Category Archives: Guest Reviewer

Oxblood by Grant

OXBLOODVictoria Asher and her older brother are untimely orphans when their parents die in a plane crash.

The Victoria Asher Novels
by AnnaLisa Grant
Open Road Media Teen & Tween
September 2016

After a settlement and after her brother is old enough to take custody of her, Victoria finds herself on her own for a summer while her brother is on a work assignment. When she receives a package with his journal and the word “oxblood” she comes to believe he’s in trouble. When she calls around looking for him she can’t find him anywhere – it’s clear he hasn’t been honest about what he was doing in Italy.

Victoria travels to Italy to find her brother [SPOILER] only to find herself in front of a man who works for interpol, where apparently her brother was working to combat sex trafficking. She joins the team to find her brother and stop the criminals. [END SPOILERS]

There are a lot of plot twists to keep the young reader interested. Comedy and a little bit of romance as well. Victoria Asher is a good heroine – fearless, smart and tenacious. Only a few minor cuss words are spoken by the bad guys.

Overall a fun, clean novel for middle schoolers aged 14 and up.

Freckles is a long suffering wife of twenty years and mother of four children in every stage of adolescence who enjoys coffee and silence. She gets coffee sometimes.

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

Faith of Our Fathers by Pure Flix Entertainment

Faith-of-our-fathers-movie-posterArmed with high hopes and a bag of snacks, I attended a pre-screener of the faith-filled family film, Faith of Our Fathers.

Faith of Our Fathers
Pure Flix Entertainment
July 2015

I genuinely enjoyed it; however, I left feeling grieved that it fell short of what it could have been. I have the unsettling conviction that it will draw scathing criticisms from people outside the Christian faith, many of them merited.

It cannot be denied that, at times, the acting is stilted, the plot under cooked, and the credibility almost totally lacking. (For example, Rebecca St. James’s cameo as a sultry car thief, though well acted, was pretty ridiculous).

Be that as it may, it held my interest throughout and made me laugh out loud more than once. More importantly than that, it is a movie that glorifies Jesus Christ and proclaims the gospel message. Also, what with its messages on faith, patriotism, friendship, and fatherhood, Faith of Our Fathers has more substance than most of the drivel that one can find in movie theaters these days.

(Be forewarned, this movie contains war violence, so you might not want to show it to the younger kiddies).

Jaime Jane Motok is a violin teacher by trade, a lover of Narnia, funny movies, Simon and Garfunkel and the perfect cup of Joe.

A preview version of this movie was provided by the producers for review.

The War Room by TriStar and Faithstep Films

WarRoomThe War Room is an excellent, feel-good family film that will likely make you laugh and cry.

The War Room
TriStar & Faithstep Films
August 2015

It almost crossed the line towards the too-long side, but if you are like me you will not want it to end. The character arc of Tony (the father) pushed the boundaries of believablility – [SPOILERS] his transformation from selfish, abusive, lustful con-man to the kind, generous, jump-roping community center direct he is at the movie’s end is somewhat silly in its stark suddenness. [END SPOILERS]

However, as this a movie about miracle and the power of prayer, I have decided to forgive the Kendrick brothers and declare this and excellent film. Don’t miss it!

Jaime Jane Motok is a violin teacher by trade, a lover of Narnia, funny movies, Simon and Garfunkel and the perfect cup of Joe.

A preview version of this movie was provided by the producers for review.

Comic Con Nashville – Friday Interviews

Wizard World brought Comic Con to Nashville for the first time ever and we were there for it. Check out the interviews from Opening Night!

I (Scott Asher) was joined by David Mason, a comic book expert (and fanboy), in interviewing many of the artists on the show room floor. Here are some excerpts.

WP_20131018_18_01_13_Pro Daniel Leister (Artist: Hack/Slash, Army of Darkness).
Scott: Are you working on anything new?
Daniel: My own book? I hope so. I have a four issue mini-series that I wrote – I had to put it on hold for Army of Darkness – probably I’m gonna start a Kickstarter up soon for the series in another months or so. Put it up in December or January.:
Scott: What’s that one called?
Daniel: Werewolf Run.
David: Through Image?
Daniel: Probably. I’ll try to get it through them first.


