A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness – Book Review

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A monster wakes Conor up in the middle of the night. He does his best to frighten the young man, but Conor isn’t scared. Not of the monster, at least. The monster assures him that this will soon change.

He proceeds to tell Conor what’s going to happen: he’s going to visit him three times. On each of these visits, the monster is going to tell Conor a story. Each is a story from a different time that the monster walked.

The monster is going to tell Conor three stories, and then Conor will tell a fourth. The nightmare that he’s had, that same awful, terrible, horrifying nightmare that he has every night – Conor must tell it to the monster. And he must tell the truth, or else the monster will eat him alive.

And somehow, it’s not the thought of the monster eating him alive that scares him the most – it’s the thought of having to tell the truth about his nightmares.

Tongue Scale: rated “SLAP ON THE WRIST” (you may look to “My Rating System” for reference)

This rating isn’t necessarily due to foul language, but just some jabs and some name-calling. Conor is bullied, and it’s not exactly nice words that are exchanged.

Firecracker Scale: *not applicable*

Gore Gauge: rated “FIST FIGHT”

As mentioned above, Conor is bullied, but at one point, in a moment of pure rage, Conor unleashes himself and his anger on Harry, the boy who has tormented him for months. Conor finds within himself a strength he had never possessed, and pretty much beats the boy to a bloody pulp.

Another time, in a similarly emotional moment, Conor destroys his home, angrily smashing and crushing things that definitely don’t belong to him.

Other Negative Content:

Obviously, Conor’s behavior, even if his actions were due to anger and even if they did aid in the healing process, is not condonable. Beating that child = definitely not okay. Destroying his home = definitely not okay.

*Spoilers* But they were all symbolic. These actions and exercises all led up to Conor eventually being able to let his mother go, to accept his own feelings, as terrible as they may have been.

Positive Content:

I can’t say too much, for fear of giving anything away. But this book deals with a sensitive issue. And this book deals with it very delicately, and then not so delicately. And the arrival of the monster, the telling of the three stories, and then the fourth – it all builds to create one very beautiful, very heartbreaking story about guilt and letting go, and I love it.

In other news…

Hi, followers (or not followers, although you can always change that). I’m back. I know I’ve been gone for a long time, but I’d like to come back, and I’d like to be back for good. It’s been a difficult past year, but I’d like to get back to this. I love reading, I love reviewing, this is something I’d like to continue doing indefinitely.

Maybe I’ll pick a specific day of the week to post, I’m not sure. Maybe not. I like being able to remain casual with the blog, but then if I’m too casual, I forget to update. So I don’t know what I’ll do.

Also, if anyone has attempted to contact me at my “harpercollinsalexander@yahoo.com” email, I apologize. I haven’t accessed it or checked it in months. You may, however, contact me at my alternate email address, “supercool-beans@sbcglobal.net”, which I check regularly. Again, so sorry.

Have a fabulous week everybody.

Love,

Harper

Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas – Book Review

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When Celaena Sardothien is brought before the King of Adarlan, she expects to be executed. After all, she is an assassin. She’s been in Endovier, a slave camp, waiting for what she thought was her punishment.

However, the King informs her of a little competition he’s going to hold. He’s looking for a Champion, and each of his officials are sponsoring a candidate for this competition.
Dorian, the Crown Prince himself, has chosen to sponsor Celaena, and he offers her this: if she wins the competition, she must serve his father as Champion for 4 years, and then he will set her free.

Spurred on by thoughts of freedom, the assassin readily agrees to the arrangement. However, competitors are being found dead throughout the castle, and Celaena finds that there is more to fear besides the King and her fellow competitors.

Gore Gauge: rated “People Die”

There was a surprising amount of gruesomely described dead bodies. Someone with a weak stomach may not appreciate this.

From the outside looking in, this book looks like it’s about an assassin and a competition for her to gain her freedom back. However, about halfway through the book, there were definitely some stronger magical aspects. There were visits from the spirit world and demonic creatures and monsters. To read more about magic from a Christian perspective, read my blog post titled “Magic, Sorcery, and Wizardry”.

