Hear No Evil

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
“Loser.” The whisper followed him, but other voices answered back.

“Shut up, Taylor.”

He climbed onto his bunk, laid his head on the pillow and stared at the dark ceiling. Was his talent really that unusual?

You. Are. Awesome. The words echoed inside his head, each one emphasized as if Matt really meant it.

If I’m so awesome, why doesn’t Mom want me anymore? Why did dad leave?

Loser.

Book: Hear No Evil (Rustic Knoll Bible Camp) by Mary L. Hamilton, Hope Springs Books, 2013



Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Boys 13-16+
Subjects: Divorce, stepparents, bullying, abuse, friendship, God’s Faithfulness
Summary: “I don’t want you living with me anymore, Brady.” And with those words, 13 year old Brady’s mom walks away, leaving him at camp, broken and confused. The week doesn’t get much better from there. Sure, Steve, the long time camper who is blind takes Brady under his wing and befriends him. The pastor speaks words of hope and a God who wants him, wants a relationship with him. But all along the way he has to put up with Taylor’s bullying, Steven’s pushing to perform in the talent show – and invite his mom, and his own tormented thoughts. How did he drive his mom away? What can he do to make it all better again? How far will Brady go to try to fix the brokenness and what will be the cost of his attempts?
Notes: Hear No Evil is the 1st in the Rusty Knoll Bible Camp series. The first book introduces a group of about six campers and each of the three books in the series tells the story of one of the boys at camp and experiencing life change through his experiences at camp and the nightly chapel messages.
This book deals with a kid whose dad abandoned him and his mom years ago and whose mom is now abandoning him as well. The character learns of God’s faithfulness to love him and never leave him. A very adult issue is also dealt with when an adult woman chooses to stay in an abusive situation hoping to be able to change the man. I highly recommend this book and the others in the series.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

John 14:18 - I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Hebrews 13:5-6 – Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
Thank you to the author for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I enjoyed it!

Whitewashed

Questions pelted me like hail in a summer storm. What if my suspicions were true? What if Poppa…and Moses…? I needed to analyze the facts. Just like Pastor Thomas said about Esther, I needed to find the truth.
God help me. For once, I don’t want to see.
I had no choice.

Book: Whitewashed: On The Brink Series, Book One by Amy C. Blake, Mantle Rock Publishing, 2015



Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 16-20
Subjects: Truth, Family Relationships, Revenge, Crime, Slavery
Summary: It started generations ago with a cruel man who wasn’t afraid to murder or rape. The desperate did what they could to survive, but when he passed that legacy on to his son, hope died. Now, his descendants have had enough and are out to exact revenge. But which one? Is it the old slave who has been cheated out of his medical insurance by his employer? Is it the school president who seems a little out of it? Is it the old woman caught up in the seventies d├ęcor and disgusting flirtations with the young college students? Is it her own grandfather? 
Patience defied her parents wishes to go to the college she dreamed of attending since she was a young child. What she learns during her first semester is far more than academics though. Someone is pilfering money from the school and trying to cover it up. The deeper she digs though, the more dangerous it gets, especially when she learns that she herself is a descendent of Adonijah Thompson, the wicked man who left the legacy of hatred and evil that is now ruining the school built on the foundation of his plantation. Just how far will his legacy spread? Will it result in yet another death?
Notes: Whitewashed is the first in the On The Brink series. This story is one of those that tells both the present and the past story stories. Throughout the course of the book we learn more of what happened during the Civil War with Adonijah, his twin sons and his slaves. One son rejected his legacy of evil and not only did not murder and rape his slaves, but set them free and educated them. The other son came home from the war and killed his brother and raped one of his slaves, creating another line of descendents. The present time story is a young girl straight out of high school going to live with her grandparents and attend the local college. Eventually someone shows her a family tree that displays how she too is connected to all the things going on at the college. All the major players in the situation are related in some way or another to the same ancestor – including her. The book becomes a mystery as she seeks to figure out who is committing the crimes and becomes in danger of losing her life. The spiritual issue is all about truth. Patience prides herself on honesty and even advises a new friend “At least try to find the truth. It’s your only hope.” But when she finds her life in danger she recognizes that she has not been honest. She’s been lying to herself. She is a very impatient person and has convinced herself that it’s ok to be impatient and therefore rude, but her impatience has led her straight into trouble and could very well have hurt other people she cares about. The other strong spiritual element is when the character has a good discussion with someone about what freedom in Christ means. She had a friend she started pursuing drugs because he wanted to have “freedom” and wound up dying of an overdose. So when a classmate claims to be a Christian but wanting “freedom” and viewing her parents and others in church as hypocrites for denying her “freedom in Christ”, Patience really gives her a lot to think about. The freedom she is seeking has led to an abusive boyfriend who demands she answer the phone every single time he calls – to the point where she isn’t allowed by him to study and is about to fail her classes. He also physically abuses her. But he “understands her” so she stays. Patience challenges that belief and tells her to get out of the relationship and turn back to Christ – to actually read all of the Bible and study it instead of just spouting one verse out of context. The spiritual messages definitely come across in a very strong and powerful manner.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

John 8:31-32 - To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Thank you to the author for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I enjoyed it!

