Category Archives: @ashertopia

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.

(An Alex Hawke Novel)
By Ted Bell
William Morrow

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 Along with his contributions to BookGateway, he reviews for the commercial site 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

Blending Time by Michael Kinch (

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…


Interview with David Trotter

I had an opportunity to interview David Trotter, the author of an incredibly important book, Lost+Found: Finding Myself by Getting Lost in an Affair. Trotter was married with two children to his college sweetheart and a pastor of a successful church in Southern California when he decided to give everything up to pursue a relationship with another woman. This shocking memoir left me with quite a few questions and much more to think about. David was kind enough to provide honest answers to go with an honest book. See my review and then go buy the book – it is highly recommended.

Scott Asher: This is one of the most intimate behind the scenes look at adultery that I’ve ever seen or read. I assume that most people who have gone through something like this would want to sweep this under the rug and move on. What made you want to write this book?

David Trotter: In December of 2008, I outlined the entire book on a plane ride back from India, but it just sat there as a three page document within the protected confines of my laptop. I wasn’t ready to write about it. It was too painful. It brought tears to my eyes just to think about it. As the months passed by and my life took on a new normal, I gained courage to share my story…until one day…I started writing.

With each sentence that formed, I surprisingly experienced healing within my own heart and life. By authentically sharing my hopes and dreams combined with my rock bottom experience, I was liberated from much of the guilt, disappointment, anger, and resentment I felt in my own life. To share my story of depravity and redemption in such a raw form was healing in and of itself. I would spend focused time allowing the story to flow out of me…oftentimes closing my eyes as I typed and recounted my experiences.

The primary reason why I wrote Lost + Found (and my wife allowed it to be published) was for the benefit of others. Rather than sanitize my story, I have chosen to tell it as I remember it. My desire is for the reader to experience the highest ‘highs’ and the lowest ‘lows’ as I search for the life I always wanted. In my opinion, the power of the redemption is fully experienced against the backdrop of the depravity of my search. The response from people who have had affairs or been hurt by affairs has been overwhelmingly positive. And, it’s been amazing to hear from people who have no connection to an affair at all who have been equally inspired and challenged.

Asher: Knowing that your wife and children would have access to this book after it was published caused me to cringe several times during the narrative. You didn’t seem to hold back on any of the details, even the details about the satisfaction and quantity of sex with Samantha, and the raw language, for a couple examples. Now that this information is out there how did your family react to the full story and how do you handle your children having access to the story?

Trotter: Although my wife didn’t read the book until it was completely written, she had full power to pull the plug on the project at any point in time. She read the book in one sitting, and I know it was challenging to read about my entire experience. As she processed through her thoughts and feelings, I simply listened. In the meantime, I gave her full license to edit out any and all parts…which she did in several places within my story. The manuscript sat dormant for several months until my wife felt like she was ready for it to be made public. As you can imagine, it was a very sensitive process for both of us.

During that time, we discussed the ramifications of the book on both of our children. Since they are young (7 and 11), they really aren’t interested in the story…especially since they lived through much of it. Some day (at an appropriate age), I’m sure they’ll ask to read it, and I’ll be ready to process through their responses with empathy and compassion.

Asher: One of the creepiest parts of the story for me was when you and Samantha would read the Bible together. It just seemed so twisted to me for two people engaged in such a conspicuous and life altering sin to be discussing God. In fact, on several occasions you mention that you discussed what you thought God thought of the situation but there weren’t a lot of details about your conclusions other than He “probably didn’t like it.” So clear this up for readers: what did you think God thought of your actions and how did you rationalize your actions?

Trotter: I’m sure God did not approve of us leaving our spouses to be with one another, but I didn’t really care in the moment. Because my soul was so parched and weary, I was willing to drink ‘mud’ in order to satisfy my thirst. It nearly killed me. My mind wasn’t trying to rationalize anything…I was just trying to survive every day.

At the same, I don’t think God abandoned me…nor did I abandon God. That’s a hard thing to digest for most Christians. Samantha and I went to church each week, and we spent more time talking about God, reading the Bible together, and praying together. Just because we’re doing something that’s unhealthy and sinful, it doesn’t mean that God leaves us in the dust. In fact, I sensed God’s presence in powerful ways. His Presence doesn’t equal approval…it equals love. Believe me…I was definitely experiencing the natural consequences of my sin.

