Tag Archive | evil

Spatzle Speaks: Twisted (Book Review)

I picked up and read Twisted by DiAn Gates without having read her first novel in the series, called Roped. I was instantly hooked into the mystery and drama that permeates every page.

Told from the perspective of a young woman named Crissy Crosby, we see the world of danger and intrigue unfolding around her. There is a complicated relationship between her family and another known as Fairgate. Choices Crissy made with good intentions have had a ripple effect that she could never have foreseen.

This is not a sweet story but one filled with past evils and deeply buried secrets. Crissy struggles to understand this when the adults around her are being evasive. For her own protection of course. But Crissy wants to know and is inquisitive and bold. A great young heroine.

And horses. Oh, I love horses. My mom is allergic to them which is why she has me instead of a horse,  well, that and we live in the city. The story takes place after a nasty rodeo competition and involves a ring of horse thieves. It’s a difficult book to put down once you start reading it.

I can see pre-teens loving this but also adults because of the way DiAne Gates weaves her complicated tale, leaving the reader wondering and waiting along with Crissy to discover just what is all going on and why the adults in her life are acting so strange.

I give this book five bones for suspense and the ability to keep the reader engaged in the unfolding story. It makes me want to go back and read Roped to learn more about what happened in that book, but this book stands alone well enough on its own.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

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Deliver Me From Evil (Book Review)

Sex trafficking in the United States is an unlikely backdrop for a story. In Deliver Me From Evil,  Kathi Macias takes the reader into the world of slave trading and gives a glimpse at the terror and pain of the victims of this crime. That would seem like a pretty dark topic to read about, but Kathi handles this with a master stroke in that she weaves together the tale with a look at various aspects of the industry from international sex slavery, to intra-national. She then adds in faith as one young man, Jonathan, is not only confronted with this evil, but his then compelled to wrestle with his role in it.

When one is confronted with unspeakable evil that one doesn’t fully recognize even exists, how does one react? Jonathan’s path is one of inner struggle and guilt over not knowing, but with the support of his family and new-found faith, results in courage unheard of in one so young.

The angle of the church is touched in here as well, the need for the faith community to take up the cause of abolition, not fear it but to enter into this battle wisely and well- informed. The reality of how few people want to engage in this ugly war is highlighted as well instead of treated as a “the church will save the world” fantasy. Oh, that it would be otherwise but Kathi Macias treats that as well with a just hand, neither excusing the church’s lack of involvement or making it something other than what it is.

I’m grateful that Kathi has helped us see beneath the staggering and mind-numbing statistics of human trafficking and does not even mention specific numbers but instead draws us into the thoughts,  fears and hopelessness of those involved.

This book should be a wake-up call for all Christians. There is real evil in this world and it is a dangerous battle that is fought first and foremost on our knees and then through wise and considered action. This book does an excellent job highlighting this without bringing the reader to a point of depression. Instead, there is hope, and one life at a time we can make a difference.

Casey Anthony

I did not watch the trial for Casey Anthony. I don’t have TV and don’t like getting sucked into all the drama surrounding legal cases like this. Even with all that – I still heard bits and pieces and knew the exact moment when the verdict had been handed down by the jury.

What has surprised me (although it shouldn’t, I’ve been around long enough) is the amount of vitriol that has been spewed forth on social networking. Casey Anthony has become the poster child for “evil personified.”  Even jurors, who have sacrificially given of their time to serve for this case, have received death threats. They showed up and they did their jobs. They did not say Casey Anthony was innocent. They came to the conclusion that there was not enough evidence to commit her to a death sentence. Justice did its job, even if we disagree with the outcome.

Casey Anthony has to face a higher judge. She will face, someday, the One from whom no one can hide truth. She will have to watch all that happened and it will be evident where true guilt lies and what her crimes really are.  I cannot judge what I do not know or have incontrovertible evidence of. Neither can you. The  case has left many with unanswered questions although some would like to assume they already know the answers. The fact is – only God and Casey REALLY know what happened to Caylee.

It is interesting that in a society that regularly kills babies before they are born, would get so worked up over the death of one child. Accidental or murder, she is gone and safe from further harm. I trust that God has her in His tender care and she does not suffer. Maybe she was saved from something far worse than eternity in His presence? We will never know. She is gone, she is safe.  Our anger and rage should be against the crimes that are perpetrated every hour of every day to kill babies in this country, for the sake of convenience and a woman’s rights. If a woman has a right to kill a child at 8 months gestation, then why is a two-year old different?   I am pro-life. I believe life is sacred from conception to the grave. But the inconsistency in our culture floors me.  All this anger directed at one woman and a jury – when we have a  President, a Supreme Court and doctors around this nation who support killing children?  Doesn’t  the cognitive dissonance of that irritate you?

So, in many ways, I feel sorry for Casey Anthony. At twenty-five years of age, she is an attractive young woman who has been found tried by a fickle society and has lost any chance of a “normal” life in this world because of the notoriety of this case and the high emotions that have been stoked by the media. While freedom from a death penalty, and getting out jail is certainly a bonus for her – what does  she have the freedom to do? She can’t get a job at Wal-mart. Where could she work to support herself and pay all her legal costs? She could write a book, true, but she will still lack the freedom to go to McDonald’s  or Starbucks to enjoy time with a friend. Have any friends even stood by her through this? She has lost closeness with her parents. Who will support her other than her attorneys who get paid to help?

Casey is one of many people in this world who walk around wearing “GUILTY” stamped across their chests. And yet – before God we are ALL guilty of sin, aren’t we? Without repentance and the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and His resurrection, what hope do any of us have of freedom and joy and “life?”

As a Christian, my heart goes out to Casey. God has placed her on my heart and I pray for her:  For her heart, for His plan for her future, and that she will be open to what He may choose to do in and through her life if she chooses to accept his “get out of jail free” card. Without God’s mercy on any of our souls,  we all are under a death penalty with the ultimate destination being hell. No matter what the crime, Casey Anthony was created in the image of God. Whether she acknowledges Him or not, He loves her and desires a relationship with her.  She needs our prayers, not our condemnation.  May God have mercy on our souls for presuming we can do God’s job for Him now that human justice has been meted out. May God have mercy on Casey Anthony’s soul as she steps into her uncertain future. May God have mercy on our nation for our inconsistent views on the value of human life.

Book Review: Driven by Shellie Neumeier

     Driven is a debut novel by Shellie Neumeier. Writing to teens, she captures the drama and angst of the age group as well as the durability of friendships and faith.  Robyn becomes a leader of her prayer group simply due to courage shown under fire. Courage that eventually gets tested as well as her faith when two boys vying for her affections, a vicious reporter and difficult life circumstances would threaten to throw her off course. This book however does not only deal with the human side of life, but does an incredible job of highlighting the spiritual battle that goes on behind the scenes when someone steps up to obey God, and pray.  With hints of C.S.Lewis’ Screwtape Letters and Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, Ms. Neumeier captures the intensity of spiritual battle that even the most mature of Christians often overlook.

            I found the book dynamic and suspenseful and the characters realistic.  I would long for more Robyn’s in the world to stand in the gap and this character, while human, is a good role model in her honesty and struggle. Even as an adult, I find this teen and her story a good reminder of my own need to be praying and aware of the spiritual battle around me.

DRIVEN releases its Kindle version in time for the Holiday Season. Beginning December 1, you can join the fun by downloading it to your ereader, kindle, ipod, computer or phone.

Or you can pre-order it on paperback through Barnes and Noble (paperbacks are scheduled to print March 1, 2011).