Thursday, January 30, 2014

Shadowed By Grace By Cara C. Putman Book Review

/ / Shadowed By Grace / /

/ / A Story Of Monuments Men / /

 
{Review Written By Madi}
 
Title: Shadowed By Grace
Author: Cara C. Putman
Source: The Litfuse Publicity Group
Number Of Pages: 342
ISBN: 978-1-4336-8178-3
Publisher: B&H Books
Publication Date: January 1st, 2014
Rating: Three Out Of Five Stars
 

/ / Book Description / /

Shadowed by Grace is the first in a stirring new series of stand-alone historical suspense novels by acclaimed author Cara C. Putman. Desperate to save her dying mother, Rachel accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy to captures images dangerously close to the front lines of WWII. Her real motive – to find the father she never knew -- an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive. It’s an unlikely situation for love and faith to flourish, but soon Rachel not only finds herself, but also her long-lost earthly father, and ultimately, the man her Heavenly father created to cherish and provide for her.
 
 

/ / Book Review / /

Not the best book that I have read. I took me FOREVER to get interested in it. This book took me two weeks to read. I usually finish a book this size in a couple of days. No matter how busy I was, it shouldn't have taken that long. I just couldn't get interested in the characters and their plot in life. It was slow going, for sure. It wasn't until I was almost finished with the book that I finally started to wonder how it would turn out. I liked the historical aspect that the author brought to the novel, and I liked how she didn't sugar coat things. It is how it is and that's all there is to it. I felt compassion for Rachel's mother, I felt wonder at how her father could just leave her in the dust without reproach, I felt joyous at her finding Scott and deciding that he was the one for her, but I still can't say that I particularly enjoyed reading this book. This author has great potential, but she still has quite a bit of work to do. She needs to add a little bit of . . . pizzazz to her writing. You have to be able to draw a reader in with the very first sentence of a book, not half way through it. I'm sure that this author has a wonderful career in literature ahead of her, but this was a lousy way to draw in a new reader. I probably won't read anything else by this author, and if I do, it will be in the distant future. I hate to write bad reviews, but sometimes it can't be avoided. Now, just because I didn't like Shadowed By Grace, doesn't mean that you won't. I encourage you to read some more reviews to see if it's something that you might be interested in. Taste in books is different for every reader, and you may be looking at the cover of your next favorite book (even if it wasn't mine).
 
 
~The Literary Maidens
 
Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book by The Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not paid to review this product and all thoughts expressed above are completely my own and unbiased.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 



Shadowed by Grace By Cara C. Putman Book Review

18113509

// Shadowed by Grace //

By Cara C. Putman

{Review By Bethany}
 
Source: Litfuse Publicity Group
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 1433681781
Publisher: B & H Books
Publication Date: January 1st, 2014
Bethany's Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
 
// Book Synopsis //

"Shadowed by Grace is the first in a stirring new series of stand-alone historical suspense novels by acclaimed author Cara C. Putman. Desperate to save her dying mother, Rachel accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy to captures images dangerously close to the front lines of WWII. Her real motive – to find the father she never knew -- an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive. It’s an unlikely situation for love and faith to flourish, but soon Rachel not only finds herself, but also her long-lost earthly father, and ultimately, the man her Heavenly father created to cherish and provide for her." 

// Bethany's Book Review //
 
I have always has an acute interest and love for novels set during the second World War. I love the history involved, as well as the things that took place during this time period, and overall find it very interesting. So whenever I come across an opportunity to review a novel set during this time period, I jump at it which is exactly what happened with this novel. I was very excited about reading it and hoped I'd enjoy it, but unfortunately, I found it a bit difficult to get through, for me personally.
 
When thinking over the novel after completing it, I was trying to evaluate it as a whole and decided on what rating to give it. While I didn't think it was worthy of two stars, this rating seeming too harsh considered how I did in some ways like it, and three stars being a bit more than I enjoyed it, I finally decided to settle with 2.5 stars, in the middle ground.
 
I really think that the reason why I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought was because of the writing style, as it was different for me. When requesting to review this book I had never heard of this author nor the publisher, and requested it only because the synopsis looked very interesting. The reason why I think this book didn't settle with me so well was because of the writing style. While the synopsis and story line were well plotted out, I felt like the way it was delivered was different than what I'm used to; and in some ways I found it hard to connect or "get into" the story because of how it was written. It seemed to be written in a very slow way, and I often found myself loosing interest in the story and not really having an interest in turning pages. While I loved the plot and time period, I just felt like the ways it was written was much more different than I'm used to, and somewhat hindered the way I experienced the story. I am not sure if I was just expecting a very action packed novel due to the setting, or if I just didn't experience the story like others may have, but for whatever reason I just couldn't get into the story.
 
Sadly this novel wasn't for me, however I am by no means saying it is the same for everyone, as I've had friends who really enjoyed this book and were able to really enjoy it. So please do give it a try if you are interested, and realize that just because I couldn't get into the story doesn't mean you couldn't enjoy it. I just wanted to share my personal, honest thoughts on my experience with this novel.
 
D I S C L A I M E R :: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity Group for the sole purpose of this review and sharing my honest opinion of the book. I was in no way paid to write this review; and all thoughts expressed my review are completely honest and unbiased.
 
Enter Today | 1/21 - 2/8!
Cara Putman Shadowed By Grace Monuments Men

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Butterfly Palace By Colleen Coble Book Review

/ / Butterfly Palace / /

/ / A Novel / /

{Review Written By Madi}
 
Book Title: Butterfly Palace
Author: Colleen Coble
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Harper Collins
Number Of Pages: 328
ISBN: 978-1-59554-783-5
Publishers: Thomas Nelson
Year Of Publication: 2014
Rating: Five Out Of Five Stars
 

/ / Book Description / /

Lilly secures a job as lady's maid in a grand manor in Austin, Texas. But even far from home, her past lurks around every corner.

