Book Review: From Darkness Won (Blood of Kings: Book 3)

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Rating: 5/5 stars.

I must say that this book had the perfect ending. It was just perfect. Such a fantastic ending to a spectacular trilogy. I hope to read more by Jill Williamson soon.

Achan has finally stepped up to his role as the Crown Prince. But so many questions lay still unanswered. Is Esek still alive? What is Lord Nathak hiding? Is the man called Hadad the real enemy? Achan just hopes that his army will be able to take Armorguard. Vrell has decided to follow her own destiny and work as a healer in Prince Oren’s army. All does not go as planned, and soon she is stormed and lost to the Veil. Achan tries to bring her back, but she seems to not know who he is. Can he save Vrell? Can Achan take back his throne and defeat the darkness that has covered Er’rets?

I must say that I was a bit disappointed with this book, maybe it was more disappointment with myself than the book. I just felt so disconnected and out of it. Maybe after speed reading the second book, I just felt out of when I couldn’t keep up the same pace. Either way, even though I felt disconnected through most of it, I did read the last like 20% of it way late into the night. Too late.

Just because I felt disconnected does not mean it wasn’t amazing and fantastic. I loved it!!! Some cool stuff is revealed (I love big revelations, by the way). There was adventure and oh, so bittersweet romance (mostly sweet, I’ll admit). Then there was such an epic battle at the end. Woo hoo! It was awesome! Also, the end had a twinge of sadness to it, but I loved it anyway.

Because I am done with this trilogy, I’m sad but also happy too. This is totally worth re-reading. I’d recommend all fantasy lovers, romance lovers, and people who love Christian fiction. You will so love this trilogy. Don’t miss out on such a exquisite series!

-G. Paige

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It’s Hard Not To Fall

imageNo matter who you are, or where you come from, you’ll always have temptations. Where does these temptations come from?

‭James‬ ‭1:14‬

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.

It is different for each person. Nobody is perfect, even me. 😀 Some of my faults include: anger (I can lose my self-control very easily with my siblings) and pride (I sometimes think in my head that I’m better than another person in whatever we’re doing), but for you this may not even be a problem.

Temptation is a major reason why we sin. That doesn’t mean that it is not our own fault when we sin, it still is. Sin itself is a temptation. But it is so much harder to not sin, when it is a temptation.

‭Proverbs‬ ‭1:10-15‬

My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! They may say, “Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent! Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death. Think of the great things we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take. Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot.” My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths.

This is what King Solomon said to his people. If you read through the Old Testament you will see time and time again the Israelites fell back to their idols and away from the one and only true God. Solomon is warning them to stay away from sin, from temptation. This can apply to us too. Too easily we fall to our temptations. We literally can not stop sinning and falling to temptations. “What? Than how can we stop sinning? You’re telling us to stop. Are you joking?” is what you might be thinking. I’m serious though, we can not stop sinning, by ourselves. We need Jesus in our hearts to be able to stop sinning. Even when we have Jesus we are still going to be tempted. Everyone is tempted, even Jesus was tempted.

‭Luke‬ ‭4:1-2‬

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.

Though Jesus was tempted, he never fell for it. He persevered. We, filled with the Holy Spirit, can persevere through temptation too. Remember though, it is Satan who tempts us, not God. God is never the one tempting us.

‭James‬ ‭1:13‬

And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.

We will fall, no matter what, there is going to be those days when we follow the desires of our flesh. But never ever blame God for being tempted.

‭Luke‬ ‭17:1-2

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.”

See? There will always be temptations to sin, but with God we can resist temptation. “There’s hope.” you might say.

‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:13‬

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

This verse gives us so much hope. Our temptations will be no more than we can bear. Does that not bring a feeling of relief? Lastly, when others fall we can help lift them up. That’s what Christians are to do: lift each other up. Encourage one another.

Galatians‬ ‭6:1

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

We have help, from our friends, family, and especially God. So, whatever you’re going through continue to remember: with God you can do anything.

-G. Paige

Book Review: To Darkness Fled (Blood of Kings: Book 2)

imageThis book left me feeling…(What should I say?)…shocked, nervous, worried, excited, and just amazed. Totally amazed.

This book started just after book 1, I mean right after book 1 ended. Achan, Vrell, and three Kingsguard Knights (Sir Gavin, Sir Caleb, Inko) have fled from Mahanaim where the Council has voted Esek to be King, though it was brought to light that Achan was the real Prince Gidon Hadar and heir to the throne. Fleeing from Esek, the imposter prince, they head to Tsalfown. From there they will break into Ice Island and free old friends to help them raise up an army to fight for Er’rets. Vrell soon is worried. How long will it be until her secret is out? Achan, who just wanted freedom a few weeks ago, is now more bound to the kingdom than he ever was as a stray. Who is this god Arman? Can he, hardly a man, truly lead the whole kingdom of Er’rets?

