The Wind, The Road And The Way

Saturday, December 28, 2013
“You will be privileged to watch the apostles as they boldly carry to the rest of the world the good news of what Jesus has done,” Gillamon explained, lifting his arm, “to the north, the south, the east and the west. Then it will be up to you to make sure their story is told for future generations. You will see many unexpected acts of the apostles. Perhaps the greatest act will be one new apostle turning from a murderous tyrant into the model of what a Christ follower should be.

Book: The Wind, the Road and the Way (The Epic Order of the Seven) by Jenny L. Cote, Living Ink Books, 2014

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 10-15
Subjects: Biblical History, Trials, Trust in God
Summary: Jesus is alive! He has risen from the dead! And He has promised a helper, the Holy Spirit to come and fill the terrified apostles. As usual Max, Kate, Al, Liz, Nigel, Gillamon, and Claire are right in the middle of everything going on. Comforting the hurting, sending important messages, and bringing people together, the animals are doing all they can to serve their risen Savior. It’s a hard time as persecution breaks out against the apostles, but an exciting time as the Gospel starts to spread around the world.
Notes: Delightful, playful, entertaining, educational, enlightening – all of these words describe this book well. It covers Biblical history during the time of Acts. It does a great job sticking to the truth of the story as recorded in the Bible while adding entertaining commentary from the animals. This particular book shows how God uses even persecution to spread the news of His salvation around the world. It shows how God can change any heart, even that of a murderer. It shows the importance of understanding and memorizing Scripture when sharing the Gospel. And it shows the importance of waiting on God’s timing. Overall, this story does a great job teaching kids how to follow God when bad things happen in a fun, enjoyable way.
Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Acts 17:26 - From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history.

Thank you to the author and publisher for providing me with a free review copy of the book! I enjoyed it and now my husband is too!

Truth Runner

Saturday, December 14, 2013
Why can’t I just go back in time, to life before this all happened? Why can’t I just forget about things, pretend none of this is real?

Book: Truth Runner (Son of Angels, Jonah Stone) by Jerel Law, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2013

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 12-16
Subjects: Spiritual warfare, Prayer, God’s will, Loss
Summary: Jonah is still reeling from his loss. He can’t seem to find his footing again. He’s become a star back in Peacefield on the basketball team by taking advantage of his nephilim characteristics. But he can’t stop seeing the fallen. He can’t stop his memories. He can’t forget who he is. Meanwhile Eliza and Jeremiah and his friends back at school are in need of him but he’s too busy trying to forget who he is and ignore the reality of the world around him to be much help. It seems the fallen have won after all. And they are thrilled! There is plenty of damage they can do if Jonah is unwilling to fight them!
Notes: The fourth in the Sons of Angels series, Truth Runner explores the “what if there were humans that were part angel” question. Unlike many books exploring this concept however, this series is based very strongly on the truths of Scripture without as much speculation beyond the idea that nephilim could still be around in today’s world. This book focuses on Jonah’s struggle after the death of a loved one. He has completely abandoned his faith, his family, his very identity in his anger and hurt. The question is what will it take for Jonah to accept his trial and turn back to God. Due to these issues it makes the book seem as though it’s for a bit more mature audience than the first two. However, this book is centered truly around the truths of Scripture and because of that, I highly recommend it.
Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Job 2:10 – Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"

Shadow Chaser

M’chala, the one in charge of sickness, was the one afflicting Jonah. He was sure of it. No wonder there was no picture there. All he remembered from his dream was a dark shadow. But his affliction how had a cause, and somehow, as awful as this creature must be, Jonah began to feel more focused. If M’chala was responsible, Jonah had to find him. Before the Fallen harmed him again. And before the Fallen hurt anyone else around him. Or worse.

Book: Shadow Chaser (Son of Angels, Jonah Stone) by Jerel Law, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2013

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 12-16
Subjects: Spiritual warfare, Prayer, God’s will, Suffering
Summary: What would you do if the Fallen Angel of sickness and disease singled you out as his target? Boils appear on your skin, you feel sick and weak and pass out, you fail important tests due to lack of strength, and worst of all, it doesn’t seem to be just you that is targeted. Jonah is finding out! M’chala is sending affliction his way and it’s not going to let up until Jonah either breaks apart completely or finds a way to conquer this evil one.
Notes: The third in the Sons of Angels series, Shadow Chaser explores the “what if there were humans that were part angel” question. Unlike many books exploring this concept however, this series is based very strongly on the truths of Scripture without as much speculation beyond the idea that nephilim could still be around in today’s world. This book focuses on Jonah being tested in his faith and his focus. He has proved to be a powerful force against the evil ones and because of that has been targeted. Not only does he face the physical afflictions, but when he makes foolish choices his friends seem to abandon him, leaving him feeling alone. Then as he and the other quarterlings take final exams to show what they have learned in their training, Jonah’s struggles leave him falling behind in all of the competitions. Then at the end, the final attack comes – someone else, someone close to Jonah is targeted and dies, leaving Jonah in an even greater struggle than he has ever faced in his life. This does leave the story feeling a bit unfinished, the issues not resolving until the next book. Due to these issues it makes the book seem as though it’s for a bit more mature audience than the first two. However, this book is centered truly around the truths of Scripture and because of that, I highly recommend it.
Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Psalm 26:2 – Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;

Home By Another Way

Friday, December 13, 2013
“What I don’t get is how you can be so into Christ when it comes to your own life and then totally forget about Him when it comes to everybody else.” She was by now inches from my nose. “How can you be such a good Christian about diving for Pete’s sake and then be such a jerk about people?”

