Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Join The Born of Persuasion Book Celebration!

Hello Literary Maidens!!

Recently Madi and I (Bethany) have come to know about a new author, Jessica Dotta and her debut novel, which is to be released on September 1st called Born of Persuasion! It is the first book in Jessica's Price of Privilege trilogy, and in honor of it's upcoming release, Jessica is having a month long celebration on her Facebook with lots of delightful giveaways that you don't want to miss! The celebration starts tomorrow on August 1st, and will run until the end of the month so be sure and like the Facebook page HERE so you can get updates on all the fun! And be sure and stop by here on The Literary Maidens blog tomorrow for more info on Jessica Dotta and Born of Persuasion as well as a very special excerpt from the book! See you tomorrow!

31-Days of Giveaway

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monthly Reflections :: July 2013 {#4}


Today we are teaming up with Melanie of Christian Bookshelf Reviews once again for the monthly reflections post where we share what we've read this month! Here's what The Literary Maidens read in July!
// Books Bethany Read In July //

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Trouble in Store

                 3 Stars                                      2 Stars                                    5 Stars

Tidewater Inn (Hope Beach, #1)Rosemary Cottage (Hope Beach #2)The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty

                3 Stars                                    4 Stars                                    5 Stars 

Skip Rock Shallows (Copper Brown, #3)The Governess Of Highland Hall (Edwardian Brides, #1)Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander

                 5 Stars                                   3.5 Stars                                5 Stars

The Swiss Courier

4.5 Stars

// Books Madi Read In  July //
Prairie Song (Hearts Seeking Home #1)Glamorous Illusions (Grand Tour Series, #1)Grave Consequences (Grand Tour Series, #2)

                  4 Stars                                   5 Stars                                  5 Stars

Megan's HeroHappy, Happy, HappyThe Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty

                  5 Stars                                 5 Stars                                  5 Stars 

The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers on the Moors, # 1)Gentleman of Her Dreams (Ladies of Distinction, #0.5)Redeeming Love

                  5 Stars                                   5 Stars                                  2 Stars 

Heart's Desire: Whispers of Grace SeriesThe LettersOn Distant Shores (Wings of the Nightingale, #2)

                 4 Stars                                    5 Stars                                      5 Stars

 Have any read any of these books? Did you like them? Share with us what you've read this month! We always love hearing from you in the comments!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Happy, Happy, Happy By Phil Robertson Book Reviews

/ / H a p p y ,   H a p p y ,   H a p p y / /

Happy, Happy, Happy

{R e v i e w s   B y   M a d i   &   B e t h a n y}

Title: Happy, Happy, Happy
Author(s): Phil Robertson With Mark Schlabach
Madi's Source: Review Book From The Publisher
Bethany's Source: Review Book From The Publisher
Number Of Pages: 230
ISBN: 978-1-4767-2609-0
Publisher: Howard
Publication Date: 2013
Madi's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
Bethany's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
/ / B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / /
This no-holds-barred autobiography chronicles the remarkable life of Phil Robertson, the original Duck Commander and Duck Dynasty star, from early childhood through the founding of a family business. Life was always getting in the way of Phil Robertson’s passion for duck hunting.

An NFL-bound quarterback, Phil made his mark on Louisiana Tech University in the 1960s by playing football and completing his college career with a master’s degree in English. But Phil’s eyes were not always on the books or the ball; they were usually looking to the sky.

Phil grew up with the dream of living the simple life off the land like his forebears, but he soon found himself on a path to self-destruction—leasing a bar, drinking too much, fighting, and wasting his talents. He almost lost it all until he gave his life to God. And then everything changed.

Phil’s incredible story tells how he followed a calling from God and soon after invented a duck call that would begin an incredible journey to the life he had always dreamed of for himself and his family. With great love for his country, his family, and his maker, Phil has finally found the ingredients to the “good life” he always wanted.
/ / M a d i ' s   R e v i e w / /
This has got to be the best book that I have read this year, hands down (or thumbs up). I have been a fan of the show Duck Dynasty for a while now, and when I found out that Phil and Willie Robertson had each written a book, I kind of geeked out. I'm so excited for the opportunity to read, review and promote anything by this family!

This book was about Phil Robertson - the man who started the Duck Commander Business - and how he came to be where he is today. I was fascinated to find out that Phil wasn't always the Godly, wise man that everyone sees today. He was married to his wife Kay at a very young age (he was 16 and she was 15), and at first he wasn't the ideal father and husband. But, God got ahold of him and he turned his life around when he was 28 years old, and he has been a proud proclaimer of the gospel ever since. I happen to personally know how certain situations instigated by a father can affect an entire family, and not always in a good way. That being said, there is always a hidden story of redemption. The kindness and forgiveness displayed by his family was astounding, and Phil's drive to become a better husband, father and person was even more impressive.

Since Phil turned his life around, he became an all out Bible thumper (America needs a few more of those). The lessons that he learned throughout his life he shares candidly, and in a forthright manner he tells you how to handle some hard situations. I love his outspoken demeanor, and how he just calls them as he sees 'em. One of my favorite quotes from this book was:

"The more makeup a woman wears, the more she's trying to hide; makeup can hide a lot of evil."

