Books

A Book Review of Unashamed

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Unashamed by Francine Rivers

Type: Biblical, Christian Fiction, Romance

Basic Plot: Rahab, in agony over the knowledge that she will die when the Israelites attack, wants only to serve the God of Israel and be safe. Meanwhile, Salmon is eager to claim the Promise Land as his home country and to serve God. Will these two meet and see both of their wishes come true?

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: The story of Rahab was in many ways just a slightly more descriptive Bible story. Now, the purpose of historical novels is to add details to true stories. I have nothing against this, and I think Francine Rivers does a good job at trying to be accurate and linear. Despite this, I do think that this book would have been better as a full-length novel rather than a novelette. I think it was fine the way it was written and that it did fit the series and devotional better this way, but one can see the potential in the book as they read it. Since going that though would have taken away from the point of the series though, I understand that it was written the way it was, short and sweet. Only she would know what God’s ultimate plan for this book was. What was there, though, told a beautiful, simple story of what Rahab’s life may have been like.

Writing Style and Setup: 3½/5 Above Average: I do like Francine Rivers style than most other Christian fiction authors. She seems to have a good understanding of what is and is not important in adding details, as well as how to tell a story from start to finish in an organized manner. One can get lost in the story much better than one can in other Christian fiction novels.

Moral: 3/5 Good Moral with Possibly Negative Undertones: The moral of the story is to trust God no matter what. The protagonist Rahab embodies faith in God, willing to sacrifice all for him and put anything aside to follow him, which saves her and her family. This novelization of a true story is a good lesson to read, but not all of the presentation was necessarily the best. Rahab had a zeal for God that tends to frighten her family. Non-Christians may look at her as bossy, controlling, and terrifying, looking at Christina zeal as nothing more than oppression. Even young Christians, both literally and spiritually could be led to this conclusion. Christians will probably understand though that Rahab lived in a more oppressive and controlling time as a whole, where everyone in a land or family was one religion, regardless of what it was, as well as that God was saving the lives of Rahab and her family, making it not too unreasonable for it to be expected that they give up false gods considering they are relying on the true one to save their life. One can’t get something for nothing. I do prefer though to read about Christians though that are “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” It has been proven that forced religion will end up as fake religion eventually.

Overall: 3/5 Average: I do not think this book was as good as the previous one Unveiled, but it was better than a lot of other Christian fiction novels. I believe the reason the story was not as interesting was because Unveiled is about a rarely discussed or known about woman, while Unashamed is about a woman that is far more talked about and known. I would say it is above average for a Christian fiction and average as a whole. I think the group that would enjoy it most is grown woman.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2½/5 Frequent, Non-sensual Mention: The protagonist is a prostitute. She is referred to in the book as a “whore” and a “harlot” by herself, other characters, and the book, and it is mentioned that she is known as a whore. Near the beginning of the book, she is sitting beside a man that slept with the night before, but she feels nothing but disgust for him. She kisses him, and he kisses her neck and hugs her. She stops him from caressing her. It mentions that a woman was ordered to sleep with a man as a child and that she used this to her advantage to become a prostitute. It mentioned that she pretended to enjoy this. A young woman worries that she will have to live in poverty as a prostitute. A woman asks a man if he wants to marry her because of her “character attributes” while she touches her “neckline.” It mentions that a man tries hard not to look at a woman’s hip. A woman blows a kiss at some men and uses a “seductive” voice to deceive people watching. Men call a prostitute “my sweet” and “my beauty.” Characters whistle when a woman hangs her leg out, and they yell vulgar things at another time, though it does not say what they specifically said. It is mentioned that Amorite men are especially vulgar and “boast” of their “experience.” It is mentioned that men refuse to look at a woman’s bed. A woman offers to hide men in her bed, which clearly disgusts one. A woman wonders if a man will kiss her; he doesn’t. A man helps rescue a woman by putting his arm around her waist, thought his is not done sensually. A prostitute tells a married man to go home. A man says red is the color of harlots, though his relative insists it is the color of blood. It is mentioned that some men once raped a woman. A man says a woman no doubt has diseases from being a prostitute. The men of Israel are all circumcise, though no details of the process are given besides that the men are afterwards weak and scarred. Some men tell a woman that the have laws about fornication, adultery, and prostitution; the woman then willingly ends her life as a prostitute. It is mentioned that some men had more than one wife and that one had a concubines. A man blushes from liking a woman.

Violence: 2/5 Light Violence: Some men practice fighting. A man fights several men, slicing one. A woman throws a shoe at a man. A woman smacks a man on the back of the head. Several times the protagonist thinks about throwing things at people and once about shaking them. It is mentioned that men are killed in war. It is mentioned that a man no doubt had a “violent death.” A woman “slaps” a man “playfully.” Characters mention that prostitution is punishable by death.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Brief Mention and Possible Misuse: Characters at least once say “by the gods.” Characters curse, but it does not say what they said.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Slightly Emotional and Disturbing Content: The Israelites destroying Jericho is described in partial detail. It mentions that everywhere there are dead bodies and fire and that one can smell “burning flesh.” It is mentioned that the Israelites and God destroyed several towns and that they burned and killed everything and everybody. A man suggests that his family drink hemlock so that they will not have to be “hacked to pieces” by the Israelites. A woman worries about the head and bodies of the some men hanging on a wall. Men briefly consider killing a woman; they don’t. It is mentioned in slight detail that babies are forcibly taken and burned alive for the purpose of divine blessings. It is mentioned that Jewish children were thrown into the river by the Egyptians. It is mentioned that it sounded like a man fell off a wall and was trampled by a mob. It is mentioned that characters were killed for disobeying God and that Moses died. It mentions that God saved people from death, which is in many ways is the theme of the book. It mentions that Joseph and the Israelites were made to be slaves. A man wonders how many will die “in battle.” A woman believes God will not “waste… lives.” Characters cry from a feeling of rejection and disappointment. A woman asks her daughter is she is crying for the dead; she isn’t. Characters know they will be executed if they played he traitor, and other characters wonder if others got executed, though they weren’t. Some people wonder how the Israelites will destroy the wall of Jericho. The plagues of Egypt are mentioned and what they were, including the Nile River turning to blood, animal death, “disease, boils, hail,” and death of the firstborn. The last one is mentioned two or three times, at least one mentioning the angel of death. A boy cries out while being circumcised. A man almost faints from circumcision and is in great pain. A woman worries her father will fall and break his neck from tree climbing. A woman has blood on her face from mob panic. A man has blood from another man staining his clothes. A man’s leg hurts. A man says a woman no doubt has diseases from being a prostitute. A woman sarcastically asks if some men are “waiting… for the king’s executioner” because they are not hiding. “Slaughterhouse” and “walking dead” are used for descriptive purposes.

