Music Monday: Fight Song and a special prayer

Please be in prayer for the Piano Guys. Pinanist John Shmidt’s daughter went missing recently and has not yet been found. Though the search has been called off, we can continue to pray that Annie may still turn up.

Their new album released this week as well. Check the Amazon Link below:

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Five star review from Reader’s Favorite!

Oh, wow! I am totally bouncing off the walls with excitement right now. The illustrious Reader’s Favorite reviews just gave my short story, Shadowsong, their five star seal of approval!

So shiny!

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I can’t even begin to tell you all how excited I am about this!

Here’s their review:

Shadowsong by C.M. Williams is a fantasy/allegory short story of around eight thousand words. Brave and determined Rhianna enters the Vault of the Master’s Song with her faithful warrior, Aronne. Her mission is to find the Orb and so possess its powers. But the ruthless and evil Lord Rogar has other plans. In the battle that ensues, Aronne is injured, the Orb appears to be destroyed, and Rhianna and Aronne find themselves trapped in the vault. Will Aronne forgive her for using him, and can Rhianna discover the real power and purpose behind the Orb?

C.M. Williams has crafted a well-written and intriguing story. The plot moves at a good pace with plenty of fast action and nail-biting moments. I loved the beginning where not too much is given away, and the reader is drawn into the magic, tension, and danger. Scenes are described with enough vividness to make them and the unique and fascinating characters believable.

Essentially, Shadowsong is about the battle between good and evil that has existed in the world since its creation. And it is about the light and goodness that constantly attempt to break through and triumph, despite man’s all too often inability to see and understand it. Rhianna’s discovery about the real purpose and power behind the Orb is a comparison with the biblical and Christian message about discovering truth, forgiveness, and finding strength in belief. The author weaves a subtle and powerful message through the story, making this a thought-provoking as well as entertaining fantasy. – Reader’s Favorite

And check out the new cover of Shadowsong, complete with her fancy new sticker!

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What happens when the dream of a lifetime turns to dust in your hands?

Rhianna has spent her life searching for one thing: the Master’s Song. The source of ultimate power. Now, she is held hostage by it, her life in the balance. If she makes the wrong choice, she will destroy everything she holds dear.
The Darkness closes in, and the fate of her beloved rests in the balance. Rhianna must make an agonizing choice. Who will she hold on to?

Hold on to the Darkness, or embrace the Light?

An 8,000+ word fantasy/allegory short story.

Securing Aisling: a book review

securing-aisling

Description: 

A queen in need of a husband and a prince who had never been truly loved—will they overcome opposition to find happiness?
Brianna Reaner, Queen of Aisling, has never been on a date, been in love, had a boyfriend, or has even had a crush on a boy before. According to the laws of her country, she must marry by her eighteenth birthday or risk losing the right to rule her kingdom. How is she supposed to find a suitable husband in less than six months? What will the consequences be if she makes the wrong choice?
With the help of her advisors, she compiles a surprisingly short list of suitable mates. Her top choices include three princes all belonging to her nemesis, King Coman Barnali of Gilvary. None of the three seem particularly promising. Dunbar, the eldest, is his father’s puppet. Next in line is Reagan, the biggest flirt in Kearnley. Then there is the elusive Garrett who seems to go into hiding whenever she is present.
One by one she eliminates names from her list until she finds the man she feels destined to marry. But her choice is not pleasing to everyone. King Coman has been plotting to take control of Aisling for years. Queen Brianna’s choice causes him to have to come up with a new plan—one that could prove deadly for the newly wedded couple. †Securing Aisling is Christian Romance.

My Review: 

Young Queen Brianna has a mighty short two months to marry or risk losing the throne of Aisling. To make matters worse, she has only three real marriage prospects – the three eldest sons of the cruel ruler of the neighboring kingdom – Gilvary, who desperately wants to get his hands on her kingdom. Brianna has met all three before and wasn’t particularly impressed.

However, Brianna promises to put aside all preconceived notions and memories of three brothers and give them all a fair chance – although she’s fairly certain she won’t be picking Dunbar, the king’s heir. King Coman has a grand master plan to reunite the three kingdoms of Kearnley once again under one rule – his. To get to Aisling, the king needs her to marry Dunbar, and he will do everything in his power to make certain she does.