WP_20131018_18_19_48_ProThony Silas (Spider-Man, Batman Beyond)

David: So what are you working on now?
Thony: I’m working on a mini-series… [issues] 6, 7, 8 of Daredevil Dark Knights. It is so hard to finish it [following the great art by Lee Weeks].
David: Are you working on Batman Beyond?
Thony: “Yes. You saw the movie? Bruce was the teacher of new Batman. Now Dick Grayson will be like the uncle… Batman beyond… Dick is more mature. He leave Bruce. Dick Grayson will try to [work through] forgiveness. Grayson will try to get together again with Bruce.”
David: Is this still their own universe or are they trying to mix it in with the New 52?
Thony: “Movies is one time. Comic book is another time. This moment, two years after the last one. I will draw what will happen.”
David: Your art is great for Daredevil. All the air shots.
Thoney: “Very different Batman beyond and Daredevil. It’s less. You see. A lot less line art. More brush.”


WP_20131018_18_17_27_ProHarvey Tolibao (Danger Girl, Uncanny X-Force)

David: So what are you working on now?
Harvey: Danger Girls the Chase. They put me on the new arch. It’s going to be what’s in the briefcase the whole time. It is cool that it’s written by the real writers; the originals. I’m on issue three and every night I don’t know what’s inside the case.”
David: You’ve been good for Danger Girl. You gotta have a certain type of artwork.
Harvey: “Yeah. But Marvel just announced this morning that I’m going to do Uncanny X-Force for them. They told me that they have a project for me; a secret project. I was so happy! I don’t know who is going be the writer but I am very excited!”
Harvey: “I’m going to do the next four books.:
David: So how long does it take to do one issue?
Harvey: “Marvel gives you six weeks usually. But it takes about one month [for art]. You have 30 days. The writer takes a week then passes it to you.”
Scott: Describe how Marvel gives you scripts.
Harvey: “Sometimes there are writers like that… Sometimes they give just a couple pages. It happened that [the script] got leaked to a website. I think it was Electra was a Skrull. So Marvel sometimes does it 5 pages… 10 pages. Sometimes I’ve done certain panels with a kick ass motorcycle in the background [that later] Abby Chase would ride it. It’s good when the artist and the writer have a link.”


WP_20131018_18_29_15_ProJackie Lewis (Play Ball)

Jackie: “What I’m working on now is a historical, kinda adventure one that’s based on a massacre that happened a couple hundred years ago…”
Scott: What is it called?
Jackie: “Um, I don’t know if I can talk about it yet! I don’t think it’s a secret, but my editor always says don’t talk about it until we announce it.”
Scott: I’m a big fan of Oni. I think Oni put’s out some really good stuff.
Jackie: “I love Oni. It’s really fun to work them. Their philosophy is the same as mine. The way they work and the way they communicate is like a family.”


WP_20131018_18_48_32_ProEric Powell (The Goon, Action Comics, Avengers)

David: So how are things coming with the Goon movie?
Eric: They are doing animatics. Everyone’s still involved. It’s been a while. What I’m hearing is that it’s not a lot different than a lot of [movies]. It took Hellboy 5 years. Still plugging away.”




WP_20131018_18_51_54_ProMike Grell (Green Arrow, X-Men, Action Comics)

David: What’s happening with Green Arrow?
Mike: “They stopped the stop for the summer thing was a ‘oh yeah, we are just stopping for the summer.’ [It is actually more permanent.] It was so tightly drawn to the plot of the show. When there was no show on they [lost their audience.] Foolish.”
David: It was good seeing you do Green Arrow again.
Mike: “Yeah, me too.”
David: What are you doing now?
Mike: “I’m working on Tarzan next.”


