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To Shine With Honor - Book One: Coming of Age
By: Joseph Scott Amis
Illustrated By: Joseph Scott Amis
Publisher: Real Crusades History
Publication Date: July 2016
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: January 14, 2017
As young Galien de Coudre, the third son of well-known knight Henri de Coudre, comes of age he is faced with the impending thoughts of his future and where it will take him. Even though he has always been trained to go into the Priesthood as his father wanted for him, Galien cannot help but see that he increasingly favors the life of a knight. With two brothers to practice with, Galien is no stranger to the skills of swordplay and horseback riding and with each passing day he is finding that his heart is edging toward the career of a knight and not a priest. His chance comes when the family is threatened by a neighboring enemy and Galien is thrown into the battle next to his brothers and proves himself worthy to fight as a knight. After seeing this skill Galien indeed has, his father must admit that he would make a great knight and play a crucial part in protecting his familyís home and lands.
Galien's fatherís opinion soon changes, however, when it is revealed that Galien has fallen in love with a servant girl named Lisette, who began serving in the house after her husband was killed in a previous raid. Not willing to let his son marry below his station Henri de Coudre decides that Galien should be sent off to a monastery for six months and then decide what his path in life shall be. Wanting to respect his fatherís wishes Galien sets off for the monastery but not before he tells Lisette of his love for her. In his heart he still feels that he will return to his familyís land and become a knight but knows that to go against his fatherís wishes at this time would be foolish.
Not wanting to waste his time Galien quickly finds that he has a talent for architecture and is assigned to help a famous architect named Joseph within the monastery. It takes little time for Joseph to see the great potential in Galien and after weeks of working together Joseph offers a permanent job to Galien with impressive pay that is more than he ever hoped for. Now, thinking of the future, Galien is now questioning whether the life of a knight is really what he should be doing, as he is now making much more than he ever hoped to make as a knight, and the work is not quite as dangerous. However, he also has constant thoughts of Lisette and what would be best for each of them, so now Galien if faced with a choice to follow his heart or his head and then vigorously follow it.
This was a well-written and eye opening story that truly brought to life the daily struggles and decisions of the people in this age. I enjoyed that author Joseph Scott Amis wrote in a way that conveys the characters real lives and did not try to diminish the struggles that these people faced at the time. It was easy for me to understand the decisions each character was making as Amis clearly presents how the customs and beliefs shaped the way these characters conducted their lives, careers, and marriages. I found myself wanting to hurry into the next book to find out what obstacles Galien will come to next.
Quill says: For any reader who has an interest in medieval history, this book is a perfect fit.
By: Diana Rowe
Publication Date: November 2015
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: January 11, 2017
A teen who has sinned and is not sorry for his actions until he learns about the Heavenly Sanctuary where Jesus will forgive all his sins, is the topic of author Diana Rowe's newest book.
To help set the topic for the book, An Invitation to the Sanctuary opens with a brief discussion about receiving a wedding invitation. The author asks the reader how they feel upon opening the envelope, what they were thinking about the event, and how it gave them a feeling of inclusiveness. It's a good analogy to receiving an invitation to the Heavenly Sanctuary and to guide the reader to a deep understanding of the sanctuary, author Rowe tells the story of Mark, a teen who has sinned.
One day while walking home from school Mark is given an invitation from an old man he doesn't know. Mark has no idea what is in the envelope and so he doesn't open it right away. The young man has much more important things on his mind. That day at school, Mark stole a classmate's phone, and then hit another classmate for telling on him. He was angry for the school's punishment of him and at dinner that night, when he told his mother what had happened, he showed no remorse. Mark's mother was very concerned by her son's lack of remorse, and so that night, after worrying about where she "went wrong" with her son, prays to our Heavenly Father for guidance. She knows in her heart that God will answer her.
The following morning after his mother goes to work, Mark cleans his room and finds that invitation he was given the day before by the elderly man. He opens the envelope and finds that it is an invitation from Jesus to "The Most Holy Place in the Heavenly Sanctuary." Mark decides to accept the invitation and thus begins his journey of discovery about the Heavenly Sanctuary and how it will change his life forever.