Tongue Scale: rated “Wash That Mouth Out”

The profanities were relatively mild but frequent: 13 uses of d*mn, 5 uses of *ss, 2 uses of b*tch, and 1 use of b*st*rd.

Firecracker Scale: rated “Spark” *

There are also a few crude sexual comments made by different competitors. There are references to Prince Dorian’s womanizing ways.

*For the references and the implications, even if there were no actual “kisses on lips”.

Other Negative Content:

There were also some brief and occasional mentions and references to the worship of other gods, and the people in this culture worship a god that is nothing like ours.

Let’s not forget to mention that Celaena Sardothien is an assassin. She was orphaned at a young age, and there are ways that the author tries to justify Celaena’s actions. However, that doesn’t erase the things that she’s done or the fact that sometimes, she has admitted to enjoying the kill.

I really did like this. It was exciting and funny and so so interesting. It quenched my desire for an excellent fantasy. I suppose it’s just a matter of deciding whether it’s worth it to sift through all the negative elements. And let’s not forget: just because it’s pleasing to the eye does not necessarily make it good.

Love, Harper

War of Whispers – Martyr’s Moon – J.E. Lowder – Book Review

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Martyr’s Moon is the second book in the War of Whispers series by J.E. Lowder. You can also find my review on the first book, Tears of Min Brock, on my blog.

This is a continuation of the story following Elabea and Romlin. At the end of the last book, they finally reached the land of Claire, only to find that it was a wasteland. Elabea is completely distraught by this news and also by the death of her dear rusk, a friend and pet.

The children now doubt everything that the King of Claire has promised them. The Cauldron, the source of the evil whisper of Ebon, uses this opportunity to try to turn them against Manno Vox and the King and convince them to abandon their quest.

Still, they hear the whisper of Claire amidst the Cauldron’s ugly whisper. The whisper that gently pushes them onward… “My delight.”

I definitely enjoyed some of the developments of this story. It was wonderful to see the characters grow and become stronger, both physically and emotionally.

The book not only follows the adventures of Elabea and Romlin, but also others. Back at home in Hetherlinn, Quinn and Gundin, Elabea’s and Romlin’s fathers, are preparing their village for war. Il-Lilliad, the storyteller who helped Elabea and Romlin begin their quest, now journeys with Kinmin to SriBrune to ask for help in the war. Linwith is on his way to a nearby town to collect weapons, but has taken a detour to visit the Worms of Bal-Malin. Newcomb, a storyteller, and Lassiter, the future King of Allsbruth, along with an assassin and an annoying minstrel, are on their own way to Claire.

Quinn and Gundin’s story was interesting to follow, although I felt myself becoming very angry with the people of Hetherlinn who so quickly turned from their original mission at the sight of the beautiful gifts from their enemy. I’d like to think that I would be able to stand firm, but then so many strong people crumbled under the weight of Ebon’s “generous” hand.

I liked traveling with Il-Lilliad and Kinmin because I immediately took a great liking to Kinmin. He and his people have a very interesting ability: their faces can change to look like anything they want them to. Some of Kinmin’s people can change their entire bodies to take on a different shape, but it requires a lot of effort. Plus, Kinmin’s complete lack of understanding of sarcastic language was humorous.

Linwith’s journey to see the Worms of Bal-Malin was a funny one, as well. He was skeptical the whole way there, being told that he was the Worm Master and being told about “the ferocious Worms”, when in his mind, he was imagining the small, pink, wiggly worm you find in the dirt. Instead, the Worms were more like dragons, but do not make the mistake of calling them this. The Worms take great offense to being called dragons, as Linwith soon learned.

I think my favorite people to tag along with were Newcomb and his band of misfits. I felt so awful for him, for he was constantly chasing after the rebellious Lassiter, who did not want to be King, who only wanted to be a minstrel and chase after attractive young women. He also had to deal with a scheming, conniving minstrel and the dark, mysterious assassin, Draemal.