When Lilly Donnelly arrives at the Cutlers' famed Butterfly Mansion in 1899, the massive house and unfamiliar duties threaten to overwhelm her. Victorian Austin is lavish, highly political, and intimidating, but with the help of the other servants, Lilly resolves to prove herself to her new employers.

Then, while serving at an elegant dinner party, Lilly recognizes one distinguished guest as Andrew, the love of her life, who abandoned her without a word back home. He seems to have assumed a new identity and refuses to acknowledge her, leaving her confused and reeling.

Before Lilly can absorb this unwelcome news, she's attacked. Could it be the sinister Servant Girl Killer who has been terrorizing Austin? Or is it someone after something more personal--someone from her past?

Does she dare trust Andrew to help or is he part of the danger threatening to draw Lilly into its vortex?
 

/ / Book Review / /

 
 Colleen Coble is one of my favorite authors. I own several of her books, and have read even more than I own (shout out to the library!). She has such a unique writing style, and her novels are not like your every day time-passer. I get so into her books that I completely forget everything that is going on around me and I become agitated with anyone who dares pull me from my reading world. Whenever I get a new Coble title in my hands my family knows to leave me alone or deal with the consequences. I recently recommended Colleen Coble to a friend and she told me earlier this week that she was hooked! She went out and bought another one of her novels! All this to say, I went into this book with high expectations, because I know exactly what the author is capable of. And I wasn't disappointed due to my assumptions. Colleen Coble has outdone herself yet again. I don't know how someone can write a Christian murder mystery and make it blend together well like those two naturally belong together, but somehow she did. It wasn't gory or scary (I would be the first one to say so if it was, I'm pretty easily freaked out), but it did have the suspense that any murder mystery requires. I'm not usually into reading books with a violent plot, but I know that I can never go wrong with Coble. She incorporates her faith into her books as if it's a part of who she is (which I'm sure that it is), and she never includes any details that leave me laying awake at night staring at the ceiling, afraid to close my eyes (don't judge me). I also like how although this book has a somewhat modern plot, it is actually historical fiction. The time period in which this book was based upon just enhanced it's appeal all the more. I can't wait to read Coble's next book. I hope that she doesn't keep us waiting for too terribly long! If you are planning your next book related shopping spree, make sure to include this jewel on your list!
 
~The Literary Maidens
 
Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book by Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not further reimbursed to review this product and all thoughts and sentiments expressed above are completely my own and unbiased.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble Book Review

18128119
// Butterfly Palace //
 
By Colleen Coble
 
{Review By Bethany}

Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 1595547835
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: January 21st, 2014
Source: Litfuse Publicity Group
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
 
// Book Synopsis //
 
Taken from Good Reads
 
"Lilly secures a job as lady's maid in a grand manor in Austin, Texas. But even far from home, her past lurks around every corner.

When Lilly Donnelly arrives at the Cutlers' famed Butterfly Mansion in 1899, the massive house and unfamiliar duties threaten to overwhelm her. Victorian Austin is lavish, highly political, and intimidating, but with the help of the other servants, Lilly resolves to prove herself to her new employers.

Then, while serving at an elegant dinner party, Lilly recognizes one distinguished guest as Andrew, the love of her life, who abandoned her without a word back home. He seems to have assumed a new identity and refuses to acknowledge her, leaving her confused and reeling.

Before Lilly can absorb this unwelcome news, she's attacked. Could it be the sinister Servant Girl Killer who has been terrorizing Austin? Or is it someone after something more personal--someone from her past?

Does she dare trust Andrew to help or is he part of the danger threatening to draw Lilly into its vortex?"
 
// Bethany's Book Review //
 
Romantic suspense author Colleen Coble has done it again! Filled with lots of mystery and suspense along with a light dose of romance, this Downton Abbey-like novel is sure to delight and impress, keeping you up late into the night!
 
This is the third novel I've read by Colleen Coble, and for sure my favorite of the three. (The first two were Tidewater Inn and Rosemary Cottage). I was completely blown away with this novel, since the other books I'd read by her weren't as good as this novel, in my opinion, and I absolutely loved every singe page of this novel! I remember just finishing the first chapter and thinking to myself that I already knew that without a doubt I'd have this book on my favorites list. In fact, I loved it so much, I'm putting it on my top three favorite reads of 2014!
 
If you enjoy historical fiction set in the 1900's, placed in an elaborate Texas mansion, complete with the inside look at the everyday life of the servants who keep the house functioning (this book reminded me a lot of the beloved T.V. series Downton Abbey); mixed with a health dose of mystery and edge-of-your-seat suspense, then you absolutely must read this novel!
 
I just loved this setting! I mean being a proud Texan, I was already excited how the book is set in Austin Texas, and to find that it was set in a huge mansion that reminded me a lot of Downton Abbey, then I knew I'd enjoy it. This novel was everything I was hoping for based on reading the synopsis, and then some! The suspense in this novel really surprised me. I knew Colleen mainly wrote suspense novels, but this one was a masterpiece! I loved how she combined the time period and setting with the mystery, and found it to be a very interesting suspense, filled with lots of historical details. Another thing I noticed was how well thought out the plot was. There were constant twists and turns in the story that left me on the edge of my seat and re-evaluation who I assumed was behind the dangerous undercover work. It was obvious with how smoothly the story flowed that the author thought out the plot very well, and it definitely showed! 
 