Religious Issues: 2/5 Negative Appearance: People have idols of clay and human skulls. Children are once mentioned to be covered in talismans. Ancestor worship is mentioned. A woman throws all of these idols and talismans out of her house. Her family decides they will worship them anyway after they leave her. It mentions that people were forced to burn their babies alive for blessings from false gods. It is briefly mentions that men sacrifice to false gods and goddesses. A man calls God and his powers “myths,” and characters that don’t believe in God say it “god.” There is occasional mention of “the gods” and how a woman thinks they are fake and useless. Later she points out that she has no “idols or talismans.”

Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: Balaam, the sorcerer, is briefly mentioned and that he blessed Israel, though he was hired to curse it. This event happened in the Bible.

Others: Characters consume, serve, and think about serving wine. A man asks a woman if she wants to get drunk with him; she refuses. A woman lies that she is shaking from a hangover, though the term “hangover” isn’t used. Wine is poured on the sand as a part of the Passover ritual.

Overall: 3½/5 Almost Teenager Appropriate: Because the book is about a prostitute, though little detail is given, many parents may want to wait until their children are sixteen before letting their children read it. The disturbing themes in the book may also be a hindrance. To put it simply, it has nearly adult content that is not described in detail.

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Books

A Comic Review of Welcome to Life After Eden

Welcome to Life After Eden by Dan Lietha

Type: Christian, Creation/Evolution

Basic Idea: A series of comics made to teach and encourage Christian doctrines, as well as humorously portray biblical “what-ifs.”

Quality

Stories: 4½/5 Amazing: The book contains both comics and writings from the author on why he does certain things. The comics are intelligent, logical, and occasionally cute. The doctrines of Christianity are defended quite well, explaining ideas such as how dinosaurs fit on the ark, why it is better to believe in a literal six day creation and a world wide flood as oppose to more liberal ideas, and why no one is good enough to earn their way to heaven. Not all of the comics are necessarily made for thinking, though, there are several comics made just for pure fun and entertainment.

The writings explain what the creator believes, where his ideas come from, and why he does certain things in his comics. One who wants to learn more about the After Eden comic as a whole or maybe a bit about what it is like to do his work will enjoy reading it.

Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: The art’s strength was its simple, realistic look. Though not overly detailed, people and objects were realistic and proportional, causing the comic’s art to do its job without overwhelming the comic or taking away from it.

Moral: 5/5 Excellent Morals: After Eden goes beyond teaching morals and branches into teaching Christian doctrines and apologetics. Ideas such as salvation, Biblical creation, and the flood are clearly and logically defended. The creator also makes biblical characters like Adam, Eve, Cain, and Methuselah seem more like real people. In his writings, he promotes godly values, such as being kind and polite in when approaching the lost. Overall, the comic is full biblical of morals and teachings that everyone can apply to their life, especially Christians.

Overall: 4½/5 Amazing: This comic is strongly recommended for people of all ages and genders. Adults and children will laugh and think through this book, as well as learn some things about the creator and his ideas.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Some Light Suggestive Content: A baby’s bare bottom can be seen once. It is said and shown that plants “are good way” to draw Adam and Eve before sin. A girl asks her mom “How could Adam & Eve have been in their ‘birthday suits’ when they were never born?” Adam and Eve kiss and hug once each, and once the two of them kissing is mentioned in speech.

Violence: 1/5 Light, Brief Cartoon Violence: A woman gets hurt off page by some rose thorns. A dinosaur bites another dinosaur in the neck. A boy pushes another boy. Some kids can be seen pulling a raccoon between them.  High heels are shown to be painful.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Slightly Emotional Content: It is mentioned that a woman died, and a man sheds a tear. A woman cries because of something unknown that her husband said. There is mention of that sin causes death, pain, and disease. A man sits in bed sick with spots and a thermometer. It is mentioned that a real person got surgery. Dead animals are shown twice, and once an opossum plays dead. A fish eats another fish. A man’s tooth falls out. A fire burns in the background of one picture. The phrase “world war” is used. Adam and Eve’s gravestones are shown. A dinosaur is shown about to step on a man. Bees chase a frightened woman. A saber toothed tiger chases a man. There is mention of 9/11 and that cartoonists have paid their respects to it.

Religious Issues: ½/5 Brief Mention and One Error: The NIV Bible version is used. Things like evolution, multiple false creation theories, false flood theories, and the idea that the earth is your mother are all mentioned, but they are always viewed as untrue or negatively. There is a picture of a fish that becomes a frog creature, but it says this could not happen. There is a TV that can be seen showing the evolution progression. Charles Darwin is mentioned at least twice. Cloning is mentioned twice.

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: An unsaved man that appears in once comic wears an earring. The movies and TV series Ice Age, Evolution, and Walking with Dinosaurs are all mentioned, as well as a general reference to reality TV shows.

Overall: 1/5 All Ages Appropriate: Very little in the comic can be found to be objectionable, most of the content being used for humor or occasionally as a sign of sin. Some parents may want to wait until their children reach a certain age before they learn about things like evolution or faulty flood theories, but it is good for parents to be aware that all of these things are presented as wrong and illogical. Once a parent believes their child is old enough to be aware of such things, I believe that any child could read it and would benefit greatly from it. The recommended age is seven and older.

Books

A Book Review of Unveiled

 

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Unveiled by Francine Rivers

Type: Bible Fiction, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction

Basic Plot: Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah, lives a life of abuse and neglect from everyone she knows. Eventually she overcomes the abuse in her life through the power of God.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Well Done: Considering Tamar is an often overlooked character of the Bible, the book makes for an interesting read. Tamar is little discussed and written about, especially when compared to more famous women like Ruth, Esther, and the Marys. For many years, I thought of her as merely a wicked woman that had slept with her father-in-law for no apparent reason, but this book kind of explains some customs and situations that may prove otherwise. Now, Francine Rivers is not Bible, of course, but she does open some new perspectives on the story I had never considered. Delving into characters hearts, the author creates a world that is raw and heart breaking, showing a what-if of Tamar and her life that attempted to be as accurate as possible. Another thing I liked was the lack of emphasis on romance. Though I like a good romance story, it was nice to see a Christian fiction book with a different topic, dark as it was.

