The Prophet, The Shepherd And The Star

Friday, June 22, 2012
“It is time. Take the scroll. When it is time to open it again, you will know. Never let this scroll leave you. Secrets and clues will appear on the pages that will help you,” Gillamon’s voice said seriously, “or that will hurt you if it falls into the wrong hands.” “But where are to go now?” Liz asked. “The direction you must go will become clear soon – it is coming now. When you reach the ones who will protect you, that will be the town,” Gillamon replied. “I must now be silent. Know that you are loved and you are able.”

Book: The Prophet, The Shepherd And The Star by Jenny L. Cote, Living Ink Publishers, 2010

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 10-15
Subjects: Biblical History, Prophecy, Trust in God
Summary: Being a follower of the one true God isn’t easy. Al, Liz, Max, Kate and Nigel, animals chosen by God to assist His messengers know that well. For centuries they’ve assisted God’s people in any way they can. Their latest mission is to help the prophets Isaiah, Daniel and Jeremiah, then help prepare for the Messiah by assisting Joseph and Mary. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to destroy all who dare follow. It’s up to these two cats, two dogs and mouse to come through – whether that be in a den of hungry lions, a sheep pasture or a king’s banquet!
Notes: Delightful, playful, entertaining, educational, enlightening – all of these words describe this book well. It covers Biblical history from the time of Isaiah to the escape of Joseph, Mary and Jesus into Egypt. It does so in a way that shows how all the events fit together, pointing towards the big picture in a simple enough manner for children to understand. It frequently quotes whole passages of Scripture within it’s pages. Theological issues such as sin nature are brought up and discussed and given a Biblical perspective on. And in the midst of all of this, the book entertains and delights. Having five different animals, each with unique personalities brings a fun, more lighthearted touch to the book. Covering Biblical history can be intense and the author does a good job lightening it through the characters without minimizing it’s significance. This is the first in a series, but also 3rd, as there is another series of two books before this series , but that tie everything together. I highly recommend this one!
Recommendation Scale: 4/4
Reviewer: J:-)mi

1 Peter 1:16-21 – We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Fangs sank into Nikki Youngblood’s leg, setting her skin on fire. A scream gurgled in her throat, but she willed herself past trees smeared by her jarred vision. Her jacked snagged on a branch. No, no, no…

Book: Halflings by Heather Burch, Zondervan Publishers, 2012

Genre: Speculative Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 16-18
Subjects: Angels, Dating relationships, Salvation, Trust in God, Temptation
Summary: Nikki thinks she’s ordinary, nothing special. Until the day a group of werewolf-like creatures singled her out for destruction and teenage boys that are half angel rescued her. She learns that she has special gifts herself and that because of that these boys are to be her protectors. There are many difficulties with this though: good looking teenage boys hanging out with good looking teenage girls makes for tense moments between those boys. The most important rule for them to follow is to not fall in love with a human – a rule that two of the three break rather quickly. Then there’s the fact that Nikki herself isn’t a Christian. She hasn’t put her faith in God. And the boys are doubting God’s character. And if that doesn’t make for enough trouble, there’s the enemies that want them all destroyed.
Notes: This is the first in a series about Halflings – creatures who are the product of Nephilim – demons having intercourse with humans. The idea is that they are victims of the choices made by the Nephilim and have to work to gain salvation. They are destined for hell but if living a high enough standard can make it to Heaven. They have strict rules to follow one of which is not having relationships with humans. Nikki is something unique. She has some kind of special gift or ability that makes her more important than most humans. As I read through this book I had objections to its theology. It portrayed God as not all-powerful, as if the choices made were out of His control and then as if He wasn’t loving enough to care about these Halflings. The character who is the most angry and bitter against God seems to be justified in it. He seems to have the only perspective one could have from the situation. However, I contacted the author and she said that though the first book gives this impression, the other books in the series provide a bigger picture and explain more and answer some of my concerns. She said that the character who is bitter against God is providing the wrong perspective. So I would conclude that by itself this book is not Scripturally sound and portrays things that contradict Scripture but that the author says later books will change that impression.
Recommendation Scale: 1/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Jeremiah 32:27 –“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

Waves Of Light

I wrestled my anger all the way to Hiawatha, hugging my arms around my body. If I let go, I might crack apart. Why was I so furious with Vivian? It didn’t make sense. I wanted to shake her, to force her to speak. I wanted her to yell and cry so I didn’t have to. I wanted to shout at Dad who hadn’t fixed anything. Mostly, I wanted to scream at God, “It’s not fair!”

