Tyrant Of The Badlands

Saturday, August 25, 2012
“Although I don’t get to spend much time around your family, it doesn’t mean I don’t care. From conversations with your parents, I know plenty about you and your brother. I got to thinking that it might be handy to have someone like you spend time in the trailer park. You watch for things and remember. 
“I’d be a spy,” I said. 
“Think of it more as an undercover agent. You already know your disguise.” 
“A rotten teenager.” 
“Badly rotten.”

Book: Tyrant of the Badlands (The Accidental Detectives Series #4) by Sigmund Brouwer, Chariot Victor Books, 1996

Genre: Adventure/Mystery
Target Audience: Boys 10-14
Subjects: Crime, Loss, Faith
Summary: Ricky has turned bad. Not just a little bad, but extremely bad. As in a disrespectful brat who throws a rock through is aunt’s window as soon as he first arrives to visit her. But it’s not real. He’s playing a role in hopes of finding some evidence to present to the police on the real bad guys. Convincing the bad guys you’re on their side is dangerous though. You show kindness to one person and they’ll be suspicious. So Ricky has to be extremely mean and rude to everyone he comes into contact with. And when the bad guys accept him, their first assignment for him is to burn down a trailer in his aunt’s trailer park. When his friends and brother show up things get even worse! It’s up to Ricky to fool the bad guys without actually doing anything illegal or dangerous.
Notes: This book is pure action. There is some discussion about faith between Ricky and his grandfather who is hurting at the loss of his wife. But most of the book is fast paced action. This is the 7th in the Accidental Detectives series, a series of books about Ricky Kidd, a young boy who often stumbles into mysteries and has to deal with a younger brother that drives him nuts.
Recommendation Scale: 3/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Romans 5:1-5 – Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

The Disappearing Jewel of Madagascar

Wonderful. A nicked left ear, a scalped head, a kid brother who followed me everywhere, and a curse put on me by a long-dead African queen. Who could ask for more on a warm spring day?

Genre: Adventure/Mystery
Target Audience: Boys 10-14
Subjects: Friendship
Summary: A jewel with a curse on it for anyone who touches it. Unfortunately, Mrs. McEwan failed to tell him that until after Ricky touched it.  This particular curse seems to come true, despite Ricky’s doubts. It guarantees to turn friends into strangers and strangers into friends. Pretty soon Mike and Ralphy are ignoring him. Then the jewel disappears and it’s up to Ricky to find out who stole it, and more complicated – to find proof!
Notes: This book is a focus on friendship. Ricky believes the worst about his friends, trusting more in the curse than in his long time friendships. This is the 7th in the Accidental Detectives series, a series of books about Ricky Kidd, a young boy who often stumbles into mysteries and has to deal with a younger brother that drives him nuts.
Recommendation Scale: 3/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

The Missing Map Of Pirate’s Haven

I was ready to be vacant myself. We run into a grouchy cat lady on the side of a cliff burying twenty pounds of used cat litter and she threatens to six a dog named Hezekiah on us. This, of course, is after a theological debate with a man old enough to be my grandfather who may be a drug dealer and who also has a ponytail to his waist. So much for my dreams about Southern California.

Book: The Missing Map of Pirate's Haven (Accidental Detectives, Book 5) by Sigmund Brouwer, Victory Books, 1959
Genre: Adventure/Mystery
Target Audience: Boys 10-14
Subjects: Greed, friendship
Summary: Unfortunately, this trip to the Pacific Ocean may not be the enjoyable vacation the kids thought. To begin with, Lisa’s dad decides to send Joel with them. Then by the end of the first day, Ricky and Mike find reasons to suspect Lisa’s uncle is a drug dealer. Before long they are fighting wild animals, searching for kidnappers and trying to find ways out of being tied to dynamite!
Notes: This book takes a look at first impressions and judging on external appearances. From the beginning, Lisa’s uncle encourages them to think more carefully about what they say. Is what they see on the outside really tell what is on the inside? Ricky and the others continue to assume they know things without looking deeper to find out what’s really going on. That gets them into some dangerous situations. This story also includes an interesting discussion on apologetics between Ricky and Lisa’s uncle. And by the end of the story he finds reason to put his faith back in God. This is the 7th in the Accidental Detectives series, a series of books about Ricky Kidd, a young boy who often stumbles into mysteries and has to deal with a younger brother that drives him nuts.
Recommendation Scale: 4/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

1 Samuel 16:7 – The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

The Monster In The Hollows

Oskar shook his head and stared at the floor. Kalmar was free, but at the cost of Nia’s own life, should his recklessness or foolishness or even some deeper, uncontrollable impulse get him into trouble. And trouble, Janner thought with a feeling of dread, was something Kalmar never managed to avoid. Besides all that, Uncle Artham, their fiercest protector, was gone.

