Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Rose Of Winslow Street By Elizabeth Camden Book Review

/ / T h e   R o s e   O f   W i n s l o w   S t r e e t / /

 
{R e v i e w   B y   M a d i}
Title: The Rose Of Winslow Street
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Source: Review Book From The Author
Number Of Pages: 342
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0895-9
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2012
My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
 
 
/ / B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / /
 
The last thing Libby Sawyer and her father expected upon their return from their summer home was to find strangers inhabiting a house that had been in their family for decades. Widower Michael Dobrescu brought his family from Romania to the town of Colden, Massachusetts with a singular purpose: to claim the house willed to him long ago. Since neither party has any intention of giving up their claim, a fierce legal battle ensues between the two families.

When important documents go missing from the house, Libby suspects Michael is the culprit. Determined to discover the truth behind the stolen papers, Libby investigates, only to find more layers of mystery surrounding Michael and his family. Despite their rivalry, Libby finds herself developing feelings for this man with the mysterious past.

As a decision about the house looms in the courts, Libby must weigh the risks of choosing to remain loyal to her family or give her heart to a man whose intentions and affections are less than certain.
 
 
/ / M a d i ' s   B o o k   R e v i e w / /
 
Libby Sawyer lives in town with her cold hearted father, and she tries to hide herself in her paints. Why would she want to be a part of the society that mocks her and ridicules her for her lack of reading skills? Her one weak spot is her love of children. Children flock to her, and she adores their bright and awe-struck way of living life. So she is excited to spend the Summer with her family at her brothers out of town cottage, because she will get to spend some time with her precious little niece Tillie. But her Summer fun is expertly interrupted by some band of gypseys stealing her fathers house back in Colden, Massachusetts.
 
Michael Dobrescu  fought faithfully in the European wars, but now he is ready for a new beginning in America. He wants to give his family a good, safe place to live and heal from the hurts of their past, and taking the house his uncle left him several years ago seemed like just the ticket. Why would he make his family live in a dinky and dirty hotel when he had a perfectly good house? There was only one flaw in his plan. The house was occupied, and the lady of the house was quite a mystery to him.
 
Courts rule, sparks fly, arguments get heated, and people say and do things they don't really mean at all. Libby's kindness to Michael and his sons in the event of all this chaos is surprising to Michael, and he isn't sure how to react.
 
This story developed at the perfect pace. It wasn't too slow going so that you got bored with it, but it also didn't fling four or five things on the reader all at once. I loved it. The grace and compassion shown by Libby, the care and gentility shown by Michael, the way the community supported Libby and her father, these are all things that endeared this story to my heart. Libby and Michael, though an unlikely couple, are perfect for each other.
 
Also, I would like to take a minute to talk about the cover for The Rose Of Winslow Street. It's gorgeous! I love how everything on the cover (front and back) represents something of importance in the book. I couldn't find a picture of the back cover, so I will describe it for you. Above the book description, there are several beautifully placed objects. For example: A deed, a bottle of perfume, a key, a set of paintbrushes, a rose. All these things play large parts in this story's development. This is one book I'll be glad to have just because it looks pretty on my bookshelf ;) .
 
 ~The Literary Maidens
 
Note: I would like to thank author Elizabeth Camden for providing me with a print copy of her book The Rose Of Winslow Street. I was not paid to review The Rose Of Winslow Street, and all thoughts expressed in this review are completely unbiased and completely my own. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

IMPORTANT POST // PLEASE READ

H e l l o   F r i e n d s !

I wanted to let you guys know about a change that will be happening very soon, in regard to Google Friend Connect that will impact all blog followers in the way that you will no longer get updates from this blog, or any other blogs you follow through Google Friend Connect (The little widget that you follow blogs through Google Friend Connect, which is usually found on blog sidebar), which is the biggest form of followers for most bloggers. So here is the deal, in a couple weeks (I am not sure of the official date, but I know it is within a few weeks) Google Friend Connect will no longer be available and if you don't transfer your blog subscriptions to another subscription/following website such as Bloglovin' or Networked Blogs then you will loose those updates from new posts from your favorite blogs.
 
To be honest, I'm not sure why Google has decided to remove Google Friend Connect, since that is the main form of followers for most bloggers, and it is a big change. I've tried researching it on the Internet, and can't figure out if it is really shutting down, or if it's just a rumor. However I've been hearing about it from several reliable sources, and even Bloglovin' has sent out an email confirming the closing of Google Friend Connect, so I am pretty sure that GFC is really shutting down. For me, I don't see why they would do this, as Google Friend Connect is a part of Google and only complicates things for both bloggers and blog readers. But for whatever reason, Google Friend Connect will not longer be available very soon. So here is what you can do to not loose all your blog subscriptions, both subscriptions to this blog, and all the others you follow.
 
In order to keep your blog followers (If you are a blogger) or blog subscriptions (If you are a blog reader), I'd recommend signing up for Bloglovin' which is similar to your Google Dashboard updating subscriptions. Signing up is simple and easy, and once you sign up you will have the option to transfer all your Google subscriptions to Bloglovin, so that you don't have to go and re-follow every single blog manually. Which, by the way, the way to do this is to go to Bloglovin' and do a search with the title of the blog you are looking for, and if the blog is on Bloglovin, which most are, then there will be a "Follow" button which you will click to begin getting updates on that blog in your feed. While there are probably other websites that you can use to continue following all your favorite blogs, such as Networked Blogs, I have found that a lot of people are switching to Bloglovin' (I have and find it to be easy to use and just like your Blogger Dashboard Subscriptions) and I'm pretty sure they have a app for smart phones which makes it easy to read blogs on a smart phone or tablet.
 
Also, you can continue to follow this blog through Bloglovin (A button that will take you directly to this blogs page on Bloglovin's website can be found on the sidebar, or you could search "The Literary Maidens" in the search bar on Bloglovin'.) as well as through email (Also located on the sidebar). If you have any questions regarding this change or Bloglovin' then just leave a comment and let me know and I'll do my best to answer it for you. Have a blessed day!

~ The Literary Maidens

Monday, June 24, 2013

Author Interview + Review // Grace's Pictures By Cindy Thompson

Grace's Pictures// G r a c e ' s   P i c t u r e s //
 
A n   E l l i s   I s l a n d   N o v e l
 
B y   C i n d y   T h o m s o n
 
{ R e v i e w   B y   B e t h a n y }

Title: Grace's Picture's
Author: Cindy Thomson
Source: Blog tour review copy from Tyndale

Number Of Pages: 392
ISBN:
1414368437
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishing
Publication Date: June 2013
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


// Author's Blog //

// B o o k   S y n o p s i s //
"Grace McCaffery hopes that the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise that the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader. A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her. Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness."
 