While I do highly recommend this book to historical suspense fans, I will say that due to some mature content, I would only recommend this book to mature readers. Mature content included a scene where a couples' kissing lead went too far and resulted in an alluded love scene whilst in a barn alone. While not many details were given of the event, the idea that they were involved in an inappropriate love scene was obviously alluded to, though not obviously stated. I felt like the romance scenes were a little overly mushy, and ended up skipping most of the kissing scenes as there was a bit more passion than I cared to read. There were also several scenes involving a murderer, and while again not many details were given, there were a few details on how the victim's necks were slit, as well as a scene were a body was found. While the author did handle these scenes without giving overly gory details, younger readers will still want to take caution when reading.
 
D I S C L A I M E R :: I received a free copy of Butterfly Palace from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed in my review are completely unbiased and honest.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Traitor's Wife By Allison Pataki Book Review

/ / The Traitor's Wife / /

/ / The Woman Behind Benedict Arnold And The Plan To Betray America / /

{Review Written By Madi}
 
Title: The Traitor's Wife
Author: Allison Pataki
Source: Howard Publishing
Number Of Pages: 467
ISBN: 978-1-4767-3860-4
Publisher: Howard Publishing
Year Of Publication: 2014
My Rating: Two Out Of Five Stars
 

/ / Book Description / /

A riveting historical novel about Peggy Shippen Arnold, the cunning wife of Benedict Arnold and mastermind behind America’s most infamous act of treason.

Everyone knows Benedict Arnold—the infamous Revolutionary War General who betrayed America and fled to the British as history’s most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John AndrĂ©, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot; a charming and cunning young woman, who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it.

Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as Military Commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John AndrĂ©. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former lover and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold.

Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, whose faith in the new nation inspires her to intervene in her mistress’s affairs even when it could cost her everything, The Traitor’s Wife brings these infamous figures to life, illuminating the sordid details and the love triangle that nearly destroyed the American fight for freedom.
  

/ / Book Review / /

 I was really disappointed in this book. I usually love historical fiction that is based off of real life events. I like getting a new perspective on the characters situation. But this book was one of those that I just couldn't wait to finish so that I could be done with it. I was expecting something a little less . . . vulgar. Though I didn't expect Peggy to be portrayed as a nice person, (she is the wife of a traitor, after all), I most certainly didn't expect to find such a tramp in the lead role of this novel. She had no shame! I'm not ashamed to admit that I flipped over a few pages to avoid some rather crude scenes. I will never read anything by this author in the future. Now, that being said, there were a few good things about this book. For one, I loved the historical aspect of it (I'm a sucker for historical fiction, as I mentioned earlier), and the second thing is that Peggy, although ruthless, selfish and bratty (amongst other things), had a soft spot for her maid, Clara. It seemed that the few scenes that I saw Peggy's "good side" were the ones that she shared with her maid/confident. It made her seem like there was a heart deep down in the abyss of her soul after all. Peggy really was a despicable character. If you want to draw in a reader, allow them to see things from a good guys perspective. I was miserable the entire time I spent reading this book because there was practically NO good in it! (Except towards the end where Clara gave Peggy what-for and held her accountable for her actions). I really can't think of anything else to say about this book. I'm sorry if this review offends anyone (sort of), but hey, it's my honest opinion.
 
~The Literary Maidens
 
Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book by Howard Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion, and I was not further reimbursed. All thoughts expressed above are completely my own and unbiased.


The Headmistress Of Rosemere By Sarah E. Ladd Book Review

/ / The Headmistress Of Rosemere / /

/ / Whispers On The Moors, Book Two / /

 

{Review By Madi}
Book Title: The Headmistress Of Rosemere
Author: Sarah E. Ladd
Source: Litfuse Publicity Group
Number Of Pages: 312
ISBN: 978-1-4016-8836-3
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Year Of Publication: 2013
My Rating: Five Out Of Five Stars
 
 
/ / Book Description / /
Patience Creighton will finally find the peace she lost years ago--if she can open her heart and forgive the man who loves her.

Bright, sensible Patience knows what is expected of her. At twenty-five, her opportunity for a family of her own has passed, so she finds contentment teaching at her father's school for girls. When her father dies suddenly and her brother moves away to London, she is determined to keep her father's dream alive.

Confirmed bachelor William Sterling also knows what is expected of him, but mistake after mistake has left him teetering on ruin's edge. As master of Eastmore Hall he owns a great deal of land but possesses little money to manage the upkeep. He is desperate to find a new source of income, including the sacrifice of land connected to Rosemere.

When her brother returns with a new wife to take over management of the school, Patience is heartbroken to no longer be responsible for her beloved school and is forced to reassess God's purpose for her life. After her sister-in-law's matchmaking brings Patience and William together, they both learn new truths about their character and find a common goal in restoring Eastmore's legacy.
 
