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Christian

Book Review: Emissary

Emissary
Author: 
Locke, Thomas
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

A fantastic world of adventure and legions come alive. Elves and dragons and ethereal powers colliding together in this fast paced journey where EVIL again is trying to 'take over'. It was an easy read and kind of a fun romp. A 'page turner' as they say that left me with a desire to get the next book quickly. It's also another '1st book' so it makes it easy to know what to read the next time. (check out my other "1st books" in the staff reviews. The main character has a noble upright spirit in him and his quest in part is about him becoming all that he can be. Many friends join him along the way and he soon learns that without them he will fail. If you like The Lord of the Rings series; you'll probable like the books that I read.

My curiosity is up about these reviews - so If I could get some feed back (at least 7) - I'll tell you the next "best fantasy saga", I have found, after the Lord of the Rings.

Reviewer's Name: 
Bruce

Book Review: A Cast of Stones

A Cast of Stones
Author: 
Carr, Patrick W
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book starts out really slowwwwww, but hang in there 'cause it starts picking up speed about a third of the way through. Errol Stone lives in a barrel of ale most of the time, he's an orphan and the one who was raising him was killed. It's a hard luck story that lifts you up at the end. He discovers he has hidden talents and true friends that help him overcome life. He has to fight through with work and is discovers a great adventure to live. Most of the stories I like are about people that overcome the odds and learn how to live uprightly. This is another '1st book' and I'm looking forward to the next. I read books that are "clean" from bad language and lustful sex. There's plenty of those, no challenge to find them, so I seek out those that are not. A little Romance and a Noble Spirit, mixed into a great Adventure are what I enjoy. The Return of Sir Percival and The Castaways of the Flying Dutchman are other '1st books' I have read, reviewed and enjoyed recently.

Reviewer's Name: 
Bruce

Book Review: Traces of Guilt

Traces of Guilt
Author: 
Henderson, Dee
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Small town crime is the plot of the novel. Cold cases are reexamined by Evie Blackwell State Police Detective to launch a new state task force. The novel kept my interest to the end because I wanted to know if and how she solved the cases. It seemed unlikely that all these cases would have occurred in a rural town setting and many of them overlapping, but perhaps I am naïve about such things. . It was interesting to follow the thoughts of police work and the background that goes into solving cases. The characters were enjoyable, particularly the Thane brothers. I enjoyed these men of integrity, their caring hearts, and the family they belong to. Evie is tenacious in her thoughts and work. I enjoyed some visiting characters from other Dee Henderson novels that I had read previously. I wouldn't say there is a lot of action suspense, but rather character development more along the lines of regular fiction. There were some touch topics that affected the characters deeply. I would recommend it if you like character driven stories.

Reviewer's Name: 
Angie

Book Review: Walk Two Moons

Walk Two Moons
Author: 
Creech, Sharon
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

On her way to Ohio to find her mother Salamanca, and her grandparents journey across the country to get there. On the way Sal tells the story of Phoebe Winterbottom a peculiar girl she met. I rate this a 5/5. The hidden messages really gives this book depth. Such as the irrationality of Phoebe, but also how Sal can understand her friend. They don't have a perfect relationship, which makes it very realistic. I recommend you read this, it's filled with suspense, action, and drama you won't be able to put it down.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: 
Emily T.

Book Review: The New Recruit

The New Recruit
Author: 
Williamson, Jill
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book caught my eye because of the title. Just the sound of "The New Recruit" makes the book sound like it is full of adventure...and it is!
The story opens with the introduction of the main character, a prospective freshman varsity basketball player named Spencer Garmond. He is living with his grandmother in Pilot Point, California, and has been living with her ever since his dad left the family and his mother died. Spencer's grandmother threatens to pull him out of his Christian school and put him in military school. Fortunately for Spencer, a mysterious man named Mr. Stopplecamp wishes to recruit Spencer for a Bible club called Mission League. Forced to chose between military school and the league, Spencer signs up with the Mission League, but soon realizes the true purpose of the league (which is not to be Bible geeks). This book is filled with adventure, action, spying on Russia, and other "fun stuff." A must read for anyone who is looking for a James Bond type story with lots of humor and, maybe, a bit of romance.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Alex N.

Book Review: Elsie Dinsmore

Elsie Dinsmore
Author: 
Finley, Martha
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Elsie Dinsmore Series was published between 1868 and 1904. In the first book of 28 novels, we find Elsie, a half orphaned, love-starved child, struggling to obey her Heavenly Father, while missing her own dad terribly. Elsie’s mother died when she was only a few weeks old, and, since her father was traveling, she lived with a guardian until he also passed away. Elsie was only two. She was then taken under the wings of her grandparents (her father’s parents) who don’t seem to care a smidgen for their granddaughter. At the start of the book, we find Elsie, now eight, living in the cold shadow of her grandparents. For some reason, her young aunts and uncles also despise her. One of her only comforts is when her nurse “Aunt Chloe” teaches Elsie to love even when others do not love in return. But the most important thing Aunt Chloe has taught her is that God loves her. Elsie’s other comfort is her well-loved Bible. When Elsie’s earthly father returns from his long travels, his cruel treatment of his daughter leaves Elsie feeling more sorrow and need for God’s everlasting love than ever before. Read this adventure to find out the rest of the touching story. I think this book has a good Christian message as the reader follows Elsie through a number of faith-building trials in a desperate attempt to gain her heartless father’s longed for love. This is a book I recommend for those searching for a strong spiritual message and a faith-based challenge to love even the unlovable.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: 
Cosette P.

