Morgan’s Book Bag Review: United We Spy by Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls)

Overview:

Cammie is in her senior year of High School.  In one day, Cammie and her friends find themselves lose the safety of the school.  They are running from both the supposed good guys and the bad guys trying to find the answers of the Circle?  Why did they take such an interest in Liz?  Can Cammie protect those around her?  Will they be able to stop World War III from happening?

Sexual Content:

Both Zach and Cammie kiss throughout the book.  Macey and Preston also kiss. No details are given. Mr. Soloman is talked about with his shirt off in the headmistresses office.  Nothing inappropriate happens.

Violent Content:

Cammie and her friends are being shot at throughout the whole book.  Bex gets hit, Liz starts an avalanche, Zach gets captured and tortured, and Cammie also have a few wounds throughout the book.

Profane Language:

NONE

Other Negative Content:

Cammie and her friends are running away from the law.  Also, Cammie’s mom and Mr. Soloman must run away from the authorities.  We find out later that they are infiltrated by the Circle, but it is not made clear at the beginning of the book.  Of course, Cammie and her friends lie and cheat to get what they need because they are spys.

Conclusion:

I was excited about reading the last book in the Gallagher Girl’s series.  I have been a fan since I was in High School and I sort of have grown up with Cammie.  Of course, I was always older than the main character, but in a way I had always felt a connection to this character.  Ally Carter has done a fantastic job portraying and bringing these characters to life.  She also has kept her books cleaner than most of the teen books that are out now and I commend her for it.  Zach and Cammie only kiss in the books and Cammie’s mom and Mr. Soloman go about the right way with their growing relationship.  Yes, the girls in the book are spies and sometimes must lie, but overall this is a clean and fun read for teen girls.  I would recommend these books.  I hope that if you decide to read this series that you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Morgan’s Book Bag Reviews: Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd

Overview:

Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden with a broken heart.  Her fiance fell in love with her sister and her dowry was gambled away by her deceased father.  While Elin is sorting her life through, her life takes a different course when she sails to England.  In a new land, without the comfort of her friends, family, her culture, and her language; Elin struggles with the politics of the time.  Her loyalties are torn between her Queen and her husband.  Is her husband telling the truth?  Can she serve both her Queen and her husband?

Sexual Content:

Sadly, there is a lot of content in this particular book.  If you know very much about the era that Queen Elizabeth reined in, you would know that Shakespeare and other poets started using sexuality more in their writings.  One big thing that is probably one of the main themes is that Elizabeth is a virgin queen who has decided against getting married.  Although this is not a bad thing in itself, Elizabeth is portrayed as one who is jealous of any woman that gets married, has a child, etc.  Therefore, the main character is worried about herself being married and the author highlights the fact that she has children.  Elizabeth also makes comments such as “What happened to you having a child every year?”. Therefore, although detail is not given, sexual content is a constant theme throughout the book.

Violent Content:

Queen Elizabeth does have to make a decision about whether or not Mary, Queen of Scots should be beheaded.  Also, England goes to war against Spain.  No detail are given.

Other Negative Content:

Throughout the book, Queen Elizabeth is portrayed as a monarch who is jealous, tight with her money, and given into tempers.  Also, all the monarchs are shown as getting there way all the time.

Profane Language:

NONE

Spiritual Content:

It was a very interesting time for England during Elizabeth’s time period. There was no such thing as religious freedom so this is another main issue throughout the book.  Elizabeth inherited a realm that that torn between Catholicism and Protestantism.  As a Protestant herself, there is always an underlying tension.  God is mentioned as well as the pope.  The pope is shown in a bad light in this book.

Conclusion:

I love reading about the different monarchs throughout history.   Elizabeth is a special favorite because she was one of the few female monarchs to sit on the throne and because she went through such a traumatic childhood and reign.  However, this book is not for a younger teen.  I would be careful of the sexual content and some people may take issue with the spiritual content.  Keep in mind this is a historical fiction book and the author does have her interpretation of the Elizabeth and those around her.  Overall, this was a really good book and an excellent read for those that love history.

Morgan’s Book Bag Review: Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett

Overview:

What if you have lived all your life in a tower?  Never going outside, never having any friends, never even knowing what is outside the rooms you occupy.  Rapunzel had never left her tower.  Not because she doesn’t want too, but because her mother states she has a rare disease that doesn’t allow her to be around anyone normal.  Therefore, Rapunzel has pretty much self-taught herself everything she knows, but she is very lonely.  When she accidentally stumble onto a website called Facebook, she begins talking to someone outside her room, someone who knows what it is liked to live. Maybe she won’t get crazy after all.

Sexual Content:

The first kiss is explained in more detail than necessary between her and her friend Fane.  It must be noted that Fane comes over to her tower since she couldn’t leave her tower.  He, at first, jokes about how she could get in trouble for having him over until he realizes the grave situation she is in.  Fane acts like a true gentleman and does not ever suggest anything other than kissing her–he is even reluctant of kissing her because he believes he can kill her.  Fane calls her hot several times throughout the book.

Violent Content:

Yes, there is violence in this book.  Once Rapunzel’s “mother” finds out about her and Fane she knocks Rapunzel out and tasers Fane. There is also other scenes of violence, but no blood is described.

Spiritual Content:

Rapunzel’s “mother”, Gothel, believes in witchcraft- She is actually obsessed with it!  Therefore, she holds meetings with other “witches” and other wizards and tries to summon the spirits.  It is made quite clear that it is evil and that she is doing wrong throughout the book.  It is also made clear that there is such a thing as summoning evil spirits and so on.

Other Negative Content:

It should be noted that Fane sneaks out of his house wants to save Rapunzel from being found out.  Rapunzel and Fane sneak out of her tower a couple times without telling Gothel, but they only attend a party and explore the rest of the manor.  Therefore both Rapunzel and Fane lie to their respective elders.  However, Fane does tell his parents about Rapunzel and introduces her to them.  He also tells them that he is visiting her, except for the one time when he sneaks out.  Another bad thing is that at the end of the book, Fane’s parents offer Rapunzel a room in their house.  Already Fane and Rapunzel are boyfriend/girlfriend and I tend to think it was sort of weird.  Also, Rapunzel does stay over one night at Fane’s house, but nothing happens.

Conclusion:

This was a gem of a find in the teen section.  I try to stay out of the teen section as much as possible due to the fact that I hate how much “garbage” is in teen books these days.  Most of the time, I am appalled at what is “OK” to read now-a-days.  However, I was pleasantly surprised by this author.  Yes, it is not a christian book, but the characters did have a moral compass.  Maybe not as moral as I would like it, but the author stayed clear of passion in this book. Both Fane and Rapunzel kiss multiple times throughout the book, but continually Fane is saving Rapunzel and vice versa.  It makes me believe that they were not JUST physically attracted to one another.  Plus they exchange messages with one another before seeing each other and Fane had no idea what Rapunzel looked like. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of this author.  I would pay closer attention to the sexual content and the spiritual content.  Although, this is a good book, as the writer admits, it is very dark.