A Promise Is Forever

Saturday, February 28, 2015
Christy bowed her head, closed her eyes, and pursed her lips. Perhaps Dr.. Benson thought she was praying. She was really trying hard not to cry. It all hit her so hard and fast. His rapid-fire itinerary seemed overwhelming. Plus this was her worst nightmare, having to make split-second decisions that might affect the rest of her life. She knew the need was great, but what about Belfast?

Book: A Promise is Forever (The Christy Miller Series #12) by Robin Jones Gunn, Focus On The Family Publishing, 1994

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 15-20
Subjects: Dating Relationships, God's Will, Missions, Sacrifice, Friendship
Summary: It’s a neat opportunity for Christy and the others. Christy is hoping, not just to be able to share the Gospel on this missions trip, but to make some decisions about her future. Her parents have been quite clear on the fact that it’s time to start deciding what she wants to do with her life. It’s not as simple as she had hoped though. First there are troubles between Katie and Tracy. Then about the time Katie finally comes around and things calm down, something strange seems to be happening with Doug, leaving Christy quite confused as to what is going on with her boyfriend. Then suddenly someone wants to quit their team. And when tragedy calls someone back home, a void is left that Christy is requested to fill. She wants to serve, but it means traveling alone through a foreign country to go join a team she doesn’t even know! How can she figure anything out with all this chaos? This is not what she thought a missions trip would be like!
Notes: A Promise Is Forever is the twelfth and final book in the original Christy Miller series. In this book Christy wrestles with the issue of trusting God even when things are out of her comfort zone. Katie does as well. It also continues the theme from the last book of being willing to let go of dreams and rely on God alone to bring joy and peace. Spoiler alert: It ends on a beautiful note that will bring tears to those who have followed the character all through the twelve books.
Teen girls can relate to Christy and her struggles throughout the series, but also see a character who learns, sometimes the hard way, what the Biblical perspective should be. This is the 11th book in the Christy Miller series. This series has been republished multiple times and is available in multiple forms. This book was supposed to end the story, but later continued with the Sierra Jensen series, the College Years Series, the Katie series and the Married Years series.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 55
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Psalm 86:11-12 – Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.


Friday, February 27, 2015
Wyndemere pounded the table before him. “Then you understand that you still owe me several bodies to hang from my walls. You WILL capture the ghosts if you wish to remain in my employ. Though I imagine you have made the challenge considerably harder on yourself by spooking them deeper into the forest. Let the women and children go, but find the leaders and deliver them to me.”

Book: Dauntless (Valiant Hearts) by Dina L. Sleiman, Bethany House Publishers, 2015

Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Girls and Boys 13+
Subjects: Faith in God, Miracles, Love, Trust, Crime, Loss of loved one, God’s WIll
Summary: Declared criminals by a cruel king who sought to punish the whole village for the crime of one man, Merry and her band of orphans are now the Ghosts of Farthingale. Stealthily dropping in and stealing gold and supplies, they are gone long before the owners even know anything is missing. It’s not a life they would have chosen, but they have to survive somehow – survive and protect the little ones. After all, little Wren is not even yet three years old! The laws say they are wrong to even be alive, God’s laws say stealing is wrong. It matters not. Survival is all Merry can focus on. At least that’s all she can focus on until someone from her past discovers their camp… someone who was once very precious to Merry… someone her heart wants to love again.
Timothy never dreamed the Ghosts of Farthingale would be a rag tag group of orphan children let by his betrothed! In fact, he did not even know she survived the king’s slaughter! Now he is faces with a terrible decision: how can he protect his position as a king’s man without betraying the one he loves?
Notes: Dauntless is first in the Valiant Hearts series. This series focuses on showing strong, independent women and the strong men who love them. The author is encouraging young girls to be bold and strong and follow where God leads them and then if/when God brings a knight in shining armor into the picture, to join together in following God.
Dauntless shows a seventeen year old girl who has lost her faith in God. How can there be a good, loving, kind God when her whole family, the whole village except for her and the children, were slaughtered by a merciless king who still reigns? How can some say God cares for her when she’s left to find her own way to survival? She relies on her own strength to get her through until the moment comes when she is completely powerless and only a miracle from God can save. It shows a twenty-one year old young man who has blindly accepted the picture of God as painted by his society until challenged by Merry that if God IS real, He can not be the way society paints Him. The system of a cruel king appointed at the whim of a pope, the system of the rich lording it over the poor, believing themselves to be more favored in God’s eyes, more worthy of His blessings – this is a system Merry refuses to believe God desires. Her challenge causes Timothy to more intentionally consider what he truly believes. There is also a couple of discussions on God’s will – is someone pursuing a certain course because they are convinced it is what God wants for them or is it just selfishness?
Overall, the book clearly shows the spiritual struggle of the characters from the very beginning and continues the theme consistently through the book.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Enjoyment Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

John 14:18-21 – I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."