Writing Style and Setup: 3½/5 Above Average: The story was written in a simple, not too descriptive style. Francine Rivers uses pretty descriptions of people’s personalities and natures. It lacked dullness and awkwardness that many romance novels tend to have.

The story was well paced for a novella. Events moved at a quick pace that did not take away from the characters and details.

Moral: 3/5 Good Application: The moral of Unveiled is one of persistence in good behavior, treating others well despite the abuse one may suffer. It also portrays a deep regard for respect for one’s superiors and meekness. All of these are well portrayed in the characters and the eventual consequences following good and bad behavior.

At the end of the book is a devotional, encouraging women to be both meek and courageous in the face of mistreatment.

Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: I have to say that this is the best Christian fiction book I have read in a long time. I don’t like most Christian fiction books, but this one does a better job than most I have read.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 4/5 Mature Non-Descriptive Sexual Content:  It mentions indirectly that a man spilled his semen on the ground, and in the devotional the verse directly says it. A woman brings the cloth to her father-in-law to prove it. A woman sleeps with her father-in-law so that she can bare his family a child. She does this by pretending she is a prostitute. It is mentioned that priestesses “perform public intercourse” to try to arouse Baal. A man says he will devote his daughter to this, and his wife is relieved when she knows it won’t happen. A woman performs superstitious rituals in an attempt to increase fertility and sensual love. A woman tells her son that he will die if he sleeps with a woman. A man tells his daughter to “play the harlot” so that she can have a child. She refuses. A man attempts to kiss a woman and he succeeds at caressing her and kissing her neck. A man kisses a woman’s palm in a platonic manner. It is mentioned that a woman is dressed a certain way to hide the fact that she is not curvy. Some parents save some blood soiled cloth in case they have to prove their daughter is able to bare children. It is mentioned that a woman was raped. There is frequent reference to a woman’s cycle. A woman hopes that a “boy’s lust will turn to love;” though it doesn’t. It is mentioned that a man married a woman for lustful reasons. A woman says and thinks she is being treated like a “harlot” and a “prostitute.” It is mentioned that characters “made crude jests.” A woman asks another who the second has “lain with.” A woman is called a “harlot.” It is mentioned that a man had no concubines. It is mentioned that a town has several harlots. It is mentioned that a man slept with prostitutes to try to forget his sins. A woman asks a man if another woman was “dressed as a harlot;” she wasn’t.It is mentioned that a man circumcises his children and that some grown men were circumcised. A woman allows a servant to watch her and her father-in-law to maintain her reputation. A woman is mentioned to be “buxom,” though it is not mentioned in a sexual way. None of the sexual scenes themselves are described, outside of the fact that a man spills his semen.

Violence: 2½/5 Abuse and Light Mentioned Violence: It mentions throughout the book that a man beats his wife, though the scenes are never shown. A man pinches his wife. A man knocks a woman over. A man talks about tripping a blind man over and mocking him. A man and woman get in a verbal fight that happens away from the main character; this fight includes throwing things. A father beats on his daughter once or twice, once accompanied by his brothers, and it is lightly described how the woman fights back. A woman threatens to beat and even kill her daughter if she acts a certain way. A woman yanks her daughter’s hair. A man mentions that his brother used to beat him. A man asks a woman if he has hit her to defend himself. It is mentioned that a woman once slapped her daughter-in-law. A man pushes a woman and bumps “a counter.” It briefly mentions once that a woman cuts herself to worship her false gods. Two men die from unknown causes. A man says he will burn his own child to the false gods, and his wife is relieved when she knows it won’t happen. A woman breaks an idol. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is mentioned. It is mentioned that some men destroyed a city. The performing of animal sacrifices is mentioned. A man thinks he should have spanked his children more. A man says that he’d “rather be stung by a scorpion” than be waited on by his wife. It mentions that a woman knows how men can be violent when they are angry.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Brief Mention and Non-Swearing: It mentions that characters curse each other and call each other by rude names. It mentions that a man swears once, though it does not say what he said. A woman is called a “harlot” at least once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3½ /5 Emotional and Physical Abuse: A woman goes through a lot of emotional stress throughout the book, as she is ignored and abused emotionally by her family. A man is depressed and frequently thinks about how he sold his own brother into slavery. Characters cry a lot because of sad and fearful situations and abusive treatment. Characters die from divine intervention and disease. Several people are glad after a man has died. A woman mentions that she wishes a man would die, and later she talks about wanting a woman killed. A man wants to burn a woman rather than stone her so that it will be more painful. A woman’s servant worries that her mistress will be unable to have a child because the lady is being beaten. Women scream from being beaten and from other character’s deaths. Characters frequently threaten or hint at killing each other, though never does this actually happen. When a woman says she would “rather be dead,” a man says “don’t tempt me.” A woman tells another, in an attempt at kindness, that she hopes her friend miscarries. It mentions that a man sometimes wants to “hurl a spear” at his children. A woman thinks that suicide would be preferable than being a priestess. A woman wonders what will happen to her when her father dies. The second woman says she would hope that she dies if that happened. It is mentioned that men had fevers. A man believes that his brother is dead and says that he is; though he isn’t. A man says that God “can crush a man’s life with a thought.” A man talks about wanting to kill his sheep. It is mentioned that animals and plants die from various causes. The story of Joseph and his brothers is told, including the desire to kill Joseph, throwing him into a pit, selling him as a slave, and covering his clothes with animal blood after killing a goat. It is mentioned that a woman has a black eye, bruises, and blood wounds, all from domestic abuse. A woman’s hair is pulled and hurts.

In the devotional, it mentions that Joseph’s brothers are willing to let one of them die if it is found out he is a thief. It also mentions that a man will die of depression if his son is lost.

Religious Issues: 2/5 Brief, Descriptive Pagan Practices Viewed Negatively: Characters pray and burn incense to false gods. Characters exclaim things like “by the gods” a few times. A woman that is portrayed as wicked criticizes her daughter-in-law for not worshipping false gods. It is mentioned that to worship false gods, characters burn their living children and “perform public intercourse,” and a man promises to force his children into this. He doesn’t. A woman performs a ritual in an attempt to cleanse evil spirits from a building. The ritual is described in detail, but later it shows that the woman has a change of heart, praying to God instead. When a woman breaks an idol, her friend is briefly afraid of “the spirits” attacking. A man says he will tell his family that “the gods” have prevented his wife from having a child. A woman briefly wonders if there is no god before deciding that that is a silly idea. It is mentioned that a woman frequently has visits from a medium. It is mentioned that a man wants favor form various gods and that his wife makes a priestess outfit every year for their daughter. God is sometimes written “god” when non-believers refer to him. False gods are occasionally mentioned by name. Fate is briefly mentioned once in speech. “Haunted” is used for descriptive purposes.

