Wednesday, October 31, 2018

"Spark" by J.M. Hackman


About this book:

  “Brenna James wants three things for her sixteenth birthday: to find her history notes before the test, to have her mother return from her business trip, and to stop creating fire with her bare hands.
  Yeah, that’s so not happening. Unfortunately.
  When Brenna learns her mother is missing in an alternate reality called Linneah, she travels through a portal to find her. Against her will. Who knew portals even existed? But Brenna’s arrival in Linneah begins the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, including a royal murder and the theft of Linneah’s most powerful relic: the Sacred Veil.
  Hold up. Can everything just slow down for a sec?
  Unwilling yet left with no other choice, Brenna and her new friend Baldwin (Um, hello, Hottie!) pursue the thief into the dangerous woods of Silvastamen and beyond. Exactly what Brenna wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. Exactly. When they spy an army marching toward Linneah, Brenna is horrified. Can she find the veil, save her mother, and warn Linneah in time?
And more importantly, why on earth doesn’t this alternity have Belgian waffles?”


Series: Book #1 in the “Firebrand Chronicles”.


Spiritual Content- The God figure in this fantasy novel is titled as the Most High King & ‘H’s are capital when referring to Him; Talks about [God] & who to serve; There are angel-like beings called the Lighted Ones; Brenna says she had never been big on church, but see supernatural things in Linneah; A couple Prayers; Many mentions of the Most High King (named Elyon in this novel), His Son (who walked earth), & Prophecies; Mentions of believing in [God] & His Son; Mentions of prayers, praying, praising. & blessings over food (to the Most High King); Mentions of a church-like place & worshiping the Most High King; Mentions of sacred relics & objects; Mentions of a devil-like character (the Great Serpent) & his followers; Mentions of blessings & being blessed; A few mentions of the Lighted Ones (angels); A mention of a miracle;
             *Note: three ‘saints and sinners!’ and a ‘welcome to hell’ are said; Alien-like creators; Mentions of aliens; Mentions of evil & evil spells; Mentions of creatures called Dragon Demons; A couple mentions of curses; A couple mentions of ghosts.


Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘bastard’, a ‘blah, blah, blah’, a ‘darn it’, a ‘duh’, a ‘freaking’, a ‘geez’, an ‘oh my word’, two ‘dumb’s, three forms of ‘screw up’, four ‘idiot’s, four forms of ‘suck’, five ‘sheesh’s, five forms of ‘shut up’, and twelve ‘stupid’s; Sarcasm & Eye Rolling; Fighting, Stabbing, Being Stabbed/Hit, Pain, Injuries, Blood/Bleeding, & Smells (semi-detailed); Healing injuries & Blood (up to semi-detailed); Being poisoned & Pain (up to semi-detailed); Creepy bugs/spiders and creatures, Pain, & Blood/Bleeding (up to semi-detailed); Hurting others & Starting Fires (some are killed and Brenna has a hard time with what she’s done even though it was self-defense, up to semi-detailed); Earthquakes & Waves (barely-above-not-detailed); A monster & seeing it eating people (barely-above-not-detailed); Nightmares of dying (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a murder, how it happened, & blood (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of places & creepy creatures that cause pain, bleeding, and deaths (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of deaths; Mentions of possible deaths from fighting; Mentions of killing, violence, fighting, fights, screams, injuries, & blood/bleeding (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of dead bodies (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of wars; Mentions of fires & smoke (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of earthquakes & waves (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of poison & being poisoned; Mentions of crimes & criminals; Mentions of thieves & stealing; Mentions of knives; Mentions of a tavern; Mentions of drugs & addictions to a certain drug; Mentions of blackmail; Mentions of nightmares; Mentions of hatred; Mentions of lies & lying; Mentions of gossip & rumors; Mentions of tattoos; Mentions of an injured dog (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of hunting; A few mentions of someone possibly being suicidal/cause themselves harm (he isn’t/doesn’t); A few mentions of a mission to kill someone; A few mentions of torture; A few mentions of throwing up; A couple mentions of starving to death; A couple mentions of a cigarette; A couple mentions of divorce; A mention of a beheading;
             *Note: A couple mentions of a brand name; A mention of Star Wars; A mention of a fictional character.


Sexual Content- a forehead kiss, a cheek kiss, a not-detailed kiss, a barely-above-not-detailed kiss, and a boarder-line barely-above-not-detailed // semi-detailed kiss; Some Hand Holding, Touches, & Warmth; Some Noticing; four forms of ‘hot’; Mentions of flirting & a flirt (including a girl pressing her body against a guy); Mentions of a cute boy; A few mentions of a man leering at girls & giving once-overs; A few mentions of dating & boyfriends; A few mentions of blushes; A couple mentions of kisses; A couple mentions of funny stuff happening between young teens; A couple mentions of jealousy; A mention of protecting a girl from a guy; A mention of a guy looking at Brenna’s mouth; A mention of a girl being an unwanted female at birth; A YA amount of love, falling in love, & the emotions (some/a bit);
             *Note: A couple mentions of being knocked down to their butt/bottom; A mention of whipping someone’s butt; A mention of someone being a pain in the butt; A mention of underwear.

