Thursday, August 29, 2013

What Once Was Lost By Kim Vogel Sawyer Book Review

// What Once Was Lost //
By Kim Vogel Sawyer

{Review By Madi}

Title: What Once Was Lost: A Novel
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Source: Review Book from
Blogging For Books
Number of Pages:
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Publication Date: September 17th, 2013

Madi's's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

// Book Synopsis //

In What Once Was Lost, award winning author, Kim Vogel Sawyer, invites readers to join a woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, and a man standing apart—as they embrace a God with new plans for them.

A small Kansas farm is the setting as Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals, who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house inhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.”

With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between he and Tommy.

Christina begins to question her leadership ability, when obstacles pile up against her repairing the farm, wondering if she can fulfill the mission to which she's dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Will Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God?

Kim Vogel Sawyer// About The Author //
Kim Vogel Sawyer is a best-selling author highly acclaimed for her gentle stories of hope. More than one million copies of her books are currently in print with awards including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas, where she and her retired military husband, Don, run a bed-and-breakfast inn with the help of their feline companions. She savors time with her daughters and grandchildren.
// Special Links //
 // Madi's Book Review //
I have read several of Kim Vogel Sawyer's novels, and I wasn't too fond of some of them, but I also adored others. She is the kind of author that has a very distinct writing style, and you have to be able to appreciate that when reading her books. I know that Bethany (my co-blogger) just adores Sawyer, and is always anxious to get her hands on her newest books. I, on the other hand never thought of her as a favorite author. Until now. What Once Was Lost made me realize how precious her books are. Every one of them has a moral to it, and every one of them has their own unique style. This book was so filled with compassion that it made me want to jump into the book and experience this story first-hand. I love how the author incorporated the message of Christ in the pages of this new favorite of mine. I loved how she demonstrated how Christians should act toward "outsiders".  If we are the body of Christ, we need to reach out to those in need, Christian or not. The Bible says that "You will know them by their fruit", and this story just enforces that in a way that will almost bring tears to your eyes.
Christina Willems "inherited" the poorhouse that her father maintained for most of his life. She is willing to shelter anyone who needs it, as long as they act in a respectable manner. She has a heart for children and is very gracious. It is her graciousness that lead her to take young, blind Tommy under her wing. So much so that she smothered him and made him feel worthless, and like a burden to others. When the poorhouse burns down and is uninhabitable she is forced to scatter her dear little "family" all over town, including Tommy. No one in town will shelter Tommy, everyone is at loss for how to act toward him because of his disability and the scars on his face. So Christina takes ten year old Tommy to her last resort, Levi Jonnson.
Levi Jonnson owns the local Mill, and lives a very solitary existence. He has let past hurts make him bitter and hard-hearted. He has given up on God, himself, and the hope of ever having a family. And that's the way he likes it (or at least that's what he tells himself). When pretty Christina brings Tommy to his door and implores him to take care of him until further arrangements can be made, he balks. He has a business to run, he doesn't have the time to nanny a blind boy. When forced with no other choice, Levi gives his consent, but he can't stay forever! He refuses to molly-coddle the boy, and as a result Tommy has more self-confidence than ever in his abilities to care for himself. Why, Levi even lets him do small jobs around the house and his mill. Tommy comes to love living with Mr Jonnson, and when he is forced to leave, bad things happen.
Will these three ever find an even ground? How will Christina care for her charges without the mission boards approval? Will Levi ever come out of his shell and allow God to heal his hurts? Read it to find out!

/ / My Favorite Quotes From What Once Was Lost / /

"Remember, they're only doing what they think is best for you. Even if you can't appreciate what they do, you can appreciate why they do it. "
"She didn't want to be ensnared by fretfulness. Her father had often preached on the futility of worry. 'Worry', he'd said, ' is telling God you don't trust him.' "
~ Madi For The Literary Maidens

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Born of Persusasion By Jessica Dotta Book Review

17703150// Born of Persuasion //

The Price of Privilege Trilogy // Book 1 

By Jessica Dotta
{Reviews By Bethany & Madi}

Title: Born of Persuasion
Series: Price of Privilege Trilogy, Book 1
Author: Jessica Dotta
Source: Review Book from the Publisher and Author
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 1414375557
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: September 1st, 2013
Bethany's Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Madi's Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

// Book Description //
 "The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly."

