Category Archives: Action & Adventure

An adventure story is about a protagonist who journeys to epic or distant places to accomplish something. The protagonist has a mission and faces obstacles to get to his destination. An action story is similar to Adventure, but the protagonist usually takes a risky turn, which leads to desperate situations. Includes spy novels, westerns, superheroes, etc, like James Bond, Dirk Pitt, Indiana Jones, and most stories that include explosions, fight scenes, daring escapes, etc.

The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Pirate’s Code

piratesThe movie is about a boy and a girl who join a secret pseudo-governmental society (that they have unbeknownst family ties to) and quickly find themselves fighting against a shadowy plot to take over the world using sci-fi tech and cleverness. The film is filled with former A or B level actors who fill in as aging comedy relief, evil geniuses or beloved mentors. If you were thinking about Spy Kids (or any of the sequels) you’d pretty much be right.

The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Pirate’s Code
Pure Flix
June 2015

In this movie it is Mickey and Sully who stop the plotting of the “pirate” Ironsides with the aid of Mickey’s [SPOILER] grandfather (who was supposed to be dead; and sadly looks it). Former bigger name or bigger recognition actors fill up the movie: Christopher Lloyd (Grandpa), Frank Collison (Ironsides), Tia Carrere (Lynch – she is oddly not listed in IMDB or Amazon, but she is in it), etc.

As far as family films go this is standard fare. It’s clean, fun, cheesy, a little action and drama but no death or fear instilling moments… and most importantly – loved by kids. My boys (5 and 9) loved this. Just like they love Spy Kids, Sky High, or Sharkboy and Lavagirl and other very similar films. It’s tolerable for parents as well.

If you’re looking for a fun, family night movie I recommend this one to you.

Congrats to Robert B. of Smyrna, TN for winning a copy of this movie!


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

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

Personal by Lee Child

Don’t hate but this was my first Jack Reacher novel. Hey, 10,000 books get published a week I read somewhere! Whatever the cause, it was definitely a mistake.

Personal
A Jack Reacher Novel
by Lee Child
Delacorte Press / Random House Audio
September 2014

After a sniper attempts to assassinate a high profile leader in Europe, Reacher is called upon by the U.S. government to track down the sniper before an upcoming meeting of European and American leaders in London. One of the possible snipers is someone Reacher put in jail years ago and who is recently out of jail and may carry a grudge.

Paired with a young CIA teammate, Reacher’s quest takes him first to Paris, then all over London and puts him directly in the crosshairs of two large gangs. Fighting through thug after thug, Reacher has to get to the sniper in time and all the while needs to find out who exactly is behind all of this. Twists and turns that make sense in the end but surprise as they come.

Child’s character and this story is outstanding. Far and away more enjoyable than most “big name” series I’ve read over the last decade. I’m definitely a fan from this point on and the great news is that I’ve got a bunch of old books to catch up on!

A note about the audio version: Dick Hill is outstanding. Gravelly, breathless and slightly musical in his approach to the story. Every sentance brought a pacing that made the story so much more enjoyable than most readers. His characters were easy to understand and differentiate. He does many of the other Reacher books as well lending a permanent, tough cop voice (in contrast with the Tom Cruise movie).


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

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

Red River by P. G. Nagle

download Most of the action in this story takes place in Louisiana where the Union and confederates are in a battle to have control of the Red River.

Red River
by P. G. Nagle
Evennight Books
August 2003

Red River by P. G. Nagle is a well written book but I found it somewhat hard to really get into the story because there were so many Generals, Colonels, Lieutenants, Captains, Sergeants, and Privates for both the South and the North that I had trouble keeping them straight. In fact, I gave up and just focused on the story line that involved Marie Hawkland, mistress of a large plantation, Nat Wheat, a Union Navy carpenter, and Jamie Russell, a Confederate Captain. The story features battles that took place on the Red River in Louisiana where it flows into the Mississippi River. This was the largest waterway in the country and both the North and South wanted control. A good bit of action takes place at Marie’s plantation for she was more or less friendly with both the South and the North. The Confederates wanted to buy cotton to exchange for weapons and the Federals wanted to buy cotton just to keep it from the Confederates.

The battle scenes were quite graphic and in my mind I could see all the horrors of the battles. I could not keep all the battles straight but the friendships between the men, both Confederate and Federal, made for enjoyable reading. There was a great deal of suspense in the story for I never knew which side would win the battle. I enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot line concerning the individuals for there was lots of suspense wondering how each of the main characters would end up. At least for me the story had a happy ending.