I couldn't have said it better myself!
/ / B e t h a n y ' s   R e v i e w / / 
Since I am a fan of Duck Dynasty, I found this book a very enjoyable read, as I got to know more about Phil Robertson who is a star in his family's reality TV show, Duck Dynasty which is shown on A&E. I loved the Phil-ness of the book, and while it's kinda hard to explain just what that is, anyone who's seen Phil on Duck Dynasty will known that Phil has a very distinct flavor; one that you don't see much nowadays. Basically, it was super redneck and super low-tech - and hey, the world could always use a bit more of that, right? And while Phil is very strong on his opinions, I would say that I wholeheartedly agree with each of them, especially all the political related ones in the last chapter. He's got some good stuff to say, and while I'm not exactly taking on the whole no technology philosophy, there are quite a few things that I could agree with that I think the world would do good to hear.
Before reading Happy, Happy, Happy I had already read Phil's son Willie's book The Duck Commander Family, which went into detail explaining how the Robertson family grew up. While a lot of that was repeated in this book, I enjoyed getting to hear it from Phil's point of view, and there were a couple details that were not mentioned in The Duck Commander Family. I really enjoyed getting to read about Phil's life before he came to Christ, when he was drinking and doing things he shouldn't have. I especially enjoyed hearing how he came to Christ, and how his life was different after he became a Christian, especially how he would go and "preach" and speak to people about Christ.
For me, the best parts of this book were all the black and white photos of Phil and his family, as well as all the quotes that I could very easily see Phil saying, like he often quotes on Duck Dynasty. This book, being that it's written by Phil, definitely had a different take on things that what you'd normally see in a biography/memoir type book, which makes it very unique! But in all honesty, what about the Robertson family is average? :)
In all, I really enjoyed getting to read this book. It gives lots of insight into the Robertson family, and details on how they grew up and started Duck Commander. One of the unique things that sets the book apart from The Duck Commander Family is since it's from Phil's point of view, there are more details on how Duck Commander got started and lots of early memories of the business before it brought in buckets of money. In all, Happy, Happy, Happy is a great book full of wonderful family memories and advice, with a special Phil touch. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes to hunt, or to fans of Duck Dynasty. Anyone who is a fan of Phil should be sure and pick up this book!
NOTE :: We would like to sincerely thank the publisher for providing us girls with a complimentary review copy of this book to read and review! We were not paid to read and review this book, and all thoughts expressed in our reviews are completely our own and unbiased.

Review + Giveaway // Heart's Desire By June Caedmon

/ / H e a r t ' s   D e s i r e / /

{R e v i e w   B y   M a d i}
Title: Heart's Desire
Author: June Caedmon
Source: Author Funded
Number Of Pages: 318
ISBN: 9781479238545
Publisher: CreatSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: 2003
Madi's Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
/ / B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / /
Nestled along the banks of the mighty Mississippi, Riverview Plantation is a picture of southern charm and tranquility. But an embittered quest to right the wrongs of the past soon threatens to destroy the peace and security of all who dwell there. Melinda Cartwright is determined to help the Elliott brothers catch the smugglers that threaten their pecan operation. And John Elliott is just as determined to stop her! As John watches his older brother, his aunt, and even their house-guests fall in love with Melinda, and her winsome ways, he battles his own conflicting feelings for her. Melinda is not immune to his charms. But she denies her feelings, certain a future with John would mean the sacrifice of her dreams. Then Melinda makes a sacrifice of another kind. One that could cost her very life. Ultimately God intercedes to show them that only by trusting Him can they receive the true desire of their hearts.
/ / M a d i ' s   B o o k   R e v i e w / /
 I would like to start off by thanking author June Caedmon for approaching us about this review and giveaway, Thanks June! I'm really excited to tell you a little bit about this author. This is the first book that I have read by June, and I hadn't heard of her before now, but I was really impressed! There were a few grammatical errors as far as separation of paragraphs and transitional sentences, but the story itself was great!

Melinda Cartwright ran into The Elliot brothers on the road (literally)! To make up for breaking their wagon, she dresses as a boy and helps around their farm to help them catch some criminals in action. She quickly comes to care for all the people at her new home, and God shows her that he knows her Heart's Desire.
John Elliot isn't sure how he feels about having a woman work with all the men on his farm. Actually he does, there just isn't much that he can do about it. His concern for Mel's safety soon turns to something more, and it gets harder and harder to let Melinda put herself in dangerous situations.
At first they don't get along, but they eventually learn to work together. There is an adventure at the turn of every page, and just like me, you won't be able to put it down!
One of the things that I really liked about this book was that it didn't need a bunch of that ooey-gooey romantic stuff to enhance the story. It had enough happening! I also liked the lead female character. Let me tell you, she was a little spit-fire! I can relate to this little woman with a big personality. This a good book to settle down with over the weekend. Hopefully I can get my hands on the second book in this series pretty soon!
 / / T h e   G i v e a w a y / /
The Literary Maidens would like to thank author June Caedmon for providing a copy of Heart's Desire for Madi to review, and also a signed copy to give away to one of you! To enter this giveaway just click on the rafflecopter widget below and select the activities that you would like to participate in. Remember, the more you do, the bigger chance you have of winning! Good Luck!
N o t e :: I was not paid to review Heart's Desire or giveaway a copy on this blog. I received a free copy of the book to read and review from the author.  All thoughts expressed in the review are my own and completely honest and unbiased.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kindle Freebies!

