Book Review Bundle: Advent Adventures

1256825In this widely popular, exciting story for the advent season, readers follow ten-year-old Jotham across Israel as he searches for his family. Though he faces thieves, robbers, and kidnappers, Jotham also encounters the wise men, shepherds, and innkeepers until at last he finds his way to the Savior born in Bethlehem.


 

Overall Impression

This was the first advent book  I had ever read with my family. And I must say, it was quite a nice experience. These books are an engaging way to celebrate Christmastime.

I will say that the writing in this series isn’t excellent, some if it isn’t even very good, but the stories themselves? Ah-mazing! So just know ahead of time, the writing is a bit weak, but the stories are good enough to balance it out! 

This series is incredibly unique. Each shows the same few weeks/months from a different character’s POV. Thus, you find yourself witnessing the same events but learning different details, seeing the same characters, but from a different view. One thing I love is that at the end of each book you find yourself at the same place…the manger. 

This is a fun series I would recommend to both families and single readers. Even if you aren’t interested in reading the advent part of it the stories are still fun to read around Christmastime!

 

Characters

Jotham is a brat in the beginning. But aren’t we all at some point? He doesn’t, however, stay in this part of his arc long. He is a good character, not my favorite, but still good. 

Nathan is one of my favorite characters in this series. He is just awesome. His quick responses and clever disguises are quite fun.

Decha of Meggido. Ek! This guy is evil! He is a great baddie, easy to hate, and appropriately evil.

It is neat to see some of the prominent people in the Nativity story in this book. Namely, Zachariah, Elizabeth, and baby John. Not to mention Jotham’s relation to Joseph! 

 

Plot

The story starts off with Jotham’s disappointment at not being allowed to go to Jerusalem with his brothers. Soon after he finds himself separated from his family and captured to be sold as a slave! From there all sorts of adventures ensue! 

 




7641046 In hard-to-put-down chapters, this engaging story takes readers through Advent to Christmas as they follow young Bartholomew on his adventures. You will accompany this delightful boy from the time Roman soldiers destroy his village and disperse his family, through his enslavement to a tyrannical master, his escape with Nathan, and his stay at the community of Qumran, to this reunion with his family and the wonderful climax in Bethlehem. Along the way he makes a new friend, Jotham, whom many readers grew to love in “Jotham’s Journey”.Following each chapter is a spiritual reflection that gives readers an opportunity to respond personally to a spiritual truth embedded in the story. Ideal for individual reading or family devotions.


Overall Impression

I have read 3/4 of the Advent Adventures, (still need to read Ishtar’s Odessy) and out of all of them Bartholomew’s passage is my absolute favorite!

Both Jotham and Tabitha’s stories were more centered around personal problems. Their own struggles, false beliefs. Bartholomew’s passage felt more…I don’t know, religiously centered. (Not that I think the other’s didn’t have great messages, but this was more Christmas-y to me.) 

Characters

Bartholomew was also a far sweeter person than either Tabitha or Jotham. I loved him soo much! He was much easier to sympathize with. His story kept me reading for hours. He (along with Nathan) was my favorite character of all. I love Bartholomew’s quick thinking and action. 

Yet again, I loved Nathan. He so kind, and epic. Just love this character.

The head priest guy at Qumran (can’t remember his name!) was so frustrating! I really hate people like him in books! But, he served his purpose. 

Plot

Great story! These stories have a general theme of the main characters trying to reconnect with their parents. I was rooting for Bartholomew all the way! 

The plot wasn’t quite as fast paced as Jotham’s Journey, but I didn’t mind this. I love getting to see this side of the story, the pieces that weren’t shown in Jotham’s Journey or  Tabitha’s Travels. 

Engaging and fun! 




