Naomi…

Gifted Author Paula Rose Michelson has done a magnificent job of creating a wonderful work of art. Fictional, though it may be, there are many truths that are revealed in “Casa de Naomi” that are difficult to digest. I would like to thank her for her research, her effort, and her desire to enlighten us. I eagerly look forward to Volume II in the Casa saga series…there is such a cliff-hanger at the end of this novel that left me wanting more. No author can ask for more than this nor can any reader!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

BOOK REVIEW ~ Picking Strawberries in the Early-Morning Dew ~ July 18, 2011 by B.J. Robinson

The strawberry bushes were wet with early-morning dew. The mornings were cool and damp, and her hands grew wet and cold. This was her first experience with berries other than eating them. Her mother worked for a local schoolteacher picking the fruit, and she picked them before and after school to earn extra spending money. On the weekends, she picked for the same reason at her aunt’s strawberry farm.

Over the years, she’d have much more experience in the local berry fields and packing sheds, but at eight years old, this one would always stand out in her mind. She’d fill her carry as full as she could in her attempt to be like her mother and load it to the top, but she had to carry it such a long way to reach the shed. Some of the biggest, prettiest berries fell and made a strawberry path between the field and the shelf, where a packer took the carrier from her.

The woman said, “Your mother overfills hers, so you can just put enough on yours so you won’t drop and waste them on your way.”Okay.”

Those carriers were quite heavy for her small frame to lug all the way from the field to the shed, and she had to pass a pasture where horses and cattle grazed. At times, the cows would moo at her and spook her, which caused her to lose berries. Other times, the horses would run toward the fence as if they were coming after the carry of berries she lugged. She’d try her best to pass by quickly, and berries fell to the ground and continued to make a strawberry path.

Those early experiences proved to be important in later years when she found herself working her way through college. She was no stranger to the hot sun and a field or packing shed and used the experiences as stepping stones to her future. From a picker and packer, she worked her way up through Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU) and earned two college degrees, an AA in Office Administration and a BA in Business Education and Office Administration/Secondary Education with a minor in English, where she graduated with honors. During this time, her first college essay, “April Flood” was published in a local newspaper, and she won first prize for a short story in the university’s fiction-writing competition. It was published in Gambit, SLU’s literary magazine.

What do you think that prize-winning short story was written about? You guessed it. Strawberries and Southern superstitions, the title of her next release January 11, 2012. The fertile soil of Louisiana strawberry fields produces delicious crops and hard workers, and it’s where her values of hard work were nourished. Little did she know how important a role strawberries would later play in her future, as she braved horses and cows, hot sun, and a berry field at eight years old.

B. J. Robinson thanks God for all of her strawberry experiences and writes about berries in her novels. She is a Christian romantic suspense author, and her debut novel Last Resort releases July 15 from Desert Breeze Publishing Inc.http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/StoreFront.bok . It’ll be available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com as an eBook. It will also be available in all other eBook formats. She recently signed contracts for two others: Southern Superstitions, releases January 11,  2012, and Whispering Cypress, releases August 11, 2012.  Last Resort uses the backdrop of a strawberry farm to create suspense, and the author contrasts traditional grown berries to hydroponic ones.

LAST RESORT is set in Bridal Wreath, Florida, a fictional town, Key West, the Panhandle, and Plant City, Florida. Faith Grace Roussell vows to hide her heart so deeply in Christ that to find her, a man will have to find Him first, but will the true hidden treasures in God’s Word be enough when she collides with Matt Allen? Faith is stalked and forced to search her conflicted heart.  Will she be forced to use The Pink Lady? In a battle of love, loss, and raging jealousy, she strives to build a new life with peace and contentment, but Matt Allen has eyes like magnets she could get as lost in as unknown woods. Will he prove to be a helpmate or just another strawberry cull? She’s pursued by an ex-fiancé, shattered dreams, an awesome God, and a cowboy farmer. There’s only one place she can turn . . . .There’s only one last resort.

Faith left the city to return to the country home where she grew up, but someone wants her to pack bags, not berries. A series of incidents take place to try to force her to leave. When she doesn’t budge, arson, attempted murder, and murder kept the reader turning pages.

What early Readers Had to Say

“B. J. Robinson’s Last Resort is an inspirational romantic suspense story that keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat — both to see if the villain is overcome and to see if Matt and Faith end up together. You don’t want to miss this one with its twists; it’s a great read!”

Deb Haggerty, Author and Speaker

“The warm, sweet romance, yet insightful story, will touch your heart with its simplicity and charm.”

Janet Perez Eckles, Author and Speaker

What a book reviewer, a Long Ridge Writer
Student Had to Say …

What a great story! I loved how you drew your readers in so quickly and then constantly threw in twists and turns for them to deal with. Many women deal with losing what they thought was the love of their life to a failed relationship—it’s their attitude that determines how they proceed on from there.  By letting God lead her through the fiery trials that came her way, and trusting Him in the most difficult of times, Faith found her true destiny in life and love and it was everything she had ever dreamed.  This is a fabulous story of love, real life and how a positive attitude in Christ can lead you through even the most difficult times!  I highly recommend it and know you will leave the book feeling inspired and encouraged in your walk in the Lord!


LAST RESORT, a sensational strawberry romantic suspense story, will be on sale as of July 15 at Desert Breeze Publishing.http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/StoreFront.bok or  Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com

Read a free excerpt from Last Resort, B. J. Robinson’s Christian Romantic Suspense released by Desert Breeze July 15 at http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-184/B-J-Robinson-Last/Detail.bok


Sunflower is Barb’s precious companion.

Barb…it’s been an honor to feature you on “A Woman’s Voice” today. I wish you much success with the release of Last Resort!

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