WP_20131018_18_54_36_ProNeal Adams (Superman, X-Men, Batman)

David: I would always get disappointed when I’d buy Superman and see you covers and then a different artist would be doing the inside.
Neal: “All right, enough of that! You can’t compliment one guy but put down the other guy.” [Said with a smile]; chiding but playful.]
David: Oh, I know the other artists were great I’m just saying you are great. Personally. You and Garcia Lopex are my two favorite Superman artists.
Neal: “I agree about Garcia Lopez.”
David: Did you do the insides or just covers?
Neal: “I did the inside of Superman vs Mohammed Ali. If you look it up on the internet and figure out how many pages I did on a given year it would be… I did five covers a week. Usually that’s enough for one guy. But I did the insides as well.”


shadowA.J. Scudiere (God’s Eye, Vengeance, Resonance, Shadow Constant)

Scott: So what are you working on now?
A.J.: “Have you seen the graphic novel? I wrote the story. [A company we worked with on the graphic novel] is running a thing in Fort Meyers right now. They are running RPGs, FPS. Games. They will eventually have roller coasters… They did the setup. They built these worlds. The five worlds that encompass all the possible worlds. The fantasy, tech, cartoony. I just wrote a live play event.”
David: So like a theme park?
A.J.: “Yeah. Basically they are going to kidnap people and send them through the game and act out part of it.”
Scott: Like a Murder Mystery?
A.J.: “Yes. Except video game. First Person Shooter. It’s a game.”




WP_20131018_19_59_50_ProMike Miller (Injustice: God’s Among Us, Game of Thrones)

Scott: So what are you working on now?
Mike: “Game of Thrones prequel stuff.”
Scott: So it’s a prequel to the Game of Thrones? Who’s writing that?
Mike: “The original novella is written by George R.R. Martin. Then they are adapted. I did the first one ten years ago. Then the second one six years ago. We’ve been on a hiatus until now.”
Scott: That guy will write every other story other than the ending of his series of books! His most recent book told the story of characters that hadn’t been written about in ten real years!
Mike: “Did you hear that he wrote another novella about the Targaryen reign. I said I’m drawing that!”
Scott: That series is now 10 or 15 years old.
Mike: “Maybe he doesn’t want to let people down. You know how they end series and people are like man, that ending sucked. Like Lost.”
Scott: When it never ends it is definitely going to be one of those series that the ending sucks!
Mike: “That’s like life!”


WP_20131018_19_54_08_ProGreg Horn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers)

David: Are you doing anything new?
Greg: “I worked on Avengers 1. I worked on Guardians of the Galaxy 1. The big thing I’m working on right now is War of Heroes. It’s a video game you play on an iPhone or Android. Nobody even knows about this!”
Scott: “Tell me about it.
Greg: It is a video game by Disney. I describe it as Candy Crush for men. Because you play it and you get addicted and then spend all your money. You buy the damn lollipop.” [joking]
Scott: I’m not sure men will buy a lollipop…
Greg: “It’s Thor’s hammer.”
David: It’s Disney? Does it have Marvel characters in it?
Greg: “Yeah. I did the artwork.”

Real Life Real Miracles by Galrow and Wall

This book is not just a “feel good” book with stories to make you smile, it is full of TRUE life stories about how God works in people’s lives to bring glory to Him.

Real Life Real Miracles
True Stories That Will Help You Believe
By James L. Garlow and Keith Wall
Bethany House
November 2012

There was one story that should pique anyone’s interest about life and God’s power to heal. In this story, the lady’s name is Noelle and she was living out a generational curse of deafness that had started generations earlier. As soon as she turned 20 years old, she started losing her hearing, and this was quite an adjustment for someone who loved music! At the age of 50, God changed all of that. She went to a song service expecting great things, and God came through in a big way — she could hear again!!

This reminds me of the story in the Bible of the 10 lepers who were healed and the ONE that had to go and tell EVERYONE what God had done for him.

This book will bring you peace and happiness and help you to remember that when God moves in your life, YOU WILL KNOW IT. It will also inspire you to want Him to move in your life and to remember to ask Him to and to expect great results! That is how I felt when I read this book.

Shelley Walling is a 43 year male who is on disability retirement from complications from brain surgery. He was an Electrical Dispatcher for 11 years until the surgeries, he now enjoys spending time with his wife and two girls who are still at home along with four grown boys as well. He and his wife have an interest in sustainable and off-grid living and hope to live off-grid one day. He likes to read books about nutrition and medicine, Christian fiction and end times theology.

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

Robert B. Parker’s Ironhorse by Knott

As the newly appointed marshals (Hitch and Cole) on their first assignment involved escorting Mexican Prisoners by train to their new location.

