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.

Warlord by Ted Bell

Alex Hawke, Ted Bell’s popular cross between James Bond and Dirk Pitt, wants to die. When last we read of his adventures, in 2008’s Tsar, the love of Hawke’s life along with their not-yet-born child were taken from him. Warlord picks up the story a year later with Hawke attempting to drink himself to death. Then comes a call from his close friend, his Royal Highness Prince Charles, with a problem that only Hawke can solve.

Warlord
(An Alex Hawke Novel)
By Ted Bell
William Morrow
2010

In a matter of pages Hawke changes from docile with a death-wish to the in-shape and ready-to-kill hero that readers know and love. For the sake of his friend Prince Charles Hawke promises to find the killer behind a deadly threat to the Crown. With the aid of his trusted friend Ambrose Congreve he sets out on a quest to solve the murder of Lord Mountbattan – possibly committed by the same man who made the threat against Prince Charles. Meanwhile in Miami, Americans Stokely Jones and Harry Brock are at work infiltrating a new multinational terrorist organization, the Sword of Allah, after several attacks. Like all good adventures, the stories merge and we end up with the heroes united against a common enemy. And of course, the good guys win.

As far as action adventure books go, this is cookie cutter. The amazing, almost ultra-human hero, takes on problems with style and charm and on the way to saving the world gets the girl. This is James Bond minus the high tech weaponry. It is Dirk Pitt without the archaeology. As far as adventure books go, Warlord isn’t bad. The story moves quickly and the action is intense and satisfying. But not everything worked for me.

I was disappointed with Hawke’s attitude at the start of the book. Ted Bell attempts and fails to transition Hawke into a deeper character by detailing Hawke’s sorrow and loss. Readers are meant to understand the gravity of the loss by how far the hero has fallen. But how far has he really fallen? Hawke’s one page physical recovery and his sexual encounter with the first woman we come across in the book belie the real Hawke (and Ted Bell): shallowness is in their DNA.

Warlord is a popcorn novel, pulp adventure with little depth but much action. If that is what you are going for then you will be supremely satisfied. If you are looking for something more then look elsewhere.


Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of BookGateway.com. Along with his contributions to BookGateway, he reviews for the commercial site BuddyHollywood.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on current events and Christianity.

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

Originally Published at BuddyHollywood.com.

Blending Time by Michael Kinch (BuddyHollywood.com)

Turning seventeen isn’t as exciting as it used to be… say, back in 2025. Because in 2069, turning seventeen means that you are ready to be assigned to a permanent work assignment by the Global Alliance.

Do well in school and differentiate yourself and you may get out of digging a canal for the rest of your life. Jaym, a poor child of a single mother is seventeen and running out of job options. Reya, daughter of refugees from the desert formerly known as MexiCal doesn’t have a choice. D’Shay, a young man with a history of mistakes has no shot of getting a good career without bribing a hacker. All three think that they’ve made it by avoiding canal duty. Their job: go to Africa, where the population cannot reproduce because of a terrible solar flare damaging their genes, marry a pre-chosen mate then repopulate the continent. But the Blender program they’ve been chosen for isn’t all it seems.

Once they get to Africa they find a world very different than their training prepared them for. With no support from the Global Alliance, they have to make their way in a land filled with rebels and abject poverty…

CONTINUE READING AT BuddyHollywood.com

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

One Christmas Eve, Kate is shaken awake by her mother.  Kate, the oldest of three children, is implored by her mother to look after the younger two, Michael and Emma.  The three children are spirited away in the middle of the night to keep them safe.  For the next ten years, these siblings will find themselves shuffled from foster home to foster home, until one disastrous meeting with a potential adoptive parent lands them in the “orphanage” of Dr. Stanislaus Pym.  It is a strange sort of orphanage, made so because of the enigmatic owner of the house, Dr. Pym, the old caretaker, Abraham, and the housekeeper who insists on speaking to the children in address of royalty, Miss Sallow.  Oh, and the fact that Kate, Michael, and Emma are the only children in the orphanage.

Upon their first investigation of the house, the children find a book bound in green leather.  Purely by accident, they stick a picture in the book and are transported back in time.  It is here they meet the Countess, an evil witch in search of the book that the children themselves have found.  When they try to get back to their time, Michael is left behind.  The girls then return to find Michael, sending them on the adventure of a lifetime.   The children seems to be on one adventure after another trying to right the wrongs of the past.