This is the third of author Diana Rowe's books that I have read and reviewed and like the other two, I found this one both enjoyable and educational. An Invitation to the Sanctuary tackles a more complicated subject than her other two books, Born to Die in My Place: A Timeless Story and Born to Die in My Place: A Story of Unconditional Love. In this book, the author explores the mercy and forgiveness of our Lord, and how "...He forgives your sins and covers you with His righteous life..." Through the story of Mark (as well as with examples from the Bible), and how he comes to learn of Jesus' love and forgiveness, young adults will be able to explore just what it means to be loved by Jesus and that He will love them in spite of their sins. At the back of the book is "A Special Invitation for You!" as well as "Thoughts to Ponder" (with two pages of questions for further self-discovery), a glossary and index. For those looking to grow their faith as well as the Christian home or classroom, this is a good book to add to the collection.
Quill says: An insightful journey for teens and adults to help them explore and understand the "mercy seat" where they can meet with Jesus and receive forgiveness.
Born to Die in My Place: A Story of Unconditional Love
By: Diana Rowe
Publication Date: March 2015
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: January 3, 2017
Every person who is familiar with the Bible knows that there is a big, empty space in the life of Jesus within its pages. We know of his birth, a little about his early days but then we don't read anything about him from age twelve through thirty. What did the young Jesus do during those years? In author Diana Rowe's children's book, Born to Die in My Place: A Story of Unconditional Love, she imagines what his life in Nazareth was like during those formative years.
According to the Bible (Luke 2:42), after the age of twelve, Jesus "advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." But what did he do? There is nothing in the Bible about that time. Was he busy learning the carpentry trade? Did he travel to other lands? Study with respected scholars? We don't know, we can only guess at what he might have done. In Born to Die in My Place: A Story of Unconditional Love, author Rowe, through the use of a lovable grandmother, creates a life for Jesus during those years, in order to make him more relatable to children so that they can grow closer to their Lord and Savior.
The book begins with Luke, a young boy who has many questions about Jesus. He decides to visit Anna and her grandmother (who we first met in Rowe's book Born to Die in My Place: A Timeless Story) because Anna shared her grandmother's story of Jesus with him. Surely they could answer all of his questions. Luke takes a bus to Anna's grandmother's house where he is met by his friend. Together with Anna's grandmother, they share a lovely lunch, do some gardening, and then head into the house to talk about Jesus.
Anna's grandmother tells both children about the early home life of Jesus in Nazareth, how he helped his mother, and temptations that faced him. Grandmother tells Luke about how difficult life was in Nazareth for Jesus, and Luke asks many questions. Grandmother's story discusses those unknown years of Jesus' life, and continues through his adult life, the agony in Gethsemane, and his dying on the cross to save us all. Grandmother's story ends with Jesus rising from the dead and all that he did so our sins can be forgiven.
This is the second of Diana Rowe's books that I have read and reviewed and I have enjoyed reading both of them. The story is a gentle way of introducing the life of Jesus to young readers and it was fun to read about what his life might have been like in Nazareth. The illustrations are bright, cheerful and appealing and add nicely to the book. The story runs 32 pages, but those pages are heavy with text so very young children, and those who don't like to sit for a long time, may need the story broken up into several readings. The author has divided the story up into nine chapters that will help parents section the book off into nightly readings. At the back of the book are numerous additional pages - on the first is a lovely poem, The Mighty Rose Arose! written by the author, followed on the next page by Luke's Prayer, three pages of questions listed as "Thoughts to Ponder," as well as a glossary of various difficult words and an Index. It is clear that the author has a deep love for our Lord and is eager to share his sacrifice with others.
Quill says: A lovely addition to the Christian Inspirational genre for young readers.
To learn more about Born to Die in My Place: A Story of Unconditional Love, please visit the website: www.mybookgarden.com