Asher: It seems like Kirk was a very important friend throughout this process. His line, something like “You can’t sin your way out of my life,” was awesome! My concern with him is how passive he seems to be in your relationship, never really pointing you in the right direction but rather it seemed like he was just along for the ride. I understand not wanting to be preachy or pushy, but doesn’t it seem natural that someone who loves you and sees you doing yourself harm would want to intercede and point you in the right direction and do you think Kirk should have nudged you in the right direction a little more?

Trotter: Since Kirk went through something very similar in his own life, he knew that correction would never have worked. It would only have driven me away from him. It’s not as though I needed someone to tell me that what I was about to do was ludicrous. I didn’t care. I was done caring. I just wanted out. In cases like mine, unsolicited advice rarely works…it usually just makes the person doling out the advice feel better about themselves.

Asher: Kirk seems like a natural selection to walk through this situation with you since he went through something like this and restored his marriage in the end. Ron and his wife, on the other hand didn’t seem like ideal mentors in this situation because, if I understand correctly, they are Christians who both left their spouses to marry each other. Ron seemed to me like the devil on your shoulder to Kirk’s angel; always showing you a way to make it work with Samantha. Frankly, I’m at a loss as to how I should, as a reader and a Christian, respond to Ron. Why did you go to him for support and in the bigger picture how should Christians respond to the Rons in our life?

Trotter: Ron and his new wife were (and are) dear friends, and they loved me no matter what…when I was with my wife, with Samantha, and even after she left. They were more interested in me than who I was with. No matter what decision I made…they were willing to walk with me. In their own lives, they experienced people who rejected them in the midst of their decisions, and they knew how important it was and is to walk with people.

This is a messy situation. Some people are willing to walk with the Rons of the world, and others think it’s their Christian duty to shun them. It’s hard, isn’t it? The other day, I had a reader ask me about God’s perspective on new relationships and marriages that come initially from an affair. I asked that question myself. “When will God be okay/approve of the new relationship?” No easy answers. All I know is that God forgives, and God wants each couple to have an incredible, intimate marriage. Would God want to equip and empower you to have the best new marriage possible? Seems like it to me. You are forgiven, and God loves you tremendously. Go and sin no more. (Sound familiar?)

Asher: I was disappointed with the angry and hurtful reactions of many of the people who you used to pastor. I believe that responding with anger and lashing out at you was un-Christian of them. But then I wonder how would someone appropriately act in that situation? Should they embrace their “fallen” pastor and his mistress? Should they lay low and pray for you? Imagine I’m someone who just heard you speak at a conference and this just happened at my church. How do you advise me to act?

Trotter: It all depends on your relationship with the pastor. If you’re a close friend, I’d encourage you to reach out to him or her. They don’t need to be reminded that it’s not appropriate. Express your care for them, pray for them, and resist the urge to gossip and slander. Trust God with the results.

If you’re not a close friend but someone who attends the church, pray and stand against anything that appears as gossip, slander, or dissension. Develop compassion for the pastor by searching for those times in your own life when you’ve lacked integrity. In the same way that you want God to forgive you in your own life, work toward forgiving the pastor in your own heart. If you don’t think your life could implode in some way, you’re mistaken.

Asher: Something that seemed to be missing in your narrative (or at least omitted from much of the story) is a reliance on reading Scripture and prayer. How much did prayer and scripture reading impact your decisions during your journey back to your wife and equilibrium?

Trotter: Although reading Scripture and connecting with God through specific times of prayer is important, I found that God used daily conversations with my three friends and therapist to speak in profound ways. You’ve got to remember that all things associated with ‘church’ and ‘ministry’ were part of the process of selling God. Reading the Bible and prayer represented the process by which I received a message to share with my congregation…and less about connecting with the Creator of the world. As I continued to deconstruct my faith (and view of ministry) and reconstruct a new relationship with God, I find myself turning to Scripture and prayer more often than ever before.

Asher: It seems at one point that you have so much going on with family, being a pastor, and multiple projects that it overwhelms you and you end up on a destructive path. When I look at where you are now you still have your family, are still a leader or pastor of a new community, and have a bunch of projects (books, website, India and speaking.) What have you learned and what steps are you taking to avoid becoming overwhelmed and burned out again?

Trotter: The key for me is to continue embracing my true identity, which is found in the context of being created by a loving God. It’s found in understanding who God says I am and what God has planned for my life. It’s not about trying to impress others or become ‘somebody’ in this world. It’s not about the adrenaline hits that come from accomplishing a big goal or completed an important project.

