The Door Before

Trees, doorways, hidden paths, secret orders, and monsters converge in The Door Before, N.D. Wilson’s epic prequel to his bestselling trilogy, 100 Cupboards. Published in 2017 by Random House Books, this little book is sure to delight old friends of N.D. Wilson’s rich fantasy and make devoted fans of new ones.
Hyacinth Smith is searching for a home. Her family travels from place to place, never staying in one house for long. One day, her father announces that they have inherited a house in California; but when they get there, it’s already occupied by a distant relative who creates doors out of lightning struck wood. At first glance, they seem like only wooden frames that lead nowhere, but they are much more than that…they are portals into other realms. First, twin brothers looking for revenge stumble through the doors, then something much worse does: an ancient and evil witch bent on sucking the life out of the whole world and into herself. Hyacinth, her family, a secret order known only as the O of B, and the twin brothers Caleb and Mordecai are the only things standing in the evil witch’s way…and she will destroy all those who stand in her way. Then she will set upon the rest of the world.
Can the undying witch be defeated?
The Door Before is an amazing tale of good versus evil. N.D. Wilson has a unique style of writing; he writes in third person but so specifically that it almost seems like you are reading in first person. His dialogue and description are well balanced, and the story flows very well with no dull spots. This book is an easy to medium reading difficulty.
I would highly recommend this book for ages 12+. It is written very well with excellent morals and good literature qualities. Some of the themes are a little dark, and the violence is at times gruesome, but there is nothing objectionable in it at all. 4 out of 5 stars.

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The Young Unicorns

Written by Madeline L’Engle and published in 1968, The Young Unicorns is a beautiful suspense\intrigue featuring an endearing family known as the Austins. We meet the Austins as they are adjusting to life in the bustle of New York City. Originally from a small county town, they are innocent to the evil that surrounds them in their new home; gangs, riots, and radical movements. Over time, the once close family begins to slowly drift apart. The children spend more time with friends than they do each other, and the father-Doctor Austin-is spending more time at his work than with his family. As a result of this, when strange things start happening to the different members of the family, they keep them secret. The mysterious appearance of a genie, the unusual actives of the Alphabat Gang, strange questions by strangers, and the secretive doings of the Head Bishop all are connected in some sinister purpose. If the Austins don’t realize what’s going on and start communicating, it might be too late to stop that evil purpose-and might even cost them their lives.
Madeline L’Engle is a remarkable author. Her writing style is very unusual; she uses little detail in the actual story but makes up for it by using plenty of detail in her dialogue. The Young Unicorns flows very well; it is not fast paced but something new is always happening to further the intrigue. I would say this book is an easy to medium read.
I would highly recommend The Young Unicorns for ages 13+. It is an outstanding story; however, there are some universalist and good versus evil themes that are difficult to grasp at times. All in all, a delightful read with excellent literature qualities and deep subject matter. 4 out of 5 stars.

The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

One of Robert Louis Stevenson’s best-known works, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is an eerie tale of mystery and intrigue. It was published in 1886 and would be considered a psychological mystery thriller.

Henry Jekyll is a well-known man of science. To all outward appearances, he appears to have a comfortable, happy life; money, intellect, and many friends-one among them being Mr. Utterson, a lawyer. One day, however; things begin to turn sour for Dr. Jekyll after the sudden appearance of one Mr. Hyde. An unexplainable will, strange messages, and the sudden reclusiveness of his old friend make Mr. Utterson wonder if perhaps this Mr. Hyde is blackmailing his friend…or perhaps there is some darker corruption at work. Together with Poole, Dr. Jekyll’s butler, and Dr. Lanyon, an old friend; Mr. Utterson is determined to get to the bottom of the sinister business of the Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Robert Louis Stevenson is an amazing author. He combines just the right amount of detail and dialogue to make his stories flow smoothly with no dull spots in them at all. The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is at a medium to hard reading level.

I would highly recommend this book for ages 16+. There is a little bit of mild language, and some mature dark themes. All in all, a well written book with excellent food for thought. 4 out of 5 stars.