// Bethany's Book Review //
Jessica Dotta has written a page turning debut novel, that is sure to capture the reader and take them back in time to the ever-charming world of Jane Austen. I, for one, think this is the most sound and strong debut novel I've ever read and eagerly await with much anticipation the second installment in the trilogy, which is to be released next summer!
Born of Persuasion is a very thrilling ride back in time, full of unexpected twists and turns and sometimes even full "U" turns you had no notice of until it happened! I loved so many things about this book, but the biggest thing was probably the writing style that just fitted so elegantly with the time period and story line - which was absolutely splendid by the way. When I first began to read this novel I was in awe of what wonderful writing Jessica used to describe this story, and I just loved the writing style! Oh. My. Goodness. How do I even go about describing it? It was so different from anything I've ever read - but in such a good way! It reminded me so much of Jane Austen but minus the boring-ness of constant unimportant details that clog up the story line without enough detail about the characters and setting, which I've personally though of Jane Austen's work. {Which is just a personal preference of Austen's novels, in my personal opinion of experience when reading Sense and Sensibility some time ago. Though it's been some times since I sat down and read any of her works, so my opinion could have since then altered.}
I loved the way she would described things, or bring back a faint memory from the past and compare it to the characters feelings at that moment, or how she would compare things to a characters feelings in such a unique way that makes you sure to not forget the line - every aspect of this author's enchanting writing style just added tremendously to the story, and made it bright and vivid for the reader. Ladies, this is the kind of writing I could see being the next Jane Austen, to be read by many in the future, even far after the book was written, leaving a lasting legacy.
I think the reason why this story was so masterfully put together, and the descriptions so vivid and colorful is because of the fact that Jessica Dotta has spent years with this story, constantly forming  and shaping it to the novel you'd read today. I sometimes feel like authors who have to produce exciting novels in short periods of time, make the value or quality of the story decrease, since the time needed to invest in the story wasn't there due to ever-encroaching deadlines. But with this story nothing could be further from the truth! Author Jessica Dotta formed the beginnings of this story when she was nineteen, according to the letter to the reader at the end of the story, and now several years later we get to see the fruit of years of devotion and shaping in this unique trilogy that bears the mark of a very well thought out story, only produced through an abundance of time.
My only complaint with this novel, and the reason why I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars even though it made my favorite reads of 2013 list, is because of the mature content containing several intimately descriptive scenes that are for mature readers alone. Just the way this story is written requires the mature content to make it what it is, and while that may sound a bit off, you'd understand what I mean if you have read this book yourself. While you may not like it, it has to be there or the story just isn't the same. While the mature content isn't praised or supported, it has to be there to make the story sound real to the time period and to match with the characters - though that doesn't mean I was comfortable with the details and extent of that intimacy between the characters. I feel like while I know that this was certainly a big part of the book, I would have liked to see a little less detail, which I don't think would have lowered the quality of the novel, if done properly. There were quite honestly a couple scenes that I felt went way above my personal level of comfort, when reading about two characters who are "in love" {Or are they??}, and though they somewhat added to the overall characters in a way of proving their true colors, I didn't really like how descriptive certain scenes got; where it was obvious what was happening and not something you'd want to read aloud. So I'd highly recommend that only mature readers read this book, probably around the age of 15+, although it depends on personal standards.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and am simply on the edge of my seat to find out what happens in book two, Mark of Distinction which releases in the summer of 2014! Born of Persuasion was a solid beginning to this trilogy, and now I can't wait to continue the adventure! This story is sure to be a treasured novel to any Austen or Bronte fan, and one you'll want to read over and over again - only to find that with each time the story is re-read you realize new things and see unique aspects that you didn't catch the first time!

A sincere thanks goes to Jessica Dotta and the folks at Tyndale for providing me with a copy of Born of Persuasion to read and review! I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed are my own, and completely honest and unbiased.

// Madi's Book Review //
Seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston was raised by her mother while her father (who was known world wide for his views as an atheist) was always abroad. The last days of her dear mother's life were spent in pure terror. Every time the mail came, every time someone knocked on their door, every time some one other than Julia approached her she shrank back into herself and shut out the world. Then one terrible night Julia was woken in the middle of the night and went to check on her mother in her chambers, where she tripped over Mrs  Elliston's corpse. Completely convinced that her mother had committed suicide, Julia goes to her only refuge: Am Meer. She had grown up at Am Meer. She spent all of her summers there, she had even gotten engaged there. But when she arrives she finds that things are ever changing, even at Am Meer.
Jessica Dotta has weaved a story so full of feeling that I know it came from her heart. I felt like I had lost a dear friend when I finished Born of Persuasion. The characters just felt so real. It was like I was sitting in the room with Julia and Edward through their struggles. Every scene was described in such vivid detail that my colorful imagination had no trouble envisioning it in my mind. The mystery aspect of this book started right off the bat, and I was hooked. The plot had a new twist almost at the end of every page, every time I thought I had it all figured out something else would happen to throw me off. I finished it in a day. I would literally have to take reading breaks in order to absorb all that was happening here. I only have one complaint.
The only thing that I wasn't too fond of about this book was the romance level. It got pretty intense at times. I understand that certain things had to happen in order for a characters true colors to come to light, but I felt like a few things could have been left out without compromising the story. I mean, nothing really bad happened, but I would read it first before handing it off to your young teen. My recommended age for this novel would be 16+.
If you have a high(er) romance tolerance, and you are looking for your new favorite book, you've found it. This is the kind of book that you read, put it back on the shelf long enough to forget the big details and then read it again. I simply adored it. I can't wait to read the next two books in this trilogy.

A sincere thanks goes to Jessica Dotta and the folks at Tyndale for providing me with a copy of Born of Persuasion to read and review! I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed are my own, and completely honest and unbiased.

~The Literary Maidens

Saturday, August 24, 2013

On Distant Shores By Sarah Sundin Blog Tour

/ / O n   D i s t a n t   S h o r e s / /

{R e v i e w   B y   M a d i}
Title: On Distant Shores
Author: Sarah Sundin
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 426
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2082-7
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2013
Madi's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
/ / B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / /
Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A comfortable boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie’s cozy life gets decidedly more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson. Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancĂ©e. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they’ve made?

"With her signature attention to detail and her talent for bringing characters together, Sarah Sundin pens another exciting tale in her series featuring WWII flight nurses. Fans new and old will find in On Distant Shores the perfect combination of emotion, action, and romance.
/ / M a d i ' s   B o o k   R e v i e w / /
 Georgie is a stubborn woman from the South who has trouble making her own decisions. As a flight nurse in the second World War her hesitation could cost many men their lives, and because of that, fear is her constant companion. What if she makes a wrong decision in the middle of a life or death crisis and kills everyone on her plane? After being through a couple plane crashes, her supervising officer decides to ground her until further notice. Can anyone help her keep her head when things go crazy?
John Hutchinson (also known as "Hutch"), is a pharmacist that works alongside Georgie, but he doesn't get the same respect that she does. How do nurses outrank the pharmacist that get them what they need? Hutch becomes obsessed with getting into a program for pharmacist that will promote him to officer. He's downright tired of people calling him "boy" and pushing him around when he is the one with a college education and a family business back home. Hutch lets his pride turn to bitterness, and he loses everything and everyone that is important to him.
These two not only help each other through their individual struggles, but also the ones that they face as a couple. Everything works out well in the end, but boy do they have to take a bumpy ride to get there! Hutch isn't even allowed to be seen in public with his girl because of the difference in their rank, and that is one of the things that bug him the most. He's still a human being for peets sake!
Now, just because of my description, don't think that Hutch is some spoiled rotten Yankee (though at times he does act like one). He's actually a very quiet man intent on doing his job to the best of his ability.
How can a charmingly Southern woman and a quiet hard working Yankee make each other happy even in the midst of a war? You'll have to read it yourself to find out.
 This book is officially one of my favorites. Though I am a sucker for historical books, some novels set in wartime (or MOST as far as I'm concerned) can get a little bland. It becomes a stream of historical facts thrown into a couple battles scenes. This book doesn't do that. It was extremely easy to connect with the characters, and the plot was carried out flawlessly. It was also nice to see the battlefield through a woman's perspective. Though it never got as bloody and gory as I know that it is out there, you still got a glimpse of what our men and women in the military go through every day. Reading this book made me even more grateful  for what American soldiers do for me, and I hope to read more books like this in the future.
Note: I was sent a complimentary print copy of this book by the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not paid to review this book and all thoughts expressed in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Writing: 8 Days To Journaling

