God and the Old Testament (Part 1)

ahr-largeSo I want to do a post on God, His love, and His relationship with us. I decided that I’d split it into two parts. One focusing on God in the Old Testament and one on God in the New Testament and, of course, today’s time, because there is a bit of a difference between the two.

In the beginning God created the world. He created everything, and I mean everything. There is not one thing the isn’t made by God. That means He created us. You know why? To glorify Him. We were made to share fellowship with Him and glorify Him through that.

But when Adam and Eve sinned, we fell from that perfection and could do nothing to save ourselves. We couldn’t glorify Him like we should’ve been able to. Then Adam and Eve’s descendants (except Noah and his family) turned to wickedness and it broke God’s heart.

Genesis 6:6

So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.

He then brought His righteous anger down and brought about a flood. All people except Noah his family were destroyed.

Through many years after that, God spoke to men who became the ancestors of His chosen people: the Israelites. Some of those men were Abram, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. He loved them dearly and when they followed Him faithfully, He blessed them. But those whose sinned greatly…think of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Now I’m not saying that in the Old Testament God was a God of anger and in the New Testament He was a God of love. I know some people believe that, but it is really not true. God doesn’t change, He stays the same.

Malachi 3:6

I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.

God can be angry and punish us because He is, first of all, God. God has the ultimate authority over us and everything. We all deserve hell, but because He a loving and merciful God He hasn’t sent us there. A second reason is that He is good. He can’t do anything wrong. No matter how wrong God’s decisions seems to us, it is right. I know, that is hard to believe at times and we’ll never fully understand it until we’re in Heaven.

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Exodus 20:6
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But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

In the book Exodus, God gave the Israelites “official” commandments to follow. But time and time and time again the Israelites turned away to idols and other idolatrous things. You see, the commandments only more showed how the Israelites couldn’t obey all of them and be perfect. It showed them that they needed a savior, because they couldn’t do it on their own. Do you see where this is heading?

The Old Testament is mainly the history of the Israelites and how they followed God and then turned away, then turned back to God and then turned away…you know what I mean. Though God was merciful and loving so He didn’t totally wipe them out like He could have, He punished and/or reprimanded them. He is a God of justice.

Throughout what seems the hopelessness of the Old Testament: how the Israelites always fall short of God’s commands, we actually see hope too of a coming savior who will set them (us) free from the law. The Old Testament prophecies of hope and redemption.

Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.

Isn’t that wonderful? There was hope. Next time I will post on that hope which is now a reality.

-G. Paige

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Peace: Can We Find It?

ahrPeace. Is that not what we all want? Peace from war. Peace from stress and anxiety. Not a single thing to worry about. No tragedies. No struggles. No hard times. No sadness. No sickness. No death. Well, that’s starting to sound like a utopia to me, don’t you think?

I know we can’t really stop wars, though we can be a good influence in the world and maybe it would happen less. Tragedies, slavery, starvation, natural disasters, and the like are always going to be here. We can make a difference in the world. But are any of these things ever truly going to stop? No, and that includes death. “So, are you telling us to just give up?” You might be asking. No, I am not. But I am saying some things just will never come true, at least, until Jesus returns.

Peace, inner peace, all of us can have. God, the creator of all the Heavens and the Earth, offers us peace. How do we get this peace?

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

God’s peace is beyond anything that we can even begin to comprehend. It can never be taken away from us. All we have to do is trust God with our lives, our struggles, our hopes, our dreams, and everything!

‭This is part of a song praising God.

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

‭‭I think this is one of the main reasons we have trouble being and staying at peace. We can’t keep our thoughts fixed on God. I know, it is hard. We get so caught up in our lives at times. Our worries and everything else get in the way what we should be spending time on.

Another reason could be fear. We want control over our own lives. If you pay attention to what the world is doing today, it seems we want control of everything. The desire for control, power is one of our greatest downfalls.

Now we need to let go. We have to have faith. Jesus has given us that chance for peace.

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

Because of what Jesus did on earth, when we have faith and trust in him our sins are wiped clean. We become righteous to God! That, is why we owe him everything, especially our lives. So we should be full of joy to be able to glorify Him through everything we do.

John 14:27

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

‭This peace is such precious gift (See what I did there?). Money and other material stuff can not bring you peace, only God can. God is the only one who can give you everlasting peace. No thing, no one, can do that.

