Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Lasting Impresssion By Tamera Alexander Book Review

// A    L a s t i n g    I m p r e s s i o n //

B y   T a m e r a   A l e x a n d e r

R e v i e w s    B y    B e t h a n y   &    M a d i
Title: A Lasting Impression
Author: Tamera Alexander
Madi's Source: Purchased From Amazon
Bethany's Source: Library 
Number Of Pages: 430
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0622-1
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2011
Madi's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
Bethany's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

Description (Taken From Goodreads):

Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she's forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville only a year after the War Between the States has ended, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe. She considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But after he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she's sorely misjudged the man. Finding herself among the elite of Nashville's society, Claire believes her dream to create a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach--but only if her fraudulent past remains hidden.

The Federal Army has destroyed Sutton's home and confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family's honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him and to right a grievous wrong reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined--as well as the woman he loves.

Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves--and each other--for who they really are.
// B e t h a n y ' s    R e v i e w //

I give A Lasting Impression 5 stars, and really, really enjoyed it!

Pros ::
It's been a while since I read a book that left such an impact on my heart. This book, though VERY long {400+ pages}, was very entertaining and despite my expectations of it being boring at bits due to the length of the book, it wasn't! Usually when I least expected it, a burst of new action came. I loved how Tamara incorporated Christianity into the female character, Claire's life. At the beginning of the book Claire is involved in an occupation that was illegal and later held many secrets and occasionally told lies. However, despite the negative life Claire lives at the beginning, towards the end Claire is truly repentant and was a new woman through her finding Christ in the story. It was a wonderful story of the difference Christ can make in a woman's life when she goes from a sinner to a sinner saved by Grace. The story reminded me of the verse in the Bible which talks about being a new creature in Christ, how the old had past and all things are made new. I really enjoyed seeing that transformation in Claire. At the end of the book I was left thinking "Wow!" The story line was very well written and the plot was perfect with a wonderful ending!

Cons ::
Unfortunately this book has a few things I was disappointed with. There was a lot of lying and deceit at the beginning of the book on Claire's part. Another thing was I found the romance level to be a bit more than I'm normally comfortable with, and there were several passionate kissing scenes that I felt like skipping. The biggest thing I found offensive is towards the end of the book, Claire goes wading in the creek, with a immodest amount of clothing on, and Sutton, the male character "walks in" on her without realizing she was dressed in only her undergarments. It never went any farther than this, but I felt it could have been left out, that it wasn't necessary. Due to the cons listed above, I'd only recommend this book for girls 13+.

// M a d i ' s    R e v i e w  //

Okay, I'll admit that the first time I picked up this book, I was a little worried. It's SO long! Most of the time books this long tend to get a bit dry and boring in places. Not "A Lasting Impression"! This book kept me interested from beginning to end. It is a truly wonderful book. This is actually the second time I have read it. The first time I rented it from the library, and the second time I bought a paperback version online so I could grace my own bookshelf with it just in case I wanted to read it yet again (I'm a bit of a book hoarder). I usually don't buy books that I have already read, just because I would rather buy something that I still haven't been able to read but want to, but this and "Jenna's Cowboy" are my exceptions. "A Lasting Impression" lives up to it's title, and truly leaves a lasting impression (see what I did there?). The characters are so real. In a lot of books the characters are made to fit the plot, which a lot of times makes them seem very unrealistic. Though I feel that this book has the perfect "cast", the author made them easy to relate to and easier to believe. I really can't stand it when a book character is just so . . . perfect. Perfect upbringing, perfect appearance, perfect friends, perfect life, save one minor problem. Though this book has a happy ending, it still has a certain genuine quality about it. I think that is largely due to it's length. The author really took time to depict what each character was thinking or feeling, and she described the venue so well that I felt that I was walking down the halls of the Belmont Mansion. Now when I say that, I don't mean that she put in so much detail that it distracts you from the story (please, Shakespeare did enough of that to last us a while), but she did make sure the reader had a good grasp on what was going on and where it was happening, without boring us to tears. It's a fine line, and I think Tamera Alexander did a good job not being too extreme about it.


-My second favorite character was Mrs Acklen (but no one can trump Mr Sutton in this tale). She was as sweet as could be, and had a good, giving heart. But she wasn't about to take any lip from anyone. She kinda reminds me of my gramma in a way.
-Claire was a sweet girl, and made a good lead role, but she still wasn't my favorite. She was trying to change her life and do what's right, but at the same time she didn't want anyone to know about her unlawful past.
-Sutton. Yeahhhh boy. The perfect gentleman. Not really. But he was adorable (at least he was in my head).

