Sunday, January 31, 2016

Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter

"Devotions from the
Wizarding World"
Bookworm's Ranking - 3.5 Worms

About - There has been much controversy concerning Harry Potter and the Christian faith. Now, Nicole L. Rivera, explores how the series can speak and support Christian truths. Focusing on each book, excerpts and verses are combined to explore Harry and his friends more deeply to understand how these adventures reveal Christianity and faith, one chapter at a time.

Author - Nicole L. Rivera

Publisher - Hickey's Books

Age Group - 15 and up

Personal Opinion - When I first heard of this book, I was interested. I have read devotionals in the past the centered on a popular book but Harry Potter was unique because of the controversy concerning the series. Also, upon seeing the movies and currently reading the series, I can see where more can be taken from the books than just a great story but something deeper. And the author worked really had on it. Unfortunately, I did not find it that engaging. Sometimes the message was really quick or quoted the Bible verse associated with it more than discussing it and connecting it. Early on, some of the chapter seemed like a stretch to connect Christian scripture and the series (but, I do think the early books set up for the deeper stuff so that shouldn't be unexpected). I think this book could've had more editing as well. While I liked the book being broken up into the Harry Potter books and covering the messages in each one, the chapters could have been much more impactful and insightful if condensed together. While covering one of the books, I believe two chapters covered love that were the same kind of love. This made it almost over kill and would have made the message better had those two chapters been combined. Several times, I also became confused on what the author was trying to say. As an example, the message it seemed like she was saying that was should separate ourselves from people who don't believe what we do, yet I couldn't help but think that Jesus said to go and make disciples of all people, which means we would have to be around others who disagree with us. Lastly, but this is personal taste, I wasn't fond of the version of Bible she was using. The language was too modern and I felt lost some of the message. In the end, I could see someone who really likes Harry Potter and is a Christian interested in this book but not someone who has issues with the series.

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Disclaimer - In exchange for an honest review, I received this book for free from the author.

To read or comment on this and other reviews, stop by Bookworm
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Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Golden Braid

"The One Who Needs Rescuing
Isn't Always the One in the Tower."

Bookworm's Ranking - 3.5 Worms

Storyline - When a man asks her to marry him, Rapunzel's mother moves them out of their village and to Hagenheim. Yet, they are attacked on the road and rescued by a brave knight. As Rapunzel and Sir Gerek get to know one another and the truth about her past begins to be revealed, she starts to question everything her mother ever told her and sees a side of her she never expected. But, finding a life she wishes to live might be harder than she thought, especially when her mother is determined to keep her.

Author - Melanie Dickerson

Publisher - Thomas Nelson

Age Group - 16 and up
Content - *May Contain Spoilers* Lecherous men throughout the novel. Several fight scenes and some deaths. A crazy, controlling woman obsessed with keeping Rapunzel away from men so she doesn't make the same mistake. Rapunzel learns to trust others and is determined to do the right thing. Uses wit and determination to get herself out of trouble. Gerek uses honor and integrity to help others even at his own risk.

Personal Opinion - While this novel was well written, Rapunzel's realization that not all men are evil and just want to use her, and trying to find life and true love, I had a hard time liking this book. For the second part that I said I like, that not all men are evil and just want to use her, there were a lot of men, almost all besides the main characters, that looked at her or threatened her with attacking her. For trying to make a point about people being good, most did not have good intentions to her except the main guy. It seemed counterproductive. Also, Sir Gerek's annoyance and then its disappearance towards Rapunzel seemed to come out of no where which made it seem unnatural. There were parts of the story that also seemed not to flow well such as the castle being taken over or the mother suddenly waning the man who hurt her back. That whole part seemed out of place until I reached the end and saw it all come together. The mystery of Rapunzel's past is well done and interesting and good how it was brought up and done. *SPOILER* What I liked the most was that he fell in love and gave up wanting to be rich in order to be with the woman he loved. Also his making up with his brother was really nice *END SPOILER*. Those who really like Melanie Dickerson will like The Golden Braid, but there was too much in it that got on my nerves to completely enjoy despite the fact it was well written and a good story. 

Buy - Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ChristianBook, Publisher,

Other Reviews for this Author - The Healers Apprentice - Review
                                                    The Merchant's Daughter - Review
                                                    The Fairest Beauty - Review

Disclaimer - In exchange for an honest review, I received this book for free from the publisher through BookLook.
To read or comment on this and other reviews, stop by Bookworm
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Sunday, January 10, 2016

How to Train Your Dragon: How to Fight a Dragon's Fury - Book 12

 (Hiccup and Toothless from the movies decided to fill in for Squirmy)
Bookworm's Ranking - 4.5 Worms

Storyline - The end is near. Doomsday of Yule is approaching and Hiccup is in trouble and Alvin is about to be crowned king. And the dragon Fury is preparing his army for battle. As the Vikings prepare for a king and war, Hiccup will have to not only get to Hero's End without getting killed, prove he is the king without any of the Lost Things, and be crowned king without getting killed by Alvin and his mother, but also figure out how to overcome Fury without destroying the dragons once and for all. And if that wasn't enough, there are a few more surprises waiting in this conclusion to the How to Train Your Dragon series.