Book: Waves Of Light by Naomi Kinsman, Zondervan (Zonderkidz) Publishers, 2012

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 11-15
Subjects: Trust in God, Faith, Friendship, Relationship With Parents
Summary: A best friend moving away. A flash flood destroying the home of her art teacher. More threats against the bears. More failed attempts at making her mom feel better. And to top it all off, someone else is competing for Andrew’s interest – and succeeding. In fact, it seems like everyone wants her to be Annabelle’s friend even though before Annabelle came, Andrew seemed to be interested in Sadie. As she draws and paints, the angry frustrating lines come pouring out of here and she has to figure out where God is at in the midst of all of this.
Notes: This is the 3rd in a series called From Sadie’s Sketchbook about a  seventh grade girl who has just moved to a small town at the edge of a forest filled with bears. Her dad has been sent as a mediator between the researchers and bear hunters. Her mom has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and their family has spent over a year trying to find a cure for her. Sadie hopes life will be a new start in this new place but troubles come up immediately. The series takes you through the trials she faces and how she learns to have faith in God even when it seems everything is falling apart around her. This particular book really focuses on that theme all the way through. Sadie is desperately seeking to find faith in the midst of the chaos she feels.
Recommendation Scale: 4.5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Hebrews 13:5 – Because God has said “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”

Shades of Truth

Even worse than the questions about Dad, I realized I didn’t know what I would have wanted him to do. So who did that make me? I didn’t know Humphrey but Helen had known him. She’d loved him. What gave the hunters the right to take his life? I wanted to punch Mack in the face. Punch Jim. Punch Frankie and Ty and all the kids at school. My word study word was alive. What a joke.

Book: Shades of Truth by Naomi Kinsman, Zondervan (Zonderkidz) Publishing, 2012

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 11-15
Subjects: Trust in God, Faith, Friendship, Relationship With Parents
Summary: A move to a new town isn’t the worst thing in the world. No that’s the feelings inside of Sadie. Death is everywhere. Is her mom alive anymore? Sometimes she seems more not-alive than alive. One bear has already been killed and if the hunters get their way more will be killed soon. It’s a war: the animal rights activists against the hunters, or more accurately, Sadie’s friends against the other kids at school. And she and her dad are caught right in the middle of it all due to her dad’s job as mediator. When she turns to her sketchbook she doesn’t see life. No matter how hard she tries, her pictures won’t show the life she needs.
Notes: This is the first in a series called From Sadie’s Sketchbook about a  seventh grade girl who has just moved to a small town at the edge of a forest filled with bears. Her dad has been sent as a mediator between the researchers and bear hunters. Her mom has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and their family has spent over a year trying to find a cure for her. Sadie hopes life will be a new start in this new place but troubles come up immediately. The series takes you through the trials she faces and how she learns to have faith in God even when it seems everything is falling apart around her. The spiritual elements are the focus of the book, but it is the climax – when Sadie reaches her lowest point and has no where left to turn, she finds answers from God.
Recommendation Scale: 3/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Acts 17:28 –‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’

Starring Me

Perhaps this is not about Chad. Perhaps God orchestrated this whole thing – his fame, this show, these auditions – because He wanted to bring this one girl to Himself.