/ / 8 Days To Journaling / /

{Post By Madi}

Have you ever looked at some cute pin on Pinterest of a journal and thought, "Yeah Right. Ain't nobody got time fo' dat!"? I used to be that way too. I think we all go through phases of wanting to keep a journal, but we give up the effort a week or so later because, hey, it's a busy season of life. Or maybe you're like me and you are just too lazy to keep up with something like that. But about seven or eight years ago, I was going through a rough spot, and I needed somewhere to write down the thoughts in my head, cause if I said them out loud my Mamma was gonna give me a good old fashioned wooping (I would have deserved it). So I got this really pretty journal with wild horses on the front (horses were always my favorite animal), and that's when I realized the benefits of having somewhere to write my own personal thoughts. Once you get into the habit of using your journal, it will be your forever friend. I have gotten to where I only write in my own journal three or four times a month, but it's still a good way to keep my thoughts grounded and my head on straight. You could also use a journal for organizational purposes, but you're barking up the wrong tree if you are planning on asking me about how to stay organized. If you want to start keeping a journal, I would encourage you to dedicate fifteen or twenty minutes to it a day at first, and then when you know you couldn't live without it (and I'm absolutely sure you will reach that conclusion), space out your entries a little bit more if you have a super busy schedule. Here are some topic ideas to get you started:
 Your Thoughts on Social Media - What is your opinion on the amount of time the average person (or just you) spends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, etc.? Is it posing unnecessary distractions, or creating bad influences?
Favorite Quotes/Bible Verses - Write down some of your favorite quotes and Bible verses and why they speak to you the way that they do.
Give Thanks - Write about some things in your life that you are thankful for. What are some things that God has blessed you with? How can you show thanks for these things? This also a good exercise for having a positive outlook throughout your day.
Current Circumstances - What's going on in your life? Is anything special happing, something really exciting? Or maybe you are kind of stuck in a rut. Maybe you could make a list of things that you could do to make a more productive day or deal with arising problems.
Keep A Prayerful Heart - Take a moment to record some prayer request, praise for your Lord and King, or anything that you feel the need to discuss with God.
Goals/Ambitions - Everyone needs a goal; something to work towards. What is something that you want to accomplish in your life, or even in this day?
Politics - Uh-oh. Red flag just went up. Wouldn't want to say anything politically incorrect. This is a journal entry that I would greatly encourage you to make. Do a little research on the American economy, and then share your thoughts on the subject on paper.
Be A Blessing - I know that if you live in the South, you bless a lot of hearts, but what are some ways that you can actually affect someone's life in a positive way? Make a list of names of people that you know, and beside each name or initial write down something that you can do to be a blessing to that person, and then try to do it!
 Well, there you have it! If you make a conscious effort to spend a pre-selected amount of time in your journal, it will eventually become a habit. I hope this post was an encouragement, and I hope you got a blessin' out of it.
~Madilyn For The Literary Maidens
Note: Did you find this post helpful? Do you have any ideas for a post that you would like to see from us? Just shoot us an email, or leave on comment!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

God In Slow Motion By Mike Nappa Book Review

/ / G o d   I n   S l o w   M o t i o n / /

{Review By Madi}
Title: God In Slow Motion
Author: Mike Nappa
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 217
ISBN: 978-1-4002-0462-5
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
Madi's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
/ / Book Description / /
Jesus was not in a hurry.

He had only three years of public ministry--three years to heal and teach and change the world--but the Bible never tells us he was rushing through them.

We are the ones who rush through them. Catching the gist of this parable. Smiling at the punch line in that dialogue. We can race through the Gospels in hours, fully briefed on Christ's life, but hardly changed.

Until we sit down with Mike Nappa's "God in Slow Motion." Nappa hasn't carved up the Gospels for quick review or sliced them into tiny pieces for academic study. He has taken ten important moments from the life of Christ and reveled in them, chewing on their words, relating them to life, comparing them with modern culture, allowing the Spirit to work, and letting Christ change him.

The result is a rich, personal, and biblical narrative about Jesus and how His purposes unfold, then and now. See how God is sneaky about his glory. How he presents evidence for belief. How he can be comforting and terrifying at once. This is the "good news" in all its many-splendored wonder: the life of Christ, frame by frame.