My wife and a few close friends are people that I’m in daily and weekly process with in terms of the state of my heart and the workload I carry. In addition, my wife and I continue to go to therapy on a monthly basis to ensure I stay on track and my wife retains a strong voice in our relationship.

Frankly, I have more time than ever before. Although I have seasons when there are intense projects on my plate, I’m enjoying life and being present with my family and friends. I love my new normal.

Asher: Who is your target audience is for this book and why does it matter? Is this a Christian book?

Trotter: I didn’t set out to write a ‘Christian’ book per se. In fact, I knew that some of the content and language would turn some Christians off, but that was okay. I really valued telling my story in a way that was authentic to what happened. I wanted people to feel the ecstasy and the pain of the story…experiencing the tension of it all.

My primary audience is anyone who feels ‘stuck’ in their life…whether they have any background with faith and spirituality at all. When we lack freedom and feel like we don’t have any real options, we can make unhealthy (and even destructive) decisions in an effort to find what’s missing. In reality, there are many options I could have taken that would have led toward health and wholeness without having to walk through hell.

May those who’ve experienced an affair one way or another be challenged to see that grace and reconciliation are possible. May those who feel ‘stuck’ know that a healthy freedom can be theirs. May those who don’t think that it could ever happen to them be warned. And, may those who are critical and self-righteous be filled with compassion.

For more on David Trotter, his book and his ministry visit

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

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

Originally published at

B is for Bufflehead by Steve Hutchcraft

I read through B is for Bufflehead with my four year old son and was surprised to find that it kept his attention throughout. I expected him to get antsy with only pictures of birds and too many words for him to follow along with me. That is the beauty of this book: the photos are amazing. The birds in this book are so exotic that you can’t help but to stare in wonder and then turn the page in anticipation.

However, it seems to me that the publisher let this author down. The pages look like they were put together with graphics from the early 2000’s; it looks cheap. I know that this is independent, but the package disappoints.

Also, once we’d seen the cool bird pictures, there just wasn’t much incentive to go read the book again. Like curiosities in a circus: one time was enough.

I liked the book and I want to encourage it’s purchase if only to support work like this, but the package was amateur, and the re-read value was low.

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

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.
Support by purchasing this book through Amazon: B is for Bufflehead

Lost+Found by David Trotter

David Trotter had a wife and two children. He was a successful preacher and leader at a very large and successful church he planted in Southern California. He was well respected in the community. He seemed to have it all, but the years spent trying to eclipse past success lead to his downfall. Lost+Found is his story.

Lost+Found: Finding Myself by Getting Lost in an Affair
By David Trotter
Nurmal Resources

Finding himself in a marriage that lacked connection and a job that took up too much of his time and energy David found himself struggling to maintain equilibrium. On a mission trip to India, the pressures – external and also, importantly, internal – he found an answer to his life’s lack of passion: another woman who happened to be his wife’s good friend. Their mutual attraction and flirting continued even after getting back to the United States and soon they found themselves planning on leaving their spouses, giving up their life and running away with each other. Then they did. David resigned from his church, packed his bags and moved in with his lover. After 40 days, the affair ended when David’s mistress decided to go back to her husband and four children leaving him alone: no church, no family, and only a couple of friends willing to associate with him.

Lost+Found is the story of how one man can throw everything away trying to find what he is looking for, what is lacking in his life, only to recognize that it was in front of him the whole time. This book isn’t a cliff hanger as the sub-title gives away the ending. After David suffers a mental breakdown and works through his issues he ultimately decides to pursue and win back the wife he left. The ending isn’t what makes this book fascinating. It is the journey. Rarely do we get to see from the inside an honest recounting of how actions and situations lead to devastating sin in someone’s life – especially not in the life of a ministry leader. David Trotter does just that, and he pulls no punches.

This book is so raw and so unswerving in its effort to be honest that I sometimes felt I was reading the juiciest gossip ever. For instance, David recounts that the first night that he spent with his mistress they were up until 3 a.m. having sex. He doesn’t hold back or try to whitewash the feelings that were going through him as he flirted with another woman. The conversations that he writes about, cuss words and all, are raw and realistic. And when he breaks down we get an inside look at what he was thinking while it happens. Everything about this story is shocking and honest and … amazing.