When I first started this book, I was not sure if I would finish it.  The Emerald Atlas contains characters reminiscent of Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore and Rubius Hagrid, a story line about children entering another time (world) in order to save it as in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and a seemingly never-ending abundance of dismal situations a la A Series of Unfortunate Events.  I was concerned that John Stephens would not find his own voice.

I am glad I kept reading.  While the aforementioned nods to other great children’s literature do exist, Stephens begins to weave his own tale.  The characters are ones for whom you can champion.  I am a major fan of books that incorporate strong female characters, and Stephens does this twice with both Kate and Emma.   He also manages to do so while keeping in consideration the fact that they are still children.  

As with any book, I rate it based on its repeat readability (yep, making up words now).   Stephens gets a solid yes.  Stephens’ novel is great for young readers, rich in folklore and vivid imagery.   I am looking forward to the next two books in this trilogy, even knowing I will have to wait quite some time (as Atlas is not slated for release until April 2011).


Robin Gwaro is a founding book review blogger at Bookgateway.com and has generously supplied this review. She describes herself as “a woman just trying to keep it all together. Most days, I have the juggling act down! Others, I have the broom and dustpan handy to clean up the mess. My life is not always easy, it is not always neat, but it is always worth every minute!” Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost..

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

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Beyond The Valley of Thorns by Patrick Carman

From the back:Alexa Daley thought her troubles were over when she defeated the man who threatened to bring Bride well down from within. But now that the walls have fallen, a new, unexpected threat has risen from outside. Suddenly, Alexa is involved in a battle much, much bigger than her own life …a battle in which she is destined to play a key role. Sinister forces are gathering in strange and vile forms, all with the goal of bringing darkness to the land. In order to help good defeat evil, Alexa and her friends must venture farther than they’ve gone before- confronting giants, bats, ravenous dogs, and a particularly ghoulish mastermind in order to bring back peace.

The book was easy for me to read, but I would recommend it for grades four through seven. It really depends on the individual. I got into it on probably page one because I was so pumped up from reading the first book, The Dark Hills Divide, (which I have also reviewed.) It was a very fun book! I simply loved it! I recommend it for anybody that still likes a fun, fictional, but also suspenseful book about a twelve year old girl saving the world. Most normal middle schoolers would like the book almost as much as me. (Nobody could like it more or as much as I did!) It was not obviously Christian but I could relate Elyon to God and Alexa to each of us. It really depends on how you look at it. No one in the book reads the bible but I think they pray to Elyon in the third book a couple times but not in this one. There is absolutely nothing bad that parents would have to worry about. No bad words or actions at all. I think this book is a great source of reading for any one that likes suspenseful fantasy. Before you start reading this series make sure you have the next ones in the series close by. If you don’t you might go crazy: the only part I was the a little upset about was the fact that each of these books are cliff-hangers. They all end in “to be continued.”

This series of books is probably up in second place on the list of my favorite book series right behind The Percy Jackson series, but that’s another story (or book.)


Arieltopia is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She is an 11 year old avid reader – usually going through a book a day – who gives readers a unique perspective on Young Adult and Teen Fiction; an actual teenager’s perspective. Her blog is http://Arieltopia.blogspot.com.

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

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Beyond The Valley Of Thorns (Land of Elyon)

Pursuit of Justice by DiAnn Mills

In her third installment in the Call of Dusty series, DiAnn Mills introduces us to Special Agent Bella Jordan.  Bella has traveled from Houston to West Texas to investigate the murders of three treasure hunters.   To perform this investigation, Bella must return to the home she fled fourteen years earlier and the memories held there.

The murders occurred at a ranch owned by Carr Sullivan, a man who had escaped his own troubled past in Dallas.  This makes Carr the prime suspect, a position that he is none-too-happy about.  Carr has given his lift to Christ and has moved to West Texas to try to start fresh.

Together, Bella and Carr must work together to find the killer (or killers) and will also find redemption in each other.

I will be honest, this is the first book of Mills’ that I have read.  I had not read the other books in her series.  However, the books have more of a common theme (law enforcement as the background) as opposed to a connection to one another, so this book was able to stand alone.

There are many things that I liked about this novel.  First, it really did keep me guessing until the end.  I am not the type of person who tries to work out the details.  I like to follow where the author takes me and watch the story unfold.  Mills does an amazing job of keeping the story in place while giving just enough in the area of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

Secondly, with regards to the faith aspect, Mills doesn’t make life perfect for the Christians and difficult for those who have not yet followed Christ.  She realistically depicts the struggles that come both as a person is seeking Christ and those that can occur even after a person comes to a saving knowledge of Him.  She gives the reader characters to whom a person can relate.