Hello Literary Maidens!
My kindle with a skin #kindle
{Not my photo // Used from Pinterest}
I hope you all are having a splendid weekend! Today I wanted to share a quick post to let you know about some good Kindle e-book freebies that I've come across and wanted to share with you all. I have a Kindle and ever since purchasing it, I've been scouring Amazon for free Christian e-books, and have found a few invaluable resources that have lead me to getting 400+ free Kindle books over time-all for FREE! (Maybe one day I will do a post with links to the resources for my Kindle freebies. If you are interested in seeing such a post, please let me know in a comment!)
Needless to say, I've got a boat load of  e-books on my Kindle, so many that they would all last me a couple years-and I didn't pay a single cent for one of them! This weekend I've come across some wonderful freebies, and two of them had been on my wish-list for quite some time so I was delighted to load them onto my Kindle for free! Now while I always prefer print books over e-books, I will admit there are advantages and cons to e-books. Personally I like taking my Kindle along with me on vacations so I won't have to haul a bunch of books around and wonder if I've brought enough and keep up with them all through hotels and touring the area. So I will have to keep these recent freebies on hand for our next road trip!
So now that I've gone off on a rabbit trail, I'm sure you are all curious as to which e-books are currently free on Amazon (and possibly Barns and Noble for Nook users, though I've not checked). but before sharing them with you I wanted to let you know that even if you don't have a Kindle, there is a Kindle app that you can load onto basically any Smartphone or tablet. More info on that at the bottom of the post though. Now on to the freebies!
A Daughter's Inheritance (The Broadmoor Legacy, #1)         // A Daughters Inheritance //
The Broadmoor Legacy // Book 1
By Tracie Peterson & Judith Miller
Free on Amazon Kindle Until August 31st, 2013
Purchase it for free on Amazon HERE!
(Note: Be sure and double check that the e-book price is still $0.00 before purchasing to make sure you will not be charged for this e-book)
I have been very eager to read this series from Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller and was so excited when I found out it was free! Though I haven't read any of these ladies' work yet, I'm eager to start this book!

Skip Rock Shallows (Copper Brown, #3)
// Ship Rock Shallows //
By Jan Watson
Free on Amazon Kindle Through July 27th, 2013 {TODAY is the last day this e-book is free, so pick it up soon!}
Purchase it for free on Amazon HERE!
(Note: Be sure and double check that the e-book price is still $0.00 before purchasing to make sure you will not be charged for this e-book)
// Book Synopsis //
"Lilly Gray Corbett has just graduated from medical school and decided to accept an internship in the coal camp of Skip Rock, Kentucky. Her beau, Paul, is doing his residency in Boston and can't understand why Lilly would choose to work in a backwater town. But having grown up in the mountains, Lilly is drawn to the stubborn, superstitious people she encounters in Skip Rock--a town where people live hard and die harder and where women know their place. Lilly soon learns she has a lot to overcome, but after saving the life of a young miner, she begins to earn the residents' trust. As Lilly becomes torn between joining Paul in Boston and her love for the people of Skip Rock, she crosses paths with a handsome miner--one who seems oddly familiar. Her attraction for him grows, even as she wrestles with her feelings and wonders what he's hiding."
I have read this book, and actually had just finished it the day before it was free on Kindle. I absolutely loved it and would highly encourage you to read it! It reminded me a lot of Christy by Catherine Marshall and I eagerly await other opportunities to read more of Jan's novels in the future!
Harvest of Rubies: (Book 1)// Harvest of Rubies //

By Tessa Afshar
Free on Amazon Kindle Through August 9th, 2013
Purchase it for free on Amazon HERE!
(Note: Be sure and double check that the e-book price is still $0.00 before purchasing to make sure you will not be charged for this e-book)
// Book Synopsis //

"The prophet Nehemiah's cousin can speak numerous languages, keep complex accounts, write on rolls of parchment and tablets of clay, and solve great mysteries. There is only one problem: she is a woman.

In her early childhood years, Sarah experienced the death of her mother and her father's subsequent emotional distance and she came to two conclusions: that God does not care about her, and that her accomplishments are the measure of her worth - the measure of her self.

Sarah, the talented scribe and cousin to Nehemiah, is catapulted into the center of the Persian court, working too many hours, rubbing elbows with royalty, and solving intrigues for the Queen. Ironically, it isn't failure but success that causes Sarah to lose her only source of external validation.

Sarah soon learns that she has something of worth to offer beyond her ability with languages and sums - her very being proves to be a blessing to others particularly the aristocrat, Darius, she was given to in marriage.

Sarah and Darius' story continues in Harvest of Gold. Darius may be able to learn to love his wife, but can he ever learn to trust Sarah and her Lord?
I've not read this book yet, nor any of this authors other novels, but have heard good things about them and can't wait to read this one! I've always been interested in biblical fiction, and am interested to read this one and see how Tessa fictionalizes well-known Bible events.

