Monday, June 12th, 2017

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Crispin: At The Edge Of The World

Title: Crispin: Cross of Lead, The (Crispin)
By Reviewer Chappyswife
Author: Avi
Primary Audience/age group: Young Adult
Genre: Adventure
# Of pages: 245
Year of Release: 2007
Part of a Series? Yes. Sequel to Crispin: The Cross Of Lead
Rating: 3 (View Scale)
Description: From book jacket: He was a nameless orphan marked for death for an unknown crime. Discovering his name only intensified the mystery. Then he met Bear, who helped Crispin learn the secret of his full identity. In Bear, Crispin found a new father and a new world, and the two set off to live as free men. But they don’t get far as the past catches up to them.
Review: This is a nice follow-up to the first book, but it is a bit darker. It takes up exactly where the first book left off, which is nice, and the adventure continues. Crispin and Bear still live in bleak and depressing conditions, and encounter some who are even worse off than they are. They do discover kindness where it is least expected only to then face horror. I was anxious to read this second book in the series, but was a bit disappointed with the pure sadness of it.
Rating: 3 for some violence

Positive: Crispin and Bear do find kindness and their love as father/son is further cemented with more love added in. Crispin is able to discover that the world is bigger than he ever imagined. 

Spiritual Elements: The book is heavily religious. Bear is constantly talking about and praying to saints. Being fiction, it is based on a number of historical facts which are listed in the back of the book and are interesting. It is there that it is explained that at the end of the fourteenth century, when this account takes place, that Christianity is the established religion, but all kinds of pagan beliefs and practices continued and take place in this book.


Violence: The plot revolves around adventure, and there certainly seems to be more violence in this book, I think. There is an arrow wound, a birth gone bad, and a character violently murdered, and that is not even the end of the violence in this book.

Language: none

Sexual Content: none

Other: While the adventuresome spirit of the book can be fun, it is still a darker book and not for the faint of heart or depressed.

Recommendation: Even though the story was appealing and the adventure intriguing, I didnt really like the book based on the constant praying to saints, bleak circumstances, lack of hope, and violence. I realize this is just fiction, but I do think a child too young could get attached to the characters and become upset at the outcome. I would not recommend it to children under 12 at all due to the violence portrayed throughout and the degree of vile details

The House at the End of the Tracks

Title: The House at the End of the Tracks
Author: Marc Richard Elliott
Primary Audience/age group: 10 and up
Genre: Short Story
# Of pages: 46
Year of Release: 2007
Part of a Series? No
Rating: 4 (View Scale)
Description: Miss Phoebe Finn was born and raised in the house at the end of the tracks. She lived a quiet, isolated life for years until Micah appeared outside her door. With no possessions and no last name, Micah was the least of which to leave an impression on anyone. But God saw fit to touch the life of Miss Phoebe that day with an unexpected friend. 

Review: The House at the End of the Tracks is a heart-warming tale of an elderly woman who sees Gods hand touch her life through the homeless man she finds outside her door. The story is full of God-inspired treasures that will allow you to see His true character of love and how He still works today even in those who feel their time of purpose has passed. I love the setting of the story and how it is told with Southern dialect. It gives the story even more character and warmth. God-centered lessons abound throughout, and one of the most profound messages I found in the book was that God has given everyone a purpose, if only we would acknowledge it.

Rating: 4 for one mention of the word h*** and for mild violence

Positive: Micah has lived a hard life, losing loved ones, then losing his job and home. He learns to appreciate God for even the smallest things. Even in the worst of situations, Micah has a heart full of thankfulness.

Spiritual Elements: The whole story is interlaced with Gods wisdom.

Violence: Old man Booth lives up the road from Miss Phoebe. Rumor has it that he is so harsh that even his kids tried to throw him on the tracks.

Language: H*** is used once in reference to the place

Sexual Content: none

Other: Micahs sister, whom he is in search of, is dealing with drug addiction. One of Miss Phoebes sisters was killed in a drunk driving accident.

Recommendation: The story is a message of hope and purpose even for those who are considered the least among us. I feel the book would be most appropriate for ages ten and up because it does deal with a couple of more mature situations with brief mentions of drug abuse and drunk driving.


Title: Twilight
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Primary Audience/age group: Young Adult
Genre: Thriller, Romance
# Of pages: 498
Year of Release: 2005
Part of a Series? Yes, 1 of 4
Rating: 2 View Scale
Recommend? No (See Below)

Description: The budding romance between Bella and Edward is anything but typical. Its downright scary. Bella Swan is distinctively average herself until she finds the love of her life Edward in the gloomy little town of Forks. She discovers that he and his family are vampires, but even that doesnt stop her from falling in love.

