book review, fantasy, romance, Thomas Williams

Trilogy of The Seven Kingdom Chronicles

If you enjoy riveting tales of fantastical medieval adventure and love, you will love the trilogy of The Seven Kingdom Chronicles by Thomas Williams (Yes, he is my dad and I am thrilled to be plugging his newly digitalized novels.) These would make wonderful Christmas gifts for the bookworms in your family. For easy gift giving, simply go to any of these books’ Amazon Kindle website and click on “Give as a Gift” in the box on the right!

Let me share with you a summary of the books and what reviewers are saying about them:

The Bride of Stone (Volume 1 in the Seven Kingdom’s Chronicles)

Three lives are dramatically interwoven in this medieval tale of tragedy and triumph. Perivale, a war hero made king, finds the great promise of his reign threatened by the lure of power. The beautiful Princess Avalessa endures a tragedy that could bar her forever from all possibility of love. Davian, a talented but misogynic sculptor, creates a statue of perfect womanhood which is brought to life through dark necromancy.
The story moves toward a climax in which all three characters must make wrenching choices: King Perivale must choose whether to give up his cherished source of power or descend into madness. Davian must choose between his indulgent life with a beautiful, compliant artificial female or a real but marred woman who loves him dearly. Princess Avalessa must make the most wrenching choice of all—whether to heal her own tragic circumstance or restore to her beloved the very thing that could cause him to reject her.
In this surprising twist on the ancient Greek myth of Pygmalion, The Bride of Stone raises the question: If a man were granted the perfect mate of his dreams who catered to his every wish and whim, would he really find it fulfilling?
Price: $4.99
Buy at Amazon HERE!

What reviewers have said about The Bride of Stone:

The Bride of Stone has a good message about finding true beauty beyond the surface.… Another theme Williams portrays nicely is the ease by which anyone can be seduced by evil, despite good intentions…. If there’s a sequel,  I’ll read it.”  — Infuze Magazine

“…The Bride of Stone has something to say not only about the nature of art, but the nature of love. If a man could have a perfect partner, as Eve was to Adam in the beginning, what would that be like?    
— CHRISTIAN FICTION REVIEW

“Here is a spellbinding tale of pride, betrayal and ultimate redemption.”   — WRGN Network

“[Readers] will appreciate the medieval fantasy Williams creates….Christian educators and artists of all kinds will particularly appreciate chapter 20, which details a Christian world view of art as it was intended by the Creator, contrasted with art that reflects man’s fallen and sinful nature.” — Christian Library Journal

“…one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read….Reminiscent of both Arthurian legend and Lord of the Rings,  yet told with a gentle grace that far removes any comparison….I did not want the story to end.” — Rebecca Wire in Round Table Reviews



The Crown of Eden (Volume 2 in the Seven Kingdom’s Chronicles)
A beautiful young princess is betrothed by her father to an unknown prince in another land. When she meets the prince, she finds him spoiled, decadent, and filled with an inner darkness that makes him unfit as a husband and unfit to rule. 
At the same time, a young and powerful blacksmith’s son finds himself reluctantly embroiled in a great quest to fulfill an ancient prophecy he does not understand. He falls in love with a beautiful maiden who hides a tragic secret she cannot reveal. He finds that to wed her will undo the ancient prophecy and forever doom the empire of the Seven Kingdoms. 
The paths of the princess and the blacksmith cross, and both must choose whether to pursue their own hopes for happiness or bring a great evil upon the land. 
Price: $4.99
Buy at Amazon HERE!

