The Ashorne’s Ingress by Seamus Eaton

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Truly a prolific read, Seamus Eaton’s The Ashorne’s Ingress excites the imagination with a multifaceted, and complex fantasy epic which proffers to readers an enticing narrative rich with the craftily blended elements of fantasy, horror, gore, magic, science fiction, and sex.

Initially, events start out on earth, the year is 2020 and we are introduced to the focal character William Gentry, who is in the midst of a softball game when his whole world comes tumbling down as he receives the news that his family was severely injured in a freak kitchen accident, that leaves his wife and son dead, and his daughter’s life hanging in the balance. Meanwhile, as he struggles with his emotions and the devastation of the loss, William finds himself approached by two beings claiming to be ambassadors from a land called Arba, located on another world. Claiming to have knowledge of his true identity and legacy, they extend to him a very odd offer, that if accepted would lead to saving his daughter’s life, and possibly more, they only catch is he has to drown himself in a specific river, at a specific time and carry with him an odd triangle they left with him called the Germ of Reismyl. Distraught, in disbelief and teetering on the edge of insanity, he initially misses the opportunity to take the plunge, resulting in the unfortunate death of his daughter.

Augie’s War by John H. Brown

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Pretty interesting story about Augie Compton who though he is in Vietnam seems to spend a lot of “thinking” time about his life back in Riverview, West Virginia. As the days and weeks go by away from home he continues to go back in his mind to his very close Italian family and his adventures growing up while working part time in his grandfather’s bakery. Those “lookbacks” do a lot for developing this story and keep it moving. Anyone who has spent time not only in the military but also out of the United States while in the service knows how often the reminiscing goes on in the mind.

Augie lucked out in many ways when after graduating from college with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. First off he was quickly drafted into the Army. Because of his background, however, after basic training he was assigned to Advanced Individual Training. On completion he attained the rank of quartermaster. He had hopes of going to Germany or someplace like that but as he feared he got assigned to Vietnam. Along the way to make matters worse two of his former friends who were already over in Nam were killed and this really made his thoughts grow even darker.

A Textbook Case (a Lincoln Rhyme story) by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A Textbook CaseA very interesting short story by Jeffery Deaver featuring his favorite detective, Lincoln Rhyme. As usual Rhyme, the quadriplegic former cop who still works “off the books” for the NYPD, is helped out by his assistant/girlfriend, Amelia Sachs, and a bunch of runners or helpers from the department.

This one involves a bad person who uses fire as his method of killing and each fire is set up by some type of explosion. The first one involved the finding of a young woman who had been found in the underground garage of an apartment building. When Sachs and other officers go down into the garage they are completely astounded by the piles and piles of all types of garbage. Broken light bulbs, bags of trash, cardboard boxes that are stamped down, and other pieces of just plain trash litter the entire murder scene. Knowing Rhyme’s method of solving cases she and several of the officers begin gathering together as much of the trash as is possible.

Reece’s Vintage Tales by N. Reece Ho-Sheffield

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Today’s children need relevant fables teaching values. Many of the older fairy tales, along with many of Aesop’s fables refer back to an era with where farming and gardening were standard for most people. We now do not expect women to be helpless damsels in distress who need rescuing or is marrying a prince. As society progresses, so must our perspectives.

Reece’s Vintage Tales, comprising of twelve short stories, is a new approach to short stories for children from seven to thirteen with lessons to be learned along with thoughtful discussions. These stories each have a message which reveals the integrity of the characters while interjecting Christian values.

Each story is short and ideally would be a great read-aloud between a parent and their child. At the end of each is a glossary with a list of the more difficult vocabulary words included. The range is from two to eleven words per story. Parents should discuss these words ideally before reading and unquestionably during the story. The words are added to understand the meaning of the text as the reading proceeds.

The illustrations perfectly match to the stories assisting the reader in visualization. As an example, The Farting Bunny is a delightful story about a bunny who uncontrollably passes gas and is an outcast from his group, The Puffy-Tails. What child wouldn’t want to repeat parts of this tail while laughing? However, the author masterfully changes his problem into a solution, permitting children to view life as gifts rather than hindrances.

Also magnificently enjoyable is the story, Persinette. Persinette, as an empty nester, decides to pursue her dreams. Living in a neighborhood, she viewed others’ successes and decided to join the work force similar to her neighbors. She quickly discovered that what worked for one neighbor did not work for her. Persinette learns that life is more fun following your path.