Review: Stephenie Meyer brings a new twist to the traditional vampire stories of death and mayhem. She weaves a tale of forbidden love between Edward and Bella that draws you in with utter abandon. The passion between them is so mesmerizing that you forget about the world around you. And thats the main problem. It leads your mind away – ever so subtlety – down a road you want to take but knowingly will regret later.

Positive: Compared to most other vampire books, this one is much less gory. The Cullen family has chosen to rebel against their inborn desire to kill humans and hunt overpopulated animals instead. Carlisle, Edwards adoptive father, has even chosen to become a doctor in order to save lives instead of take them. They are truly a family that lives by their convictions.

Spiritual Elements: Carlisles father was a Protestant pastor in the early 1600s. Carlisle was following in his fathers footsteps until he was transformed into a vampire. His deeply-rooted religious beliefs caused him to despise what he had become, but he eventually came to the realization that he could control his blood lust, to a degree. He chose instead to hunt overpopulated animals and start a coven of vampires who would choose to follow his beliefs as well.

The vampires are compared to gods in regards to their remarkable beauty and immortal nature.

Violence: As a young vampire, Emmett, Edwards brother gives into temptation and kills two unsuspecting women, which he later regrets. Before becoming a vampire, Esme, Edwards adoptive mother, runs off a cliff and kills herself after her child dies. Carlisle, Edwards adoptive father, brings her back to life by turning her into a vampire.

Bella is almost attacked by four men who have malice on their minds. She is rescued by Edward.

James, a visiting vampire, is a tracker, which means he hunts (tracks) humans with his senses in order to kill them. He has is sites set on Bella. Spoiler Warning: He traps her by telling her he will kill her mother. Then he attacks her, throwing her into a mirrored wall and breaking her leg. The only way to stop him is for the Cullen family to kill him. It is implied that they rip him to shreds and burn the body in order to succeed. The scene is somewhat bloody.

Language: H*** and different forms of d*** are mentioned a few times. At one point, Bella internally curs[es] Jessica to the fiery parts of Hades for telling another student a secret.

Sexual Content: To be perfectly honest, there are no inappropriate love scenes or risqué behavior to mention. But, the book is very intense, passionate, and sensual in regards to the love between Bella and Edward. They are star-crossed lovers, who have a huge obstacle between them. Edward is a vampire, and although hes very much in love with Bella, hes always tempted by her blood. He kisses her seductively several times. Edward tells Bella that they will never be able to be totally intimate because of his fear that he may lose control and kill her.

After Bella meets Edward, she begins to dream of him every night. He eventually admits that he watches her through her window every night. He is so afraid of losing her, he wants to protect her at every moment. He even spends the night in her bedroom, holding her until she falls asleep. Her father is unaware or else he would not approve.

The Cullen family consists of a mother and father, three adopted sons and two adopted daughters. They live in this manner as not to draw attention to themselves. The rumor going around school is that the children live as couples, which is true to an extent. Emmett and Rosalie are married, but their façade is that they act as brother and sister. Alice and Jasper are a couple as well, but there is no further mention of their relationship.

Other: Bellas parents are divorced and her mother has remarried. In order to gain information about the Cullen family, Bella flirts with a younger boy. Bella is so nervous about seeing Edward, she takes cold medicine to fall asleep. There is a crude joke about heroine. Edward can hear others thoughts, and Alice can see the future to a degree. Bella is rude and disrespectful to a concerned adult.

Rating: 2 for intense sensuality/passion

Recommendation: Even though I greatly enjoyed the book, I think that is a bit too intense and that Bella and Edward’s relationship could quickly and easily become very physical. It however does not result in premarital sex although their relationship is extremely passionate. Their behavior towards each other seems to be quite obsessive as well. The electricity between Edward and Bella was very mesmerizing. The book drew me in in such a way that my mind took their relationship way beyond what was actually written. This is a subject that hits very close to home for me. I love to read a good love story, but I would prefer a more God-centered tale that teaches about Gods perfect plan of intimacy within the context of marriage. I want to teach my daughter to have a pure heart and mind. Although the book is extremely well written and engaging, I am not able to recommend it to teens under 18.

Hollywood Nobody Giveaway

Welcome to our second book giveaway featuring Hollywood NobodyThis giveaway is now closed. Please join us the week of the Ultimate Blog Party for even more giveaways.

If you would like to participate in the drawing, please click the “Read the entire review” link below to read the rules:

1. Leave a comment with an email address or a blog where we may reach you. **(You don’t have to have a blog to participate).
2. If you have a blog, please write a small post with a link back to our website. This is not required, but it’s greatly appreciated because it helps us spread the word about our blog.