Book: Home by Another Way by Nancy Rue, Crossway Books, 1991

Genre: Realistic Fiction/Sports Fiction
Target Audience: Boys 13+
Subjects: Friendship, Family Relationships, Divorce, Prejudice, Love For Others
Summary: Diving is much more than a sport for Josh. It’s the last hope he has of earning his father’s love. Since his parents divorced Josh has been working on finding some way to gain the attention of his father. Diving seems to have done it – his father is at least forking over all the cash to get private lessons from a professional. But he’s still absent, only his money is making an appearance. If Josh gets far enough though, that is sure to change. So while the other boys his age chase after girls or fancy cars to parties, Josh pursues diving. He never imagined anything could change let, especially not a young boy looking up to him. Yet when Phong enters his life, rather, forces himself into Josh’s life, things begin to change. An emergency right before the most crucial moment of his career could change his entire world.
Notes: The author famous for her stories for teen girls has written a beautiful story for boys. Like all her other books, the spiritual elements run deep in this story. Josh finds his very identity in diving. He sees it as what God wants him to do. Then when God starts bringing people into his life that force Josh to love them more than his sport, he gains a much greater understanding of God and what He wants of Josh. This book deals a lot with identity and how to find an identity solely in Christ rather than what a broken family has shaped. Both Josh and his sister struggle with relationships due to the example set by their dad. It also gets a little bit into prejudice as the little boy Josh befriends is a poor boy from another culture and Josh realizes he has a lot of misconceptions about the culture and the people from it.
I highly recommend this book to all young boys!
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

1 Corinthians 1:27-30 – But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.


I had two whole weeks to explore this magical kingdom and convince the people of Doon we weren’t witches. Fourteen days to try to find out why Jamie MacCrae had been visiting me in the modern world, and why he now looked at me like I might pull out an AK-47 and go Call of Duty on his beloved people. Three hundred and thirty-six hours to prove to my handsome prince that I wasn’t evil incarnate. Suddenly, two weeks didn’t seem like nearly enough time.

Book: Doon (A Doon Novel) by Carey Corp and Lori Langdon, Blink (Zondervan Publishers), 2013

Genre: Fantasy/Supernatural
Target Audience: Girls 16+
Subjects: Magic, Witchcraft, Prayer, Dating Relationships, Friendship, Family Relationships
Summary: Vee knows it’s real. Somewhere deep inside she has no doubt that the legend of Doon is true. And so dragging her best friend Kenna with her, she crosses over the bridge wearing the rings left to Kenna by her aunt. Finding themselves in this magical land isn’t exactly all she had hoped for though. It turns out that the boy of her dreams is actually prince and very soon to be king of Doon, and worse still, wears a mantle of heavy responsibility for his entire kingdom, a mantle so heavy he will not let himself take a risk on love. Kenna on the other hand has no problem getting a guy. The prince’s brother happens to be quite in love with her and makes no secret of it. But she’s not convinced her future is in Doon – she has big dreams and has just achieved key steps towards those dreams back in America. And then there’s the whole issue of most of the kingdom thinking the girls are witches since they showed up right when other things started to go wrong. Two weeks is all the girls get before the bridge to the rest of the world opens back up and they must decide to stay or go forever.
Notes: Doon is a new spin-off on the legend of Brigadoon or Bridge ‘o Doon, the story that a village in Scotland, in an attempt to fight off the evil influence from the rest of the world, prayed and was blessed with the ability to disappear into the mist and only make contact with the world every hundred years. In this story, characters can come and go from Brigadoon during that time as well as any time if they are wearing one of two magical rings. This story is very focused on the romance aspects. Both girls have just graduated from high school, both come from broken or at least single-parent homes and are looking to control their own destinies. Doon is a world that encourages the exact opposite. They have a strong belief in magic and destiny and some form of ultimate-being. The spiritual elements are hinted at all throughout this book. The two girls wonder and doubt and consider the possibility of the power of prayer and how much God is or should be involved in their lives. One of the people in Doon explains their views that the civilization’s “Creator” or “Protector” is outside the laws of nature and does amazing things that for lack of a better understanding, people call “magic”. Everyone in Doon attends church and to the girls, the princes seem to hold a strong faith. Kenna assumes God would be willing to cry over the death of one person because he is such a good person. But the book is careful to not make anything too clear. They never outright say that God is the “Protector” of Doon or that putting one’s trust in Him for salvation is necessary. The “Protector” is a benevolent, powerful being, but not necessarily involved in their day to day lives at all, more just there for emergencies.
Also, the characters show very little conviction that sex should be reserved for marriage. The girls outright discuss if/who they have/should have sex with in the beginning. Then in Doon, Vee comes very close to having sex with the prince. What stops her isn’t a belief that it should be reserved for marriage, but a conviction that she isn’t the one he should love. Yet the very next morning she teases and tempts him to try again.
Overall, this is an entertaining story, but there isn’t much of spiritual value in it. Everything is just left in vague, unclear terms, leaving the reader to just form their own opinions rather than presenting the Scripture.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 1/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

James 4:13-17 – Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.


