Monday, May 28, 2012

Book Review - The Invisible Friend

Book 3 in the "Viking Quest"
Caution: contains spoilers

Deep in the Norwegian fjords, the Viking ship comes to shore. Mikkel, the prideful young leader, is home, but Briana O'Toole faces a new, uncertain life. What will happen to her and the other Irish taken as prisoners?
Soon Bree feels sure that Mikkel is hiding a dark secret from his father. When Bree finds mysterious messages that seem meant for her, she longs to be with she is   the respected daughter of an Irish chieftain. But the cold winds of autumn sweep down the Aruland Fjord, and it's people wait for the last ship out. Bree wonders, Can my brother Devin possibly bring ransom before winter?

In the midst of a growing threat, will Bree and Devin find God's courage to win? Who is their invisible friend? And what does ti mean to be truly free?

Summery courtesy of lwjbooks.com

Bree shows that being a mortal slave doesn't mean that God can't use her for His purpose; she is free in her spirit. And that because her life isn't hers, but God's, she is more free than Mikkel, who was dishonest in trading with his fathers' best friend, and now holds a dark secret, on that he wont tell to anyone.

Because Bree laughed at a girl of some importance, and rudeness, she creates an enemy who will be ruthless if Bree ever crosses paths with her.

Bree becomes Mikkels' mother's slave. It isn't a bad job, being a slave in the house of Mikkel's mighty father, except that Bree has to take care of Grandmother, who awakens each night because she's tormented by nightmares (it doesn't go into detail, so no graphic writing). Bree sleeps in the stable, where she connects with the animals, but it also means that she IS different than the rest of the house.
Bree mostly helps to make food, and it is serving the family that she meets Mikkel's older brother, who taunts Bree and Mikkel; Bree by tripping her up at the table, and Mikkel because he's his younger brother.
Mikkel's mother, grandmother, and grandfather come to know Jesus after Bree reads the Bible to Grandmother, and Jesus peace chases away her bad dreams, and finally allows the family to sleep in peace.
Mikkel's father comes to know Jesus after he is diagnosed with leprosy, and Jesus heals him.

Because Bree has nowhere to run, she does not try to escape, and earns the trust of the family to go walking. While on these walks, she finds written proof that her little sister is still alive, and close by. She continually seeks to find her little sister, and even sees her a few times, and wonders how to free her.

Meanwhile, Devin gets thrown into prison because Mikkel claimed that Dev is still his slave, he had just run away. Devin came back to free Bree, and has brought ransom money, which is taken away after he is captured. While Dev is in prison, which is dug underground in the dirt, acquires a nasty cough, and Bree is afraid that Devin will die in the prison. Driven to free Devin from the prison, she learns from a type of silversmith how to create jewelry from a few pieces of silver she has kept for emergency. This definitely qualifies! When she makes the necklace, she goes to the prison to show Devin, who advises her to keep it hidden so no one can claim it to be theirs, and to keep it for the right time to free her brother.

If I remember correctly, Devin gets out of prison, because of Bree's insisting to Mikkel that Dev get moved or he'll die, and regains health, and manages to free Bree.

But Bree surprises everyone with her decision... read the book to find out how it ends, I shall not give the ending away!

Rating 4/5. For children ages 11-14, though older kids can read them, but it's geared for these ages.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review - The Mystery of the Silver Coins

Book 2 in "The Viking Quest" series
Caution: Contains Spoilers

 Bree and another young prisoner make a daring escape from the Viking ship. Soon they face a physical and spiritual battle for survival on a Norwegian mountainside. What will they eat? Where can they hide? How will they fin the courage to win? Leading the search is a prideful young Viking Mikkel who was certain that Bree stole his bag of silver coins. Can she forgive the people who changed her life? And what about Mikkel as he started to wonder, Is the god of these Irish Christians really more powerful than our own Vikings gods?
Summery courtesy of lwjbooks.com

Bree escapes with her friend, Lil, into the woods, with little on their backs but the clothes on their backs. Because Lil is only eight years old, they have to travel slower than Bree thinks is safe, and they have to don disguises, hide in caves, and catch their own fish. All seems well, what with Mikkel not seeming to be following them, when Lil fall ill. Bree must choose weather to leave Lil, and get help at the seaport, their destination, or to go back to Mikkel. For, while they were slaves, they were treated well, and were warm.

Bree ends up getting caught by Mikkel, and because of his promise to protect her, didn't punish her. However, he didn't believe that she didn't steal his bag of silver coins. She proves him wrong by helping him catch the person who stole the coins.

Mikkel prays to Bree's God for the first time, Bree is angry at God for answering his prayer, and not hers. She feels like she, because she wants freedom, and that she is a stronger Christian, that her prayers overrule Mikkel's. What she doesn't realize, is that because of her escape, Mikkel takes his first step towards God. She too learns that God doesn't always answer prayers the way we want.

I think that there was a lack of movement on Bree's side of the story, but the Devin's side of the story makes up for it. A little.

3/5 stars.