Nellie The Brave

Thursday, June 4, 2015
Nellie was glad they were around the big curve of the lane so she couldn’t see the men go into the house. Would they take her four-poster bed? Would they take Edoda’s special chair? Hatred gripped her heart, and it was not a good feeling. She clamped her jaw, her teeth grinding together. What had happened to her in the last hour? She was a Christian girl who valued peace in her heart and pleasant thoughts for others. But she didn’t feel like that girl anymore. She tried to smile to change her thoughts, but her mouth felt fixed in a frown.

Book: Nellie the Brave: The Cherokee Trail of Tears (Sisters in Time Book 10) by Veda Boyd Jones, Barbour Publishers, 2006



Genre: Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 9-15
Subjects: Loss of Loved Ones, Fear, Trail Of Tears, Prejudice
Summary: Why is this happening to them? One morning a runner comes announcing that the white men are on their way to kick all the Cherokee out of their homes, forcing them to move to a new state. Nellie and her family frantically pack all they can before the soldiers come. But there’s one very important thing they can’t pack: Nellie’s brother. He went to deliver some medicine to an older Cherokee and hasn’t returned yet. No one knows where he is. Nellie and her family are frantic with worry about Lewis in the midst of all this upheaval. These white men carry guns and are dangerous. The journey they are to undertake is over 1,000 miles long. How will they survive the dangers of the trail and the sickness that comes as they journey? When Nellie realizes her mother is pregnant and her best friend is ill, she has even greater cause for concern. Is the forced move really just a chance to kill all of the Cherokee or can they really make this trip?
Notes: Nellie The Brave is the tenth in the Sisters-In-Time series. This series features young girls living at various key points in American history, particularly around the wars. It always places the girls right at the edge of the teen years, coming of age.  The concept of the series it to not only show a glimpse of history, but to help young girls feel that the people back then weren’t that different than the people today.
Nellie The Brave is set in 1838 during the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of the Cherokee from their homes in Tennessee to “Indian Territory” in the west in what is now Oklahoma. It shows a young girl torn between living as much like a Cherokee as she can, yet wanting some of the white man’s advantages at the beginning and then wanting to view herself entirely as Cherokee after the removal. Throughout the story she wrestles a lot with fear, especially with her mom’s pregnancy, best friend’s illness and the escape of her other friend. Old Rivers, a wise man who is close to her family, tells her that it is extremely important to forgive and not let bitter feelings take root in her heart. He tells her to “pray to the one true God for the strength to silence the bad thoughts” and forgive those who have harmed her.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Ephesians 4:32 –Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Matthew 5:44 - But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

Emily Makes A Difference

Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Leaving the Minnesota Building, Emily overheard a well-dressed middle-aged woman say to the woman beside her, “This fair seems a horrid waste of money. There are so many people out of work in the country. The money spent on the fair buildings would be better spent helping them.”
The woman beside her agreed.
Guilt settled down on Emily’s shoulders like a heavy cape. Maybe I shouldn’t be enjoying this trip to the fair when boys like Frank and Erik have to work, she thought.




Genre: Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 9-15
Subjects: Poverty, Family Relationships, Perseverance, Chicago Fire, World Fair
Summary: “Why can’t you be more ladylike, the way your sister is?”. Emily is so sick of hearing those words! It seems like she just isn’t good enough because she’s not her sister. Emily doesn’t want to act like a young lady. She wants to run and play and explore the way her cousin, Ted, does. When one of her latest escapades lands her in danger and a newsboy, a street kid, rescues her she experiences her first encounter with the hurting occurring in the world due to poverty. A trip to the World Fair opens her eyes even further and she determines to make a difference, but how? She’s just a twelve, almost thirteen year old girl. What can she do?
Notes: Emily Makes A Difference is the sixteenth in the Sisters-In-Time series. This series features young girls living at various key points in American history, particularly around the wars. It always places the girls right at the edge of the teen years, coming of age.  The concept of the series it to not only show a glimpse of history, but to help young girls feel that the people back then weren’t that different than the people today.
Emily Makes A Difference is set in 1893 during the time of the world fair, Chicago fire, and some of the worst poverty. Emily has a relative who owns a bank and sees firsthand the scare that comes from runs on the banks. As a family who is more well off than many, she experiences the difficulty between fearing for her own family and wanting to help those suffering even worst. When she decides to do what she can to help, she learns of the sacrifice that comes – going without a new dress or a vacation.  The spiritual element is Emily learning from the women’s suffrage movement the idea of doing whatever you put your mind to. She learns that the Bible promises all things can be done through Christ who gives strength and prays for knowledge of how to help the suffering in her community, even when her friend doubts it will work.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