And it is worth every minute because it will change you too.
/ / Madi's Book Review / /
This was probably the best book that I have read this year. When I read my Bible, I so often overlook the little details that can make all the difference. Sometimes, I gloss over that one short sentence that defines a passage. In this book Mike Nappa takes a closer look at some of the experiences of Christ, and he makes you take a look at the smaller details that truly convinced me of God's great love in a whole different way. Some parts of the Bible aren't discussed in church as much as others, and often important parts of Christ's ministry is left untaught. I can tell that Mike spends a lot of time studying his Bible. He would have to in order to write a book like this one. I have made it a personal goal to spend more time in God's word daily over the past year or so, and I wish that I could have read this book when I was going through the gospels. I received so much insight from God In Slow Motion that I will never look at certain scripture passages the same way again. I feel like I gained so much understanding of what Christ meant when he was doing little things of service toward others.
One thing that I really liked about this book is that the author gave great comparisons, so that I could better understand what doing something like what Jesus was doing could be interpreted. For example: When he was touching on the passage where Jesus was washing the feet of his disciples, he compared it to ordering a cup of coffee. You wouldn't just walk up to someone and say "Hey! I would like a mocha latte with chocolate and caramel drizzled on the top. And make it snappy." That would be insulting. Back in the days of Jesus' life on earth washing some ones feet was even worse. It was more along the lines of "scrubbing prison toilets". When people of that era wanted their feet washed, they would usually take care of it themselves. But some of the more wealthy would require their servants to do the dirty work of scrubbing out the mud from between their toes. Nasty, huh? They wouldn't even let certain servants take on the chore. The Jewess servants stood aside while the lowly esteemed servants washed feet. But Jesus did that for His disciples. Not because He wanted to prove to them that He was great, because, hey, He is God after all. No, He washed their feet because He already IS great.
That is just one example of the many things I learned through reading this book, and I hope to find another book like this one soon. Jewels like this don't come around a lot you know. I would encourage anyone that is trying to deepen their relationship with Christ by understanding him better to read this book. I promise you this; you won't be disappointed. I'm so grateful to have this book on my shelf. I know that when the goin' gets rough, this is one that I will reread. It's such an encouragement!
 ~Madi For The Literary Maidens

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gladness For Mourning By June Caedmon Book Review

/ / G l a d n e s s   F o r   M o u r n i n g / /

{Review By Madi}
Title: Gladness For Mourning
Author: June Caedmon
Source: Review Book From The Author
Number Of Pages: 232
ISBN: 9781484175064
Publisher: Wendyhill Media
Publication Date: 2003
Madi's Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
/ / Book Description / /
A war that divides families is a particular kind of evil. Victoria Elliot can't bear the thought of her husband and father meeting on the battlefield -on different sides! As the war drags on, Victoria falls into a deep despair, eventually turning to the arms of another man for comfort. When Sam Elliott is captured and held on charges of treason, he learns that his home lies in ruins and his wife is guilty of a treason of another kind. Will they find forgiveness and love among the ashes? Luann Cantrell has no such illusions about love and forgiveness. She will never forgive the man who destroyed her family. But guilt calls her out of hiding to tend the wounded and in the process she meets a woman who teaches her about grace, and a man who just may convince her to open her heart to love. For Dutch, the war is an opportunity to begin again. He's received God's forgiveness, but still dreams of hearing the words from the one whose life was forever changed by the mark of his sword. But there are those who would use the war to further their own cause for revenge. Before the end, both Dutch and Luann will suffer at the hands of men who unjustly hate them. Through it all, they will see God working in the midst of their circumstances, teaching them to praise Him and ultimately... to forgive.

                                                     / / Author Bio / /                                                   
The author began writing under the pen name June Caedmon in July of 2002. Since then she has completed seven novels, four of which have been published. She is an avid reader and enjoys the research that her writing style demands. She has little with which to commend herself and relies solely on God for her inspiration, wisdom and guidance. The author lives with her family in the Hill Country of Texas.
/ / Madi's Book Review / /
This is the second book that I have read by June Caedmon (the first one being "Heart's Desire"), and I loved them both. Her stories are interesting, and her characters are just perfect. I loved how she kind of continued the story of Melinda from the first book alongside Victoria's tale. Melinda is as hardheaded and quick thinking as ever.
We are first introduced to Victoria through the first book in this literary duo "Heart's Desire", but this book is where you really start to get into her story, since the first book was about her now sister-in-law. Victoria Elliot is the wife of Doctor Sam Elliot, and she is in charge of running the family plantation while the men are away at war. She is missing her husband and grieving the loss of her first child when a troupe of soldiers come to rest and heal at her home
The Elliot brothers (Sam and John) are both away fighting for what they believe in. One is for the South, one for the North. Will their political opinions split their family apart, or will the family stick together in the end?
Luann is a woman scarred by the death of her family. When she joins a convent she finds peace and love in her savior Jesus Christ, but will his forgiveness of her sins encourage her to do the same for the man that did this to her, or will bitterness capture her heart and soul?
Dutch just wants Lu's forgiveness. He has repented and accepted Christ, but he can never forget what he did to this young woman, and he will do anything and everything to make it right.
"Gladness For Mourning" is such a wonderful sequel to "Heart's Desire"! I was so excited for the opportunity to read it. And the cover is just precious! It represents the story so well! I loved seeing the war between the states in this perspective. It's not often that you read a book about two families living under the same roof with such a drastic difference of opinions on the subject of politics and war. Melinda is smuggling slaves to freedom while her brother-in-law fights for the opposite side. It's quite an interesting read! My only critique is that the transitions between characters and scenes could have been a little bit smoother, but overall I really enjoyed it! And I collected a few quotes for my quote book while reading this as well! Here are a few of my
/ / Favorite Quotes From This Book  / /
"I believe in the Union, but the government must know it's place."
"Remember, Luann, he does not need your forgiveness to be saved. Only belief in Jesus offers salvation. Your judgment of this man will not change his fate, only yours."
"You cannot become the woman He created you to be until you forgive."
(For more book quotes, check out one of our Quote Book posts).
 / / Credits / /
A big thank you to author June Caedmon for supplying me with a copy of Gladness For Mourning to read and review. I have enjoyed working with you, and I hope to read more of your books in the future!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What Once Was Lost By Kim Vogel Sawyer Book Review

What Once Was Lost: A Novel// What Once Was Lost //
By Kim Vogel Sawyer
{Review By Bethany}
 Title: What Once Was Lost: A Novel
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Source: Review Book from
Blogging For Books
Number of Pages:
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Publication Date: September 17th, 2013

Bethany's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

// Book Synopsis //

In What Once Was Lost, award winning author, Kim Vogel Sawyer, invites readers to join a woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, and a man standing apart—as they embrace a God with new plans for them.