Robert B. Parker’s Ironhorse
By Robert Knott
Read By Titus Welliver
Putnam Adult | Random House Audio
January 2013

After the first “easy” assignment they find themselves in the presence of two beautiful women accompanied by there Father who is a successful politician. Things heat up when twenty armed gunmen take the train by storm. Hitch and Cole are now faced with the unexpected challenge of keeping the Governor and his family safe, as well as the $50,000 in cash the Governor is carrying safe. This turns out to be a true test of the duo’s skills, with a very polished ending.

I was excited when I first received “Ironhorese”, I had herd that the “Hitch/Cole” series by Robert B. Parker was amazing. Ironhorse had a decent story line, and was overall amusing. However I found that the story lacked creativity, and was a typical western involving two good guys that get to save the two beautiful damsels in distress, and of course there was a lot of money involved. I would have to say that I was disappointed after the amazing reviews I had seen on the Hitch/Cole series. But it was well written, and I am sure that the plot and character development would have made more sense had I read the series before starting this book. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

The book was not horrible but it was not exactly a Louis Lamour classic either.

Brian Trstenjak is a father of two, an avid reader, and fan of sci-fi, supernatural, and mystery novels. He attended Bible College, and is currently studying at Liberty University. You can follow Brian on twitter @briant1985.

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

The Almond Tree Michelle by Corasanti

This is a tragically touching story about how a Palestinian family learns to cope with having to start over during the Israeli occupation of the Gaza strip and how two people learn to get along despite the history their people’s suffered at the hands of one another.

The Almond Tree
By Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Garnet Publishing
September 2012

One is a young Palestinian man and the other an older, wiser Israeli teacher. Each grew up hating each other for what had transpired between their countries. They reluctantly end up working together and do so for 40 years with amazing results.

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend this to others.

Shelley Walling is a 43 year male who is on disability retirement from complications from brain surgery. He was an Electrical Dispatcher for 11 years until the surgeries, he now enjoys spending time with his wife and two girls who are still at home along with four grown boys as well. He and his wife have an interest in sustainable and off-grid living and hope to live off-grid one day. He likes to read books about nutrition and medicine, Christian fiction and end times theology.

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

Unstoppable by Vujicic

This is an awesome book! Imagine a man with no arms and no legs has been told he is a security risk, once he is told this, he lets his friends know how to pray through and that God is in control and he will take care of everything. He talks about how when was younger, that things did get discouraging and how he attempted suicide once, because he could not see what God had in store for Him. He did reach out to others and they asked him questions and became his friends and he also realized God had a plan for him.

The Incredible Power of Faith in Action
By Nick Vujicic
Waterbrook Press
October 2012

This book is filled with inspiring stories from people he has met in his many travels throughout the World. One I can identify with is how Pastor Leon Birdd began his ministry with a story that sounds like a parable told by Jesus. He was working as a carpenter and driving a truckload of furniture in a rural area outside Dallas in 1995 when he saw a middle-aged man walking on the road. At first glance he thought he might be drunk, but as he drove by the man, he felt the Holy Spirit speak to his heart. He found himself stopping to offer him a ride. When he pulled alongside the man, Leon noted that he seemed to have trouble walking. Leon asked him “Are you Okay? The man replies suspiciously “I’m not drunk if that is what you are thinking.” Leon tells the man, “You seem to be having a hard time. I’ll give you a ride.”

The man, Robert Shumake, was telling the truth. He had difficulty walking because he had undergone several brain surgeries which affected his mobility but not his determination in helping others in need. For years Robert had been taking coffee and doughnuts to feed the homeless in downtown Dallas every Saturday morning.

“How do you do that when you can hardly walk?” Leon asked.
“People help me, and now you’ll help me,” he said.
“I don’t think so. What time do you do this?” Leon asked.
“Five thirty in the morning.”
“I am not going to drive you, especially at that hour,” Leon said. “Even the Lord isn’t up at five thirty in the morning.”

The next Saturday, though, Leon awakened at five o’clock in the morning, worried that Robert might be waiting for him on a street corner. He feared for Robert’s safety since the location that he’d suggested for their meeting was a rough part of the city. Once again the Holy Spirit seemed to be working through him.