The Door Within

Title: The Door Within: The Door Within Trilogy – Book One (The Door Within)
Author: Wayne Thomas Batson
Primary Audience/age group: 10 and up
Genre: Christian Fantasy
# Of pages: 320
Year of Release: 2005
Part of a Series? Yes, 1 of 3 (The Door Within Trilogy)
Rating: 4 for battle scenes
Description: Aidan Thomas is miserable. And it’s much more than the strange nightmares he’s been having. Just when life seemed to be coming together for Aidan, his parents suddenly move the family across the country to take care of his wheelchair-bound grandfather. When strange events begin to occur, Aidan is drawn into his grandfather’s basement where he discovers three ancient scrolls and an invitation to another world.
No longer confined to the realm of his own imagination, Aidan embarks on an adventure where he meets knights, warriors, kings and mysterious Glimpses who can travel between worlds. Aidan joins them in the struggle between good and evil. With the fate of two worlds hanging in the balance, Aidan faces Paragory, the eternal enemy. Will Aidan be willing to risk everything and trust the unseen hand of the one true King?
Review: There are some books you just “click” with and some you don’t – despite how much you’d like to. Though this was a good book, full of adventure, well written and fast paced – I never could get into it. My 13 year old son, on the other had, really enjoyed it. The main character is a boy, but a strong secondary character is a girl, so I think both boys and girls who like fantasy will enjoy the book.


Spiritual Elements: Christian symbolism is strong throughout the book. Lessons on faith, the ultimate decision to accept or deny Christ, Satan’s fall, are written into the story in a very believable way on a level that tweens and teens will be able to identify and ponder.

Violence: There are several intense battle scenes.

Language: none

Sexual Content: none

Rating: 4 for intense battle scenes, nothing too gory though.

Recommendation: Though this was not my favorite book of this genre – I would recommend it. It is a clean read, that tweens/young teens will enjoy. The moral lessons it teaches are easily recongnizable and relevant to any age group. I believe your child will enjoy the book and eagerly ask for the rest of the trilogy.

Kingdom’s Dawn

Title: Kingdom’s Dawn (Kingdom, Book 1)
Author: Chuck Black
Primary Audience/age group: 9-13
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
# Of Pages: 140
Year of Release: 2006
Part of a Series? Yes, 1 of 6
Recommend?: Yes
Rating: 5
Description: Sixteen-year-old Leinad thought he was a common farmer’s son, nothing more. He wondered why his father had trained him for years to master the sword–not exactly a tool of the trade for farmers–but one tragic event initiates a world of revelation.
Only then does he understand his true calling–a calling no other man in the entire kingdom of Arrethtrae can fulfill–a calling given him by the King Himself.
Teamed with a young slave girl, Leinad is thrust into adversity and danger–for the Dank Knight and his vicious Shadow Warriors will stop a nothing to thwart the Kings plan to restore the kingdom. Leinad will need more than a sharp blade and a swift hand to fulfill his mission and survive the evil plots of the King’s sworn enemies!Journey to Arrethtrae, where the King and His Son implement a bold plan to save their kingdom; where courage, faith and loyalty stand tall in the face of opposition; where good will not bow to evil–and the future of a kingdom lies in the hands of a young man. Exciting fiction for teens. 

Review: I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. The story was exciting and fast paced and the characters are likable.


Positive: Leinad’s father was an excellent role model. He taught him the ways of the “King” and told him of his journey to follow Him. The father was kind to people, admitted his imperfections, and did his best to prepare his son for the life the “King” has planned for him.


Spiritual Elements: Kingdom’s Dawn is the “most Christian” fiction teen book I’ve read yet. All the characters and story lines have parallel’s in the Bible. There is a section at the end of the book that asks a couple questions on each chapter and another section that gives the answer. I liked that section – I generally read it before I read the chapter. Then I could see how this person’s journey was similar to Moses’s and the event in the book represented another from the Bible. I think it’s also helpful to teens in helping to relate the people and the events to their own lives and situations.


Language: No bad language


Sexual Content: None

Other: I wish the books were longer, perhaps making it a series of 3 books rather than 6.

Rating: 5 – There is nothing inappropriate in this book.

Recommendation: I highly recommend this book. I am anxious to read the rest of the series.