A small Kansas farm is the setting as Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals, who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house inhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.”

With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between he and Tommy.

Christina begins to question her leadership ability, when obstacles pile up against her repairing the farm, wondering if she can fulfill the mission to which she's dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Will Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God?

Kim Vogel Sawyer// About The Author //
Kim Vogel Sawyer is a best-selling author highly acclaimed for her gentle stories of hope. More than one million copies of her books are currently in print with awards including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas, where she and her retired military husband, Don, run a bed-and-breakfast inn with the help of their feline companions. She savors time with her daughters and grandchildren.

// Special Links //
 // Bethany's Book Review //

What Once Was Lost is a cozy read that embarks a gentle journey of sacrifice, healing and hope, leaving any Kim Vogel Sawyer fan pleased!

So when I heard that Kim Vogel Sawyer had another novel that was to be published shortly I immediately wanted to read it! I've read several of her books in the past, and have devoted a healthy chunk of my bookshelf to her novels, which I've sort of collected over the past few months. So naturally, when I saw it up to review, I proceeded to finish the book I was currently reading from that review program so I could post my review and requested to review this novel! The reason why I've proclaimed myself a avid fan of Kim's books is because of the gentle hope-filled story lines she produces that aren't clogged with romance, and a sweet story grounded in faith. To be quite sure, this story is no exception.
Ever since being introduced to Tommy, a young boy who lives at the poor farm with main character Christina, I instantly loved him. He made the story for me, and was such a sweet character that added so much to the story. I love how Kim most often involves a small child in her stories, and they just make the novels wonderful in my opinion. I loved little Tommy so much, and began to feel for his handicap, and really learned a thing or two from him! I was so much a fan of this character, that I was a bit disappointed in how the end of the story turns out for him in his "new life", as I felt it would have been better that he not have gone and stayed with loved ones, but I won't ruin have to read the book for yourself! I found myself liking him the best out of all the other characters, though I did enjoy getting to know the other residents of the poor farm, and see their true colors as they were forced into difficult circumstances.
I really liked the story-line for this novel and how Kim wove the strong fabric of faith and family-first principles into this story. I just loved getting to see how each of the characters grew through their difficulties and got to see their true characters show-because they say that it's only when difficulties come that your true character shows. I also loved how much a part of faith was to these people who had recently had a very hard time, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing each one's faith grow and be strengthened through the hardship. I also loved getting to meet all the different characters in the story and liked how you got to feel like you knew each of them since you got to see so much into their personal lives. Another plus was the way the story ended, some parts I didn't see coming, but I liked how Kim choose to end the story.
There was only one thing that I found not to be to my liking with this book, but when looked at closely, it's not much of a con at all. Since Kim Vogel Sawyer's novels are often more easy going and a bit more slow, I found that it took a lot longer to read this book since I usually read a book in a few days-this one took around a week to read. Something about the easy going aspect didn't necessarily grab my attention, although the story was excellent. I really don't want to say I had to make myself read it at times, although it's true, because once I started reading I loved the story and it wasn't dull, it just didn't jump and grab my attention once I'd set it down. So while it took longer to read, I loved the story.
Overall I'm glad I was able to read What Once Was Lost and would recommend it to historical fiction lovers, who like a clam story of hope without a bunch of romance. Any Kim Vogel Sawyer fan should look into this novel as it's sure to not disappoint!

N O T E :: I'd like to sincerely thank Blogging For Books for providing me with an ARC copy of What Once Was Lost to read and review. I was not paid to do so, and all thoughts expressed in this review are my own and unbiased.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review + Giveaway // Anomaly By Krista McGee

17352033// Anomaly //
By Krista McGee
{Review By Bethany}
Title: Anomaly
Series: Anomaly, Book 1
Author: Krista McGee
Source: Review Book from the Publisher
Number of Pages: 312
ISBN: 1401688721
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: July 9th, 2013
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
// Book Description //

"Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds left to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid.

Thalli is different than others in The State. She feels things. She asks questions. And in the State, this is not tolerated. The Ten scientists who survived the nuclear war that destroyed the world above believe that emotion was at the core of what went wrong—and they have genetically removed it from the citizens they have since created. Thalli has kept her malformation secret from those who have monitored her for most of her life, but when she receives an ancient piece of music to record as her community’s assigned musician, she can no longer keep her emotions secreted away.

Seen as a threat to the harmony of her Pod, Thalli is taken to the Scientists for immediate annihilation. But before that can happen, Berk—her former Pod mate who is being groomed as a Scientist—steps in and persuades the Scientists to keep Thalli alive as a test subject.

The more time she spends in the Scientist’s Pod, the clearer it becomes that things are not as simple as she was programmed to believe. She hears stories of a Designer—stories that fill her mind with more questions: Who can she trust? What is this emotion called love? And what if she isn’t just an anomaly, but part of a greater design?"
 {Taken From}
// a·nom·a·ly //

1. a deviation from the common rule, type, arrangement, or form. Synonyms: abnormality, exception, peculiarity.
 2. someone or something that is abnormal or incongruous, or does not fit in; an anomalous person or thing: With his quiet nature, he was an anomaly in his exuberant family. Synonyms: abnormality, exception, peculiarity.

3. an odd, peculiar, or strange condition, situation, quality, etc.

4. an incongruity or inconsistency.

5. Astronomy . a quantity measured in degrees, defining the position of an orbiting body with respect to the point at which it is nearest to or farthest from its primary.
// Bethany's Book Review //
Now let me begin by saying that my genre of interest would have to be historical fiction, not dystopian fiction. To be honest, I've not really read a bunch of dystopian novels, and aside from The Hunger Games series, I don't know that I've read any others in this genre. So what perked my interest in reviewing Anomaly, you may ask? Well first let me tell you why I usually don't read a lot of dystopian books: just because they most often aren't clean, much less Christian, and more often than not include language and scenes I'd rather not put in my mind and dwell on. There isn't much Christian values in modern novels in the dystopian genre. Basically, I hadn't been able to find any of these sorts of novels written from a Christian perspective and a Christian author - or ones that at least weren't nasty. But all this changed when I first heard about Anomaly. I had read several reviews on it, and a lot of readers commented on how awesome it was that this book is a Christian one and relates to subjects such as truth, reality, and faith all while being in an exciting dystopian format!