 
/ / Book Review / /
 This book was wonderful! The Headmistress Of Rosemere is the second book in Whispers On The Moors series by Sarah E. Ladd (the first book being The Heiress Of Winterwood, see my review for book one here). I read the first book in this series a few months ago, and I simply fell in love with it. I was so excited when I was able to get book two. Sarah E. Ladd possesses a natural talent for storytelling, and she makes each and every page hold my attention. Granted, it took me a bit longer to finish this book than the first one, but I blame that on the busy holiday season, because it certainly had nothing to do with the quality of the book! Speaking of the book's quality, take a gander at that cover! Isn't it just the prettiest thing that you have ever seen? When this novel came in the mail I was astonished at how well the cover turned out, and I am a sucker for a pretty book. (I know what you're thinking, "Don't judge a book by it's cover!". While that may be a worthwhile sentiment, I do find it so much easier to read a book if it looks pretty). And it's not just the outside that's pretty! Everything about this book is simply marvelous! I would like to say I feel that way because I can relate to the characters and their lot in life, but I can't. Patience is practically a Saint, and she is always putting others before herself. So though I can't easily relate to this angelic lead role, I can respect her. She does her best to instill Christian ethics and morals into the girls that are put in her care, and she works even harder to teach them these things by being an example to them. The male lead role, William, however, is no Saint, and he has a tainted past. Of course, he's reformed and become almost as angelic as Miss Patience Creighton by the time our story picks up on his life. Even with such . . . morally sound people taking up the portion of the book, the author still somehow managed to incorporate action, suspense, danger and a little dab of mystery. I couldn't put it down! I would get so aggravated if someone bothered me while I was reading this diamond in the ruff, and I'm sure that my family thought I was having a few more issues than normal due to my dedication to finishing this novel ;) . I don't know if Sarah E. Ladd has written other books, or if these are the only two that she has released, but I intend to find out. I would be willing to try just about anything by this author! I would encourage anyone with a love of historical fiction to give this bad boy a go.
 
~Madi For The Literary Maidens
 
Note: I was provided a free copy of this book by the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest opinion, and that is exactly what I have given. I was not further compensated for reviewing this product, and all thoughts expressed are completely my own and unbiased.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Match Made In Texas Book Review

/ / A Match Made In Texas / /

/ / A Novella Collection / /

 

{Review Written By Madi}
 
Title: A Match Made In Texas
Author(s): Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Carol Cox.
Source: Bethany House Publishers
Number Of Pages: 379
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1176-8
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Year Of Publication: 2014
Rating: Five Out Of Five Stars
 

/ / Book Description / /

In Dry Gulch, Texas, 1893, a young woman with a tender heart that longs to help those in need takes it upon herself to meddle in the affairs of three acquaintances who are in dire straits. Wanting to stay anonymous, she relies on unusual methods to hire men and women of good character who she thinks can solve the problems facing her “targets.” How was she to know that her meddling would turn into a cupid’s arrow? And what will she do when her friends turn the tables on her with a matchmaking scheme of their own?
Four novellas in one volume.
 
 

/ / Book Review / /

 I was so excited to hear about this book's release! Mary Connealy and Karen Witemeyer are two of my favorite authors, and I know that Regina Jennings and Carol Cox are also wonderful novelist. This book is a little gold mine, that's what it is! Who wouldn't want to read four novellas written by such amazing women? I went into this book with high expectations, and I wasn't disappointed. I haven't read anything by Carol Cox or Regina Jennings, but I have read several books by both Mary Connealy and Karen Witemeyer, and they both have one thing in common; they both write fantastic western romance novels. I couldn't think of a better collage of authors. Their writing styles are similar, but each have their own personal quirks. I was also impressed by the other authors. I have two new favorite authors to follow! Now, I'm usually not huge on reading novellas. Not because they lack quality, but because they're so short that you have to squeeze everything in at a ridiculously quick speed, and that usually makes things seem a little rushed when it comes to the romance part. How many people do you know that knew each other three days before they got married? Not many. This book wasn't like that. Now, it did have a couple of marriages that happened rather quickly, but it didn't come across as hasty. The way it was worded made it seem somewhat realistic. I may be a dreamer, but nothing makes me want to barf more than a silly and fickle girl falling for a guy in a matter of days and calling it "love". *Gag*. That being said, I think that the rest of it was very nicely written! I loved how all the books had some small connection or another to the novella before it, it made the transition between books much cleaner than it would have been had the stories been completely unrelated. Another thing that I loved was how all the books fit into the Christian/Western genre. I'm from Texas and I have a love for all things Southern, so a gentlemanly cowboy makes me go weak-kneed. I would highly encourage any lover of historical fiction, western fiction, and Christian fiction to pick up this bad boy at your nearest book store. You won't be sorry!
 
 
 ~The Literary Maidens
 
Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion, I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed above are completely my own and unbiased.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Dancing Master By Julie Klassen Book Review

/ / The Dancing Master / /

/ / A Novel By Julie Klassen / /

 

{Review By Madi}
Book Title: The Dancing Master
Author: Julie Klassen
Source: Litfuse Publicity Group
Number Of Pages: 424
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1070-9
Publisher: Bethany House
Year Of Publication: 2013
My Rating: Five Out Of Five Stars
 
/ / Book Description / /
Leaving London, dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire--but is stunned to discover that dancing is prohibited! He finds an unlikely ally in Miss Julia Midwinter, but her questions about his past are becoming harder to evade. Together, can they bring new life to this quiet village--and heal long-kept-secret scars?
 
 
/ / Book Review / /
 One of the this book's best attributes is it's lovable characters, so I have taken the time to write down some of the main characters and their personality traits. In doing this I hope to give you a better perspective into this story, but it MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS, so if you have this book on your "soon-to-read" shelf, be aware. If you aren't sure that you want to try this novel, then I encourage you to read this review and I hope that it will help you make a decision on that front.
 
 
 Alec Valcourt-
Alec is a noble, hardworking, gentlemanly man that is caring for his mother and sister since his father left them. Alec is the type of man that dresses well and is quick to make new friends, I think that this partially comes from his job as a dancing and fencing master. He will do just about anything to protect the Valcourt name, and he isn't afraid to take the blame for something that he didn't do in order to do so. He is kind, compassionate, isn't afraid to stick up for what's right and above all he is passionate about his work. Though the odds are stacked against him, he is determined to bring dancing back to this small town that he's just moved to.
 