Read a first chapter excerpt from Grace's Pictures HERE!
 
// A b o u t   T h e   A u t h o r //
Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing. In addition to books, Cindy has written articles for numerous online and print publications. She is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio.
 
// A u t h o r    Q    &    A //

1. What was your inspiration for this book, Grace’s Pictures? 

When the Brownie Camera was introduced, it changed photography forever. What was before expensive and not very portable, suddenly became available for the average person. I read a contemporary commentary that expressed the concern that with everyone carrying a camera, someone could have his/her photograph taken without permission, and what an invasion of privacy that would be. That got me thinking…what if that happened, and at a time before there were very many mug shots available of criminals. 

I love writing about immigrants because their stories are a part of who we are today. If not for their bravery and ingenuity, our lives would be much different today, and probably more difficult.

2. Tell me about your main character, Grace McCaffery. Was her character based upon anyone in particular?

Grace comes to America wounded by her experiences of having an abusive father, being evicted from her home by the police, and then having to survive in a workhouse. When her mother gets remarried, to a policeman no less, Grace is horrified. In her mind, avoiding the kind of people who hurt you is the only way to stay safe. When she is sent to America to start a new life, she is not certain she wants to go. She wishes for the confidence and joy she sees in others around her, and she tries to capture it in drawings and snapshots so she can better study it. I know a lot of people, me for one, who would rather observe for a while before stepping out and trying something new. But historically, immigrants could not do that. They were thrust into change and had to adapt and endure.

Grace, like most fictional characters, is not based on any particular person. She is a conglomeration of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers who came to this country seeking a better life, but without many options to support themselves. They must have been frightened at first by this vast new country, but somehow they overcame that fear and founded our American families.

3. What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?

A lesson that I hope is learned in this story is that God provides what we need, but many times it requires us to put aside our preconceived ideas. No matter what disadvantages we start with, we can turn things around, with God’s help.

4. How do you expect Grace’s story to resonate with women?

Grace, a young woman who was not nurtured much as a child, becomes a nurturer. She is a nanny with a role that becomes essential for the children she cares for. I think most women are nurturers. Unfortunately, Grace had a far from ideal childhood. I think many women struggle with not having been nurtured themselves. Grace’s story illustrates the hope that God can turn that around, and even in unexpected ways. Grace meets someone who cares for her, who just happens to work in that dreaded occupation—a policeman.

5. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?

I loved learning about Ellis Island, visiting New York City, and imagining those immigrants of the early 20th century moving along the same paths I was exploring. I loved writing about how the children Grace cared for helped to change her. History is fascinating to me, and it's a privilege to be able to write about it.

6. What is your hope for this story? How would you like it to impact readers?

I hope readers will be transported to a time in history when everything was changing at a rapid pace and experience a bit of what their ancestors’ lives were like. I would like readers, through Grace’s Pictures, to not only appreciate the sacrifices their ancestors made, but also find the courage to meet their own challenges—everyone has them.

7. How has this novel helped you to grow as a storyteller?

Grace was at first a difficult character to figure out. I had a loving father who passed away a few months before I started working on this book. Grace, who did not have a loving father, stretched me a bit, but it was good to explore what life was like for her and try to imagine how someone like her could not only survive but thrive.

8. What is it about this time period in history that made you want to write about it?

New inventions were constantly popping up, things that we take for granted today. For instance, telephones were becoming more widely available, but immigrants were not familiar with them. Same with electricity. There was a huge disparity between the rich and the poor, and the middle class was the minority. Monopolies were not yet forbidden. The rich were extremely rich. The poor were extremely poor, and the conditions in the tenements were disgraceful. And yet, this was not overlooked. There were gangs and corrupt police, but also scores of charities working hard to protect, educate, and care for immigrants. And it was also a time period of huge numbers of immigrants coming to the country, most through Ellis Island, so in that way this time period has impacted a great many Americans today.

9. What lessons can we learn from the pages of historical fiction?

The Bible tells us, "Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16, NLT). Historical fiction uses the power of story to help us find those old ways. We deceive ourselves if we think no one has experienced the struggles we have. Someone has. Why not learn those stories and be led by them?

10. What is one of the best pieces of advice or encouragement you have received?

I’m always open to sound advice. Here is one that has encouraged me. It’s from a tea bag quote.

"A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere." ~Joyce A. Meyers
 
// Bethany's Book Review //
 
This is the first book I've ever read by Cindy, and while I wasn't sure what to expect from this new author, I was very impressed and loved every page of Grace's Pictures! It didn't take my long to begin to realize just how much I love this story. I loved all the characters as well as the unique story line and found it to be a page-turning read.
 
One of my favorite things about this book is how it was a low-romance. There was just enough at the very end to add a nice touch to the story, but the main premise of the story was about Grace and her nanny job. I really appreciated finding a story that had little-to-no romance, yet at the same time was still interesting and exciting! The low romance aspect of the book helped me focus more on Grace's story without being bogged down by a load of romance and made for a very sweet story on freedom from fear, and fresh starts.
 
I really enjoyed learning about early cameras in the story, mainly the Kodak Brownie camera, and loved the role it played in the story! Prior to reading this book I loved photography, but never really took the time to study early models or learn about them, so after reading Grace's Pictures I was inspired to research about cameras a bit and was able to incorporate it into my homeschool. :)
 
Another thing I loved about this book is the storyline. I enjoyed reading about Grace's first nanny job and felt a special bond between her and the children, and felt like she made a life long impact on not only the children she watched, but the whole family. I loved how Grace grew in the book as well and how she learned to trust God and was able to encourage others along the way. It was such a neat story and had a touch of mystery that, alongside the story, sweet characters and cleanliness of the novel made for a absolutely delightful read that I would totally re-read! I would highly recommend this book  to any historical fiction lover or to girls seeing a low-romance novel that is exciting and inspiring all at once! I was super impressed with this novel and would eagerly read more novels from Cindy!
 