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

Rise Of The Fallen

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Chills flowed up and down his spine as he considered the magnitude of what Carter’s actions  meant. All his suspicions came flooding back. There was only one conclusion – Carter knew when he was both in and out of the presence of the vexter! And with extreme clarity!

Rise of the Fallen: Wars of the Realm, Book 2 by Chuck Black, Multomah Publishers, 2015

Genre: Supernatural/Speculative Fiction
Target Audience: Boys 16+
Subjects: Angels and Demons, Friendship, Faith
Summary: Lastly created, no one of importance. That’s how Validus views himself at first. But sadly, soon after Elohoim’s marvelous world is created, there is no more time to worry about such things. A battle has begun that will continue for thousands of years. Some of Elohoim’s precious creation rebels against God and now Validus is part of fighting against those whom he once called brothers and friends. But when he is reassigned from being commander over an entire continent to one single man, he feels slighted, that is until he realizes how significant this one man seems to be. The problem is that he can’t figure out why this one man is so significant. The fallen seem to know, but the price for Validus to learn what they know, may be too high.
Notes: Rise Of The Fallen is the second in the Wars Of The Realm series. This series speculates “What if an unbeliever could see the spiritual forces in the world around us? How would they interpret what they saw? And how would they respond to it?” The biggest spiritual content benefit to this book is the end. After the story is finished there is a very thorough discussion guide with verses explaining where each of the elements come from and pointing readers straight to the truth of Scripture.
Rise Of The Fallen focuses on the angels’ perspective rather than the human’s. It actually goes back in time… clear back to before creation! It shows one angel’s perspective on creation, the fall of Lucifer and his followers, the flood, the tower of Babel and a few other events throughout Biblical history.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

 Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against
flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Thank you to Blogging For Books for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I enjoyed it very much!

Where Trust Lies

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
They’re waiting for an answer. Expecting enthusiasm. My agreement. Yet she suspected that if she said much immediately she would disappoint them all. “I’ve just come home, Mother.” Beth swallowed again. “I had thought… I’d looked forward to…” Beth looked around at their expressions. She struggled for the right response. “I’ll need to consider it.” Beth gazed down at her partially unpacked trunks and refused to give in to tears. But as she reached trembling hands to continue the task, her heart felt heavy in her chest.

Book: Where Trust Lies (Return to the Canadian West) by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan, Bethany House Publishers, 2015

Genre: Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 18+
Subjects: Family Relationships, Obedience, Dating Relationships, God’s Will, Guilt
Summary: She was very much looking forward to getting home. It was sad to leave those she’d come to care so much for in Coral Valley, especially Jerrick who her heart is beginning to care very much for. But before she can even unpack her mom and sisters eagerly announce that they are all going on a cruise and Beth is to come with them. Reluctantly Beth agrees and resigns herself to a summer of traveling and shopping. She recognizes this is a chance to strengthen her relationships with her family and puts forth her best effort, but her young sister starts withdrawing. Soon she gets upset at being told to spend any time with her family instead of the new friends she’s made. Finally one night she sneaks out with Beth trying hard to stop her and their fears come true. Beth isn’t sure how to even begin to process this tragedy! Nothing seems to matter now, not when her precious sister has experienced tragedy!
Notes: This is the second in The Return To The Canadian West Series. The series is a continuation of the author’s 1980 series about the main character’s aunt. This series focuses on a wealthy young woman who takes a teaching job in a poor community and finds her place there instead of amongst the wealthy people she grew up with.
In this book, Beth is ready to start exploring a relationship with someone she met in the community she worked in and is looking forward to receiving a letter offering her a job for a second year teaching in the community. But her family has other plans. Written in the simple, heartwarming style of the author’s other works, there is not a lot of action. The focus is on the characters; their thoughts and emotions. Beth is struggling with connecting with a mother who has a very different future planned for her daughter than the one Beth has chosen. She also struggles with her relationship with her younger sister when she starts going through a season of rebellion. Then she wrestles with guilt, blaming herself for what happened to her sister. She also asks questions and tries to figure out how to determine if God wants her to pursue a relationship with Jerrick or not and has to learn to trust God and move forward instead of refusing to do anything for fear it might not be what God most wants. Jerrick is confident God brought them together for a reason.
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 the publisher for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Kate And The Spies