Genre: Fantasy
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 12+
Subjects: Forgiveness, Love, Judgement, Fear
Summary: His brother looks like a fang, the other children of Green Hollow are out to get them, the people fear his brother so much his mother had to swear to take full responsibility – as in forfeit her very life – for anything Tink does wrong. Janner knows trouble is coming. It’s just a matter of when and how. Besides, it’s not like their enemies across the sea will stay away for long. They want the Jewels of Anniera – the Wingfeather children. Being a Throne Warden is not easy work with a mischievous king to protect and enemies that want you dead.
Notes: This is the 3rd book in the Wingfeather Saga, a highly imaginative, almost playful fantasy story about three children who are heirs to a throne of a country that’s been destroyed by an enemy that even now is after them, wanting them dead. There is surprisingly not a lot of spiritual emphasis in this story considering that the author is almost a song writer who very much focuses his music on spiritual elements. There are references to an Ultimate Being and ultimate standards to live by, but it’s not an active, ever present help. The children have to rely on themselves and others around them to help with problems. They have to find something within themselves to resist evil, not find help from an ultimate being.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 2/5
Entertainment Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Psalm 133:1-3 –How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!  It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

Harsh Pink: Color Me Burned

I’m fully aware that was pretty heartless on my part. But when you’re the new girl in town, you have to fend for yourself. And I’m smart enough to know that friends like that are not an asset. Does that make me a mean girl? No, I reassure myself as I walk into my lit class, taking a seat in the front row. It simply means I’m a survivor.

Book: Harsh Pink: Color Me Burned (TrueColors Series #12)by Melody Carlson, NavPress, 2007
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-19
Subjects: Popularity, Friendship, Bullying, Alcohol
Summary: It doesn’t take Reagan long to squeeze her way into the popular crowd. Being a cheerleader at her former school certainly didn’t hurt matters. Now she’s on the squad with the most popular girls in the school. So is another new girl. The trouble is that the ring leader of the popular crowd did NOT make it. So someone’s got to go. Reagan’s determined to do what it takes to keep her place. The trouble is that keeping her place in the popular crowd means pushing someone else out. How far will someone truly go to maintain status?
Notes: This is one the books in the True Colors series, a set of books showing major issues teens today have to face. The character is thrown into the situation and someone in the story shows them how God would have someone respond to the situation. In this story, a new girl in town moves onto the cheerleading squad and straight into the popular crowd. But keeping her status with the popular girls means she has to be a part of the bullying of someone else. It’s not until someone truly gets hurt through a drinking party that Reagan starts to see what really matters and what truly makes a “Class A” friend.  A neighbor girl next door shares the Gospel with her and demonstrates true friendship, both to Reagan and to Reagan’s grandma.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 4/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Proverbs 18:24 – A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Bright Purple: Color Me Confused

How could we have been just sitting there, happily eating our lunch, and then Jess announces that she’s gay? Like who does that anyway? And how is it possible that I never even saw this coming? I mean if your best friend has no clue that you’re gay, then who does? And how can you be sure that really are gay? Furthermore, what does that suggest about me? I mean we’ve been best friends for years. Is it possible that Jess thinks maybe I’m gay too? That she can I can be lovers now? Ugh! I think I’m going to barf! Then a worse thought hits me. What if I actually am gay and don’t even know it. Is that even possible? And what will our friends at school say when they find out about this? Or our friends at Church for that matter? And how can Jess still be a Christian is she’s a lesbian. I’m trapped in this bright purple cubicle that’s whirling around and around as my entire life spins totally out of control. Help me!