N o t e :: I was provided with a free copy of Grace's Pictures from the publisher to read and review for the blog tour. I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed are completely my own, honest and unbiased.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Stealing The Preacher By Karen Witemeyer Book Review

/ / S t e a l I n g   T h e   P r e a c h e r / /

 
{ R e v i e w    B y    M a d i }
 
Title: Stealing The Preacher
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Source: Review Book From Bethany House
Number Of Pages: 347
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0966-6
Publisher: BethanyHouse
Publication Date: 2013
My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
 
/ / B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / /
On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he's forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he's haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind--a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the person is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna's outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?
 
 
/ / B o o k   T r a i l o r / /
 
 



/ / M a d i ' s   B o o k   R e v i e w / /
Joanna is the daughter of a reformed criminal. She wants to get a preacher in town not only to bring life back to its people, but to water the seeds of salvation in her father that can only be received through Christ that her mother and her had so painstakingly planted. But she never thought that THIS was how he would make his grand appearance.

Crockett Archer is a cowboy-turned-preacher, and he thinks that he knows just what God has planned for his life. After being abducted from the train that was taking him to his next post, he realizes he was wrong. Very wrong.

When Joanna's father "Steals The Preacher" and brings him to his daughter for a birthday present, he doesn't know who is more baffled, Joanna, or Pastor Archer. And when Crockett Archer's "calling" falls through on him and he moves in town, sparks fly between the farmers daughter and her long sought after preacher. Will the forces bent on keeping them apart succeed? Will her father finally come to faith at last?

This book was so fantastic, and so unique! I can always count on Karen Witemeyer to come through with a fantastic story of love and faith. I loved the historical aspect of this book also, I think that it really enhanced the plot considerably. And speaking of the plot, how awesome is this one?! A father that loves his daughter so much that he steals a preacher off of a train just to make his little princess happy. How ironically sweet! This book is comical, it's emotional, it's stirring, it's loving, it's unique, it's all of these and more. I would recommend this novel to just about anyone, and I wouldn't change a single thing about it. And by the way, the ending was perfect <3 .




Note: I was provided with a free print copy of Stealing The Preacher by BethanyHouse publishers. I was not paid to review Stealing The Preacher, and all thoughts expressed in this review are completely unbiased and completely my own.



 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stealing The Preacher By Karen Witemeyer Book Review

Stealing the Preacher S t e a l i n g   T h e   P r e a c h e r
 
B y   K a r e n   W i t e m e y e r
 
{ R e v i e w   B y    B e t h a n y }
 
Title: Stealing The Preacher
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Series: Archer Brothers, Book #2
Source: Review book from Bethany House
Number Of Pages: 347
ISBN: 0764209663
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: June 1st 2013
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars 
 
// Book Description //
"On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he's forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he's haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind--a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the person is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna's outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?"
 
// B e t h a n y ' s   R e v i e w //
I have read all of Karen's books, except To Win Her Heart, and though I love each and every one of her books, I have to say that Stealing The Preacher is my top favorite! Wow! This book was so amazing! Ever since I heard that Karen had this new book in the works, and read the description, I was instantly overjoyed at the thought of another Karen Witemeyer book, and eagerly awaiting it's publication. So I had literally been wanting to read this book for months before it even came out. Going into reading it, I knew I'd love it and already knew it would be a 5-star book before I even started to read it, but I didn't know just how much I'd like it! It went way beyond the expectations I had for it that I'd worked up through a period of months in waiting for its release, and earned the title of one of my top 3 favorite books that I've read in 2013, so far.
 
Geez, I loved this book SO much! Where to start? Well for one I just fell in love with Crockett. I mean seriously? This guy was pretty awesome, and every Christian girl's dream Christ-fearing partner in life. I loved his godly character that was more shown through his actions instead of verbalized through words, which earned him a very special place in my heart. I just loved how everything he did pointed towards Christ, and how he lived what he preached-literally, since he is a pastor! I also loved Joanna, although Crockett was my favorite character, and I loved her feminine virtues and Christ-like manner and character. I also came to love Joanna's father, even though those feelings weren't there for the first part of the book before he changed.
 
My absolute favorite aspect of this book was how much Christ was the essence of the novel. I have always enjoyed reading books that have strong Christian characters that have a purpose for Christ in their life, and live the title they take as followers of Christ. I love books that are inspiring, ones where the characters make you think and inspire you to live a life for Christ. This was one of those books. Christ was so very much the center of this novel, that I felt like it was not only a pleasurable read, but it left an impact and inspired me. I felt like the characters lived like Christians instead of just saying they were, but their actions contradicting it. It was so real in the area of the characters openly having struggles, and taking them to God in prayer instead of worrying about them. This aspect contributes greatly to my love for this book, but that is not to say that I didn't enjoy other parts of the book, because all of it was outstanding! I also enjoyed how Crockett was a preacher, and how there were little "nuggets of truth" that came about during scenes were he was preaching or giving advice. There were so many quotes that I wanted to write down because they relate to much more than the little scene they were in.
 
Another thing I love about this novel was the setting and writing style. This book is set in Texas, which is the state that I was born in and have lived in all my life. Since I love this state so much, I felt like I was visiting a friend when it read this sweet western novel set in my home state. I also enjoyed the western writing style, and the way the characters talked that made it obvious that they were proud Texans. I just loved it and the distinct Texas flavor the novel had.
 
In all, I was just blown away with this book. It is for sure a favorite and a definite re-read. I would highly recommend it to ladies who love western historical fiction, or to girls wanting to read a book with strong Christian values. Another plus to this novel is that even though it's technically a stand-alone sequel of sorts to Karen's last book Short-Straw Bride which focuses on Travis, Crockett's older brother, it is by no means a "series" that you have to read in order. So if you haven't read Short-Straw Bride before this book, then it's no problem and you are sure to enjoy Stealing The Preacher.
 
N o t e :: I'd like to sincerely thank Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a complementary review copy of Stealing The Preacher to read and review. Please know that I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed are my own, and completely honest and unbiased.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Author Interview + Review // Waterfall By Lisa T. Bergren

Waterfall (River of Time, #1)// W a t e r f a l l //
 
R i v e r   o f   T i m e  Series Book # 1
 
B y   L i s a  T .  B e r g r e n
 
{ R e v i e w   B y   B e t h a n y }
 
Title: Waterfall
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Source: Review book from the author
Number Of Pages: 369
ISBN: 1434764338
Publisher: David C Book Publishers
Publication Date: February 2011
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars 
 
// Book Description //
"What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?

Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaeologist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds...until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.

Suddenly Gabi's summer in Italy is much, much more interesting."
 
