Daylight on Iron Mountain by Wingrove

Daylight_on_Iron_MountainA beautiful, wistful ending. A dreadful, dark beginning.

Daylight on Iron Mountain
Chung Kuo 2
David Wingrove
Atlantic Books
November 2011

This second book in the new prequel to Wingrove’s seminal Chung Kuo series brings to close the stories of the characters from Son of Heaven, like Jake Reed and family, Tsao Ch’un, and sets up the upcoming main players in The Middle Kingdom and the remaining 18 books. While this is a direct sequel it does jump forward – which is necessary since Son of Heaven takes place a couple hundred years before The Middle Kingdom – it allows something that so many other books do not: a satisfying conclusion to the storylines of characters. We find Jake young and watch him grow through his life, from rich techie to poor farmer to influential in the new world to aging and on his death bed. It is touching in ways that many books never get to display.

This book is also amazingly scary. Consider 1984 add in that everyone is trapped inside levels of a continent spanning hexagonal city where you can only work your way up or down in the levels but never, ever outside of the control of the state. No privacy and no possibility of privacy. No way to better yourself. No way to control your destiny. Very much like an ant hill except the stars, sun and sky are all fictions viewed on screens on the wall but never actually seen. Claustrophobia reigns. But this world also plants the seeds of unrest that blossom in the next installments.

Wingrove delivers a world to fear, a story touching, and a life complete. It is a roadmap for how prequels should be written.


Scott Asher is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The Shadow Constant by Scudiere

This book is amazing. It has it all – adventure, murder, suspense and intrigue. A book you will get wrapped up in and can’t put down from page one to the last page.

The Shadow Constant
A.J. Scudiere
Griffyn Ink
July 2013

Evan, Rennie, Ivy are students. Kayla, Evans, sister is with them because Evan has always taken care of her. She has Asperger – a condition that keeps her very focus, but one that prevents her from holding down a job even though she is extremely intelligent.

Rennie has inherited Hazelton House, the family home, and has plans to restore it to its original glory. When the reconstruction is done she will open it to the public. In the meantime, a lot of work is required, While demolishing one of they inter walls they discover a pack of love letters that seem to be written by a previous mistress of the house. She talks about the love of her live and a baby that died. Who is this person? That isn’t the only thing they discover. They find a schematic of a drawing with the initials EW. The original schematic is stolen, but lucky for them Kayla, with perfect memory, can redraw the schematics.

When building the machine, they realize that the initials EW stands for Eli Whitney. Has this machine ever been built and exactly what does it do? Soon they discover strange footprints and disturbing visitors. Who is trying to steal the machine?

Kayla does get the machine to work, but is very upset by the various visitors and people trying to kill them. Was El Whitney the first to be murdered for this machine and were there others? They soon realize the enemy is much larger than they imagine and this machine could topple an empire. What is the Shadow Constant?

Will the group be able to save the device and get Hazelton House restored and open to the public? You must read the book to find the answers.

Ms. Scudiere is an excellent writer. She brings her characters to life and you feel as if you are sharing their adventure and fears. Ms. Scudiere is one of my favorite authors. I have read and reviewed all her books. Looking forward to the next one with a lot of anticipation!


The Golden Reviewer, is an 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top..

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

All In by Batterson

all inThink of a sermon. Think of Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God – like sermon where the pastor just goes off. Non-stop attacking sin and complacency. If it were a 200 page book it would look exactly like this one.

All In
Mark Batterson
Zondervan
September 2013

Batterson, well known for his previous books, especially on prayer, hits the ground running in this book calling Christians to move past complacency and a lackadaisical attitude towards their faith and calls us to live like we actually believe what we say we do. Every page reads like an aggressive attack exemplifying the point: we should be attacking sin and fighting for the Kingdom of God with every breath and every word.

But we really don’t, do we? With books like Radical by David Platt and Not a Fan (and Gods at War) by Kyle Idleman it’s clear that the church recognizing the sleepiness of American Christianity but is anyone listening? Sales suggest yes. I recommend yes. But like so many before Batterson, including way back to Paul, complacency is a characteristic of fallen mankind.

Still, a message that should be read again and again until like sparks a fire is finally built.


Scott Asher is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Gods at War by Idleman

The one sin that most people would say they don’t commit is the one that everyone does. All the time. Idolatry.

