The Case Of The Flying Toenails

Saturday, March 27, 2010
What happens when you tell a lie? You have to lie to cover up the lie, then lie to cover up that lie and it gets bigger and bigger. That's why Bernie has decided that the next time he lies someone should threaten to make him watch Blue's Clues or listen to the Barny theme song for a month if he lies!

#1 - The Case of the Flying Toenails (Secret Agent Dingledorf Series #3) by Bill Myers, Thomas Nelson, 2002
The Case of the Flying Toenails (Secret Agent Dingledorf Series #3) 
Genre: Adventure/Fantasy (What else can you call a disease that sends toenails flying)
Target Audience: Boys 8-13
Subject: The importance of telling the truth!
Summary: Bernie sneaks out of the house and is hanging out with Priscilla when a B.A.D.D. agent accidentally drops out of the tree where she is spying on him. The problem is that she has a contagious disease that affects everyone who's name starts with P. Rather than admit he snuck out and figure out how to stop the disease, Bernie denies knowing anything about it - time and time again! While he tells lies, anyone or anything starting with P starts floating around with toenails flying out attacking those nearby!
Notes: This book is about as crazy as they come! It's almost it's own genre: "Insanely Goofy". It is the 3rd in the Agent Dingledorf series.
Recommendation Scale: For humor of the target audience: 5, for any real depth or spiritual elements: 1
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Unsigned Hype

Friday, March 26, 2010
This book makes me think for a moment of a line from the Buttercream Gang song: "Life on the streets has taught you to see the world through different eyes". In Unsigned Hype, we get a picture of life for those living in urban areas of cities, those who may not have much, who live in a different culture than alot of the characters typically featured in novels. Welcome to the Terror Tory.

#1 - Unsigned Hype: A Novel by Booker T. Mattison, Revell, 2009
Unsigned Hype: A Novel
Genre: Realistic
Target Audience: Boys 13-18
Subject: Apologetics, Media choices, Family relationships, High School
Summary: Tory's dreams are coming true. His beats just got selected as the winner on hte Unsigned Hype Demo Contest on Power 97! He wanted to simply hold a few more parties and get a little closer to getting his name out there, but now he's doing beats with Bang Up Black for Mix Master Magic! Popularity ain't always so great though. Girls you never knew before hanging on you like you're best buds, guys getting jealous of you and jumping you outside the library, a mom getting after you for lying, and a girlfriend who wants nothing to do with secular music, along with her dad who is giving you a crash course in apologetics - the hard way!
Notes: Unsigned Hype takes an interesting look at the life of one boy living in an urban neighborhood. He has a passion for music - particularly rap/hip hop. His mother is a believer but he himself has never embraced Christ. His friendship with the girl he likes and her father causes him to think through things and consider it for himself. This book deals with the issues of apologetics, Christian vs. Secular music, relationships with parents, and friendships.
Recommendation Scale: 4.5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

A Way Through The Sea

Saturday, March 20, 2010
Looking for books about the World Wars? This author has a number of books to offer you!

#1 - A Way Through the Sea (The Young Underground #1) (Book 1) by Robert Elmer, Bethany House Publishers, 1994
A Way Through the Sea (The Young Underground #1) (Book 1) 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 11-16
Subject: Faith - salvation, prayer, trust in the midst of danger, standing up for what you believe in
Summary: Yeah there are Germans everywhere, prowling the streets of Denmark. Yeah you're supposed to follow stricter rules like lights out or reporting suspicious activities, but for Peter, his sister Elise and his Jewish friend Henrick, life is just life. They're kids. They bike around town, help out on his uncle's boat, raise and train carrier pigeons, go to school, try to get home in time for dinner - just normal kid stuff. There's a shadow overhanging them, especially seen on the faces of their parents though. And that shadow is about to come in closer. Hitler demands the round up of the Jews in Denmark, and there's very little time to smuggle their friends away to safety. Everyone rises to the occasion and does their part - even Peter and Elise - all the while aware that they are risking, possibly, their very lives.
Notes: This book deals specifically with the roundup of Jews in Denmark in 1943 and includes a note in the back about the history behind the fictional story. The Gospel message isn't prevalent all through the book, it carefully weaves it's way in through a conversation Peter has with his uncle, that he dwells on for a time afterward. This book is just the first in a series though, there's more for Peter to learn about his Savior. It is the first in the Young Underground series.
Recommendation Scale: 3.7
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Simply Divine

Friday, March 19, 2010
What happens when Hollywood meets Country? Divine is about to find out - much to her dismay!

#1 - Simply Divine by Jacquelin Thomas
Simply Divine
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 14-18
Subject: Forgiveness, loving those different than you, being content with less, consequences of choices
Summary: Divine is all drama. With both parents being Hollywood stars, Divine has grown up with the idea that she can have anything she wants, whenever she wants it. When her parents suddenly both reap the consequences of some negative choices, Divine is sent away to live with her relatives in a small country town. Divine can't stand living with these "country" people - who expect her to do chores, wear cheap clothes, and attend Church every week. They, especially her cousin Alyssa, are getting tired of all Divine's drama. However, these country people have a few things Divine does not - primarily, a relationship with Jesus!
Notes: This series deals with the issues of forgiveness as Divine struggles to forgive her dad for the impact his choices had on her. It also deals with the normal teenage girl issues - boys, friendships, and fashion.
Recommendation Scale: 3.5
Reviewer: J:-)mi


Wednesday, March 10, 2010
So many decisions! So many choices! How can you ever know which to choose?