// Book Trailer //

 
// Bethany's Book Review //
How do I even start to begin to tell you how much I love this book? How late it kept me up at night? How amazing the story is? How the characters so easily become best friends to the reader? How to convince you to read it? I mean, there is no way I think I will do this book justice in this review since I love it that much-but I'll try! :)
 
This is a story that is full of adventure, medieval times as well as history, and some romance, and quite honestly I love it, which is quite an understatement. The story begins as we meet two sisters-Gabi and Lia-who are daughters of archaeologists who work in Italy. Gabi and Lia like what their parents do, but honestly it can get boring at times looking for old stuff, and the summer is already planned to spend in the entirety at a brand new dig in Italy. When Gabi and Lia go looking into one of the digs, and find two hand prints identical to their own hands from an ancient tomb, the summer takes a turn from super boring to super adventurous, and they begin a summer that they will never forget as the go back in time to ancient Italy. As they find themselves in a completely different time period, they learn a lot about family, love and being strong in the face of uncomfortable situations.
 
This book is the first in the River of Time series and this is actually my second time to read it. Let me tell you though, I'm positive it won't be the last as this is the kind of series I'd like to re-read every year. It's just that good. When I first found out about the series from a friend's blog, I found Waterfall at the library and devoured it in 24 hours last year. Then I decided to purchase the rest of the series since I knew it would be a re-read. Ever since then I've considered this series to be very high on my all time favorite book list.
 
One of my most favorite things about this book would be how you get a view of both ancient Italy, seeing the culture, how they did things and how they talked differently, etc, since it is the setting for the book. Then you also get to see a modern girl from the 21st century be put in that time period. It was a nice twist of both ancient writing style and modern, and I found it extremely interesting and even funny at times and loved seeing how Gabi dealt with it. I was absolutely never bored with this book, there was way too much going on and so much adventure happening that I didn't have time to! It was so hard to put down and the very definition of a page-turner that keeps you up way later than you should be at night.
 
Now as with any good book  there were a few things that I was no crazy about in the book, mainly being the more feminist side of Gabi when she would try and fight in the battles with the men, as well as the medium amount of violence during the battle scenes.
 
Overall, I consider this to be one of my favorite books, and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves Italy, historical fiction, sci-fi, and adventure. I'd like to sincerely thank Lisa for sending me a copy of Waterfall to review!!
 
// Author Interview With Lisa T. Bergren //

The Literary Maidens :: Hi Lisa! Welcome to the Literary Maidens blog! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Lisa :: I'm the mom of three--two teens and a tween. I'm the wife to Tim, a phenomenal man. I've written over forty books. I like to walk, hike, cook, entertain, play games, go to movies and once in a while, write.

The Literary Maidens :: Could you tell us about your River of Time series?
Lisa :: It's about two girls from modern times who go back in time to medieval Italy and find something key about themselves, love and life. Lots of romance and adventure!

The Literary Maidens :: Where did you get your inspiration for The River of Time series?
Lisa :: I wanted to write a series for my teen girls and their friends, but didn't want to write vampires or werewolves. I loved the fantastic element of time travel, plus I adore Italy, so it was an easy answer for me.

The Literary Maidens :: Where are you in the process of Deluge, the final book in the River of Time series?
Lisa :: It's still on hold. I need to write the second book in my new Remnants Series before I turn to it. But it's coming soon! Probably out in September or November.

The Literary Maidens :: Out of all the books in the River of Time series, do you have a personal favorite?
Lisa :: CASCADE. I loved the drama of that one...plus the hard decisions Gabi had to make, as well as what she discovers about herself.

The Literary Maidens :: What kind of research/touring did you do in preparation for writing this series?
Lisa :: I'd written another medieval Italy series before, so I was done! For that previous series, I read a ton. Info on medieval times is confusing, though, since historians often disagree.

The Literary Maidens :: What is something the average person doesn't know about you?
Lisa :: I was certified as a scuba diver after I nearly drowned.

The Literary Maidens :: Do you have any writing quirks?
Lisa :: I like to listen to soundtracks as I write.

The Literary Maidens :: Where do you usually write?
Lisa :: At the library. I can't seem to get much done at home besides marketing.

The Literary Maidens :: Is there anything you'd like to share in closing?
Lisa :: As much as I adore the River of Time Series, I'm also really loving Remnants. It's a genre-bending series--paranormal, spiritual, romantic, suspenseful. I think my River Tribe will like it too.
 
The Literary Maidens :: Thanks for allowing us to interview you Lisa! We wish you the best of luck with the books you are currently writing! We can't wait to read them! :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Peak At Our Bookshelf #1


 

/ / A   P e a k   A t   O u r   B a b i e s / /

 

{ P o s t   B y   M a d i }
 

Hey Literary Maidens (and Knights)!
Today we are gonna try something new here at TLM. Once a month either Bethany or I (Madi) will share ONE of our bookshelves with you, so that you can have a peak at our babies. For instance, this month you are getting a little sneak peak into one of MY shelves, and next month Bethany will share one of hers. The picture above features the books that I will be sharing with you. So, without further ado, Bookshelf #1!
  
  • The Call Of The Wild By Jack London
  • Black Beauty By Anna Sewell
  • The Secret Garden By Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Unstoppable By Nick Vujicic
  • Christy & Todd The College Years By Christy Jones Gunn
  • Christy Miller Collection Volume 1 By Robin Jones Gunn
  • Sierra Jensen Collection Volume 1 By Robin Jones Gunn
  • Sierra Jensen Collection Volume 2 By Robing Jones Gunn
  • Sierra Jensen Collection Volume 3 By Robin Jones Gunn
  • The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins
  • Catching Fire By Suzanne Collins
  • Mockingjay By Suzanne Collins
  • Because Of Him By Mark Vogl
  • Though None Go With Me By Jerry B. Jenkins
  • A Lasting Impression By Tamera Alexander
  • Jenna's Cowboy By Sharon Gillenwater
  • Megan's Hero By Sharon Gillenwater
  • Courting Cate By Leslie Gould
  • The Merchant's Daughter By Melanie Dickerson
  • The Fairest Beauty By Melanie Dickerson
  • The Promise Of An Angel By Ruth Reid
  • Halfling By Heather Burch
  • Avenger By Heather Burch
  • Though My Heart Is Torn By Joanne Bischof
  • Millies Unsettled Season By Martha Finley
  • The Great Divorce By C.S Lewis
  • Prince Caspian By C.S Lewis
  • A Walk To Remember By Nicholas Sparks
  • To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Author Interview + Giveaway / / The Doctor's Lady By Jody Hedlund

