Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End of One Year and the Beginning of Another

Goodbye, 2011.  Thanks for all you've brought.  Hello, 2012.  Looking forward to your blessings.

Happy New Year to everyone, and may God bless your 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Alienation by Jon S. Lewis - Book Review

Alienation is the second book in the C.H.A.O.S. Trilogy.  The first book, Invasion, was entertaining.  Alienation is more of the same.  The book is very fast paced, with short chapters and lots of action.  Colt McAlister, along with his friends Oz and Danielle, are heading to the C.H.A.O.S. Academy for training.  They will be joining a group of recruits who will defend the Earth against invasion by the Thule, six-armed aliens from one of the twelve known worlds.  What Colt doesn't know is that he has been marked for death by someone inside C.H.A.O.S.  Even though this is the second in a trilogy, the story is resolved while laying the foundation for the final book.

Some observations:  This is a quick read, and the first book appealed to some of my students.  It is full of comic-book type action, with jet packs, aliens, secret bases, and conspiracies.  The characters are a little two-dimensional, but are showing some growth.  I feel like a subplot concerning Colt's "girlfriend" from the first book was rushed or tacked on; it either needs to be eliminated or fleshed out more.  Also, with only one book to go, I'm curious how the potential invasion will be dealt with.  There is a lot of room for sequels or other series and I'd be interested to see Colt's world expanded on.

This was an entertaining book, and I'd recommend it particularly for 10-16 year old boys, although anyone could enjoy it.

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! Enjoy some video of Jars of Clay singing Little Drummer Boy.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cami and Griffin's Program

Here is a video of Cami and Griffin playing Joy to the World as part of the preschool bell choir.

Sherlock Holmes

Last winter, PBS showed three 90 episodes of the BBC's Sherlock tv show.  It takes Holmes and Watson and puts them in a modern setting, as opposed to the recent movies that kept them in their original time.  I watched two of the three episodes over the past couple of days thanks to DVDs from the library.  I've got to say, they were great.  The actors are fantastic and the stories ring true to traditional Sherlock Holmes mysteries.  The interaction between the two main actors is fantastic, reminding me a bit of Gus and Shawn from Psych, minus the pop culture references.  I highly recommend this if you can find it (it may be on youtube or another website).

My favorite line:  Policewoman (referring to Holmes), "He's a psychopath."
                          Holmes (in response), "That's high-functioning sociopath, please."

Here we go

Griffin (Clark Kent) with his glasses.

Lexi signing at school. (She is in the middle in a white shirt; the video is as close-up as I could get it)

My new ride.

Monday, December 19, 2011

More stuff soon

Its been a busy couple of weeks with Christmas parties, programs, Griffin getting glasses, and getting a new car, so I'm sorry for no updates.  I have at least one book review, one picture of Griffin, a picture of the new Xterra, and Lexi singing in her program to post over the next couple of weeks, with new stuff I'm sure I'll add as well.  In the meantime, enjoy the Christmas season.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Jim Meskimen (Impressionist) Doing Shakespeare

I received this video through my All Pro Dad daily email.  It's pretty funny and impressive.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cami is growing up (I'm still trying to convince Griffin he's a robot)

This morning, Cami lost her first tooth.  She discovered it was loose about a week ago and has been working it ever since.  We could have taken it out last night, but she wanted Mommy to do it, and she was at work.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving and After

We had a fun Thanksgiving at the Dufeks', with all but the Reddys in attendance.  The kids were kids, goofing around and painting Christmas ornaments.  The food was delicious.  The football was entertaining.  Eli Dufek (age 3 1/2) has become my new buddy.  He also likes wearing purses as hats, apparently.
Eli is a cowboy.

Our kids spent the night with Tom and Donna, so Trisha and I could enjoy some Black Friday shopping.  I hit Walmart at 10 p.m. and other than the crowds around the movies and video games, everything was relatively easy.  Friday morning, we picked up Dianna and headed out to find deals (although we weren't looking for any big ticket items).  We found good deals on some movies, cd's, clothes, and games.  I also participated in my now annual wait in line for a gift card at Half Price Books.  By noon, we were done, having laughed and shopped for around 7 hours.  We ate lunch with the kids and then brought them home so we could nap.  Friday evening we broke out the Christmas decorations and started our official Christmas decorating.  I even strung up new icicle lights on the house.  The kids are very excited (understatement of the year) about putting the ornaments on the tree.
This is the house lights version of Charlie Brown's sad little Christmas tree.
Enjoy the Christmas season.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Griffin decided to spell his name out of railroad tracks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Please Vote

Please vote for my review of For Men Only by clicking here or using the voting bar below.