1 John 3:17-18 – If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.

Rosa Takes A Chance

Rose smiled through her tears. “Oh, Henry, I’ll miss you. I don’t know if I can keep hoping, though.”
Mrs. Madden took her hand again. “Of course you can. You’re trusting God, remember? We all take chances no matter what we decide to do. Your uncle is taking a chance on California. Your father is taking a chance on Texas. I’m taking a chance on St. Louis. Take a chance on God, Rosa.”



Genre: Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 9-15
Subjects: Racism, Education, Hope
Summary: She just wants an education. A good education that is. Rosa is sick and tired of the pathetic excuse for education the teacher at the Mexican school is giving. It seems no one expects the Mexican children to learn anything. The kids just play all day and the teacher seems content to let them. Rosa has a hunger for education. In the midst of the dust bowl though, no one is concerned with it. Survival is the focus. Rosa’s uncle gives up and moves her sister and nephew away in hopes of finding a place where Tia can breathe again. The dust makes her too sick to stay. Rosa’s brother gives up too, convinced that California holds the answers. Rosa’s dad is sure the rains will come eventually and the land will be good for farming again. Soon most of the town has left and the most severe dust storm completely destroys the school. Is all hope for learning gone?
Notes: Rose Takes A Chance is the twenty-first in the Sisters-In-Time series. This series features young girls living at various key points in American history, particularly around the wars. It always places the girls right at the edge of the teen years, coming of age.  The concept of the series it to not only show a glimpse of history, but to help young girls feel that the people back then weren’t that different than the people today.
Rosa Takes A Chance is set in 1935 during the time of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl which caused even more suffering for the already poor Mexican Immigrants in Texas. It focuses on a few different impacts the dust bowl had – it caused poor health, it caused poverty as nothing would grow in the dry soil, and it caused a lack of education as teachers gave up and moved out of the area. In this story, Rosa has to organize a school herself after many of the teachers move and the dust storm destroys the school building. The spiritual theme is hope. Rosa is encouraged to not give up hope even when it seems all is stacked against her. Her teacher tells her to put her hope in God.  
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Romans 8:22-25 - We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Mandy The Outsider

Mandy shuddered inwardly and wanted to drop through the floor. Sure enough, when school was dismissed and the students filled the halls, she heard the mocking voices behind her, “Fine job, Mandy Einstein. Fine, fine job. We’re so, so proud of you.”
Mandy was sure she was going to die right there in the front hall of Queen Anne School!

Book: Mandy the Outsider: Prelude to World War 2 (Sisters in Time Book 22) by Norma Jean Lutz, Barbour Publishers, 2004



Genre: Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 9-15
Subjects: Racism/Prejudice, Bullying, Identity, Showing Love
Summary: A move up in the world is a move down as far as Mandy is concerned. They left their familiar neighborhood, their school, all her friends. Now she’s stuck attending a school for stuck up children. At least that’s how it seems. The Golden Ring, a group of girls in Mandy’s class, make it a point to insult and mock anyone not in their little circle. First there’s Helga, a girl with physical differences. The Golden Ring tears at her every chance they get. Then there’s Mandy, a very smart girl who can get perfect grades on her schoolwork and quickly becomes good friends with the school librarian. The others make fun of her for this until Mandy finds herself intentionally doing poorly on her schoolwork just to get them to leave her alone. When she tries to go visit her friends she can’t even find peace there though. Her friends are Japanese and the country is becoming increasingly intolerant of anyone whose family is related to the soldiers terrorizing those on the other side of the ocean. So even here, the evil of the world is creeping in and stealing her peace. Will Mandy ever find a place to belong?
Notes: Mandy The Outsider is the twenty-second in the Sisters-In-Time series. This series features young girls living at various key points in American history, particularly around the wars. It always places the girls right at the edge of the teen years, coming of age.  The concept of the series it to not only show a glimpse of history, but to help young girls feel that the people back then weren’t that different than the people today.
Rosa Takes A Chance is set in 1939 during the time of the start of World War II. It focuses a lot on ordinary, every day life for a young girl in that time. It does focus as well on the anti-Japanese sentiment that ran rampart through the country when the Japanese start making war on other nations. The spiritual element is on showing love and kindness to others, even when they don’t return it. After a sermon in church, Mandy asks God to help her be good to the girls who are mocking her at school. Then later she reaches out to the other girl who is bullied but who refuses to respond to any kindness.    
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

James 2:8 - If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.

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