Book:Starring Me by Krista McGee, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2012

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-19
Subjects: Sharing your faith, Showing Love to Others, Fame, Friendship, Love for Family
Summary: It’s an opportunity greater than she knows. Kara knows that one girl will be chosen to be on a show. But she has no idea that the co-star’s family has made some secret arrangements for it already. Chad’s parents are determined for his co-star to be a Christian, a godly young girl who won’t lead him astray. So the month long auditions are really a character test. Sending in a family friend as a spy, they hope to make the best choice for the new star. Kara and the other girls auditioning are not told that Chad is the star. Chad isn’t told who any of the girls are. As the auditions progress, Chad works to patiently trust God to bring the right girl into the picture. Kara finds that God is working to bring about a change in her life even greater than that of her acting career.
Notes: This is a story of trust. Chad has to trust his parents and family friend to make a decision for his career without him having any input in it. Then when the family friend declares she has found the right girl, but that girl isn’t a Christian yet, they have to rely even more on God to guide them. Kara has to learn to open her heart to God and trust that He is there, ready to love her and welcome her into His family and give her salvation. The characters from the last story (First Date) by this author, are working on trusting God with their relationship, wanting to pursue a dating relationship but wanting to follow God’s guiding. It’s also a story of who to not trust are some characters seem trustworthy but are actually not.
Recommendation Scale: 4.5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Disclaimer: This book was provided for free by Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review. 


Seventeen-year-old Kara McKormick hung up the phone and screamed. And screamed.
Her mother came in from the backyard, screaming. “Kara.” She panted, slamming the back door as she rushed to her daughter. “What’s the matter? What happened? Are you all right?”
“Yes, I—” Kara screamed again, hugging her mother and dancing around the kitchen. “Ma, you’ll never believe this.”
Kara started to scream again, and her mother placed a firm hand over her mouth. She removed her hand from Kara’s mouth with a warning look. Kara bit her tongue and jumped up and down.
“Okay, Ma,” she said, still jumping. “I have been chosen to . . .” Kara stopped midsentence, her mouth frozen.
“Kara Elaine McKormick.” Hands on her hips, she stared at her daughter. “Do not scream.”
“I get to audition for a TV show that’s just for teens on a network that lets its stars help write the scripts and the songs and plan the publicity. And this show is going to be the first one, the big one, and they’re investing lots of money into it, so it’ll be huge and they want me to audition. Me, Ma.”
Book: Starring Me; Krista Mcgee; 2012; Thomas Nelson
Genre: Realistic
Target Audience: Girls 16-19
Subjects: Becoming a Christian
Summary: Kara McCormick is auditioning for a teen variety show and is now one of ten possible co-stars. Who the star is is anyone’s guess. But Kara really hopes that it will be Chad, the boy she and her friend Addy met just a little while ago. Both Chad and Addy are Christians and tell Kara about God. However, is she ready to believe?
Notes: This book is more focused on acting, than God. But still there is a lot of positive influence from her friends as well as talks about Him. When her father gets very ill, Kara wonders what happens when someone dies. In the end, Kara gives her heart to God.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sofia Marie
Matthew 5:14 – “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Angel Eyes

Monday, June 18, 2012
Introduction: I try to keep these reviews as objective as possible, but sometimes I have to just insert a personal opinion! This book reminded me what a really good book is like! Sometimes I get tempted to just give in and start giving 5’s to books that are really only 3 or 4’s. Then I stumble across something like this and remember what a 5 really looks like! I’ve read a number of speculative fiction books and often they downright contradict Scripture. Instead, this one supports it, even quotes it! It teaches Biblical truth in an entertaining, fascinating story that draws you in and makes you long for more! Romance, passion, adventure and scriptural truth combine to make it a great read!

I scoop the halo from the ground and take one, two deep breaths before placing it on my head. The light and heat return. I raise a hand before my eyes and watch as gradually my palm begins to swirl with color. Light flickers from my fingertips. Beyond Jake, the trunk of the willow churns, a kaleidoscope of earth tones. Raindrop prisms fall from it’s branches as the great tree drips away the recent downpour. The whirling colors are in a constant state of movement, and I can’t keep my eyes open for longer than a few seconds before they start to water. I close them, and the vibrant hues continue to swirl on my eyelids, absent any shape, just like my dreams. I open them, and there’s Jake. And his white eyes.
“What is all this?” I breathe.
“It’s the Celestial,” he says, his voice thick. “A realm seen only by angels and their kind.”
“Why can I see it?”