For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn - Book Review

For Men Only, by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn,  is another in the line of books directed at helping men understand women better.  It is actually a companion to For Women Only (which Shaunti wrote and presents at conferences), and arose out a response to that book.  That being said, it is a fairly informed read.  It is short and concise, choosing to focus on six main ideas: Reassurance, Emotions, Security, Listening, Sex, and Beauty.
While much of this was not new to me, I did appreciate the fact that there was research, both anecdotal and statistical to support what the authors were saying.  The topics also stayed focused on the main ideas, several times suggesting other resources for anyone interested in a deeper examination of the ideas.  Additionally, it is helpful to have reminders of the differences in make up between men and women, and to have suggestions on how to bridge the gap without putting the entire burden on my wife.
I enjoyed this book and recommend it to men in any stage of a relationship, from serious dating to married for a long time.

I received a copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pamper Party

Lexi earned her way into a Pampering Pary (not the official name) with Girls' Club by memorizing five Bible verses.  There may have been some other qualifications, but I'm not sure.  She had her hair styled, her nails done, and make-up put on.  Then she and the other girls walked the catwalk and posed.  I guess it was a mini fashion show.  I really like the Girls' Club concept, because Lexi is being affirmed as a female and learning about her value to God from other women.  It never hurts to have other Godly women and girls encouraging each other and teaching about the Bible.

My Beautiful Lexi

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The 21-Day Dad's Challenge by Carey Casey, ed. - Book Review

Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering.  His book The 21-Day Dad's Challenge is a collection of 21 (+ 2 bonus) readings by multiple authors, speakers, etc.  Each reading is designed to focus on one aspect of being a better father.  The readings also include a challenge and planning section to help dads follow through on their commitment. 

The book was a quick and easy read, and could function well as a book study for dads.  While there was not a lot of new material or ideas discussed, I did pick up a few things from my read.  I particularly liked the chapters "Do The Things Your Kids Want To Do" by Tony Dungy, "Where's Daddy?" by Dr. Gary Rosberg, "What's in a Name" by Shaun Alexander, and "Buy A Unicycle" by Jay Payleitner.  Sometimes we dads know what to do, but don't always remember or make time to do it.  This book is a nice reminder that our kids need us now more than ever.

I would recommend this to any dad, old, new, or soon-to-be.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Homecoming at ONU

Yesterday, we took the kids to Homecoming at ONU.  We drove up for the football game and got to see the Tigers rally for their 5th win of the season.  It was an exciting game, and a great victory for a team that had seen no success over the past two seasons.  Congrats to my buddy Brian and his staff on a great season.  I was also able to visit with some friends and former teammates, which was nice.  The kids were a little worried about Toby the Tiger (the mascot) but were excited when the cheerleaders handed them little ONU footballs that doubled as shaking noisemakers.  All in all, it was a successful and fun time.  This fall, I've also realized that while I love coaching football, I don't really have the desire to do it for the foreseeable future.  In the right spot and with the right people, I would be open to it again, but I've had too much fun with Trisha and my kids this fall to jump back into coaching just to coach.  We've taken multiple short roadtrips, seen several football games and concerts, watched Lexi cheer, played a lot of Batman Lego the Video Game.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.
"Seriously, I have one year of eligibility left..."

Go Tigers!

Lexi and her see-through cheerleading trophy

Friday, November 11, 2011

Invasion by Jon S. Lewis - Book Review

As an 8th grade language arts teacher, I'm always looking for good Young Adult books, particularly ones that will appeal to the boys.  Invasion, the first in the C.H.A.O.S. Trilogy, hits the mark.  The book is about a 16 year old named Colt McAlister, who's parents die in mysterious circumstances.  He is sent to live with his grandfather, who may or may not be the famous Phantom Flyer, a real-life comic book hero from World War II.  Along the way, Colt joins up with Oz, Danielle, and romances Lily, all while trying to uncover an alien conspiracy.  It's an exciting and fast-paced introduction to the series.