Claire and Sutton get off to a rough start, but, of course, they end up together (SPOILER ALERT). She loves him all though he's penniless, and he loves her even though she was a little dishonest. They were the perfect fit. Neither of them were perfect, but they made the perfect couple. I really wish there was a sequel to "A Lasting Impression". I would buy it in a heart beat. Wouldn't give it a second thought. Wouldn't bat an eyelash. You get the picture. There was one con though. There were a few too many romantic scenes. Nothing too terribly inappropriate, but I would check out reviews and/or read it for yourself before you decide on letting a child or little sibling read it. Some people would say that it wasn't that bad, some people would say that they don't want their teen daughter reading about that sort of thing and filling her mind with it. It's kind of a iffy thing. Once again though, it didn't hint at anything inappropriate, and it didn't describe anything that would be frowned upon, but there were quite a few kissing scenes. The choice is yours, it's totally a matter of opinion. Overall though, this is one of the best books that I have on my shelves (and as I mentioned earlier, I have quite a few).I hope that you will take the time to read this book, and/or some more of this authors book. I've read a few of her other books and I really enjoyed them.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Isaiah 40:28-31

{Post By Madi}

Hey There Friendys:)

Today I was catching up on my blogging and someone had posted an inspiring piece of scripture, so I figured I would pass it along to you folks. After all, The Bible is the best book that you could possibly ever read.

Isaiah 40:28-31 "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

Have a super day!!!

~The Literary Maidens

To Read, Or Not To Read . . . ?

Adventure awaits.{Written By Miss Bethany Ann}
Here I am again. In the same place I was several weeks ago. I am sitting on my bed with the excitement of a new library book in my hands. I have heard about this book from various friends and was thrilled to find the library has it for rent. I eagerly checked it out and bring it home and now open it's pages to begin reading. As excitement rushes over me, I begin to read. But I quickly come to a portion of the book I find questionable. I wonder if I should continue with the story. I hope it doesn't get worse and that I can avoid the obvious. I try to realize were my standards go and if this particular situation goes over that line. I get so into the book I feel like I have to find out what happens in the end, and that if I had to stop just because of one..or honestly speaking, several...{little} issues, that I will be haunted forever with the fact of never finishing the book. I sit there, eyes on the book cover and wonder "To read...or not to read?" A simple question it is really, but the complication overwhelms me and I struggle to make a choice. Will I finish it...or will I put it down and return it to the library unfinished. As my soul fights the spiritual battle, my mind wrestles with the path before me. I must choose which fork to go down. To finish it or not.


Ladies, I simply cannot tell you how often I've been in this position. Over and over I find myself in this predicament. I can think of several times were I was faced with the simple question "Will I continue reading or not" and though it sounds simple, only requiring a "yes" or "no", I find that at the time this question seems more complicated the more I think about it. I'm sure you can all relate, we have all had a time when we were faced with this decision. Sometimes we choose the right one, sometimes the wrong. I've had both happen to me with different outcomes in each situation. I've had times I questioned the book, but did finish it and found I liked it and it was within my standards. But I've also had times I questioned the story and continued on only to find that later on the issues were only snowballing and that far into the story I was so intent on finding out what happens that I have to rip myself from the book with a broken heart. Were if I'd have only put it down and not finished the book to begin with I'd have saved the heart ache that I really knew was coming. 

In today's age there are so many books out there. Some are just as evil and bad and some are good and helpful. The tricky part is knowing were each book falls and if it is safe to read according to your personal guidelines or standards. I fine that sometimes though the library can be a very beneficial source, the simplicity of being able to check virtually any book out for free causes me not to carefully speculate and evaluate a book before checking it out as I would do if I were paying for it. Since I can get it for free, I wonder if that one issue that pops up on the back cover description is really all that bad, and if I don't set standards ahead of time the lines get blurred and I compromise. Were as, normally if I'd have to pay for a book, I'd evaluate it closer and tell myself to put it back on the rack, the easiness of just checking it out makes me compromise. And we all know that with each compromise we lower the standards bit by bit to were eventually we have a big downhill snowball that is virtually impossible to stop and we are left with no standards at all. No one wants to be in this place, but how do we avoid it while still reading good books?