8528987Following in the footsteps of the immensely popular Jotham’s Journey and Bartholomew’s Passage, this captivating story will take families through Advent to Christmas as they share in Tabitha’s adventures. Curious, competent, and courageous Tabitha is the daughter of a shepherd who is taking his family on caravan to his birthplace. Along the way, she meets and becomes friends with Jotham and Bartholomew, watches as Romans take her father prisoner, spends time with Zechariah and Elizabeth, helps Mary and Joseph just before Christ’s birth, and ends her travels at the stable in Bethlehem. With day-by-day readings, reflections for family devotions, and advice for making Christmas a meaningful season of worship, Tabitha’s Travels continues the beloved tradition of celebrating Advent with your family.


Overall Impression

This was my least favorite of all the stories. It was also the weakest. I read once, may read again in a couple years, but nowhere near as good as the other two books. 

Characters

I really didn’t like Tabitha. She felt like a totally different character than the Tabitha in Jotham’s Journey. That Tabitha had felt feminine, sweet, and kindhearted. Tabitha in this book didn’t match that character in the least. 

She had this annoyance, jealously thing going about what boys got to do that she didn’t. Some of her feelings/beliefs didn’t even seem reasonable for this time. I am so tired of the tom-boy thing! A girl can be adventurous, smart, and capable without wishing she was a boy! Look, I get that there was a lot of stuff back then that wasn’t fair. I understand! But Tabitha was a downright feminist.

Nathan, from what I remember, was good in this book. (Surprise, surprise!)

I liked Zachariah and Elizabeth in this book. 

Plot

The plot in this one wasn’t as exciting as either of the other books. There was adventure and the plot was engaging enough I kept reading it. 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: This series has some violence. People have their fingers, tips of their noses, etc. cut off. (Not as bad as it sounds.) It shows the danger and evilness of the time. I would recommend parents looking through before reading to kids under 9. 

Sex/Nudity: None

While I did not enjoy “Tabitha’s Travels” much, I would still recommend this series. Fun plots, characters, and settings. Even if you don’t care to read “Tabitha’s Travels”, “Jotham’s Journey” and “Bartholomew’s Passage” are still winners! 

Book Review: The Princess Adelina

4918709From eighth-century Germany comes the stirring tale of Princess Adelina, a virtuous young woman determined to fulfill God’s call on her life. The daughter of an Iona missionary to the German people, Adelina’s world is turned upside-down when a young pagan ruler, Hedan of Thurginia, falls in love with her and takes her as his bride. As a wedding gift, Hedan promises Adelina that he will allow Christians within Thuringia to worship and evangelize freely, spreading the Gospel among his people. But Hedan’s mother, Geila, hates both Adelina and Christianity, stopping at nothing to subvert her daughter-in-law and stamp out the fledgling German church. Based on a true story, this Esther-like tale recounts the deeds of courageous Adelina as she endures persecution, slander, exile, and the impending destruction of her people. Through it all, will Adelina remain faithful to her Heavenly King? Or will she fall away and leave the Culdee church to its fate? Find out in The Princess Adelina.


 

Overall Impression

This book has, since the first time I read it, been one of my favorites. The culture is amazing, the characters wonderful and the story itself? The story is a powerful tale of faith, love, and courage. And the most amazing part about it is that it really happened. This story truly shows the power of God’s hand and the beauty of his plan. I would recommend this to everyone. 

 

Characters

Adelina is truly a heroine. She is one of my favorite characters of all time. In this sweet maiden you find a heart true to the Lord. She is kind, godly, and faithful to her husband even when it’s not easy. This is one of my favorite things about her. Hedan, for a time, is TERRIBLE. But even when another man who is kind and loving comes into Adelina’s life she remains true to her husband. 

Hedan. For quite awhile this man is very angering. He only “loves” Adelina for her beauty, and is quick to believe false testimony against her.He is an evil man. That’s just the truth. But wait it out, eventually, he becomes a wonderful man. He is a great character. 

Gelia, ugh! The woman is shiver-worthy! She is the perfect antagonist! So much evil in one woman. I hate her through and through. 

