Book Review for “Shadow Hand”-YA Christian Fantasy

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Loved this installment of “The Goldstone Wood” series. We have almost come full circle. This one was a little confusing to me at first. We move back and forth through time, and it wasn’t until part way through that every thing clicked in my head. Great story. Love the author. Going to finish up the series. Five stars, no sexual content or swearing, there is fighting and violence. Great for teens and up.

Book Review for “Goddess Tithe”- YA Christian Fantasy

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Short little book that goes along with the “Goldstone Wood” series. It is officially 5.5 in the set. Great Christian fantasy, this one had some illustrations and I think would be good for younger ages as well. I give it five stars. Loved it. No swearing or sexual content, good for ages 12 and up. I highly recommend the whole series! Great allegory.

Book Review for “Dragonwitch”-Christian Fiction Fantasy

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I believe this is book five in the “Goldstone Wood” series. You know those book series that get duller, or stranger, or boring as they go on? This isn’t one of those! I loved book one “Heartless” and have continued on in the series. After reading book two, “Veiled Rose”, I decided I liked it even better. Then came “Moonblood” and “Starflower” and after reading each one I thought “This one is the best so far!” Now, book five, “Dragonwitch” so at the risk of repeating myself, this is the best one yet. I haven’t read a series that captured me like these since Ted Dekker’s “Black, Red, and White” trilogy. I think these are on the same plane as C.S. Lewis and a lighter version on Tolkien. These stories can be stand alone, but I encourage you to read them in order. That would be the best experience. You get all the twists and turns, some expected and others so very unexpected. This one had me bawling in so many places. Romance, dragons, magic, demons, witches, and normal mortals who accomplish the impossible. No swearing or sexual content, there is fighting and violence. I can recommend for fantasy lovers and Christians alike, teen and up. I give it 5+ stars and wish I could give more. Well done Miss Stengl!

Book Review for “Starflower”-Christian Fiction Fantasy

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Anne Elisabeth Stengl weaves a great fairytale/allegory in her “Goldstone Woods” series. Each book is a stand alone, but with each one we see more of the back story and how things began. The immortal characters are introduced, or re-introduced to us and we find out how they came to either serve the dragon king, or the Prince of Farthestshore. Well written, it sucks you into the story. You can’t help but feel like you are there and that you know each one of the characters. I loved “Starflower” as much as the others. It answered some of my questions about how some of characters in the first two books ended up where they were. After reading this one I found my self thinking, “oh, that’s why they called her that,” or “so he is the one the song was about.” I would give this book more than five stars if I could. No swearing or sexual content. There is violence and fighting, some scary images for youngsters. I recommend for teens and up. 5+ stars from me! If you like fantasy, but have trouble finding suitable ones for Christians, this series is it!

Book Review for “Moonblood”-Christian Fiction Fantasy

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I just can’t say enough about this series! Anne Elisabeth Stengl is now on my top five favorite authors list. Each book in this series is a stand alone book, telling a full story with a clear beginning and an end. However, each one weaves the story in more detail so as to explain what you have read before and tie the whole “Goldstone” world together. Great epic fantasy! Villains are made and others are thrust into the unlikely role of hero. I can’t seem to put the books down. Characters are well rounded. There is a great mix of humor, and heartache. I give this story 5+ stars. They would earn many more if available. No swearing or sexual content, though fighting and violence, including dragon destruction. I can recommend for ages 14 and up.  Great Christian allegory!

Book Review for “Veiled Rose”-Christian Fiction Fantasy

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Wow, I loved this book! I thought book one was good (Heartless), but “Veiled Rose” is even better. The backstory is being told from some of the characters in book one. Still great fantasy, dragons, demons, princes and princesses, and good versus evil. Great writing, super well developed characters, and an epic story. Anne Elisabeth Stengl is easily one of my favorite fantasy authors. I give it five stars. Violence, no sexual content or swearing, some scary images so teens and up would be my recommendation. Great Christian Allegory!

The Choice

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Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV),”This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
Life is full of choices, too many options if you ask me. Most restaurant menus are as long as the Declaration of Independence. My daughter changes her mind at least a half a dozen times when we go out to eat. Usually, my husband and I order the same thing over and over. Cable TV boasts 150 channels (don’t even get me started on that one!). More time is spent flipping through the guide than ever watching. Walk into any clothing store and it will make your mind spin with the options, colors, styles, and stylishly clothed manikins. Why do we want so many choices and options? Because we think that is a proof of our freedom.
But what is freedom, really? Is it being able to do whatever we want, whenever we want, to whomever we want? Don’t those same choices sometimes bring baggage and bondage? We want more, so we have to work harder, or charge higher to get what we want. Then once we get it all, aren’t we bound to take care of it, use it, wear it, show it all off. What we choose or don’t choose is important. How many times have you wanted to toss that remote instead of flip for something good to watch, or how many times have you decided to stay home for dinner because you couldn’t make up your mind where to go? We all want to be in control, have our say, be our own boss, but to do that we have to grasp onto something. The choice is the rope that the world (ultimately the devil) throws our way, or the rope that Christ offers us.
Let’s take a look at the firs rope. All those empty promises, all those lies, that we “need” something else, that we would “be happier if…” that rope does one of two things, and sometimes both. It either wraps around us like a sticky web and constrains us from our true purpose, it binds us up like a spider binds her meal up for later, or it wraps us up into a cocoon of apathy. One that tells us that “I’m good, it’s all good, me and mine are fine.” It’s like you’ve been lulled to sleep. It may feel all cozy and comfy, but it is still a web! It isn’t the cocoon of a caterpillar, it’s the “I’ll eat you later” silk prison spun by a hungry spider. Don’t be fooled.
The second rope, the one offered by Jesus, is nothing less than a life line. It’s a way out of the mess, it is the safety rope of a mountain climber. Where the other rope is a sticky web that confines, and constrains us, Jesus rope is one that gives us security, comfort, and allows us to reach out. Think of those mountain climbers, securely attached to the safety rope, they take risks knowing that they won’t fall and crash to their deaths. Or think of the drowning person who sees that lifeline thrown their way, its rescue. This rope compels us to move on, to climb higher, and to take risks.
This is the Big Choice! Which rope will you grab hold of? You will grab one; not grabbing a rope isn’t one of the options to choose from.
I choose real freedom. Freedom to soar, to fly high. Just like that zip line that takes you quickly to the destination all the while keeping you above the cares and snares of the world. I want the safety line that brings true security, not the false security of hanging around waiting for something ugly to suck out my insides.
What about you?