Book:Bright Purple: Color Me Confused (TrueColors Series #10) by Melody Carlson, NavPress, 2006
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-19
Subjects: Homosexuality, Friendship, Christianity, Bullying
Summary: Ramie’s best friend just announced she’s gay. Right here in the food court at the mall. And now she expects Ramie to be ok with it. But Ramie is absolutely NOT ok! She’s freaked out! Jess was her best friend! What in the world happened? And how is Ramie supposed to act now? How can she keep this a secret? But how can she tell on her friend? And when everyone else finds out and the bullying begins, how can Ramie stand up for Jess without looking like she supports homosexuality? But how can she just let someone she has cared about be constantly made fun of and picked on? And is Jess truly wrong? Jess, Ramie’s new boyfriend – the pastor’s kid, and especially Ramie’s non-Christian mom all try to tell her it’s not Jess’s fault. God made her that way. Ramie didn’t think that was what the Bible says, but she’s totally confused now and has no idea what or who to believe!
Notes: This is one the books in the True Colors series, a set of books showing major issues teens today have to face. The character is thrown into the situation and someone in the story shows them how God would have someone respond to the situation. In this story, a girl’s best friend announces she is gay and Ramie has to wrestle hard with it. In some ways this story is very well done and has some great spiritual emphasis. But it does leave the overall question of homosexuality unanswered. Ramie keeps claiming that the Bible says it’s wrong when people say it’s just natural and how God made some people. But the verses are never quoted. So Ramie has no back up for her argument. The focus really isn’t on homosexuality as much as it is on showing love to those who are either different from you or who are living a sinful lifestyle. That aspect is dealt with quite well and a couple verses are referred to dealing with that issue. It just needed a bit more answers for teens wrestling with the question of homosexuality.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 4/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi
1 Corinthians 6: 9-11, 18-20 – Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
Leviticus 19:18 –“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

A website for those struggling with the issue of homosexuality: http://exodusinternational.org/exodus-student-ministries/


“A Starlighter will rise from the dead who will be able to destroy the schemes of all the wicked. The sacrifice presented to her will cause her to suffer more than both of us combined, and if she chooses that path, she will gain nothing for herself, only pain.”
“It will never happen. You prophecy impossibilities to appease my anger. No human would acquiesce.”
“Perhaps you are right. In any case, we will soon learn if a Starlighter will pass the test.”

Book: Liberator (Dragons of Starlight) by Bryan Davis, Zondervan Publishers, 2012
Genre: Fantasy
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 14 and up
Subjects: Faith and Doubt, Sacrifice, Love, Loss
Summary: The climax has come. The disease is spreading to all the humans and the dragons are killing those infected in hopes of preventing its spread to the last of those not infected yet. Cassabrie and Koren, the Starlights, know it is time for them to make choices about who to trust and what actions to take. Both girls know of Alaph’s prophecy and since both have risen from the dead, they know a sacrifice is required of them, but what does that sacrifice look like? What will it truly take to save the slaves?
Notes: As with the others in this series, it’s a very confusing plot line to wrestle through. It’s hard to keep track of who everyone is and what all is happening. But also as with the others, there is an honest wrestling with truth. Koren and Cassabrie have very different ideas of what this sacrifice might look like. Both are willing to suffer, but when possible opportunities are presented to them they find it hard to know what to trust. All of the good guys in the story are truly good guys, longing for what’s right, longing to serve the Creator, longing to heal the hurt. But what that means is very difficult to figure out. It means questioning, doubting, checking and double checking their hearts, their motives, even whether or not they’re even in control of their own thoughts or perhaps could have fallen under enchantment. It’s easy to relate to the characters as they struggle to not let doubt gain the upper hand. This is the fourth in the Dragons of Starlight series – I highly recommend not reading this until you have read the first three and perhaps the first in the Master’s and Slayers series as well – the companion series focused on the same situation, but from a different character’s point of view.
Recommendation Scale: 5/5

James 1:2-6 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Thank you to Zondervan for providing me with a free review copy of this book.

Blade Silver: Color Me Scarred

Thursday, August 23, 2012
For a moment, this cut absorbs all my attention and emotional energy. It blocks out what I am unable to deal with. And for a while I am convinced that I will actually survive my life. Am I proud of my behavior? Of course not. But for the time being, it’s all I have to keep me from falling. So don’t judge me.