I recommend this book if you are really into stories about the battles fought in the Civil War and don’t mind profanity in the story.


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.

Undetected by Dee Henderson

91hmdPSsO5L._SL1500_ Mark Bishop is the commander of a ballistic missile submarine and Gina Gray is an ocean science researcher. She has just come up with a new theory and needs his help.

Undetected
Dee Henderson
Bethany House
April 2014

Undetected by Dee Henderson is another great book by this author. Mark Bishop is the Commander of a ballistic missile submarine but when someone asks him what he does for a living he simply replies, “I’m in the Navy.” This is an extreme understatement for his job carries responsibilities that are not seen in any other job in the military. Mark is a widower and with all his heart he wants to come home to someone after spending several months at sea in a submarine with hundreds of men. He is attracted to Gina Gray but feels that maybe she is too young for him. Gina does ocean science research and her job is so important and secret that she has round the clock military protection. She would love to be married but due to a failed relationship, she spends nearly all her time working, sometimes even sleeping at her office. This work situation leaves her no time for a social life. She has just made a very important discovery and she needs Mark Bishop’s help to prove her theory. Fortunately, this will give them time together to get to know each other.

As with all her books, Dee Henderson did an excellent job in the development of all aspects of this story. It is very evident that she did the research necessary to write such a detailed story about life on a submarine and other jobs in the Navy. Also, she wrote in such a way that it was easy to understand what was happening on the submarine and with Gina’s work. All the characters were so well developed that I felt as if each one was a friend with Mark and Gina being close friends. Gina did not want to spend time on the submarine and this segment of the story was so real that I was feeling the same fear as Gina. There were several twists and turns to the plot line and these just added to the enjoyment of the story and kept me guessing as to what was going to happen. The characters and dialogue were so well developed that I had the feeling as if I were right in the middle of the action taking place on the submarine.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves a well written story that is also a learning experience. There is romance and enough mystery to keep one reading and guessing.


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.

Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves by Corey

honor_among_thievesAfter the destruction of the Death Star, Leah Organa needs some work done for the sake of the Rebellion and knows just the man – Han Solo.

Honor Among Thieves
Star Wars – Legends
by James S.A. Corey
read by Marc Thompson
LucasBooks / Random House Audio
March 2014

Han’s mission is to “rescue” Scarlet Hark from Imperial space without causing much of a fuss. Of course, he does and adventures ensue. Very like Harrison Ford’s other main hero, Indiana Jones, this version of Han is all adventure and intrigue. And his relationship with Scarlet is nearly identical to the one portrayed by Leah in the films and other novels. I found that rather jarring at times – almost like Han was cheating on Leah – but I had to keep in mind that this is prior to The Empire Strikes Back so it’s not really cheating at all.

Interestingly, James S.A. Corey is a pen named used by well known and successful sci-fi writers Nebula and Hugo Award nominees Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Not sure why the pen name, but whatever the case they do a very good job fitting their story and talents to the world and voice of classic Star Wars. Unfortunately, this book fits in the new “Legends” series and is now non-canonical due to Disney doing away with the larger literary universe of Star Wars. So while it’s a fun ride, ultimately it’s the equivalent of a day dream with characters you know.

A note about the audio version: Marc Thompson once again shines as the reader of a Star Wars audio book. His Han and characters are great and easily distinguishable. Along with the excellent audio mixing and sound effects this book is a pleasure to listen to.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

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

Sluagh: Demon of the Night by Darrell Case

sluagh Max Furman is a serial killer of young boys aged four to seven and he goes undetected for eighteen years. Antoine is Max’s person satanic demon.

Sluagh: Demon of the Night
by Darrell Case
Self Published
October, 2013

Sluagh: Demon of the Night by Darrell Case is a book that grabs you on page one and does not let go until you reach the last page. When Max Furman was a child he was abused by his mother, often telling him that she should have killed him when he was an infant. His heart turns to stone and one day when he is fourteen he kills his baby sister which is his first kill. When Max becomes an adult he becomes a serial killer of young boys between the ages of four and seven and goes undetected for eighteen years. Max has always hidden the bodies where they will never be found but he longs for recognition so he starts to display the bodies of the murdered boys. The FBI starts working the case and the media calls Max the Ghost. Max needs a place to hide so he forges a resume and becomes the pastor of a church. Andrew and Antoine were angels created at the same time and were close friends. When the rebellion came, Andrew stayed loyal to God but Antoine became one of Satan’s demons and Max’s personal demon.