I feel for Brianna. She was thrown into a terrible position for the sake of her kingdom, yet she kept a cool head about her. She is a very strong willed woman who relies strongly on her faith, prayer, and best friend Gwen to see her through and make the right decision. I’m really glad the author made her a smart girl, not one of those heroines we all know and hate who always throw aside common sense for romance or plot-steering reasons.

We haven’t yet seen much of the kingdoms of Kearnley aside from the castles and some forest, but the little hints of steampunk – and dragons! – are enough to begin sparking the imagination and I do hope this is more thoroughly fleshed out in the sequels, Healing Gilvary and Restoring Dermott.

It’s difficult to give this one a good long review at all because it seems like everything I really want to talk about falls firmly into the spoiler category.

My Rating: Four Stars

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: some mildly passionate kissing. Vague references are made to consummation.
Language: clean
Drinking/drugs: clean
Blood/violence: murder, one execution by hanging. Mild physical abuse, imprisonment, and torture (not shown). One skirmish and a few injuries. Non-graphic.

Amazon Kindle Link:Securing Aisling (The Kingdoms of Kearnley Book 1)
Amazon Paperback Link:Securing Aisling (The Kingdoms of Kearnley) (Volume 1)

Author Website
Author Facebook Page
Author Twitter page 


Happy Reading y’all!

Saving Marilee: a book review

saving-marilee

Description: 

For all those who have suffered in silence, no matter the hardship. Everyone deserves a voice. Marriage wasn’t bliss—not for Marilee. Instead of finding contentment with the handsome son of a sovereign duke, she found betrayal and neglect. And fear. A fear that finally lifts when her husband dies, freeing her from his domineering hand. But freedom alone can’t give her peace, and she must battle to regain her love for life, rebuild her happiness, and reclaim the ability to trust.

When her charming neighbor intrudes on her quiet life, she must determine whether his interest is genuine, and whether he deserves the fragile bit of trust she has managed to scrape together. However, trusting is a risk, and she has vowed never to put herself at the mercy of someone else’s whims. Can Marilee take that chance, knowing how terribly she’s chosen before? She doesn’t know if she can survive being wrong again.

My Review: 

When is it safe to love?

Vivacious and naive Marilee was quick to fall head over heels in love – only to find out her husband was a controlling, manipulative monster who steadily broke her down until she little more left of her than a shell, empty and aching. Thankfully, less than a year after their ill-fated wedding, he is killed, leaving her to pick up the pieces of her once-happy life. if only she knew how.

As Marilee stuggles to set her life to rights, a good hearted neighbor, a Mr. James Sutton, goes out of his way to help her and get to know her better. Marilee is loathe to trust him. She fears he is only out to manipulate her again just as her husband had. Though he seems legit, she doesn’t dare open her battered heart again to him or anyone, not even her brother in law who has recently shown up claiming he wants to take care of her and right the wrongs done.

Abuse is such a delicate subject, but Annette K. Larsen skillfully describes both it and the lingering emotional effects and challenges as well. Marilee is such a strong girl. Though she is broken emotionally, she vows to rise again and fight for herself. Her husband may have beaten her, but she will not let him defeat her. She also surrounds herself with a wonderful group of friends and her large but loving family for support.

Mr. Sutton was a great guy as well, loving and patient with her, always seeming to know when to push and when not to. He is willing to give her the time and space she needs to heal, yet he is also there for her no matter what.

The story, though simple and slightly predictable in plot, is very enjoyable. I finished it in one afternoon. I just wish I had read the first two novels before this one. It would have given me a lot more insight into Marilee’s family. As it was, I had a slight bit of trouble keeping track of everyone and got lost whenever they started mentioning the other sisters’ stories.

My Rating: Four Flames

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Heat Advisory: 

Romance: Very clean. Mild kissing only.
Language: Clean
Drinking/Drugs: Some wine is consumed – and used as a fire starter.
Blood / violence: Very little. A few blows are exchanged and Marilee’s husband’s abuse of her is mentioned occasionally.
Other: this book deals strongly with the subjects of abuse, emotional/psychological manipulation, and mild depression.

Amazon Kindle Link: Saving Marilee (Books of Dalthia Book 3)
Amazon Paperback Link: Saving Marilee

Author Website
Author Facebook Page
Author Twitter Page

Happy Reading y’all!

