Witch’s Mark

Saturday, November 5, 2016

 Em’s eyes flashed with anger. “Let me repeat what I told you last week. I said that God is real, and if you don’t watch what comes out of your mouth, He just might show you how real He is. And now He has.”
Em’s head whipped toward Megan. “And now He has!”
Megan looked back at Em with the same shocked look. “You think it’s Sam? God sent us back in the past because of Sam?”

Book: Witch’s Mark by Sarah Norkus, West Alden Publishing, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction/Adventure
Target Audience: Girls 14-19
Subjects: Salem Witch Trials, Time Travel, Faith in God, Bullying, God’s existence
Summary: Enough is enough! Subtle bullying, insults, threats, vandalism – it all just builds up until Josh, Tim, Emily and Megan find it extremely difficult to not retaliate. Sam and her boyfriend Kyle identify themselves as witches and can’t stand the faith that Em and the others live out. Things are about to escalate though. Both groups are going on the senior class trip to Massachusetts. That’s hours together in the same bus. When they arrive, Kyle finally makes it physical, starting a fight with Josh and Tim. As he does, Em feels that same sensation she has felt twice before, the sensation of being yanked out of this time into the past. This time Megan and Sam experience it too. The three of them – one of whom openly claims to be a witch, wake up in Salem in 1692, right in the midst of the witch trials!
Notes: Witch’s Mark is the third in the series about a teenage girl who travels back in time to help rescue others and learn to increase her trust in God. In this one, Em and Megan get a chance to reach out to Sam in a way they couldn’t do in their own time. Sam has no choice but to listen when she finds herself dependent upon Em and Megan and other Christians. There is also a question of God’s will as Em and Megan wrestle with a very tough decision that will change their entire lives. The book definitely has suspense but no graphic violence. It does a great job making the spiritual elements the entire focus of the book.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Romans 1:18-20 – The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse;

Thank to the author for providing me with a free review copy of this book! I greatly enjoyed it! This review reflects my own opinions.

Toward A Secret Sky

Friday, November 4, 2016

“I knew that ‘crackin’ was a synonym for ‘super’, but all I could think of when I heard the word was  the girl from Culloden falling to her death. I didn’t know yet that there were worse things that cracking your head open. Much worse.”

Book: Toward A Secret Sky by Heather Maclean, Blink 2017
Genre: Speculative/Supernatural
Target Audience: Girls 16-18
Subjects: Angels, Demons, Romance, Loss, Love, Sacrifice
Summary: …And alone again. It seems Maren is destined to live a life of misery and loneliness. No father, no friends, now her mom dies and she is sent off to live with grandparents she has never met in an entirely different country. It seems she won’t have too much trouble making new acquaintances though. There’s her grandparents who seem thrilled to have her even though Maren’s understanding was that they didn’t want to know her or her mother. There’s Jo, the girl from school who takes Maren under her wing, teaching her Scottish slang and how to stand up to the school bully. There’s Hunter, the girl who also lost her parents – to the same organization Maren’s parents worked for. And then there’s Gavin – the super hot guy who just so happens to be not human. As Maren attempts to settle into her new life, she quickly learns nothing is as she once thought. Angels and demons are very real and in a constant intense battle over humans. Her parents worked for an agency fighting against the evil side. And angels can be the object of every girl’s dream… and demons can be the object of every girl’s worst nightmare.
Notes: Toward A Secret Sky is the first in the series. It releases April 2017. It is continuing the trend of assigning human characteristics to supernatural beings and giving them romances with humans. Falling in love with humans is forbidden, yet God created the angel in such a way so as to desire romance. The angel is not a being as described in the Bible, but an ordinary human with wings and some supernatural abilities. It certainly doesn’t follow any sort of theological soundness. One character describes him very well when she says “”Angels don’t hate anyone. You probably just have him so mixed up, he doesn’t know what to do with himself – because he’s definitely not supposed to love you, either. So he threw a big, bad tantrum and stormed off. He’ll show up again, especially if something happens in your town. Who knew angels were so much like kindergarten boys?” Maren has some very messed up theology as well – theology that is not corrected anywhere in the book. One example is that she implies salvation by keeping the ten commandments. She says “I knew lying was a sin, a commandment even. But it wasn’t going to hell after I died that worried me. It was going there beforehand.” Another example is a reference to purgatory – thinking she is there. She hints are reincarnation when she says “What had I done in a past life to deserve so much heartbreak in this one”.  
The book contains much violence – the dreams Maren has are very disturbing in particular. Some of it is pretty graphic. There is also a close call with rape.
The theme is sacrificial love. One character willingly gives up their life for another. The blurb on the back concludes with “Along the way she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.”
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 1/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

1 John 3:16 – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.

Matthew 22:30 – At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

Matthew 10:28 – Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Blink is an imprint of Zondervan, a subdivision of HarperCollins – their mission statement can be found here: http://www.harpercollinschristian.com/mission-and-values/ 

Thank you to the publishers for providing me with a free review copy of this book. My opinions are my own. 

The Prince Warriors

“Wait!” Xavier said. “Do you really think it’s safe?”
“Hey,” Ean replied. “We’re in a cave, under a lake, with a little purple dude that’s not a troll. What could be safer?”

Book: The Prince Warriors by Priscilla Shirer and Gina Detwiler, BandH Books, 2016
Genre: Allegory
Target Audience: Boys 10-16
Subjects: Armor of God, Family Relationships, Friendships, Bullying
Summary:  There’s nothing like a visit to a new world to boost one’s confidence! Or knock one’s pride down a few notches! Evan is very uncertain of a number of things. He can’t seem to find the confidence his big brother has. In fact, he is missing a number of things his big brother has – size, favor with parents, popularity, intelligence. Xavier on the other hand is totally sure… or at least he pretends to be. Being the new kid in town is never easy, but his basketball skills are quickly giving him the in he needs. Then comes Levi and Brianna. Levi has been acting a bit strange lately. He’s not playing the role of the lead skateboarder. He’s been having strange dreams about a place called Ahoratos. He doesn’t want anyone to know – not even his best friend Brianna. Anyone would think he was crazy! But Brianna’s grandpa gave her a book a while ago that told all about Ahoratos. She doesn’t think he’s crazy at all. Landon doesn’t seem to fit with any of the other kids. He’s just a bully who picks on those weaker than himself. Yet, somehow, all of them wind up in Ahoratos together! Here they will face great challenges and learn to either use the armor of God, putting their total trust in Him or face the consequences that come with going their own way.
Notes: The Prince Warriors is the first in the Prince Warriors series by Bible Study writer and women’s conference speaker Priscilla Shirer. It is an allegory focused heavily on teenagers using the armor of God to overcome challenges. It has them overcoming them in the fantasy world, but then also applying the things they learned to the real world. They learn about truth – and clinging to it no matter what lies they get told. They learn about faith – trusting even when you can’t see the way. They learn about love – sacrificing oneself for others. They learn about freedom – that if Christ has set you free, you are free.
Even in the suspense, this book does not contain anything too violent or graphic.
I would highly recommend this book.
Spiritual Content Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Ephesians 6:10 – Put on the full armor of God so that you may be able to take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Thank you to the publishers for providing me with a free review copy of this book. This review reflects my personal opinions.

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