We may not know where we are going or what is going to happen to us, but God does. We can rely on Him to lead us down the right path. He is good, and can’t do anything wrong or He wouldn’t be God.

So lets trust Him and receive that peace. Alright? It is such a relief to know that your life is not in your hands and in the much more capable hands of God.

In closing, here is one more verse. I wish it for all of you.

2 Thessalonians 3:16

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

-G. Paige

Baptism: Why Do We Do It?

aheartredeemedWhat is the meaning of baptism? What is its purpose? Should Christians get baptized? Should we not? Are we saved because we get baptized, or is it just a add-on? These questions and more I hope to answer for you today as well as I can.

Baptism. We see it everywhere and in many different places. It is also done in many different ways. We see it in churches around the world. Some people do it in the ocean or sea or lake or pond or…..you know what I mean. Sometimes people are fully submerged and sometimes water is sprinkled on them. But what does the Bible say about all of this? Lets take a look.

Matthew 28:19

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

‭I think this verse takes out the question that we shouldn’t get baptized. Jesus, God’s Son calls us to! And if Jesus commands us to, well, then I think we should.

Now I’m going to step on some people’s toes here. I don’t mean to come across offensive, but some people just aren’t going to agree with me on this. So lets just get it over with and if you disagree you can tell me where in the Bible I’m wrong. I would love to hear what you think!

You do not have to get baptized to be saved. I can’t find it anywhere in the Bible where it says that you have to be baptized to be saved. There is even an example of it.

Luke 23:42-43

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

‭‭This happens right before Jesus dies on the cross. There were two criminals crucified on either side of him. One scoffed at him; the other asked to be remembered in Heaven. Did this man (we don’t even know his name) have a chance to get baptized? No, he didn’t. But Jesus told told him that they would meet in paradise (essentially Heaven).

If you get the chance to be baptized, you should. We are called to. But it is not a necessity for salvation. And not everyone is going to get the chance. So if you get that chance, take it.

How should someone get baptized? Well, I think the best thing to do it to follow Christ’s example.

Matthew 3:6

And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.

John, known as John the Baptist, was baptizing in a river.

Matthew 3:16

After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.

John later baptized Jesus and from what I read here it seems that he was baptized through full immersion. That means totally submerged in water. I believe that’s what we should do too, since Christ did it that way. But I think this is one of those “open-handed” subjects, it doesn’t necessarily have to be followed and replicated.

There is one more thing that I would like to answer and I think that it is the most important question on baptism. What is the purpose or meaning of it? If there was no purpose, Christ wouldn’t have told us to baptize.

Baptism is an external expression of an internal change. It is like a declaration. By getting baptized you’re proclaiming to the world that you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior.

That’s why we baptize. It is an act of faith. I hope we can all take that step.

-G. Paige

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To Christian Teens: To Be A Friend

aheartredeemedimageI move around a lot. I mean way more than “normal” people do (if there is such a thing as “normal”). Every time I move, I come closer to realization of just how much my friends mean to me. So a few months ago I moved to Puerto Rico (this was a big change for someone who has only lived in the United States). Anyways, I decided the move and other circumstances have led me to believe that friendship would be a fitting topic for today.

I’m pretty sure just about everyone has a friend. We were created to have a certain friendship with  God so it’s no wonder that we want to be friends with each other. It is a natural desire for us. Since having friends is important to us, I think some advice on friendship would be worth the time.

First off, we all need friends. Don’t even think about denying it. We need friends or, at least, a friend. Ultimately, God is our first and only friend we will ever need. But it is so encouraging and uplifting to have friends in the physical sense. Friends that will be there for us, no matter what.

John‬ ‭15:12-14

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. 

Christians (those who obeys Christ’s commandments) are Jesus’s friends. He considers us his friends. Now tell me that isn’t neat.
What does it mean to be a friend? A friend is someone who you place your trust in and you know quite a bit about them. You probably talk about hard, intimate stuff that you wouldn’t talk about to a stranger. You know him/her and he/she knows you.

Proverbs‬ ‭27:10‬

Never abandon a friend— either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.‭‭

To be a friend means being there for them in any way possible, encouraging them, loving them, giving advice that you are able to give, and maybe if you are really close and you both are willing, being accountable to each other. What I mean is criticizing each other on your strengths and faults even if it hurts. I do not want you to be all harsh and cruel, but give advice in a kind and Christian way and your friend taking it as well as he/she can. Of course, also switching the roles. We need to hold each other accountable. That is true Christian friendship.