Gentleman of Her Dreams (Ladies of Distinction, #0.5)// Gentleman of Her Dreams //
By Jen Turano
I'm not sure how long this e-book will be available for free, but it's been free for all the time I've known about it!
Purchase it for free on Amazon HERE!
(Note: Be sure and double check that the e-book price is still $0.00 before purchasing to make sure you will not be charged for this e-book)
// Novella Synopsis //
"When Miss Charlotte Wilson asks God for a husband, she decides He must want her to pursue Mr. Hamilton Beckett, the catch of the season. The only problem? She's never actually met Hamilton. Fortunately, one of her oldest and dearest friends, Mr. Henry St. James—who has returned to New York after a two-year absence—does know Hamilton. Much to Henry's chagrin, Charlotte immediately ropes him into helping her meet Hamilton. However, none of her plans to catch Hamilton's eye go as she expected, and she is even more confused when her old feelings for Henry begin to resurrect themselves. In the midst of the mayhem Charlotte always seems to cause, she wonders if the gentleman of her dreams might be an entirely different man than she thought.

This novella is a companion to A Change of Fortune, Jen Turano's full-length debut novel, available fall 2012."
This is one of my favorite novellas and a definite re-read! While I normally shy away from books that have a lot of feminism, I really enjoyed this novella! (This book is set in the time when women were trying to be allowed to vote, and while I have nothing against women voting, I don't like the superior-to-men attitude that this time period brought.) Normally I wouldn't have read it, but it was a free novella that was a short story to start off Jen's new Ladies of Distinction series. Personally I loved Henry, and he is the main reason why I enjoyed this novella so much! Plus it's very short and could easily be read in a day making for a nice light quick read!
So there you have it ladies! I hope you all will take advantage of these great deals and load the books onto your Kindle! For those of you who don't have a Kindle, then there is a Kindle app that you get on all Smartphones as well as tablets where you can read these free e-books, so if you'd like to read any of these books, but don't have a Kindle then check out the app! I believe they also have the app available for MACs too! To visit the Amazon page that give info on all the different devices that you can get a Kindle app on click HERE! Oh, and also remember to let me know if you'd like to see more posts with details on Kindle Freebies! And before I sign off, I wanted to leave a link to Bethany House's site where they share the dates for this month's free and discounted e-deals so you can load your Kindle with even more free books! There were too many e-deals to actually list on this post, so go check out the website HERE!
Happy reading!
Bethany for The Literary Maidens

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Rosemary Cottage By Colleen Coble Blog Tour

/ / R o s e m a r y   C o t t a g e / /

B y    C o l l e e n    C o b l e
{R e v i e w   B y   M a d i}
Title: Rosemary Cottage
Author: Colleen Coble
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 323
ISBN: 978-1-59554-782-8
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
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 / /
The cottage by the sea offers Amy a refuge to mourn her brother’s death and perhaps even discover a new love. But what if Ben’s death was no accident?
Rosemary Cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina has been in Amy Lang’s family for generations and offers her a haven within its peaceful walls. There she hopes to discover what really happened to her brother, Ben, even as she tries to come to grips with his death in the ocean months before.
She hopes the Coast Guard team will help her find closure, but they are quick to dismiss her concerns of foul play. Everyone in Hope Beach regards the suspicious e-mail she received as a vicious prank. When it seems discovering what happened to Ben will take longer than she expected, Amy moves her midwifery practice to Hope Beach.
Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland may hold the key to many of her questions, but he also hides a secret that will change her world forever. And her own secrets could tear apart the fragile love developing between them. Will Amy have the courage to put down her mask and let Curtis love her for who she is? And can they both weather the danger that threatens to destroy the most precious thing in their lives?
/ / M a d i ' s   B o o k   R e v i e w / /
Amy is a midwife who moved to Rosemary Cottage to get some answers about the unexpected death of her brother Ben, but she never expected things to go down the way that they did. Soon she has fallen for a local guy named Curtis and his beautiful niece, and when connections are made between his sister Gina and her brother Ben, accusations and sparks fly.
Curtis is employed by the Coast Guard, and saving people is part of his every day routine, but can he saves those that he cares about from the evil bent on hurting them? After his sister died and left him with her daughter Raine, he isn't so sure.
Soon both Amy and Curtis find out that their siblings are not the people that they thought they were. When investigating their deaths leads to clues that compromise their memories, things get really heated. How can someone who never even met Ben and Gina think that they know them better than their own siblings?
I was really impressed with this book. I will admit that going into this book, I was a little bit reluctant because I had read one other book of Colleen Coble's and I remember telling my friend shortly after that it was slightly lacking. But Rosemary Cottage has made me a fan. I will definitely be checking out some of Coble's books on my next library trip. There wasn't too much romance, which, for me is a plus. I feel that if you need to include a bunch of ooey-gooey stuff to draw in a reader than you have a problem anyways. This books was suspenseful, intriguing, sweet, and totally unexpected. You never knew what was going to happen next, and every problem had a very unique answer. I don't want to spoil it for those of you who have yet to read this little gem, but I have to tell you how much I loved the conclusion. This book ended with some major action, and what happened was so unexpected that even Adrian Monk couldn't have seen it coming. It was fantastic. If you are looking for something to read this weekend, this is the book you need to get your hands on. Like me, you probably won't be able to put it down. 
~ The Literary Maidens 
Note: I was provided with a free print copy of Rosemary Cottage through a blogger book review program. I was not paid to review Rosemary Cottage, and all thoughts expressed in this review are unbiased and completely my own.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky Book Review