Still, though, after learning more about Draemal and his dark past, he has turned out to be my favorite character. Newcomb’s story is steeped in bad luck and misery, so when Draemal has to step up and lead, he does well.

This story is so well thought-out, and like I mentioned, the character development was very good, except for possibly a few instances (Elabea and Romlin). I adore Draemal, Linwith, and Kinmin. I look forward to the next book!

Love,

Harper

Marissa Meyer’s Stunning Book Covers

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I know that I’ve now written two book review on books by the wonderful Marissa Meyer. You all must be exhausted from listening to me rave about the woman, but I can’t help it. Her stories are beautiful, as are her covers. For instance:

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Isn’t that just gorgeous? However, she has several other cover designs in different countries.

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Same goes for Scarlet, the sequel.

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Confession time: I’m simply using this blog post as an excuse to sing Marissa Meyer’s praises again. No judgements, here.

I must say she is one of my favorite authors at the moment.

By the way, she has three short stories out to supplement her series, The Lunar Chronicles. I didn’t read them as they were released because I wasn’t aware that they were available to read for free on the app, “Wattpad”. So when I did find out, I immediately downloaded the app and read them all!

I have a feeling there will be no dragging me from the computer ever again.

Anyway, the short stories are cute, and they give a little more background on the series. For instance, the first one, Glitches, is about Cinder and her adjustment into Garan’s family. The second one, The Queen’s Army, is about Wolf and his transition from Lunar trainee to the wolf-like soldier he was turned into.

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The most recent of the short stories created by Marissa Meyer is The Little Android, which is a story based on the fairytale, The Little Mermaid.

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I could go on and on and rave for hours about how much I enjoy Marissa Meyer’s creativity, her writing, her stories, and her characters. But I won’t, because you would probably never read my blog posts ever again.

Marissa, can you please be my friend?

And, you know, keep writing books forever so I can continue to rave about you?

Love,

Harper

(Note: pictures courtesy of Google. As much as I love these, they are not mine, and the books were written by Marissa Meyer. All credit goes to her and her cover art designer[s].)

The Selection – Kiera Cass – Book Review

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In a nutshell? This book is “The Bachelor” meets royalty.

I knew exactly what I was getting into when I checked this book out. I mean, I’m a girl; I couldn’t resist that pretty cover and that gorgeous dress. Sure, I might have known that it was going to be a prissy book, but I read it anyway.

America Singer (for the record, I strongly dislike the choice of name) is in love with a boy. A boy who is a caste below hers. Not that she’s not pretty low on the totem pole herself, but at least they had it better than the Eights.

Applications for the Selection (a competition for girls who want to marry the prince) are sent to all the young, single girls throughout the kingdom, and Aspen (the boy) encourages America to apply, his reason being that he doesn’t want to be the reason she is held back. She signs up, because hundreds of other girls will be applying as well, and what are the chances that she’ll be picked?

I think you know the answer to that.

But it doesn’t really matter, because Aspen breaks up with America a week before the announcement is made, because he is too proud to accept his girlfriend’s charity. He believes that America deserves better, and he thinks that he’s doing the right thing for her by letting her go.

Except she does get chosen for the Selection.

And Aspen realizes he’s made terrible mistake.

America goes into the competition expecting to be sent home right away. After all, she has no feelings for Prince Maxon, and she’s still in love with Aspen. Plus, she believes that the prince will be a huge snob, anyway. Until she actually meets him, that is.

That’s when the games begin.

Firecracker Scale, rated “Flame

America and Maxon share a few kisses on the lips, but America and Aspen do a little more than that. Aspen would kiss her neck and her arms, and kissing pretty much just made up their entire relationship. That could be a possible reason why I wasn’t a huge fan of his.

There are some occasional and brief sexual references: in passing, a girl states that money is not the only way to get what you want, implying sex. One of America’s maids in the palace is always terrified of the raids by the rebels, and another servant explains that it’s because during a raid, the poor girl was taken and raped, but was fortunately rescued.