Thursday, December 12, 2013
I scramble forward, wanting only to be the same, loathing the feeling of Other. I was pursued down. Now I am pursued on the ascent. I am Luca. I am special. And for that, I am cursed.

Book: Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen, Blink (Zondervan Publishers), 2013

Genre: Speculative, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
Target Audience: Boys 14+
Subjects: Family Relationships, Truth, Hope
Summary: Rats. Just what everyone dreams of meeting someday right? Luca is the deliverer of his people as was his father before him and so on. Once a year the deliverer must venture underground to continue the deal with the Rats – light in exchange for water. They are the only ones who know the route. But Luca isn’t supposed to be doing it yet. He’s only sixteen after all. His father will be the deliverer for many more years. Or that’s the idea at least. Except for this year something goes wrong and his father doesn’t return from his trip underground. That’s when Luca begins his own journey, a journey of discovery, a journey to the truth – the truth about the Rats, about the world leaders, about the land, and about himself.
Notes: Set way in the future, after severe world wars all emotion has been outlawed and attempted to be even bred out of them. But Luca is different, he is “Other”. And it is up to him to be the deliverer, but when he makes his first trip down, rather than going as the deliverer of his people or to negotiate with the Rats, he goes to try to find his missing father and learns that most everything he has believed all his life is a lie. Soon with the help of an uncle he didn’t know he had, an aunt he didn’t know he had, a rebel who wasn’t supposed to be alive, and a beautiful young girl he begins an attempt to save the whole world, not just the people on top, but the Rats as well. As for spiritual elements, there is something hinted to all throughout the story. A secretly discovered book (all books and reading have been banned) is hinted to maybe be “the” book. People called
“Wishers” pray and wait on fulfillment of a prophecy unknown to Luca. At the end, a character sings Amazing Grace and an entire mob of angry people are stopped at the sound. But nothing is made clear, just hinted at. In fact, the characters multiple times refer to “The Fates” watching out for them, rather than God. The ending does leave room for a sequel so there’s a chance that the next book will cover more. The book does get quite violent – many people die, characters see large quantities of dead bodies and the death of some characters is descriptive.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 2/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Romans 1:25 – They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.

Thank you to Booksneeze for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Stone of Destiny

Friday, December 6, 2013
What could a boy like Morgan do against that kind of power? Nothing. Not for the time being, anyway. But one of these days, he would throw off the shackles of his bondage; one of these days he’d wield a power greater than anything they’d ever imagined. One of these days he’d show them all. He’d do it through alchemy. Mercury, sulfur, salt.

Book: The Stone of Destiny: A Novel by Jim Ware, David C. Cook, 2011

Genre: Fantasy
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 14-18
Subjects: Cancer, Friendship, Loss, Power, Faith
Summary: Cancer. The most feared, most dreaded word is what Morgan’s mom has. Now it’s all the more important that he continue his experiments and get a hold of the Stone of Destiny! He has to heal his mom! But the price for the stone is high. And Morgan isn’t the only one involved. His best friend, Eny, is having some troubles of her own. Sitting in her favorite spot by the sea one day, she finds herself in a new world and soon realizes she is the girl referenced in a prophecy concerning the very stone Morgan wants so bad. Now Morgan faces a difficult decision – just how far will he go to get his hands on this power?
Notes: The first in the Stone of Destiny series, this book weaves together a legend starting back in the Bible times at Bethel where Jacob laid his head on a stone and saw the ladder to heaven. It presents the stone as almost a character, with a will of its own and a desire to “return” to its proper land from where it was stolen. The idea is presented that this stone does hold power, but that it will cause more pain than healing if it is not where it belongs. It can not be held on to for one’s own use – despite what Morgan believes. The story gets kind of complicated as it pieces together the different worlds and people groups and time periods telling of the history of the stone. The spiritual element is focused on faith. Morgan’s dad was into alchemy as well before he died and passed his research on to Morgan, believing it contained the ability to miraculously heal. Morgan’s mom insists that our faith should be in God not alchemy, not science, not magic, nothing but Christ. Morgan refuses to believe in it, wanting to take control for himself rather than trust God to take care of him. In the end, his mother is healed – miraculously by God – after Morgan has surrendered his battle. So Morgan finally learns to put his faith in God alone. He also learns that God does it because of His grace, not because Morgan did things right. Morgan can’t figure out why his mom got healed despite everything he did wrong. His mom tells him that it is because of God’s grace, not because of anything earned. Overall, the spiritual elements are there, it is the theme running through the story, it’s just that it gets lost in the midst of the legend/history of the stone sometimes – it just simply gets hard to follow. But it does have a strong message.  Also of note, the end of this book leaves a bit of the story unfinished, but a second book is scheduled for publication.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 4/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Matthew 13:15 – For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

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