Lost In Dreams

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
If only I could tell you what I’ve been going through…but you wouldn’t understand. How could you? I don’t understand it myself. I mean what normal teen girl feels overwhelmed by guilt over her mother’s death because she called her mom while her mom was driving in bad weather? That irrational. It… it’s just plain crazy.

Book: Lost in Dreams (Altered Hearts) by Roger E. Bruner with Kristi Rae Bruner, Barbour Publishing, 2011

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-20
Subjects: Missions, Salvation, Trust in God, Friendship, divorce, Guilt, Forgiveness
Summary: Coming home on an emotional and spiritual high after a life-changing missions trip to Mexico, the last thing Kim expects is to go through “a season of pebbles” as her friend Aleesha calls hard times. That’s exactly what she gets though. Instead of her mom greeting her at the airport, she is greeted by word that her mom has just been killed in a car accident on the way. Suddenly Kim is plunged into a world of doubt and despair as she drowns in her guilt. When a friend provides a chance to go back another missions trip and do some work restoring an old building and doing some work with a prison ministry, Kim jumps on the opportunity. Surely this will be the thing that sets her free again! But her misery just goes right along with her and she’s finding it will take more than she thought to become free from the pain and guilt weighing her down.
Notes: A sequel to Found In Translation, Lost In Dreams, continues the story of Kim and her spiritual journey. She and her friend Jo both face a “season of pebbles” and have to find a way to put their trust fully back in Christ. The recurring themes running through this book are guilt – Kim and her dad both feel responsible for her mom’s death, and another character not only feels, but is responsible for a death. All three find it extremely difficult to turn that guilt over to God and let Him take it away. They continue beating themselves up for what God has forgiven. Kim’s friend Jo has to work on the forgiveness of someone else in her life who has deeply hurt her. There is also a salvation message presented as Kim and the others minister to the prisoners.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Matthew 11:28-30 – "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

A Robertson Family Christmas

The hilarity and games they played and the laughter they let loose with reminded him of overloading on some dessert. It let him with a stomachache. Yet in this case, it was because he felt empty, his gut hollow and craving For what, he didn’t know because Hunter didn’t want THAT. All that over-everything in the family room. Overdoing the fun. Oversharing. Overseeing. He had caught a bad case of being overcome. He just wanted this Christmas holiday to be over. 

Book: A Robertson Family Christmas by Kay Robertson, Tyndale House Publishers, 2014
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 16+
Subjects: Salvation, Divorce, Family Relationships, Drugs
Summary: He was not chosen! He’s sure of that much! Maybe these people are real, but his presence is just the fault of this “random, ridiculous thing called life”. Seventeen year old Hunter, suffering from divorced parents, a dad and brother who don’t care and a mom who has to work too much has accepted his fate. He will have a miserable life. He accepts this. He doesn’t let himself consider such a thing as a loving caring family. Until he meets the Duck Dynasty family that is. His mom entered him in a contest to spend Christmas with the Robertson family and Hunter is the one Korie chose. Shipped off away from his family for the holidays, what little “family” he has anyway, Hunter is not thrilled to be meeting the celebrities. He’s never seen any of the shows and doesn’t know who they are. It wouldn’t matter anyway. Life holds nothing good for him. But spending days with this crazy family who goes all out for everything they do – including loving those around them – makes it pretty hard to hang on to his crabbiness!
Notes: A Robertson Family Christmas was written by Kay Robertson, referred to as the family “matriarch”. It has a double focus: half on Hunter and his struggles and half on Korie Robertson and her struggles and faith-filled response to them. It dwells a lot on her feelings as she sees her children growing up – it will be her oldest child’s last Christmas in high school. It also focuses a lot on her attempts to mother Hunter. In all of her pondering, it constantly takes it back to her faith. She prays and places her trust in Christ to help her work through her challenges. The part focused on Hunter shows a very hurt young boy who has written off nearly everything positive – including God. When Phil and Willie preach at him he tries to reject it, but that combined with the genuine love shown to him by the whole family breaks down his defenses. Phil and Willie both outright present the Gospel message to Hunter as they attempt to help him find a way to have joy and peace in a miserable home life. I highly recommend this book. It is filled with spiritual content that challenges and encourages. The one drawback to the book is that it is split between target audiences. Half of it is geared at an adult woman while the other half is geared at teenage boys. With all the focus on Korie’s pondering, it would probably appeal more to an adult woman than the teen boys.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Luke 2:11 – But the angel said to them, do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. 

Thank you to the publishers for sending me a free review copy of this book. In addition, they have sent me an extra copy to give away! The first to comment on this post will receive the book! Entries limited to the United States.


Thursday, October 23, 2014
“I have dreaded for years that this day might come, and now my fears have grown fruit. There is no choice. You must leave, and do it before your father gets back.”