Julia Midwinter-
Julia is a feisty and independent woman  that has a strained relationship with her family. Because of her lack of relationship with her family members, Julia sometimes goes looking for attention and acceptance in other places. In fact, she can be quite the flirt when she wants to. The only man she can't seem to catch is that dancing master, Alec Valcourt.
 
Amelia Midwinter-
Mother of Julia Midwinter, Amelia has a big secret. One that could change her daughters life forever. Amelia detest dancing masters and everything that they represent to her. She has all but outlawed dancing in her small parish, and she wants to keeps things just as they are. She just wants to protect her daughter. Is that too much to ask for? But when her mothering instincts turn from protective actions to smothering her grown daughter, will she lose her daughter permanently?
 
John Desmond-
John is a former dancing and fencing master that is currently working for his father as a blacksmith. He's just trying to slide in under the radar, and he definitely doesn't want word to get around in this small town that he's back from his travels. That is a can of worms that he has no desire to open.
 
The Wilcox Brothers-
The Wilcox brothers are the town bullies, and they have no problem with gaining cooperation from those that they require it from. The older brother (Felix) is the towns wrestling champion, and he makes sure that the townspeople keep that in mind. These two ruffians have a special dislike for Alec Valcourt, and they enjoy tormenting him as much as possible.
 
~
 
All these characters, as different as they are, bring this story together like nothing I've read in quite some time. I simply adored this book, and I wish there were more like it. Julie Klassen has always been one of my favorite authors. I've read almost all of her books, but this book has got to be one of the best one's that she has written. I wish there were more Christian authors like Klassen, she kind of reminds me a modern-day Jane Austen. This book also reminded me of old fairytales in a sense. Imagine this:
 
A small village.
A cranky town leader that forbids dancing.
A dancing master that comes to sweep this woman's daughter off of her feet.
 
Whimsical, right? In addition to a great plot, this book contained all the things that make for an interesting novel. It had biased "law keepers", action, adventure, and one very stubborn woman. I enjoyed "The Dancing Master" immensely, and I can't wait for Klassen to release another book for me to get my hands on.
 
~Madi For The Literary Maidens

 
DISCLAIMER :: I received a free copy of The Dancing Master from Bethany House publishers through Litfuse Publicity Group for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid in any way to review this book, and all thoughts expressed in my review are completely my own, honest and unbiased.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



The Dancing Master By Julie Klassen Book Review

18008075

// The Dancing Master //

By Julie Klassen

{Review By Bethany}
 
Source: Litfuse Publicity Group
Number of Pages: 432
ISBN: 076421070X
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: January 2014
Bethany's Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
 
// Book Synopsis //

Taken from GoodReads

"Leaving London, dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire---but is stunned to discover that dancing is prohibited! He finds an unlikely ally in Miss Julia Midwinter, but her questions about his past are becoming harder to evade. Together, can they bring new life to this quiet village---and heal long-kept-secret scars?"

// Book Trailer //
 
 
// Bethany's Book Review //
 
Julie Klassen is the author of the book I deemed my favorite fiction novel that I read in 2013 which was her previous release, The Tutor's Daughter. So naturally I was overjoyed to be able to read her newest book, The Dancing Master. While The Tutor's Daughter still takes first place for me, I did enjoy The Dancing Master, and consider it a wonderful read which I enjoyed greatly. I am already the kind of girl who just can't get enough regency fiction; so I knew I'd love this book even before reading it. Being that the regency time period was combined with Julie Klassen's expert story telling and lovely writing style, I knew I was in for a treat-and I was!
 
One of the things that sets this book apart from the other Julie Klassen books I've read, is how the main character is a male versus the typical female main character you normally see in novels. While it isn't a con or pro either way, it just depends on what you are used to and what you prefer as far as main characters. While it did take me a while to get used to having a male character being the focus of the novel, I don't consider it a negative thing, and think it added a new, unique aspect to the story. While the main female character Julia did play a big part in the story, I felt like Alec's story took place more often that hers, but it was a nice balance, even if unexpected at first.
 
I did enjoy seeing how Alec and Julia's stories were woven together, especially during the later portion of the story, however I will say that for the longest time their relationship was very basic and a mere friendship. While this is another thing that may be a con or pro for you, depending on taste, I liked how the romance was relatively low being that their relationship didn't go beyond just being friends until the epilogue.
 
A neat aspect of this book was both the interesting facts on dancing and what a big part of society it was during this time period, as well as the mystery that was in the story with Julia figuring out the truth about her past and real biological family. Both added greatly to the story and kept it interesting which is a huge pro considering the lengthy 400+ page count, which makes keeping the story from getting dry patches much more of a challenge for an author. I loved reading all the excerpts from the advertisements from the newspapers of those days, as well as the quotes concerning dancing that were at the beginning of each chapter. I also loved the small bit of mystery that was in the story when Julia was the main character of that chapter, and loved traveling the journey to figure out her parentage with her as the story progressed. It was a wonderful journey of forgiveness that I enjoyed reading about.
 
Overall I am yet again impressed with Julie Klassen and am delighted to have been able to journey back in time and learn all there is to know about dancing masters, as well as meet Julia and the other characters in this story. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Julie Klassen's other novels, or regency fiction enthusiasts, as this is a true treat!
 
DISCLAIMER :: I received a free copy of The Dancing Master from Bethany House publishers through Litfuse Publicity Group for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid in any way to review this book, and all thoughts expressed in my review are completely my own, honest and unbiased.
 
Julie Klassen’s “The Dancing Master” giveaway and “All Things Jane” webcast 1/23!
 