Good Morning Literary Maidens!
Today The Literary Maiden gals are super excited to have author Jody Hedlund stop by our blog for an author interview and special book giveaway! Both of us girls are big fans of Jody's novels, The Preacher's Bride, The Doctor's Lady, Unending Devotion, and A Noble Groom; and are looking forward to her upcoming novel, Rebellious Heart which will release in September. We hope you enjoy this fun interview with Jody, and that you'll enter our giveaway!
~The Literary Maidens {Madi & Bethany}
 

 A u t h o r   I n t e r v i e w 

W i t h    M r s .   J o d y    H e d l u n d

 
The Literary Maidens :: Hi Jody! Welcome to the Literary Maidens blog! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
 
Jody :: I've been married to my college sweetheart for over twenty years, and we have five children ranging in ages from 15 down to 7. Between homeschooling and running our kids to activities, we're crazily busy! We live in central Michigan and so take our summers very seriously, considering at least 6 months of the year are cold and overcast. 

I've been creating stories for as long as I can remember but began taking my writing seriously after I got married. Once I started having babies, I took a hiatus from writing. The time away from my writing really enriched me. The first book I wrote after my break was The Preacher's Bride.

When I'm not homeschooling or writing, you might find me sneaking in some pleasure reading. And you'd definitely find me eating chocolate and guzzling coffee!

The Literary Maidens :: Could you tell us a little bit about your book "The Doctors Lady"?

Jody ::


Priscilla White bears the painful knowledge that she’ll never be able to be a mother. Having felt God’s call to missionary work, she determines to remain single, put her pain behind her, and answer God’s call.

Dr. Eli Ernest wants to start a medical clinic and mission in unsettled Oregon Country. He’s not interested in taking a wife because of the dangers of life in the west and the fact that no white woman has ever attempted the overland crossing.

But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field. Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs.

Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God’s leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

The Literary Maidens :: Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
 
Jody :: This book is inspired by the true life story of Narcissa Whitman, the first white woman to brave the dangers of overland trail and travel west. In 1836, she married Dr. Whitman, and then the next day left her childhood home and would never return for the purpose of starting a mission among the Nez Perce natives.

It was my hope in this story to bring Narcissa Whitman to life. This heroic woman has often been ignored and at times even disparaged. In reality, she exuded incredible courage to attempt a trip many proclaimed foolishly dangerous. It was called an “unheard-of-journey for females.” Because of her willingness to brave the unknown, she led the way for the many women who would follow in her footsteps in what would later become known as the Oregon Trail.

The Literary Maidens :: Where are you in the process of your upcoming new release "Rebellious Heart"?
 
Jody :: A couple of weeks ago I completed my last set of edits known as the Galleys. I sent that back to my publisher and now they'll be making their last changes to the book as well. And very soon, they'll begin sending the book out to reviewers. My work is done on the book . . . until it releases, and then I'll be busy again doing interviews and helping to promote it.

The Literary Maidens :: Out of all your books, do you have a personal favorite?
 
Jody :: That's a hard one because I fall madly in love with all of my books as I'm writing them! I think they're all SO wonderful–until I beginning editing and then I loathe them. While I can't pick one book, I can say that one of my favorite heroes so far is Carl from A Noble Groom because he's so sweet and caring and funny.

The Literary Maidens :: What is something the average person doesn't know about you?
 
Jody :: I have most of the songs of Sound of Music memorized (due to watching it every year as a child). Now, whenever I watch the movie, I belt out the songs at the top of my lungs, much to the listening pleasure of my children. *Grin*

The Literary Maidens :: Do you have any writing quirks?
 
Jody :: I don't have too many quirks, other than needing a cup of coffee on hand while I'm writing
(especially in the morning!).

One of the things I like to do to help me keep on track with my writing is give myself half hour word count challenges–a specific goal of how many words I can get written in a thirty minute time span. Doing these mini-challenges keeps me from getting too distracted by other things while I'm in a writing mode.

The Literary Maidens :: Where do you usually write?
 
Jody :: Most days I sit in the kitchen or dining room where I’m able to keep my eyes and ears on all that’s going on around me. That way I can see when the dog is about to eat another sock, put a halt to my youngest riding down the steps in laundry baskets, and make sure my children are practicing piano diligently (rather than getting up to get a snack every few minutes). Of course, this is all hypothetical. None of this ever happens. And my writing time is always quiet and peaceful as my children go about their work without needing any of my intervention. *Wink*

I actually do my best writing in my office, which is upstairs away from the noise and chaos. But I don’t get to retreat there very often, just a few times a week for extended writing time.

Most of the time, I plug in headphones, put on Pandora, and write no matter what’s going on around me. I’ve had to learn to just do it and not wait for the perfect moment.

The Literary Maidens :: When did you decide to be an author, and what inspired you to write?
 
Jody :: I’m pretty sure I was born with a pen in one hand and a notebook in the other. Since my earliest days, I loved making up stories and writing them down. The passion followed me into adulthood. And after many twists and turns along the path, I’ve finally been able to channel that passion into a full time writing career.

My mom was the most influential person in my writing career. When I was young, she helped facilitate my love of writing by reading aloud to me, giving me good books to read, and providing the kind of environment that fostered my creativity (in fact we didn’t have a TV for a number of years). She always believed in me, encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and rode alongside me cheering me on.

The Literary Maidens ::  Is there anything that you would like to share in closing?
 
Jody :: I love hearing from readers! Make sure you stop by one of these places and say hello!

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund

I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund

My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com
 
   / / T h e    G i v e a w a y / /
Today we are delighted to be partnering with Jody for a giveaway! One blessed winner will receive a copy of The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund. To enter this giveaway, use the RaffleCopter entry form below. Open to the U.S. and entries will be taken until June 24th, 2013. After the giveaway ends we will pick a winner using Random.org provided on RaffleCopter and will notify the winner via email. The winner's name will also be announced on the below giveaway entry form. Before you start entering, we'd like to sincerely thank Jody for letting us interview her as well as for helping make this giveaway happen! Thanks a million, Jody!
 