What readers and reviewers have said about The Crown of Eden:
“Put Tom Williams up there with C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. His first book is a ‘great’ of the fantasy world.” —The Houston Chronicle
“Magnificent language, stunning imagery, and compelling symbolism . . . worthy of the most critical reader.” —Ellen Gunderson Traylor, author of Song of Abraham
“We are privileged to enjoy Tom’s skill with a story.” —Max Lucado
“Tom Williams has written a Tolkien-like fantasy in The Crown of Eden.” —Chicago Sun-Times
“Williams’s tale of the ongoing struggle between light and darkness carries a strong moral and religious message that makes this high fantasy adventure a good choice for libraries in search of Christian-oriented fantasy.” —Library Journal
“Williams delivers a romantic tale examining such topics as fate, free will, and the power of good and evil. Both fantasy and romance readers will enjoy this first adventure in the Seven Kingdoms Chronicles series.” —CBA Marketplace

 “A masterfully told fantasy comparable both in style and wisdom to the works of George Macdonald, C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien. The book is filled with spiritual truths and deals with a number of challenging issues on an allegorical level. It is a book to be read slowly, and to be savored.” —Christian Library Journal
“If you like fantasy, it will completely gratify your expectations. Brilliantly written!” —Emily Alger on Suite101.com
“My wife and I were overwhelmed by this book. I don’t know when I have enjoyed anything so much. Warning: once you start it you will find it hard to stop. I let several things go and read it over a couple of days. It’s a fine piece of work.” —Dr. Thomas A. Langford, Late Dean of the Graduate School, Texas Technological University
“An intriguing fantasy of love and adventure that takes place in a world of hidden identities, secret motivations, and the unfolding of a divine prophecy.” —Joseph Bentz, author of A Son Comes Home
The Devil’s Mouth (Volume 3 in the Seven Kingdom’s Chronicles)
This sequel to The Crown of Eden takes the reader back to the mythical world of the Seven Kingdoms with a compelling medieval story of freedom, justice, and forbidden love.
When political conspirators murder his father, Prince Lanson of Lochlaund flees for his life. He becomes the chivalrous protector of a beautiful tavern maid who is hiding from the moral condemnation of the powerful Lochlaund Kirk, a religious establishment ruled by a lecherous bishop which has a stranglehold on the kingdom. 
Ultimately Lanson must decide whether to give the woman over to the kirk’s legalistic justice or defy the kirk and save her life by wedding her—a choice which could lead to a holy war that would destroy either the kingdom or the kirk.
Price: $4.99
Buy at Amazon HERE!

What reviewers have said about The Devil’s Mouth
“…about a religious monarchy that punishes sinners by dropping them into the mouth of  hell….with some reviewers comparing Williams to C.S. Lewis.” — Publishers Weekly

“I was immediately caught up in Tom Williams’s The Devil’s Mouth.  As a Christian, I was struck  by the powerful message to contemporary Christians: God did not create us for legalism. He created us for loving fellowship. The Devil’s Mouth is an engaging exploration of a fantastic and relevant world.” — Angela Hunt, author of Five Miles South of Peculiar

“Tom Williams has captured the medieval era with complex detail and page-turning accuracy.  Superb characterization held me spellbound throughout the story.” — Lori Copeland, author of When Love Comes My Way

“Intrigue abounds in this well-crafted tale of heroic sacrifice, romance, and the timeless battle between good and evil.  As grace wrestles against legalism, readers will find provocative theological analogies for today’s Christian.” — CBA Marketplace

“Williams creates a world of medieval wonder—a place where honor is the greatest value and love must conquer the rigid legalism that professes to represent God.” — Homelife Magazine

I am so excited about these books! I have read all of them and have loved them. They are engaging, gripping, and speak to truths that reach my heart. If I had to choose my favorite, it would be a tough choice between The Devil’s Mouth and The Crown of Eden. I think The Devil’s Mouth speaks of the damage of legalism and the power of God’s love expressed through his people. Of course, The Crown of Eden is just a masterpiece that encompasses everything I love in a book. A great hero, a beautiful heroine, adventure, love, suspense…it has it all. 

So check them out! If you are still hesitant, you can go to the Amazon links and click on the TRY A SAMPLE button. It will send you a small sample of the book to your Kindle and you can see why I am so excited about these books! 