Wow, what an imagination this author possesses which allows him to write such a great story. I read the book in one sitting except for the time I took to attend Sunday night church. I just could not put the book down until I knew what was going to happen and how the story would end. I think this may be the most suspenseful book that I have ever read. The author did an excellent job with every element of the story. The plot had some twists which added to the mystery of the story. Max was so well developed that the reader could see his psychotic character and at the same time see the spiritual warfare that was going on in the story. All the characters in the story came to life and some I truly liked and some I really hated. All the action scenes were so vividly written that I could almost imagine myself right in the middle of the action. Although the story is about a serial killer who murders very young boys, the author balanced the story by writing how God and his angels worked to overcome the evil and to bring about justice.

I highly recommend this book to everyone that likes a very suspenseful Christian story filled with angels and demons and that keeps you on the edge of your seat and biting your nails. I don’t think that I would recommend for anyone under the age of thirteen and then I feel the parent should check it out first.


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 author 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.

Falcon Down by Cobb

FD-Cover-Image-mediumFalcon Down is an action packed spy thriller written by C.H Cobb. To be honest, Cobb hit my soft spot with Spy Thrillers. I love the action, the heroes, and the world of the spy. Not surprisingly, Cobb falls into the traditional spy-thriller novel quite well; he has a strong central character that works in the government, practically like a spy and ends up using his skills to rid the world of a different nations evil plans. Even more intriguing, however, is the internal struggle of the character.

Falcon Down
Falcon Series 1
by C.H. Cobb
Doorway Press
June 2013

Major Jacob Kelly is the spy-like figure and main character of the book. While working on a top-secret mission, his unarmed aircraft gets shot down. Open being captured, Kelly has to use his training to withstand torture and, ultimately, escape from the both the compound and country of his captors. It’s an action packed book, which left little room to be bored. Despite his amazing skills, Kelly struggles with the act of killing people. Although he feels he must, his conscience often pricks and prods him, telling him that it’s wrong. This internal struggle is vital throughout the entire novel.

Despite my overall enjoyment of Falcon Down, there were some minor aspects about the book that I hope will be resolved for any subsequent parts of this series. First off, the format of the book was tiresome; within chapters there are numerous dividing lines that section off different ‘scenes’ or ‘narratives’. This is a stylistic aspect, without question, but I firmly believe that Cobb would have had a more effective story had he elaborated on many of the scenes to form their own chapter and or nixed some of the shorter scenes. The many divided sections within a chapter, though at times useful, became too abundant and created what felt like unnatural breaks within the story. Even without that reason, however, I would still vote for fixing this up somehow just to keep the story more fluid and less choppy.

Secondly, it is evident that Cobb is a pastor and he is aiming to talk about Jesus in some way within the novel. It came as a pleasant surprise, however, when I barely noticed any talk about Jesus or religion. This is not to say that I do not advocate talking about Jesus; rather, I believe many fictional works written by Christians could become more successful and effective if they do not overtly talk about Jesus (think, for instance, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S Lewis). Eventually, Cobb did talk about Jesus through some of his characters dialogue. But, it really did seem forced into the story. I’m not creative enough myself to think of a way in which Cobb could have subtlety made his message about Jesus clear, but I’m sure there is one. Sometimes, as an author, the best thing you can do is show instead of tell. It is clear that Kelly has an internal moral struggle, so maybe a more effective way of communicating the gospel through this book would be to probe into the characters heart and mind more deeply, showing how he comes closer to a conversion to Christ through his actions and internal debate. All in all, it’s a minor issue, but one that would have gone a long way for me had it been resolved from the beginning.

It’s with happiness that I recommend Falcon Down to anyone who enjoys an action packed story. You will be excited and on the edge of your seats throughout the entire book. For myself, I’m looking forward to the next part of the series and would enjoy reading the sequel!


Michael Krauszer is the owner/founder of Christian Literature Review. Currently he is a senior at The College of New Jersey, working to complete his BA in English, along with attending Veritas Evangelical Seminary for his MA in Theological Studies. If you’re an author and would like him to review your book, contact him at Mike@Christianlitreview.com

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

His Majesty’s Hope by MacNeal

imageMaggie Hope is back – this time on a secret mission to Berlin during World War 2. It’s supposed to be a quick in and out drop off and intelligence run… Supposed to be.