Which brings me to the third thing I liked about this novel:  a strong lead female character.  Sometimes, women in Christian novels are seen in situations where they are almost whithering under pressure and stress.  Not in Mills’ novel.  Bella is a character who is strong and determined (and a little stubborn).  She and Carr work through their feelings for one another the way it really happens:  slowly, methodically.

The only issue I can really say I have with the novel is that it does drag along at some points.  There is a lot of back story and action going on throughout the novel.  Once the peak of the novel hits, the novel runs out of steam.  There are 339 pages until the pieces fall into place, and then the novel ends at 368.  That is essentially just under 30 pages to tie up all of the loose ends that are inevitably created in a novel like this one.

All in all, though, I really did enjoy reading this novel.  I am certainly going to see about getting the first two, so that I can enjoy more of DiAnn Mills’ writing.  I would certainly recommend taking the time out to read this novel.  You won’t be disappointed.

This book was provided free of charge as a review copy. The publisher had no editorial rights or claims over the content or the conclusions made in this review. No payment was provided in return for this review. 

Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson

This is an amazing book – a delightful interesting read. Sixteen women leave St, Louis, Missouri en route to the Nebraska Territory. They are Drake’s Ladies Emigration Society. The ladies have been promised free government land in their own name, the only stipulation – they must homestead the land and live on it for five years. Mr. Harold Drake is really an unscrupulous con artist who has an entirely different agenda that the one presented to the ladies.

Upon arriving in Plum Grove, Nebraska they learn Drake’s true purpose in bring them to Nebraska. They are to be brides for the men in Cayote. Eleven of the woman decide to take Drake’s offer and go to Cayote. Five stayed in Plum Grove. The book is five womenfolk’s story in one – Sally, Caroline. Ellie, Hattie and Ruth. They would obtain the promise land and make a home for themselves. They would unite and develop five parcels as one large homestead. Their story is one of courage – women who risked everything for the dream of owning land and finding love on the prairies of Nebraska. These five are among the hundreds of single women who successfully homesteaded in the west and conquered the vast wilderness.

Ms. Whitson is an excellent writer. She holds your interest page after page. You will laugh, cry, feel their pain. but above all you will share their dreams and hopes as they leave their past behind and embark on a better. brighter future.

Highly recommended.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She describes herself as “An 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.” Her former blog was at http://GoldenReviewer.blogspot.com.

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

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Sixteen Brides

The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giroello

The third in series about a forensic geologist turned FBI agent, The Clouds Roll Away finds Raleigh Harmon making her way back to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia after a forced assignment in Washington.   Soon after her arrival home, Raleigh begins to investigate an apparent hate crime with ties to the KKK.  She quickly (in my opinion) gets in over her head.  As with most mystery/crime novels, not all is as it seems and problems arise.  
I have to preface that I prefer to read crime novels through and let the story play itself out.  I do not spend any time as I read trying to figure out the “whodunit.”  I like to see where the author takes me.  I allow the author to take me on the journey of twists and turns, lead me astray, only to be caught off guard by the actual culprit.  There should be an ultimate AH-HA moment.  The ultimate twist should catch you by surprise.  The twist in this novel was not quite so dramatic.  I think the AH-HA moment was a little bit of a stretch, and it didn’t leave me with a desire to go back and read to see where I missed it. Also, there are parts of the novel that are more like a history or geography book as opposed to a novel.  Some of these passages are very helpful in making connections.  Others are not.  They seem to be inserted because they were learned during the research of the novel.
Having not read the first two books in the series, I will tell you that I am a little lost.  While the story itself regarding Raleigh’s investigation could stand alone, the interaction between the characters left me a little in the dark.  I needed to know more about the history between Raleigh and the other characters in the book, from her boss, to her mother, to her sister, and then her boyfriend.  There is apparently behind these relationships than you get in this book.  And, as a lead character, Raleigh isn’t particularly dynamic.  She seems to fall into most of what happens to her (good or bad). I will still give the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe I am missing something by not having read the first two installments.  
All in all, The Clouds Roll Away is an okay read.  There’s not much in the way of character development, but I am assuming that a lot of this is done in the first two novels.  Even so, I have picked up other novels that were not the first in a series and was so drawn into the story line that I absolutely HAD to read the first installments.  Such is not the case with this one.  I might go back and pick up the first two but doing so is not really a priority.  
This book was provided free of charge by the publisher as a review copy. The publisher had no editorial rights or claims over the content or the conclusions made in this review. Visit www.thomasnelson.com for more information on this book. No payment was provided in return for this review.