What about you? What types of books do you read? Romance? Adventure? Non-fiction? Mystery? Why do you read what you do?

Sherrinda

book review, giveaway, giveaways, Krista Phillips, review, romance

Sandwich, With a Side of Romance: Review & Giveaway

Krista Phillip’s debut book, Sandwich, With a Side of Romance is a savory read, flavored with humor and depth!

When Maddie Buckner moves to Sandwich to become a hair stylist, she botches her first haircut and loses her job – and the chance to gain custody of her brother still in foster care. Reuben-the-Jerk, who got her fired, is guilted into giving her a job as his assistant at his restaurant, The Sandwich Emporium.

Maddie is racing against time, as she struggles to build a stable life and get custody of her brother. His foster parents want to adopt him, and Maddie needs to prove herself as a worthy guardian. The problem is she keeps getting herself into a “pickle” and has to be rescued by Reuben-the-Jerk…who has started to become Reuben-the-Dreamboat. Throw in Reuben’s jealous fiance and you have one big, messy plate of circumstances.

There are several things I loved about this book. I loved Maddie’s new faith and her “realistic” and sometimes funny prayers. There is a realness about Maddie and how she expresses herself and her faith. It’s not contrived. It’s honest and open. I loved Reuben who, even though he grew up in a Christian family, struggles with himself and his feelings. I love that he is real…he really can be a jerk! But oh, the chemistry between these two….it is tangible and heartfelt.

I also loved Reuben’s family who exhibit what it really means to be Jesus in this world. They opened up their homes and their hearts to Maddie when she had no one…and nothing. They gave and they gave, without expecting anything in return. They encouraged and they loved, not pushing Maddie too hard or too fast. They are what I hope to be.

Krista’s debut book is a funny and happy read, but it contains meat to chew on. It shows us realness of life. It shows us how we can struggle in life, yet trust God for His blessing. It shows us that God’s family IS a real family who love unconditionally. It shows us that two people can learn to trust and love in spite of themselves.

Sandwich, With a Side of Romance is an awesome debut novel and I cannot wait for the next one!

You can order your very own Sandwich HERE!

GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away a copy of Sandwich, With a Side of Romance!!!

Please leave an email adddress! ( spam free: janedoe (at) gmail (dot) com ) If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.
Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on September 16th.

* This book was provided by Abingdon and NetGalley.com for my honest review.

book review, fiction, giveaways, interview, Keli Gwyn, romance

Keli Gwyn, Debut Author: Interview & Giveaway

I’ve been so excited about hosting Keli Gwyn, whose debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, released yesterday, July 1. Keli is one of those people who have God’s fingerprints all over them. She is kind, considerate, giving, and selfless. She is a gifted writer and I know God has big things in store for His servant, Keli.
ABOUT KELI GWYN:  Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, set in the heart of the Gold Country where she lives, will be released in July 2012.

When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, the Coach factory outlet store, and Taco Bell.

MY INTERVIEW WITH KELI:

