KP Book Review: Thr3e

Kevin Parson’s lived a pretty good life. He doesn’t have any major flaws, doesn’t have a dark and twisted past, and is currently in seminary studying to be a pastor. Sure, his life isn’t the best it could be. He’s a bit of a recluse and doesn’t quite know how to handle himself around people. But he’s a pretty decent person who’s pretty intelligent; what major faults does he have? None that he can see at least.thr3ereview

That is, not until a man calls him demanding that he confess his secret sin to the world within the next three minutes or watch his car blow up.

And, of course, things only escalate from there. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf started reading when he was four, started writing fiction when he was six and hasn’t stopped doing either ever since. After growing up with seven younger siblings, he eventually found himself graduated and attending Patrick Henry College, where he plans on majoring in literature with a minor in pedagogy (it’s a fancy Greek word for education).
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels that have worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as fun as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. Plans for obtaining those impossible goals include listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer, ignoring college work so that he can find time to write, and avoiding coffee at all costs.

KP Book Review: Into the Fire

Kate was just your average college freshman until she found a fire mark on her hand one day. A mark that she couldn’t get off of herself. That’s when she began to be approached by people who said that she had been given a superpower by God in order to protect others.intothefirepinterest

The only problem is: Kate doesn’t really know what her superpower is. And she doesn’t really want to have one.

As much as she loves superhero films, she’d much rather go on with her normal life than deal with the problems associated with having superpowers. Especially when there are powerful enemies on her tail. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf started reading when he was four, started writing fiction when he was six and hasn’t stopped doing either ever since. After growing up with seven younger siblings, he eventually found himself graduated and attending Patrick Henry College, where he plans on majoring in literature with a minor in pedagogy (it’s a fancy Greek word for education).
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels that have worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as fun as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. Plans for obtaining those impossible goals include listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer, ignoring college work so that he can find time to write, and avoiding coffee at all costs.

KP Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the instant classics of our time. It was first written by Harper Lee in 1960, and has been a staple of high school literature classes ever since, so many of you may have already read it, and those who haven’t have likely at least heard of it.tokillamockingbird

This is a book that is best read going into it blind, as a lot of the charm of the book is due to the fact that you’re discovering this through the eyes of a young girl, so I don’t want to give too much away about what this book is about (although, given the popularity of this book, you may already know a fair bit about it). Nevertheless, this book is best described as a coming-of-age novel, where we see a young girl, Scout grow up and begin to enter the real world as she encounters goodness and wickedness and has to decide where she’s going to stand on important issues. Like most coming-of-age novels, this features both a process of maturation for Scout and also a clash between her own values and the values of society. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf started reading when he was four, started writing fiction when he was six and hasn’t stopped doing either ever since. After growing up with seven younger siblings, he eventually found himself graduated and attending Patrick Henry College, where he plans on majoring in literature with a minor in pedagogy (it’s a fancy Greek word for education).
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels that have worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as fun as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. Plans for obtaining those impossible goals include listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer, ignoring college work so that he can find time to write, and avoiding coffee at all costs.

KP Book Review: Inkheart

by Cornelia Funke

Every avid reader has dreamed of being able to meet his favorite characters in the books that he’s read.  Mortimer Folchart (Mo) has always dreamed of being able to do the same.  One day, while reading aloud from one of his favorite books, he discovers that he is able to read characters out of the books and into the real world by doing so.  It would have been a magnificent discovery if it weren’t for two problems.  The first is that he makes the mistake of reading the villains out of the book along with the hero.  And the second is that when characters are read out of the book, someone else needs to go in, and so by reading these characters out of the story world, his wife is sucked into it. inkheartreview

Ten years later, the villains of the book he read are still running around the world creating chaos and his twelve-year old daughter Maggie is beginning to demand answers.  [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf started reading when he was four, started writing fiction when he was six and hasn’t stopped doing either ever since. After growing up with seven younger siblings, he eventually found himself graduated and attending Patrick Henry College, where he plans on majoring in literature with a minor in pedagogy (it’s a fancy Greek word for education).
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels that have worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as fun as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. Plans for obtaining those impossible goals include listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer, ignoring college work so that he can find time to write, and avoiding coffee at all costs.