Book: Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2012

Genre: Speculative Fiction/Supernatural
Target Audience: Girls 15+
Subjects: Faith, Loss, Angels, Fear
Summary: Cold is all she can feel now. The darkness, being alone, small spaces, everything makes her fear. Along with the fear though is the guilt. She should have known! She should have done something! She could have stopped it. Convinced she’ll never be ok again, Brielle comes home, leaving behind the life that held such tragedy for her. Now she just wants to be warm again. Warm doesn’t begin to describe what she feels when Jake’s hands touch hers. Hot, heat that spreads through her whole body and calms down the fear and guilt, replacing it with a peace she can’t begin to understand. A mysterious gift leads to more of that peace, but questions along with it. Who is this boy? What is this object? Why the heat? Why the peace? When her eyes are opened, Brielle is introduced to a world she never knew was real. Sure she’d heard the ideas spouted, but what she sees is more real than anything she’s ever known!
Notes: The first in a new series, Shannon Dittemore speculates on what a halo might be and what kind of experience someone would have if they could see the spiritual realm. The story begins with a retelling of the story of Elisha praying that the eyes of his servant would be opened to see the angelic warriors surrounding the enemy army and how the servant saw the spiritual realm (Found in 2 Kings 6:8-23). Then it introduces the story of two eighteen year olds, ordinary humans who are given a special gift from God. When wearing the halo of his angel guardian, Jake was given the gift of healing. When wearing the halo after Jake gave it to her, Brielle is given the gift of seeing the spiritual realm – the angels and demons and the physical manifestation of feelings such as fear and love. The application/lesson focus in the story is fear and the power it holds over it’s victims. Brielle has known loss – first her mother when she was only three, then just recently, her best friend was brutally murdered. She can’t fathom how the God who let that happen could be anything but cruel. She and Jake have a discussion about how God hates death as well and will someday make everything right, restore it back to the way it was supposed to be. This section is very well written, not glossing over the hurt and pain of loss, but simply focusing on God’s character and ultimate victory over sin and how sin affects our world. There is another section in which some characters discuss whether or not Brielle is saved and quote straight from Romans 10 as they look at whether she will go to Heaven or not.
Overall – this book is speculative, but in it’s speculation it does not contradict Scripture in any way, but rather supports and even quotes it. I highly recommend this one!
Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

2 Kings 6:16-17 – “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those are with us are more than those are with them.” And Elish prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Lily Robbins: M.D. (Medical Dabbler)

I could be a rescuer and healer, she thought. I could learn first aid and just, like, be there whenever there was an accident and take care of people until the paramedics got there. The thoughts spun on – I could keep them from losing hope. I could find the injured nobody else could detect –

Book: Lily Robbins, M. D. (Medical Dabbler) by Nancy Rue, Zonderkidz, 2000 
AND a new version by Thomas Nelson coming soon
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 11-14
Subjects: Friendship, Anatomy (menstrual cycle), responsibility, growing up
Summary: All it took is being the first on the scene for a car accident where Lily got to help a young boy to send her mind spinning. She knows what God wants her to be now: she’s going to be a great healer! And of course, the Girlz get dragged in to Lily’s latest pursuit because anything she does, the others do too. But becoming a great healer isn’t easy. Her mom signs her up for a class about anatomy but rather than teaching her how to be a great healer, they start discussing subjects that make Lily extremely uncomfortable. And the Girlz aren’t totally sure they want to be great healers – or want Lily in charge of healing them! How can Lily heal people if no one gives her a chance to do so?
Notes: This is the second in the Young Women of Faith – the Lily Series, a series of 12 books about a young girl desperately wanting to know God’s will for her life. She wants to know what her “thing” is. Everyone else seems to have one specific passion that’s also their talent. Throughout the series Lily explores many options to figure out what hers is. In this book, she pursues the medical field, but has to learn some lessons about friendship and waiting until she grows up for some things. Warning: this book discusses a woman’s time of month. If your girls aren’t ready to discuss this issue, then they need to wait on this particular book. This is the only one in the series that deals with it and the book can be skipped without missing important elements of the series overall.
Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Hebrews 12:4-6 –There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

1 Corinthians 12:28 – And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

Nancy Rue is currently doing a scavenger hunt on her website! One of your stops is my facebook page. To win her scavenger hunt, you need to know what CTF stands for. So here’s your answer: Christian Teen Fiction.
Check out Nancy’s website for the rest of the scavenger hunt links at:


Logan was scared beyond the capacity to scream or run or defend himself or even breathe. And when finally his heart snapped back to life it pumped white-hot fear into his brain, and the only thing that registered with any sort of clarity was: Right now, someone is here. Upon thinking this, Logan spun around, and the face in his window fled from view.