Book:Thunder, Stone Braide Chronicles Series #1 by Bonnie S. Calhoun, Revell Publishers, 2014
65416EB: Thunder, Stone Braide Chronicles Series #1 -eBook

Genre: Speculative – Post Apoclyptic, Science Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 15+
Subjects: Human trafficking, Genetic Experiments
Summary: Catching Landers and trading them in for bio-coins is part of the culture in Selah’s world. The Company up on the mountain considers them valuable and will pay good money for those who capture them and turn them in. Sick and tired of being viewed as less valuable than her brothers, Selah decides she’s going to prove her worth by capturing a Lander of her own. When her brothers interfere and steal her prize, she assumes the adventure is over – until she wakes up the next morning with the mark of the Landers tattooed onto her chest that is! Secrets are revealed – her birth father was a Lander and consequences are given – she must escape before her stepfather finds out or he will turn her in to the Company as well. Selah determines the logical course of action is to free the Lander her brothers are taking to the Company and get his help finding her birth father. Sneaking under the radar will be far from easy in this world that encourages betrayal and greed.
Notes: First in the Stone Braide Chronicles series, Thunder sets up a post-apocalyptic world that promotes a form of human trafficking – primarily the selling of one group of people to the sort of government that exists. Any that show up in the area are caught and sold. Very little is known about Landers, only that they have some sort of telepathic abilities and come from across the water, from another land. The story seems to imply that they serve an Ultimate Being but any information is extremely vague. There is a comparison of characters’ morals but not against any ultimate standard. So consequently, there is very little spiritual emphasis in the story, just a vague hint that there might be an Ultimate Being that the main characters don’t seem to know about. The Science Fiction element is strong with the genetic modifications – one character finds a way to reverse aging on his mostly dead wife, bringing her not only back to life, but back to a younger age. Experiments are done on the Landers as well. Overall this book is just another post-apocalyptic story that leaves out the spiritual elements. The focus is the adventure and the setting, not conveying truth.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 1.5/5
Reviewer: Jamie

Acts 13:47For this is what the Lord has commanded us: " 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.' "

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

The Princess Spy

Margaretha’s mind was spinning. She wasn’t sure what to believe. She had thought him mad, until he’d told her the story about Lord Claybrook murdering his sister’s friend because she was pregnant with Claybrook’s child. Had his unbalanced mind invented the story? The details, including the fact that he claimed they were both from the same part of England, made his story seem more authentic. If his story was true, then he was indeed in danger, and so was she, simply because he had told her. Now she understood why he hadn’t wanted to tell her his name.

Book:The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson, Zondervan Publishers, 2014
65485EB: The Princess Spy - eBook

Genre: Fairy Tale
Target Audience: Girls13+
Subjects: Trust in God, Romance, Family Relationships 
Summary: A flibbertigibbet and an injured English lord bent on revenge do not necessarily make for a good combination when trying to defeat a murderer. Still, that’s all there is to go against Lord Claybrook, and someone has to do it! When Colin first arrives at the castle, injured and nearly delirious, Margaretha doesn’t trust his claims about her current suitor, but when she spies on a conversation Lord Claybrook has with one of his men, she realizes Colin is telling the truth and determines to help him all she can. The trouble is that Lord Claybrook is extremely suspicious and determines they have found him out, prompting him to take immediate action against Margaretha, her family and Colin. A valiant rescue plan ensues and they begin the long journey to Margaretha’s relatives in hopes that they can get help to stop Lord Claybrook from killing everyone in the castle and forcing Margaretha to marry him. The question is what unexpected discoveries will the flibbertigibbet and English lord make on the way?
Notes: Continuing her fairy tales centered in Hangenheim’s royal family, Melanie Dickerson tells the story of the Princess and the Frog. When Colin rescues a valuable item of Margaretha’s from the well, she agrees to do as he asked – spy on Lord Claybrook, learns the truth and starts the process of falling in love with her “frog”. The spiritual emphasis in this book is on justice vs. revenge. Margaretha challenges Colin to leave room for God’s justice – telling him that a desire for justice is good, but to be careful to not let it lead you into a thirst for vengeance. There is a short discussion about God using the weak to shame the strong and relying on Him for strength for their journey and later Margaretha recalls a Scripture that reminds her that God is watching out for them and turns to Him for peace, as well as encourages Colin to turn to God for peace. The overall emphasis is on the relationship development and how Colin and most people around her view Margaretha’s talkativeness as a character flaw, but Colin soon sees beyond that to the passion she has for those she cares about and the courage and determination to do what it takes to conquer evil. Soon he finds he misses it when she’s not chattering. Proverbs 17:28 talks about how “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue” and the book shows how you can develop a reputation for being a fool by not being careful with your speech, but it also shows how important it is to consider carefully who you put your trust in – looking beyond seeming “flaws” they have to who they really are as a person.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 4/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Romans 12:19 – Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

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 the author/publisher for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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