I’m Not Joey Pigza

Title: Im Not Joey Pigza
Author: Jack Gantos
Primary Audience/age group: 9 – 12
Genre: Humor
# Of pages: 216
Year of Release: 2007
Part of a Series? Yes, 4 of 4
Rating: 1 Not Recommeded
Description: The fourth installment of the life of Joey Pigza begins when his father suddenly reappears after having won the lottery and wants to start a new life complete with new names — with his estranged family. Joey reluctantly accepts him back into his life as things seemingly start to look up. But has his dad really changed for the better? 

Review: The only redeeming quality of the book is that Joey is a very likable character. He is wise beyond his years, but the story lacks hope as well as morals. Even the humor of the book was overshadowed by the immorality and foolishness of the adults.

Positive: One of the main themes of the book is forgiveness. Joeys mom encourages him to forgive his dad not only for his dads sake but also for Joeys. He eventually does and finds this is a much better way to live.

Spiritual Elements: Personally, I believed that Joeys mom believes in God, but his father is so wrapped up in the idea that he needs to earn good karma that his beliefs take over most the spiritual elements of the story. Joeys dad wins a small lottery amount and feels this was all due to karma. His goal is to earn enough good karma in order to win the big lottery and be set for life. Joeys mom even buys his dad tarot cards, a crystal ball, and a visit with a real gypsy as Christmas presents in order to predict the future.

Violence: The story begins with Joey remembering the crazy ways of his recently deceased grandmother. Once she told him he was like a chicken with its head cut off because of Joey being on medication for attention deficit disorder. To prove her point, she chops the head off a live chicken in Joeys presence. Then, later that night, the dog finds the head and leaves it on Joeys pillow where he wakes up to the site of chicken guts.

Language: Good Lord and Oh God are exclaimed a few times. Joey tells a police officer to, Kiss my honey-dipped doughnuts. You read between the lines.

Sexual Content: Joeys dad states that he and his mom wont be living in sin anymore after they renew their wedding vows. His parents were never divorced even though Joeys mom led him to believe that. They were just separated.

Other: Joey, a 6th grader, is the voice of reason in the book. His parents, especially his dad, lead him down a road of complete chaos. First, his dad changes his own name and encourages his mom and Joey to do the same. Joey reluctantly accepts because he is led to believe that this will correct all the mistakes of the past. Secondly, his parents pull him out of school in order to work in his dads new diner. The only thing is, they dont plan on home schooling him but want the authorities to believe he is being schooled. Thirdly, his dad is a recovering alcoholic, which is a surprisingly positive note, but he is by no means looking out for Joeys best interests. At one point, he even offers Joey a drink. Poor Joey declines because he wants to be a good example for his baby brother.

Joeys mom tells him that she drank a little when she was pregnant with him and could sure use a drink now in her pregnant state.

Spoiler Warning: Joeys dad is so caught up in finding himself that he has plastic surgery to change himself completely. He doesnt reveal his new face to his family but instead leaves them the day of his second sons birth.

Rating: 1 for Joey being offered an alcoholic beverage twice by authority figures as well as Joey getting into the car with a man who had been drinking. This book is not recommended.

Recommendation: Im not sure I would recommend any of the books based on this one, but to be fair, I havent read the other books in the series. Joey was the adult in the story. He sensed when something wasnt right with his dads ideas and even tried to talk some sense into him. The book was meant to be humorous with all his dads harebrained ideas, but mostly it was just offensive.

There is always hope through God, and I think children need to be taught that. The book does teach one thing though. You cant always rely on others. I would recommend your child read something else.

The Heart Reader

Title: The Heart Reader of Franklin High
Author: Terri Blackstock
Primary Audience/age group: Young Adult
Genre: Young Adult/Christian Fiction
# Of pages: 144
Year of Release: 2002
Part of a Series? No
Rating: 5 – Highly Recommended
Description: When Jake Sheffield, a typical Christian teenager, awakens to discover that he can hear the deepest spiritual needs of those around him, the reality of the deep needs of the world hits him. And the lives he touches, through the help of the Holy Spirit, will never be the same. As his friends witness the power of sharing Christ with others, they too begin to “hear” like Jake.


Review: This book is interesting, powerful, and extremely relevant. The storyline has a wonderful, supernatural element to it that takes the reader into the troubled minds of today’s teens and shows that God is the hope that every Christian has to offer. Written to motivate teens to evangelism, this book will impact any person of any age.

Positive: Jake really wakes up to the needs of those around him and becomes much less self-centered. He fights his gift at first, but with the help of his youth minister, he soon becomes a true missionary everywhere he goes. When his ability to hear the deepest needs of the hearts of those around him disappears, Jake is tempted to return to his life of mediocrity, but after speaking to those whose lives were changed because of him, Jake continues to be a witness to those around him.