The story combines all the best elements of sci-fi movies, superhero comics, pop culture, and the "hero's journey" story.  I kept envisioning Colt's adventures as a tv show, possibly a cartoon.  The writing is crisp and the characters begin to show some depth as the story moves along.  There is an ending to this story, but you'll want to pick up the next book as soon as it comes out.  Colt's quest and purpose is far from over.

Finally, this book is published by Thomas Nelson.  It has some subtle Christian themes, perfect to support the morals it's heroes try to adhere to. 

I recommend this book to sci-fi, action, superhero fans of all ages, but particulary middle school boys.  I look forward to it's sequels.

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Please vote for my review

Please vote for my review by clicking here.  You can also vote using the option below.

Decision Points by George W. Bush - Book Review

When I had the opportunity to select Decision Points as a book to review, I jumped at the chance.  I was curious to get President Bush's thoughts on September 11 and the war in Iraq.  I wasn't disappointed.

First off, Decision Points is not an autobiographical chronology of Bush's life.  It centers around important ideas (decision points), particularly during his presidency.  There are a couple of chapters about Bush's life before becoming president, and then it jumps right in.

I liked the fact that each chapter focused on a central idea.  All of President Bush's thoughts about 9/11, for instance, were together in one chapter and not spread throughout the book.  I think this helped focus the book and make it easier to digest.  The book is very conversational in tone.  It seems like the President is sitting in the same room, telling you about his experiences.  I also found him to be very respectful of the people he talked about, Democrat or Republican, opponent or ally (for the most part).  Bush owned his mistakes, gave credit to his advisers, and explained his thought processes as he discussed the various topics.

I enjoyed this book and found it very interesting.  I reminded me a little of the tv show The West Wing with it's insider view on politics.  I recommend it to anyone interested in this time period or in President Bush.

I was given a copy of this book as part of Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Rock and Worship Roadshow

Last night, Trisha and I took the kids to Ft. Wayne to see The Rock and Worship Roadshow.  Dianna came along to experience the kids' first concert (and jam a little herself).  The Roadshow is a cost effective ($10 a ticket) concert experience run by MercyMe, and included Jars of Clay, Hawk Nelson, Group 1 Crew (a favorite of Cami and Lexi), Rush of Fools, Trip Lee, Matt Maher, and Attaboy (we missed Trip Lee and Attaboy because they went on before the official start time).  After a 1 1/2 hr. drive, we grabbed some Taco Bell and got ready to rock.

Group 1 Crew was first (each of the first few bands played a 4-8 song set).  Lexi wanted to go home about one minute into the show (she was a little intimidated by the noise and lights) but eventually settled down, eventually dancing and not wanting to leave.  The kids and Trisha met Group 1 Crew at their merchandise table after their set.  Check out the picture and the video.

Cami loves this song.

We also enjoyed Hawk Nelson, who were very energetic.  They have a punk/pop sound and finished their set with a cover of "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey.  They all wore long, mullet hair band wigs.  The kids thought it was hilarious.

I was anxious to see Jars of Clay, one of my all time favorites.  They opened with a song called "Work".  I bought this CD when the twins were born, and Trisha and I listened to this song in particular many times when we were driving to visit Griffin in the NICU.

They also played "Little Drummer Boy".  I love their version of this song.  The last verse always chokes me up. "I played my best for him. Then he smiled at and my drum."

MercyMe finished up. I really enjoyed their songs (I didn't have any familiarity with most of them). We left during their set because the twins had fallen asleep and we had a long drive home (thankfully we could set our clocks back and recover an hour of sleep).  Everybody was happy with the show, and excited to see more concerts.  I highly recommend all of these bands and this show.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dad's Day with Lexi

Today Lexi's class had Dad's Day.  Dads were invited in to carve pumpkins and hang out with their kids for the last hour of school.  It was a blast.  Lexi designed our pumpkin (it's her as a pop star), while I carved it and scooped out the guts.  The kids also created books about their Dad and recited lines of poetry about Dads.  I recorded Lexi's group.  Enjoy the video and pictures.  I know I had fun today.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall Break