Book: Blade Silver: Color Me Scarred (TrueColors Series #7) by Melody Carlson, NavPress 2005

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 14-18
Subjects: Abuse, Cutting, Family relationships, Dating Relationships, Salvation
Summary: There’s only so much pressure a person can take without breaking. Ruth isn’t trying to kill herself. She’s just trying to find a way to survive, trying to find a relief for the pressure. Her dad is emotionally abusive and her mom has totally checked out since her failed suicide attempt a year ago. Her brother’s had enough and has run away from home. So it’s pretty much all up to her now. All her dad’s wrath comes solely on her. Her friend doesn’t understand and her grandparents don’t believe her. Why should they? Her dad’s pretty good at maintaining appearances. No one is going to believe what she goes through. If it takes cutting to survive, she’ll do it.
Notes: This is one the books in the True Colors series, a set of books showing major issues teens today have to face. The character is thrown into the situation and someone in the story shows them how God would have someone respond to the situation. In this story, a girl who suffers from abuse at home turns to cutting for relief. The trouble is that it requires more and more. The more pressure, the more she needs to cut. When a boyfriend forces her to see a counselor, she finally get the help she needs. She is taken to a shelter and enrolled in a 12-step program specifically for cutters. The people running it are Christians and share about how Christ already paid the price for our sin. It’s by His wounds that we are healed.  
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

1 Peter 2:24 – He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Bitter Rose Color Me Crushed

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
“But seriously, why did she have to go and ruin everything? Why is she so horrible and mean and selfish?” And now the tears are flooding down my cheeks again, and all I can think is that I hate my mom. She makes me sick! And I know I will never, never forgive her for this!

Book: Bitter Rose: Color Me Crushed (TrueColors Series #8) by Melody Carlson, Nav Press 2006
  Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-19
Subjects: Divorce, Family relationships, Dating Relationships, Adultery
Summary: Doesn’t anyone stay married anymore? Maggie thought her parents, out of all people, would be the ones to stay committed to their marriage! All their talk about being born again and wedding vows being kept “till death do us part” and such. And yet her dad is gone. Maggie goes back and forth between being furious at her mom and being furious at her dad. Together, they are making choices that are destroying Maggie’s life!
Notes: This is one the books in the True Colors series, a set of books showing major issues teens today have to face. The character is thrown into the situation and someone in the story shows them how God would have someone respond to the situation. In this story, a girl whose parents are divorcing is caught in the middle of the battles. Adultery and unforgiveness are ruling the lives of both of her parents and consequently, Maggie’s life as well. Maggie has to learn what it means to forgive, something that can only be done with the strength of God. An aunt encourages her to turn back to God, to start praying again and Maggie finds herself in Church, hearing a sermon on forgiveness and realizes she needs to forgive both of her parents for the pain they’ve caused her. Divorce is certainly condemned in this story, but more than focusing on divorce, the focus is on forgiveness and choosing to love those who have wronged you.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Luke 6:37 – Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Moon White: Color Me Enchanted

I need more power, a stronger magic. Obviously I’m just a beginner in the craft. I need to be more disciplined. I need to learn more about the elements, the moon, the stars, the planets. I need more control.

Book: Moon White: Color Me Enchanted (TrueColors Series #11) by Melody Carlson, Nav Press, 2007
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-19
Subjects: Witchcraft/Wicca, Family Relationships, Loss, Dating Relationships, legalism
Summary: When everything goes wrong, you seek more control over your life. It’s natural. And Heather has a lot going wrong! Her best friend rejects her because she’s exploring something different than what her friend believes. Her mom died a few years ago and Heather is really needing her right now. Her new friend goes behind her back to steal her new boyfriend. And she’s taking over the role of star pupil in ballet class. If all that isn’t enough trouble, she catches her stepmother betraying their family! Heather has to get some control back before her whole life falls apart! She’s just hoping that Wicca provides the answers.
Notes: This is one the books in the True Colors series, a set of books showing major issues teens today have to face. The character is thrown into the situation and someone in the story shows them how God would have someone respond to the situation. In this story, a girl who is facing a lot of the common things teenagers face today responds to it by exploring witchcraft. She participates in spells, séances, potions, and meditations. The more she gets into it though, the more she has to work to find the power and control she wants. One thing leads to another and soon she has to deal with evil spirits pursuing her and thoughts of suicide tempting her. An old journal of her mom’s leads her to a Christian who tells her it’s not about controlling your own life, but surrendering control to Christ. Another interesting issue lightly displayed in this book is legalism. Heather’s Christian friend is told by her pastor that she has to ditch Heather completely because Heather is pursuing Wicca. It actually makes Christians look pretty bad. Thankfully at the end, the character is told by someone else that she’s sinning and not doing what Christ says to do.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi
Romans 8:6-9 – The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