Before sunrise he found Robert standing on a street corner with a thermos filled with five gallons of hot coffee. Robert asked Leon to drive him to a doughnut shop, where they loaded up on pastries. They then proceeded to downtown Dallas. The streets were empty. “Just wait,” Robert told Leon. With the big thermos of hot coffee they waited.

As the sun rose, homeless people appeared one by one. Nearly fifty people assembled for Robert’s coffee and doughnuts. Leon could see from the smiles and joy exhibited on these people as they accepted the hot coffee and doughnuts that Robert was sowing seeds and that he clearly needed help so he began assisting him each Saturday morning after that. In the months that followed, Robert’s health declined.

“Robert, what happens when you can’t do this anymore?” Leon asked one day as they packed up.
“You’ll do it,” Robert said.
“No, you really need to get someone else,” Leon insisted.
“You will do it,” Robert said again.

Robert was right. Leon Birdd became Pastor Birdd, an ordained minister with an inner-city mission supported by nine local churches and other donors. Although Robert died in 2009, the seeds he planted have grown into full-blown open air services with music and celebrations of faith. Now every Sunday morning, more than fifty volunteers join Pastor Birdd in feeding the bodies and ministering to the souls of hundreds of homeless in downtown Dallas.

This story was so inspiring to me, because I also have had multiple brain surgeries and have been looked at funny by others as well, so I can relate to Robert’s life.

This book was well written and the whole book was a testament to what God can do. When you put “Go” in front of “disable”, you get “God is able.” Let Go and Let God.

Shelley Walling is a 43 year male who is on disability retirement from complications from brain surgery. He was an Electrical Dispatcher for 11 years until the surgeries, he now enjoys spending time with his wife and two girls who are still at home along with four grown boys as well. He and his wife have an interest in sustainable and off-grid living and hope to live off-grid one day. He likes to read books about nutrition and medicine, Christian fiction and end times theology.

Star Wars Annihilation by Karpyshyn

I was recently given a chance to review the audio book for Annihilation Star Wars: the Old Republic, something to which I could not refuse. There are a couple things I feel is important for anyone to disclose when reviewing anything Star Wars (or any beloved franchise). One is your personal knowledge of the Star War’s universe, and two your level of fanboy-dom for said universe. Like most males my age, I grew up loving Star Wars. I spent countless hours recounting every adventure from the original trilogy on the school playground. I was also at every midnight release of each of the new trilogies, and (thanks to Disney) I hopefully will be at the midnight release of the new-new trilogies. My knowledge of the universe, unfortunately, is limited to the six movies and a few console game storyline. With that said, I had the perfect opportunity to review the most recent audio book. I had a long twelve hour road trip from Nashville, TN to Oklahoma in which I had to drive all night. We were going home to see my family. This meant my 11 year old son (who is enthusiastic about all things Star Wars) and my wife (who patiently lets me and my son watch every episode of Clone Wars on Cartoon Network before flipping over to E-News) were also in the car. They had the chance to listen to the book as well.

Star Wars: Annihilation
by Drew Karpyshyn
LucasBooks / Random House Audio
November 2012

The story was a refreshing change of pace for me. Generally most Star War’s stories follow the adventures of a Jedi Master, but this is the story of Theron Shan. Theron is non-force wielding son of a Master Jedi Satele Shan (not spoiler alert since within the first ten minutes of the book) and another character that weaves his way into the plot. Because of her rank in the Jedi Counsel (and because being a Jedi forbids one to marry/love/kids/etc), she gives her son to Jedi Master Zho to raise.

Theron despite a lack of any force abilities still decides to serve the Republic. He becomes somewhat of a cross between super spy, intelligence officer, hacker, and rogue agent at times. The plot follows Theron as attempts take down the Ascendant Spear. The Ascendant Spear is a new super weapon ship that is turning the tides of war against the Republic. I personally really like the change of pace, and having the opportunity to see how a regular person can handle a situation without having fantastical force powers to magically resolve major issues.

The pacing of the book felt slow at first. After disc one my wife complained she was getting nerdier by the minute. She had to be out voted two to one to continue listening to book instead of just listening to radio. Although there was a lots of action and battle scenes, mainly what was going on was character development. Once we had finished the second CD, I felt bad for my wife. I told her we can listen to radio. She replied by putting in the 3rd CD to continue listening. She was hooked, and she quickly swapped out each of the remaining six disc as soon as they ended to hear the remaining chapters. Now to those of you more familiar with the Old Republic quite possibly could be more into those first couple disc. I am sure that the excitement of familiar characters and locations will draw more meaning for you.

