Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Alienation" by Jon S. Lewis

I recently finished reading ALIENATION, the second book in Jon S. Lewis’ C.H.A.O.S. Trilogy, and I’m not ashamed to admit that as a man in my mid-thirties, I REALLY like Colt and Oz. I was no where as cool as either of those guys when I was in High School, so I enjoy being swept into a world not only where Aliens are trying to destroy all human life as we know it, but a world where Teenagers are allowed in the fight! I work with teenagers, and I know a few who would enjoy that chance.

Lewis brings back the fun in this second installment, and while again, Young adult fiction is the genre, making it an easy read, it is not a dull read at all. We pick up where we left off with Oz and Colt  headed out to the C.H.A.O.S. Training academy, but now, Danielle has been recruited as well. Colt quickly turns the heads of a few fellow cadets, but not necessarily in a good way. But, really, who’s going to let bullies scare you when there are shape-shifting aliens who have infiltrated the campus and have worse things than insults on their agenda. Colt takes it in stride, even while dealing with a discovery that threatens his friendship with Oz.

The dialogue is smooth, the story is fun, and the characters are believable. I’ve met some High School Athletes who seem to fit the same physical build of Oz, so I don’t doubt it can happen. I personally, am looking forward to the third and final book, and would recommend this book to young adult readers, and to the parents of the same. There are some Christian themes in the book, but Lewis does a good job of weaving it into the story naturally so it doesn’t appear as a “how-to” manual on teenagers trying to live their faith in a world being overrun by aliens. Because THAT would be applicable. 

In fairness of full disclosure, I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze.com.

"When Work & Family Collide" by Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley was the first author to really convince me to start reading Non-fiction books. His style of writing comes across more as a conversation instead of a showing-off of intellectual greatness. 

When Work & Family Collide is a re-printing of an earlier book called Choosing To Cheat, but it has updated information, so apparently it’s not the same. I did not read the original book, but I did download the sermon that served as inspiration for this book many years ago, and the message is still as relevant today as it has ever been.

Stanley simply makes the case that many people are caught between the rock of family and the hard place of work. Unfortunately, too many people make the choice to work harder, which “cheats” their family of them. They justify it by claiming it to be “FOR” the good of the family, but in all reality, it actually makes things worse.

The book opens with the story of a successful businessman who was in charge of two continents worth of business from an international company, we are immediately drawn into the pull of the “American Dream.” However, what we quickly discover is that this man was NOT happy, and neither were his wife and daughters. Finally deciding to make some changes, he takes steps towards being there with his family. The road was not easy, and there are some twists to that story, but the point gets across. Using that as a springboard, Stanley goes on to give more examples, principles, and challenges that support the underlying idea that no one ever ends up on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at work.

Being a pastor, Andy Stanley’s heart is for people to understand that God’s design for family is strong and worth fighting to save. We have to work, but we don’t have to do it at the expense of our families.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. All the ideas and views in this review are my own and not influenced by the publishers in any way.