I was captivated with this book from the start. I have quite fallen in love with Achan and Vrell. Achan is so neat. His bloodvoicing powers are so powerful and cool. He is very foolish and stubborn at times, but that is sometimes the reason why I like him. He’s also very humorous. Vrell was so fun. Her worries and fears felt so real. She was very perky and alive. She always had a quick remark ready. Towards the end, I was saying “What are you thinking??? Don’t do that!” But she’s still wonderful.

I’m so glad that I have the next book on hand. I can’t wait to find out what happens next. I know it will have a fabulous ending, but how? I was tense with excitement and worry the whole time while reading this book. Oh my goodness, I can’t tell you how much I wanted to read this and just forget about sleeping and eating. There was danger on every turn. It was so riveting.

Of course you’ll want to have read the first book in this series before reading this and I’d recommend this to people who love fantasy and/or just plain fiction. You don’t want to miss this.

-G. Paige

Book Review: By Darkness Hid (Blood of Kings: Book 1)

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Rating: 5/5 stars.

Did I just really find a new Christian Fiction series that is amazing? Yes, yes I did. I actually read this book a few months ago but just now decided to do the review.

The kingdom of Er’rets is half covered in Darkness and the other half sees the sun. In a land full of ebens, poroo, and unique and terrifying creatures, there is the power of bloodvoicing. Some consider it a gift, one man thinks he’s gone crazy. Achan Cham is worse off than an orphan, he’s a stray. As a slave, he works in the kitchens of Sitna Manor and fulfills many different duties. He just wants his freedom. When a old knight requests that he trains with him to become a Kingsguardman, he great fully accepts. But sword training doesn’t help him learn about the voices in his head that plague him. Is he going crazy? Vrell Sparrow is a girl disguised as a boy in hiding. She hides from powerful people who want her hand in marriage at all costs. She feels compelled to this boy who is just discovering his bloodvoicing ability. But if she helps him, her secrets may be revealed.

Oh my, oh my. I loved this book so much. It was so good! It pulled me in from the start and never let me go. The mysteries about this new and exciting world was just the icing to the cake.

The best part were the characters and their abilities and the plot. Let me just say everything was great! Achan is my favorite character, but that’s natural for me since I love male protagonists better than female protagonists. He was so heartfelt. I loved how everything he did felt so natural and right. Vrell was so neat. She kept it together through all the ups and downs for the most part. She was so touching and caring. Their abilities were very cool; I can’t wait to learn more about it! Sir Gavin is also another favorite. He can be harsh on the outside but he’s really soft on the inside. The plot was amazing and it’s still rolling out in the rest of the series. There’s such a big revelation at the end, that is so electrifying!

Well, I’d recommend this to those who love Christian Fiction and fantasy. This was really really fantastic.

-G. Paige

Book Review: Half a King (Shattered Sea: Book 1)

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Rating: 4/5 stars.

It took a bit of a push to start this book, but I ended up really enjoying it. Half A King was such a unique and interesting story.

Prince Yarvi, second son of King Uthrik of Gettland, is forced to bear the crown, a crown he never wanted. Born with a crippled hand, he is despised by his people. He swears an oath to avenge the death of his father and brother even though he may be half a man. But then he is betrayed and loses it all. Now he must persevere through pain and hardship if he is to survive and reclaim his throne. He and a band of outcasts may be more help than he knows, but will this path he has set himself on end in tragedy just as it had begun? Can he, will he, reclaim his thrown?

This was a very different tale from other things I have read. I really liked it. Yarvi was a interesting character. It took me a bit to warm up to him and start to like him. There was plenty of excitement and adventure to keep me on the edge of my seat after the first few chapters. It was a neat story, while I felt it had a stark reality feel to it.

It was a different land and and culture that was interesting but felt very pagan at times. I wasn’t bothered by it, but there was a talk of talk and thought put to Yarvi’s gods and what they stood for. Yarvi prayed to them   a lot. There also was some language a good lot of violence describe very blatantly and, can I say, darkly.

In the long run, I really really enjoyed this book. It had excitement, danger, and shocking revelations and betrayals; everything that kept me entertained. I’d recommend this to those who love fantasy and fiction, to people who want something unique that they won’t soon forget.