That having been said, I love action novels. Ones that leave you on the edge of your seat and unable to stop reading until you complete the book. So after reading reviews that said this novel has both a Christian perspective and is a page-turner, I was super interested to read this book even though at first sight it didn't look like a book I'd normally pick up and read. But my goodness! Was I in for a surprise! This was my first time to read any of Krista McGee's books, but I'm almost positive it won't be the last. I was just blown away with how wonderful Anomaly was!

The thing that I loved most about this book, aside from the action and adventure, would be how faith and Christianity were strong common threads in this book. Throughout the story, main character Thalli is trying to determine what is real and what isn't since she's been tricked into situations through tests from the Scientists to places that look, and felt legitimately real, only to realize later it was just a computer program that was made to appear real in every sense. She literally doesn't know if certain people are real or figments of the imagination through the computer program that she's been through, and truth and faith are a big deal for her. As she tries to make sense of her life, she realizes that nothing is absolute. Then through a friends help, she comes to know about Christ, who is portrayed as the Designer, and as she puts her trust in Him, she begins a wonderful journey of truth and faith. It had such a powerful message, and on top of that it was super action packed and eventful. It has literally left me on the edge and I simply cannot wait for book two to release next year!

One of my biggest concerns at first with this book was that it would be a bit above my level of tolerance as far as the creepy aspect of a typical dystopian book. Yes, obviously it's science fiction, and that means it's going to be a bit, well science fiction-ish. I mean, from the description, it'd appear to be super creepy, and while there was a mysterious aspect that greatly contributed to the excitement and action in the story, I don't think it ever got to where I felt like it was a too creepy for my taste, but at the same time there was just enough to make it interesting. While this would vary depending on your personal convictions concerning dystopian/science fiction, and how much science fiction you've read in the past, I would highly recommend it to ladies who enjoy fast and exciting fiction with a good dose of Christian influence.

So all-in-all, I loved Anomaly and can't wait for book two, Luminary! {Eeek!} While at first I was a tad bit hesitant about reading this book, I quickly realized that there wasn't a thing to worry about as this book exceeded my highest expectations! It was very well written and the characters were vivid and unique, and the story itself was super original and exciting!
N O T E :: I'd like to sincerely thank Thomas Nelson publishers and Krista McGee for providing me with a complementary review copy of Anomaly to read and review. I was not paid to review Anomaly, and all thoughts expressed in my review are completely my own, honest and unbiased.
// Favorite Quotes From Anomaly //
"No. I will die the way I finally learned to live. Fully aware. At peace. With a heart full of love that even as it slows, it is still full.
Because I know something the Scientists refuse to acknowledge.
Death is only the beginning."
"I must pray, I must talk to the Designer. I do not know my purpose, but He does."
"I touch the leaf of an apple tree. The Scientists may have developed the technology that allowed this tree to grow here, but they did not create the tree. It is the same with me. I am not created by the scientists. I am created by the Designer. The truth of that fills me with joy."
// The Giveaway //
So, guys, today I'm super excited to be able to host a giveaway for a copy of Anomaly courtesy of Thomas Nelson publishers! A huge thank you goes out to the awesome folks at Thomas Nelson publishers for making this giveaway and review possible!
N o t e :: This giveaway is open to the US only.
So would you like to enter the giveaway for a chance to win your very own copy of Anomaly? To enter, just use the RaffelCopter entry form below, and once the giveaway ends on August 23rd, 2013 we will pick a winner through and email the winner with details on redeeming their prize! So go ahead and enter, and have a blessed week!
~ Bethany for The Literary Maidens

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Interested In Becoming A Book Reviewer? // Who We Review For

Hello Literary Maidens!

So lately I've had a few friends ask how I get free books from publishers to review on this blog. So with all the curiosity as to how book reviewing works, I thought it's be neat to share with you guys the links to some of Madi and I's favorite review program websites.
So to start, I'll explain how I get books to review for free through publishers. A majority of the time that I review a book on this blog, chances are that I received it through a blogger review program. Most publishers each have their own review program just for that specific publisher, or sometimes sister publishers who share a website will also share a review website for both publishers. A good example of this would be WaterBrook Multnomah publishers. They are two different publishers, yet they share a website and review program called Blogging For Books, which I'll share more info on shortly.
The other times that I did not receive a book through a review program, then I personally contacted the author through their personal email address or contact form on their website, about reviewing a copy of the book or doing an interview/giveaway. Usually I save the personal contacting of the author for a last resort if I'm super interested in reading the book, but am unable to receive a copy through the publishers review website, if the publisher has one. So most of the books I get to review are through blogger programs.

For me, review blogging has been a true blessing! I love to read, but often times am unable to go out and buy every book I'm interested in reading for $14.00 retail price since I read around 10 books a month. As you can imagine, it would turn rather quickly to a very expensive hobby! But since 90% of the books I read each month come through several review programs, I've been able to cheaply read new books. Most people honestly can't afford such an expense for just reading, but through the blogger review programs I'm signed up for I can get free books that are new releases and I get to share about them on my blog with friends! So it's a win-win!

Also, just so you know, all the review programs that we will share links to are Christian publishers. I know that often times if you've not heard of an author or read any of their books, you might be hesitant to request a book that you must read all the way through so you can write a review on. So often for ladies seeking clean fiction, there is a concern with the book turning inappropriate as you read it but still being required to read it to the end. But all these publishers are Christian ones and only carry/review Christian novels so you won't have to worry about it!
Here is a list of the blogger review programs and Madi and I most often use to receive review books, you'll notice that each review program is for a specific publisher, so all the books that will be available to review through that program will only be books from that publisher. Make sense?