Colin shook his head. “There’s a little bit more. ‘Those trumpeters of evil, the printers will not be forgotten.’” Kate learned over his arm and saw that a list of Patriot printed followed. Uncle Jack’s and Harry’s names were at the top of the list. Destroyed! Hung! Threads against her own cousin swept through Kate like a wildfire. The skull and crossbones seemed to laugh at them in the candlelight.

Book: Kate and the Spies: The American Revolution (Sisters in Time Book 6) by JoAnn A Grote, Barbour Publishers, 2004

Genre: Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 9-15
Subjects: Family Relationships, God’s Will, Love For Enemies, Friendship
Summary: Brother turns against brother, friend against friend, cousin against cousin. The American Revolution may or may not destroy the British army, but it is definitely destroying relationships between loved ones. Kate finds himself very much torn. She sees good arguments on both sides of the issue. When she listens to her father, he seems to make sense. But when she listens to her cousin and Uncle, they seem to make sense too. When her cousin asks her and Colin to spy for him, she uncertainly agrees. But with her parents being strong loyalists she can’t let anyone know which side she has decided to be on – not even the best friend who is rejecting her for being a loyalist!
Notes: Kate And The Spies is the sixth 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.
Kate And The Spies takes place in 11775 focusing the first battles of the American Revolution. Historical Figures such as Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and Patrick Henry either are featured or referenced in the story. It places a lot of emphasis on how hard it was for families when everyone seemed to have differing beliefs on the issue. It also shows how hard the British could make life for the colonists. A challenging point comes when one character questions why his father is showing kindness to and encouraging his son to pray for, the enemy when he isn’t even nice to his own brother-in-law who should be easier to love than an enemy.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Luke 6:35 – But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Rebekah In Danger

But it was hard to be brave when so many in their company were falling sick…and many were dying. Sometimes, Rebekah wondered if this new world was trying to punish them for invading its shores. When she looked at the cold, rocky ground, she felt as though it were an enemy. Thoughts like that made her shiver.

Book: Rebekah in Danger: Peril at Plymouth Colony (Sisters in Time Book 2) by Colleen L. Reece, Barbour Publishers, 2004

Genre: Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 9-15
Subjects: Family Relationships, Fear, Obedience, The Pilgrims, Salvation, Prayer, God’s Will, Loss
Summary: If sickness doesn’t kill them all off, the cold will. If that doesn’t do it, the lack of food will do it. It’s just too hard to survive in this new world! Everything is against them! And when it seems like things can’t get any worse, there’s a fire, and then Rebekah’s brother goes missing and her mom collapses! Rebekah is afraid that her father or mother or brother will die just like so many have before them.
Notes: Rebekah In Danger is the 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.
Rebekah In Danger takes place in 1621 focusing on first year of the pilgrims trying to survive in the new world. It shows a lot of the hardships that the pilgrims faced during that winter. It shows their battles against sickness, starvation and the cold itself. The spiritual issue dealt with the most is fear vs. trust in God’s provision and care. The main character even ends the quote at the top of the page with “Her only comfort was to whisper a prayer, knowing that God understood her fears.” So their faith is strongly portrayed throughout the story. There is also a salvation element when Rebekah and Will determine to share the Gospel with a friend and become frantic with worry when he appears to be dying without having put his trust in Christ for his salvation.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Romans 8:35-27 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.


Monday, February 16, 2015
Master Gabriel,” Archer said. “You told me there were three parts to my mission. You only explained two of them.”
“The last part of the mission, Archer,” he said, “the most important part now, is to stay alive. Anchor first.”
“Anchor deep,” Archer said.
He watched Master Gabriel dissipate into a twinkling of stars, then… nothing. Archer’s bedroom was dark. It seemed darker than it ever had before.