The NLT version of the Bible is used. Some think that the salvation message in the devotional presents it to sound like one must merely say a prayer to be saved, mentioning the “prayer of salvation.”

Magic: 1/5 Brief Mention: A woman accuses and believes her daughter-in-law is a witch that killed her sons with magic spells; but she isn’t. A woman says she will curse a household, but she is stopped before she can.

Others: Wine is mentioned, and characters are sometimes drunk. Dancing is mentioned once for a description of ones emotions. “Gambling” is used for descriptive purposes. A woman plays a drum while a couple makes love.

Overall: 4/5 Adult Appropriate: I would not recommend this book morally to anyone under twenty-one. Thought he descriptions are not at all sensual, the book covers sexual taboos and subjects that many Christians may not feel comfortable reading about. Some may reasonably not want to read it at all.

Books

A Book Review of Chinese Cinderella

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yeh Mah

Type: Biography, Child Abuse, China

Basic Plot: Adeline Yeh has grown up abused by her siblings and stepmother for being the “unlucky” child in the family. Though hope is dim, she endures through despair until she can fully see it.

Quality

Plot 4/5 Well Done: Though it’s hard to judge a book based on real events such as a biography, as I believe delivery is more important than content, I can still say that the story of this book was both heart wrenching and gripping. Though a child’s book, young and old will feel the human pain of Adeline in her childhood. In it is nothing to bore or make the story lacking.

Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: The style was simple and direct but used a descriptive vocabulary. Most of the grammar was correct, though there were a few things that were not technically right.

The story started and ended well and had a good pace. Since the story is directed at children with little to no hope, it makes sense that it is set only in her childhood. The story moved smoothly, not dwelling to long in one place or briefly jumping over another.

Moral: 4/5 A Very Good Moral: The most important moral in Chinese Cinderella is the overcoming of despair in Adeline’s life. Adeline believes and is often told she is a failure, but she still tries her hardest to be the best she can be. She is academically very successful and is very intelligent, despite her family’s abuse. She also is encouraged by her a few people to keep trying her best. Hope of change was what kept her doing her best. Children and adults should remember to hope for change as long as they are alive. Sadly, Adeline mentions God rarely, occasionally and briefly hinting that she even doubts his love and existence because of her cruel life. This is never stated directly, though.

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: As a whole, I think children twelve and older will find the story fascinating. It is written well and is interesting for children. Even if you are an adult, you will no doubt be feel and empathize with the pain Adeline goes through, though we may not understand it. I believe both boys and girls will be interested in it.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1½/5 Mention of Mature Things: Adeline mentions that her breasts are growing and that she uses underwear as a substitute for a bra. It is mentioned that a girl and her mother wear “padded bras.” Some boys are joked to have had “taken the vow of chastity and abstinence” when they hadn’t. It is mentioned that two men have another lover besides their wife, and that one man’s lover was a bar girl. In her family photographs, one girl’s shorts are over her knee by a few inches. Boys are mentioned to have whistled at girls. A girl briefly jokes about going out in clothes she thinks are “skimpy.” “Naked” is used for descriptive purposes.

Violence: 1½/5 Some Non-Descriptive Violence: Adeline is slapped by female adults and children in her family. A boy pull her hair, hit her twice on the head, and twist her arm. A dog bites her wrist. A toddler pushes away a woman, and the woman reacts by repeatedly and angrily slapping the child. The fight results in a woman’s necklace breaking. It is mentioned that a soldier kicked and smacked a boy and that people are afraid they will be “punished or… killed” by the soldiers if they do not bow to them. A boy once says his brother beats him up. A duck is attacked by a dog. A man whips his children twice with a dog whip. A boy accidentally hits a man on the head with candy from a slingshot. A ball hits a girl on the head, and it hurts. A boy tries to drop books on an old man’s head but fails. A boy pulls out a man’s nose hair. Adeline tells a friend she does not like dogs because “[t]hey bite.” A man and his grandchildren do a martial art, and kung fu is mentioned twice to be in stories. There are descriptions that use violence.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Gee” is said once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2½/5 Intense and Emotional Content: The story revolves around the emotional, physical, and verbal abuse and sometimes neglect from both adults and children. One of the most traumatic events was when she was tricked in to drinking urine. She is also bullied verbally by one girl. It is mentioned that her mother died from a fever shortly after Adeline’s birth, and that Adeline is hated and accused of causing her death. She is told by her brother that her grandmother will come back to life at midnight. Two people die, and funerals are held for them. One of them dies from a stroke and is said to have been “frothing at the mouth.” It is mentioned that a man was selling a child. The bombings of Pearl Harbor and Japan are mentioned. Twice a boy threatens to beat up a grown man, though he doesn’t. A woman has bound feet, and seeing them is described “like watching a horror movie.” A woman describes both the process and pain of foot binding, describing it as “torture.” A woman mentions “getting a headache.” A girl is once mentioned to have arm trouble from an accident when she was born. Children don’t want to eat duck because they have ducks for pets. Adeline gets pneumonia and has to go to the hospital. People throw up from stress and sickness; cry from abuse and from people dying; and scream words at each other. It is mentioned that babies are “left to die” in the streets and that children are starving. Revolutions and various wars are mentioned, and the war filled history of China is told, though not in gory detail. The newspaper is read out loud, and it mentions war, mobs, casualties, and riots.  Blood is mentioned at least twice times, sometimes from people or an animal. A duck’s dead body is described in detail, though it is not much more than a broken, bleeding leg. Adeline wonders if any injuries show on her face, though whether she actually has any or not is not said. “Deathly,” “ghost town,” “grave,” “leper,” “scarred,” “tombs,” and “war,” used for descriptive purposes. A boy tells a girl to “[d]rop dead.”

