Book Review: Worlds Unseen

When they see beyond the sky,
When they know beyond the mind,
When they hear the song of the Burning Light;
Take these Gifts of My Outstretched Hand,
Weave them together.
I shall come.

When Maggie promises to deliver a mysterious scroll to Pravik, she does not realize the magnitude of the journey she is embarking on. A clash between the forces of good and evil is beginning. A struggle that will change the seventh world. Maggie soon realizes that the scroll she carries is an important part of something she does not understand. Whatever happens, she must get it to Pravik. But will fulfilling her promise be enough?

I found this story about a year ago and was hooked from page one. This book is a riveting fantasy story with allegorical elements woven into it. I definitely recommend it. And there’s a bonus. You can read this book free by downloading the pdf file from Rachel Starr Thomson’s website. Be warned, once you read Worlds Unseen you’ll want to buy the other two books in the trilogy!

Author: Rachel Starr Thomson
Audience: 12 and up
Genre: Christian Fantasy
Series: Book one of The Seventh World Trilogy
Pages: 321
Publisher: Little Dozen Press

Join me on Wednesday, June 13th for an author interview with Rachel Starr Thomson!

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Book Review: Gunner’s Run

“Pilot to gunners. Keep your eyes open. We’re almost to target. By now every German fighter in the area knows where to find us.”

I pressed the intercom button to respond to Lt. Conover. “Bring ’em on. We’re ready.”

Nineteen year old Jim Yoder has his life under control until he ends up a fugitive in Hitler’s third Reich. As he journeys across Europe Jim encounters other fugitives, traitors and resistance fighters. Will he make it home to tell his father and the girl he loves that he trusts God?

I have read this book three times. Once on my own, and twice out loud. I started reading it to my dad while we were on vacation, but we didn’t finish till we got home. Then I had to start it again because my mom and brother wanted to know what happened before the part they heard! Everyone enjoyed it, and I highly recommend Gunner’s Run.

Audience: 10 and up

Make sure you come back on Wednesday for an interview with Rick Barry, author of Gunner’s Run.

Book Review: Beauty

“Did I not tell your father that no harm should come to his daughter?” I opened my mouth, and then shut it again, and he continued sadly: “No, you need say nothing. I am a Beast, and a Beast has no honour. But you may trust my word: You are safe here, in my castle and anywhere on my lands.”

Though not normally a fan of fairy tales, this retelling of Beauty and the Beast is a real favorite of mine. When Beauty’s father looses his fortune and the family is forced to move to the country, Beauty adapts to their new life faster than her sisters. She considers herself happy in her new home until her father returns from a trip with a horrifying story.

To save her father from death at the hands of  the Beast, Beauty volunteers to leave her family and live at the Beast’s mysterious castle. There she meets him, and after her initial fear begins to fade…Well, I would love to tell you the whole story, but you should read it for yourself.

Audience: 10 through adult (very enjoyable read and not overly romantic)

Book Review: Vinegar Boy

The memory of his promise turned bitter on his tongue. He had told the man he would be back; he had left the vinegar as a pledge. Jesus would need the vinegar.

Born with a birthmark dominating one side of his face, Vinegar Boy has grown up nameless and despised by Jews and Romans alike. His task is to bring drugged vinegar to men crucified at Golgotha. Only kind old Nicolaus cares for him, but Vinegar Boy will not become his son while he is still marred. When he hears that a man named Jesus is working miracles, he is filled with hope. That hope fades when he meets Jesus at Calvary. There may still be time for a miracle, but the boy cannot bring himself to ask a favor of a man in so much pain. Can he bring comfort to those mourning the loss of the man they love?

I read this two weeks ago while I was sick and couldn’t put it down. Vinegar Boy’s compassion in the face of his own dissapointment makes him a character well worth loving. You will route for him from the first page till the last and put the book down with a smile.

Audience: 10 and up

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Book Review: Raiders from the Sea

Her father spoke straight into her heart. “Briana, if a test comes, remember how much we love you. And know that you’ll have the courage to win.”

When Briana–or Bree as she is usually called–is captured by viking raiders, she needs every bit of courage she has. Enslaved by an arrogant young man, Bree clings to her faith to see her through and seeks God’s help and guidance.

This book is the first of the Viking Quest series. When a friend first mentioned the series to me, I said I wasn’t interested in the vikings. Thankfully she knew me better and convinced me to read them. My only protest when I reached the end of Raiders from the Sea was that she hadn’t lent me book two! This has become my favorite series. I highly recommend this book and the four sequels.

Audience: All ages (independent reading, age 10 and up)

Book Review: The Lost Clue

Mrs. Douglass, I am a poor man now. I cannot continue in my regiment, and so far no path in life has been opened to me; but I assure you of this–that I shall look upon the four thousand pounds you have lost as a debt binding upon me as long as I live, and that, if God prospers me in the future, every single penny of it shall be repaid. I will not wait, however, until I am able to restore the whole capital, for that I fear will be the work of a lifetime; but I will send you from time to time such money as I am able to save, and I will not allow myself a single indulgence of any kind whatever until the full amount is in your hands.

Though the financial ruin is not his fault, and is as much–if not more–his own ruin as that of the Douglass family, young Kenneth Fortesque feels duty bound to repay what they have lost. It was, after all, his father’s foolishness that lost money that was not his to loose. In the days and years ahead, he and Marjorie remain determined to bend their own wills to that of God’s. In Marjorie’s words,

Do you remember that God says He is like that eagle? And so He rakes up the comfortable home nest, and lets us feel the prickles of pain and sorrow, not because He is cruel, not because He wants to punish us, but because He wants us to rise to something brighter and better.

What brighter and better days await Kenneth Fortesque and Marjorie Douglass?

Audience: All ages (reading level is probably ages 11 and up)

NOTE: Written in 1907, this book not only has good values, it is also easy to read and very entertaining.

Book Review: Gib Rides Home

No one had heard from Gibson Wittaker since he went away, but the rumor was that he had been adopted by a family who lived near Longford, a small cattle town in the next county. There was nothing especially uncommon about that. Half, or even full, orphans left Lovell House fairly often, going back with a remaining parent or out to an adoption, but what was so shocking was his reappearance. How could Gib Wittaker be strolling into the senior boys’ dormitory when the law said, at least the law according to Miss Offenbacher, that Lovell House adoptions were not reversible?

The fact is Gib Wittaker was not adopted–more like farmed out–and he didn’t really want to return to Lovell House. More than a year earlier a gray-bearded man had come and taken Gib from the orphanage he’s lived in for the past five years. As he works at his new home, Gib finds a sense of accomplishment from working hard and discovers a talent for handling horses. But the Rocking M Ranch is also full of mysteries, some of them related to Gib. He hopes to find out more about his past, but some secrets are better off left alone.

Audience: 9 and up

Book Review: Twenty and Ten

The Nazis are looking for those children,” said Sister Gabriel. “If we take them we must never let on that they are here. Never. Even if we are questioned. We can never betray them, no matter what they do to us. Do you understand?”

Janet and the 19 other boys and girls from her fifth-grade class have been sent to the French countryside for safekeeping during the Nazi occupation. None of them hesitate to agree when a tired man arrives in search of safety for 10 Jewish children.

“They’re coming! They’re coming!” she yelled. And suddenly Philip and George were also among us, panting. “They’re coming! They’re coming! The Nazis are coming!”

No one expects Nazi soldier’s to arrive while Sister Gabriel is away in town, but when they are spotted in the valley, the children must make a plan and execute it quickly. Will it be enough to keep them all safe?

Audience: Any age, either to be read independently or listen to. Target audience is probably 8 to 12.