The Governess of Highland Hall// The Governess of Highland Hall //
By Carrie Turansky

{Review By Bethany}

The Governess of Highland Hall
Author: Carrie Turansky
Source: Review Book from
Blogging For Books
Number of Pages:
ISBN: 1601424965
Publisher: Multnomah
Publication Date: October 15th, 2013 { I received an ARC copy for my review}
Bethany's Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

// Book Synopsis //

{Taken From
"Worlds lie between the marketplaces of India and the halls of a magnificent country estate like Highland Hall. Will Julia be able to find her place when a governess is neither upstairs family nor downstairs help?

Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents’ financial support. Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly finds that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging than expected, and she isn’t sure what to make of the estate’s preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.

Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin Randolph’s two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from the financial ruin. The last thing he needs is any distraction coming from the kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.

While both are tending past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, Julia and William are determined to do what it takes to save their families—common ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings. But will William choose Julia’s steadfast heart and faith over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall’s future?"
// Book Resources //
// Bethany's Book Review //
A sweet story of a simple missionary-turned-governess set in England in the 1900's on a elegant estate, this story is full of Christian values, a nice light read that all historical fiction fans will enjoy!
When I first requested to review The Governess of Highland Hall, I had never heard of, or read any of Carrie's books, though I found out later that she has written several. But after looking over the synopsis I though it sounded like a nice read. When I finished reading The Governess of Highland Hall I was very pleased with the story, and though for some reason, it didn't quite make my 4 star rating mark, I really enjoyed it!
This story has such a elegant backdrop! It is set in the 1900's in England on a grand estate which the owner inherited from his late cousin-and had just as quaint a story to go with it. Julia Foster has grown up with her missionary family in India serving the people there, but when her father becomes ill, they must travel back to England in hopes that it will strengthen him so they can return to India. But when his health continues to decrease, and funds are short, Julia obtains a position in a wealthy home as a governess for two young children and two older girls who are ready to make their debut in England. As the story unfolds, you meet many of the people who work and live at Highland Hall and get to know them quite well as we see their lives intertwine-especially when reading about two couples interest for each other despite the fact that one is a wealthy person living at Highland, and the other a lower class worker for Highland. But despite the difference in money, they realize that money has nothing to do with marriage-or at least it shouldn't-and that you should rather marry for love and because it is the person God has for you. Though these two blossoming romances are just side-stories to make the main plot with Julia and Sir William run smoother, but I enjoyed getting to know the other people at Highland better, and learned a lot from their character.
One of the things that I loved about this book is how from the very beginning Julia was a strong believer in Christ-probably due to the fact that she grew up with missionary parents and had several opportunities to prove her faith rather than merely claim it. Often times a story starts with a character who isn't strong in their faith, but their faith strengthens as the story progresses. But not this one! Julia was a very firm believer from the very first page, and it was very obvious in the way she made choices and interacted with others-which is one of the things that made me love her and consider her to be a wonderful role model. I just loved seeing how she would respond to certain situations, and often times she would respond with feminine grace that was seasoned with strong Christian character that challenged the way I respond to others and made me think.
I also enjoyed how this book was a moderate romance, and while there was some romance, it wasn't overwhelming and the romance blossomed in a very God honoring manner. The romance also proved a wonderful lesson in regard to realizing that money or class should have nothing to do with who you marry. I also loved the ending to the story and the events that lead up to it! Some were very unexpected as well!
This book, for me was a very close 4 star book. But for some reason it didn't quite make the mark, but was definitely above a 3 star rating, so I decided on 3.5 stars. I think the reason for this is because they book was a bit laid back. While there was always something going on, only rarely would it be something very exciting or life threatening, and was a more calm story to fit the time period and placing. I found it to sometimes feel a tad bit slow, but it would really depend on what your level of interest is concerning action and excitement. Overall though I found it to be a delightful read and one that I would recommend to historical fiction lovers!
N O T E :: I'd like to sincerely thank and the publisher for providing me with a complementary ARC review copy. of The Governess of Highland Hall. All thoughts expressed in my review are my own, honest and unbiased; and I was not paid to write this review.

Was this review helpful to you? If so then I'd really appreciate it if you'd rank my review and let me know on a 1-5 star level how helpful it was over HERE!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Redeeming Love By Francine Rivers Book Review

/ / R e d e e m i n g   L o v e / /

{R e v i e w   B y   M a d i}
Title: Redeeming Love
Author: Francine Rivers
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 479
ISBN: 978-1-59052-513-5
Publisher: Multnomah
Publication Date: 1997
Madi's Rating: 2 Out Of 5 Stars
/ / B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / /
California's gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.

Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.

Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father's heart in everything, Michael obeys God's call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel's every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw.