-G. Paige

Life Has Its Downsides

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Life isn’t easy. We all know that. Or…should I say, we all should know that.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23

The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

I like to think that this Psalm explains our lives pretty well. We go through good times (resting in green meadows and beside peaceful streams) and we go through bad times (walking through the darkest valley). Anyone that tells you that because you believe in Jesus that you will live a long and happy life and become rich is telling you a lie. As I mentioned a week ago, that’s just not true. Now maybe some Christians will live that way, but that is definitely not the reality for most people. So don’t expect that to happen.

You may be asking “Why would God allow bad things to happen to us? We are his chosen people.”. To answer this question, first of all you got to know that God allows bad things to happen He doesn’t make them happen.

Job‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭

“All right, you may test him,” the LORD said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the LORD’s presence.

You see what God said there? He said “you may test him” not “you will test him”.‭‭ But still, why would He even allow bad things to happen stuff to happen in the first place? I think it depends on the circumstances. Sometimes He may be testing our faith, other times it is natural consequences of living in a fallen world, or it may be to help lead others to Christ through our suffering. It could be a number of reasons. We can’t even begin to comprehend God’s ways and His reasons. We just have to trust Him (which, by the way, God is totally worthy of our trust).

No matter what happens in your life (whether you’re going through good times or bad times) God is with you. As it says in Psalms 23, through it all, He is with you. Does that not make you feel safe and secure? It gives me a wonderful feeling to know that God is with me through my ups and downs. Through my bad days and my good days.

Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:6‬ ‭

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

This was said to the Israelites, but now it applies to all of us who believe in Jesus Christ. We will be taken care of no matter what. If that means dying and going to Heaven, so be it. Anyways, we will be going to a better, so much better place. Who wouldn’t be happy to go to Heaven?

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:26

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

We are so valuable in God’s eyes. It is great to know that I’m valued. My parents value me but God values me even more so. He loves me. He values me, just the way I am (sinner and all) and He will always be with me, always. This applies to all the Christians in the world. No matter what you have done or what you will do, God will still love, value, and be with you forever. I just hope that you take this to heart. We must never forget this gift God has so freely given to us.

-G. Paige

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Book Review: Dare (The Blades of Acktar: Book 1)

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Rating: 5/5 stars.

I loved loved LOVED this book!!! It was absolutely fantastic! I got a beautiful paperback copy of this book for my birthday and I love it. This was so good.

Third Blade Leith Torren has never had thoughts of rebellion against King Respen. He has never ever questioned his orders or his loyalty. At least, until a arrow wound and a blizzard drive him to meet Renna and Brandi Faythe, who change his life forever. Their faith and connections to the Resistance could lead to their destruction. Will Leith be willing to resist the King and his Blades? Will he have the strength? Either way, one thing is certain: someone will die.

From the first page I knew this was going to be a great book. I didn’t want to put it down at all. The world was fantastic. I love how the book started in the winter with a blizzard. It made the book stand out. The characters were memorable. Leith, of course, was my favorite character! I love him!!! Renna was such a realistic character trying to choose between doing what was right and what was safe. I think she reminds me a bit of me. Her embarrassing moments were so funny. Brandi was so fun and such a sweet and brave person. Shadrach was awesome too. As you can see, what I am trying to say is that all the characters were incredible. King Respen and Harrison Vane were so evil. Harrison Vane had quite a creepy side that stood out and made it so much more alluring.

Besides that, there was so much action and suspense! I almost died of too much excitement. The danger was so riveting. It was perfect! I am freaking out just writing this review! It makes me so happy and excited. I cannot wait for the next book. I have to find out what happens next. Ms. Tricia, you just became one of my new favorite authors.

I’d recommend this to teens and older who love Christian Fiction. It was flat out spectacular. You won’t regret it. This is definitely one of my favorite books!

-G. Paige

Book Review: Divergent (Divergent Series: Book 1)

imageRating: 3/5 stars.

I watched the movie Divergent about a year ago. After recently watching Insurgent, I finally decided to try out the books. Now I can totally see why my mom didn’t want me to read these books until I was older (like I am now).

Beatrice Prior world is what used to be called Chicago. Her society is divided into five factions: Abnegation (those who value selflessness), Erudite (the intelligent), Dauntless (courage is what they value), Candor (they value honesty), and Amity (those who value peace above all else). Beatrice lives in Abnegation. Now sixteen, on the next Choosing Ceremony she will choose which faction she will stay in for the rest of her life. Will she transfer to a new faction? It would change her life forever. But she also has a secret, a secret that could get her killed: what makes her different is what makes her dangerous.

I really liked the world building in this book. It was such an interesting society with all the factions and such. Most of the characters were great. I love Four. He was pretty awesome, though a bit of a harder character than how he was portrayed in the movie. This book had plenty of action and mystery. It did get quite violent and there was a suicide, so this definitely isn’t for kids.