All In
Kyle Idleman
Zondervan
February 2013

We read about Idols in the Bible. We read about poles, and mountain top monuments, temples to other gods. We read about “doing evil in the Lord’s sight” which is another way of saying “worshipped other gods.” But we American Christians don’t think much on what forms Idolatry may take in our current era. How might they? Love. Comfort. Money. Self.

Idleman’s follow-up to the immensely impactful Not a Fan with another book that can and should change lives. When I started reading this I got to Comfort, the first Idol uncovered, and literally put the book down and didn’t pick it back up again for months. I was so convicted. In fact, I was so convicted by this book that I ended up teaching it to adults at church where it also changed lives.

Gods at War is a book that sheds light on a dark part of our lives that we have somehow kept hidden even while openly admitting to other sins. Idolatry just isn’t as well understood in our culture as other sins. We don’t understand how Idolatry is the heart of the other sins we fight against. But if we heed the words of this work we will understand it far too well; uncomfortably well.

This book will change your life. If you let it.


Scott Asher is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab by Hockensmith and Pflugfelder

High-voltage-final72A Series of Unfortunate Events (minus the creepy) + science + build it yourself = a really fun book!

Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab
Steve Hockensmith
“Science Bob” Pflugfelder
Quirk Books
November 2013

Nick and Tesla, twin teens, are sent to live with their brilliant, but forgetful inventor uncle after their parents take a research job in another country. While acclimating to their new home they uncover mysteries and a series of events that lead to answers to questions they didn’t even know to ask.

Other than a terrific, fast paced science-laden story, the authors include several do it yourself (DIY) science projects to immerse the reader in the story and to build interest in science. A few of them could be dangerous (or messy) so parent are invited to join in on the fun.

The characters are engaging, the storyline clean fun, and the DIY projects included in the book are fantastic.


Scott Asher is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Doescher

Star Wars and Shakespeare fans rejoice! Unto you is given the most amazing book. Ever.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars
Verily, A New Hope
Ian Doescher
Quirk Books
July 2013

Imagine the whole story of Star Wars: A New Hope as a classical Shakespearian play. Having trouble? Me too. Then I picked up the book and chose a page at random and started reading. Brilliant! Here, let me help from page 101:

LUKE ‘Tis fortunate thou hast these storgae bins.
HAN Their use hath ever been for smuggling goods.
Ne’er have I thought I would myself herein
Be smuggling. All we do is madness-fie!
If I could start the ship, the tractor beam
Would wrap its eagle’s talons ’round my neck.
OBI-WAN The tractor beam thou may’st leave unto me.
Han Thou fool, I knew thou wouldst say as much.
OBI-WAN Aye, say thou a fool? Then fool, good Sir, am I.

Yeah, it’s awesome like that. Every page is awesome like that!

The actions and language are only part of the story, though; as Doescher adds asides (even for Droids) and chorus to move the story forward and give insight that a casual watcher of the movie may miss. It is very well done.

I can’t recommend this book high enough. It is perhaps my favorite book of the year, and possibly of several years.


Scott Asher is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The Harbinger by Huntingford

An unbelievable good book. This new writer has a vivid imagination that will delight and thrill you as you read this amazing book.

The Harbinger
by Christopher Huntingford
Self Published
August 2013

The main character is Prince Alexander Wolfield, the fourth son of King Magnus. The dynasty has ruled the Kingdom of Alveus for the past 300 years. Today is Prince Alex’s 18th birthday. Today he is to select his own private guard from the King’s men. Father Malachus presents Alex with an amazing light-weight armor. The armor is infused with the blood of the gryphon. But that may be the only thing that is going well for Alex at his celebration. When Alex can’t find a guard he can trust he declines to select one and the King is very angry when he is told about the lack of following custom prompting Alex to leave the castle – taking only his horse and his dog with him. And so the adventure begins in earnest as Alex searches for twelve good men that will be loyal only to him and along the way he finds much more than he bargained for.

Alex’s journey gets him into all kinds of trouble. He is almost assassinated, visits far off realms, and finds that magic and magical creatures still exist in the land. He also uncovers a plot to destroy his homeland. Racing to stop the plot and save his people the question remain: will Alex’s destiny be revealed?

I loved the book. It is full of mystery, courage, misplaced loyalty, a mother’s love and just plain good. This is truly a page turner and a keeper. Maybe the author will write a sequel. Will Alex ever become king of Alveus?

