Promising Forever

Friday, May 23, 2014
What if love wasn’t enough? What if the feelings faded? Or what if love wasn’t enough to keep them from fighting? Or going down different paths? What if they realized a few months into marriage that they didn’t actually want to be together after so many years apart? The idea was preposterous – she had never wanted anything more than to be with Joe Colby every waking moment of every day. But still if it had happened to so many others, could it happen to them? Or, what if she remained just as in love with him but he fell out of love with her? Her thoughts swirled, confusing and consuming her. The one question she kept coming back to was whether or not getting married was the right decision. Her mind stilled as she came to the echoing resolution that she would rather never have Joe Colby than to have him and lose him.

Book: Promising Forever (The Glendale Series) by Ann Goering, Covered Porch Publishing, 2011

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls and Boys 19+
Subjects: Marriage, Commitment, Love, Sacrifice
Summary: It’s like living in a fairy tale! The prince of her dreams has shown up and is about to rescue her… and their daughters from a life of loneliness. He is ready to be a husband and a father. Except, that he isn’t, not yet anyway. He wants to finish this semester of school first. And then he wants them to move to his school so he can finish the whole degree. Passionately in love, Jessica agrees. Then she meets a young couple who seemed to have it all together until they ended their commitment. And she hears about her parents and how committed they were until they broke it off. The doubts creep in as the stars disappear from Jessica’s eyes, allowing her to see clearly what choice is truly in front of her and how much she would have to give up no matter what choice she makes. Decisions like this can never come easy, no matter how in love you are.
Notes: The conclusion to the Glendale Series, Promising Forever, brings Joe and Jessica back together at last, ready to get married. Joe is eager to be a father to his daughters and Jessica is thrilled to finally have the one boy she loves back in her life. This book shows how serious of a commitment marriage really is as the characters wrestle with life decisions and the impact these decisions will have on their marriage. It also shows the importance of involving Christ in your decisions and letting Him guide you – the element missing from the two divorces that scared Jessica into doubting Joe’s commitment.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Ephesians 5:30-33 – for we are members of His body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Fourth And Long

Alex went over and over every mistake he had made today and vowed to do better tomorrow. He just had to make the team. He just had to.

Book:Fourth and Long, Game On! Series by Stephen D. Smith and Lisa Caldwell, Standard Publishing 2005
714711: Fourth and Long, Game On! SeriesGenre: Sports Fiction
Target Audience: Boys 11-14
Subjects: Football, Loss of Loved One, Friendship
Summary: His dad would have wanted him to be on the team, Alex knows it. Practicing every second he gets, he determines he has to make the team. It doesn’t matter if he alienates his friends, if he disapp
oints the adults. All that matters is that he gets on the team. Except, he fails. And now he’s at a loss as to what to do with himself. Since his dad died, he isn’t here to tell Alex what Plan B is. Alex is completely on his own… or is he? A girl at school introduces him to a group that tells him of a very different way of figuring out what to do next, if only he can accept it.
Notes: Part of the Game On! series, Fourth And Long tells about a seventh grader who lost his dad to cancer and is struggling to find out how to cope with that. He has made football his focus but that isn’t bringing the peace he seeks. When he is introduced to Christ through some friends and later through a video his dad made before he died,  he realizes where true peace comes from.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 4.5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Row This Boat Ashore

Prayers. Huh. I turned over to shake off that thought, but it wouldn’t go away. It sure couldn’t hurt anything, praying. Maybe God could help me stop loving a boy who apparently was never going to love me. Maybe God could help me just be “friends” since that was what Michael wanted.
“Okay, God,” I said silently. “I’m sorry I hate my brother and I’m sorry I want Michael to kiss me and hold me when that probably isn’t right anyway. I really do like You, God and believe in You, but could You please help me out? Either get Michael out of my heart or make him love me…okay?”

Book: Row This Boat Ashore by Nancy Rue, Crossway Books, 1986

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 16-20
Subjects: Dating Relationships, Family Relationships, Faith in God, Physical Disabilities
Summary: Felix has never known anyone like him before – really! She’s never known anyone as wonderful, anyone as strong, anyone as encouraging, anyone with a close relationship with God. She’s seriously attracted the first time she meets him and it doesn’t take her long to fall in love when she gets to know him. She’s also never known anyone as limited as Michael though. Michael is physically handicapped. He’s in a wheelchair, unable to walk. Michael is everything Felix ever dreamed of in a boyfriend and everything she never imagined she would want.  He’s changing her world and she’s not sure how to deal with this. Then, just as she thinks she’s starting to figure things out, an accident happens and he shuts down, completely closes her out of his life. Now she’s alone again and has no idea where to turn for answers.
Notes: A stand alone novel, Row This Boat Ashore deals with a high school senior pondering the meaning of life. No longer content with chasing boys or pursuing the latest fashions, Felix seeks something more, something deeper. When she meets and falls in love with a boy in a wheelchair who introduces her to faith in God, she starts thinking she may have found that something deeper – until pride comes between them and he backs away. The book then starts looking at the issue of how Michael feels when he can not have any independence and has to rely on others to help him. There is a lot of focus on prayer – not just giving a wish list of requests to God, but truly communicating with Him and relying on Him for strength in your weakness.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Ephesians 6:18 – And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Romans 8:26 – In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