The Restorer’s Journey: a book review

restorers-journey

Description:

His choices have the power to save or destroy.

With a loved one’s life at stake, Jake charges through the portal into Lyric to stage a dramatic rescue, trusting that the signs that mark him as Restorer will guarantee success. But everything familiar in Lyric has vanished, swept away by deadly lies and a corrupt king. As forces conspire to turn him from his purpose, Jake finds his path leading to places beyond his courage.

While he confronts the temptation to flee his calling, Susan struggles in brutal captivity. Can she gain freedom before the enemy destroys her spirit, and will Jake choose to follow his destiny before everything is lost?

–Carol Award Winner–

My Review: 

**Alert! Mild spoilers for those who haven’t read the first two books!**

How can you endure when your own mind fights against you?

After yet another harrowing experience in Lyric Susan, Mark, and their son Jake return home. But they are not alone. The villainous  elder Cameron and his mind-altering Rhusican partner Medea have escape into their world and vanished without a trace. Though they have taken precautions, Susan can’t shake her fears. She dreads the day they return and knows without a doubt that it’s coming soon.

When her fears are realized and Cameron and Medea drag her back to Lyric, Susan is dropped into the worst trial she has faced yet – the battlefield of her own mind. Locked up and alone in a Rhusican prison, all she can do is pray and wait for the next time her captors come to torture her mind by using her own hurts and fears against her, coaxing all her worst traits and emotions into a frenzy. The One felt so far away, but could He still have a purpose for the pain?

Jake returns to Lyric alone to find his missing mother. Months have passed and nothing is as it was. The people live in fear of their new king – Cameron. The guardians are scattered and in hiding. Worse, no one believes in the Restorers anymore. Seeing through the lies that Cameron spins is easy for Jake, but no one else will believe him. Even his allies have become his enemies. When he tries to fight back he is branded a traitor and spy.

As the country fractures around him, Jake has to let go of his own plans if he wants to save the kingdom from itself – even if it means he might never see his mother again.

Sometimes it’s hard to let go. We have our own plans for our lives, our own goals we think need accomplishing, and sometimes we ignore the better path the One sets before us. Sometimes it’s hard to give up the reins and let him do the driving. Once we do, it can be amazing how everything turns out. We just need to learn to yield.

Though I didn’t quite like this one as much as I liked book 2, it was still an awesome read. This time around we learn a lot more about the Rhusican culture, but there are still a lot of questions left unanswered that I hope to see dealt with in book 4.

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory: 

Romance: Clean
Language: clean
Drinking/drugs: nothing I recall
Blood /violence: some fights and injuries, several deaths, murders, and attempted murders. Non-graphic.
Other: The Rhusicans have mental manipulation powers they use on many of the characters. One main character is psychologially tortured by them for an extended period.

Amazon Kindle Link:The Restorer’s Journey (The Sword of Lyric Book 3)
Amazon Paperback Link:The Restorer’s Journey (The Sword of Lyric, Book 3)

Author Website – check out deleted scenes from all 4 of  The Sword of Lyric series!
Author Facebook Page

Happy Reading y’all!

Rising Shadows: a book review

rising-shadows

Description:

Sarah Matthews is nearing the end of another eventless summer in the small town of Bethany, Oklahoma. Disheartened over the reality that yet another unexciting season is coming to an end, she wishes for an unforgettable adventure to break up the monotony of life. But when mysterious circumstances transport Sarah and her sister, Lily, back in time, she gets more excitement than she bargained for.

The girls find themselves trapped in the twelfth century in a place shrouded with mystery and deception. Assassination plots, kidnappings, and tumultuous adventures force Sarah to rely on the Shadow, a masked hero who comes to her aid numerous times.

In order to uncover a conspiracy and save those closest to her, Sarah requests help from the Shadow and also from Will, the handsome and intriguing blacksmith she befriends. Sarah is strangely drawn to the excitement that seems to follow the town hero and begins to look forward to their secret encounters. She also finds herself caught in a romance with Will, despite the fact that their equally fiery personalities have a tendency to clash. But Will’s past is filled with secrets and pain, and Sarah finds it difficult to break through the walls he has built around him. She knows that in order to make things right with the kingdom and also with Will she will need more time in the forgotten land. But when her life is put on the line, Sarah realizes that she will be permanently stranded in the past if she remains for too long and she vows to find a way back home for her and Lily… or die trying.