A Christmas Carol

“Bah!” Said Scrooge. “Humbug!”

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has captured the hearts of hundreds of readers ever since it was first published in 1843. This endearing story of 19th century Victorian England is placed in the classic genre.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly old sinner who doesn’t give a humbug for Christmas. His tightfistedness and grumpiness are making life miserable for those around him. On Christmas Eve he is visited by the ghost of his dead partner Marley who warns him that three ghosts will visit him. These ghosts-the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future-will show him glimpses of his past life as well as what will happen in the future if he does not amend his ways. Will he change? Or will he continue walking his old, selfish path?
Charles Dickens’ writing style is world renowned. His dialogue, detail, and storyline are rich with color and incredibly well thought out. The Christmas Carol flows very well; and it is an easy read.
I recommend this book for ages 10+; older if you are frightened easily. There are a few mild mature themes; including the ghost theme and the extreme poverty and abuse that many people in the lower classes faced at that time. Overall; this book is a heart-warming, well written story with good morals and unforgettable characters. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio

“When the world starts falling about your ears and intensely disagreeable things are happening to you, it’s always a comfort to blame somebody else. But-who?”*

Written by Lloyd Alexander and published in 2007 by The Estate of Lloyd Alexander and Henry Holt and Co; The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio is a fun-filled fantasy adventure novel featuring lost treasure, cold-hearted villains, and the world’s worst camel-puller.
When Carlo Chuchio sets out for the legendary land of Keshavar to search for treasure on the Road of Golden Dreams, he has no idea of the trials that await him-which include being robbed of everything he owns (save for his underdrawers), being mistaken a crown prince, and having the world’s worst camel-puller for a traveling companion. The camel-puller-whose name is Baksheesh-and a girl-whose name is Shira-take up with Carlo as he begins his search for treasure. The only problem is…the treasure may not even exist-and there are countless dangers they must encounter before they even reach their destination. Will they make it to the Royal Treasury unharmed? What is the “true treasure” that a mysterious stranger keeps referring to? And what secret is Shira hiding from the company?
Lloyd Alexander writes his stories with comic twists and unexpected incidents in every chapter. The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio is no exception. The dialogue is very well written and the details are subtle-yet you can still clearly see the story in your mind’s eye. The story flowed smoothly and there were no dull spots; the book was filled with action. The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio is an easy to medium read.
I would recommend this book for ages 12+. There were a couple of mature themes and some rude insults, as well as graphic fight scenes and bloody murders. Overall, a well-written, humorous tale with excellent literature qualities and an unpredictable ending. 4 out of 5 stars

“I have no idea exactly when the tide turned in our favor. The bandits surprised us. We surprised them. They never expected us to fight back so fiercely. I would see two or three traders and camel-pullers fling themselves against a robber, drag him down, and kill him on the ground. And so it went. At the end, our attackers lost heart. They broke and ran.
And I did of the stupidest things in my life.”**

*The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio, chapter 1. Copyright 2007 by The Estate of Lloyd Alexander and Henry Holt and Co
** The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio, chapter 14. Copyright 2007 by The Estate of Lloyd Alexander and Henry Holt and Co

My Blogoversary is Coming Up!!!

Greetings, all!

My blogoversary is coming up!!! In celebration, I am going to ask for book review requests! If you have a book that you would like a review on, please leave your request in the comment section below, or in my chatroom, and I will write the review as soon as possible. I will read and review just about any book genre except for horror and romance.