Religious Issues: 2/5 Rituals and Brief Mentions of Other Religions: Throughout the book, Adeline goes to Catholic convent schools run by nuns that are called “mother” and “sister.” The Franciscan Catholics, mass, Catholic statues, the Virgin Mary, crucifixes, catechisms, nun’s habits, incense, and rosaries are all briefly mentioned, usually only once. Children call their parents bedroom “the Holy of Holies.” A woman has a Buddhist funeral, and certain rituals such as burning belongings; mourning for a hundred days; and hiring monks to pray, chant, and sing are mentioned. Other less religious rituals are also mentioned. A man later has a Buddhist funeral as well, but no rituals are mentioned. Both funerals mention the use of Buddhist temples. Because some boys are bald, they are teased to be Buddhist monks and to have taken Buddhist vows, and one boy says it is “a Buddhist Monk Special.” It is mentioned that streets “were named after… Catholic saints.” A quote by Mother Teresa is mentioned. Adeline says the girls are “expected to worship” certain girls at school, though not literally. Different martial arts, such as Tai Chai and Kung Fu, are briefly mentioned. A woman is described as looking like a sphinx. “Demon” is used for descriptive purposes.

Magic: 1/5 Brief Mention: “Magic” is used for descriptive purposes and is in a book title. “Magical” and “fairyland” are used for descriptive purposes. A woman says that report cards and stories are “magic charm[s]” and “talismans.”

Others: A man says they should drink champagne to celebrate, though it is never said whether they drink any or not. A man that shows up once is a chain smoker and smokes in a classroom. A different man is once mentioned to be “smoking a cigarette.” A man and woman are mentioned to be “separated.” It is mentioned that a boy is teased and asked if he will grow his hair out into a pigtail, though he doesn’t. The Opium War is mentioned. A woman keeps a snuffbox as a keepsake of her father. American actors and actresses from the ‘50s are mentioned by name. One picture has a girl that may be wearing shorts. “Drunk” and “gamble” are used for descriptive purposes.

Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: The story may be intense for children under twelve, but I think that after that most would be able to handle it. Some of the religious terms and rituals may upset Christian parents as well.

IMPORTANT: Though the book Chinese Cinderella is recommended, this in no way means that the book Falling Leaves (a complete biography by the same author) is recommended. The content of the book is much more mature, being more graphic and using adult four-letter language.

Books · Graphic Novels

A Book Review of Dogman Unleashed

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Dogman Unleashed by Dav Pilkey

Type: Graphic Novel, Superhero

Basic Plot: Dogman must again save his city from a variety of scheming, greedy characters.

Quality

Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The story improved from the last’s books in about two ways. First, the book had one story rather than several small ones. This led to more room to a suspenseful story. The story was also more creative and clever, especially in its humor. Unlike the first book, only one instance of potty humor (which includes only a toilet,) and a several clever and witty scenes.

Again, the characters are cliché, but that is one of the reasons the series can be fun, as well as typical of children’s books.

Graphics: 3/5 Average: Although still childish in form, the graphics are usually neat and attractive. Though it is believable a child could have drawn them, they are not as childish and purposefully sloppy as the first’s books.

Moral: 1½/5 A Hard to Read Moral: Again, the only moral that can be seen in Dogman is the triumph of good over evil, and that’s only if you’re grasping at straws. The negative moral of ignoring authority to do your own thing is not mentioned in this book, taking away the negative aspects of the first.

Overall: 3/5 Average: As harsh as I was with the original Dogman book, I will say that the sequel is much better. The art is more relaxing on the eyes and the story witty, entertaining, and laced with intelligent humor. There is much less potty humor (which I am very thankful for) and the rebellion against authority is cooled down. I would have to say that I recommend this book, mainly for boys six to ten.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Some Light Suggestive Themes: Dogman sniffs dog’s behinds three times, one dog being a girl he has fallen in love with. A cat makes a bunch of people (both men and women of various ages) fall in love with him by using a love ray, who then beg to kiss and marry him, though he has no interest in either. Though the scene is done completely for humor’s sake, some of the flirtatious comments given by Petey’s admires may not be in agreement with parents, including “Hubba-hubba!”, “Give me some sugar, baby!”, and “Granny needs some tender vittles!” A couple of times, Dogman wiggles his butt like a dog would when he gets excited. There is a reference to the song, “I Like Big Butts,” by a pair of scissors that says “I like big cuts and I cannot lie,” while trying to cut a characters behind.

The only possible potty humor in this book is when a character overflows the toilet to help him escape prison.

Violence: 2/5 Some Light Violence: Several objects are thrown at a piece of machinery. Characters fall off of things, are thrown through buildings, fall head first on the ground, jump on each other, and hit others on the heads with a rock, usually only once each. A character kicks a criminal, and a dog bites a criminal. A character runs a car over. A character says he was crushed by a billboard, though it’s really a piece of flat paper; a character believes this and begs him not to die as well as calls the ambulance. “Kung-Fu Kicking Feet” and “Supa-Punching Fist” are some of the mentioned abilities a man has.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Slight Misuse: “Gee” is used once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Slight Disturbing Content: Dead fish bodies are shown, and a dog likes to roll in dead fish as well as once wants to buy one. A man and dog are injured by a bomb, and almost die. They are saved by combining the head of the dog and the body of the man. Throughout the book, one can see the stitches on Dogman’s neck. A character’s arm gets hurt after trying to yank out ball caught in Dogman’s mouth. A character threatens to hurt another with a rock if he misbehaves, though the threat doesn’t go through. A T-Rex skeleton chases Dogman through the town. The previews show characters getting chased by a flying fish and an airplane. A character cries when he believes another character has been crushed flat, and the supposed injured character cries a little, although this is all done completely for humor.

Religious Issues: 1½/5 Some Mention: A character reads a book about body snatching; he exits his body, but fails to get inside anyone else’s (as far as we know.) A character tries uses his mind to move things, calling it “telekinetic.”

Magic: 2/5 Some Magic: Some characters bring another character to a witch doctor, who looks like a wizard. He has both “Living Spray” and “Obey Spray,” which are used on various characters. When a character dies, he says what the wicked witch of the west (from The Wizard of Oz) says when she dies.

Others: A male cat causes both men and women humans to fall in love with him. They beg to kiss and marry him, which he refuses. This is completely done for humor, and was most likely not done to promote anything sinful (though that could be speculated.) There are a few references to pop culture things through puns, such as “Jurassic Bark.”

Overall: 1½/5 Almost All Ages Appropriate: A majority of the content that could be considered questionable (such as a dead fish obsession or a male cat making humans of genders fall in love with him) are all done for the purpose of humor, and have little, if any, inappropriate or disturbing features about them. There is also much less potty humor in this book. I would recommend it for children six and older, when it comes to morals.

Books

Which One Has the Truth?

Three cups spin in front of you, but only one truly has the penny that you gave to the magician. Which one is it?