One of the things I've learned recently that saves a whole lot of trouble and complication when deciding whether a book is profitable reading material or not is to simple confront your parents. I know it sounds crazy, but when it all comes down to the wire, if you'd ask yourself  "Would I be nervous if my parents read this book's back cover?" would simplify our questions and make the difficult question much, much easier to answer. I've recently committed myself to having my mom look over all library books before I check them out. In the past, I've skipped over this step because (a) I didn't think mom would approve and tried to get away with it knowing I probably shouldn't check it out but go ahead anyway. or (b) because I didn't think it necessary because I heard from all my friends that it was a clean book. But either way most of the time mom would ask what I was reading and I'd get "caught" and have to pry myself away from the book when I could have easily avoided this with asking her in the first place. Usually, when I make the choice to read a book or not, I have to make the choice before I start it. Because I will usually get so involved with the book I can't just put it down half way through and not have a burning passion to finish the story, so I might as well confront the issue before hand to save the ripping myself from the book part later on which hurts more in the end. I'd highly encourage you to have your reading life something you actively share with your parents. Tell them what you are reading, share your thoughts on it. Ask them what their standards for you are, so that you know ahead of time if something is acceptable within their guidelines or not. Be open with them and don't hide anything. Chances are if you are hiding it from parents, you shouldn't be reading it.

Looks so cozy!Ladies, if you are finding yourself having a hard time to know whether you should read a certain book or not, to simply things just ask yourself these questions:
  • Is it something I'd be afraid of my parents finding me reading? In my heart-of-hearts, do I know that mom or dad would say a definite "no" to this? Am I beating around the bush, knowing they'd say no, but trying to get away with it anyways? If so then honestly, is this wholesome for your reading habits and your relationship with your parents?
  • Would I feel okay reading this book out loud? If not, then more than likely it's not something you want to fill your mind with because you know, you are what you read. The more you put it in your brain, the more you think about it and eventually, it will weasel it's way into your words and actions.
  • Would you want your future daughter reading it? Ouch.
  • If you are contemplating whether certain actions of a character are okay to read, {for example, harshness with siblings, feminism world-view, disrespect for parents, etc.} then ask yourself if you'd be okay with these actions being your own? If you were that character, would you freak out at the thought of your friends and family seeing you act this way? Remember, what you fill your mind with will become a part of you.
  • Would you be okay with Jesus seeing you read this book? Because, really, Christ is all-knowing and sees everything! There is no hiding with Christ. He knows our hearts motive and we will be judged one day.
So really, shed in this light, is that complicated question so complicated anymore? In the end it all boils down to whether we will obey Christ and our parents or whether we will give way to temptation. We must choose, and I pray that that choice would be the first.

Very true!
Whatever your standards, dear sisters, always stand firm and remember that in the end, if you don't finish a book it's not the end of the world. I often have to tell myself that the world WILL continue to go round even if I don't finish a book. :) And you know what, in the end, it's okay. Because will it be something I regret at the end of my life? Will I really look at my life several years from now and think "Man, I really wish I'd have finished that book! I'd totally have something to talk about with my girlfriends now!" Will I wish I'd have spent my time differently? Would I have wished I'd have spent that time with my family or with Jesus?    Remember that only what it done for Christ will last. Keep up the good fight!
~The Literary Maidens

Monday, October 29, 2012

Interview With New Literary Maiden Blogger, Miss Bethany W.

Dear Readers,
As you all probably know, we have recently added a new book reviewer to our team! We decided to ask her a series of questions so that you can get to know her better and understand how she thinks as far as books are concerned. So here we go!

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The Literary Maiden- What's your full name?
Bethany- My full name is Bethany Ann W. My Mom and I share the middle name Ann. :)

The Literary Maiden- What was the first book that you ever read?
Bethany- Hmmm...well to be honest I don't remember! :P But I do remember learning to read. I have been homeschooled all my school-age life, so my Mom taught me to read using the book Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons. {And you know, now I'm using the same book my Mom used, to help teach my soon to be 5 year old little brother to read! But, since we've used the same book to teach all my parents 6 kids to read, we have resorted to duck tape to ensure it from falling apart. :)}I vivdly remember not liking it or even having a desire to learn to read. But once I did get interested in it, and started to read books on my own, I was crazy about books. Get me in a library, and their was no stopping me. Now, I'm a total book-nerd and I jokingly tell my friends that theirs no hope for me in my book-craziness. :)

The Literary Maiden- What is your favorite book?
Bethany- Tough question! I once heard this quote that said "Having to choose a favorite book is like asking a mother which child is her favorite." :) I've got many favoriote books, but some of my top favs include The Holy Bible {My family reads the New Internation Version}, The Life of Faith Series by Martha Finley, The River of Time Series by Lisa Bergren, Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, The Kincaid Brides Series by Mary Connealy, The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund, The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden, and countless of other books.

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The Literary Maiden- What is your favorite book genre? 
Bethany- Easy, anything Christian fiction. :) But more specifically, Amish fiction, fantasy, contemporary, and I also enjoy Christian memoirs.