When a palace worker comes to America’s home to go over the rules, he takes her aside and basically tells her: (paraphrased) “If the Prince wants a kiss, you give it to him. If he wants more than kisses, you’ll give that to him, too.” America is appalled, and we only later discover that Prince Maxon isn’t that kind of man and would never force himself upon any of the girls.

Tongue Scale: rated “Slap on the Wrist”

There are a few inappropriate uses of God’s name, 7 uses of d*mn, and 4 uses of hell.

Gore Gauge: rated “Fist Fight”

There is the occasional mention of the fighting that goes on in the kingdom, and the castle itself is attacked a few times, and I suppose it can be intense. But there was not a plethora of violence and even less blood, if any.

Other Negative Content:

Some occasional drinking of wine and alchohol.

The story was fine, I suppose. It was a decent read. The writing itself wasn’t anything special. It was just… *shrugs* meh.

I didn’t especially care for Aspen. I don’t exactly know why. He just sort of turned me off from the start.

Even America started to get on my nerves because she seemed to be SO slow.

Prince Maxon, though.

He was especially wonderful. He didn’t know how to act around other women, and was constantly awkward and uncomfortable, and I found him to be a very endearing character. I’ll finish the series just for him.

But I mean, look at that cover.

Love,

Harper

Tears of Min Brock – J.E. Lowder – Book Review

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Elabea and Galadin live in a very suppressive society. They aren’t allowed to learn to read or write, and no one in their village, Hetherlinn, is allowed to keep weapons. They aren’t allowed to play in the meadow on the oak tree, and most of all, they aren’t allowed to speak of Claire, the kingdom that was supposedly destroyed in the Dark War.

When the people in Hetherlinn all receive invitations from someone claiming to be the King of Claire, most of the villagers panic or ignore the parchments. After all, everyone knows that the Cauldron can see all things and knows when the rules are being broken. However, Elabea and Galadin accept the invitations, and so begins a dangerous journey to the land of Claire.

Fantasy has always been a favorite genre of mine, from Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles to Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart trilogy. However, I’ve found that, as of late, fantasy novels have sort of exhausted me, and I’ve been having difficulties just finishing them, let alone enjoying them at all.

I feel that Tears of Min Brock was a breath of fresh air. It was captivating, and J.E. Lowder seems to be a natural story-teller. The world he created was interesting and different.

Some complaints about the fantasy genre would include the fact that they all seem the same, and that there’s very little differentiation when it comes to the creatures. For instance, how many times have ogres or giants or dwarves been used? But here, Lowder has created new creatures, and it’s just very fresh and new.

The first few chapters were a bit confusing, and things didn’t start to make sense until several chapters in, but once things started coming together, this was a very enjoyable read.

Elabea’s father is a drunk, but he is looked down on for it, and later encouraged to stop drinking. There’s also some war violence, fighting, and bloodshed.

There are some magical qualities throughout the story, and you can read my blog post, “Magic, Sorcery, and Wizardry” for more information about what the Bible says about magic. However, you’ll find that I mentioned in that blog post that the author’s intent is a key factor when considering this aspect of a book or movie. J.E. Lowder is a devoted Christian, and
you will see evidence of this in the short Q&A session I had with him over email.

1.) What is it that inspired you to write this series?

Well, I had a crisis of faith which led to me being broken, beaten, defeated, depressed, discouraged…. Get the picture? And in my darkest moment, I cried out to God to show up in a big way, which he did. My circumstances didn’t change, but I discovered a deeper, more intimate fellowship with Christ. As a creative, I wanted to write about my experience, specifically to those not of faith to express, I hope, what it’s like to go through tough times as a believer without the story sounding “Christianese” or preachy.

2.) Is there a character that you feel you relate to especially?

I can relate to Elabea since she will be tested and experience the pain of life, but I’m probably closest in personality to Linwith, Quinn’s brother. This wasn’t planned, but the more I develop his character, the more I pop in for guest cameos. Be afraid. Be VERY afraid 🙂

3.) You mentioned that you were in the process of publishing a third book. Will this be your last installment, or will you be writing more, either in this series or just more books in general?