We have all been out of school the past two days and it's been fun hanging with the family. We did some shopping (I got an iPod touch! Whee!), played Batman Lego(which Griffin and I have almost solved, and by Griffin I mean's addictive), and watched some
Obie's, including Captain America which was pretty good. Also listened to ONU blow out Iowa Wesleyan for their third win. I hope everyone enjoys their weekend

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lexi's New Look

Lexi had Crazy Hair Night at Girls' Club at church last week.  Presented without further comment.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Picture of Griffin with Rod Redline

Catch Up

Friday night, I journeyed to Lakeville, Indiana to see Mark coach at his new school, LaVille.  His team played hard and had their best game of the year, but unfortunately came up short.  My buddy, Scott Smith (another former coach and fellow teacher) went with me, and we had a good time hanging out.

Saturday saw Lexi's final football cheerleading game of the year, and it was cold and windy.  I think it's a good time to be finishing up.  We were watching the Reddy girls, so there were 7 kids around to keep track of.  After the game, Tom and Donna took us all to Dunkin' Donuts for some hot chocolate and donuts and I think we filled half the restaurant.

Saturday afternoon, Griffin and I headed over to Toys R Us.  It was a surprise for him because they were hosting a special Lego building event (it reminded me of the Home Depot kids' clinics).  Griffin and I picked out all the pieces we needed to make a complementary Rod "Torque" Redline car from Cars 2.  We then put it together before we left the store.  Griffin was thrilled, partially because he likes Cars, partially because he likes Legos, and partially because he got to hang out with Dad.  We've also spent a large amount of time (too much) playing Batman Lego on the Wii.  It is highly addictive and I'll leave it at that.

Finally, I was able to watch the second half of the ONU game on my phone as it was streamed live.  It was pretty cool.  ONU won 38-7, for it's second win of the season, and Jeff's former player Michael Ho-Lewis rushed for over 100 yards and his first rushing touchdown.

It's been a nice weekend.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Love and Respect Experience by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs- Book Review

The Love and Respect Experience by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is a devotional book based on Dr. Eggerichs's book Love and Respect.  It is divided into 52 separate readings of around 3-4 pages.  At the back of the book are discussion questions about each reading, so husbands and wives can discuss what they've read.

The devotional is subtitled A Husband-Friendly Devotional that Wives Truly Love, and I think that is where this book takes off.  The readings are non-threatening but still confront issues that face married couples.  Topics include what Eggerichs calls the Crazy Cycle, the Energizing Cycle, the the Rewarded Cycle, as well as how to recognize and accept male/female differences with such topics as Pink/Blue thinking, C-O-U-P-L-E and C-H-A-I-R-S, and definitions of what Love and Respect really are.  The book is set up to be read as a couple or individually, and then discussed with your spouse.  The 52 readings readily lend themselves to once-a-week discussions over a year, but are short enough that they can be done daily as well.  I've found the devotional readings informative at worst and full of helpful insight at best.  Each reading is also anchored to a passage of scripture, which keeps God as the focus of the marriage relationship.

Overall, I'd say this is an excellent book for married couples at any stage of their relationship.  Plus, it is truly husband-friendly.

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Saturdays, Football, and Concerts

Last Saturday, Trisha and I drove up to Olivet to catch the football game and a concert.  The game was okay.  The Tigers are playing better, but are simply out-manned.  They are currently playing with an all-freshmen backfield and lost their last upperclassman OL to injury during the game.  They competed for a half and then the game slipped away.  The highlight was visiting with Brian Fish's wife and two kids; his daughter, Culley, acted like Trisha was her long lost friend.  It was fun catching up with the Fish family (school of Fishes?).

After the game, we grabbed some Jimmy John's and rushed to Walmart, home to all things cheap and Chicago Bears.  We all got new t-shirts and we saw lots of cool Bears do-dads and gizmos.  Our Walmart only has Colt stuff, like they've been here forever (or at least since 1984).

We then headed back to ONU's new Centennial Chapel, which is beautiful.  It's a great place to catch a concert and I'm sure I could have read Sports Illustrated just as well there as I did in Chalfant Hall (I never missed a Chapel, though, Dad).  The concert was open seating, so like the old couple we are (at least like I am), we sat in the front row of the "balcony".  I didn't feel like standing up the whole time and wanted to record some of the concert on my phone (look below, although the audio is pretty bad).  We ended up with great seats. 