In the beginning you were sure you knew, but now you are not so sure. You pick the one in the middle, perhaps by random guess, because it felt or ride, or from the influence of friends and family.

The magician lifts the little red cup and shows that-

You were wrong.

So you lost a little face, but no big deal, right? It was just a game. There is something very similar though that is a much bigger deal and much more important.

In the spinning world’s hands are many religions, all claiming to hold the penny called truth. In the beginning, we all knew what was true. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Long ago, God created the world directly, a perfect world that had only one cup with one religion. It wasn’t hard to know what we should believe.

The arguments started after sin entered the world. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) After the entrance of sin a debate began. All of us are sinners. Me, you, our friends, our enemies. The most virtuous man was a terrible sinner when compared to God. Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Martin Luther, Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Teresa, and the pope all qualify as filthy, unrighteous sinners. Naturally humans seek for a relief from the guilt we commit when we sin; therefore he always looks to a religion to ease his guilt and pain. Even if a person is an atheist or agnostic, that person will still look to himself, nature, evolution, or mankind as a whole to find a philosophy that will ease the guilt of doing wrong.

What do we have? We have many religions, all following two faulty principles. One, is that we must worship something other than the Creator God of the Bible. Two, is that works are the either fully or partially the way to appease this god or to relieve guilt

As the above verse shows, we ere greatly when we worship nature, fellow humans, or ourselves. No matter what the intent or method, it is wrong. It is idolatry. Exodus 10: 1-3 “And God spake all these words, saying, I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

God created us, yet we turned our backs on him so that we could do as we pleased, which was almost always wrong. Isaiah 53: 6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” We have gone our own way, not the way of God.

The other belief is shown to be a problem as the Bible says that Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” Faith is trust; God wants us to trust the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ fully. God says even partial trust in yourself for salvation will result in death in hell. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

The question this track asks is, “Which one holds the truth?” The Bible says in John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” No man. All religions except one must be empty of the penny called truth. The only one with it is true Christianity.

This true Christianity entails a personal faith in Jesus Christ. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy house.” If you will personally believe in the truth right now, Jesus Christ will forgive all of the bad things you have ever done against God and save you from God’s righteous punishment, eternal separation and hell. Luke 16:23 “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” This is a very serious choice. One day God will judge everything you have ever done. If you don’t trust that Jesus Christ is God and that he died for your sins, and rose from the dead, you will go to hell. It is a very serious choice.  Hebrews 8:7 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Once you do accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, though, you will be forgiven of all of your sins, your guilt will be eased, and God will take you with Him to heaven when you die. You must make a conscious personal decision, though.

Pick the right cup, the one with the truth. Your eternal salvation depends on it.

Books

A Book Review of 1001 Things Your Teens Should Know Before They Leave Home

1001 Things Every Teen Should Know Before They Leave Home by Harry H. Harrison Jr.

Type: Self-Help

Basic Idea: Lists of different principles, advice, and sometimes basic common sense that teenagers should know, helping them get along in the adult world.

Quality

Reliability of Information: 3½/5 Very Likely Reliable: Though I don’t know much about Mr. Harrison, I do know that the principles in his book are both biblical and make logical sense. They are basic guidelines that every teenager does need to know to function in the adult world, whether it is that stalking your ex-boyfriend is unhealthy or that complaining and gossiping at work are foolish.

Application: 5/5 Excellent Advice: Morally, this book is strongly recommended for every teenager. Whether its life principles or necessary life skills, this book has plenty of information that almost every teenager can use, all from a Christian perspective. Unlike most Christian self-help books though, there are no Bible verses or devotional messages, making it a good read even for people that aren’t Christians.

Readability: 4/5 Easy to Read: The reading is easy, but on a teenage level. With plainly stated information, the book still is able to keep up the humor and not get too harsh or overbearing in its presentation, making it perfect for teenagers.

Overall: 4½/5 Amazing: This is a must read for any teenager, Christian or not. Though like every book outside of the Bible, the reader might not agree with everything or find it perfect, it is a good book for preparing the teenager for the real world.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 3/5 Frequent Positive Sexual Content: The author says that couples need to talk about sex, and advises against dating people who are “having sex with the Western world.” It mentions that “sex produces babies.” It is mentioned that the “most men do not know how to properly use a condom.” The author says to not make “sexual jokes at work,” as it can result in a lawsuit. It mentions that having sex does not mean that they are necessarily loved by that person. It says “if they sleep around it will get around.” It advises against sleeping with employees, “posting compromising pictures of anyone,” and having sex when one has an STD. It is mentioned that provocative dress will get attention. It talks about how to find out if your neighbors are sex offenders. It jokes that people that talk rich “are now considered very sexy.” It advises not to have a bedroom without God in it and says that sex is sacred. The word “tush” is humorously used for descriptive purposes.

Violence: ½ /5 Slight mention: It mentions that one should not get in bar fights, and that in general, one should “walk away from a fight.”

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1/5 Brief Misuse: The Lord’s name is taken in cain once. The author says teenagers need to learn to speak without using certain phrases, one taking the God’s name in vain. It advises several times against swearing.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: ½/5 Slight Description: It mentions that tanning can result in skin cancer, which results in scarring. It mentions that a person can get shingles from stress, as well briefly defines what it is. It mentions what diseases green tea can prevent. It mentions that bad air can kill a person. It says that Home Depot will teach a person “[h]ow to install a ceiling fan without doing bodily damage.” “Kiss of death” and “wars” are used for descriptive purposes.

Religious Issues: ½/5 Slight Mention: It says that if you use tarot cards, do not to tell anyone. “Haunt” is used for descriptive purposes once.

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: The song “Let’s Get Drunk” is mentioned, though not positively. Alcohol and beer and drinking, cigarettes, dancing, divorce, drugs, drunk driving, gambling, nightclubs, nose ring, partying, tattoos, speed (a drug), smoking, and getting high and/or drunk are all mentioned, but always negatively. Abortion is mentioned once and is strongly unrecommended. Some facts about birth control- such as negative and positive consequences as well as its difficulty of use- are mentioned. It advises not talking like a rapper. Marxism is negatively mentioned once. Bar tending is mentioned once. Rock stars are mentioned once. Being a chiropractor is listed as a recommended and high paying career.

Overall: 3/5 Teenager Appropriate: The mentions of condoms, birth control, and abortion cause me to advise Christian parents to wait until their children are about thirteen to fourteen years old until they let their child read it, which is fitting considering the books age range.