Book: Swipe by Evan Angler, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2011
Swipe by Evan Angler
Genre: Futuristic
Target Audience: Boys 14+
Subjects: Loss, Relationship with family, friendship, fear,
Summary: Fear is life for Logan. Ever since his sister went to get her mark – and never came back, he has lived with fear. He knows someone is watching him. He knows there is danger connected to getting his mark. What he doesn’t know is why or who. Then his thirteenth birthday begins to fast approach and the hint of being watched gets worse. And a new girl moves to town with her own suspicions. Together they begin seeking out answers. But there is no guarantee they will come back alive from their adventures. The same evil that targeted his sister is watching them as well.
Notes: This is a government conspiracy theory story. The government forces everyone to take the mark in order to survive and something about it, something not revealed in this first book in the series, can lead to life-threatening danger. The spiritual elements in the story are pretty much non-existent. God is only mentioned once by a side character. The Bible isn’t at all, prayer isn’t at all. It’s simply an adventure story, hinting at good vs. evil but without clear answers on who the good guys and bad guys even are.
Recommendation Scale: 1/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Revelations 13:15-17 –  He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

“He is an honorable man, I think, calling out with his last words the mission he was charged with. And though his king is not our king, we must see his message on. The King of Kapnos is a true king.” Innera drew in a breath. “Cordus is a hundred miles from here. It would take days, maybe weeks, to get there in this season.” “Nevertheless, Innera, granddaughter of Biden and daughter or Artios, you are able to do this thing.”

Book: Shield by Dawn L. Watkins, JourneyForth (BJU Press), 2008
Genre: Fantasy
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 16-18
Subjects: Loyalty, sacrifice
Summary: In a time of war, lives are changed. Innera and her grandmother could have never imagined that it would change their lives though as they are not a part of the countries at war. When a messenger dies in their home though, Innera is chosen to carry on the message. And her grandmother, a known healer, is called to serve one of the kings. Before peace is settled, lives will be lost, sacrifices made, and for some, love will be found.
Notes: This book was written as a prequel to Medallion – another book by this author. It does not have a series name though. The book is published by a Christian curriculum company – Bob Jones University. However, I did not find anything particularly Christian about it. It did not focus on God or prayer or the Scriptures. It had the classic good vs. evil struggle with honorable characters making sacrifices for others, but not overtly Christian elements.
Recommendation Scale:  2/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

This book was given as e-book for review by Netgalley

The Best Friend

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Riley zipped off, and Lishia stood there shaking her head. It was as if she had become Riley’s salve friend. Lishia would probably never get to have her own opinions, make her own choices…it was an awfully high price to pay for a “best” friend. But there seemed no way out.

Book: The Best Friend by Melody Carlson, Revell Publishers, 2012
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-18
Subjects: Friendship, alcohol, lies
Summary: Just how far should a girl go to get a best friend? That’s the question Lishia has to ponder when all her youth group friends pretty much dump her for the new girl in town. Another girl at school is willing to be Lishia’s friend but that friendship comes with a price. Riley doesn’t want a friend, Riley wants someone she can control. There are perks to it though: Riley knows how to get Lishia on the cheerleading team. And that’s something else Lishia really wants. When Riley’s demands increase, not only does the cost of friendship increase, but the cost of leaving the friendship increases. Lishia must decide how far is too far to avoid loneliness.
Notes: This is the second in the Life At Kingston High Series, books that show life for girls in high school. Thus far the focus seems to be looking at how our actions affect others. In the first one, the main character from this one is portrayed as a bad guy and her friend switches loyalties to become the best friend of the main character from that book. Now the result is a girl lonely and desperate enough for a friend to do nearly anything to secure a friend. And the consequences are others getting hurt because of her choices. In this book the character faces issues of drinking alcohol, lying, going along with cheating, and trying to destroy someone else’s reputation in order to benefit yourself. To be on the cheerleading squad, Lishia antagonizes another girl until she gets mad, allows Riley to go into the computer and change information, and participates in an underage drinking party and keeps the presence of all but one cheerleader a secret so the one girl will get kicked off the team and Lishia put on. At the end Lishia turns to her youth group friends when she reaches bottom and they point her back towards Christ. As she reads her Bible she realizes what she needs to do and finds comfort in knowing that whether she has a “best” friend or not, she has a friend in Christ.
Recommendation Scale: 4/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

John 15:15 – I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead I have called you friends for everything I learned from My Father I have made known to you.

