The League and the Lantern – Review

League and Lanter Books 1200 x 800What do you get when you mix The Goonies with National Treasure? A new YA book series that I’d love to direct as a blockbuster feature titled: The League and the Lantern.

Author Brian Wells is an executive producer who has brought award-winning network television movies to the screen. His work has been seen by millions and supported by numerous family organizations. He is a man of character who puts the demonstration of good character into his story.

The League and the Lantern is not only the first book in the series, but it’s Wells’ first novel – A smash hit by my estimate. Not only are his readers eager for the book to be developed for the screen, but parents, homeschoolers and teachers love how he salted the 140 vocabulary words for middle school success into the story.

Brian Wells photo 2 1200 x 800Coming from a collaborative industry, Wells put the same effort that created his television success into the book. He teamed with kids, experts and parents to make sure his story held to his high quality standards. That’s not to say a few editorial misses won’t need to be corrected at the next printing, but the story is told in the highest respectful manner with a great demonstration of wholesome living.

The story is about an awkward Jake Herndon and his chance for a do-over that starts with the 7th grade sleepover. The team-building program quickly turns into a high-energy adventure complete with national secrets, new friendships, and unique twists. By the end of the book, Jake learns the truth about a mystery that dates back to the Civil War, giving him a new perspective on life – now ready to enter middle school.

The best part of the story for me personally was reliving all the locations that I’ve walked in life, well, except for the secret ones. Wells’ descriptions made it clear that he too walked in those same steps, creating a clear picture of the environment the students faced, while in the presence of the dangerous organization invading their program.

This is one book where I hope the author has already started to write the sequel. The book’s themes of friendship, compassion and courage will out last it’s fun filled read. This book is ideal for any young person, and the parents and grandparents who like to sneak a good read from there loved one’s bookshelf.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hopes that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Copyright © 2016 by CJ Powers
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Ewan McGregor’s Last Days in the Desert — Review

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Finding out that Ewan McGreger stared in the film selected by AFI FEST and SUNDANCE, I felt it was a work that I needed to see during the launch of its limited release. I was also eager to see McGregor play both Jesus and Satan. While there were several moments of great value, the film was boring and diametrically opposed to scripture.

The premise of the film is a three-day journey for Jesus returning to Jerusalem after his 40 days of fasting in the desert. The exploration of this “what if” artistic expression found the filmmaker ignorant of the scriptures or not caring.

In fact, the inaccuracy and mishandling of scriptures was so bad, NPR raved about how excellent the film was and classified it to be as good as “The Last Temptation of Christ,” which Evangelical leaders declared blasphemous in 1988.

The first problem with this film is that Satan continues to tempt Jesus over the three-day journey back home. In the scriptures, after Jesus resisted the devil three times, using scripture, Satan flees. Their ongoing battle shows the two almost chummy in nature with Jesus calling on Satan to show him a boy’s future through divination. I counted seven of these types of inaccuracies.

The cinematography by Academy Award winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki was very well done, but the beauty of the picture was not enough to offset the confusion of story and a bad story structure.

The film is clearly presented as a story of Jesus, but the story unfolds about a boy that Jesus encounters. While a person might jump to the conclusion that it’s a story within a story, the idea fails to launch.

The parents of the boy are the most interesting of characters, save for Satan. The boy comes next and Jesus is the most passive person of little interest. Even director Rodrigo García shared his fascination for the parents and Satan and how he tried to compensate, bringing more life to the character of Jesus.

The biggest shock to me was the reaction of the audience after the lights came up. Most people raved about the film, dismissing the long boring parts and the mishandling of scripture. One person said that they understood the director’s choices based on artistic license and hoped the film would generate more like it.

While the film was a great discussion starter, it failed to entertain and it took faith-based films back to the Stone Age – Although, it was not promoted as a faith-based film due to its inaccurate content. And, while it was a selection of two notable festivals, it didn’t win a single award.

Copyright © 2016 by CJ Powers