Author - Cressida Cowell

Publisher - Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Group - 13 and up
Content - *May Contain Spoilers* Several death and battle scenes, not really graphic but the deaths are sad. Hiccup is faithful and true to his quest and responsibilities. He tries to defend and help those he can and forgives those who ask for it.

Personal Opinion - Wow, what a great ending. It almost makes me want to go out and look for dragons. I don't think I will ever be the same after reading this series, and isn't that what great books do? They change you? Take you on a journey, or go on your journey with you in life, and change how you see and think of the world? That is what the end of How to Train Your Dragon is for me. Considering anew, just what I love about books, how I see my world and want to react to it. The end is sad yet hopeful, wanting to make the reader cry yet smile at times. Sometimes at the same time. It also leaves the reader with hope. While dragons aren't real, there is a message at the very end, one I wont share for spoilers, that makes you consider things differently and what you are doing and seeing in this world. If I have one issue with the story, it is the repetition of the same message or very close sentences several times throughout the book which make it longer than it needed to be and was a bit overkill. Yet, I almost hope to read the story again, keep it with me over the years, and hope it has changed me for the better.

Buy - Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Publisher,

Other Reviews for this Author - How to Train Your Dragon - Books 1-7
                                                    How to Train Your Dragon - Book 8
                                                    How to Train Your Dragon - Books 9-11

To read or comment on this and other reviews, stop by Bookworm
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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Mythmaker: The Life of J.R.R. Tolkien

"Creator of The Hobbit and
The Lord of the Rings"
Bookworm's Ranking - 3.5 Worms

Storyline - J.R.R. Tolkien was a man of many things and his life lead him down many different paths. In this biography, readers can look into his life, his happiness and struggles, as he became the author of some of our world's favorite fantasy novels. From his early life in Africa to living as an orphan in England to becoming the writer of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien is presented simply and begins the readers journey in knowing the man behind Middle-Earth.

Author - Anne E. Neimark

Publisher - HMH Books for Your Readers

Age Group - 12 and up

Content - *May Contain Spoilers* Is a bit disobedient as a boy growing up. He encourages a woman he wants to marry to ditch the guy she is engaged to, convert, and marry him (they do end up living happily together though). Despite the negativity of his colleagues, Tolkien pursues his writing career even when it is hard and he wants to give up. He stays true to his convictions and faith.

Personal Opinion - While this book gave revealed information I did not know of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was also really simple. Not that that is a bad thing but it was not nearly as in depth as I would have liked.  It seemed to skim over and tell the story very straight forward of his life. An example of this is when it mentioned that one of his friends died who he was really close to and that it was painful for him, but that was it. It had only mentioned the friend one other time and there was no development of their friendship or information on how he dealt with the grief after. Yet, it makes a good start on learning about Tolkien and, because of its simplicity, allows for readers of about twelve to start learning about this author. But, for older age groups, they might want to find other books that will have more to it.

Buy - Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Publisher,

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Friday, January 1, 2016

Best Books of 2015

 Hey Bookworms,

A lot more reading than 2014 but didn't quite reach my goal of 55 books. Yet, I did read a lot of comics so that has to count for something. Thanks everyone for reading the reviews and the new posts of the book releases. Here is what I thought was the best of 2015.


1. The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing Comics by Comfort Love and Adam Withers

2. Create Your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino (Review not on site)

3. I'm Happy for You (Sort of... Not Really) by Kay Wills Wyman

4. Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling

5. Video Game Storytelling by Evan Skolnick


1. The King's Hand by Anna Thayer

2. William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher

3.  Out of the Past (Once Upon a Time #3) by Various Authors (Review not on site)

(I guess I need to read more books in this section)

Young Adult and Teen

1. How to Train Your Dragon: How to Fight a Dragon's Fury by Cressida Cowell (Review to come)

2.  Poison by Bridget Zinn

3. Winter's Child by Cameron Dokey

4. Five Enchanted Roses by Various Authors

5. DreamWorks Dragons: The Stowaway by Titan Comics

ADDITIONAL: Search for the Shadow Key by Wayne Thomas Batson

(This list has such good books on it that almost all the books are equal and interchangeable in place)

Some really great books and I started reading comics this so I think this year was a good one for reading. While I didn't make my goal of 55 (read 51), I have great new editions on my shelf.  If you want to whole list, check out this list I have on GoodReads. I am also participating in K.M Weiland's Read 100 Books in 2016 Challenge so I will be recording more books this coming year that I don't usually (like writing books which I occasionally record or review but not all that I read). Feel free to share your favorite books of 2015 (read in 2015 but not necessarily published) and maybe try the 100 book challenge yourself. I got some great books coming in 2016 as well as some writing goals so here is to the new year.

Chew on a good book this new year!