Free Books? Sign me up!

  • Ok, so I’ve gotten sucked in. My friend, Shannon, has been signing up to review books for various publishing companies (they send you the book for free and in return, you review the book on your blog for them, they do not require a positive review, just an honest one). After hearing about all the free books she is getting, and realizing that I can get children’s books for free through these programs… I have decided to jump on the bandwagon… so, I’m sorry, you’re gonna have to put up with reading some book reviews every now and then. I am only planning on requesting/reviewing children’s books though, b/c they require a smaller time commitment. Hopefully those of you who read this blog and are parents will find some of those reviews helpful. :)

    Hey… free books? I mean, why not?

~ jenelle

Yet Another Story Idea

A few months back, my brother sent me an idea for a story. I have it rolling around in the back of my head and am looking forward to expanding on it. I thought I’d let you take a sneak peek at it.

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     The whole world looked muffled.  If you’ve ever lived within a University dormitory and had to put your head under your pillow to try and get sleep or if you’ve ever heard a conversation through a wall you would know the feeling.  However, Devlin blinking hard at the hazy surroundings, noted that the world did not sound muffled, it looked muffled.
    Devlin was perplexed.  He was standing in the middle of an open space.  A foreign and unknown open space.  Yet not a moment ago he had known exactly where he had been.  He had been in his hotel room getting ready for the last leg of what had already been an overlong journey home. 
    Slowly, it seemed his eyes were adjusting.  The fog that was either filling this space or filling his head seemed to dissipate.  And yet he remained motionless.  Frozen to the spot in which he had been standing.   It was as if he had woken up only to realize he was still dreaming.  He had been awake he thought to himself. 
    “You’re not dreaming you know.”

~ jenelle

The Skin Map Review

When I heard Stephen Lawhead was writing a new book, I was thrilled. When I learned the title of the new book was The Skin Map, I was confused. It didn’t sound very … well… Lawhead-y. However, as I began reading this beginning to a brand new series, I swiftly became engrossed in the story.

Filled with descriptions that beguile all five senses and all the beauty and charm of the language I have come to expect from Lawhead, this book is a fascinating blend of fantasy and sci-fi. In the world of The Skin Map, there is an Omni-verse, a universe filled with alternate realities that are easily accessible to those who know where to look via roads known as “ley lines.” These alternate realities are also located in different “time zones” as it were, and thus jumping from one reality to the next also inevitably includes a certain amount of time travel.

The book follows the stories of several different characters: Kit Livingstone a young man from modern-day London, who encounters his great grandfather and is shown how to ley travel; Wilhelmina, Kit’s girlfriend, who, when Kit tries to prove to her that ley travel is real, gets trapped in 17th century Prague; Cosimo (Kit’s great grandfather) and Sir Henry, ley line adventurers who wish to use the ley lines for the betterment of science and humanity; Lord Burleigh, the villain of the story, whose motivations seem to stem from greed; and Arthur Flinders-Petrie, the “Ernest Shackleton” of the ley line adventurers who mapped out the ley lines and had them tattooed on his body so they could never be stolen or lost.

Something I love about this book is the masterful way Lawhead subtly uses his characters to point to Christ. He never beats his audience about the head with his beliefs, despite publishing with a Christian publishing house. Instead, he allows his books to unfold the message of his faith – either through characters whose faith is an integral part of who they are (such as Etzel), or through characters who don’t know what they believe and the conversations they have with other characters about questions they have (such as Kit and Lady Faythe). As always, Lawhead is unique in that he is not a writer of Christian Fiction. Rather, he is a Christian Author who writes Fiction.

On the flip side of this rave review I do have a couple of negatives to mention. First, is that I have to wait until next September to read the second book in the series. Second, don’t read this book expecting to have any questions answered. I was about 10 pages from the end when I realized that the book was leading me to a cliff-hanger ending, and I was going to have to wait for the rest of the series to find out what happens. Since Lawhead is delving back into sci-fi with this series, this first book was mainly an introduction to the characters, the concept of ley travel, and a tantalizing glimpse at the story this series will become.

Overall, I would say I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and history as well as the idea of time travel and being able to mess with historical events.

Technically, nobody ever asked me for anything, but I’m sure that the FTC would like me to explain that I received this book for free but was not required by the publisher to give it a good review.

~ jenelle