~ The Literary Maidens
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 10, 2013

Undeniably Yours By Becky Wade Book Review

Undeniably Yours (A Porter Family, #1)// U n d e n i a b l y  Y o u r s // 
 
A   P o r t e r   F a m i l y  # 1
 
B y    B e c k y    W a d e
 
{ R e v i e w   B y   B e t h a n y }
 
Title: Undeniably Yours
Series: A Porter Family, Book 1
Author: Becky Wade
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 380
ISBN: 0764209752
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: 2013
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
 
// Book Description//

"When Meg Cole’s father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft-spoken and tenderhearted–more interested in art than in oil–she’s forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father’s empire.

The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father’s thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.
Bo’s determined to resent the woman who’s decided to rob him of his dream. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them–her wealth, his unworthiness, her family’s outrage–and earn the right to love her.

But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg’s past. Can their love–and their belief that God can work through every circumstance–survive?"

 
// Book Trailer //

 
// Bethany's Book Review //
This was the very first of Becky Wade's books that I have read, so going into Undeniably Yours I wasn't sure what to expect. To be completely honest, while I'm glad I had the opportunity to review Undeniably Yours, I highly doubt that I would be interested in reading anymore of her books, purely because of the romantic level of her writing style. Now this is not to say that I didn't enjoy this contemporary novel, it just wasn't for me as I found the cons were more plentiful than the pros; however I did find a few things I did enjoy about this fun western novel.
 
On the topic of things I did enjoy about Undeniably Yours, I would definitely say that I loved how this story was set in Dallas, Texas. Being born and raised my whole life in this wonderful state, and having been to Dallas a couple of times, I found it enjoyable to read about this story and remembering times I was in such and such town or being familiar with them as they came up in the story.
 
For the longest time I had a hard time deciding whether to give this book 2.5 or 3 stars. But after reading the particularly exciting, fast-paced and wonderful ending to this novel, I decided on three stars since I liked the ending and the mystery involved. I felt like the middle of the book was a bit slow, but goodness, the ending was fast and exciting and a great way to tie off the story. For me, my favorite scene aside from the ending was the one where Bo and Meg babysit Jayden. That scene had me laughing so hard and I loved it! I also enjoyed the Christian aspects of the book, and how Meg choose to use the house for the benefit of others at the end of the story.
 
This is a contemporary novel, and most people that know me know that I'm a big historical fiction fan. So I don't read contemporary fictions as often as I do other genres. But I can still say that I liked some aspects of the contemporary genre in this book, and found a few topics I could relate to the main character Meg, especially the scenes where she would work out at the gym. I felt like I could relate to the character since it was modern versus a historical fiction, and liked the references to modern aspects of the story. However there were other aspects of the contemporary genre that were a bit different from what I'm used to in historical fiction, mainly the more modern writing style. I felt like the way Becky wrote this novel made the emotions of the characters very clear, as she would word and write them differently. But there was one aspect of the writing style that I didn't really like as much. There were several occasions were a character would say "Thank God!", and sometimes on those occasions I had a difficult time figuring out if they were genuinely praising God, or if they were using the phrase in a disrespectful way. It was just one little thing that bugged me a bit as sometimes it's hard to tell from what perspective the character was coming from.
 
I also didn't feel comfortable with the description "sexy" that was used a few times. Which leads me into my biggest con for this novel, and the thing that turned me off the most: the level of romance. At first when I requested this book, having seen the cover, I wondered if the level of romance would exceed my comfort zone or be willing to put the time into reading. However, since I'd never read this author, I decided to give it a go. But unfortunately this novel was way too romantic for me. It was practically drenched in romance. Which is fine if you like lots of romance in your novels, for sure this would be a book for you. But for those who are trying to only read small amounts of romance in novels, then this probably isn't the best choice of a weekend read for you. I felt like this story was centered around the romance, and while there were two other sub-plots, the main portion of this nearly 400 page novel was focus on Meg and Bo's relationship and romance, and honestly I got tired of it rather quickly. While it never got inappropriate, I just felt it was more that I felt like reading as far as the descriptions and whole love deal. I also found a few scenes to be a little more that should have been as the two characters were alone by themselves, which I personally don't see as a healthy thing until after you are engaged, and while nothing happened, I just found it over my "line".
 
While I did enjoy the Texas setting of this novel, I found it to be a bit more romantic for my taste, which would lead me to only read another Becky Wade novel with great caution. While it personally wasn't for me, if you enjoy high romances then this is the story for you.
 
N o t e :: I'd like to sincerely thank Bethany House publishers for the opportunity to review this book. All thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own, and unbiased, and honest, and that I was not paid to read and review a copy of Undeniably Yours.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Review + Giveaway / / Heaven On Earth Series By Ruth Reid

/ / H e a v e n   O n   E a r t h  B o o k  R e v i e w s / /

 / / R e v i e w s   B y  M a d i / /

 / / T h e   P r o m i s e    o f    a n   
A n g e l / /

A  H e a v e n   O n   E a r t h   
N o v e l

B y   R u t h   R e i d

Title: The Promise Of An Angel
Author: Ruth Reid
Source: Purchased From
Amazon
Number Of Pages: 296
ISBN: 9781595547880
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2011
My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

/ / B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / /
"Interrupting the ordered routine of the Mecosta County Amish settlement, an angelic visitor awakens Judith to a new faith.

All Judith Fischer ever wanted is to marry within her community and raise a family. She longs for the day when her parents will allow Levi Plank to officially court her.

But on the day Judith suspects Levi will ask her parent's permission, her younger brother Samuel has an accident under her charge. Rushing to Samuel's aid, Judith spies a strange man helping him; a man she later believes was an angel.

When she shares her conviction with her family and close friends, she is shocked to find that no one believes her, including Levi. In the days following the accident, the angel visits Judith with information that may guide her down the path of faith, should she choose to follow.

As her community slowly distances themselves, only one person is willing to stand up for her the bishop's son, Andrew Lapp. But can he convince the settlement to listen to her? With a show of faith that flies in the face of her conservative upbringing, can Judith hold strong to the promise that there are even greater things in store for those who believe in God's miracles?"


 / / M a d i ' s   R e v i e w / /
Judith is supervising some of the children in the community when her little brother Samuel climbs up onto the roof of their barn during a barn raising. When Judith sees her brother in such a dangerous situation she shouts for her charge to come down, causing him to startle and fall off the top of the barn. When she is the first by his side (or so she thought) she saw a man with bright blue eyes kneeling over him, when she looks up at him all he says is something along the lines of "Have faith, for Samuel's steps are ordained by God." She later finds that her brother is paralyzed from the hips down. Who was this man that spoke in the place of God? She believes he is an angel. When Judith shares her experience with some of her friends and relatives, things turn sour. Why won't any one trust her? Andrew Lapp is the only person who believes her, and since he is the bishops son she doesn't want to share much with him either.