Did you see yourself becoming a writer as a child? If not, what did you dream of being?
I’d dreamed of being a writer since I was seven. Forty years passed before I dusted off that long-held dream and began writing my first story. In the interim I worked as a bookkeeper to put myself through college, earned a degree in Mass Communication/Print Journalism, and spent a couple of years as an assistant editor at a small publishing company before marrying and being a stay-at-home mom. The dream never died, though, and after all this time it’s coming true. The lesson I learned is: don’t give up on your dreams.
How long did you write before you sold your first book?
Five years. I began writing in January 2006, and my agent, Rachelle Gardner, sold my story in December 2010.
How many manuscripts have you written and which is your favorite?
I’ve completed six historical romances so far, five of them before I sold. My third story, the one that led to my offer of representation and first contract, is near and dear to me for those reasons. However, I have a soft spot for my first story, one hidden in the remote recesses of my hard drive. And I’m excited about the story I’m working on now. Sheesh. What am I saying? I love all my stories. 🙂
You are agented by the coveted uber-agent Rachelle Gardner. How long did you write before you sought representation? Tell us a little about gaining her as your agent.
After I spent a year studying craft, I rewrote that third story. I decided to enter it in some contests to see if I was getting closer to having a marketable story. It did well, garnering me several wins and requests for fulls.
One of those requests was from Rachelle. I sent it to her. The next day I received an email with words that set me bouncing off the walls and shrieking “Oh my gosh!” for a full fifteen minutes: “I’d like to discuss the possibility of representation.” We did, and on the eve of Christmas Eve 2009, I received an amazing gift when she called and I accepted her offer.
How long does it take you to write a book?
In the early days, before I’d discovered the wonderful world of writers online and hadn’t learned about craft, I lost myself in my stories for weeks on end. I’d come up for air after a couple of months with a completed story and a heart filled with joy. These days it takes me longer to write a book than it used to because I’m no longer holed up in my writing cave.
What do you like to do when you are not writing? Are you ever NOT writing?
In addition to writing, I spend time on promotion, connecting with readers on social media sites, responding to email, etc. I’m sure I’m not alone in having to carve out writing time. The important thing is to make it a priority.
I spend time each day working out at Curves or walking. I love strolling past the Victorian houses in our historical Gold Rush-era town or hiking on the trail reading a romance. Yes, I’ve recently learned to read while walking. My husband and I enjoy watching shows from Netflix. Some of them are romances or period pieces, but because I love Gwynly and won’t subject him to a steady diet of them, many are mysteries. They help me learn about plotting.
Many of the people who follow our blog are aspiring writers themselves. Can you share your favorite writing tip with them?
Have fun! The pressure to follow every “rule,” final in contests, send out queries, get an agent or a contract, etc. can rob us of the joy of writing. When that happens, writing can cease to be fun and our work can suffer. I know, because I’ve been there. When the Lord led me to let go of my expectations, I started having fun again, my writing took a real leap forward, and things began happening for me.
Now that you are agented and published, do you still experience rejections? If so, how are these rejections different or similar to the ones you received before becoming published?
I’d heard that published authors still receive rejections, and I’ll admit to having found that hard to believe. Well, I’m here to tell you from personal experience that it’s true.
A Bride Opens Shop releases July 1! Tell us a little about the book.
 Widow Elenora Watkins looks forward to meeting her new business partner, Miles Rutledge, who owns a shop in 1870s El Dorado. But Miles is shocked to see a woman step off the stagecoach. His rude behavior forces Elenora to reconsider—so she becomes his competition across the street. Can Miles win her heart while destroying her business?
If you could only share one line from A Bride Opens Shop, which one would you choose and why?
My favorite line is two words long. In order to understand why I like it so much, I’ll give you the set-up. Miles and Elenora have just met. He expected a man to show up and is dealing with his shock—and not doing a very good of it. Elenora is unaware that Miles’s mother didn’t tell her son that his prospective partner is a woman.
Miles and Ellie are talking in the backroom of his shop. He stops pacing, turns, and says, “You’re a woman.” Ellie replies with those two words I love, “You’re observant.” To me, this line shows her personality well. She takes Miles head on, shows her spirit and quick mind, and doesn’t let his rudeness faze her. Ellie definitely has spunk!
Tell us what new projects you’re working on.
More inspirational historical romances set in during the Victorian era. I’ve run many ideas by Rachelle, and she liked them all, so I’ll be busy writing for years to come.
Now for a little fun…tell us 3 FUN facts about yourself that you don’t think anyone knows. It doesn’t have to be writing related, but a funny writing quirk would be FABULOUS!
Ooh! This is fun, Sherrinda!
I created voices for our two cat brothers. Dandy got the only low one I can make, but poor Sandy is dismayed that his “voice” sounds girly. What’s worse is that he has a bit of a Bostonian accent. Where that came from, I’ll never know. I’ve never even been to Massachusetts.