The Literary Maiden- Favorite Author?
Bethany-  Some of favs are Lisa Bergren, Jody Hedlund, and Elizabeth Prentiss, and Mary Connealy, though I have lots.

The Literary Maiden- What was the last book that you finished reading?
Bethany- The last book I read was The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden {I LOVED it!} and I'm currently reading Tributary by Lisa T. Bergren, which I'm also loving.

The Literary Maiden-  Explain how you rate books. Here at "The Literary Maidens" we use the five star system, how would you describe your use of one, two, three, four, and five stars and what they mean?
Bethany- 5 stars= Amazing book, one of my absolute favs, would totally recommend it. 4 stars= Really good read, really enjoyed it. 3 stars= Nice one time read, enjoyed it. 2 stars= Didn't really like this book. 1 star= Hated it and recommend you stay far away from it.
Miss Bethany

The Literary Maiden- How many books do you usually read a week?

Bethany- It depends on the length of the book/s, how interesting it is, and the amount of extra time I have. :) But usually on average 2-4.

The Literary Maiden- We understand that you contribute to a few other blogs, how long have you been blogging?
Bethany- I have been blogging for a couple years now and have had several blogs. The ones I am still blogging on are of Reflection of Grace, which is a ministry blog I do with a friend who lives in California were we encourage ladies in their walk with Christ and Giveaways of Blessing where I host product reviews and giveaways regularly. Feel free to check them out!

The Literary Maiden- Is there anything that you would like to share about yourself?
Bethany- I will be 16 on November 17th, 2012 and live with my wonderful parents, five younger siblings, and two spunky dogs in East Texas. I've been homeschooled my whole life and love it! I've known Madi, the main Literary Maiden, since I was three, and we have always been good friends and fellow book-nerds. :) I enjoy reading {You probably had no idea :)}, letter writing, hanging out with friends, car rides, cooking, crafting, computer stuff, and photography. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and love Him so much, I am not worhty of His love, yet He proceeds to abundantly bless me in more ways than I can imagine. If you are interested in visiting me on the Web, then check out my Good Reads, Twitter, and Pinterest pages! I hope and pray that my book reviews posted here on The Literary Maiden would be helpful to you ladies, I've experienced the blessing of hearing what other ladies have to say about certain books before they read them and hope that I can pass that on to you readers!  Have a blessed day! Bethany 

We hope you will check in every so often to see reviews from Bethany and the rest of our team, have a wonderful day! ~The Literary Maidens

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Giveaway Winner

And the winner of "The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club" by Wanda E. Brunstetter is . . . Carol Wong! Congratulations! I have e-mailed you about shipping details. If we don't hear from you in seven days, the prize will go to another follower. Have a great day!

~The Literary Maidens

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club" Book Give-away!

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club (Review & Giveaway!)

Title: The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club
Author: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Bethany's Source: Review Book
Madi's Source: Gift
Number Of Pages: 312
ISBN: 978-1-60260-811-5
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Publication Date: 2012
Bethany's Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
Madi's Rating: 3 1/2 Out Of 5 Stars

Description (Taken From
Join the club of unlikely quilters who show up for Amish widow Emma Yoder’s quilting classes. A troubled young woman, a struggling couple, a widower, a rough and tough biker, and a preacher’s wife make up the mismatched lot. But as their problems begin to bind them together like the scraps of fabric stitched together in a quilt, they learn to open up and lend a helping hand. Is this what God had in mind to heal hurting hearts and create beauty from fragments?


Bethany's Review:
This book had a nice balance of both Amish fiction and contemporary fiction. It is about a widow, Emma Yoder who loves to quilt and offers quilting classes in her home. But boy, does she get an interesting mix of people who attend her classes! :) This book was very good, and had some unexpected twists I didn't see coming! Though I knew what to expect from the book's description, there were certain parts I didn't anticipate and love them! The ending was probably my favorite part of the book as it was very interesting and kept my attention well, though the rest of the book was good too. The character that surprised me most, would probably be Jan Sweet. Don't let his name fool you though! When I read his name and put it together with the books cover image of a rough and tough biker dude with tattoos and an obviously difficult past, it intrigued me! I was even more surprised to read the rest of his story in the book and think it added a nice touch to the story and helped me see the importance of not judging a book by it's cover! Emma, well she was probably another of my favorite characters. She is just such a sweetie, someone everyone wants for a grandma, whom I loved! She had such a sweet heart for the Lord and was always seeking to help others!

