From Witch Week to Golden Booklet of the Christian Life


Witch Week

By Diana Wynne Jones

A fun little story with a bit of a Harry Potter flavor…in that, it was written before Harry Potter, but it has the same “witches in a boarding school out after dark” feel. It was fun to get to see the Chrestomanci helping other witches and to realize that this was Chant from book 2 as an adult. As always Jones delivers. If you enjoyed the first two Chrestomanci stories, don’t miss out on these.

Rated PG: Magic

The Magicians of Caprona (Chrestomanci, #4)
by Diana Wynne Jones
This is the last of the Chrestomanci books, and, again, we get to see what the Chrestomanci does from the point of view of other witches. This time its war, love, mayhem and a very smart cat. This is a semi-retelling of Romeo and Juliet with battling families and children who must save everything in the nick of time. Fun, creative, and very enjoyable. I can’t recommend Jones enough.
Rated PG: Magic
by Richard Bachman (Pseudonym), Stephen King
This was a fairly short and quick story about a man who kidnaps a child who he then comes to love. It is dark, gritty, a bit gross in some places, but Blaze is a very interesting character. King does an excellent job showing you the hardships Blaze has endured which make you sympathize with him. King takes you from Blaze’s early days with an abusive father, to his time at an orphanage and then to the end of his life. You can’t help but love Blaze who has a tender heart but no wisdom in choosing his friends. At the end of the book you really wish someone good could have stepped in and saved Blaze…and that, my friends, is the beauty of the book.
Rated R: Violence, gore, adult themes and situations
In the Shadow of Blackbirds
by Cat Winters
I went back and forth on whether to give this book two stars or three on my Goodreads account. I settled on a three because I did enjoy the book. I literally had a hard time putting it down. I enjoyed the setting (1918). I loved the parts where Mary Shelley visits the soldiers in the Red Cross hospitals. They were gripping and beautifully written. But, while I loved elements of this story, the main story didn’t really move me. The aunt was sooo annoying. I guessed the main points and wasn’t surprised by the ending.
BUT! Most of my frustration, and the reason I almost gave it two stars was the main character-Mary Shelley. She seemed so flat. I kept waiting for her to do something with the electricity and machines she claimed to love so much, but we only see her doing research once or twice. I felt like I was told Mary Shelley was spunky and bold, but all I saw was her being disrespectful and sneaky. I was told she loved electricity and machines but she never once built a machine or used a machine in any way to discover something. She starts off not believing in anything spiritual and by the end of the book she’s been a ghost twice and made out with her boyfriend ghost, (It’s not as silly as it sounds) but I don’t see her struggle with the sudden influx of proof of the spiritual realms. I don’t see her working to bring the elements of her mechanical mind and the spiritual together.
I’m now reading The Mysterious Benedict Society book and the girl in that book is spunky and into machines and things and she’s amazing. Not once did the author tell me this. He introduced her with a bucket hooked to her belt filled with things like strings, magnets, and a flashlight. Now that’s spunk.
This book is beautiful. I think lots of girls who are into supernatural stories will like it. There is some good history here too. I just felt very disappointed by the main character.
Rated PG-13: Some physicality with her boyfriend but nothing like what’s in say Twilight or something like that. Also, spirituality, war, war wounds, death, suicide, Spanish flu.
This is an excellent book to just read regularly. It is very practical covering things like suffering, contentment, death, nature, food, Christian Liberty and so much more. I plan on working it through my spiritual reading maybe a few times a year. The tiny paragraphs and short sections make everything important, With concepts which should be familiar to every believer, you have a chance just to meditate and be challenged with each reading without the “waters being muddied”. I was both convicted and encouraged by the depth of this book. It is not politically correct thankfully, but just deals with how Christians should think and deal with life. Please read it!
Rate G.

Quote of the Weekend

“In one word, the whole soul, wrapped up in carnal delights, seeks its happiness on this earth.

To counteract this, the Lord by various and severe lessons of misery, teaches his children the vanity of the present life.

. . . That they may not become too complacent or delighted in married life, he makes them distressed by the shortcomings of their partners, or humbles them through willful offspring, or afflicts them with the want or loss of children.”

Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life by John Calvin.

(I find it so encouraging to know that suffering has a purpose, to know that the Lord is using our suffering to grow us to be more like him and help us to lay our treasures up in heaven, to cling less and less to this world. He has used the “want of children” in my life exactly this way. I’m thankful that Calvin listed it there amongst the other everyday lessons of misery.)