Friday, November 11, 2011

Invasion by Jon S. Lewis

Invasion, a book by Jon S. Lewis is a book designed for escapism. Sure, it’s young adult fiction, but who doesn’t like a smooth and easy read here and there? The back of the book tells us some of the story, so it’s no spoiler, but certainly lets you know what you’re about to read. Colt is a sixteen year-old who just lost his parents in an accident, and is now living with his Grandfather. However, he has discovered that his parent’s accident was, in fact, no accident, Colt begins a search to finding out the real reason for their death. What he discovers is a world of Shape-shifting lizard people, flying helicopters, and aliens. Those are just small fries compared to the secret mind-control program happening at one of the world largest biotech companies.

Colt, along with his friends Oz and Dani, make for likeable characters. Oz’s confidence borders on cocky, but it’s light-weight, and he never uses it at the expense of his friends. Danielle (Dani) is a whiz with the computers who happens to be a long-time friend of Colt, and does a good job of looking out for him.

The themes of friendship, dedication, sacrifice, and heroism are explored and while some positive points are made, there is enough left open for some discussion. As it turns out, that’s what Lewis must have had in mind, because in the back is a discussion guide for any teenagers who read it. Out of curiosity, I went to and discovered more resources that allow this book to be used for teaching purposes. I enjoyed the Bible Study element to it, being a Youth Minister, and am glad to see that imagination is still alive, and fun books don’t have to involve inappropriate romances between teenagers and vampires or werewolves. I’m looking forward to reading the next book, and give my full recommendation for anyone interested.

In full disclosure, I received a complimentary copy of this book from, but all the opinions here are of my own accord, and not influenced by anyone else.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead

I absolutely love The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead! I’ve gotten hooked on “The Bright Empire” series, and my only regret is that I have to wait three more years to figure out what’s going to happen! Book two in the series picks up right where we last saw Kit, Mina, Giles, and the other characters we’ve come to know. Having discovered the secrets of Ley Travel, which is a system of travel between multiple dimensions and times, our heroes continue their search for the complete Skin Map, from the first book. They seem to have bad luck, and encounter the villainous Lord Burleigh and his henchmen at almost every turn, and must use what limited knowledge they have to “leap” to safety.

Lawhead continues to inter-mix the modern speech of Kit and Mina with the more formal cadences and patterns of old-world dialogue with ease, and does a wonderful job of demonstrating the differences even in subtle ways during conversations. The idea of ley travel is terribly complex, yet is presented in such a way as to be understood. In no way does the reader feel as though they are being condescended to, or thought too simple-minded to understand.

My personal favorite is the last third of the book, where Kit finds himself in totally foreign surroundings. Not wanting to spoil it for any potential readers, I will only say that Kit finds himself in a time period well beyond any other he has visited at this point, and it opens his eyes to realities that he never considered before.

Having first been introduced to Lawhead’s work through the Bright Empires books, I have undertaken another of his series, and plan on exploring his other works. The Bone House is a fun and exciting second quest, and leaves the reader looking forward to more.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead

The Skin Map is the first book in a new series by Stephen R. Lawhead called "The Bright Empires." It introduces us to a few characters who have discovered the secret to travel to other dimensions and times by using Ley Lines. Others have learned it in the past, and in fact, one in particular mapped out various routes of these portals, and had them tattooed to his skin. Following the map leads to a treasure that he discovered in his journeys. There is one problem--the map is in pieces and is missing.

I have never read Mr. Lawhead's books before, and rest assured I will be delving into some of his others very soon. (I am already reading the second in this series.) His style is easy to read, but not simplified to the point of being childish. The introductions of new times and places are smooth transitions, and he effortlessly mixes the modern-day speech of main characters Kit and Mina with the older, more formal speech that correspond to the appropriate times.

The story itself is captivating, and draws the reader in very quickly. My only regret is that I will have to wait until all of the books are written and released to discover how this story ends. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading good stories, and likes to escape into other worlds.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from