His Majesty’s Hope
Maggie Hope #3
by Susan Elia MacNeal
Bantam / Random House Audio
May 2013

Maggie quickly makes things more complicated by deciding to stick around a little longer to gather intelligence when an opportunity to work for high ranking officials opens up. This leads to daring escapes, dramatic fights, terrible persecution and a fun story set in an era that is one of my favorites.

[MILD SPOILERS] The problem I have with this novel is that I’m constantly being jerked out of the story due to the questionable ethics being promoted by the main characters and cliché storylines. I despise when everyone in a story is related (although they may not know it at first.) The main bad guy is who? The helper at university is who? The boyfriend is where? Are there only 10 people in the whole world? Why must we go back to this tired form of storytelling?

As far as ethical issue, sure Maggie Hope is like a female James Bond so sleeping around doesn’t surprise me as much as it should considering that this is a World War 2 era story with a female protagonist. Her roommate being a (smart, fashionable, witty) gay man just trying to live his life in peace with his gay lover (who of course get attacked for being gay by some drunk ruffians). It’s just so cliché!

And consider the other heroine, Eliza, who wants to be a nun and seems to take her faith seriously except that she enjoys frequent premarital sex in the alley outside dance halls. (And who is related to our protagonist, of course.)

But Eliza’s hypocrisy is part of an anti-religious theme in the book that I didn’t appreciate. Along with Eliza, Maggie’s main contact in Berlin went to school to be a priest but is a borderline abusive, mean-spirited, sour man who never comes across as interesting, smart, or sympathetic. And he is terrible at apologetics. (Or great at being Maggie’s straw man.)

Consider how terribly this man answers the witty, smart, charming atheist Maggie about the issue of pain and suffering in Berlin. The man says that the pain and suffering and evil is something God provides to mold us and teach us lessons. While it is true that Christianity believes that God uses suffering we don’t believe that God is responsible for evil and suffering. This is a step too far and reveals a negative bias by the author against Christianity. The arguments that the wannabe priest make are merely set-ups for Maggie to knock down; easy straw man arguments create for Maggie, the atheist, to win. And why is there conflict anyway? Many of the greatest heroes from World War 2, especially in Germany, were the Christians who sacrificed everything to undermine the Reich. (Consider Bonheoffer, for some more knowledgeable and appropriate responses to Maggie’s questions.) And there really ought not to be a conflict between science and religion either, but that is the way the author chooses – the easy way – instead of really wrestling with the question of evil in Hitler’s Germany.

The story is fun and Maggie is a charming character. But the way the book heavy handedly promotes carnality and atheism made the story less enjoyable for me. And I believe can also cause issues for the other 80% of the world that believes in a faith tradition.

I don’t recommend it.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief 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 Battle of Verril by Lallo

verrilThe final book in The Book of Deacon trilogy, Myranda and the Chosen must face the invaders from another world. But the generals of the D’karon are fearsome enemies that apparently can’t be killed. Even more troubling, the prophecy that brought the Chosen together states that only four of them will survive the final battle, and one will die.

The Battle of Verril
The Book of Deacon #3
by Joseph Lallo
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
July 31, 2012

As the final book of the trilogy, the author’s writing shows quite a bit of improvement, and I can only imagine that the act of writing such a lengthy trilogy was a growing experience and a labor of love.

That said, it was quite a labor to reach this point in the story, and there are plot holes and problems from the previous books that continue to overshadow the successes made with this final chapter of the trilogy.

The characters, both good and bad, actually begin to take on more layered personalities, but their rocky foundations still leave much to be desired.

As final battles go, things continue as you would more or less expect them to. Although I couldn’t help but wonder why a war that has lasted for over a century and was supposedly engineered by an invading force from another dimension would only just now be reaching its conclusion.

In the end, the overall story isn’t bad, just poorly executed. The entire series would have probably done better as a single book and with a generous amount of editing. Still, the author has shows quite a bit of improvement and has since written a few side stories that take place in the same universe, but have a much higher quality of writing.

Anyone who has managed to make it this far, should definitely check out some of the author’s later works.


Matthew Scott is the Dark Fantasy & Horror Editor of BookGateway.com who describes himself as just another average reader who enjoys sharing his opinion on various books, authors, and whatever else may cross his path.