Friday, September 30

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead

Kit Livingston isn’t really much of an adventurer—of any sort.  He seems rather content in London, and the relationship with his girlfriend, Wilhemina, is flat lining.  Though life seems a bit droll at times, he’s also not too eager to change.  Of course, discovering that your great-grandfather Cosimo, long thought dead, is alive and a worldwide traveler adds a bit of spice to life that Kit wasn’t asking for.  To top it off, he discovers that the traveling Cosimo does is not only geographical, but also through time.  Cosimo belongs to a small group aware of ley lines (which act as pathways to parallel universes) and is in search of the Skin Map, a map which shows many of the ley lines.  Unfortunately for them, others with more devious plans are also in search with the map.

Thursday, September 29

Ascent from Darkness by Michael Leehan

Ascent from Darkness is probably one of the most chilling books I’ve read, made more so because it is a true story.  Feeling unfulfilled by where his life was leading him, Michael dedicated his life to the service of Satan.  Through much of it he tried leading a double life.  He tried to keep this decision hidden from his friends and family, and though they did not know specifically what was happening to him, many felt a sense of darkness surrounding Michael.

Michael’s writing is raw and honest.  He tells us many stories, many of which show the darkness that he fell into, but he does so not for the purpose of shocking us (though much of it is shocking), but rather for the purpose of showing how far he had fallen.  His stories include purchasing Satanic bibles and leaving them scattered throughout fundamentalist churches, animal sacrifices, and opening himself up to demonic possession.

Tuesday, September 20

Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee

(This review is spoiler free)

Peace has reigned on Earth for hundreds of years.  But that peace came at a steep price – a virus that was designed to strip humanity of all emotions save for fear.  There is a group, known as the Keepers, who seek to restore humanity to its full potential.  They guard a vial of blood which will restore humanity to any who consume it.  Rom has the vial thrust suddenly upon him, and not knowing what to expect he drinks of the blood.  What do you do when to be alive is forbidden?

Many reviewers have already been comparing Forbidden to the Circle series, which contain some of Dekker’s most well-known books.  The similarities are quite striking.  Once Rom and his friends drink of the blood, their relation to those who are dead seems very similar to the Forest Guard/Scab relations.  Each side thinks they are right and that the other side has lost something.

Sunday, September 11

Raised Right by Alisa Harris

Each day it seems that the line between politics and religion blurs.  At every election voters look at their own beliefs and decide which candidate best exhibits their beliefs.  We expect politicians to be cookie cutters of our own value system.  There are some which praise this blurring of the lines, and there are others that fear it.

Alisa Harris grew up in an extremely conservative home.  She has many memories of picketing abortion clinics and of helping campaigns for conservative Christians.  However, when she left for college she felt as if a bit of a blind fold was lifted.  She began to see that her religious beliefs and her political views were a tangled mess.  No longer could she clearly see where were faith/beliefs influenced her political thoughts and where her party’s thoughts influenced her beliefs.  She developed an understanding of the many different viewpoints and began to rethink her political motivations.  She realized that she had been engaging with politics, but had not done so with love.

Wednesday, September 7

The Betrayal by Jerry B. Jenkins

After leading the sting to bring down one of the most notorious gangs in Chicago, life should be feeling sweet for Boone Drake.  And it would, except for a minor detailing like sustaining a serious gunshot wound to his shoulder and learning that someone is suspecting his girlfriend, Haeley, of leaking classified information.  Hiring the best defense attorney Boone knows of, he is determined to prove Haeley innocent.  To discover otherwise would truly be a betrayal of the worst kind.

Those who read my review of The Brotherhood may remember that I was not too fond of the book.  Too many times it felt cheesy and I felt the Christian element felt more forced than natural.  So why did I read the sequel to a book I didn’t like?  Despite the cheesiness, the story held some promise and it certainly ended on strong note considering the rest of the story.

Sunday, September 4

Vigilante by Robin Parrish

Crime in the US in growing at a speed too fast for local law enforcement to control. Something has to be done. Nolan Gray, a war hero, concocts a plan. Working with two friends, he fakes his death and then watches the streets of New York as a vigilante/hero. The public dubs him The Hand. Meanwhile, the President, who served with Nolan in the military, starts a new organization designed to fight organized crime faster and more effectively.

Vigilante reads as part Iron Man and part Batman. Parrish forgoes the superpowers of other heroes, opting instead for the hero with high tech gadgets and a wide range of combat skills.

Unfortunately, Vigilante completely misses the mark.