I read this book in one sitting. After reading thousands of books in my life I had never done that; Lost+Found is that compelling. I had to know what happened next. I needed to understand what was going on in the mind of this successful pastor. I wanted to know so it didn’t happen to me. This story isn’t about Super Christian overcoming his sins and being restored to righteousness. It isn’t a happy or good story at all because the hurt and pain that David caused lives on in the lives of so many of his previous acquaintances and his former flock. I’m not sure most readers will end up liking David or even be happy for him and his reconciliation with his wife because of the terrible decisions he made. But this book isn’t about David at all; It’s about us. While reading it I could not avoid putting myself in his shoes and evaluating my life and that makes this book immensely important.

This is a story for those who think that this cannot happen to them as well as for those who have sinned so that they can find hope in forgiveness. An important book that should not be overlooked, I cannot recommend Lost+Found more highly.

Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of Along with his contributions to BookGateway, he reviews for the commercial site 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.

Review originally published at

Best American Comics 2010

Coming in late September is the most recent edition of the Best American Comics series, this time guest edited by Neil Gaiman, writer extraordinaire of such excellent reads as Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett,) and the historic The Sandman comic, among others. The Best American Comics series is a long running series that showcases the editor’s picks for the most notable comics of the year, be they short stories, graphic novels, periodical so-called funnies. This year’s edition is notoriously eclectic.

The Best American Comics 2010
Edited by Neil Gaiman, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Readers should be warned that if they are expecting a collection of complete works they will be disappointed. This collection showcases writers and artists by whetting the appetite through short stories and short to mid-length excerpts Most of the excerpts are available for purchase in their entirety if the reader is interested in completing the story.

The Good: The Lagoon excerpt was inexplicable and completely enthralling and enjoyable. The Alcoholic, a story about coming to terms after 9/11, was troubling and touching. Asterios Polyp was excellent, the art style and frequently jumping story left me wanting more. Lobster Run, an anime influenced relationship comic is too short! Norman Eight’s Left Arm is visually striking and the dialogue was unexpectedly fun. The excerpt from Scott Pilgrim v the Universe is noteworthy in that the source material looks so unlike (read “superior,”) the recently released movie.

The Bad: The shortness and randomness of the excerpts. The excerpt from Omega the Unknown, for instance, is only chapter 7 and as such I found myself completely at a loss for what was going on or why I should care. It was a poor decision by the editors, in my opinion, to lead off the book with that comic (and possibly with chapter 7.) If I were previewing this book at a local store I doubt I would have gone further. Cest N’est Pas Una Comic while admittedly a retrospective seemed dated and done before. Ditto The War on Fornication. American Elf (also dated, literally, as November 2007,) was uninteresting and unfunny. ACME Novelty Library looked great but some of the frames and text are so small that it is nearly impossible to read. Also, many of the indie comics reflected a completely liberal bias. In a collection of the so-called best American comics why were there no conservative-leaning artists? I don’t mind the liberal bent, but a more well rounded collection would have felt more representative of the “best.”

The only struggle I have with recommending this book to readers is in deciding who to recommend it to. It seems to me that true fans of indie comics will already be familiar with many if not most of these writers and artists so this book isn’t necessarily for them except as a part of their Best American Comics collection. I’m also not sure if this book is for those who enjoy mainstream comics either as there aren’t superheroes and the expected world saving scenarios and those readers may find themselves bored with the mundane art styles and story lines. In the end, I find myself recommending this book to only those who are interested but not familiar with indie comics but aren’t interested in paying for several collections that they may find that they do not enjoy. This is a perfect preview of what the indie comics world has to offer.

If you are that person, then I recommend this book wholeheartedly. If you are not, you may well find yourself scratching your head and wondering why you just spent $23.

Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of Along with his contributions to BookGateway, he reviews for the commercial site 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

Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris

In their first book, Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations, twin authors Alex and Brett Harris set out to prove to teens (and the world) that being exceptional doesn’t have an age requirement. The book called teens to a life of high expectations NOW. Too often, they say, teens are not expected to do anything or be anything and they live down to those expectations. The book is revolutionary and timely. In this follow-up, the Ross twins – younger brothers of Joshua Harris of Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters
fame – provide real world examples of how to do those hard things, providing testimonials and giving ideas on how each teen reader – really, any reader – can find their God given purpose. It is exceptional that these two brothers have not only become best selling authors, but also speakers through their Rebelution tours, which serve to set out the high expectation cry for teens and their parents and ministry leaders everywhere. As I wrote that sentence I had to fight to not show my bias proving that I too have low expectations for teens and am therefor part of the problem. Why shouldn’t teens be authors and speakers? Is it really more beneficial for a teen to read a book written by older people? (The same people that admit that they don’t understand teens?) Is it odd that teens who have a message should share that message with other teens? Women’s ministers are generally women, right? Married Couple counselors are generally married successfully. Low expectations for teens abound.