-Brenna James, age 16
                                1st person P.O.V. of Brenna
                                                        288 pages

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Pre Teens-

New Teens-

Early High School Teens-

Older High School Teens-

My personal Rating-

{Add ½ to a full star for high school age and older who enjoy fantasy books.}
It’s no secret that fantasy isn’t my favorite genre, personally.
Yet, for some reason, there are ones that interest me and when I try them out, I find that they are ‘eh’ or not too bad (i.e. decent/good).
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this fantasy story, especially with the beginning feeling like a contemporary story (until Brenna had fire coming from her fingers, that is). While Brenna did have a few roller-coaster emotions back-to-back at times, I did like her and her sass. She also has ADHD, which I like seeing that being represented in Christian Fiction.
Sure, there were some typical fantasy clichés of the girl in the new world, creepy creatures and strange food, and the guy with a chip on his shoulder about the new visitor. But there was were parts I wasn’t expecting and had me curious on what the author would do next. The Spiritual Content was also very obvious to represent God and the devil, so I liked that.  
Because of some fighting, harming, and creepy creature parts, my rating is lower, but those who activity read fantasy books might not be bothered.
For Parents: People do spells with their powers and magic is involved, but the magic is seemed to be more of a gift/blessing.


See y’all on Friday with a new review!


*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
*I received this book for free from the Author for this honest review.

Monday, October 29, 2018

"What the Bishop Saw" by Vannetta Chapman


About this book:

  Somewhere in the Embers Lies the Truth
  A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. Someone intended to kill Vernon Frey. But who would want to kill Vernon? Well, practically everyone—Amish and Englisch alike.
  When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he's tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. His close friend and neighbor, Emma, encourages Henry to follow God's leading.
  Could the clue to solving the case be locked somewhere deep in his memory? Will Henry find the courage to move forward in faith and put the right person behind bars? Is his friendship with Emma becoming something more?”


Series: Book #1 in “The Amish Bishop Mysteries” series.


Spiritual Content- 1 Peter 4:10 at the beginning; Many Scriptures are mentioned, quoted, read, remembered, & thought over; Many Prayers; Church going, hymns, & sermons; Many talks about God; ‘H’s are capital when referring to God; Henry is a bishop; Henry has a gift who be able to draw a picture based on details happening around him; Many mentions of God, God’s will, trusting, & gifts; Many mentions of prayers, praying, praising God, & blessings over food; Mentions of Bibles, books of the Bible, & Bible reading; Mentions of those & events in the Bible; Mentions of churches, church going, bishops/ministers/deacons, hymns, & sermons; Mentions of faiths & those who leave their faiths; Mentions of Amish & Mennonite beliefs; Mentions of blessings; Mentions of sins; A few mentions of Heaven; A couple mentions of Christian fiction & Christian romance books; A mention of a miracle;
             *Note: A few mentions of an ability that could be a curse; A mention of a woman being the first Amish feminist (teasing).
                     

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: an ‘a**’ (in regard to God speaking through a donkey), an ‘idiot’, and five ‘stupid’s; An explosion, injuries, pain, & blood/bleeding (up to semi-detailed); Being held hostage & held at gunpoint; Seeing the murderer’s POV & him planning his next targets; All about mentions of fires, arson, explosions, injuries, how they happened, the arsonist/murderer, & a death/murder (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of a body (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a girl who ran away from home and was killed by a man who had been texting her (no details); Mentions of the deaths of a family from a drunk driver & another death of a drunk man going out into the middle of the road; Mentions of attacks, injuries, & blood/bleeding (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of crimes, criminals, & jails/prisons; Mentions of violence & threats; Mentions of an accident & when Henry was twelve he was in a medically induced coma and had stitches; Mentions of alcohol, drinking, drunks, & drunk driving; Mentions of drugs, addictions, & rehab; Mentions of gossip & rumors; Mentions of lies & lying; Mentions of a divorce; Mentions of a small pup being kicked & hit (it’s okay); Mentions of puppy mills (barely-above-not-detailed); A few mentions of wars & fighting; A few mentions of teen boys fighting & injuries; A few mentions of a drawing of people fighting and their unkind words; A few mentions of nightmares; A few mentions of jealousy; A couple mentions of a robbery; A couple mentions of hunting; A mention of tattoos; A mention of having to put down a horse because of an accident.


Sexual Content- a cheek kiss; A couple hand touches (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of first kisses, kisses, kissing, & good kissers; Mentions of courting & blushes; A few mentions of a drawing with a young couple kissing & touching; A couple mentions of nothing inappropriate happening between a young couple; A little bit of love, falling in love, & the emotions;
             *Note: A mention of hormone therapy; A mention of hormonal changes.

-Henry Lapp, age 64
-Emma Fisher
                                P.O.V. switches between them & the arsonist (x7)
                                                        352 pages

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Pre Teens-

New Teens-

Early High School Teens-

Older High School Teens-

My personal Rating-

This book reminded me quite a bit of Amanda Flower’s Amish mysteries series and I enjoyed it. The mystery was interesting and there was great faith content in this book! Lexi was my favorite (😉) and I do hope to read the next books in the series. Overall pretty clean for a book with a plot of an arsonist and a murder.


See y’all on Wednesday with a new review!


*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.