But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband's pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does ... the One who will never let her go.
 / / M a d i ' s   B o o k   R e v i e w / /
 I don't even know where to begin with this book. I loved how the plot was based on the Bible story "Hosea", and that it showed me that there is absolutely no one beyond God's reach. But that's about the only thing I liked about it. This book was INTENSE. I realize the main girl was a former prostitute, but MUST you go into such vivid detail? I had to skip several pages just to get to a part that I was comfortable reading. I figured that since this book was in the Christian/Fiction genre that it would be just as clean as the other books that I read. Wrong. There should be an age recommendation on this thing. RATED R. INAPPROPRIATE DIALOG. NOT FOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 18. Any of these would have been helpful. This is the third Francine Rivers book that I have read, and you can be absolutely sure that I won't be reading any more novels by her.
Now, just because I wasn't a fan of this book, doesn't mean that you wouldn't be. If you are older, maybe married with a family or something, then I think that you would find this book encouraging. It's just not something that I personally was comfortable with. It just depends on you personal convictions. 
 ~The Literary Maidens

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Heiress Of Winterwood By Sarah Ladd Book Review

The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers on the Moors, # 1)

// T h e   H e i r e s s   
o f   W i n t e r w o o d //

W h i s p e r s   o n   t h e   M o o r s   B o o k   # 1
 B y   S a r a h   E .   L a d d
{R e v i e w   B y   M a d i}
Title: The Heiress of Winterwood
Author: Sarah E. Ladd
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 320
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
/ / B o o k   S y n o p s i s   {T a k e n   F r o m  GoodReads} / /

"Pride goes before the fall . . . but what comes after?

Darbury, England, 1814

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an ancestral estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s infant baby. She'll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father, Graham, a sea captain she’s never met.

Tragedy strikes when the child vanishes with little more than a sketchy ransom note hinting to her whereabouts. Fear for the child’s safety drives Amelia and Graham to test the boundaries of their love for this infant.

Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she examines her soul and must face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline.

Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them."

/ / M a d i ' s   B o o k   R e v i e w / /
This book is officially one of my favorites. I originally heard about The Heiress Of Winterwood from a friend, and she just raved about it. I just HAD to read it, she said. So I did, and boy am I glad! You don't see books like this every day. Most historical fictions that I have read are all the same. The girl gets the guy, the end, finished. Sarah Ladd had a different idea! The Heiress Of Winterwood was so suspenseful and full of action! Just when things start to settle down for Amelia Barret, another curve ball is thrown her way. Her best friend dies? She raises her daughter as her own. The child's father returns from sea? She proposes to him so that she can honor her promise and raise the child herself. They finally get all their plans in place? Her daughter Lucy gets kidnapped! This one is a nail biter, that's for sure and for certain. And the ending! Oh my gosh, the ending is phenomenal. There are so many suspects in Lucy's kidnapping, and the criminal that Sarah developed played the perfect part.

One of the many things that I loved about this book were the characters. Each one was so different and unique, and each one fit his/her role perfectly. I felt like Amelia and Captain Graham were age old friends. Every feeling, every situation, every venue was described in such vivid detail that I felt like I was walking right there beside them. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.
I would recommend this book to anyone over 12 or 13. It didn't have a single inappropriate scene, there was no foul language, and I would feel comfortable letting some of our younger readers have a go at it. The only reason I say 12 or so, is because it requires a higher reading level than most people younger than that possess.

~The Literary Maidens

The Duck Commander Family By Willie & Korie Robertson Book Review

/ / T h e   D u c k   C o m m a n d e r   F a m i l y / /

The Duck Commander Family
{R e v i e w s   B y   M a d i   &   B e t h a n y}
Title: The Duck Commander Family
Authors: Willie & Korie Robertson
Madi's Source: Review Book From The Publisher
Bethany's Source: Review Book From The Publisher
Number Of Pages: 259
ISBN: 978-1-4767-0354-1
Publisher: Howard Publishers
Publication Date: 2012
Madi's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
Bethany's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
 / / B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / /
Faith. Family. Ducks—in that order. This book gives readers an up-close and personal, behind-the-scenes look at the family in the exploding A&E show—Duck Dynasty. This Louisiana bayou family operates Duck Commander, a booming family business that has made them millions. You’ll hear all about the Robertson clan from Willie and what it was like growing up in the Robertson household. You’ll sample some of Willie’s favorite family recipes from Phil, Kay, and even some of his own concoctions; and you’ll get to know the beautiful Robertson women. You’ll hear from Korie about the joys and hardships of raising a family, running a business, and wrangling the Robertson men while staying fashionable and beautiful inside and out. Discover more about the family dynamics between brothers Willie, Jase, Jep, and parents Phil and Kay. You’ll even meet a fourth brother who isn’t in the show.