Important Note: I reserve the right to refuse any book requests. 😀

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year! ❤

Namarie,

~Middle Earth Musician~

 

Over Sea, Under Stone

“Once upon a time…a long time ago…things that happened once, perhaps, but have been talked about for so long that nobody really knows. And underneath all the bits that people have added, the magic swords and lamps, they’re all about one thing-the good hero fighting the giant, or the witch, of the wicked uncle. Good against bad. Good against evil…Sometimes, over the centuries, this ancient battle come to a peak. The evil grows very strong and nearly wins. But always at the same time there is some leader in the world, a great man who sometimes seems to be more than a man, who leads the forces of good to win back the ground and the men they seemed to have lost…King Arthur was one of these.”
-Merriman Lyon-Over Sea, Under Stone Chapter 6

When three children discover the key to finding King Arthur’s Grail-a power to fight the forces of evil-they put their lives in danger as they attempt to find it; for the Dark desires the Grail for itself, and it will attain it…at whatever cost. Written by Susan Cooper, Over Sea, Under Stone is the first book in the Dark is Rising sequence. It was published in 1965 by Susan Cooper, and would fall under the contemporary fantasy genre.
Simon, Jane, and Barney Drew are on holiday in the seaside village of Trewissick in Cornwall when they discover an ancient map in the attic of the house where they are staying. As they and their great-uncle, Merry, begin to follow the clues, they realize that the map is leading them to a source of great power; The Holy Grail…and the Dark is determined to find it before the Drews do.
Susan Cooper crafts an incredible story of good against evil in her books. She uses excellent detail and dialogue; and the story comes together very well, although the beginning is rather slow. The vocabulary is fairly good, and I would rate the book a medium reading level.
I would recommend this book at about 12+; older if you are frightened easily. An admirable fantasy story with upstanding morals and the age-old epic tale of good versus evil. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

“So, therefore, I trust it to this land, over sea and under stone, and I mark here the signs by which the proper man in the proper place, may know where it lies: the signs that wax and wane but do not die…Yet the man who finds the grail…for him is the charge, the promise and the proof, and in his day the Pendragon shall come again. And that day shall see a new Logres, with the evil cast out; when the old world shall appear no more than a dream.”
-The Manuscript-Over Sea, Under Stone Chapter 6

A Prisoner and Yet…

Arrested by Nazi soldiers, abused and imprisoned, then later forced to work in the horrible concentration camps of Vught and Ravensbruck, Corrie ten Boom had every right to feel anger and bitterness against her captors and God. Seeing the suffering of all those around her, the terrible tortures of men, women, and children-as well sharing in them herself-may have hardened her heart and caused her to reject the grace and mercies of her Almighty Creator. However, that was not the case of this brave Dutch woman. Read her memoir, A Prisoner and Yet…, published by the Christian Literature Crusade in 1954, to get a firsthand account of life in Nazi work camps in World War Two; as well as Corrie’s testimony of the goodness of God-even as a prisoner.
This book is incredibly powerful and moving. It is written in first person, and makes you feel as if you are really there-there with Corrie as she helps the Jews hide from the German Nazis, there with her as she stands strong for her faith in the flea and lice infested prison camps, and there with her as she experiences the sorrow of losing both her father and sister to the atrocities of life in prison. The descriptions in this book are excellent, and it is at about a medium reading level.
I would highly recommend this book for ages 15+. The horrors faced by Corrie are quite graphic; and there are some mature themes that are mentioned. It is a fascinating read with profound themes and an overall stirring story. 4 out of 5 stars.

The Screwtape Letters

Under Secretary Screwtape is writing advice to his protégé Wormwood as how to best tempt Wormwood’s “patient”, a human male living in England, into sin and draw him away from God. Written by C.S. Lewis and copyrighted 1942, this book is a masterpiece of satire and would fall under the category of Christian fiction.
C.S. Lewis wrote with a different style in this book than he tended to do with his other works; he uses less detail and no dialogue, as the book is told primarily through Screwtape’s letters to Wormwood. The Screwtape Letters is not an easy read, though it does flow very well; Lewis’ ideas and philosophies are quite profound. I would rate it at a hard read.
I would definitely recommend this book for ages 15+. There are some mature themes in it regarding the temptations that are recommended by Screwtape. An amazingly well written book with excellent literature, deep theological values, and thought-provoking chapters. 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Feedback?

Greetings, all!

I would love some feedback on my blog and book reviews! If you could take a second and answer a few questions, that would be wonderful. Thank you!!!

Namarie!

~MEM~