As such, I cannot recommend this book (and their previous book) more highly. The church must find a way to break the cycle of low expectations – ministers and parents and teens. The book is easy to read, full of interesting stories and more importantly, full of information on how to do hard things. This book is the first step to a life of significance.

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

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

The Voice New Testament

Storytellers get listened to, preachers get ignored. That’s the way it is – especially with non-believers. This essential truth is changing the landscape of Christianity by addressing the needs of unbelievers to understand first prior to believing.

Consider Jesus and Paul. One thing we sometimes forget about Paul is that, in his letters, he is always speaking to already-believing Christians and since we have only his letters we only know Paul by his straight forward doctrinal teaching so we too easily assume that he only taught that way. But when the Bible talks about Paul preaching he uses the same method Jesus did: stories. “I notice you’ve got a statue to an unknown god. Let me tell you who that is…” Jesus taught in stories. He took the Old Testament and made it fresh for his audience. That’s what the Voice is trying to do.

The writers of the Voice have added (in italics) explaining phrases to existing passages to help readers understand what the Bible is saying. This has been done before with the Amplified Bible, and with interpretations like the Message. What I liked most about the Voice, and how I believe it stands out, is that it took great pains to make the story come alive. (The book of John is by far the best example with inserted commentary by a fictional John in the first person.) It is important to point out that the Voice doesn’t shy away from hot topics (Roman’s prohibition on homosexuality is very clear, for instance.)

This is a clear, easy to read and understand interpretation and translation of the Bible. One that I liked so much I gave to a non-believer friend of mine to study. Highly recommended.

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

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

When Heaven Comes Down by Che Ahn

What drew me to this book was the promise of accounts of “firsthand experience of revival around the world.” By nature a skeptic, I want to believe more than anything! I want to see God’s face. One of my favorite verses in scripture is Mark 9:24, when a boy says, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” I sometimes feel overburdened with knowledge about God and lacking (and craving) intimacy with God but not always knowing how to get that. Che Ahn does provide personal stories about encounters with God, but ultimately, I think he misses the mark by focusing – I think – wrongly on what he calls the Glory of God.

Ahn’s thesis is that we can invite God’s Glory (yes, capitalized) and in so doing invite supernatural healing, interaction, and intimacy. I found, however, that his evidence was anecdotal at best. On pages 62 – 68 he gives several stories of healing and even raising someone from the dead. But in none of these instances is there any detailed proof or evidence other than Che Ahn’s word. It isn’t that I think he is lying, but if this book was written to those who do not already agree with him – those like me who are seeking intimacy – then he failed as those who do not already agree with him are too skeptical to change their minds based upon the word of an author they don’t personally know. In fact, in one situation that really stuck with me was where he prayed for a person injured and looking dead from a car accident. Ahn admits that the man was not dead but does nothing to dissuade onlookers from thinking that when the man moved he was raised from the dead! It is that kind of trickery that I am disillusioned with.

Overall, an interesting look through the eyes of a very charismatic preacher into the world as he sees it, but not anything that brought me closer to intimacy with God. Ultimately, I believe the book failed to live up to its promise to show me how I could experience the Glory of God.

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

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

Closer by Jim and Cathy Burns

Like many couples, my wife and I have read through – or at least started – many devotionals. Some are simple one-pagers that don’t bring much more than a kind of mini-sermon, while others like Closer give much more. Each of the 52 devotions has Bible reading, a quick story illustration, and then poignant questions that prompt discussion.

I found that working through the devotions with my wife that the book was really just a jumping off point. We spent much more time on the discussion questions. In this way, Closer was very successful in drawing me and my wife together.

The one part of the book that didn’t make a lot of sense to me was in only doing 52 devotions, one per week. If you are like me, even if you are busy, you probably want to do a devotion daily. I found that my wife and I would go through a new so-called weekly devotion each day. I understand that the authors did this so that they wouldn’t burden those of us with limited time, but I felt that a simpler 30 or 60 devotion span would have been easier for users who wanted to do devotions daily or over a period of time. And let’s face it – most of us don’t do this every day anyway.

Overall a good devotional. Not too heavy and not too light. Something that you can do every day or once a week. Above all, though, it is a great jumping off point for conversation – which is what really draws couples closer.

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

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