Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Proof By Cheryl Colwell Book Review

The Proof

Review Written By Madi
Book Title: The Proof
Author: Cheryl Colwell
Source/Sponsor: BookCrash Blogger Program
Genre: Fiction/Suspense
Number Of Pages: 334
ISBN: 978-0-9892371-3-0
Publisher: Inspired Fiction Books
Year Of Publication: 2014
My Rating: Five Out Of Five Stars
Book Description
Shrouded in mystery, a precious relic known as Il Testamento, or The Proof, circulated among the early Christians for centuries. Before their deaths, its guardians hid it from their adversaries, leaving only a crude map of its location.

For centuries, it lay in darkness. Until now. Reports of its existence have resurfaced, inciting an ancient rivalry between a ruthless group that seeks to destroy it, and a secret association that lusts for its power.

Summoned to Siena by a grandfather he has never met, Gabriel Dolcini is thrust into a dark maze of danger. And into his divine destiny.
Favorite Quotes From This Book
"There are times when destiny transcends coincidence." -Page 57
"God does not cause the accidents and wickedness. He picks up the pieces and gives us strength to get through." -Page 243
Book Review
 When I ordered this book I had never heard of the author or publisher, so I was hopeful, but I wasn't expecting much. Well, let me tell you, don't underestimate small publishers. This is possibly my favorite book out of all the books that I have ever read. It's so full of mystery and diversity that it kept my attention from beginning to end. I wonder if this author has any other novels? She has definitely caught my attention. Her story was so well written and so thoughtfully pieced together. I can tell that she did quite a bit of research prior to writing this novel, and it certainly paid off. And the characters? So realistic that it feels as if you can reach out and touch them.
Gabe seeks out his long lost grandfather in hopes that his European influence will help further his art career, and instead gets caught in the middle of an all out war between an ancient organization of "Knights" and his very own family. What old mythical relic could be worth killing people over? Unless it's not a myth . . . But that's impossible. That would mean that the historical events proclaimed in the Bible actually happened, and since he doesn't believe in God, that obviously isn't the case. Well, Gabriel gets a rude awakening, to say the least. He not only comes to believe in the coveted relic, 11 Testamento, but also in the God of his grandfather Louis. Along his journey to locate the piece of his grandfather's dreams, he comes across a lot of people, and doesn't know who he can trust. It seems like everyone he encounters is in league with the bad guys, even those that he leans on the heaviest. He learns a lot of lessons, gets a few beatings, confronts his past, and learns to forgive those that hurt him most.
You won't believe what the relic turns out to be. You will be guessing until it is revealed, and then you will be completely shocked. There is no possible way that you could see it coming. It's so cool. I wish an architect would discover something like it today. It would make the most dubious antagonist a believer.  
I cannot recommend this book enough. It is one of those stories that stays with you, even after you finish reading it. It is clean, so if you know a young person that loves reading suspenseful books, then you would be able to share it with them without worry of them reading something that they shouldn't. That being said, I'm sure that adults and children alike would enjoy this book. Maybe make it a family reading book? I can't think of a single person that I know that could have anything against this story. Just read it!
~Madi for The Literary Maidens
D I S C L A I M E R: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book by BookCrash in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not further compensated to review this product, and all thoughts and sentiments expressed above are completely my own an unbiased.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund // Guest Post + Giveaway

Hello friends! Today I'm very excited to have a special guest here on The Literary Maidens, Mrs. Jody Hedlund, author of Captured by Love. I was blessed to be able to review Jody's newest release, Captured by Love, as well as be a part of the blog tour going on to celebrate the release! If you'd like to check out the other blog tour stops, you can view the schedule HERE. You can also read my review of Captured by Love by clicking HERE.

So today Jody is here with us, and will be sharing about the true people and events in Captured by Love. For those who have read Captured by Love already, then you'll know exactly what Jody is talking about when she shares bits of the story, and if not then I hope learning about the true events in the story inspires you to get your hands on a copy a read it for yourself! We hope that you enjoy reading this guest post, and be sure to stick around until the end because we are doing a special giveaway for a copy of Captured by Love!

Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund// Behind the Scenes of 
Captured By Love //

The True People and Events 
in Captured by Love

Most of my readers know by now that I LOVE to write about true people and events. The books in my Hearts of Faith series are inspired by great women from history including Elizabeth Bunyan in The Preacher's Bride, Narcissa Whitman in The Doctor's Lady, Abigail Adams in Rebellious Heart.

My Michigan Brides Collection, Unending Devotion, A Noble Groom, and now Captured by Love, aren't based on big-name historical women like in my other books. But I do add in real people and facts from Michigan history that make the books especially intriguing.

If you've read any of my other books, you'll quickly realize that I explain what's true and what's not in the Author's Note at the end of my books. Captured by Love is no different. So make sure you don't skip my Author's Notes!

So what really happened and what are the wild wanderings of a writer's imagination?

The entire story itself is rooted in authentic Mackinac Island aura, from the wildlife to the scenery descriptions. I tried to stay as true to the historical setting as possible.

But here are some actual historical events and people that made their way into the book:

It's true that after the British took over the island, American men (not women) had to sign the Oath of Allegiance to the British or leave their homes. Many of the islands residents, rather than lose their land and homes, signed the Oath and stayed on the island. In Captured by Love, I had Angelique's fiancé stay loyal to the Americans and refuse to sign the Oath. Then I tried to show how difficult life would have been for the women and family left behind.