Yes, I’m really excited about Book III. It was a LOT of fun to write and is where the overall story kicks into high gear. After that, there are 1-2 more books planned. Actually, they’re all written. I’m simply re-writing and tweaking.

4.) I noticed a few aspects of your story that seemed to very much reflect Christian/Biblical things. Can you explain these references (who different characters represent, etc.)?

Good catch but I typically don’t like to specify what this or that represents as I want the reader to pull this out on their own. I will say that there are Biblical themes running throughout the series (see Malachi 4:6. Also, think good vs evil, God’s delight, spiritual warfare, etc.)

5.) Here’s a hard one: what is your favorite book?

That is tough! Per fiction, there are too many to list. But if favorite is defined by what I read most often, then it’s the Bible. Scripture, prayer and great friends were the only things that got me through that season.

6.) What would you say to someone to convince them to read your books?

Have you been through dark times? Are you in a perilous place now? Then I think you’ll enjoy the War of Whispers series, not in that it has answers to your problems or will cure your blues, but in that you’ll be able to relate to the characters. And if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll hear the whisper calling your name.

All in all, this was an excellent read, and I strongly recommend it to anyone!

You can find J.E. Lowder at http://www.jelowder.com. There is also a sample available to read on Good Reads.

Love,

Harper

The Lunar Chronicles – Scarlet – Marissa Meyer – Book Review

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I suggest that if you haven’t read Cinder, the first book in The Lunar Chronicles, you should probably not continue reading this review. There will be spoilers from the last book.

Cinder escapes from prison, but not without having to use her new-found abilities to manipulate a fellow prisoner into helping her. Not that Captain Thorne needed much persuading; he loves women, and he loves his stolen ship. That’s where Cinder wants him to take her, so she can get away and figure out what to do next.

Meanwhile, in France, Scarlet is having troubles of her own: her grand-mere is missing.

The investigators have quit their search, thinking that Scarlet is being paranoid and that her grandmother is just a crazy old woman. Scarlet is frustrated, and she jumps at the opportunity to find her when Wolf, the mysterious street fighter, offers her information.

Wolf is dangerous, but for some reason, Scarlet feels drawn to him, and when she learns that her grandmother may be in danger, they leave together on a rescue mission. But Scarlet is worried that she can’t trust Wolfe, and must constantly be on guards even though she may be developing feeling for him.

Firecracker Scale: rated “Flame”

SPOILER: Based off of the brief summary I’ve provided, I hope you picked up that a sort of romance grows between Scarlet and Wolf. I found this to be a completely amazing development in the story, and I was overjoyed to see Marissa being so creative with her use of these otherwise well-known characters. They share at least one kiss.

Captain Thorne also has a naked woman painted on the side of his ship (not described in detail, obviously).

Tongue Scale: rated “Slap on the Wrist”

There’s a few more profanities in Scarlet than there were in Cinder. Four or five uses of mild language.

Where story is concerned, this installment in The Lunar Chronicles is even better than the first. It is engaging and interesting, and the characters are incredibly likable. Scarlet, however, I’ve found is weaker than Cinder, who is a very strong, smart, and self-sufficient person. Unfortunately, Scarlet tended to be more dependent on Wolf, although I know I couldn’t possibly expect her to be able to fight off a swarm of wolf-dudes.

I adore this series. I’m very excited to see what the author does in the third book, where she introduces Cress, a character based off of Rapunzel.

Love,

Harper

Matched – Ally Condie – Book Review

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In this dystopian world, people aren’t given freedom of choice.

Not that they aren’t happy. Their jobs are chosen for them, but the Society knows best, right? Each of their meals are put together by nutritionists each day because how should they know what’s good for them and what’s not? And no one questions the Matching Banquet, where young adults are paired with what are, statistically and scientifically speaking, their perfect match.