Book: Dreamtreaders by Wayne Thomas Batson, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2014

Genre: Speculative/Fantasy
Target Audience: Boys 12+
Subjects: Dreams, Family Relationships, Decisions, Trust in God, Obedience
Summary: Making objects appear out of thin air just by imagining them? Giving yourself superpowers just by imagining you have them? Who wouldn’t want these things? That’s the problem Archer faces though. Others who are not dreamtreaders are entering the Dream and causing problems. Or are they? They seem to want the same thing: The demise of the Nightmare Lord. Can they be trusted after all? Is there a way to save the Dreamtreaders trapped in the dream?
Notes: Dreamtreaders is the first in the Dreamtreaders series. The premise of this series is the idea that dreams are essential to human beings, that there is a separate world, a dream world and there are creatures that live and exist only in this world. If someone enters it Lucid Dreaming it starts to tear a rift in the fabric of the dream. If this fabric is destroyed the two worlds will merge, causing things from the dream to exist in the waking world and destroy it. Dreamtreaders are three young people chosen from each generation to guard and protect the Dream.
This book jumps right into the action, but slowly reveals more of how the fantasy world works. Archer presents himself as a character who struggles with pride and stubbornness. Even when directly forbidden by his master to do something, he does what he wants to, even when his companion refuses to help him disobey the master. He pride and disobedience eventually lead to a fatal consequence.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 3/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

1 Corinthians 4:6 - Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.

John 14:24 - He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

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

Sarah's New World

John simply waved in reply as he dashed toward home, but his thoughts were troubled. Eager as he was for his family to leave for America, he would miss his fun-loving friends in Holland. And for all I know, we may not leave at all, he admitted to himself. All he could do was wait and pray that God would let Father and the others know the best thing to do. A decision must and would be made soon. Maybe even tomorrow.

Book: Sarah's New World: The Mayflower Adventure (Sisters in Time Book 1) by Colleen L. Reece, Barbour Publishers, 2004

Genre: Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 9-15
Subjects: Family Relationships, Fear, Moving, The Pilgrims, Salvation, Prayer, God’s Will
Summary: Leave? All their friends? Their home? For some "new world" a dangerous ocean away filled with cruel savages? Are her parents crazy? Sure, it'd be nice to worship and live the way they want, but is it really worth all they have to sacrifice for it? Sarah is afraid of many things, not least of which is that life will never be the same again!
Notes: Sarah’s New World is the 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.
Anna’s Fight For Hope takes place in 1620 focusing on the decision of the people in Holland to set sail on the Mayflower and all the difficulties they faced simply trying to get to the new world. The spiritual elements focus on Sarah’s fear and John’s attempt to help and comfort. There is also a strong element of trying to reach the lost as one of the sailors the children come to care about is not a believer. The largest element though is simply praying for God’s will and trusting Him to take care of you once you are doing what He said to do. The pilgrims pray a lot about their decisions to travel to the new world.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Isaiah 43:1-2 – But now, this is what the LORD says-- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

The Warden And The Wolf King

“Listen,” Kal said. “It’s too late. They’ve invaded. They have these Bat Fangs. They fly.” “They sent you to find me?” Janner asked. “Well, not exactly,” Kalmar took a deep breath. He wasn’t sure how much to tell Janner. Should he admit that he was afraid of becoming a Fang – or worse, a mad Fang? Or should he tell him the other part of his plan, about trying to sneak into Throg to defeat Gnat alone?

Book: The Warden and the Wolf King (Wingfeather Saga) by Andrew Peterson, 2014

Genre: Fantasy
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 12+
Subjects: Faith, Fear, Identity, Power of Truth
Summary: They’re done for. The Jewels of Anniera have put up a good fight, the Gnag The Nameless has invaded the Green Hollows where they are hiding. Ridgerunner, Trolls, Wolf Fangs, and now even Bat Fangs that attack from the skies are all intent on single mission: find and destroy the Jewels. The Wolf King, Throne Warden and Song Maiden are no match for his power. But the Wingfeathers don’t want to just give up. So Leeli plays till she can no longer stand and her lips are bleeding. Janner and Tink are headed straight for Throg in search of Gnag himself – right through the armies of Gnag!
Notes: This is the 4th and final 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 series 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.
In this book, the spiritual content comes out much more strongly. First there is the issues of truth and identity and the power of these. One lie told a generation ago is what is causing the destruction of the land now and the truth can change all of that. The Fangs are those who have lost their identity, forgotten who they are and who they belong to.
Then there are the discussions at the end about the Maker. There’s a hint of a reference to Adam and Eve – the first people, ones who walked with the Maker. Kings are meant to now go to one special place to meet with the Maker. And the Maker reveals to Kalmar and Janner what His plan is and what they need to do to carry it out.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 4/5
Entertainment Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5

John 15:11-13 – I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 

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

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