Book Review: Circles of Seven

Author: 
Davis, Bryan
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Wow! This is one of my favorite books ever! It is engaging, interesting, and super WOW! I love that the dragons come to life off of the page, and they seam to make you feel like you could see one flying around if you looked closely! :) It also has values that promote good thoughts, and birth wonderful new ideas! This is one of my ultimate all time favorite book!
:)

Reviewer's Name: 
Emma

Book Review: Raising Dragons

Author: 
Davis, Bryan
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Do you like fantasy? If you like fantasy weaved into every day life, you will love Raising Dragons and the rest of the Dragons in our Midst series. The book starts out with Billy Bannister who figures out he is the son of a dragon. Now, if you think this sounds strange and unrealistic, you will be surprised. Bryan Davis writes in such a convincing way that makes you almost wonder if there might be dragons in our midst.

Reviewer's Name: 
Hannah

Book Review: Out of Control

Author: 
Connealy, Mary
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

I HATE this book. Not the storyline because it's actually rather interesting, but the CHARACTERS. As other reviewers have already stated, it's incredible how Mary Connealy managed to highlight all of these characters flaws while completely ignoring any good points they might have. The character development is limited to stubbornness on the part of both the hero and heroine. He thinks she's stubborn, she thinks he's stubborn. She thinks he's stupid, he thinks she's stupid. Well, guess what, they're both right!

I don't mind flawed characters in Christian fiction. What I mind are those supposed spunky heroines who don't have a lick of good sense and run off into danger at the drop of a hat paying no never-mind whatsoever to their sweetheart's words of advice. That's what I hate and that's what describes uppity Miss Julia Gilliland. The thing is, I believe the author intended us to like Julia. Because she's really a sweet person deep down and cares about others and puts them first. No, she's a bossy brat whose first thought over anything else is geology and fossils, even over her family, the man she supposedly loves, and his family. Even over her own safety! There's a word for her that I'm too polite to mention, but I'm sure you know what it is.

And don't get me started on the supposed hero of this mixed-up historic romance, the dashing and moronic Rafe Kincaid. I disliked him already when he started bossing around a woman he had no right to boss around. He's often thinking about how desperate he is to marry her, and my main question is "Why?!" Just because she's pretty and you've never seen a woman other than your mother? Geez! And when he started throwing out thoughts on "wives obey your husbands" and how much fun it was going to be to teach that to Julia, well, my patience with him just snapped. There's a flip-side to that verse, buster, the one that says "husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church." This jerk expects her to obey him and offer nothing in return. I don't have enough fingers to count how many times he kissed her to shut her up because he didn't like what she was saying! How the heck is that the action of a romantic hero? She may not be in the right, but neither is he.
They'll be one heck of a married couple once the smoulder cools down and they can't stand each other.

I know what you're going to say. To each his own, and obviously some people like this book because it's gotten some positive reviews. However, putting aside my annoyance with the lead characters, Mary Connealy's prose is just bad. I've heard she's an excellent author so I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that this book is merely a weak link in her genius. But all Julia's eyes do are flash when she's angry, joyful, fearful, excited, dangerous, threatening, etc. And her wild red hair. It's better to not describe your character's physical appearance at all than limit the descriptive to flashing eyes and wild red hair. It's the same with another character, always, always described his wild blue eyes glinting in the sun or in the shadow or in the firelight or in the moonlight or off the freakin' cave wall. All his eyes do is glint! The author forgot that she had already had Rafe answer Julia's question about whether he could draw because Julia asks him the same question a few chapters later. She ends one chapter in Julia's voice with thoughts on her being dragged off by a madman and starts the next chapter with Rafe in fear because his love has been "dragged off by a madman." Wow, who knew their minds were so totally in sync.

The only reason, and it's a slim one, that I'm giving this book 2 stars instead of 1 is because I like the secondary characters of Ethan and Audra. Ethan can be a pain, but at least he's not a demanding, overprotective, bossy jerk like his brother. And Audra is gentile and naturally kind, two traits that are glaringly lacking in Julia. Maybe this means the 2nd book will be better since it's about Ethan, but it may take me awhile, months even, to reach the point where I even want to pick up another one of this author's books. And that's a sorry thing for me to say about anyone because I can forgive bad writing most of the time, but not when it's joined with horrible main characters.

Reviewer's Name: 
Carissa

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