Highly recommended for readers of all age.


The Golden Reviewer, is an 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top..

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

NIV Essentials Study Bible

The NIV Study Bible is one of the finest Bibles available. Add five other study Bibles content to it and this is a must buy!

NIV Essentials Study Bible
New International Version
Zondervan
November 2013

The first Bible I really used was the NIV Student Bible. I remember getting it and being drawn to the insights at the bottom of each page. When I went to college I upgraded to an NIV Study Bible. The footnotes (along with commentaries) were good enough to get me through my Bible degree so I remain a big fan. So when Zondervan announced they would be including both of those Bible’s insights along with four other study Bibles in to one I was instantly intrigued! How could it not be awesome?

Well, it can’t. It is truly an amazing Bible! I wasn’t familiar with some of the included Bible content (like the Quest Study Bible or the Great Rescue Bible) but I like what they bring. What we get is constant feedback on every page. Footnotes, quotes, commentary, insight. Everywhere.

I’ve seen enough of the topical Bibles out there where it seems like every possible job or life situation has a new Bible plus commentary. I love that commentary and study guides are included here. For the first time in a couple years I feel like a Bible has come out that isn’t just another gift Bible. This is a Bible that cries out to be read!


Scott Asher is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Hot Buttons Series by O’Dell

Hot-Buttons-booksParents of teens can use all the help they can get. That’s where this new series of topical help guides aims to fill those needs.

Hot Buttons Series
(Bullying and Image Editions)
Nicole O’Dell
Kregel
September 2013

Kregel sent two of the series to me for review: Bullying and Image Editions. (They also publish Hot Button books on other topics like Internet, Sexuality, Dating, 30-Day Challenge, and Drug Editions.) The books are written by a well known talk radio and author who specializes in parent/ child relationships. As if having six children of her own wasn’t enough reason to respect her opinions!

Each book in the series starts with exploring the issue (with chapters on Why, When and How) then moves in to particulars on how to reach and teach your child to respond appropriately in situations surrounding the Hot Buttons. Each book is timely and doesn’t feel dated (like so many parenting books do). We deal with real current even stuff like Cyberbullying, Self-Harm, Eating Disorders and such and then move in to part three of each book: strategies.

I really liked how relevant these topics are to today’s teen. Reading the strategies – filled with Biblical references and responses – came across as genuine and helpful not preachy or tired. And if you think your child isn’t going through these struggles then you need them more than most parents. These struggles are real and prevalent.

Each book is less than $10 on Amazon and well worth the price.


Scott Asher is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The Advent of Murder by Martha Ockley

81iJWddb9fL._SL1500_ Faith Morgan is the Vicar of Little Worthy and she has so many projects to finish before Christmas that she hardly has time to sleep.

The Advent of Murder
by Martha Ockley
Kregel Publications
July 2013

The Advent of Murder by Martha Ockley did not grab my interest at the beginning but the more I read the more interesting the story became. Faith Morgan is the new Vicar of Little Worthy and she is very involved in getting everything ready for the Advent season. It seems that she has so many things to do that she seldom gets enough sleep. When Faith goes to visit one of her parishioners, she learns that a young man from the choir has been murdered. Faith was a policewoman before she became the Vicar, and she cannot help getting involved in the murder investigation in spite of all the other things that she must do before Christmas. Detective Inspector Ben Shorter is Faith’s ex-boyfriend and he resents her involvement in the investigation but once in a while he accepts her ideas.

Characters and their dialogue were very well developed and the characters seemed to come to life on the pages of the book. The plot had many twists and turns and I was kept guessing until almost the end of the book as to the identify of the murderer. There were also several mysteries in the story which added greatly to my enjoyment. The story had quite a few rather unusual characters but they added interest to the story. After finishing the book I had the feeling that maybe Faith had been a better policewoman than she was a Vicar. I was a little surprised at the ending but it was a satisfactory ending.

I would recommend this book if you like mysteries set in England and written by British authors.


Deanna Love Gottreu is a 75 year old widow and the mother of two wonderful sons who share second place in her life – with God being in first place. She spends her time reading or making quilts for charity. Her book reviews can also be read on her blog at www.buzzardsroostcrafts.com/blog.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Your Gateway to Great Books!