Finally And Forever

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Jumping on a plane and flying off to Africa with Eli seemed to make sense in the middle of the night when her friends, Todd and Christy, helped her to book her flight and encouraged her to make the wild leap into the unknown. Now it seemed crazy. All of it.

Book:Finally and Forever (Katie Weldon Series)by Robin Jones Gunn, Zondervan Publishers, 2012

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 18-25
Subjects: Missions, Dating Relationships, Family Relationships, God’s Will
Summary: Katie is in Africa! With Eli! She’s fairly convinced that she must be crazy, but something in her keeps saying this is right. After meeting his family and getting settled into the mission, she and Eli both begin pursing their future plans. What does God have for them? What, specifically, are they supposed to be doing? When an old boyfriend from Katie’s past shows up, answers begin appearing, but not in the way either of them expected.
Notes: The story of Katie is complete! In 1989 we were introduced to Katie Weldon, friend of Christy Miller. Now, after 23 years her story has been finished. Well, at least finished as in her romance has been resolved and her career path has been chosen. She is now through with college, making this book ideal for older teens and early 20’s who will be able to relate to Katie’s struggles to figure out what to do with her life. Through the years and many books, Katie has wrestled with what God wants her to do. She’s pursued a number of things, and had extremely serious relationships with two different guys. She’s learned to let God lead her heart, and that leading has placed her in Africa with the guy who’s been making strange comments throughout the Katie Weldon series. This story really continues the theme of trusting God to lead you and being willing to follow His leading, no matter how strange it may seem. Both the main characters in this story are wrestling with that. They’ve come to the point in their relationships with God where they desire His will, but figuring out what that is and how or even if, that works out for a relationship with one another, is quite a challenge.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 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.

Thank you to Zondervan for providing me with a free review copy of the book! 

Crazy Dangerous

Saturday, August 18, 2012
Then he grinned down at me, his teeth bloodstained. “Oh,” he said. “Oh, punk. You are really going to get it now.” So that’s how I ended up just about dead, lying in a pool of blood by the side of the road. But that’s only the beginning of the story.

Book: Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2012
Genre: Adventure, Suspense
Target Audience: Boys 14-18
Subjects: Mental Illness, Bullying, Crime, Friendship, Courage
Summary: Jennifer is crazy right? Everyone knows this. Including Sam. But after he risks his life standing up to the bullies threatening her one day, she places her trust in him and reveals the secrets that she knows. But how can they possibly be real? She talks of demons and killing and blood everywhere. It’s nonsense! Except… the first thing she tells Sam actually happens. So even when she’s put in a mental hospital and diagnosed with schizophrenia, Sam takes her seriously when she calls him and reports that another murder is going to happen. The trouble is that he’s the only one. No one will believe that Jennifer actually knows what she’s talking about. Only Sam can provide the rescue and he’s got exactly twenty-five minutes to do it.
Notes: This book takes a look at mental illness, the spiritual realm and their connection to reality. At first, Sam thinks that Jennifer is possibly a prophet, being given visions from God. As it turns out, it’s nothing more than the things she sees and overhears being mixed in with hallucinations. So the spiritual realm is mostly thought of as unreality. It also looks at two other issues that could be spiritual. The first is that Sam is a PK – preacher’s kid. So he tries to do the right thing. Unfortunately, this does not come out of a desire to glorify God. It’s merely a matter of keeping up appearances. The next is his “Fear Nothing, Do Right” phrase that he decides to live by. Once again though, it’s not from a Bible verse or a trust in the Lord. It’s merely a moral consideration. He chooses to do right because it’s the morally correct thing to do. And as for “Fear Nothing” – well, he is portrayed from the very beginning of the book as a kid who is very gutsy. He’ll do risky things for the wrong reason as well as the right reason. He does pray at one point and then he sees the phrase “Do Right, Fear Nothing” written on a statue of an angel that later disappears and he takes this as his answer to prayer. So overall, it’s a book that teaches good morals, but not much about actual spirituality. It’s more of a “do right for because it’s the right thing to do” than a “do right because it is how the Bible or God says to live”.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 3/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Micah 6:8 – No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Thank you to BookSneeze for providing me a free review copy of this in e-book format.
Thank you to the library for getting a real copy so I could read what I'd promised to review! :-D