With more stories like these, it is obvious the value of these educational and entertaining tales based on legends, historical events, Christianity, and creativity.

The author, N. Reece Ho-Sheffield, has written these delightful Christian stories for children. She is well-qualified as a retired pediatrician and geneticist in both the United Kingdom and the United States. She has won the USA Mom’s Choices Award for “The Firefly Story.”

These stories are unusual in their creativity, promoting Christian values, vocabulary, personal integrity, as well as short enough to keep a child’s attention and engagement.

The File: A Mother & Child’s Life-Changing Reunion

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

It is very frightening for a teenage girl to find out she is pregnant but just imagine if this pregnant girl is the daughter of a pastor.

Anita had a loving family; they were close and supportive. Her father was the pastor and her mother was the church musician. Being the child of the pastor had advantages and disadvantages; Anita could sleep a little later because the church was right next-door but on the other hand if her father caught Anita talking during the sermon, he would call her to the front of the church and make her sit by herself.

Anita was friends with Allison and Brent. Brent was in love with Allison but she wanted to keep their relationship as friends only. Anita and Brent had a class together during their senior year and they went out on a date. They became bored at a party and left to be alone so they could talk more. They ended up in a place where a lot of the kids went to make-out. They also ended up doing more than talking and things went a little too far.

Anita soon discovered that she was pregnant. There was a difficult decision to be made. She could keep the baby, have an abortion or give the baby up for adoption. Her first thought was to have an abortion because it seemed the easiest. No one would know. Her parents wanted her to make the decision but offered some advice. They told her that an abortion would be hard for her to live with since she would be taking a life.

Anita went into her closet and began to cry. After a lot of praying and crying, she decided to give the baby up for adoption. Little by little she started to tell her siblings and her best friend of her pregnancy. They were all supportive. Her father was the pastor of a new church and he asked the bishop if he should step down. The news was given to the congregation and Anita asked if she could speak. She told them how truly sorry she was for bringing this upon the church.

As time went on, Anita began to feel her baby kicking. She was starting to have second thoughts as she was feeling emotionally attached to the baby. She signed up for a couple of college courses to take her mind off things.

The day had finally arrived. Anita went into labor. She had to make another difficult decision. Did she want to see the baby after it was born? Would it be easier to give the baby up if she did not see the child? She decided it would be easier to not see the child. She heard the doctor say it is a little girl. They did tell her how much the baby weighed. They moved Anita to a room away from other mothers who would be taking their child home.

After Anita returned home from the hospital, she had to make arrangements to sign more paperwork. The adoption was not final yet. She, again, began to have second thoughts. Her parents, once again, offered their support if she wanted to keep the baby. This only made it more difficult.

Once everything was finalized, Anita began to feel a little better. The judge assured her that the adoptive parents had the same spiritual beliefs as her and that they would provide a good home.

As Anita tried to get her life back to normal, she received a call from a young man she had met before. He asked her out. She soon realized that he was the one for her and it did not take long for them to get married.

Even though she seemed happy, she hardly had a day go by without thinking of her daughter. Anita knew she could not have any contact with her daughter until she reached the age of 18.
Anita and her husband had four children but she still wondered about the daughter she gave up for adoption.

The one thing Anita could do for her adopted daughter was to place items in “the file” at the agency. When her daughter turned 18, she could ask to see the file.

Will Anita’s adopted daughter ask to see the file?

I am not going to say anything more because this would be giving away “spoilers”. I want readers to find out for themselves what happens.

The File is a book that shows the heartbreak a mother has when she makes the decision to do what is best for her child. You could feel the pain in every decision that Anita had to make. On the other hand, this book also shows how happy an adoptive family can be when they have the opportunity to bring a baby into their loving home.

The author has done a wonderful job in weaving every piece of this story together. From sad emotions to joyous ones, the reader will feel like Anita is sitting right beside them as she tells her story. The File also shows how important spiritual beliefs can help in the process of making very difficult decisions.

On a personal note, I attended a workshop where Anita Keagy was the speaker. She spoke about giving her baby up for adoption. Her emotion and tears told the audience everything they needed to know. If you ever have the opportunity to hear Anita Keagy speak, please do yourself a favor and sign-up.

