Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review of Veiled Rose!

Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the sequel to the YA Christian fantasy book Heartless. Rose Red is a girl who has always been in hiding. She stays in a small house with her nanny goat, a man who she calls father, and her secrets beneath numerous veils. Her world is drastically changed when she meets a boy her age named Leo. Leo is a headstrong boy who is determined to find a monster who terrorized the area,  and the two soon become friends, to the horror of Leo's household. But their childhood games soon become real when a monster so great begins to terrorize the kingdom. Leo is determined to stop it, but at what cost? And what is Rose Red hiding beneath all of her veils?

Excellent. Absolutely excellent. This book is even better than the first book, which is saying a lot. The characters are gripping, and I loved how what seemed like a minor character in the last book totally makes sense in this book. A hated character became an understandable person. This book fleshes out Heartless and its characters while strongly conveying a new, different story. This is absolutely one of my favorite fantasy books ever. I loved how the author progressed the friendship of Leo and Rosie in a way that had the reader loving them both. The story is so sweet, and I loved how the story of Rose with all of her veils shows that beauty is beyond the outside appearance. Rose's gentleness, inner strength, and courage shines through in her actions, and she is one of my favorite characters in all of the books I have read. Also, the ending is a great suspenseful build to the next book, Moonblood, which will be released April 2012. Oh, and isn't the cover just amazing?

All in all I rate this book five out of five stars. Truly a great read. I highly, highly recommend it! 

Specifics (from
~ Paperback: 394 pages
~Publisher: Bethany House (July 1, 2011)

Note: Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Review of Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux is the story of a brave little mouse who changes the whole kingdom of Dor. Dor is famous for its soups; it even has a day dedicated just to soup. One tragic Soup Day, a rat disembarks from a ship seeking adventure. Roscuro, the rat, follows the enchanting smell of soup right to the palace, where the royal family is about to enjoy their specially made soup. Unfortunately, Roscuro tumbles into the Queen's soup, causing her to panic, faint, and drown in her soup. The whole castle is suddenly in upheaval. Roscuro is chased by the king's knights, but he gets away.

The king, in grief and anger, bans soup and rats from the Kingdom of Dor. Roscuro is taken away from light, food, and happiness as he is forced to live in Ratworld, an underground town of terrible rats.

In enters Despereaux, a little mouse, even in mice standards, who refuses to be afraid, much to the people of Mouseworld's dismay. Unlike other mice, he isn't timid and loves to read books instead of eating them. When reading a book, he decides he will become a hero and save a princess. Thus, the adventure begins...

I enjoyed how different this movie is. The voice actors were excellent (Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, and Dustin Hoffman are all part of the cast) The plot is very detailed, with numerous subplots. The use of a narrator (Sigourney Weaver) adds beautifully to the story with moral tidbits. The animation is really well done.

This movie is unlike anything I've ever seen. For a children's movie, it seems a bit too deep. The morals are strong, and I appreciate that. Such themes include forgiveness, value of other people, and the error of dark ways. I did watch the movie with a small child who actually enjoys the movie very much, but it seemed to have some elements that may be hard for a little one to understand. A secondary character "dies", which absolutely made me, yes, me sad. In short, the thematic elements may be too scary or too much to handle.

Overall, I was absolutely enchanted by this movie. I'd say it's a great movie for kids at heart. 

I rate this movie four out of five stars.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Be My Magnificent Obsession!

This song is an oldie, but a goodie. It's rare that a song gives me the chills, but this is such as song. "Magnificent Obsession" Steven Curtis Chapman! Mr.Chapman recently released his latest album Re:creation, which includes a remake of "Magnificent Obsession".


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review of The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo is the historical fiction story of a girl who wants to follow her dreams of becoming a business woman and getting married, in that order. Charlotte has always wanted to grow up. Even as a child, she put all of her effort into convincing her father that she was a woman, but to no avail. In fact, she tends to build a reputation of just the opposite everywhere she goes, much to her father's dismay. When Charlotte meets the dashing, yet insufferable astronomer Alex Hambly, their first encounter is anything but pleasant. However, their paths continue crossing until Charlottes father has a revelation- the two should marry! He pressures and pressures both. Charlotte longs to go to college and head up her father's company. Alex wants save his family from financial disaster. Charlotte's father proposes a simple plan- he'll solve both problems if the two marry.

Although very reluctant, the pair agrees, but they secretly plan to annul the ridiculous contract after their inconvenient marriage. But when Alex wants to honor his commitment, how will Charlotte get out? Does she even want to?

Charlotte's is very unique. Never have I seen such a spirited and turbulent female main character, and I like how Alex sort of balanced that out with his levelheadedness. The first half of the book was great, and it seemed really promising! Charlotte is an unconventional young woman who is very familiar with Buffalo Bill and his shows, and she shocked the English society when she acts like them. The relationship between Alex and Charlotte also starts off great.

As I said before, Charlotte is unique, but perhaps she's too unique. To put it mildy, for about 4/5 of the book, she's very much like a spoiled child. I came to somewhat pity Alex for having to put up with her. Also, the story was really predictable, and I never really got closure on what had happened to Charlotte's mother or Alex's twin brother. There didn't seem to be any standout scenes in this book. The behavior of Charlotte's father seemed too extreme, and I didn't quite like how he was so pushy. In addition, when the two decide they're ready to really be married, it is strongly, strongly implied that they do.

This was not my kind of book. It was very promising in the beginning, but in the end, it just didn't deliver. I rate this book two out of five stars.