Why should they question the system when everything is perfect?

Cassia doesn’t question it. That is, not at first.

Everything in her life is seemingly wonderful. At the Matching Banquet, her best friend, Xander, appears on the screen, and she couldn’t be happier. The match couldn’t be more perfect.

She believes this until she sees another face flash across the screen: Ky’s.

Cassia has to battle against her heart, her emotions, her thoughts. Because ever since she saw Ky’s face, she’s been doubting. Doubting that Xander is truly her best match. Doubting the possible vocation that the Society is pushing her towards. Most of all, however, she is doubting the integrity of the Society and the “perfect” choices they are supposedly making for the citizens.

Firecracker Scale: rated “Flame”

Cassia and Ky share a few kisses.

It’s funny, because this is a dystopian trilogy. But, of course, you have your romance; and I must say that this may be one of my favorite love triangles.

Love triangles have become so exhausting, and this literary strategy has been overdone and overused. However this wasn’t so overwhelming that I wanted to quit; although, I did find myself getting frustrated with Cassia because she was so indecisive. Based on what I knew of the two boys, I knew for certain which one I would have chosen. But I suppose you don’t really know unless you walk in someone’s shoes, and Cassia and Ky’s situation was a compromising one.

I was absolutely in love with Ky. He was so innocent and kind and quiet. Xander was adorable, but for some reason, I felt drawn to Ky and his mysterious nature.

Tongue Scale: rated “Rewarding Pat on the Back”

I was also impressed by the fact that this book had no swear words that I can recall. I normally try to keep track when I know I’m going to review a book, but I never noted any while reading Matched.

Gore Gauge: rated “Fist Fight”

Maybe. Maybe.

I quite liked this book, which was sort of unexpected, considering the awful things I’ve heard about Crossed and Reached, number 2 and 3 of the Matched trilogy.

They aren’t bad, exactly. I’ve just heard that they are both incredibly boring. However, I can’t vouch for that myself because I haven’t read them. (I do have Crossed waiting on my desk to be read, though….)

Sooooo, I’m going to go read that, now.

Love,

Harper

Magic, Sorcery, and Wizardry

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I’ve sort of hit a roadblock where my reviews are concerned. What I mean is this: there are so many books and stories out there that have magic. Wizards, witches, necromancers, fortune tellers. They seem to be everywhere, and it’s making it difficult to write blog posts about them.

Why is that, you ask?

Well, because the Bible speaks out against such things, it is a negative element to any story, where Christians are concerned.

“Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am The Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:31)

But no matter how I word my posts and my reviews, I cannot seem to get my point across about magic and such without spilling out 5 pages worth of review. And no one wants to read that.

So here is a completely separate blog post, dedicated to the discussion of this topic.

Magic and sorcery are real things, and people today still practice this. They worship the Devil and they practice witchcraft. So when you delve into that in the books that you read and the movies you watch, that can sometimes be dangerous.

People will say that fantasy is just that: fantasy. That if I read Harry Potter, I’m not going to go out and start practicing magic.

Now, that doesn’t mean we should necessarily be filling our minds with it, either.

Here are a few things to take into account:

1. The author’s intent.

On one hand, you have C.S. Lewis and his highly acclaimed series, The Chronicles of Narnia. There are elements of magic and sorcery, and the villain through it all is “the White Witch”.

But Lewis is a renowned author, known for the Christian elements he fuses into his books and stories. The Chronicles of Narnia is no exception. The whole series is metaphorical, Aslan representing Jesus, how He sacrificed himself and then was risen. In The Last Battle, Lewis’s final Narnia book, he includes references to the Anti-Christ, the Rapture, and Heaven.

On the other hand, though, you have Stephenie Meyer, who gave a disturbing account on how the idea for the Twilight series came about.

I encourage you to read the article I found on this. (https://bible.org/article/darkness-twilight) I still am unsure as to what I, myself, think of this idea, but I do know that Satan comes to us in beautiful forms and makes bad things look pleasant, and I wouldn’t discount what this woman believes.