Don’t Wake Up: A Novel by Liz Lawler

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Imagine waking up stripped of your clothes, strapped to an operating table, and threatened with unimaginable physical cruelty. This is what happens to Dr. Alex Taylor, who works at a hospital in Bath, England. After Alex’s terrifying experience, she is convinced that she was violated, however, no physical proof exists that supports her story. Alex’s life takes a downward spiral, as she tries to convince everyone the attack was real and not a delusion. She starts drinking too much. When a pregnant nurse dies, Alex is convinced the same person who tortured her is responsible. No one believes Alex’s allegation. It appears as if Alex needs psychological help, and deadly incidents involving her only make things worse. Relationships with her colleagues and boyfriend suffer, and Alex worries she is losing her grip on reality.

In Don’t Wake Up, Liz Lawler expertly utilizes multiple third person point of view. Lawler only switches character perspectives between chapters or scenes, and it is clear whose eyes readers are looking through. The majority of this engrossing story is told from Alex’s perspective, but readers are also shown the viewpoints of key characters and their reactions to Alex’s claim of an attack. The different viewpoints pull readers deeper into the heart of the story in which Lawler skillfully interweaves not only things such as criminal acts, police investigations, prejudice, disloyalty, jealousy, violence, and dedication but also the effects of psychological trauma, overindulgence in alcohol, and reliance on anxiety medication.

The Next President by Joseph Flynn

Reviewed by Allen Hott

This is the first of Mr. Flynn’s books that I have read and it is quite a story. In my eyes, although it is some ways hard to believe, I truly think that most all of the happenings could occur. The entire story is about a new presidential candidate who happens to be black and how there is an involved plot to have him assassinated. How those who are planning this endeavor ever decided the best person to do the job would be a sharpshooter who served in the army under one of the planners is somewhat a mystery. It appears that he might be the best qualified?

Senator Franklin Delano Rawley is the candidate and Jefferson Davis Cade is the original sniper that is set up for the attack. (You have to like the FDR and Jefferson Davis implications in the book if you think about politics while reading.) J. D. Cade has just recently killed a man in his hometown in a very strategic and fascinating way. His former commanding officer in the army knows of this secret and decides to use it to force J.D. to pull off the assassination under fear of being tried for the murder at home plus a threat to J D’s son is implied.

Forgotten Bones (Dead Remaining) by Vivian Barz

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Forgotten Bones is the first installment in the Dead Remaining series. Police Officer Susan Marlan and College Professor Eric Evans play the central characters. The prologue draws readers in with a realistic and dramatic opening that leads to a creepy mystery for law enforcement to solve. It involves the accidental discovery of one child’s dead body in the small town of Perrick, California, and the uncovering of more bodies. The FBI takes over the case, and they zero in on one man as the guilty party. However, Susan questions the validity of the FBI’s rationale and decides to conduct her own unauthorized investigation. Eric is experiencing uncanny and horrifying visions that seem to correlate with the gruesome findings of the corpses. Are Eric’s hallucinations from his own imagination, or do supernatural elements play any kind of role? Eric teams up with Susan to help discover if the police have the right suspect in their sights.

Girl Most Likely: A Thriller (Krista Larson) by Max Allan Collins

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

Max Allan Collins book, “Girl Most Likely” introduces us to Krista Larson, young chief of police of a small Midwestern town named Galena. She is only 28 years old, which makes her the youngest female police chief in the country. She learned from the best, her father, retired detective Keith Larson.

Chief Larson is attending her 10-year high school reunion. The reunion is held over a weekend with several events planned. Sadly, a year earlier one of her classmates was murdered in Clearwater, Florida. Then, during the reunion, another classmate is killed. The second victim is a high-profile journalist for a Chicago TV station. In high school she was known as a boyfriend stealer and not the most well liked. Digging into the past can be tricky and old grudges and drama cause resentments to flare. Keith’s wife, Krista’s mother, recently died. To help deal with his grief, Krista invites him to help with the investigation.

The Better Sister: A Novel by Alafair Burke

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

I really enjoyed reading this book. I’ve long since enjoyed her father’s mystery novels and Alafair measures up.

We first meet the younger sister Chloe who has the splashy life working for a popular magazine. Chloe is now married to Adam and they have a stepson Ethan; however, nothing is as it seems – the happy marriage is not so happy and the son is not a happy teen.