Burnt Orange: Color Me Wasted

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Here’s the truth: I actually had fun. And it wasn’t boring at all. It’s like everyone just really cut loose and had a great time. Sure, some kids drank too much and one girl even got sick and threw up in the pool which really put a damper on swimming. But I didn’t get drunk and I didn’t get sick. Mostly, I just had an unexpectedly fun time. And, really, what’s wrong with that? I mean, even Jesus drank wine with his friends. And wasn’t his first miracle turning water into wine? So seriously, what’s the problem?
Book: Burnt Orange: Color Me Wasted with Bonus Content by Melody Carlson, NavPress, 2005
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 14-18
Subjects: Dating Relationships, Friendships, Alcohol, Reputation, Witnessing
Summary: Good little Church girl, pastor’s daughter is wasted. Totally all out drunk. And she’s not sorry enough to stop drinking. She’s tired of doing the same old thing all the time, going through the motions of being the good Christian girl. She just wants to have some fun. So when the Claire invites her into the world of parties and drinking, she willingly accepts. She tells her friends she is witnessing and being a good influence on Claire, but Claire is the one influencing her, not the other way around. But choices lead to consequences and the consequence of Amber’s choice is higher than she ever imagined.
Notes: This is one the books in the True Colors series, a set of books showing major issues teens today have to face. The character is thrown into the situation and someone in the story shows them how God would have someone respond to the situation. In this story, a girl who has lived all her life focused on doing the Christian thing decides she’s bored with that and enters the drinking scene. She quickly gets addicted and eventually, due to drunkenness, a friend of her gets killed. The friend has been pointing Amber back to Jesus all along though and after her death, Amber finally surrenders and lets God take control of her and even gets Claire to join her at Alcoholics Anonymous and makes the choice to forgive Claire for causing the death of her friend.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Ephesians 5:18 – Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Deep Green: Color Me Jealous

I don’t think I’ve ever really hated anyone before. I mean, I really disliked Miss Jones, my third-grade teacher, especially after she humiliated me by making me sit in the hallway for talking. But I don’t recall experiencing this venomous emotion, the kind of thing I would describe as real honest-to-goodness hatred, that I presently feel toward Shawn Frye.

Book: Deep Green: Color Me Jealous by Melody Carlson, NavPress 2004
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 14-18
Subjects: Dating Relationships, Sex, Jealousy, Betrayal, Revenge, Salvation, Forgiveness
Summary: If green is the color of jealousy then what Jordan feels towards Shawna is a very deep green. Timothy was hers! She was the one he wanted. And Shawna resorted to going so low as using sex to steal him from Jordan. Now there are only two things Jordan can think about: getting Timothy back and getting revenge on Shawna. She’ll do whatever it takes to achieve her goal. Unfortunately, Shawna feels the same way about her. She was willing to do anything to get Timothy back from Jordan and she’ll do anything to see Jordan destroyed. After all, Timothy was dating her before he dumped her and pursued Jordan. Two girls deep green with jealousy over one another can lead to nothing but trouble for either one if someone doesn’t intervene soon!
Notes: A typical high school setting, Jordan and Shawna are high up in the popular crowd. Jordan is relatively new to this lifestyle but it doesn’t take her long to learn the rule: All is fair in love and war. She gets herself deeper and deeper into a mess with lies, cruelty and even dangerous actions. A friend who has become a Christian recently keeps challenging Jordan and sharing the message of salvation with her, pointing out that God and only God is big enough to clean up the mess Jordan has made. After Jordan becomes a Christian, the book also provides a lesson on forgiveness as Jordan realizes that just as God forgave her, she needs to forgive Shawna. At the end this book also briefly touches on the issues of sexually transmitted diseases.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Romans 13:13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.

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