Matthew‬ ‭7:1

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.

People will use this verse as incentive to not hold each other accountable, judge, or criticize. But if we are Christians we should. Look at the next verse after the one above.

Matthew‬ ‭7:2

‭‭For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

God was not saying “Don’t judge.”, He was just saying to be prepared to be judged yourself if you are going to judge others.

Proverbs‬ ‭27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.‭‭‬

This is so true. Our friends can help us grow in our walk with Christ. To grow we need to be held accountable.

So I challenge you today to call, text, email, etc. to a friend. Give them an encouraging word. Or just chat. You don’t know how much it means to them (or, maybe you do). Don’t you enjoy getting a call, text, email, etc. from a friend?

-G. Paige
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Book Review: Prophet (Books of the Infinite: Book 1)

Prophet-TP_Cover(PH).inddRating: 3/5 stars.

I’m not exactly sure what to rate this book (or what I think about it). It was good, don’t get me wrong. But it didn’t really connect with me and I’m not totally sure why.

Ela of Parne can’t imagine why the Infinite would want her, a mere girl, to become his prophet. But after experiencing his presence, she can’t imagine being anything else. She takes up the sacred vinewood branch and sets out with her little sister, Tzana, leaving Parne and everything she ever knew behind. Soon she is in the land Istgard, a nation falling apart at the seams. They have abandoned the Infinite for other “gods”. She wants to turn them to the truth. But will anyone listen? To top it off, Kien of Traceland is thrown into her life. He wants to enact revenge on the king of Istgard or die. Can she help him? Throughout everything, Ela wonders, when will she die?

This was very interesting and I quite enjoyed it. It had the action, the adventure, the danger, and a bit of romance. Ela was so sweet and felt so real, if you know what I mean. She seemed really natural and realistic. Kien, oh I loved him, was hilarious and such fun. He was so strong and had a lot of spirit.

There was just something that didn’t “click” for me. The last sixty pages or so felt like an add-on from what I had thought was the main plot. Then I never really connected with the characters much. Well, I think I connected with Kien pretty well. Also, I haven’t read many allegorical books. So maybe allegory just isn’t my thing.

Above all that, I still really don’t want to scare you away from reading this. It was really great, and I still want to try to the next book. Maybe it will work out better for you than me. Or maybe I’ll enjoy the next book more, I don’t know.

I’d recommend this to anyone who really likes allegory. Christianity is very prevalent, but not definitely overwhelming. You will probably enjoy this more than me.

-G. Paige

To Christian Teens: Why We Need To Obey Our Parents

aheartredeemedimageWe, as teens with parents, have been told time and time again to obey our parents. But do we really know why? Why should we obey our parents? This is what I want to go into a bit today.

Colossians 3:20

Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.

Since we were created to glorify God, we should want to please Him, the creator of the universe. If we live in Jesus, he gives us the ability to please and obey Him. If pleasing Him includes obeying our parents then I think we should do just that. That’s good enough of a reason, right? We should want to obey God with every fiber of our being. So why don’t we?

1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:34‬

Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.

I believe it is the consequence of living in a fallen world. Sin is such a big temptation for us. It’s part of our nature to sin. So we disobey our parents either with disrespect, back talk, lies, and the list goes on. There are many reasons why: maybe we want control and we’re tired parents telling us what to do (we are teenagers, we can make our own decisions, right) or maybe we just are in a really bad mood and don’t want to listen to anyone (I do that quite a bit) or maybe we want to disobey, just to cross the line. Either way, we are teenagers so that means we should be able to see that obeying our parents is the right thing to do.

Ephesians‬ ‭6:1-3‬

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

It’s still very hard though, isn’t it? But if we lean and trust in Jesus Christ. We can do anything.

Luke 18:27

He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”

When it feels impossible, just remember that: God is with you all the way, so what can be impossible? Anyways, your parents are probably trying to follow God too and do right by you. They are trying to teach you to do what is right so you won’t make any mistakes that you later regret. They have so much more experience than you. They have your best interests at heart. But most importantly, they love you. God gave you to them. So whatever punishment you think is unfair or whatever thing they told you to do that you don’t think you should, know that it is for your own benefit. And most likely, in later years (or now) you’ll be so grateful to have had such amazing God-loving parents. What could we have done without them? They’re a small reflection of what our Father in Heaven is like.

Proverbs 13:24

Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

Our parents are just doing what they’re called to do. We don’t have to love it, but we can respect and honor their decisions. We’ll really appreciate it later.