Books

A Book Review of Manifest Destiny: The Path to Wisdom

Manifest Destiny: The Path to Wisdom by Dr. Jamere A. Brown Spencer

Type: Christian, Nonfiction, Self-Help

Basic Idea: Manifest Destiny discusses many things that Dr. Spencer believes that the church and Christians are missing out on and why.

Quality

Reliability of Information: 3½/5 Accuracy with Some Misuse: Dr. Spencer clearly has a lot of knowledge of the Bible as well as a genuine heart to please God, a good combination for Christian self-help books. He has a deep knowledge of Bible languages, history, experience, and Bible. The information needed for extensive knowledge and application of the Bible can be seen throughout his writing. The only problem with the reliability is that some of the Bible verses are taken out of context. This is a common error that I believe every Christian will probably do if they write a book, as none of have it all together, but it is still good to know it when we see it. Some of it is minor, such as men being superior to angels (Hebrews 2:7), and a few are slightly more serious, such as the belief that a certain verse means that Satan caused darkness. Nothing in the book though is heretical or cultish in any way.

Application: 3/5 Some Good and Some Inaccurate: This book was a good sixty-forty split in good and bad application. Dr. Spencer uses very good principles in his book, such as a willingness to grow, heart over head knowledge, and having faith in God. Unfortunately, like all books, there are some errors in application, such as that the Bible and the words that God puts in your heart are at the same level. In some ways this is true, and the principle behind it is true, but the literal application could be easily used in an unbiblical way.

Readability: 4½/5 Amazing: With colorful analogies, true stories, and sympathetic life illustrations, this book is both interesting and easy to understand. His intentions are clear and simple, and he explains them with good analogies. A child could easily understand what he is trying to say.

Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: I will say that Manifest Destiny: The Path to Wisdom definitely has spiritual principles and truths that one can learn from it. It is meatier than the average Wal-Mart inspirational self-help book that is little more than a spoonful of frosting, though there are some feel good places in it. There is conviction to change, be a better Christian for God, and to have faith. Though I believe some of the application is wrong, I believe if a Christian goes to this book with much prayer, as well as uses their Bible and even maybe the knowledge of others, they can learn much from this book while still not believing the inaccuracies. I believe that the best people to read this are Christians that are secure in their faith and what they believe, but they are willing to learn more and add on to their faith. I wouldn’t recommend have a young Christian or someone who is still trying to ground certain things in the faith.

Moral Review

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive: It is mentioned that a man said he would use magic to go into a girl’s bedroom at night, but it sounds like this did not happen. There is a brief mention of prostitutes. It mentioned the biblical account of failed demon removal and how the men were naked.

Violence: 2/5 Brief Mention: The author is beaten up at least twice and is threatened with harm and death multiple times, though it rarely comes to anything. He also talks about being careful to avoid a “beat down” from the neighborhood gangs. It is mentioned that American settlers pillaged the Native Americans. The author dreams about wrestling with a gorilla and kicks his wife in his sleep. A pitbull tries to attack a family, but stops. Ninjas are mentioned to work in “assassination and sabotage.” Nuclear weapons are briefly mentioned. The persecution of Christians is mentioned.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3/5 Some Disturbing Content: The author describes his encounter with a demon, partially describing the way it looked. The author mentions that many of his high school friends were murdered, in prison, or on drugs. It mentions that men have died in pursuit of their dreams, specifically Ferdinand Magellan. The biblical event of failed demon removal is mentioned, as well as that they were naked, bleeding, and screaming. The author dreams about a tsunami and a tornado. In a dream, a man points a gun at the author, but does not fire. People cry from fear and emotions. It mentions that the author bled when beaten up.

Religious Issues: 2/5 Some Religious Issues and Brief Mention The author strongly believes in and defends the gap theory, though it is never called so by name. It is said that darkness before creation could have been “millions of years” and that “no one really knows.” All forms of worship are looked at as equal. The author tells the myth of how the Native Americans believed America came about. There is mention of the zodiac, but it is explained in a Christian context, the pagan one being barely mentioned. Modern men are said to have heard God talking to them. A man is mentioned to believe in the post-tribulation. There is brief mention that women are pastors and that believing they may not teach is an error. There is mention of women being godmothers. There is negative mention of the pope and the Catholic religion, but there is also positive talk about the life of St. Benedict, who is regarded as a genuine Christian. There is mention of monks and monasteries. The author talks about good and bad meditation. The New Age is briefly mentioned. The Indian caste system and its branches are described. Pac-Man ghosts are mentioned.

Magic: 3/5 Brief Mention of Real Witchcraft: The author mentions that he knew people that claimed to be sorcerers or a druid, as well as that one could partially control the weather. There is one brief mention of a Muslim man. The witchcraft association with owls is mentioned. There are biblical references to “enchanters, magicians, and diviners.” The radio show Sid Roth, It’s Supernatural is mentioned and encouraged to be at least partially considered as reliable Christian miracles. “Magic” is used fro descriptive purposes.

Others: There are at least two references of worship dancing, and one to traditional dancing. The author once tells a story that involves him wearing a chain necklace. There is mention of drugs, drug death, and drug dealers. It mentions that a teacher drank alcohol at school. Wine is mentioned once. There are references to pop culture things such as The Incredible Hulk, Soul Train, and the Easter Bunny. “Ballet” is used for descriptive purposes.

Overall: 3½/5 Almost Teenager Appropriate: The encounter with a devil, real life magic, and some liberal religious content makes me recommend it mostly to adults. Some teenagers may be able to read it, but most I wouldn’t recommend it to.

 

Note to the Author: I would like to thank Dr. Spencer for lending me his book Manifest Destiny: The Path Towards Wisdom. Despite disagreements the two of us may have on certain things, it was still a pleasure to read his book, and I did learn many new things reading it. He is the first person to ever send me a book to review, and I thank him very much for it. – Sincerely, the author of Christian Entertainment Reviews Blog.

Books

I’m Back After a Short Break!

I guess my break didn’t last quite as long as I thought… He. I really love doing this and writing reviews. I think I’ll be changing how much I blog (it’s just me, God, and my laptop). I think I’ll be focusing mainly on books, graphic novels, and manga, though occasionally apps, non-fiction books, and movies might show up. I thank you all for following me! It’s great to have you, and I hope to do this for a while still. Again, recommendations are welcome.