     The popularity of Duck Dynasty is skyrocketing, garnering a Wednesday-night top two finish in all of cable. The book releases in time for season two of the show in October 2012.
/ / M a d i ' s   R e v i e w / /
It was so great to kind of get a "behind-the-scenes" look at A&E's hit show Duck Dynasty, in this book The Duck Commander Family written by a couple of the shows stars. My family and I will gather in the living room every Wednesday night and enjoy some very comical and inspirational redneck entertainment via Duck Dynasty. I may live in the city, but I have country roots and I live in Texas, so I can most definitely appreciate the southern hospitality and redneck ingenuity demonstrated by the people of Duck Commander. Some of the stories that Willie shared from his childhood sounded so much like the tales that my dad and uncles exchange at the Thanksgiving table that I wonder if I might be somehow related to the Robertson's somewhere up there in the bloodline ;) . Both Willie and Korie Robertson were very candid about where they started, and how hard it was to get there. A multi-million dollar company doesn't just happen you know, and it was nice to see a whole different side of the reality TV show characters that I have come to love.
One of the things that I loved most about this book was how Willie and Korie explained why they act the way that they do, and why their kids are the fine ladies and gentlemen that they are. I wish more parents would instill some good ol' Christian/southern values in their children. As Scotty McCreery Says: "Nobody eats till ya say amen, and everybody knows your mom and them." That's the Texas (and as far as the Robertsons are concerned, Louisiana) way.
If you are looking for an enlightening, humorous or inspirational book to read this weekend, you've hit the jackpot with this jewel.
/ / B e t h a n y ' s   R e v i e w / /
Ever since I watched my first episode of Duck Dynasty, I fell in love with the Robertson family and their philosophy on faith, family and life. So naturally I was delighted to be able to read the book by Willie and Korie and really enjoyed getting to hear about what life was like growing up for Willie in the Robertson family before they were super wealthy due with the Duck Commander business. One of the things that stuck out to me was even though the Robertson family was considered poor before Duck Commander (I know, it's hard to believe!), the stories that Willie tells from his childhood were a testament to the fact that just because you don't have a lot of money doesn't mean you can't have a good childhood. Because honestly, money has nothing to do with the quality of life you live.
If you've seen Duck Dynasty, then you'll be quick to note that the Robertson family has a thing for food. So it was no shock to see that they named each of the seventeen chapters after....get! :) Another neat aspect of this book is how you can find a recipe that goes along with the chapter's title at the back of each chapter complete with ingredients, directions as well as a comment from Willie or Korie about where the recipe came from, or why they love making it. Some of the recipes included in this book are:
  • Willie's Beans & Rice
  • Fried Bologna Sandwiches
  • Fried Catfish
  • Willie's Meatloaf
  • Duck Sausage Pizza
  • Crawfish Balls
  • Chicken Strips
  • Duck Gumbo
  • Garlic Frog Legs
and more!
Another thing I loved about the book was the forty pictures in the middle of the book, from baby pictures, to pictures of the Duck Dynasty clan (Mainly Willie and Korie's family though) that were taken recently. I always love looking at pictures, and enjoyed seeing all the pictures of Willie before his beard. :)
In all, I loved this book, and would highly recommend it to someone looking for a humorous read that is full of wonderful quotes on family, faith and general life. If you are a Duck Dynasty fan and interested in learning about the Robertson's life before Duck Commander, then you should totally read this book, Jack, cause it's a fact that it'll make you happy, happy, happy! Okay, so enough with the puny-ness, but seriously go read it! :)
I'd like to sincerely thank Howard publishing for providing me with a complementary copy of The Duck Commander Family to review. I was not paid to review this book and all thoughts are my own and completely honest and unbiased.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Into The Whirlwind By Elizabeth Camden Book Review

/ / I n t o   T h e   W h i r l w i n d / /

{R e v i e w   B y   M a d i}
Title: Into The Whirlwind
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 380
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1024-2
Publisher: Bethany House
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 / /
After her father's death, Mollie Knox takes over his watchmaking company and uses her head for business to solidify the good name of the 57th Illinois Watch Company. Her future looks bright until the night her beloved city is destroyed in the legendary Great Chicago Fire. With her world crumbling around her, Molly must do whatever it takes to save her company in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek is an influential attorney with powerful ties to the political, mercantile, and ethnic roots of Chicago. His only weakness is Mollie Knox, a woman who has always been just beyond his reach. However, all bets are off after the fire destroys Chicago, and Mollie is in desperate need of assistance. Just as Zack finally begins to pursue the woman he loves, competition arises in the form of a hero from her past who can provide the help she needs to rise from the ashes.

While Mollie struggles to rebuild, the two men battle for her heart. One has always loved her, but the other has the power to save her. In the race to rebuild the city, can she survive with her business and her heart intact?
/ / M a d i ' s   B o o k   R e v i e w / /
 My reading list has been slowly growing, and I have gotten to the point where I try not to read things that I don't think that I will absolutely love simply because I don't have the time to waste on  2 or 3 star books when I have a 5 star book sitting on my shelf. Which is why I went for an Elizabeth Camden title. I simply adore her! This is third book of hers that I've read, and can't wait to read her other novels!  I can't think of a more accurate title for Into The Whirlwind. I started this book at about 1:15 p.m this afternoon, and here I am with a finished novel and a book review at 2:30 p.m the same day. It was THAT good. I just couldn't put it down!
Mollie Knox is a sensible business woman who always thinks before she acts. Everything in her life is well thought out and planned before she makes a decision.
Zack Kazmarek (what a mouthful!) is the exact opposite. Though a successful business man himself, he can often be reckless, and is known for acting on a whim.
Put the two together and you get swept into the whirlwind.
 When their town burns to the ground, and their homes and businesses were lost to them, the townspeople have no choice but to rebuild and give each other a fresh start. But no matter where you are, there will always be a rotten apple in the bunch. People get desperate, they steal, they kill and then they run. Not exactly the best way to deal with instant poverty, but hey, who's to say any of us would react differently? There may be bad people in this world, but there is always a remnant of faithful, hard workers, and the amount of kindness and compassion demonstrated in this story can be overwhelming. I love a story with a good moral, and Into The Whirlwind certainly is that. I can't recommend this book enough. If you can't get your hands on Into The Whirlwind,  then I encourage you to grab another novel by Camden. The Rose Of Winslow Street is one of my personal favorites.
 ~The Literary Maidens