KP Book Review: The Wingfeather Saga

If you are searching for a book that encompasses the wit and the humor of the Princess Bride along with the charm and imagination found in The Chronicles of Narnia, (and even if you weren’t) The Wingfeather Saga is just for you. wingfeatherreview

Andrew Peterson opens the series with the book On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, where we begin in the town of Glipwood and are introduced to the three Igiby children, Janner, Tink, and Leeli. Peterson’s writing style is quick-witted, fast-paced, and—as I like to put it—bouncy, which easily draws you into the world of Aerwiar and its inhabitants, including, but most certainly not limited to, Quill Diggles, Thwarps, Skreean Snickbuzzards, and the most feared of them all, the Toothy Cow. [Read more…]

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Christine Eaton is an 18-year-old, high school senior, who loves stories and hopes to someday publish a great novel. She lives in Southern California with her parents and her younger brother. She loves the ability to wear flip-flops in December and spend time with her friends at Disneyland. Besides writing, she loves drama, painting, and reading. Broadway musicals can usually be heard blasting through her bedroom. Some of her favorite authors include A.S. Peterson, Francine Rivers, Louisa May Alcott, and Andrew Peterson.

KP Book Review: Jude the Obscure

What do you do if you find that you made a poor decision in the person you chose to marry?

This is one of the main questions that Jude the Obscure is wrestling with, and one that dominates the main plot of the book.  The story focuses on two characters: Jude, a humble stonemason who dreams of eventually entering college and entering the world of academia, and his cousin Sue, who works as an assistant teacher in a school.  Both characters have large hopes and dreams before they both rashly enter into marriages with poor partners.  And so, after they both find themselves in miserable marriages, as they begin to fall in love with each other instead of their spouses, the question becomes: what do they do next? judetheobscurereview

Without trying to spoil much of what happens next, suffice to say that neither Jude nor Sue end up following biblical commands with regards to the permanence of marriage.  Thomas Hardy, the author of this book, wrote in a postscript to the book that:

“My opinion is that a marriage should be dissolvable as soon as it becomes a cruelty to either of the parties.”

And the book ends up playing that opinion out.  Both characters make rather scathing attacks on the institution of marriage and most of the book seems to view their immoral and foolish choices with approval, which automatically leads to a question:

What is the value of reading this book? [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf started reading when he was four, started writing fiction when he was six and hasn’t stopped doing either ever since. After growing up with seven younger siblings, he eventually found himself graduated and attending Patrick Henry College, where he plans on majoring in literature with a minor in pedagogy (it’s a fancy Greek word for education).
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels that have worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as fun as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. Plans for obtaining those impossible goals include listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer, ignoring college work so that he can find time to write, and avoiding coffee at all costs.

KP Book Review: Dreamlander

What if, in your dreams, you enter into another world?  What if the world of dreams was set in a fantasy setting with some splashes of steampunk and a growing schism between two warring nations?  What if normally, you and your dreaming self can only remember snatches of the life that you live on the other side?  But what if, unlike all the rest of the populace, you were able to fully remember what goes on in both the waking and dreaming worlds? dreamlanderreviewpost

This is the basic premise of Dreamlander, K.M. Weiland’s third published novel.  The protagonist of the story, Chris Redston, has spent the past several years of his life running away from his responsibilities and duties.  But when he becomes the Gifted—the only person able to remember both worlds—and inadvertently brings destructive forces into the dream world, he’s going to need to learn to take responsibility and learn how to fight if he’s going to save both worlds from crossing into each other and destroying themselves. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf started reading when he was four, started writing fiction when he was six and hasn’t stopped doing either ever since. After growing up with seven younger siblings, he eventually found himself graduated and attending Patrick Henry College, where he plans on majoring in literature with a minor in pedagogy (it’s a fancy Greek word for education).
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels that have worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as fun as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. Plans for obtaining those impossible goals include listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer, ignoring college work so that he can find time to write, and avoiding coffee at all costs.