Books

A Book Review of The Centurion’s Wife

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn (Thomas Locke) and Jannette Oke

Type: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Romance

Basic Plot: Leah is filled with a bitterness against all men, so when she is commanded to marry the Roman centurion Alban, she is filled with despair. Alban, though, is kind and intelligent, hoping to one day heal Leah. Both of them find themselves unexpectedly changed when they are ordered to investigate Jesus’ disappearance and his disciples’ ways.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: The story was a bit cliché and predictable. A lot of the characters acted in a predictable manner. I will say that there was a plot twist at the very end that I did like, as well as believable character traits, there was just also a lot of the “mysterious Christian” feel to the Bible characters.

Writing Style and Setup: 3½/5 Above Average: The descriptions were beautiful and detailed. Whether it was people, actions, or places, the descriptions were vivid. My only complaint was the dialogue, as there was some dialogue that was just over done in formality or fake feeling. This was constant, but it did occur occasionally. The thing I best enjoyed about the book was, though, was probably the historical accuracy. Customs, government, and religion are all talked about in detail, mainly from a Jewish perspective.

The pace of the book was a little slow. It took 378 pages to get through a story that talks a lot about things most Christians would probably already know about, but some people might like the novelization of Bible characters.

Moral: 2½/5 A Good, but Not Clear Moral: The moral of the book isn’t spelled out or too distinct, but one can see it. Leah is in torments about the idea of marrying, as she has always witnessed abusive and unloving marriages in her family. Alban, her betrothed, is meanwhile working hard to become a great, well known person. Both of them learn to trust in Jesus, putting aside their fears and replacing it with Christ’s love and security. This is a good moral, though I don’t know if non-Christians who read this would be willing to be swayed by it.

Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: I will say this is a tolerable book, being better than the average inspirational romance. (I will say that my expectations for inspirational romance, though, are quite low.) The descriptions are beautiful and the historical facts are thorough. The plot and dialogue are still both weak and watery, making it a bit of a trial to read. If someone wanted to read this, I would say that girls and women fourteen years old and older would like it best.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Brief Mild Suggestive Content: A man and woman hold hands once. It is mentioned a few other times that the man wants to touch her, though never sexually. It is mention at least three times that characters do not make passes at a certain woman, though they are known for regularly doing so. Once it hints that “impertinent comments” have been made at least once before. It is mention that Jewish people believe that mixed gender bathing is wrong. Characters use single gender bathhouses for baths and massages, though it never talks about them being naked, once mentioning the men wearing towels. A man asks another if “he would be willing to sell” his niece; the first man refuses. It is once briefly mentioned that a woman’s mother committed adultery. A brothel is briefly used in a question once. “Sent to the bed of” is once used to refer to marriage. Girls are once mention to give men suggestive glances. It mentions that Herod married his brother’s wife. A man calls a woman “my dear” and refers to another Pilate’s wife as “lovely,” though whether he means it in an impure way or not is up debatable.

Violence: 2/5 Brief, Mild Violence: Violence is used in descriptions. A man fights some men in battle twice. The first has little actually described fighting, but the second is more graphic, including the beheading of a man. Soldiers use landslides in battle. A man taps and pokes a woman with a cane, as well as whips empty air, but does not beat her with it. There is mention of violent robberies once. Men pound tables at least twice. It is once mentioned that “lambs” were “were being brought for the slaughter.”

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Brief Mention: “By Jupiter” is used once. It is implied twice that a character used foul language.

Disturbing, Intense, and Emotional Content: 2/5 Some Disturbing and Emotional Content: Death is used in descriptions. A woman is spared from a beating; she later says that women are sometimes beaten by their sadistic master “until their ribs show.” A woman is mentioned to have dreamed of being beaten by a cane and screaming. It is mentioned that a woman accidentally spills boiling water on herself, and is unable to walk for several days. There are mentions of the different Roman punishments, including beatings, crucifixion, flaying, flogging, and scourging. Sometimes characters are threatened with or worry about these things, though they never come to pass, and it mentions that Jesus went through some of these. Characters sometimes worry about being killed, or such worry is mentioned, as well as that others want to kill them. It is mentioned that John the Baptist’s head was served on a platter and that Herod has soldiers murder infants. A woman has headaches and nightmares, though they are not described. A woman has a nightmare about a beast-like groom lunging for her. A woman faints from sickness and is unconscious and nearly dies for several days, though little detail of this is given. It is mentioned that a boy was once also sick and near death. It mentions that a woman once broke her hip. It is mentioned that only one man was wounded after a battle. It mentions animal’s fear and cries when they are being brought as a sacrifice. Characters cry a few times from emotional circumstances. Characters are mentioned to have screamed from nightmares or in them. Certain characters constantly worry about revolution, and others are hired to investigate if their will be one. It is mentioned that characters in the past died, one because her husband abandoned her for another woman. A blade is pressed against man’s neck, though not to kill him. It is mentioned once that floods “carried away whole villages.” Twice, characters are mentioned to want or have wanted death, though once suicide is only contemplatead briefly. Characters are mentioned to have “calluses,” “scars,” deformities from broken bones, and injuries after crucifixion. A man once fakes a limp. A man once mentions hating “the sight of blood.”

Religious Issues: 1½/5 Brief Mention: False gods such as Diana, Mercury, and Epona, as well as occasionally what they stand for, are mentioned by name, and there are references occasionally to “the gods” in general. It is mentioned that they are given offerings and that they have temples and alcoves devoted to them. It is also mentioned that people from Gaul sometimes fervently worship “wood sprites and fairies” as well as nature. Once a character makes “the sign against the evil eye.” It is mentioned that a woman was once demon possessed, but that she was healed by Jesus. It is asked if Jesus was a wraith after he arose from the dead. “Demon,” “ghost,” “haunted,” “haunts,” “idol to be worshiped,” and “worships” are used for descriptive purposes. Incense is used, but almost always for non-religious purposes; otherwise it is used correctly for the worship of God. Certain characters refuse to accept Jesus as Savior, and it is mentioned he was accused as a blasphemer.

Magic: 0/5 None

Other: Characters drink and are served ale and wine. A character asks if a man was drunk, but he wasn’t. There are mentions of taverns, and at least twice a man enters one, though not for any worldly reason. It is mentioned that a man divorced his wife, and divorce is mentioned at other times. Men have shoulder length hair at least twice. Gambling is mentioned at least twice. Dancing is mentioned, sometimes for worldly purposes and at other times for Jewish celebrations, though never described sensually or otherwise.

Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: I would say the book is overall clean. The worst thing was probably the scene of violence when a man was defending himself and some mentions of false gods, but other than that I would say it has nothing that anyone would probably object to morally.