So I’m just going to shout out to my parents. Thanks Mom and Dad for being such spectacular parents to me! I love you guys and I want you to know that it really really really means a lot how much that you’ve done and your doing for me.

-G. Paige
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Book Review: Season of Wonder (The Remnants: Book 1)

imageRating: 5/5 stars.

This was really a new refreshing read for me. When I started it, I wasn’t very interesting in anything I was reading. So this took me awhile to read (like more than a week, when three or four days in my average). Normally I think I would have read this super quick, it was that good.

Their coming was foretold for many years. Children born on the seventh day of the seventieth-seventh Harvest after the Great War. Carrying the Ailith Strain and a birthmark in the shape of a crescent moon, they were recognized immediately and taken to safety. Prophesied to save the world, they spend their whole lives training physically and spiritually. Now Andriana (a Remnant) and Ronan (her Knight of the Last Order) have experienced the Hour of their Call, their call to save the world. But right from the start, they meet with danger. Are they, and the other Ailith, ready for this? Do they even know what specifically they’re meant to do? Or are they going to just die as martyrs for a righteous cause?

So this was a really slow reading for about seventy percent of the book, but as I said above, I kind of wasn’t interested in anything I was reading at the time. The last thirty percent or so I read as quick as I could. It was so so good. I’m still wondering how this whole series is going to be resolved. I feel this story can have no real conclusion.

The main character was Andriana. I liked her. She had spirit and was quite a fighter. There were a good bit of characters that were there throughout the book: Ronan, Raniero, Vidar, and Bellona. And later Tressa and Killian. They each had a distinct personality and I loved them all, but Ronan was my absolute favorite. He, for some reason, reminds me of Four from the Divergent Series. At least, a more kinder, “Christian” version of Four. He was such a gentleman and he really cared for Andriana. He would die for her. The romance that grew between them was sweet.

There was plenty of action, suspense, adventure, danger of the unknown, and the like. It was really really intense! I will say this is definitely for more mature older teens, because there is hints of what some sinful men do to women. And there was one setting where it was kind of shown in a  really moderate amount.

I’d recommend this to all the Christian Fiction fans out there. It was such an interesting dystopian. You’ll enjoy it!

-G. Paige

Heave Your Worries On Who You Really Need

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By the way, if anyone hasn’t noticed, I changed my blog and updated it a bit about a week ago. The “About Me” has more about me on it and I have a “Book Reviews” page so you can go directly to any of my reviews. Check it out!

On Monday and Tuesday I read Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards for the first (I hope it is not the last). Anyways, it kind of hit me how much we need God. I mean physically, mentally, spiritually, and in every aspect of our lives. So that is what I want to talk about today: why we need God and why we should not worry and just trust Him.

“So…why do we need God?” Well, if you haven’t noticed, we are already relying on Him every millisecond of our lives from the start to the finish. He brought us into this world and He can take of out of it whenever He desires.

Every time I wake up to a new day, every breath I breathe, every single heartbeat has been given to me, to you, by God. He causes the food we need to survive to grow. He gives us water to drink. He is the one who gives us jobs to get money to buy things (like clothes). The most important thing He has given us though, is eternal life.

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
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All we ever have to do is believe that Jesus is who he says he is. Once Jesus has come into our hearts, we are free from the bondage of sin. We will know where we are going after death: to Heaven for all eternity. But those who do not accept Christ as their Savior will spend an infinite amount of time in torture in Hell. That just about gives me chills to say that, but it’s true (by the way, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God talks mostly just about that). Still, has not God given us the most perfect gift anyone could ever ask for?

Another reason we need God is that there would be no purpose to life without Him. If there was no God, what would be the point of life? We live, we die, and that’s that. There would be no point or purpose to live for.

God gives us purpose and meaning. We were made to glorify Him. We (Christians) are His children. We have been given a mission to teach and lead others to accepting God’s free gift. We’re valuable to Him.

Matthew‬ ‭6:26‬

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

This leads us to another point: we need to rely on Him, to trust Him. He has our very lives in His hands already. So why don’t we just stop clinging to our worries and let God take care of it and lead us through it.

Matthew‬ ‭6:27

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
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What’s the point of worrying anyways? It only gets you stressed out and gives you gray hairs (Hahaha…). You can’t really enjoy life by worrying.

Proverbs‬ ‭12:25‬

Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.