Enter Today - 1/6 - 1/23!
Julie Klassen The Dancing Master

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Interview, Review & Giveaway // God's Daughter by Heather Day Gilbert

Hello! Today we have a very special guest here on The Literary Maidens; Heather Day Gilbert author of God's Daughter! She is going to be answering some interview questions, and I'll be sharing with you my thoughts on her novel; as well as giving you the opportunity to enter a giveaway to win an e-copy of your own! We have a lot to cover, so let's get started!

// Author Interview With Heather Day Gilbert //

Could you introduce yourself, sharing a bit about yourself, your family and interests? 

Sure! I'm a homeschooling mama who lives in West Virginia, where I grew up. My husband and I met in college and married when he was in law school. We have three kiddos who are close in age (grades 9, 8, and 7!). I love reading the classics—one of my fave books ever is Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.

When did you first start writing, and what inspired you to do so?

I've loved writing and reading since I was a child. I wrote poetry through college and tried to start a book or two, but never finished them. When I got married and had children, I shelved that book-writing dream a while. But in 2009, a friend challenged me to NaNoWriMo (write a novel in a month), and I was amazed when I did actually complete my paranormal novel in a month. I got the novel writing "bug" and haven't stopped since!

Could you tell us about your novel, God's Daughter?

God's Daughter is the second novel I wrote. I figured historical would be an easy sell in Christian book circles. Turns out, it really wasn't a time period that was deemed "marketable." After over a year out on submission and numerous attempts to get it in the door, I decided to self-publish it. I knew Vikings were getting increasingly popular and I knew Gudrid (my main character) had a story that needed to be shared.

Why did you decide on the time period of the Vikings for your novel? Have you always had an interest in Vikings?

Yes, my Grandma always reminded us that we were related to Eirik the Red, so I bought a copy of The Icelandic Sagas and read up on Eirik's family. Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir, Eirik's daughter-in-law, really jumped out at me, because she was a beautiful, brave woman who sailed with three husbands across oceans. Also, she was a Christian Viking, which helped me relate to her more.

How did you prepare/research for writing this novel?

I definitely used The Icelandic Sagas as my guidebook for events that would occur, but I did lots of book and online research to get the food/clothing details right. I also researched Old Norse words and tried to base the majority of my word choices on that, while still keeping the conversations clear for modern readers. It got a bit daunting at times, and took a lot of time to decide which words didn't throw the reader out of the era. I did wind up using some words that weren't recorded in Old Norse, just to keep the story flowing.

Was there a particular scene in God's Daughter that you enjoyed writing most, or that set itself apart from the other scenes for you?

I had some scenes that made me tear up each time I edited them. And I really had fun with scenes that involved Gudrid's wild sister-in-law, Freydis. Freydis will be the main character in the second book in this series. The two women couldn't be more different.

What is your hope for this novel, and desire for how it will impact readers?

I hope it brings a relatively obscure, yet important time period to life for readers. I hope it illuminates the fact that Vikings had dreams and hopes like we do, and that there were indeed Christian Vikings. I also hoped to reach married readers with some of the things they may face and can overcome.

What is next for you as an author? Are you currently working on any other writing projects?

I'm working on editing my contemporary Appalachian mystery, Miranda Warning, and will probably self-publish that next. My second Viking novel, Forest Child, is simmering in my brain for now. I will throw myself into that full-force once the mystery is released, probably in late spring.

What is one random thing most people don't know about you?

It's hard to come up with something new, because I'm a very transparent author and my followers know me pretty well. I will share that I'm kind of obsessed with tulips, I have the best in-laws ever, and I bought myself the video game Tomb Raider: Anniversary for Christmas.

Is there anything you'd like to share in closing?

I'm just so thankful God led me into indie publishing, so I was able to finally get my books out to readers that honestly bless me every day. I love having control over my cover art, my marketing, my formatting—everything. I'm also thrilled to share that the audio version of God's Daughter will release later this year! I hope you can follow my Facebook Author page—it's where I do all my bookish updates. Thanks so much!
 
// About Heather Day Gilbert //

Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Sixteen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as ten years spent homeschooling her three children. Heather regularly posts on Novel Rocket about self-publishing.

You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert--Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. Her Viking novel, God's Daughter, is an Amazon bestseller. You can find it on Amazon and Smashwords.

 
// About God's Daughter // 

One Viking woman. One God. One legendary journey to North America.
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In the tenth century, when pagan holy women rule the Viking lands, Gudrid turns her back on her training as a seeress to embrace Christianity. Clinging to her faith, she joins her husband, Finn, on a voyage to North America.

But even as Gudrid faces down murderous crewmen, raging sickness, and hostile natives, she realizes her greatest enemy is herself—and the secrets she hides might just tear her marriage apart.

Almost five centuries before Columbus, Viking women sailed to North America with their husbands. God’s Daughter, Book One in the Vikings of the New World Saga, offers an expansive yet intimate look into the world of Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir—daughter-in-law of Eirik the Red, and the first documented European woman to have a child in North America.

 
 // God's Daughter Book Review //
// Review by Bethany //

Journey back in time to the tenth century, Greenland. Where pagan culture rules the land, and Christianity is still new; where Vikings thrive off the land and journey the seas in hopes of wealth and new land. Meet Christian Viking Gudrid, who decides to turn from pagan practices, embrace Christianity and live righteously when few else did. Filled with lots of Viking action, adventure, excitement and strong Christian values, this new novel from author Heather Day Gilbert is sure to educate and inspire!