My Review: 

Be careful what you wish for. It might be more than you baragained for.

Sarah Matthews wanted more for her summer vaccaton than staying home with her parents and sister, and prepping for college. One wish and the next thing she knows, she’s traveled a few hundred years back in time to Serimone, a kindom that isn’t even supposed to exist, protected by a mysterious hooded character known as the Shadow. He’s kind of  like a combination of robin hood + the arrow.

Life suddely got a whole lot more interesting, and complicated.

Sarah was a good character, and it was nice how well she took the whole time travel part, not like most stories where the main character drives me nuts because they’re determined to live in some kind of weird denial until halfway through the book.

I can’t really see where her younger sister fit into the plot. The kid came and went so quickly she didn’t really have any effect on the story. I doubt anyone would have noticed if she were left out entirely.

Karen was great and I would have loved to have seen more of her in the story, maybe even some from her POV alongside Sarah and Will the blacksmith, who has quite a few secrets of his own to unravel.

*Warning! Spoilers Ahead!*

My biggest pet peeve was that there was no final showdown with the villains in this book. I really would have liked to see Karen’s rescue played out. It was really frustrating to have to sit back with the main character and wait, doing absolutely nothing, while the rescue was taking place somewhere else. I know the author was probably just trying to build the suspense and make us wonder whether Karen lived or died, but I would much rather have seen the action.

My Rating: Four Flames

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: clean. Things are barely warming up.
Language: clean
Drinking/Drugs: nothing recalled.
Blood/violence: several fights and chases. Both main characters get beaten and torn up a bit. There is some detail but nothing graphic.

Amazon Kindle Link: Rising Shadows
Amazon Paperback Link: Unavailable

Author Website
Author Facebook Page
Author Twitter Page

Happy Reading Y’all!

The Restorer’s Son: a book review

the-restorers-son

Description:

Chosen to save a people. Called to serve an enemy.

Plunged again into the gray world of Lyric and Hazor, Susan and Mark search frantically for their teenage son, Jake, as all signs hint that a trusted ally has betrayed them. Assassins, political intrigue, false leads, and near misses beset their path, which will lead them into the dark prisons of Hazor before the One’s purpose is revealed.

Cast out by those he trusts and preferring to cross swords with the One rather than yield to His will, Kieran flees to enemy Hazor, only to find that the One knows no borders. Pursued by his calling, Kieran finds a boy without a home, a king with burning questions, and a nation torn by darkness. As he embraces the tasks the One has set before him, this new Restorer learns that the One requires his all — perhaps even his life.

My Review: 

The Restorer’s son picks up pretty much where the Restorer left off. **slight spoilers for those of you who haven’t read The Restorer** A very relieved Susan and Mark have made their way back home safe and sound from their harrowing adventure in the grey lands of Lyric. This should have beeen the end, right? But no, they couln’t posibly get off that easily! No sooner do they get home they find that their son Jake has stumbled through the portal! Now they have to go back to lyric and get him.

Kieran never asked to be the next restorer. Surely the One made a mistake! Kieran doesn’t even believe in him, not really anyway. Confused and angry, Kieran is determined not to be what he is destined to be and fights it every step of the way. He refuses to stand up and take his place with the council. Instead, he runs, and stumbles right into a bucketload of trouble and one very confused teenage boy. Now battling to right the consequences of his mistakes, he travels deep into the lands of Hazor – and right into the One.

We get to see a lot more of Hinck’s story world this time around, traveling to Hazor – the enemy kingdom from book one – instead of just moving throughout the clans. Hinck’s world is well thought out and very realistic. You can almost imagine it really existing somewhere.

All the characters from book one are back, only this time we have everyone’s favorite grouch, Kieran, as out viewpoint character for much of the book. The rest still belongs to Susan and her desperate search for her son.

Susan may have been a reluctant Restorer, but Kieran is downright belligerent. If there were a prize for stubborn, I say Kieran takes it. He may have to follow the plans of the One, but he will do it kicing and screaming most of the way. His impusliveness gets him into as much trouble as does his stubbornness. Yet even though he keeps getting himself in trouble, he still manages to bring about the one’s purposes.