 This book was amazing! This is actually the second time that I have read it, and I think it was even better the second time. I love the thought of an angel appearing in modern times. This is yet another book that caused a book hangover for me. It's so realistic that I feel like the characters are my friends. Well, most of them. ;)

I loved how this story came to life so soon in the book. Unlike a lot of books where you have to get five chapters or so into the book before it gets interesting, "The Promise Of An Angel" brings you in on like, the third page. It was a great read that shows just how faith and the power of our Almighty God can overcome all things. READ IT. 

 

// B r u s h   o f   A n g e l ' s   W i n g s //
// A   H e a v e n    o n   E a r t h    N o v e l //
 
// B y   R u t h    R e i d //
 
Title: Brush Of Angel's Wings
Author: Ruth Reid
Source: Review Book From The Author
Number Of Pages: 368
ISBN: 9781595547897
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Publication Date: 2012
My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

 / / B o o k  D e s c r i p t i o n / /
"He doesn't plan to stay Amish. She doesn't have a plan.

Then an angel draws their hearts toward God . . . and each other.

A buggy-racing champion, a hardworking field-hand, and a terrible cook, Rachel Hartzler does not fit her Amish community's standards for an eligible bride. Hurt by their rejection and still grieving the loss of her brother, Rachel is ready for change.

She's not, however, ready for Jordan Engles. Rachel's father hired him to help tend the fields so Rachel can learn to cook and sew, thus increasing her chances of finding a husband. She can't understand why her father doesn't want her help and blames Jordan for trying to replace her beloved brother.

Jordan plans for his time on the Michigan farm to be short. Before his mother passed away, he promised her he'd give her Amish roots a chance. Upon her death, uncertain about what else to do, he came to stay with his Uncle Isaac in Hope Falls. He's curious why his mother left the community she obviously loved. But it doesn't take Jordan long to conclude that the strict lifestyle and the three hour church services are not for him.

But there isn't just human interaction at play. Nathaniel, an angel of God, sees the potential in Jordan and Rachel's hearts from heaven's perspective. His goal is to shepherd them toward the path of healing and love.

When tragedy strikes, then strikes again, this angelic being is sent to guide them toward the healing and abundant life promised in God's Word - if only they will listen."

 / / M a d i ' s  R e v i e w / /
Wow. This book was even better than the first one, if that's even a possibility. I loved the first book in this series because of the human interaction with the angel, and this one also had that. Plus, Brush Of Angel's Wings had some scenes with the enemy too. I loved how Ruth showed the power of prayer, and how when a child of God prays demons sink into the floorboards so to speak. This book is not only a wonderful novel for its plot, but for it's message also. I felt really encouraged when I finished it, and I felt like God used it to prod me to spend more time in prayer. I would most definitely recommend this book for anyone and everyone who can see straight enough to read it. And if you like Amish fiction, this is your new favorite book.

I also loved the main character. Rachel isn't your average bear if ya know what I mean. She has a competitive streak a mile long, she can't cook, she's not the best homemaker and boys don't seem to know that she even exist. I can relate ;) . I loved how when the angel was comforting either Rachel or Jordan he touched them with his wings. Way to work in the title, Ruth! All the characters are so relatable, and I hope that there is a fourth installment in this series very soon!

 / / A n   A n g e l   B y   H e r   S i d e / /
 
// A   H e a v e n   O n   E a r t h   N o v e l  //An Angel by Her Side

// B y  R u t h  R e i d //
Title: An Angel By Her Side
Author: Ruth Reid
Source: Review Book From The Author
Number Of Pages: 358
ISBN: 9781595547903
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2012
My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

/ / B o o k  D e s c r i p t i o n / /
"Katie has lived through tragedy and heartache. But with the angel Elias by her side, the best years of her life are just ahead.

When Katie Bender's fiance died in a tragic accident, so did her hope of finding love. Though heartbroken, Katie is also practical. In the years since the accident she has discovered her gift for teaching. But when a tornado destroys her small Amish settlement, including the schoolhouse, Katie doesn't know how she will provide for herself.

Seth Stutzman arrived in Hope Falls days before the storm. And when he helps usher Katie and the children to safety, sparks fly. But Seth is only in town to help his brother, Amos, get back on his feet following the death of his wife. He can't afford to have feelings for Katie.

Rebuilding the community is a huge task, and soon, Katie and Seth are working side by side. As they privately wrestle with their feelings for each other, another silent--and ultimate--battle for their hearts rages unseen.

Sworn to protect what God has ordained, the mighty angel Elias appears to them as a mysterious visitor. And with his guidance, Katie and Seth find the courage to take the first small steps toward the life, and love, they were destined for."


/ / M a d i ' s  R e v i e w / /
Katie Bender is a young Amish school teacher who is content with her lot in life. After her fiance James died a couple of years ago, she had given up on marriage and a family. She was happy to teach the children of Hope Falls and live in her own little house by herself. Until a tornado struck the town and demolished the schoolhouse and everything in it.

Seth Stutzman is just passing through, helping his uncle with a bee hive project. He plans to leave as soon as the job is done, so that he can get back to his own business. But then his uncle is struck with temporary blindness and he is needed more than ever.

Circumstances draw these two together despite their reservations, and strange things start happening when they pray and put their faith in the one who has it all under control.

One of the things that I like about this book (and this whole series really) is that it doesn't need a bunch of romance to enhance the story. Though there is a little, it's not the main focus of the book. The main focus was on the actual people and the spiritual battle warring on within them. Katie was just a plain school teacher, yet God sent his angels down to protect and encourage her. It just goes to show that no matter how big or how small you might think you are, God created you and he loves you.

I love all of the books that I have read by Ruth Reid, and I can't wait to see more from her. There is absolutely NOTHING that I would change about these books. They're absolutely fantastic.

 

// T h e    G i v e a w a y //

We would like to sincerely thank Ruth Reid, who has so generously consented to giving away a copy of her book Brush Of Angel's Wings to one of our followers. All you have to do is click on the rafflecopter widget below and do the listed activities to enter to win our giveaway. You can enter via email, or facebook. Good luck!