When Heather Day Gilbert recently contacted me with the opportunity to review her new novel, God's Daughter, I eagerly said yes! I love historical fiction set during historic time periods since I love learning about the past. I was especially excited about reading this book set in the 10th century during the time of the Vikings, since novels about Vikings during this time period are often few and far between. I found the prospect of a Viking novel combined with a strong Christian world view to be a book that seemed to have great potential - and it certainly did as it turned out to be a very educating and exciting read that I was glad to not have missed out on!

I was very impressed with this novel. When starting it, I wasn't sure how I'd like it, thought I knew I'd love the historical aspects of learning more about Vikings. After finishing this book I can tell you that I was very impressed and found the book to be filled with historically accurate details that not only helped expand my knowledge of Vikings, but also left me eager for more of this author's novels! Throughout the story it is obvious how important research is to this author. I really admired this aspect of the book since all the details were researched for accuracy, and it really helped me expand my knowledge of Vikings and stirred an interest to continue learning about these self-sufficient people who lived off the land.

One aspect of this book that I also enjoyed was how well the book flowed and how easy it was to continue turning pages! I always enjoy a thrilling read that keeps you reading, and this book was no exception. I never felt like there were any dry spots where things slowed down, and I could tell by the way the story line flowed that it was very well thought out and executed, to give a seamless reading experience. This coupled with all the historical details really made for an enjoyable read!

The characters in God's Daughter were well developed, and I enjoyed getting to know Gudrid and the other Viking wives and mothers. Reading about how different things were for them in their day without electricity or modern conveineces really sparked an admiration and respect for these strong women of our past who played a big part in history. Knowing that these characters were real women who faced these situations helped me connect with the characters, and really opened my eyes to what life was like for these women who were dedicated Vikings. I really admired Gudrid's character and enjoyed seeing her spiritual journey, especially considering how Christianity wasn't the norm for Vikings who were immersed in pagan culture and customs. I loved getting to see the Viking aspect from a Christian perspective, and think this novel is a unique one-of-a-kind!
 
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, or to fans of Lois Walfrid Johnson's Viking Quest Series which is similar to this book in the fact that is about Vikings. While this book is more on the older audience side compared to the young adult Viking Quest Series, I felt like the novel was very clean. The only content I found to be mature were a couple scenes that took place during custom pagan practices. For example the story starts off with a human sacrifice to Thor where a person was hung, and there were one or two scenes where funerals were held, in which the deceased bodies were burned versus buried. There were also two birth scenes, as well as a few scenes where Gudrid battled feeling content with her marriage, and was tempted to feel for other men instead of her husband alone, however she never does give in and is completely pure in her decisions. I can confidently say that all of these scenes were described with caution and discretion, and were not at all gory or overly detailed, which I greatly admired and found to add to the story with the truthful details without going into great detail.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel! It definitely didn't disappoint me, in fact I was surprised with how much I enjoyed it, and I can't wait to read the next book in the Vikings of the New World series!

 // Giveaway //
 
Heather has been so generous to offer up an e-copy of God's Daughter for a giveaway today! Thank you, Heather! This giveaway is open to both U.S. and international entries, and the winner will receive their e-book copy of God's Daughter through Smashwords. To enter this giveaway, sign into the Raffle Copter giveaway widget through you Facebook account or email, and you can start entering. This giveaway will take entries until January 24th, 2014, and the winner will be drawn at random, and email with details on redeeming their prize. Happy entering!
  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

D I S C L A I M E R :: I was contacted by the author with the opportunity to review God's Daughter and publish a blog post promoting the novel. I received a free softcover copy of God's Daughter for the purposes of this review, and was not paid in any way for helping with the publicity for this novel. All thoughts expressed in my review were completely my own, honest and unbiased. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Carolina Gold By Dorothy Love Book Review

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// Carolina Gold //

By Dorothy Love

{Review By Bethany}

Title: Carolina Gold
Author: Dorothy Love
Source: Litfuse Publicity Group
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 140168761X
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Bethany's Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
 
// Book Synopsis //
 
"The war is over, but her struggle is just beginning.

Charlotte Fraser returns to her late father’s once-flourishing rice plantation on the Waccamaw River, determined to continue growing the special kind of rice known as Carolina Gold. But Fairhaven Plantation is in ruins, the bondsmen are free, and money is scarce.

To make ends meet, Charlotte reluctantly accepts a position as tutor to the young daughters of Nicholas Betancourt, heir to the neighboring Willowood Plantation. Then Nick’s quest to prove his ownership of Willowood sends Charlotte on a dangerous journey that reveals an old family mystery—and threatens all that she holds dear.

Inspired by the life of a 19th century woman rice planter, Carolina Gold continues Dorothy Love’s winning tradition of weaving together mystery, romance, and rich historical detail, bringing to life the story of one young woman’s struggle to restore her ruined world."
 
// Bethany's Book Review //
 
Carolina Gold is an exciting new novel from author Dorothy Love which excellently portrays the true story of a woman battling to save her family's rice plantation right after the war in the 1800s. Full of historical accuracy, courage, bravery and hard work, this novel is sure to delight and inspire any historical fiction reader.
 
Before reading Carolina Gold, I'd never read any other book by this author, and though I'd heard good reviews of her novels, I didn't know from experience if I'd love this author. However after reading Carolina Gold I've proclaimed Dorothy Love to be a favorite author, and have put her newest release on my favorite reads of 2013 list! I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this novel and would love to see similar works or historical fiction from this author in the future!
 