So NOT Okay

“Yeah, you’re a gang. Mitch the Witch, Winnie the Ninny, Gingerbread, and Victoria my pet.”
“You’re breaking everybody’s heart by even showing up at school. You reek like moldy gingerbread.”
“Anybody who likes Gingerbread has to be blind. Or stupid.”
“I think there’s something wrong with you.”
 “I told you – you’re dead.”
“Scientists and psychologists don’t know anything about what goes in a middle school. If they did, they wouldn’t call what we do bullying.”

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 11-15
Subjects: Bullying, Friendship
Summary: The Wolf Pack rules the school. Everyone knows it and just accepts it. As long as you lay low and blend in to the surroundings they won’t bother you too much. Sure they’re make fun of you sometimes, but nothing too severe, nothing overly prolonged. No one told Ginger that secret to survival though. So she makes an effort to befriend the girls when she starts school at Gold Country Middle School. Of course that only makes it worse and soon there’s an actual hate club with lists about why everyone should hate Ginger. Smashed together for a research project in Science, Tori, Ophelia, Mitch, Winnie and Ginger are faced with a question: Why does bullying occur and what (if anything) can be done to stop it? The question goes far beyond a homework assignment. They need to find answers – for the sake of their very survival!
Notes: So NOT Okay, the first in the Mean Girls Makeover trilogy, Nancy Rue addresses the issue of bullying from the perspective of the bystander. The next two books address it from the issue of the bullied and the bully. In this first book, the bullying situation is set up and the bystanders become the bullied as they support the one who was the primary target for the bullies. A sort of mentor tells the girls that “You can’t stay neutral and expect this to just go away. If you do nothing you’re partly responsible for the consequences.”
The spiritual elements are surprisingly less in this story than in others from this author. The mentor is portrayed as a Christian and makes a comment about prayer a couple of times and at the end of the story tells Tori that all the methods they developed for dealing with the bullies came straight from the Bible. The author has said that the story is building up towards a stronger spiritual emphasis.
This book is part of an entire anti-bullying movement that the author is leading. Please visit the websites below for more information and to join the movement.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 2/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Esther 4:14 – For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"
2 Timothy 4:2 – Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.  - the author's main website with links to a number of resources - the page for girls 3rd-8th grade who have been bullied or want to join the anti-bullying movement - the parent/adult page for those wanting to join the anti-bullying movement
Review of # 2 and 3:

Merlin's Nightmare

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Arthur took a deep breath. The time had come, and he would not shrink back.
”I am the High King, for my name is not Artorius, but rather Arthur, son of Uther. I am the one whom Vortigern longed to kill, yet I live. I am the one taken as a slave amongst the Picti, yet I survive. Behold! I am the one who was sacrificed, yet has been resurrected to lead all of the Britons against you…and I am the one who slew your brother. Leave here, now, or I will be your death.”

Book:Merlin's Nightmare by Robert Treskillard, Blink Publishers, 2014
735093: Merlin"s NightmareGenre: Fantasy
Target Audience: Boys 14+
Subjects: Truth, Trust in God, Power
Summary: Merlin has kept his identity and that of Arthur’s a secret for over a decade. He’s kept the secret, not only from the outside world, but from Arthur as well. Soon the secret is forced out of him though. Their world is no longer a secure hiding place. Enemies on three sides are in pursuit of them and Arthur is right in the thick of it. Britian needs a strong king to lead them and Arthur is that king – or at least he will be if the Picti or Saxons blades don’t kill him and Morgana’s werewolves don’t destroy him.
Notes: A story based on the legends of King Arthur, Merlin’s Blade is the third book in The Merlin Spiral series. This story contains many of the traditional elements of the legend – the names, the fantasy elements, the objects. It is a well written adventure story, packing in so many events that a few days in the story seem like a few weeks. The spiritual elements are there but not as strong as in the first book.
The focus in this one is the fear that Merlin faces as he tries to shield Arthur from his destiny. He doesn’t want to leave his family but he is called to war. Then Arthur goes another direction and Merlin doesn’t want to let him go. No matter where he turns, there is danger for his loved ones and Merlin’s fear is ruling his decision making.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 3/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Job 28:23-28 – God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters, when he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm, then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it. And he said to man, 'The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.' "

Psalm 46:1-3 – God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging

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

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