I still have this nagging feeling that there was something about Divergent that I didn’t like. I think it was a problem with Beatrice, the main character. I just couldn’t connect with her as well as I would’ve liked. She seemed so heartless and cruel at times (she admitted it herself in the book). That, I think, was the main downfall of the book, for me. Also, the two love scenes (well, it is kind of only one; the other started to get inappropriate then stopped pretty quickly) in the book that went a bit out of control, was a bit disappointing too. I mean, why do they have to add stuff like that???

Those who read this need to be older teens or adults. You got to love dystopian to like this book and I would recommend skimming over a scene or two.

-G. Paige

Book Review: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass: Book 1)

imageI decided to take a leap of faith with this book and try it out. I really did enjoy it. It was quite good, but had a few questionable things.

Adarlan’s greatest assassin, Celaena Sardothien, has spent a year in the salt mines of Endovier for crimes she has committed, when the Crown Prince offers her freedom on one condition: she must compete as his champion in a competition that the winner will work as the King’s Champion. If she wins, she’ll work for the King of Adarlan for four years then she’ll be free. Her opponents will be thieves, assassins, and murderers from across the land. She trains with the Captain of the Guard, Choal Westfall to get back in shape. Then Prince Dorian starts to find interest in her. But soon a competitor is murdered and more murders follow. Will she be next???

I had a lot of apprehension in starting this book. I was worried that there might be inappropriate love scenes or something like that. There were one or two kissing scenes that was a just a touch too much. I also had a love/hate relationship with Prince Dorian. Mainly I disliked him because of the stuff people said about him being with other women. There was one other thing mentioned that made me very uncomfortable. Last of all, what bothered me just a bit was that the book was very dark. It had not a ton, but some, to do with magic and spirits and such. I have a feeling it will get more into that in later books. So people who use caution with those types of things, might not want to read this.

Apart from that, the book was very good. It was very fast paced and had a lot of action. I will warn you that there were a couple grotesque descriptions about some murders. But being full of mystery and intrigue, the book certainly captivated me. It was great in that sense.

On the whole, I probably will decide not to read the other books. It wasn’t terrible, so you might read it and enjoy it a lot. I just don’t think I will.

-G. Paige

We Need To Remember

My mom reminded me that today is September 11, 2015, exactly fourteen years ago those attacks on the North and South towers of the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon killed almost three thousand people. People are still dying from inhaling the fumes and dust from all the destruction that was brought about fourteen years ago. There even was a fourth plane headed to Washington, D.C. but ended up crashing into Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It’s sad how we forget such important things. Things, that we should remember so we can learn to not make the same mistake. But we forget so easily.

So today I would like to point out some truths that all of us always need to remember.

1. Everything written in the Bible is true and trustworthy.

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

We can’t just believe a part of the Bible. We must believe all of it or none of it.

2. God is sovereign.

God is in control of everything. He is omnipresent. Meaning, He is in the present, in the past, and in the future, all at the same time. He is perfect. He can do nothing wrong.

3. God loves you.

1 John‬ ‭4:8‬

But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

John 3:16

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

I think these verses speak for themselves, don’t you think? God loves you, me, and well…everyone. He loved us so much that he sent His one and only Son to die a torturous death so that we might have a chance to be saved. This is such an amazing gift that is given so freely to us. We must not take it for granted. Would you let your only child go into another world where he would be tortured then killed so that the people would have a chance be saved?

John‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

4. Just because God loves you does not mean that you will live a long and prosperous life.

John 15:18-20

If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.

John‬ ‭16:1-2‬ ‭

I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.

Now this does not mean that every Christian will be hated, persecuted, tortured, or killed. But this also doesn’t mean that God will give us everything we want and that we will be rich and happy all the days of our lives. That is a lie. God gives us what He thinks we need and what glorifies Him and that may or may not be what we want. We were made to glorify God. If to glorify God means being mocked, hated, persecuted, tortured, or death, then we need to learn to accept that.

5. Everyone, I mean everyone, sins. No one is perfect.

Romans 3:23

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

We all have sinned. Since Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin entered into this world. We are all born into sin and we can not deny it.

1 John‬ ‭1:8

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 

‭‭6. God can (and will) forgive you of your sins if you ask.

If Jesus hadn’t come into this world, we would’ve been left in hopelessness with only the sacrifices of animals to purge us of our sin until we sinned again.

1 John 1:9-10

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Because Jesus did come, we just have to confess our sins and he will forgive us. That is all we have to do: confess.

7. We (as Christians) have a mission.

Matthew‬ ‭28:18-20‬

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We have been given a task: to make disciples of all nations which just means converting people to Christianity. All of us are called to do this, not just some chosen few.

-G. Paige