One of the things that really made me love this book was how it was based on the true story of Elizabeth Waties Allston Pringle who lived from 1845-1921. I always love learning about remarkable women of the past who went above and beyond what was expected of them and made history-and this lady certainly fits this bill as she definitely was a woman who was a hard worker who wasn't afraid to get dirty and do what needed to be done. I love a good fictional story, as well as an interesting true story on a woman from the past, so to have the two combined with the addition of a beautiful writing style; it made for a very enjoyable read. I loved all the historical details that were in this story. I felt like while I was reading a fictionalized story, I was learning, and it inspired me to want to learn more about this woman. The historical details found in the book made it obvious that Dorothy Love took her research for this book seriously, and I really think it added so much to the story. Anyone who loves reading books that are very informative about history should read this book!
 
Another big plus for me in this story was how low the level of romance was. However even though there wasn't a bunch of romance, there was enough to keep it interesting and was very clean, but it wasn't the main focus of the novel. I always admire an author who is able to - and sees the value in writing an interesting story that is always keeping you engaged in the story, without needing a lot of romance to bring you to that point. I think the romance involved was the perfect amount and made it a sweet story.
 
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves history and a good read. I eagerly look forward to reading more books by this author in the future!
 
N O T  E :: I received a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity and the publisher to read and honestly review. I was not paid in any way to review this book, and all thoughts expressed in my review are completely honest and unbiased.

 $100 Visa Cash Card “Carolina Gold” Giveaway from Dorothy Love, over on Litfuse!
 
Enter Today - 1/4 - 1/14!
Dorothy Love Carolina Gold

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Redcoats Are Coming! By Marianne Hering & Nancy Sanders Book Review

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// The Redcoats Are Coming!  //

The Imagination Station Series // Book #13

By Marianne Herring & Nancy I. Sanders

{Review By Bethany}
 
Source: Tyndale Publishers Book Review Program
Number of Pages: 144
ISBN: 1589977742
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: January 1st, 2014
Bethany's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
 
// Book Synopsis //

"The first of a three-book story arc about the American Revolution, "The Redcoats Are Coming" follows Patrick and Beth as they assist the revolutionaries by waking up the sleeping citizens of 1775 Concord before the Redcoats come. In this adventure, the cousins meet Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. They help smuggle musket balls, sound the alarm that the Redcoats are coming, and deliver a secret message to Paul Revere. Along the way they learn that most of the revolutionaries leaned on God's direction and even pastors helped in the cause. Christian parents and teachers will appreciate the historical facts as well as the biblical worldview training their kids and students will absorb. The kids will appreciate the excitement and tension of an America at war with England, and in some ways, with itself."

// Bethany's Book Review //
 
My siblings have all enjoyed The Imagination Station books based on the popular Christian radio drama Adventures in Odyssey, and would eagerly snatch up the latest book whenever the library had it available to check out. So when the opportunity arose to review the newest book in the series, The Redcoats Are Coming! I thought it would be neat to try the books out for myself;  as well as to own a copy for my siblings to read and enjoy as well, since they love this series so much already.
 
This book, as well as the rest of the series, is written for a younger audience of beginner readers, as a first chapter book age level; due to the easy-to-read words used in the shorter sentences, and wonderful illustrations that accompany the story. While I was aware of this book being for a beginning reader, I did feel like the book went beyond my expectations of an average children's book; and despite the fact that I am older, I still enjoyed the story. I think that the story was written in an easy to understand/read way, and was very engaging, even to me! I also particularly loved how bits of history were interwoven into the story, when the characters go back in time to 1775, and meet important men from that time such as Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. This book had the perfect balance of history and fiction and was very fast paced and exciting; being sure to keep young readers engaged and turning pages! I also think this whole series would be a wonderful resource to home-schooling families, as it involves important events in time that help children learn while going back in time in the imagination station.
 
I was able to read through this book in about 45 minutes because of the beginner reading level and larger font, and really enjoyed it. The ending was very exciting and leaves you on the edge of your seat, wanting to get your hands on the next book to continue the story. Overall I'd recommend this book to beginner readers as a fun way to dive into chapter books and also learn about history!
 
DISCLAIMER :: I received a free copy of The Redcoats Are Coming! from Tyndale publishers for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed in my review are completely my own, honest and unbiased.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Most Anticipated Books of 2014!

Happy New Years, y'all! We hope that you had a great new years and that the start of this year was very blessed for you!
 
With the new year comes lots of excitement for books that we are looking forward to reading in 2014 once they release. So we thought it would be fun to do a post sharing the books we are looking forward to the most, that are releasing this next year. I have a feeling 2014 will be a great year book wise, and there are so many great books we are excited about! Books are listed in order of expected publication.
 
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Remnants
 
Season of Wonder // Book #1
 
By Lisa Bergren
 
Expected Publication: February 2014
 
 
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A Beauty So Rare
 
A Belmont Mansion Novel
 
By Tamara Alexander
 
Expected Publication: March 2014
 
 
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Love Comes Calling
 
By Siri Mitchell
 
Expected Publication: March 2014
 
 
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Daisies are Forever
 
By Liz Tolsoma
 
Expected Publication: May 2014
 
 
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Mark of Distinction
 
Price of Privilege Trilogy // Book #2
 
By Jessica Dotta
 
Expected Publication: May 2014
 
 
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Full Steam Ahead
 
By Karen Witemeyer
 
Expected Publication: June 2014
 
 
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Captured by Love
 
By Jody Hedlund
 
Expected Publication: July 2014
 
 
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Revolutionary
 
Anomaly Trilogy // Book #3
 
By Krista McGee
 
Expected Publication: July 2014
 
 
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Prelude for a Lord
 
By Camille Elliot
 
Expected Publication: August 2014
 
 
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With Every Breath
 
Elizabeth Camden
 
Expected Publication: August 2014
 
 
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Deluge
 
The River of Time Series // Book #4
 
By Lisa Bergren
 
Expected Publication: Not Available