Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Khadgar's Escapades

An incident with my dog recently has gotten me thinking.

We got him almost a year ago when we were living in our apartment. We hated to leave him by himself in his cage when we had to go to work, so we tried leaving him in just the bathroom. The little booger took to taking out the carpet under the door and chewing off the door post. Realize that this is a tiny dog slightly bigger than a Chihuahua. Therefore, he has been in his cage when we have been at work until recently when we moved.

My husband put a dog door in our new house, and Khadgar loves his backyard. He was great for about the first week while we left him out, but one time I left him, he apparently was mad. For some reason, he thought it a good idea to tear up his leash that we left on the coffee table. It was in about 7 pieces when I got home. So in his anger, he tore up one of his favorite things that means walks. I found this very ironic that in being mad, he only hurt himself.

I see this lack of logic in children today where they are angry with an authority figure so they end up sabotaging themselves because they did not want to listen to someone who has their best interests at heart. This is also something that we do as Christians when we do not like God's decisions or answers to our prayer. We ignore him, take it into our own hands, and do whatever we want (possibly to indirectly spite Him) only hurting ourselves in the process as we get deeper and deeper into sin. In truth, all of us have at one point been like Khadgar not realizing the effect our actions have upon us. However, just like how we went out and bought another leash for Khadgar, God will never stop trying to help us if we would only wait and listen for him.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund

A Daring Sacrifice was a sweet young adult romance novel with underlying Christian themes.  Just from seeing the front and reading the back cover, I was hooked upon this story. As a female version of Robin Hood, Juliana was a character that intrigued me immediately. Basically, the story concerns Juliana who is fighting to keep her people alive after her uncle stole the throne and murdered her father. However, her uncle does not know that she is alive or that she is the one stealing from him. Then, Juliana hides in a neighboring territory after barely escaping being caught and ambushes Lord Collin.  Their first meeting is humorous from Lord Collin's eyes as he lets himself be robbed.  When he later tracks her down and realizes she is someone from his childhood, the love story truly begins.  From then on, it is a battle for Juliana to keep her identity hidden from her uncle and keep herself from falling in love with Collin.

What I really liked about this story and about Jody's writing style in general is how she switches back and forth between the two main characters' eyes. Because of this, you truly get to see how the love grows between them, and how the story unfolds from all angles. However, the ending felt too similar to For Love and Honor, which is actually chronologically after A Daring Sacrifice. As a side note, I love how the books are connected by similar characters but how each story is it's own so much so that I can read the books backwards chronologically and still enjoy them.

Despite the similar endings, I still enjoyed reading A Daring Sacrifice as a quick light read. I would recommend this book to my middle school students and anyone who loves short romantic fairy tales.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer

I had a really hard time getting into this book and after getting through the first four chapters, I was not intrigued to finish it. I had no idea where the book was going or even what to expect from the rest of the book so I stopped reading it. By the first few chapters, if I am not hooked onto the story, I do not force myself to read it. I expect to be connected to the story and characters in a emotional way with the potential conflict being much clearer early on. This story left too much to mystery in the early chapters that did not pique my curiosity. I did not connect with Thomas, the main character, which is something that keeps me interested in a story.

If you are looking for romantic or exciting young adult novels, I would suggest looking elsewhere.

( I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, and this opinion is my own.)

For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund

This is a book that I found while out thrift shopping yesterday. What immediately drew me to the book was the beautiful front cover and the summary on the back of the book.  When I got home, I picked up the book, not having read anything from this author, and could not put it down. I stayed up late just to finish it. It has been awhile since a story captivated me enough to take all of my attention for hours, especially as a first year teacher during the last few weeks of school. It was a much needed reprieve from the chaos at school.

What really drew me to the story was Lady Sabine's imperfection. She has a skin discoloration that in the 1300s she has to hide so people do not think that she is a witch.  Because of this imperfection, she pushes all potential suitors away, which is something I identified with, especially before I met my husband two years ago.  Most girls have some imperfection that they consider to make them less than lovable whether it be physical, mental, or social, making this story relate-able for its teen audience. Connecting to this idea, the story then focuses on how the inside is what makes a person attractive, a lesson that young adults need to hear.

Besides the underlying theme, the story included an interesting plot with twists and turns that I did not expect, comical banter that makes you smile, and characters that come alive with the authors well written words. Overall, I would not hesitate to suggest this book to my middle school students and any other book lovers out there who want an innocent and interesting love story to read.