It's true that the once the British took over the island, they really had no clue about how to deal with the harsh Michigan winters. They were ill prepared with both clothing and food supplies. The army rationed food to prevent starvation. They had to eat their horses. And they confiscated food from the island residents.

A close-up of the wood palisades that surrounded the fort.

At the start of 1814 (as Captured by Love opens), the war had been ongoing for almost two years. The new captain that arrived on the island, Captain McDouall, required that all the island residents spend three days working on building a new fort (named Fort George after their king). Can you imagine if you were an American woman or child forced to help fortify your enemy's position?

One view of inside of the fort.

(Mild spoiler alert!) Obviously the Americans hoped to win the island back from the British. During the summer of 1814, after much delay, the Americans finally attacked. I tried to retell the battle the way that it really happened including an odd diversion in which the British left the battlefield supposing an attack was happening elsewhere on the island. (Of course, I offer my own fictionalized theory for why that diversion happened!)

I also used the names of real war heroes, captains, and colonels as well as the names of places that exist on the island today. The fort still sits on the bluffs of the island with the original stone officer's quarters, soldier's barracks, and storehouse. In fact, you can even peer down into the infamous Black Hole.

One of the blockhouses that was a part of the wall of the fort and used for keeping watch as well as fighting against invaders.

Essentially the book is centered around that real attack by the Americans and the ensuing events.

Here's what Publisher's Weekly had to say about the book: "Award-winning author Hedlund (The Preacher’s Bride) continues to perfect her craft, combining drama, geography, and military strategy into an engaging historical romance. Superbly written romantic tension comes together with rich historical and scenic detail in this third novel in the Michigan Brides Collection that will leave readers eager for a fourth."

What about you? If you could pick one event or era from history and command an author to write a story set around that event or era, what would it be? (Who knows, maybe you'll spark an idea for a new book!)

Displaying Author Picture.jpg// About Jody Hedlund //

Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling books, The Preacher's Bride, Unending Devotion, and A Noble Groom. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children.

Where readers can find me:

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website:
Or you're welcome to email me at:

// Captured by Love Book Giveaway //

In celebration of the release of Captured by Love, Jody is giving away a signed copy of her newest release on each of her blog tour stops, which means that on of you will win a signed copy of Captured by Love to read for yourself or give to a friend. Yay!
To enter this giveaway, please use the Raffle Copter widget below. You can sign in using either your email or Facebook, and from there you can complete certain activities which will give you giveaway entries. The giveaway will take entries until July 25th, 2014 and is only open to U.S. residents due to shipping costs. Once the giveaway has ended, I will use to generate one random winner and they will be emailed with information on redeeming their prize in addition to their name being displayed on the widget. 

I'd like to thank Jody for stopping by and sharing about the real events in Captured by Love, as well as for giving away a a copy of her newest book to one of you readers! Have a blessed day!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Captured By Love By Jody Hedlund Book Review

Captured By Love

Review Written By Madi
Book Title: Captured By Love
Author: Jody Hedlund
Source/Sponsor: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 364
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1049-5
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Year of Publication: 2014
Rating: Five Out Of Five Stars
Book Description
It is 1814 and the British have taken hold of Mackinac Island and its fort, forcing American residents to swear an oath of loyalty to the British crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a voyageur--a fur trader who left his family home to find freedom and adventure. He's been gone five years and when he returns, his family's farm is at the mercy of the British invaders.
Torn between the life he's grown used to and guilt over leaving his brother and mother, he's drawn back into the loyalist fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique Mackenzie, a beautiful local girl who's been befriended by the daughter of the British commander. As tensions mount and the threat of violence increases, both Angelique and Pierre must decide where their loyalties rest, how far they will go to find freedom, and how much they will risk to find love.
Book Review
Oh my. Jody Hedlund is simply wonderful. She has a natural talent for writing gripping stories that grab a readers attention and stir their souls. I always walk away from her books with a new resolve to better myself. I loved Angelique's strong character. She is completely determined to honor her commitment to Jean, even though she knows full well that her heart belongs to Pierre. She faces temptation and trials head-on with courage and strong determination. She helps the mother of the man who broke her heart when she was a child, keeping her warm and fed to the best of her ability while one of the woman's sons in doing his duty in the war effort and the other is off gallivanting around the world. Then one day that heartbreaking, gallivanting son is back home, and her world is instantly turned upside down. Between juggling her responsibilities with Miriam (mother of Jean and Pierre), and dealing with an abusive stepfather and a demanding stepmother, Angelique has little time for pleasure. There are people starving in her camp, therefore the crime rate is up like never before as hungry young men do anything that they can to scrape up a meal. Who keeps Angelique out of trouble? Well Pierre of course. I love how obvious a transformation Pierre undergoes. From a selfish young boy to a responsible man, he notices Angelique in a way he never has before.

The only thing that I didn't really love about this book was that the whole story was based on Angelique's love life. There weren't any sub stories to keep things fresh, and there was nothing going on outside of the whole Pierre/Jean thing. I would have liked the story to have had more emphasis on something else as well, maybe the fact that the two brothers were fighting on "opposite" sides? I don't know. That being said, I still really enjoyed this book! It was suspenseful, captivating, well written, and a great book for me to invest my time in. I encourage you to check out this book as soon as possible (or something else by Jody Hedlund. All her books are phenomenal).


D I S C L A I M E R: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion by Bethany House Publishers, and that is exactly what I have given. I was not further compensated to review this product and all thoughts and sentiments expressed above are completely my own and unbiased.