 I received this book from Revell for free in exchange for my honest review

Mandie And The Secret Tunnel

Thursday, June 7, 2012

“Don’t get so close, Amanda. You might fall in.” Her mother grasped the back of her long, dark skirt. Mandie tried to pull free. Her tear-filled blue eyes sought a glimpse of her father through the homemade coffin resting by the open grave. “I want to go with you, Daddy!” she was mumbling to herself. “Take me with you, Daddy!” she tugged at her long, blonde braid in her grief.

Book: Mandie And The Secret Tunnel (A Mandie Book #1) by Lois Gladys Leppard, Bethany House Publishers, 1983

Genre: Historical, Adventure, Mystery.
Target Audience: Girls 10-13
Subjects:  friendships, loss, trust in God.
Summary: When her father dies Mandie is left with her unfeeling mother and cruel sister. Things don’t get better when she is sent to a neighbor’s farm two miles away to live. Mandie’s two friends are Joe, an old schoolmate and a great comfort, and Uncle Ned – her father’s faithful Cherokee friend. Will she be able to run to safety with Uncle Ned? Will she finally get to know the truth about her family? Where does the secret tunnel lead to?  Does God still love her?
Notes: This book discusses important life lessons. Why does God take our loved ones? Is it because we did something wrong? Will God love us after this? Can we trust God fully? The whole focus isn’t so much on God, but He is certainly very important. Mandie and the Secret Tunnel will entertain you as well as give show that God really cares. This is the first book of the series Mandie books.
Recommendation Scale: 4/5
Reviewer: Sofia Marie
Psalm 23:1 – “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

Trapped: Caught In A Lie

Monday, June 4, 2012

My heart feels like it might jump right out of my chest and my stomach feels like it’s twister upside down and sideways. I know, without a doubt, this is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. But it’s like I have no choice. Like my back is against the bell curve wall, and this is the only way out.

Book: Trapped: Caught In A Lie by Melody Carlson, NavPress, 2012
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 15-19
Subjects: Pride, Stress, Grades, Cheating, Lies, Relationship with parents
Summary: Expectations. There are the expectations she places on herself, the expectations her parents put on her and the expectations her friends put on her. And it just keeps compounding until finally GraceAnn’s grades start to slip. But this isn’t ok. With the bell curve in place, missing a number of the problems results in an F. And GraceAnn, future valedictorian, future Stanford student, future medical doctor, example to all, can NOT get an F. So she enters the cheating ring. But cheating one time on one test isn’t enough to bring her grades back up. And the costs for buying answers are high. But there’s no way out, is there?
Notes: This is an intense book, looking at a teen girl’s feeling of desperation to succeed in school. Everyone expects her to be the best and academically successful so when her grades slip, she feels she has no choice but to cheat. She even tries to rationalize it with the logic that when the teachers grade on high curves they are forcing their students to cheat. As for spiritual content, this one has a lot. GraceAnn finds answers in her faith. When she’s at the end of her rope, she turns back to God, begging for His help and finds strength from Him to do what is right. When she gets challenged to not turn herself in and reminded of the negative consequences that will come from it, she says she would rather put her pride to death and still have God than the other way around. There is also a short discussion about missionary dating when GraceAnn and her friend go to a dance with boys that have a bad reputation. They joke that they will have them saved by the next night. This isn’t encouraged in any way in the book, although in the end the boys wind up already being believers, just ones who ignored their relationship with God for years and the boys wind up being good characters in the story. There is also a couple of discussions between GraceAnn and an elderly lady she assists about following God.
Recommendation Scale: 4/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Proverbs 16:18 –Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 11:1 – The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.

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