// Bethany House //

Bethany HouseBethany House if one of my favorite publishers, and it's not just because we share the same name! :) Bethany House has a wonderful selection of books, and a majority of my favorite authors use this publisher. Bethany House's review program isn't through a website, it's through email! When you sign up for the program and are accepted as a reviewer, then each month you'll receive an email from the lovely folks at BH with 4-6 of the new releases from BH that month. Out of those books, you are allowed to choose one to review.
As a note, if you are accepted into BH's review program you'll want to note that there are is a limited supply of review copies of books that are available, since it's not possible for everyone who requests a book in the monthly email to receive one due to costs. So it's a first-come-first-serve kind of thing. If there is a book to be released by this publisher that you'd really like to review you'll want to keep a close eye on your inbox to make sure you can request it within a timely manner once you get the email, so that you have a better chance to be on the final list to review that book since there is a limited supply of review copies. If you don't check your inbox but every couple of days, then if you request a book, there is a possibility that all the copies would have been spoken for already since you didn't request it fast enough. But if you have a device such as an iPhone or iPod/iPad, that you can get updates on new emails, then this shouldn't be a problem, so long as you keep an eye out for it.
Check out how to become a Bethany House reviewer by clicking HERE!

// Blogging For Books //

Blogging for Books is another review program that Madi and I use a lot! Blogging For Books is the review website for the WaterBrook Multnomah publishing group.
Things to note with this review program is that this program has about 5-8 books to choose from at a time, and once you request a book, you aren't allowed to request another one until you've posted your review of the one you requested. So when choosing a book to read keep in mind that you won't be able to review another one until that review is finished, and you also have to think of the week to two week long shipping time.
Another thing to note is that this review program sometimes sends ARC copies of review books. For those that aren't familiar with ARC copies, it stands for Advance Reading Copy and is basically not a hard copy of the final book. While it's still bound and has the pretty front and back cover, some things like the spine are different than a final copy you'd buy in a book store. The main way to tell if a book is an ARC is you will notice a circle "sticker" that says Advanced Reader Copy which is printed onto the front cover. While it's still the same book {Except for advance editing that may be found before the final copy is printed} the only difference between an ARC and a final copy is the ARC sticker that's printed on the cover and on the spine the release date will be displayed. However, not all the books that are sent from this company will be an ARC, only books that aren't going to be released for a couple months in the future, that there aren't any hard copies printed yet. Which is kind of cool when you think about it because you get to read a book before it's published and be an "editor" or sorts through your review! For an example of ARC copies click here. {Note, the link to that photo is not mine, I found it through another blogger}

To visit the Blogging For Books website click HERE, and for information on signing up click HERE!

// Book Sneeze //

I review for BookSneeze®Book Sneeze is the review program for Thomas Nelson and Zondervan publishers, and another favorite book review program that doesn't require that you have a lot of blog followers to sign up. Book Sneeze is the same as a lot of other review programs in the fact that you can only review one book at a time, meaning you can't request a new book until you post the review for the book you've previously requested. The nice thing about Book Sneeze though is at the beginning of each month they'll email you a list of all the books that will be available to review that month so you can plan on which one you'd like to get, without worrying that you'll request one and then after that want another book but can't review it until you post your other review, by which time the copies will all be spoken for.
To visit Book Sneeze click HERE and to sign up to be a reviewer click HERE!


// Litfuse //

Join the Flock! LitFuse Publicity Group bloggerLitfuse is a super neat review program that allows you to be able to review books from different publishers, and in my opinion is one of the best programs since you have a variety of Christian publishers to choose books from instead of only one. The only thing is Litfuse requires that you have more followers than other programs since there are limited copies of their books, but don't let it keep you from applying!
Litfuse is a program where you apply on the website, but you actually get email updates anytime you are able to review a new book. Once you get an email about a book, you sign up to review it if you are interested, and if you are accepted to review that book you'll be put on the list. Often times Litfuse will email you about a book several months before it's published and if you make it to the mailing list, you'll receive the book two months before it's release date. Litfuse often requires that you participate in the blog tour, and the only difference between a blog tour and a normal review is that you post the review on the date they give you, all of which the information will be given in your emails.
To check out Litfuse click HERE and to sign up click HERE!

Tyndale Blog Network// Tyndale //

Tyndale's blogger program has fewer books to review than most review programs, but is still worth signing up for because they have wonderful books! Some of the books available to review require blog tour participation, which will be specified if this applies to the book.
To check out Tyndale Blogging Network click HERE and for info on signing up click HERE!

So there you have it! If you ladies have any questions about book reviewing or blogger programs, then please either shoot us an email or leave a comment and we'd be more than happy to help! We hope you guys enjoyed this post and will consider signing up for a program or two if you are interested in reviewing books!

~Bethany for The Literary Maidens

The Letters By Suzanne Woods Fisher Blog Tour

/ / T h e   L e t t e r s / /

{R e v i e w   B y   M a d i}
Title: The Letters
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 316
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2093-3
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2013
Madi's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

 / / Book  Description / /

Rose Schrock is a plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband's debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose's big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion. As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she's even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King.
With her signature plot twists combined with gentle Amish romance, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites readers back to Stoney Ridge for fresh stories of simple pleasures despite the complexity of life. Fisher's tale of God's providence and provision will delight her fans and create many new ones. Welcome to the Inn at Eagle Hill.