The opening band was Atomic Tom.  They were a strange mix of 80's goodness and bad haircuts and mustaches.  They were entertaining, but the lead singer's banter and dancing was very mockable.

Next up was Anberlin, who I recently discovered.  They rocked! They are rock, alternative, emo, punk, with an alto lead singer.  They performed a great show, playing several of my favorites.  They also had the ONU drumline (all three members) perform on stage during one song, and went acoustic for a few songs in the middle.  They were definitely worth seeing.

Switchfoot ended the night, and it was awesome.  They were very polished and smooth.  They played mostly songs from their last two albums, with a couple of previous hits thrown in.  Their current songs are generally a lot edgier than the previous ones, which is a good thing if you ask me.  Jon Foreman, the lead singer, has an amazing way with words and writes great lyrics.  The melodies are catchy and easy to sing with.  During one song, two college kids held up a sign that said they knew how to play the song being sung, so Foreman called them on stage and gave them guitars (they did a fine job).  I thought that was pretty cool.

It was a great day.  On the way up, I told Trisha I wanted a little more than the standard song playing for the concert and I was pleased.  The two headliners changed arrangements and added a little something you only get in concert.  Also, Trisha played solitaire on her phone for most of the Switchfoot concert.  I'm not the only one too lame to party with the kids down near the stage.

The first video was Switchfoot's last song, "The Sound".  The second video is Anberlin's song "Impossible".

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Twins Turn Five!

This past Wednesday was Cami and Griffin's fifth birthday.  It's hard to believe they are five.  Trisha threw a rockin' party while I sat at school for parent/teacher conferences all afternoon and evening.  There were a total of 10 4-5 year olds (with one 3 year old) at our house for three hours.  They ate pizza and cupcakes, jumped on the tramp, played games (pin the treasure on the pirate map; over-under with a ball; etc.), and opened presents.  Cami got lots of neat girly toys and Griffin ended up with action figures and superhero stuff.  Yesterday, Griffin tried on his "Ben 10 watch" which turns Ben 10 into a superhero alien (its a cartoon show).  He turned to Trisha in wonderment that he didn't actually turn into an alien!  Apparently he was okay with the alien part, but didn't quite understand it is just a toy.  Trisha even heard him tell Cami, "It's okay, I didn't turn into an alien."  I'm not sure if he was reassuring her, or just needed to say it out loud to see if anyone cared. Wow.  Today we ran to Toys R Us for the birthday crowns and balloons.  Good times.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos - Book Review

When I first heard the title of Matt Mikalatos's new book, I didn't know what to think.  His first book was Imaginary Jesus, and was apparently pretty funny.  Based on that, and on the book jacket, (plus the description that he is like "Monty Python meets C.S. Lewis" - Relevant Magazine) I decided to try Night of the Living Dead Christian.  I wasn't disappointed.  I like my theology explained through fiction, and Mikalatos uses a variety of monsters (vampire, werewolf, robot, zombie, mad scientist, etc.) as allegories to explain how being born again is the road to Christ and being made new.  The story involves Matt, his neighbor Luther (a werewolf), and other denizens of his neighborhood, on a quest to cure Luther of being a werewolf.  The story proceeds at breakneck speed, with lots of action and hijinks.  Along the way, the path to salvation is explained, as well as why that salvation is needed.  The story is not all fun and games though, as several parts can cause uncomfortableness as the reader is forced to examine his own state of "monster-ness".  The book comes complete with a monster guide, as well as a discussion guide.  I really enjoyed this book and will look for others that Matt Mikalatos has written.
I was given a copy of this book to read by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

All Pro Dads Day

Yesterday, Griffin and I went to the All Pro Dads day at the Colts practice complex.  They had lots of cools drills for the kids, a couple of bounce houses, and games where kids could win little prizes.  It was topped off by various groups encouraging dads to take an active roll in the lives of their children.  Other than a short time of fear (Griffin didn't like the bug mascot promoting wearing seatbelts), we had a good time.  I've included a couple of pictures and some video of Griffin doing drills.  The video is only accessible on the blog. Enjoy Griffin's first football drills.

Austin Collie #17 for the Colts

Posing in front of the goal posts

Colt head bounce house and slide

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Assorted Hodge Podge

This is a catch-all post with various items.