I liked Kieran a lot more than I liked Susan. He is just loaded with snark, and his grumpy nature can be surprisingly endearing at times. It’s easy to relate to him as he struggles with the One’s plans for him. I think we all are that way, to same degree or another.

We all want to go our own way. After all it’s better, safer, more fun, right? Yet He keeps working on us in ways both big and small and he can use even our faults to coax us in the direction we need to go. We just neeed to learnt to trust him, to yield. After all, he knows a heck of a lot more than we do!

My Rating: Five Flames!

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: prettty clean. There is a mention of one unmarried couple having a child and hintings of immorality in the country of Hazor.
Language: clean, unless ou count made up fantasy replaements such as caradung!
Drinking/Drugs: some ddrugs are used for medicinal purpose. The priestesses of hazor are shown to be drugged out.
Blood / violence: there is more of this than in book one The Restorer. There are several fights, deaths, asssasins, prison time (With hintings that people are being tortured offpage) mulitiple injuies, murders, and attempted murders – all non-graphic
Other: The people of Hazor sacrifice children. There is one attempt made in the book.

Amazon Kindle Link:The Restorer’s Son (The Sword of Lyric Book 2)
Amazon Paperback Link:The Restorer’s Son (The Sword of Lyric, Book 2)

Author Website – check out deleted scenes from all 4 of  The Sword of Lyric series!
Author Facebook Page

Happy Reading y’all!

True to You: a book review

true-to-you

Description: 

Wanted: A man with the four C’s (Chinese, Christian, Cash and Career). Ability to cure hives a plus.

Melanie Koo may be a physician skilled in helping others, but the one thing she can’t fix is her own love life. That’s why her mother comes up with the perfect remedy—an arranged marriage. Being a dutiful daughter, she agrees to this loveless match … until a chance meeting leads her to the cure for her hopeless heart.

Ben Peters is everything Melanie was not looking for, but she can’t help but be drawn to his passionate and kind nature and, not to mention, those adorable dimples. For once in her life, she considers breaking parental expectations to go after what she wants. The only thing standing in her way is a five foot one traditional Chinese mother and her scheming ways.

Melanie has to make the biggest decision of her life. Will she stay true to her family or will she choose to believe that true love can be colorblind?

My Review: 

Melanie Koo’s life has become a game of tug of war. The prize? Her heart.

Melanie was born and raised in a very traditional immigrant Cantonese family. As the eldest daughter, she feels a powerful weight of responisbility on her shoulders, the pressure to be perfect. She is the example for her younger sisters, and her every move is met with intense scrutiny.

Her parents have decided that she has been single too long and decide to marry her off to Melvin, a friend whom she has known for some time. Though he is a great guy and certainly fits her criteria list (Chinese, christian, cash, and career) he just doesn’t hold any draw for her. Heck, she breaks out in hives whenever she’s around him!

Enter Ben Peters, tall, handsome, and most certainly not Chinese! He’s everything opposite of what’s on her list. Yet their paths keep crossing, and the draw between the two of them is growing steadily stronger. If her parents find out she’s interested in a non-Chinese man, they’ll probably disown her!

When Ben realizes just how torn she is, he backs down and waits for her to come to her own decisions about whether or not their budding love is worth it. But by the time she decides what she wants, will it be too late?

Melanie is a great girl. I love how much she tries to respect her parents, even when they can be so incredibly difficult. Her mother is the kind of woman that would have my pulling out my hair! I really felt her strain as circumstanes forced her to choose: family or love? I’m honestly not certain I could make a desicion like that! She really handled the pressure well.

And poor Ben. I feel so bad for him! He struggled so hard to comprehend and follow all the customs of her country, and learn one seriously difficult language! The mistakes he made trying to impress her family were painfully embarrasing, though sometimes funny, as he did his best to adjust to their idea of normal. This book really gives a good feel for how difficult the life of a couple from two different countries can be.

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory

Romance: flirting and a few kisses. One character is mentioned to have had premarital sex a few years prior.
Language: clean
Drinking/Drugs: one secondary character does get a bit drunk at one point.
Blood/violence: none.

Amazon Kindle Link:True To You: A Novella (Taking Chances Series Book 2)
Amazon Paperback Link: True To You: A Novella (Taking Chances) (Volume 2)

Author Website
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