The Great Gatsby

By Christine Eaton

If you are like most high school students, the Great Gatsby is on your reading list: why?  Is it to experience a masterpiece of literary genius or is there something more to this novel?  In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote this story, which is a staunch example of the frivolity of life without Christ as the foundation. Wealth, power, vanity, and adulterous relationships are the four core elements that drive the characters and plot of The Great Gatsby.  GreatGatsbyThroughout the story, it is shown how the characters felt secure in their way of life, how they let their own desires and impulses lead them, and how they twisted the morals they did have to fit in with their sinful lifestyle. In the end, they found that their world had collapsed because they did not have a proper foundation. Matthew 7:26-27 says “and everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell. And great was the fall of it.” [ESV] this verse is the perfect description of the life of Fitzgerald’s main character, Jay Gatsby. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Christi Eaton
Christine Eaton is an 18-year-old, high school senior, who loves stories and hopes to someday publish a great novel. She lives in Southern California with her parents and her younger brother. She loves the ability to wear flip-flops in December and spend time with her friends at Disneyland. Besides writing, she loves drama, painting, and reading. Broadway musicals can usually be heard blasting through her bedroom. Some of her favorite authors include A.S. Peterson, Francine Rivers, Louisa May Alcott, and Andrew Peterson.

KP Book Review: Crime and Punishment

by Fyodor Doestoevsky

You don’t need to read that much into the book to learn what its plot is: it’s a story about a Russian axe-murderer who kills an old lady who runs a pawnshop seemingly for money and afterwards tries to hide what he did from the authorities.  It’s a shocking premise, and yet the depth and complexity of this book has made it a lasting member in the list of the classics, as well as being perhaps one of the greatest Christian novels of all time. c&ppinterest

Since the murder of the old woman happens within the first sixth of the book, the whole rest of the book is focused on the mind of the murderer, Raskolnikov, and this is where the full genius and depth of the book really comes in.  When Doestoevsky initially wrote this book, he told his publisher that he intended it to be the psychological account of a crime that was committed by a young man who “had submitted to strange ‘incomplete’ ideas which float on the wind,” and that certainly comes out.  Crime and Punishment explores the complexities of human psychology within the mind of a murderer like few other books do and portrays rather keenly how destructive a vice pride really is.

What is perhaps most interesting about the book from a literary perspective is its use of foil characters.  Foil characters are minor characters who are similar to the main character in many ways—but who also have major differences that end up having a lot of relevance in the overall scope of the book.  In Crime and Punishment, Doestoevsky uses a plethora of foil characters to show the readers different examples of who Raskolnikov could turn out to be depending on the choices he makes.  Is he going to become like one of his noble friends, or one of his less savory acquaintances?  The book makes for an interesting study of foil characters, so if you’re a fiction writer looking to make more use of them in your story, this is a good book to study. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf started reading when he was four, started writing fiction when he was six and hasn’t stopped doing either ever since. After growing up with seven younger siblings, he eventually found himself graduated and attending Patrick Henry College, where he plans on majoring in literature with a minor in pedagogy (it’s a fancy Greek word for education).
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels that have worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as fun as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. Plans for obtaining those impossible goals include listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer, ignoring college work so that he can find time to write, and avoiding coffee at all costs.

KP Book Review: King Lear

This play by the Bard isn’t the type of story that you want to pick up to read for fun—unless your favorite pastime happens to be reading gut-wrenching tragedies.  But it also has numerous implications for writers, which is why I’m recommending kinglearreviewthis book to Kingdom Pen subscribers.

Given the popularity of this book, particularly in English and Literature courses, the basic plot of this story may very well already be familiar to you: the story of the aging king who decided to separate his kingdom among his three daughters.  When one of the daughters refuses to flatter him like her sisters do, but chooses to show her genuine affections for him instead, the aging king misunderstands her intentions and disowns her from the inheritance, dividing the kingdom instead between the two flattering daughters.  And from there, the story pretty much goes downhill from there, as the king learns to his expense how much of a grave error he made when divvying up his inheritance. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf started reading when he was four, started writing fiction when he was six and hasn’t stopped doing either ever since. After growing up with seven younger siblings, he eventually found himself graduated and attending Patrick Henry College, where he plans on majoring in literature with a minor in pedagogy (it’s a fancy Greek word for education).
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels that have worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as fun as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. Plans for obtaining those impossible goals include listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer, ignoring college work so that he can find time to write, and avoiding coffee at all costs.