Book: Unpredictable ( #11) by Tess Kindig and Terry K. Brown, Tommy Nelson (A division of Thomas Nelson Publishers), 2001

Unpredictable ( #11) 
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-18
Subject: Astrology, fortune telling, decision making
Summary: Bren is scared. She had two choices to make and without telling anyone about one of them, wound up making the wrong choice - a very wrong choice. She can't let it happen again, so all summer she's been indecisive - about everything from what size of lemonade to get to which boy to go to the dance with. She's found the answer though - at least she thinks she has: astrology! When a cute boy introduces her to looking up fortunes online and other forms of astrology, Bren is hooked. Finally, no more indecisiveness. She can confidently make decisions trusting in the stars to guide her. When all her decisions and advice to others comes crashing down on her she has to reconsider her source of trust. Perhaps there is something more dependable than the stars to guide us when facing tough choices...
Notes: This book is very well done, all the way up to the last chapter. Rather than show the true inadequacies of relying on fortunes, the author has Bren's friends pretend to follow her advice and get negative consequences. If the last chapter were left out it would be really good though.
Recommendation Scale: 3.5/5
Reviewer: J:-)m

If Only Dreams Would Do

Sunday, March 7, 2010
Here's a book my dad picked up for me at a sidewalk sale at a Christian Bookstore once. I've only found 2 books by the author but have enjoyed both of them and re-read them many times through the years!

#1 - If Only Dreams Would Do (Teen Novels) by Maureen Taylor, Augsburg Fortress Pub, 1991
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Primarily girls, somewhat boys, 14-17
Issue: Parent relationships, loss of dreams, physical injury
Summary: Jill was a figure skater. That used to be her identity. An injury to her knee caused the loss of her dreams and her identity. Marc is tired of running. His dad is abusive and when his mom finally got tired of it they started running. Every time his dad finds them, they move again. This time he hasn't even gotten time to start school, let alone finish a school year! And it will be worse than ever this time. His brother is abandoning them to go to college. When Marc and Jillian meet on the ice, something seems to connect and pull them together, but dreams may have to be enough.
Notes: This book takes an interesting look at the effect parent decisions can have on a teenager, particularly in regards to Marc and his brother and the effect their parents' relationship has on them. Marc's brother talks about how unfair it is that no one ever asked him if he was ready to become the man of the house, ready to play, brother, father, husband all in one. Marc fears he will be torn away from a friend before he ever has the chance to develop the relationship. Jillian feels her brother's hatred for her parents spoiling her over him. It does a good job making Marc and Jillian ultimately responsible for their choices though, not their parents.
Recommendation Scale: 3.8
Reviewer: J:-)mi

The Portal

Thursday, March 4, 2010
Today's book is the first book in a fantasy series by Bill Myers. It definitely has a few unique elements to it that aren't found in every other fantasy series out there and some very fun characters! Enjoy!

The Portal (Book One) (The Imager Chronicles) by Bil Myers, Bethany House Publishers, 1991
The Portal (Book One) (The Imager Chronicles)
Genre: Fantasy
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 12-15
Subject: Selfishness, Greed
Summary: Denise has never known anyone as greedy and selfish as Nathan! When a magic stone brings some creatures from Fayrah visiting, Denise and Nathan decide to take them up on their offer of help and visit Fayrah to learn about their strange idea of giving rather than getting. However, the bad guys are quite excited about this and have plans of their own that have nothing to do with helping!

Notes: This book is an excellent illustration of the power of selfishness and the power of love. One character even goes so far as to give up their life for another, the ultimate act of love. It is clearly designed to teach the lesson, but it does so in a unique, fun way!
The Portal is the first in the series known under three names: Journeys to Fayrah, The Bloodstone Chronicles and The Imager Chronicles. This series focuses on three characters who enter a fantasy world to learn about the love God (known in this world as The Imager) has for them. Each book focuses on one aspect of belonging to Him and trusting Him. This first book focuses heavily on the idea that the world was designed for people to serve one another rather than focus on themselves and getting all they can for themselves. Nathan is certain that looking out for himself is the way to get ahead in life. When he finds himself in danger and others risk their very lives to save him, he starts to see things differently. In this first book the characters get an introduction to the idea of The Imager but have not become what we would call Christians yet. That event occurs in the third book. It’s merely the start of their spiritual journey.

Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Matthew 20:26-28 -  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Teen Girl From Mars

Monday, March 1, 2010
Jason Goldtrap is writing books wanting to be published and asked that this book be reviewed here. You can find his books at his website

#1 -Teen Girl From Mars by Jason Goldtrap
Genre: Futuristic Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Teen Girls
Summary: This is a story about 3 teenage girls and the boys they like. The story is meant to sound old fashioned, but the setting is actually futuristic - people having colonized other planets and asteroids, etc. These girls live on Mars in a settlement where the people choose, like the Amish, to live a simpler life than the outside world. Sarah, Emily, and Lynn are all teenagers with major crushes on the boys in the town. Of course they're all crazy about the best looking one, but after a night at a carnival they settle more into each picking one. Lots of fights over the boys and discussions about them is the primary content.
Notes: There are some good role models in this book - parents who challenge their daughters to do what is right and only pursue boys that have a heart for God and will treat them like ladies.

Total Pageviews