2. Story content.

Are we talking witches who ride on broomsticks? Spells and incantations? Pentagrams and demon worship? Is the whole story focused around this aspect? Are the characters good? True? Brave?

3. Power’s origin.

Are they scientifically induced? Do they come from God? Do they come from Satan?

Because in the long run, supernatural powers only come from 2 places: God or Satan.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

Does God give people the abilities to do crazy, out-of-this-world things? Absolutely! Peter walked on water, Paul cast out demons, and Moses turned a rod into a snake. These were all things that God did through these people, however; and if you can recall, after Moses turned HIS rod into a snake, the Pharaoh’s magicians did the same thing. They also attempted to mimic some of the other plagues by way of magic.

I am quite certain they did not receive their power from God.

Never is magic a good thing. So when reading anything or watching anything from the fantasy genre, I urge you to be cautious and aware.

I challenge you to study on what the Bible talks about in the way of sorcery. I hope that it will open your eyes, because every step we take into the world of magic and witchcraft is another foothold that we give Satan to ruin us, even if we are just reading about it, not practicing it.

Because ultimately, whatever we do, it should be glorifying to God. That is a judgement you must make, though. Would you read what you are reading if Jesus were sitting next to you?

The Lunar Chronicles – Cinder – Marissa Meyer – Book Review

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Cinder is a mechanic living in New Beijing with her stepmother and two stepsisters. (Sound familiar?) She’s surprised to find Kai, the handsome prince, in her shop one day, and he asks her to fix a droid for “sentimental reasons”. Cinder doesn’t quite believe him, but she gets to work anyway, still thinking about the dreamy Prince and how kind he had been to her. She fantasizes, even though she knows that Kai would be disgusted to find out that she was a cyborg.

Their world is stricken with a plague, a horrible disease that no one has yet to survive. There are random drawings to decide which cyborgs the scientists will experiment on, with or without the cyborg’s consent. They are desperate to find a cure, with the King now being ill.

When Cinder’s stepsister, Peony, is struck with the plague, her stepmother blames Cinder and volunteers her to be experimented on. However, when Dr. Erland begins conducting tests, he is overjoyed to find that she is immune.

After that, Cinder makes regular trips to the palace, where Dr. Erland can make tests on her to see how he can find the cure. Meanwhile, she meets Prince Kai on a number of occasions, and she’s beginning to think that he may have more of an interest in her besides her ability to fix his droid. But if the Lunar Queen, the ruler of the race of people that reside on the moon, gets her way, Prince Kai will marry her, or else she will wage war on the planet.

Tongue Scale: rated “Slap On the Wrist”

There was little swearing (maybe one or two profanities in all)

Firecracker Scale: rated “Kindling”

Cinder and Kai share one kiss.

Gore Gauge: rated “Fist Fight”

That might be a slightly generous rating. I don’t even know that it had that much violence. It was exciting, and even though Cinder is injured at one point, she’s a cyborg, so there’s no gore or blood.

Positive Content:

People believe that the Lunars are magicians, and humans are afraid of them. Marissa Meyer is very careful about clarifying that Lunars don’t use magic; they’re just able to manipulate bioelectric energy. Honestly, I’m not questioning her explanation because in this society, where droids have personalities and cyborgs aren’t exactly rare, I can believe that this is a plausible idea.

Cinder is the first in a series of 4 books. The sequel, which is out and I have also read, is called Scarlet, and it’s a continuation of the same story, except Marissa Meyer chose to introduce a character named Scarlet. She is based off of Little Red Riding Hood. The next book, Cress, is not quite out yet, but it will be in February. Marissa has also announced another book, which is supposed to be released sometime in 2015, called Winter.

I’m very excited for the rest of the series, and I would definitely consider Cinder and Scarlet to be two of my favorite books at the moment. I strongly recommend them! I truly loved the story. It was an intriguing concept, and I felt that Marissa Meyer was incredibly creative in incorporating both fantasy and science fiction.

So go read it. Bye.