~ The Literary Maidens

N o t e : : I was not paid to review The Heaven On Earth series or giveaway a copy of Brush Of Angel's Wings on this blog. After contacting the author with a request to host a review and giveaway, Madi was sent a free copy of Brush Of Angel's Wings and An Angel By Her Side from the author to read and review, and was not paid to do so. All thoughts expressed in the review are my own and completely honest and unbiased.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Victim Of Grace By Robin Jones Gunn Book Review

/ / V i c t i m   o f   G r a c e / /
// B y   R o b i n    J o n e s   G u n n //

{ R e v i e w   B y   M a d i }


 Title:
Victim Of Grace
Author: Robin Jones Gunn
Source: Review Book from Book Sneeze
Number Of Pages: 205
ISBN: 9780310324799
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2013
My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
/ / B o o k  D e s c r i p t i o n / /"Robin Jones Gunn reveals poignant truths from her life as well as from the lives of women in the Bible as she flips the notion that we are at the mercy of circumstances. She asks, what if God has dreams for you? What if he is accomplishing those dreams in the midst of shattered hopes? When life doesn't go as expected, it's easy to feel like a victim. We look at the events that have gone wrong and view our lives as impaired. What if we could see our future as God sees it? Would our view radically change if we understood we are indeed victims rather than of happenstance? God, the Relentless Lover, has vigorously sought you. He has instilled dreams in your heart that are grander than you can imagine. But the route to their fulfillment often is through a path you wouldn't seek. What if God wants to take the hopes that tug at your heart and enliven them? Are you ready to live inside the mysterious joy of being a victim of grace?"

/ / M a d i ' s   B o o k   R e v i e w / /
And I thought I enjoyed Robin's books after reading the Christy Miller Collection, The Sierra Jensen Collection and Christy And Todd The College Years! This book was fantastic! I'm usually not very fond of non-fiction books, but this is one that I'm glad to have on my shelves. I wish more people would write about how God got them through the storms of life instead of just getting to the "punch line". What an encouragement! I know that when trialing times come, this is one of the books that I will be re-visiting. I love the amount of scripture used in the making of this book. So many authors write things about God without showing where they got the idea in the first place, but not Robin! She has scripture to back up everything that she says.

I'm extremely grateful for Robin's candidness in sharing her own troubles and trials throughout her life and how God pulled her through them. It seemed that with every personal story that she shared, she had a story of a biblical woman to go with it. I'll never think of some of the women of the Bible the same way. She gives such an insight into what they were going through and what these great women of the Bible could have been feeling in their own rough situations.

This book also showed me just how blessed I really am. I read the term "Victim Of Grace" in one of Robin's novels a while back, and that phrase has come to mind often over the past couple of years. Whenever I feel like the "victim", I can remember that I am not a victim of my circumstances, but I AM a victim of grace. God's perfect, loving and unconditional grace. It's all about your outlook.

I would definitely encourage anyone to read this book, especially teenage girls. Robin Jones Gunn has a way of wording things in a way that draws in a young reader. But even if you aren't a teenage girl, I guarantee that this book could encourage you if you just gave it a shot.
 
N o t e :: I was provided with a free copy of Victim of Grace from the publisher for review purposes, and was not paid to do so. All thoughts expressed are my own, and completely honest and unbiased.

Adoring Addie By Leslie Gould Book Review

Adoring Addie (The Courtships of Lancaster County #2)/ / A d o r i n g   A d d i e / /
// C o u r t s h i p   o f   L a n c a s t e r   C o u n t y   # 2//

// B y    L e s l i e    G o u l d //

{ R e v i e w   B y   M a d i }


Title: Adoring Addie
Author: Leslie Gould
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 341
ISBN: 9780764210327
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2013
My Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars

/ / B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / /
 
W"hen Addie Cramer’s mutter and daed decide Phillip Eicher is the man for her to marry, they claim she must honor them by obeying their wishes. But then she falls in love with Jonathan Mosier–part of the family with whom the Cramers have a long-held grudge.
With the help of others in her community who long to see the quarrel healed, Jonathan and Addie struggle to continue their relationship against both sets of parents’ wishes. But when one of Addie’s vengeful brothers harms a member of the Mosier family, Jonathan intervenes and is banished from Lancaster County.
A distraught Addie determines to find the true reason for the grudge between the two families, hoping to tear down the animosity of the past. Can their love for each other bridge the divide between their families? Or are they destined to remain apart forever?"
 
/ / M a d i ' s   B o o k   R e v i e w / /
I'm not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed in this book. After reading Courting Cate (the first book in "The Courtships Of Lancaster County" series), I was expecting more. For the first hundred pages or so, nothing happened. Addie didn't meet anyone new, she wasn't getting to know her fiancé, there was no back story on any of the other characters, nothing. Even after I finished the book I still didn't feel like the author had endeared Jonathan to me. I just kind of felt like this book was written in a rush.
 
Addie has been stuck at home her entire life with very few chances to socialize outside of her family. She is guarded and sheltered, so when her parents arrange her marriage to a young man named Phillip, she doesn't put up much of a fuss. And then she meets Jonathon Mosier. Addie and Jonathon's families have been at each other for years, and now the only thing that these two young people know is that the age old argument is keeping them apart.
 
I did like how this was kind of a "Romeo and Juliet" spin-off, but I also think that the author could have done so much more with this story.
 
/ / P r o s / /
  •  I really liked the names of the main characters. Addie is sweet and original, and Jonathan is strong a biblical.
  • I really love spin-offs of old stories and fairy tales. This one kind of resembled William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet in the plot. There was even the "death" scene in the end. You know, minus the death. It's hard to explain.
  • This is Amish Fiction, and I LOVE Amish Fiction.
/ / C o n s / /
  • There really wasn't going on in the beginning of the book. I think that some slow readers might get exasperated with it and put it back on the shelf.
  • When things DID start to happen, they happened at a ridiculously fast pace. The very first time Jonathan and Addie met, they decided they were in love and were going to end up married. How can you even love someone that you know nothing about?! They may be a stinkin' kidnapper for all you know! Crazy! Infatuation at first sight I can believe. Love? Not so much. A real love takes time to develop.
  • It just really paled in comparison to the first book in this series.

If you were looking for a sweet, Amish Fiction to pass the time, there are definitely worse books out there. If you want a nail biter, I would pass.
 
 N o t e :: I was provided with a free copy of Adoring Addie from the publisher for review purposes. I was not paid to write a review on Adoring Addie, and all thoughts and sentiments are completely my own.