Five stars for the background characters! I adore Regiswald, Pillung and the others! 

 

Plot

This story is very much like the story of Esther. A Christian girl marries a heathen to protect her people. Not only does she saves them, but ultimately, she saves many more people. 

Be prepared for somewhat difficult writing, it is filled with “thee” and “thou” and many complicated names. This, however, doesn’t detract from the story. Rather it adds to the character and culture of the book. 

I love the rise and fall of this book. It begins a bit slowly, but it quickly gains momentum. It’s one I can’t stop reading. I love the climax and the ending. This book is gold

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Gore/Frightening Scenes: There is some violence in this book and (if I remember right) some mild gore. Nothing horrible, most readers should be fine. There are some frightening scenes, at one point a woman is going to be sacrificed to Woden. She, however, is saved and unharmed. A woman is beaten, this is non-descriptive. A man is somewhat crushed by a tree. There is a battle. A character is threatened with going through fire trials. (Overall, readers 9-10 on up should be fine with this.) 

Sex/Nudity: A woman has her chest bared when she is about to be sacrificed. Nothing descriptive. 

Book Review: Truth by Molly Evangeline

12121575Trapped in a village no one is allowed to leave, Makilien yearns for the answers to her questions about life and the world outside the village walls. Yet no one but her closest friend seems to understand or share her desire. Despite her family’s fears and warnings of the consequences, she is determined to find answers.

The unexpected arrival of a stranger, and the knowledge he possesses, drives Makilien to drastic action. Confronted with a world she knows nothing about, she must choose carefully who to trust as both good and evil lurk in all places. As a battle looms, one in which will be determined the fate of all, she must decide whether to believe in the One who is truth or fall prey to the lies of the enemy.


 

Overall Impression

Truth is one of my all-time favorite fantasy reads. It is, actually,the book that first inspired me towards writing. It was so different from anything I had ever read before. Entering the world of Dolennar was, and still is a treat.

Truth is exactly what I look for in Christian Fantasy. A good, magic free story, deep and lovable characters, and a wonderfully constructed world. This book’s theme is a mix of a coming-of-age story and an epic quest for truth. Truth is a fun read for single readers and families both.

Characters

The large cast of characters in Truth are done wonderfully.

Makilien, the main character, is a nice mix of femininity  and warrior. She does what needs to be done without becoming a callused shell of a female. She is sweet and vulnerable, but very skilled. Makilien is a great role model. She wants to do the right thing and tries hard to do it. She, though somewhat rebellious in the beginning of the book, is not the sarcastic, hard-as-nails female character we have come to expect nowadays.

The supporting characters in this book are done very nicely as well. Each one is different from the next. Sometimes large casts of characters can detract from a book’s story. Either they divert too much attention from the main characters, or the large number background makes it impossible to give each an individual personality. This is not the case in Truth. The background characters have definable personalities and add flavor to the story rather than detracting from the book.

The baddies in this book are pretty good.And although they can be a slight bit overdone, overall they are good story catalysts.

Plot

The plot of Truth is an epic journey. The story-line, overall, is unique and exciting.And though there are some clichés, I didn’t mind them.

The story enters upon Makilien at the end of her patience with her stagnant village. A stranger arrives in Reylaun, her village, and  a series of event transpires that causes Makilien to leave her village. After that she visits several countries and makes many new friends.

Truth is a fascinating story, with characters you love to root for.

Warnings: 

Language/Profanity: None.

Violence/Gore/Frightening Scenes: This book has some frightening creatures and scenes. Goblins and orc-like creatures called Shaikes. There is some torture, nothing horrible, but for younger readers it may not be advisable. This book has several skirmishes and battles in this book and thus there is the stuff you might expect from that. The descriptions of battle, war, and death are apt while still being tactful. A main character is stabbed and nearly dies. This book is probably best for children 10-12 (depending on the child and parents preferences) on up.

Sex/Nudity: None.