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 today, our principal decided we would spend Friday helping our students (6-12) understand why it was such a significant event.  They were all very young (my 8th graders were 3 or 4), so he wanted to provide context.  We watched videos, gave them an overview of what happened, and then looked at how this tragedy brought out the best in our country, with people rallying, serving others, and even sacrificing their lives.  We finished with a balloon release from the football field to commemorate and remember those who lost their lives.  It was an intense but cool day.

Last night, Trisha and I had the privilege of attending the wedding of a former player of mine.  It is one of my favorite things about being a high school football coach.  I love having the opportunity to see how those teenage boys grow into young men and begin families of their own.  It's an honor to be able to be a part of their lives.  I've probably been to 10 weddings and have another one to attend next month.

Finally, ONU got their first win under my buddy Brian Fish.  They ran an interception back for a touchdown in overtime to secure the victory.  Because we were at the wedding, I was updating on my phone all evening.  We were even able to hear a live radio feed through the phone on our way home. (I love technology...not as much as you, you see < for Dad and Jeff>).  Way to go Tigers!  Fight On!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Go Big by Cory Cotton - Book Review

About a 1 1/2 years ago, I saw a commercial for a truck that involved some guys shooting a basket out of a cropduster airplane.  It was a pretty incredible shot, but looked a little fake.  Come to find out, it was real and the group of guys are known as Dude Perfect.  Dude Perfect, of which the author of this book (Cory Cotton) is a member, are a group of roommates and college buddies who took their videos of crazy basketball trick shots and put them on YouTube.  Through what can only be described as a God-thing, their videos went viral, they started a business, and have been a huge internet success over the last two years.  Go Big is both the story of Dude Perfect and a business primer for using the internet to expand your dream into a viable opportunity.  The Dude Perfect philosophy is divided into five categories: Get Excited, Own It, Blink Later, Inspire Others, and Give Back.  The philosophy is illustrated with multiple anecdotes from Dude Perfect's amazing story.  Cotton explains how they turned their passion into a dream job, and how their faith in God has led them when making decisions.  It's an engaging success story on its own, but the principles expounded on in the book will be helpful to anyone looking to turn their dream into a reality.

I was provided a copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest and fair review.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day weekend, college football, and a recliner

On Saturday, Trisha took the kids to hang out with some friends, which left me at home for the day.  Thanks to Tom and Donna, I've recently come into possession of a recliner.  Also, Saturday was the first true day of the college football season.  Put all three together and you have a day of bliss.  Say what you want for spa treatments, I'll take my Saturday anytime.  From about 1:30 until 11:00, I barely moved from the recliner.  I watched football, read, and relaxed.  It was quiet, there were some good games, and I was able to lean back and put my feet up, literally.  I can't wait until next Sunday when the NFL season gets underway.  And don't even get me started on New Year's Day.  I may sleep in the recliner on New Year's Eve, just to be prepared for the Bowl fest the next day.  Ah, recliner, we will best friends forever.  Sigh.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead - Book Review

I approached reading this book with some hesitation, but I was intrigued by the premise.  The hesitation was for two reasons: Stephen Lawhead and Christian Fantasy.  I read several of Stephen Lawhead's (Ross's father) books when I was in college and enjoyed them but found them tough to get through; the writing style didn't suit me.  I'm also weary of trite and simple fantasy marketed to the Christian sector.  The books I've read have no depth and the writing styles are usually too simplistic. I was intrigued because The Realms Thereunder deals with elements of English mythology that I wasn't aware of (I really like the King Arthur tales, but am not aware of much more).  I've got to say that I'm glad I gave it a chance.  Ross Lawhead's writing moves quickly and is easy to follow.  The protagonists, Freya and Daniel, are followed during two different times in their lives.  One thread of the book deals with the two as children and the adventure the went on in a realm literally underground in England.  The second thread revisits the two in their early 20's, when strange and evil occurrences begin happening around them.  This refers back to their childhood.  I found the story to be engaging as it moved back and forth through time, following Freya and Daniel.  My only complaints are that the editing needs to be tightened up (sometimes names were transposed, causing confusion) and that this is clearly the first book in a series.  The story line was barely wrapped up and the sequel does not arrive until next year.  I'll definitely be reading the next installment to discover what happens next to Daniel and Freya.

I received this book free from in exchange for my honest review.