I collect hedgehog figurines and stuffed animals. I became enamored with this interesting creature when Gwynly and I lived in Germany. We actually got to rescue a real one once when it wandered into the American military high school where Gwynly taught. That was pretty cool.

When the words aren’t flowing or I’m searching for just the right way to word something, I reach into a little basket of toys I keep beside my writing desk. I’m sure some would wonder what tossing a ball in the air or bouncing a metal slinky from hand to hand has to do with writing. That’s easy. Playing with toys takes me back to my childhood and unlocks my creativity. That’s my answer anyhow, and I’m sticking with it. 🙂

Thanks so much for having me as a guest on your lovely blog, Sherrinda.

And now, I have a question for your visitors. Do you have any pets who “talk?”

Oh Keli….I have loved having you here! Thank you for your wonderful answers, giving others a glimpse into YOU! May God bless you on this exciting journey!

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You can find Keli at any of the following links. She’d love to hear from you!

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You can purchase Keli’s book, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California at any of the following retailers.
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Back cover copy
Love Is Gold in El Dorado, California

Widow Elenora Watkins heads to California with her nine-year-old daughter, Tildy, eager to become a partner in a mercantile. When the mulish owner withdraws his offer because she’s a woman, she opens her own shop. She’s determined to prove herself capable of running a successful business without the help of anyone—including her controlling father, her seemingly distant heavenly Father, and one Miles Rutledge.

Widower Miles Rutledge is not about to get involved with another willful woman like his late wife, especially when she’s his competition. But the beautiful Elenora may be too hard to resist. When another man appears out to claim Elenora’s heart, Miles searches for a way to win her back. . .while putting her out of business.

Meanwhile, Maude Rutledge, Miles’s meddling mother, longs to see her son make a good match. And Tildy is just as bent on gaining a loving papa.

The battle of wills begins, but can anyone win when the competition is more than they bargained for?

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GIVEAWAY!

If you would like a chance to get your hands on Keli’s debut book, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, leave a comment with the answer to Keli’s question at the end of her interview. Leave your spam-free email address….janedoe(at)gmail(dot)com….so that you can be contacted if you are the winner. I will draw for the winner using random.org and announce it next Monday, July 9. Only U.S. citizens, please. 

book review, fiction, review, romance

Review: My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

It has been a long time since I have read a whole book in a day. It’s been a really long time since I’ve read a book I just couldn’t put down, that gripped me from the start, that kept me turning the page, even when I had laundry to do and supper to cook. My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade was that book for me this past weekend.

Wade’s debut Christian novel tells the story of Kate Donovan, a single woman who travels to Redbud, Pennsylvania with her grandmother to orchestrate the renovation of the family homestead. Matt Jarreau is the man hired renovate the house, and he has baggage. Lots of baggage. Matt is an ex-hockey player who can’t get over the death of his wife. It is only through Kate’s stubborn persistence that he begins to open up and feel again.


It is difficult to explain how much this book affected me…stayed with me. The pain and hurt in Matt’s heart was palatable and I could feel Kate’s empathy and growing love for him. There were moments when I would find myself holding my breath, listening for Kate’s words of encouragement, waiting to hear Matt’s heart speak, anticipating the moment when the two would connect on an emotional and spiritual level.

Secondary characters played a big role in the book and made for some comic relief. It reminded me of the movie Return to Me, with a group of seniors hanging out with the young couple, having fun, being merry, and being a HOOT! Loved these seniors!

The romantic tension between Kate and Matt was FABULOUS (yes, there were definitely some swoon moments!) and they were paced in a satisfying way. Seriously, this was a romantic book. Well done. Satisfying in every way.

I have to tell you, the characters stayed with me for quite awhile. I think it was because the author did such a great job in getting into the character’s mind and heart, going deep, delving into the dark parts. She didn’t just tell about their inner selves, she showed it in every gesture, thought, action, glance. It was brilliant.