One thing I liked in this story is how Emma and her class full of "half-stitched quilters" became like a close family. I loved seeing their relationships grow and how they were able to help and encourage each other in the Lord, while learning to sew. At the beginning of the book every character found themselves in a difficult place in life, and I enjoyed seeing how that played out and what happened in the end. The story had a lot of nice twists that you normally wouldn't see coming, and I really enjoyed it. 

Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it for those who like both contemporary and Amish fiction with a nice, cozy-feeling that appeals to both old and young alike.

NOTE: I received a copy The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club, free of charge, courtesy of Barbour Publishers and Wanda Brunstetter, for the purpose of reviewing it. All thoughts are my own and 100 percent true. I was not paid to do this review, and the fact that I got a free book did not effect my opinion of the book.
Madi's Review:
This book was . . . interesting. I don't think that I have ever read anything like it. It mixes the lives of seven different people and intertwines them together. Which was interesting considering how different each person is from the other people in their quilting group. Here's a little something about the main characters:

Emma- An elderly Amish lady who is set on being independent. She starts a quilting class as  a way to make ends meet, but ends up growing extremely close to all of her pupils. She wants to teach them not only the art of quilting, but also teach them a few life lessons. She firmly believes that God put each of these people in her path for a purpose.

Beatrice "Star" Stephens- A girl who is trying to make her way in the music world, without any support from her mother. She likes to wear dark colors and the only person who ever loved and understood her had died a few months before. She knows that no one will ever care for her the way her grandmother did. Until she meets Miss Emma.

Pam and Stuart Johnston- A couple with some major issues in their marriage. Stuart likes being outdoors and watching sports, Pam is prissy and prefers a shopping trip any day. This couple finds kindred spirits in their fellow class mates, and with the help of The good Lord they get their marriage back on track.

Jan Sweet- Don't let his name fool you, this is one tough biker dude (tattoos and all!). But, after you get past his rough-around-the-edges exterior, you'll find that Jan is just an over sized teddy bear.

Ruby Lee Williams- An African/American preachers bride who signs up for the quilting class just to escape the problems at the church. Will this stress ever go away?

These people come together to learn to quilt, but end up being one messed up half-stitched family.

On to the Pros and Cons.

-God is no stranger to the pages of this novel.

-The characters are sweet people who make you wanna just pinch their cheeks.

-This book is a nice blend of Amish and Contemporary. I have often seen authors struggle to connect the two totally different worlds, and I'm impressed with how well Brunstetter did with it.

-The plot was interesting enough to keep me interested for most of the book. It definitely through a few curve balls that I didn't see coming.

The only con that I can think of was that:
-The book was just a tad bit slow going at first, but it quickly picked up.

My Overall Impression:
This book was definitely worth the time it took to read it. There wasn't a whole lot of suspense, but some people do like that in a book, so I'll leave it to you to determine whether or not that's a good thing. Despight the lack of suspense, it did have it's suprises. I give this book three and a half stars.

Enter Below For A Free Paperback Of This Book! Good Luck!

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Princess Diaries



{Review  By Abbie}


Title: The Princess Diaries
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: 2000
Pages: 228
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Description (Taken From

A princess on her own . . .
Mia has been invited to speak at a gala for Domina Rei, an elite society of powerful businesswomen. But what could she possibly have to say? Now that Michael has broken things off, Mia can barely get out of bed, and her parents are making her see a "therapist." School, where Lilly still refuses to speak to her and Lana suddenly wants to be bff, is a total nightmare. Even J.P.'s efforts to cheer Mia up (he's being really sweet ) aren't helping. What's a royal to do? Just when things couldn't get worse, Mia uncovers an old family secret, a long-forgotten diary of a teenage princess of Genovia. It could be just the thing to help Mia write her speech--but it might also change the fate of the Renaldos forever.


Mia Thermopolis is pretty sure there's nothing worse than being a five-foot-nine, flat-chested freshman, who also happens to be flunking Algebra. Is she ever in for a surprise! First Mom announces that she's dating Mia's Algebra teacher, then Dad has to go and reveal that he is the crowned prince of Genovia. And guess who still doesn't have a date for the Cultural Diversity Dance?

My Thoughts On The Book:
If you like to laugh you will love this book!!! You will relate to Mia, who like all of us has trouble fitting in! But, we aren't all a princess of a small country. I love this book because you can relate to Mia. And just like her, I am is terrible at algebra! You get to learn that being a princess is not all glam and gowns, but trying to decide who are your real friends and who are the phonies! Which is somthing that we all have to do on a regular basis in life. This book will make you laugh, cry and relate to what Miss Mia is going through. I hope if you read this book it will become a favorite to you as it has to me and my sister!