Note: The publisher provided me with a free electronic copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review of Gray Matter!

What happens when a neurosurgeon decides to pray with his patients prior to surgery? The autobiography Gray Matter by Dr. David Levy recounts his experiences as he discovers the power of prayer in his life and in the life of his patients. His journey of building up courage to ask patients to pray, being unashamed when his colleagues discover what he is doing, and keeping his faith strong when procedures do not go well all show how faith may be brought into the workplace while being careful to be mindful of others and the regulations in place. The vivid medical details and amazing stories of faith allow readers to see the power of God and explore their own methods of sharing Christianity.
Dr. Levy begins his career as a cocky medical student who believes the power is in his hands, but as he discovers the true Physician, he discovers that God is ultimately in control. When he feels led to pray with his patients, Dr. Levy is concerned about the possible responses; he could be mocked or rejected. However, he finally builds up the courage to pray with a patient who is eventually healed both physically and spiritually. While helping his patients, he also discovers that the experience is changing him and strengthening his faith. He proposes that science and faith are not incompatible but acknowledges that doctors can face ridicule or discipline if they decide to share their faith. “The role of prayer in health care is itself a gray matter,” he comments.
This book is written with detailed descriptions of the field of neurology. The aspects of faith and medicine are balanced in a manner that both medical professionals and average readers will find enlightening. His ideas and his journey of discovering the power of prayer is shared with honesty. The stories do not only include successes. Some stories do not end well, but they show that even disasters can result in growth and forgiveness. This book is an excellent reminder of the power of prayer and how Christians can reach out to others, regardless of their position. 

                The debate still continues about whether or not prayer and religion is appropriate in the health care setting, but Dr. Levy shows how it can be helpful, even life-changing. Readers will find Gray Matter an engaging read that causes them to rethink their ability to reach out to unbelievers and be more open about their faith. Above all, they will consider the power of God and how he is the ultimate Healer.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Faith Under Fire

Note: This is not my image
It never ceases to amaze me how Christianity has stood the tests of time. From the Roman's persecution of Christians to the countries today who kill Christians, still the faith keeps strong. From the apostles of Christ to His followers today, God has been faithful to His own, even in the midst of intense persecution in hostile countries.

Today, my church hosted a pastor and his family from such a country. They're faced everyday with the possibility of jail time by the government or harsh treatment of the citizens. Yet their faith astounded me at how clear it was. Their focus was on Him, when I'm usually focused on trivial matters, like food, movies, popularity, ect. In the end, it doesn't matter. I know that. But it's amazing how often we forget and do what we like to do. All that matters is God. After all, what's the point of living? We were put in this earth to glorify God and lead others to His love and forgiveness. Who cares about the things that won't last?

One of the other things that struck me is my own inability to really share what I believe with the people I love. The people I'm around don't really talk about what they believe, and the topic of God almost never comes up. Sadly, when it does, it's in vain. Even in the church, I haven't been able to find a true friend who puts God first. Why can't I open my mouth and start talking? We often put too much stock in what other people will think. What if they think I'm crazy? What if they never talk to me again? What if? What if? What if? These questions have always been subconsciously haunting me. But people around the world do talk about it when they know they are risking their lives.


Because God is real, and the only way a person can get to Him and eternal life is through accepting Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior. Without Him is eternal separation from God and the other horrors of a terrible punishment that we truly deserve for the things we have done. The love we have should be for others, even enemies, to show them the truth. 

This is what I believe. We all face some sort of persecution. After all, Jesus himself told us that we'd be hated for what we believe. People will even think we're crazy.  The question is, how will you respond?

How will I respond? I'll be thinking on this for a long time... It's easier said than done, but if they have the courage to stand up and face such terrible horrors, can I not share what I know is true?


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review of A Cowboy's Touch!

A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter is the story of a city gal and cowboy who discover love and what it truly means.

Abigail Jones is used to a hectic lifestyle. She works for her mother's magazine as an investigative reporter, so she's somewhat of an alcoholic. However, her body isn't used to her stressful lifestyle. When her hypertension begins to worry her doctor sister, Abigail is sentenced to three months in the middle of nowhere in Moose Creek, Montana to rest and check up on her great aunt. Little does she know that a new adventure awaits her.

When a young girl named Maddy Ryan shows up at Abigail's aunt's store, worried about her missing bicycle, Abigail immediately agrees to help her find it. She soons discovers that Maddy is the daughter of widowed Wade Ryan, a mysterious cowboy who appears to be much more than what he shows on the surface. Maddy and Abigail soon form a strong bond of friendship and love, so when Maddy talks to Abigail about needing a nanny for the summer, Abigail agrees. She soon discovers love that she never though she would find, but she also discovers a secret that could both save her mother's magazine and destroy her new relationship.

Will she make the right choice?

This book is a typical Christian romance, but I really liked the different elements of Maddy, Abigail's aunt, and Abigail's mother's magazine. It added some depth and additional subplots, which I usually cannot do without in this genre. The author's voice is smooth, and I had no trouble whatsoever getting through this book.

I wasn't the biggest fan of Abigail's character in this book. In the end, I felt as if she was totally wrong. It was like Wade deserved more. I wasn't also happy about the characters of her mother and sister.

All in all, I rate this book four out of five stars. Recommended to gals in their late teens and up!

Specifics ( from ):
~ Paperback: 320 pages
~ Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 29, 2011)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

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