Violence: One of the students that Jake witnesses to is planning an attack on the school, but no violence ensues.

Language: None

Sexual Content: None

Other: Jake comes into contact with many people with dark secrets and troubling problems. He talks to a kid in re-hab for drug addiction, a pregnant teen considering abortion, and a girl contemplating suicide, just to name a few.

Rating: 5 for being a relevant, well-written page-turner

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to teens 15 and older, and all ages of adults. If you’re the parent of a mature teen or pre-teen, just be aware that the book addresses the more serious issues facing today’s youth.

The Capture

Title: The Capture
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Primary Audience/age group: 10 – 14
Genre: Adventure
Year of Release: 2003
Part of a Series? Yes 1 of 8 – Guardias of Ga’hoole
Rating: 4
Recommend: Yes!
Description: At the beginning of this new series, a young Barn Owl named Soren lives peacefully with his family, participating in rituals like the First Meat ceremony, and enjoying legends about the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, knightly owls “who would rise each night into the blackness and perform noble deeds.” After he falls from his nest, his idyllic world transforms into one of confusion and danger, as he is captured by evil chick-snatching owls and taken to the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. Soren and his new friend Gylfie work to develop strategies for withstanding “moon blinking” (brainwashing), while secretly striving to learn how to fly. The legends of Ga’Hoole help them to survive, and they are able to escape to find their families and warn the world about the dangers of St. Aegolius. While the owls have human characteristics, such as Soren’s determination and Gylfie’s creative ideas, their actions and culture reflect Lasky’s research into owl behaviors and species.


Review: The Capture was a fast paced read, well written, and addictive. I did not want to put the book down. I was rooting for Soren and Gylfie through their many tests and trials. These two very different owls form a special friendship and fight for what is right. They make tough, selfless choices and had me applauding them outloud!

Positive: Soren and Gylfie are owls who have been kidnapped from their nests and taken to a bad place. They both really miss their families. I loved their sense of family and how they spoke so fondly of them. They were both smart owls who thought hard and questioned what was going on around them. They did not give in to “peer pressure” and blindly follow the others. They were true, very loyal friends to each other and welcomed other owls into their new “family”.

Spiritual Elements: There were no real spiritual references made.

Violence: As common with adventure/fantasy books there are some battle scenes with mild violence. No gory details, just intense.

Language: The owls occasional curse, but not with our curse words, they are owl curse words – such as “racdrops” (raccoon droppings).

Sexual Content: None

Rating: 4 for mild violence/battle scenes

Recommendation: I enjoyed this adventure. I would recommend it to the younger adventure/fantasy reader – about age 9 – 13.

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Title: The Spiderwick Chronicles (Boxed Set): The Field Guide; The Seeing Stone; Lucinda’s Secret; The Ironwood Tree; The Wrath of Mulgrath
Author: Holly Black
CBA or ABA? ABA (American Book Association)
Primary Audience/age group: 9 12 yrs. Old
Genre: Fantasy/Action
# Of pages: Just over 100 each book
Year of Release: 2003 (book 1)
Part of a Series? Yes, 1 of 5
Rating: 2 of 5
Recommend? Not really.
Description: It all started with a mysterious letter left at a tiny bookstore for authors Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. Its closing lines: “We just want people to know about this. The stuff that has happened to us could happen to anyone.” Little could they imagine the remarkable adventure that awaited them as they followed Jared, Simon, and Mallory Grace and a strange old book into a world filled with elves, goblins, dwarfs, trolls, and a fantastical menagerie of other creatures. The oddest part is in entering that world, they didn’t leave this one!
Review: So far, I have only read books 1 and 2. For some children these books will be too scary. The books were entertaining and easy to read. But some of the parts were too gross. I talked to my eldest, who has read the whole series and he wasnt phased or upset by the gruesome parts but I know my 10 year old daughter would not be able to read this series without getting nightmares. Following are events/circumstances in the book that I believe may be cause for concern to some parents:


Positive: Simple, short, easy to read.


Spiritual Elements: Dont recall any references to religion.

Violence: Many events are quite suspenseful and some are too gory. Many would not appreciate the part where cats were roasted and eaten by goblins, and in a future book I read that a cow was chained down while baby dragons nurse from her with sharp teeth until shes bloody.

Language: No Bad Language

Sexual Content: None

Other: None

Recommend: After only reading 2 of the series I would have to say I would not recommend this series. It is just too gross and gory. The goblins and trolls are scary, mean, and spiteful. My eldest did read the series and enjoyed it, but had I read it first I would have denied his request to read it, and pointed him in a better direction.