For the production and audio of the book, I have mixed emotions. The score for the book was always impressive as any Star Wars fan will feel giddy at the initial scene. With every rifle fired and every ship that made the jump to hyper space the sounds painted a picture of the exact images I had heard and seen as a child. As for the voice acting, there was a nice variety between characters and species. My wife comment about how may Sean Connery accents are they going to try and squeeze in the book. The only thing that really bothered us was some of scenes we found the background noise a bit distracting. During one specific scene, my wife keep telling me to check my phone because it was beeping. After numerous phone checkings she realized it was some background computers on the soundtrack.

Of all the things I really liked about this book, my favorite was the characters. I love how you get to understand the decision Salete Shan makes when giving up Theron. It is a unique insight into the thoughts of a Jedi Master. You get to see Sith Politics and the Sith Empire inner workings. You get to see the cost of the war on ordinary people, and the weight and toll it brings to those in the highest command. You get a look at how the Hutts really do business. There is action straight to the end. Some of the writing is predictable and can be cliché. It is however a Star Wars adventure and not meant to be the next Tolstoy.

Some Star Wars has a chance to over use the “dues ex machina” force vision to tell the main character where to go next. I like the fact story is driven by a non-force wielder. Theron has to use logic and intel to drive where the story goes next. Once you understand his motives the story flows nicely.

We started the book somewhere around 10:30 PM and around 9:30 AM we found ourselves pulling into the drive at my parent’s house. There was still about fifteen minutes left on disc eight, so we sat there in the drive and finished out the epilogue. My son, who had been asleep since Memphis finally awoke in time to declare it a 10 out of 10. To be fair he decided it was a 10 after seeing the box artwork. My wife, who at the beginning of the trip couldn’t tell you the difference between a Wookie and a rancor, gave it a solid 5 out of 10. But she then proceeded to ask me to download another Old Republic book, preferably from same author, to listen to on the way home. I myself wished I had a better knowledge of the Old Republic, because it seems infinitely more intriguing then the Star Wars world I grew up watching.

To this book, I give it 7 out of 10. Had a deeper knowledge of TOR, I could see scoring higher. There was always this feeling with every character of wanting to know more. It was like observing the an iceberg just from the surface. For basic Star Wars fan this is a fun adventure, but in the end you probably need to start with other TOR books to set the stage for this book. But kudos to Drew Karpyshyn for taking on the task of making a book that will hit on some degree to all level of fanboy.

Brian Kindred lives in the country near Nashville, TN with his wife and son. He is a lover of music, movies, books, and Christ.

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

Sweet Hell on Fire by Lunsford

Let me begin by saying, Sara Lunsford’s Sweet Hell on Fire: A Memoir of the Prison I Worked In and the Prison I Lived In is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. In her writing debut Lunsford details a year long account of her role as female officer in the male prison system and her dangerous decline into alcoholism. A gritty depiction, Sweet Hell on Fire leaves little to the imagination chronicling how her violent exchanges with inmates seem to seep into her daily life and behavior.

Sweet Hell on Fire
A Memoir of the Prison I Worked In and the Prison I Lived In
By Sara Lunsford
November 2012

Sara Lunsford notes in the foreword that when she originally scripted her memoir it spoke only of her life on the job, leaving out personal details that would inevitably reveal any mistakes or shortcomings. As a reader I am so thankful that she decided to re-evaluate this decision. By disclosing her imperfections she was able to make it not only a collection of frightening battles of bravado between herself and the inmates, but instead a profound, hear wrenching account of her personal evolution. I do feel, however, that there are certainly times where Lunsford’s writing style should have been a bit more descriptive, focusing less on profanities and more on prose.

Overall, for a first time reviewer I am certainly satisfied with my decision to read such a compelling story written by such an honest author.

Lindsay Green is a Midwest gal spending her twenties in South. While she doesn’t read as often as she should thanks to Netflix, she mostly enjoys memoirs and all types of fiction. Most of her time is spent with friends playing board games or discussing the best, new television series.

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