King by R.J Larson Book Review

/ / K i n g / /

{R e v i e w   B y   M a d i}
 Title: King
Author: R.J Larson
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 348
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0973-4
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2013
My Rating: 2 Out Of 5 Stars
/ B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / /
Akabe of Siphra is certain his people are insane.

Why have they made him a king?
What, in the name of peacetime boredom do kings do?

Frustrated by a lengthy silence from his Creator, the Infinite, Akabe decides to prove himself as king by undertaking a monumental task, his own lifelong dream: Rebuild the Infinite’s temple in Siphra.

But Akabe’s impulsive decision sweeps him into a storm of controversy. The Infinite’s enemies join forces in Siphra, and beyond, conspiring to destroy the emerging temple—and to kill their king and his mysterious new queen.
/ / M a d i ' s   R e v i e w / /
 This book wasn't my favorite. It was mostly imaginary politics. There was no plot, no topics of interest, nothing. The only thing that it really had going for it was that I got a good back story on the characters. I knew exactly what each character had gone through, and I could understand their feelings as the story progressed. The king is forced to marry, asks one girl the he likes, gets turned down and ends up marrying the daughter of his enemy.
Everything was based on building a temple of worship, which is all fine and dandy, until there is nothing else going on in the story. At all. Nothing was happening! I had to force myself to read it. One other thing that I did kind of like about it though was some of the similarities between the main character King Akabe and King David of the Bible. There were little snippets where the two almost seemed like the same person. This author has great potential for future best-sellers, but she has a long way to go.

A Big Year For Lily By Mary Ann Kinsinger & Suzanne Woods Fisher Blog Tour

      / / A   B i g   Y e a r   F o r   L i l y / /

{R e v i e w   B y   M a d i}
Title: A Big Year For Lily
Author(s): Mary Ann Kinsinger & Suzanne Woods Fisher
Source: Review Book From Litfuse
Number Of Pages: 267
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2134-3
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2013
My Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
/ / B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / /
Lily Lapp's family has settled into their new home in Pennsylvania, but life still holds big changes and big steps for Lily. Good changes, like once again living close to her beloved cousin and best friend, Hannah. Bad changes, like a mean girl who plays tricks on her. And no change at all where Lily would most want one--Aaron Yoder sits near her in school and relentlessly teases her. Surprises are in store for Lily as she learns, with Mama and Papa's help, to manage the ups and downs of growing up Amish.
The third of four charming novels that chronicle the gentle way of the Amish through the eyes of a young girl, "A Big Year for Lily" gives children ages 8-12 a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Amish--and lots of fun and laughter along the way. It combines Mary Ann Kinsinger's real-life stories of growing up Amish and the bestselling writing of Amish fiction and nonfiction author Suzanne Woods Fisher. With charming line drawings in each book, this series captures the hearts of readers young and old.
/ / M a d i ' s   B o o k   R e v i e w / /
 What a sweet little book! The Christian-Fiction market has been booming with Amish tales for adults, and I think it's great that our younger readers get to partake in that a little through The Adventures Of Lily Lapp series. This is a book that I would have loved to have as a little girl. Lily is so relatable, and so sweet! When I was her age I remember facing many of the same trials, (though not quite in the same way, considering that I'm not Amish). School-boys are pains, brothers are mischievous, friends come and go and life is unpredictable.

I think I may give my copy of A Big Year For Lily to my cousin Kara, since she is about ten years old (the same age as Lily Lapp), and I know that she would enjoy it. I've outgrown this type of fiction, but I know that books like these can be beneficial to young readers. Lily's story encourages self-control, and shows how to respond to certain situations that come to all girls in a way that shows maturity. It's never to early to start learning how to act with grace and patience. I've seen my friends little sisters check this book out from the library, and they keep going back for the next title in this series.

Another thing that I like about A Big Year For Lily is that though it is part of a series, it can easily stand alone and be read without having to read the first two books first. Which, considering some people's reading habits, can be either a good or a bad thing. For me it's a good thing, because I don't have the first two books and I don't have the time to read them all. Overall, I really enjoyed the story of Lily Lapp, and I would recommend it to girls thirteen or younger.
 Note: I was provided with a free print copy of A Big Year For Lily through a blogger book review program. I was not paid to review A Big Year For Lily, and all thoughts expressed in this review are unbiased and completely my own.