God is perfect, holy, sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent, and many other things. We can totally trust Him. He has been with us always, in every moment. He can do no wrong. Lets trust Him!

Some of you might be saying “But it is so hard to hand over our worries to Him!” I know, I still am working on it (we’re not perfect). But I think the reason why it is hard is because usually we are scared or maybe we want to have control of our own lives (as our sinful nature is prone to want). Either way, we need to let go of our worries. God has a plan for us (as I said in an earlier post), so lets let Him lead us through it. Because whatever plan He has, it will be for God’s glory and that, my friend, is what we’re supposed to do.

-G. Paige
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Book Review: Half Blood (Ilyon Chronicles: Prequel Novella)

imageRating: 5/5 stars.

Let me just blurt out: oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness!!! There isn’t enough I could say to tell you how much I loved this book. And hated it. But let’s get on to what it is about.

This is a prequel book to the first book in the the Ilyon Chronicles: Resistance. It is a backstory of  the life of Jace, one of the two main characters. Starting when he is six years old, Jace is a slave. He’s also half ryrik. That, supposedly, makes him dangerous. He has no memory of his parents. Sold from one slave owner to another all who look at him have hatred and fear in their eyes. They call him an animal, a monster who has no soul. He lives through it all, but then he loses control and something terrible happens. Forced to be a gladiator, he lives to kill. Jace fears that he is becoming the monster that everyone thinks he is. Or that maybe, he already is.

It’s been awhile since I have read one of Jaye L. Knight’s books fresh for the first time. I was really excited to get my hands on this and read it (long before it came out). Jace is my favorite character in the Ilyon Chronicles, so what could go wrong with a book just about him? It was small, but that didn’t make it any less amazing.

This book tore my heart into a million pieces. I hardly ever cry in book. I mean, that never happens. Throughout this whole book my eyes got watery one time. If I really think about what happened in the book, I do think I will cry. But over all the excitement and thrill of the experience, I did deeply feel this book. You know what I mean? There was an unknown depth to the book that touched my heart.

Now, you’re probably still wondering why earlier I said I hated it. Well, I didn’t hate the book. But I did hate what happened to Jace. It was terrible. Though it totally fitted the character and I wouldn’t change any of it, it was still just horrible. Poor Jace. I feel so bad for him.

So I loved loved loved this book, while at the same time hating what happened in it for the most part. But the darkness and bitterness of how the story was, for most of the book, made the light at the end so much brighter. Through all that darkness and despair, there was hope in the end that things would turn out better. So it doesn’t leave you feeling depressed, but happy and sad at the same time.

This was a beautiful tale that was perfect for a day’s reading. So don’t miss it. No matter how heartbreaking it is, you’ll still be glad you read it.

I wouldn’t recommend this to people until they had at least read Resistance. But this is for any lover of fantasy and Christian fiction. Or anyone who likes to read. It is so so good.

-G. Paige

Book Review: Creighton Hill (Time Captives: Book 1)

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Rating: 4/5 stars.

I so enjoyed this book. This was very well done. I am excited to read more by Morgan Elizabeth Huneke!

This is the beginning of a trilogy about Emily, Allan, Jill, and Joey Hubbard. They grew up listening to their grandfather’s tales of how every twenty years a twelve year old Hubbard disappeared. When their grandpa dies their parents decide to move to Creighton Hill. Allan, Jill, Joey, and their little sister Anna want to learn more about the mysterious disappearances. Emily thinks its hogwash. But none of them really believe until they start seeing strange writing saying queer things on secret doors. They need to find out what happened to their ancestors and help them, if they can.

This was a great book. I mean, great. It also ended fantastically. Why, oh why, did it have to end that way? It has a definitive Narnian flair that I really enjoyed. I don’t read too many books about siblings, and this certainly had that aspect to it. This was such a refreshing read. The storyline and plot were great. I can’t wait to see where this story ends up. I loved how Christianity was added subtly but didn’t sound preachy. It seemed so natural in this book.

I loved the characters (I think George was my favorite). They all had a different, unique personality. Then the elves, the kalicans, the mermen, and all the other  nonhuman species and creatures were just awesome. It has a really great start to a fun new world. I am excited to read more.

This book is absolutely geared more toward kids, but all can read and enjoy this book just the same. I recommend this to anyone who reads any sort of fiction, whether it be fantasy or science fiction, dystopian or romance. This is more of a fantasy book, but you’ll love it.

-G. Paige