Normally, I do a giveaway with my book reviews, but I am keeping this one. It’s too good to give up. I’m sorry! But you can go HERE to purchase it! I highly recommend it!

ABOUT MY STUBBORN HEART:

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure.  When her grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.
        Yet, she discovers a different type of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house.  He’s attractive and clearly wounded — hiding from people, from God, and from his past.  Kate can’t help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light… whether he likes it or not.

*I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.


book review, romance

Review: In Too Deep by Mary Connealy

In Too Deep by Mary Connealy is another winner. The second in her Kincaid Bride Series, In Too Deep follows the story of the second brother, Ethan Kincaid. He ends up marrying Audra Gilliland out of convenience and doesn’t really know what he’s got himself into. Both Ethan and Audra hold some deep seated hurts and fears that cause them to shy away from letting anyone breach the walls they’ve shored up.

Mary does a great job of throwing the two into various situations that force them to begin to trust and open up to the other. (Mary is awesome at getting her characters to face death every so often!) Their emotional journey was beautiful and tangible in a way that sucked me in.

Of course, the secondary characters in the book made for a well rounded story, and I cannot wait for book three – the one about the third brother, Seth. Now that will be an unusual story, I’m sure!

I love Mary Connealy’s books. There is something about her writing that makes me smile. The snappy dialogue, the slap-happy humor, and the sweet love story that she weaves together makes for awesome books.

Back Cover Copy:

In 1866 Colorado, Ethan Kincaid agrees to a marriage of convenience with the same casual disregard he gives every decision. Audra Gilliland, young mother of two, accepts his proposal because she wants to stop being a burden to her newly married stepdaughter.

And suddenly both of them are in far deeper than they’d planned.

Ethan doesn’t expect Audra to affect him so profoundly, and when she begins to, he’s terrified of the pain he’s felt before when someone he loved was seriously injured on his watch. He’s determined that his new wife will do as he says so he can keep her safe from the dangers that lurk on their ranch.

Audra has been cared for all her life by one man or another–and they’ve done a poor job of it. Now she’s planning to stand up for herself. And her new husband had better agree or get out of her way! 

What will it take to transform two wayward hearts fearful of getting in too deep into two trusting hearts ready to risk falling deeply in love?


You can purchase In Too Deep HERE.

* I was given a copy of this from the publisher for my honest review.

book review, fiction, romance

REVIEW: Love on the Range by Jessica Nelson

Love on the Range, by Jessica Nelson
Back cover copy: 
Any other socialite would view being packed off to a remote Oregon ranch as a punishment. But Gracelyn Riley knows that this is her opportunity to become a real reporter. If she can make her name through an interview with the elusive hero known as Striker, then she’ll never have to depend on anyone ever again.
Rancher Trevor Cruz can’t believe his secret identity is being endangered by an overly chatty city girl. But if there’s one thing he knows, it’s that Gracie’s pretty little snooping nose is bound to get her in trouble. So he’ll use her determination to find “Striker” to keep an eye on her…and stick close by her side.
My thoughts:
I found Jessica Nelson’s debut book to be a delightful romance. Sweet, fun, feisty, and with a little mystery all in one. I loved the hero and heroine and thought Jessica did a good job in developing their character arcs. You could see their gradual growth and are able to connect with them emotionally and route for their love. The romance was sweet and genuine, not contrived, and I found the hero’s journey overcoming his unworthiness was real and compelling. The secondary characters were fun and unique, giving the book a well-rounded feel. And best of all, there were some good kisses! 
If you love a sweet, fun romance, you will enjoy Love on the Range. Jessica is a good writer and will no doubt have many more books to come!

You can find Jessica Nelson HERE.
You can purchase Love on the Range HERE.

Tomorrow I’m interviewing Jessica at The Writer’s Alley and I’m giving away a copy of Love on the Range! Stop by and find out more about Jessica and her journey. Comment tomorrow at The Writer’s Alley for a chance to win a copy!