 / / Madi's  Book  Review / /

 Well, this is the second book that I have read by Suzanne Woods Fisher, and the first one was A Big Year For Lily, which is a children's book. So, this is the first real taste that I have gotten of her writing. I must admit that I was a little hesitant going into this novel. I knew her only as a children's author. Turns out Suzanne has numerous other books published for older readers, and I was dead wrong about her abilities. I have always been a big fan of Amish fiction, and Suzanne did a very good job with representing all of what I have learned about the Amish. Thumbs up on doing your research Miss Fisher! So many times I will read an "Amish" fiction, and I can tell the author didn't hardly look into the Amish way of life. The way facts are misrepresented in some of these books can tickle my OCD side. 
Not only did the author present the Amish in a good light, the way she carried out the plot was pretty good too. Rose Schrock is a widow left with debt up to her eyeballs from her dearly departed husband, four children to raise and a finicky old step-mother bent on making her life miserable. She never loses her patience though, and her faith in God is admirable. Rose remodels her basement into a place for out of town guest to lodge because she is in a tight spot financially, but she never guessed what this business venture would bring into her life, or who.
 Galen King is a humble Amish horse breeder with a quiet spirit and an eye for those in need. After the death of Rose's husband, Dean, Galen takes it upon himself to make sure his neighbors aren't lacking. Rose may not like having to depend on other people, but he isn't going to give her much of a choice. It's time someone helped HER for a change!
This story was so sweet. I couldn't put it down. Though there were many sub stories going on right alongside the main plot, I think that Suzanne juggled them all pretty well. By the time I finished The Letters I was eager to read about the story of Rose's daughter, Bethany. The spine of this novel says "Book 1", which gives me hope that there will be a "Book 2", (come on Suzanne, you know you can't leave me hangin'). I look forward to reading more books by this author, and I can't recommend this book enough!
 Note: I was provided with a free copy of The Letters to read and review by the Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not paid to review this book, and I was not required to give it a good review if I did not find it deserving. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100%  my own and completely unbiased.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Snow on the Tulips By Liz Tolsma Book Review

Snow on the Tulips// Snow on the Tulips //
By Liz Tolsma
{Review By Bethany}

Title: Snow on the Tulips
Author: Liz Tolsma
Source: Review Book from BookSneeze
Number of Pages: 336
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Publication Date: August, 2013
Bethany's Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

// Book Synopsis //

"In a time of unprecedented darkness and fear, Cornelia must decide if saving a stranger’s life is worth risking her own.

In the twilight of the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands, the Germans have taken everything Cornelia had to give, even what was most precious to her. Now Gerrit Laninga—a man who puts God and country above all else—arrives at her house, needing help. She is terrified for herself and terrified for her family, but most of all, terrified of the pain she might feel again if she allows herself to love Gerrit. Her hope is to be free from her paralyzing fear.

Gerrit is a known and hunted Dutch Resistance member. When he comes to Cornelia’s home for shelter, he’s drawn to her strength and kindness. When he asks her to contact the local Resistance on his behalf, she refuses. Gerrit is determined to find a way to continue his underground work without putting Cornelia or her family in harm’s way.

When things start to unravel and Gerrit’s life depends on her actions, she must summon her courage and learn to depend on the perfect love that drives out all fear. But will her new love be snatched away before it has a chance to bloom?

// Bethany's Book Review //
A captivating story set in the World War II full of adventure, danger, faith and love all in this exciting debut novel from author Liz Tolsma that will keep you turning pages and wanting more!
So, I am sitting here, wondering how I could possibly write a review that does this book justice, and convinces you that you just positively must read it very soon if you are a historical fiction/WWII fan. I've been blown away by this novel! This being Liz's debut novel, I wasn't sure what to expect, but since it looked interesting, and because I've been interested in reading more WWII fiction, I decided to give it a try. Boy am I glad I did! Otherwise I'd have been missing out on one of the top favorite books on my favorite reads of 2013 list!
Where to begin? Ah! There was literally nothing I didn't like about this book. Then it had everything I ever could asked for in a novel, and then some, I just loved every aspect of it! There were so many things I loved about this novel, including how big a part of faith and Christianity was to the characters, how much history was involved (It was based on a true story! How cool is that?!), all the words that were in three different languages to give you a taste of the culture (The glossary at the front of the book was super helpful in this area!), how wonderfully it was written, how the character development was superb, just everything!
So let's start with the characters. I loved all of them, and like I mentioned earlier, the character development throughout the story was just spectacular. I loved seeing them grow both physically, but more importantly spiritually and found it a delight to read. I really enjoyed getting a in depth look at what it was like for a young woman trying to survive a war, and really opened my eyes to a lot of things about war that I'd never thought about and made me feel for the characters and connect with the story.
Another thing I mentioned earlier that I really admired and appreciated in this novel was how big the aspect of faith and trust were to the characters in this book. Several times throughout the story the authors would quote memorized Scripture, pray, or encourage the other to keep going through Christ-like encouragement. I really admire it when authors make Christ a strong foundation for the characters, because it adds depth to the story. It's not just about them. It's about God, which to me is an enormous plus in a novel.
I also loved how much history was involved with this story. It's based on a true story of Liz's relative, and there was so much information on the war and even included lots of words in three different languages which you could translate through the glossary in the front of the book. I loved this because you feel like you are really there immersed in the time period and it left me with a greater knowledge of this world war.
So when I started this book, by the first couple pages I was literally hooked. It started with such action as a young Resistance workers are literally walking escorted by German soldiers - to their death. These young men are lined up and shot for punishment of working with the Resistance workers again the Germans. After being lined up and shot, and left for dead, one of the men shot fakes his death and escaped later with his life, though suffering a nasty and dangerous wound that needs immediate attention all because his executer missed his target. So as you can probably tell, it's the kind of story that just races with excitement and pulls you in from the very beginning with dangerous excitement! And that's just the beginning! It gets better and better with each chapter and is for sure a thrilling page turning heart racer! Towards the end of the story, it had gradually built up suspense with each page, and the ending was just spectacular!
Overall, I was just blown away by this novel and simply cannot wait for more of Liz's books! I would highly recommend this book to any historical fiction or WWII lover, and cannot stress how much I enjoyed this story! It's for sure a favorite of 2013 and a definite re-read! 
N o t e :: I would like to sincerely thank Thomas Nelson publishers for providing me with a complementary copy of Snow on the Tulips to read and review through I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed are completely my own, honest and unbiased.