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Fifteen Years by Kendra Norman-Bellamy

Josiah (JT) Tucker is a young African American male climbing the corporate ladder of success. He is employed by MacGyver Technologies (a Fortune 500 company) as senior manager. He drives a Audi R8, has a large office and a budget to redecorate to his specifications. He has arrived – right? His life is a far cry from the life of that teen who had to struggle to keep the lights on in a shabby Chicago dwelling. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Fifteen Years
by Kendra Norman-Bellamy
Lift Every Voice
February 2010

Inside JT is a very empty, troubled person. He is the product of an absentee father (he doesn’t know who his father is) and a substance abuse mother. JT spent most of his formative years in foster homes and a ward of the state. He lived for several years with Thomas and Joanne Smith who loved him and took care of him. They gave him a sense of stability and religious upbringing. When he was 14, he is returned to his birth mother. Life was really hard living with a drug addict. The day after his graduation, he is informed by the police that his mother has been murdered. This is where JT’s life become hectic. He does manage to graduate high school, carrying a 4.1 GPA and is valedictorian of his graduating class from Martin Luther King High School. His GPA earns him a full scholarship to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

To all outwards appearance, JT has it all, but appearance is only hiding the truth. He is empty, broken and tormented with memories that won’t go away. During a session with Bishop Nathaniel Lumpkin he breaks down and confesses all his hurts, fears and frustrations. Bishop Lumpkin suggest he find his “missing leg” – the Smith family – and reconnect with the people who truly loved him.

JT’s journey to find the Smiths makes for an interesting read. Highly recommend you read the book to learn what transpires when JT reconnect with Thomas and Joanne Smith. They have not forgotten him and has prayed for him daily. Does he discover secrets about his past and the love he has always longed for? The ending will surprise and delight you. A lot can happen in Fifteen Years.

Ms. Bellamy is a best selling author and founder of KNB Publishers. Highly recommended.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, 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.”.

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

Hunter’s Moon by Don Hoesel

I have just completed reading Hunter’s Moon. Several times during this process I felt I would not reach that point. I had read more than three chapters before I could really say who the story was about – the whole book was so disjointed! The story was believable, but I think if the author had put it together in a smoother vein, it would have been more of a pleasant read.

Most of the characters were incomplete. That one correction would have given this book more subtance. More background on why the evil characters were the way they were would have given them more substance as well. There was no emotional attachment between the reader and the main character. He seemed not to have a clear emotional connection with any other characters. The timelines were jumbled and not being clearly defined made it even more difficult to follow.

The religious antedotes seemed insincere, placed in situations as if an afterthought. I saw nothing in the main character’s actions that showed any type of convictions or any depth of his “conversion”. It is true he had a lot of mental and emotional baggage, but even this was not explored enough to strengthen the character’s motives. Needless to say, I was dissapointed.


Diane Kennedy Henderson, a self described “Silver Saint” is a retiree who loves to have fun, spending days
playing games online, reading and spending time with family and friends.

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

The Lovers by Vendela Vida

Yvonne is a recent widow and the mother of grown twins – Matthew and Aurelia. Her husband Peter was killed in a hit and run accident approximately two years ago. Matthew has always been the brainy one – excelling at everything he tries, Peter was always so very proud of him. Aurelia is a troubled young lady living in Matthew’s shadow. She has been in and out of rehab since the age of sixteen. Yvonne is sort of estranged from her children. She doesn’t understand them and sees them only occasionally. Aurelia always has some crisis going on in her life. She didn’t have a very good relationship with Peter before his death due mainly to Aurelia’s problems and Peter had simply quit talking about her.

Yvonne was becoming more depressed and didn’t know how she would continue to cope. She decides a trip to Turkey, particularly Datca, a small village where she and Peter spent their honeymoon several decades ago, she finds a rental house on the Internet, contacts the owner, packs her bags and sets off on a journey to immerse herself in memories and try to become again the person she was so long ago. Things become complicated and instead of being comforted by her memories they trouble her.

One day at the beach she meets Amhet, a young Turkish boy, who sells sea shells. She commissions him to find shells for her, but what she would do with them is any one’s guess. This is her way of making sure he would be at the beach each day. Yvonne becomes deeply attached to him and begins to compare him to Matthew when he was Amhet’s age. Unfortunately a terrible accident involving Amhet throws her life in turmoil. She get lost in a sandstorm and believes she is going to die all alone in Turkey.

The novel is really about a tormented women traveling along in a foreign country and being unable to speak the language. She is trying to pick up the pieces of her life after losing her husband much too soon and in such a terrible way. She wants to connect with her children, but don’t know how. Ms. Vida does an excellent job of keeping you turning the pages, you can sympathize with Yvonne, feel her loss, her frustration, and her desire to become whole again.

Highly recommended.

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

The Map of True Places by Bunonia Barry

Zee Finch is a psychotherapist working with Dr. Liz Mattei. Zee is treating one patient in particular, Lily Braedon, who has a husband and three children. Lilly has been diagnosed as being bipolar. Lilly is having an affair with Adam, a construction worker. Zee believes he is abusing her and suggests she break off the affair. Zee is engaged to Michael, Boston’s most eligible bachelor, but something is always preventing her from meeting with the wedding planner. Lilly’s condition worsens, she become very depressed and commits suicide. Zee goes to Lilly’s funeral, against the advice of Dr. Mattei. This throws Zee into an emotional turmoil. Years ago Zee’s mother Maureen, had been bipolar, but refused to take any medication, and she too had committed suicide. Zee begins to have doubts about her profession. Why didn’t she see this coming – why hadn’t she picked up on Lilly’s suicidal tendencies? Her whole attitude changes and she is acting strange and doing things she would never had done before.

Zee’s father, Finch, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but has been hiding it from her. She discovers just how sick he really is. She takes a leave from her job to become his caregiver. Finch’s long time companion, Melville, has moved out, but is still very concerned about him. Being a caregiver is very hard on Zee. She becomes confused and depressed. She begins a new life which will not only take her into the future, but her past as well.

The book is a fast-paced suspense novel. The father-daughter relationship is based on half truths and her mothers untimely death.

Highly recommended, this novel is a page turner.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com. 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.”.

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

Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller

I love Judith Miller and she doesn’t disappoint in this captivating book. This story is about two young women and their search for where God wants them to be. This is one of those life lessons we all go through and continue to learn even as we get older and wiser. The story takes place in a devout Christian community in Amana, Iowa. Johanna ( love the name, but only because it is my eldest daughter’s name) has grown up in Amana her whole life, but is fascinated by the outside world and wants to go discover what keeps her older brother from moving back to Amana. She is an exceptional daughter and member of her community. She believes strongly in what she has learned as a Christian growing up, but a family secret rattles her to the core. Will she be able to overcome what she has learned and find her path?
Berta is used to high society in Chicago, but her parents decided to move to Amana and she is greatly upset. She does not want to work hard or follow the rules given to her. Johanna is assigned to teach her how to behave and how to act. Can Johanna’s gently ways guide Berta or will a shocking discovery in her life send her down a path of destruction? Will Berta find some peace in her life?
This was a great book. I was highly interested in the life style of the villages in Amana and was caught up in the two girls and their stories. I spent a very relaxing Mother’s Day weekend reading this delightful story. This looks to be a series and I am looking to forward to the next book.
This book was a free book from the publisher.

Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze

-Reviewed by Scott Asher of AshertopiA

When Susan walks into the Crossroads Crisis Center looking like a dead woman the mystery is on. And it doesn’t stop until the final pages!

Susan was abducted and beaten, but other than that she doesn’t remember anything from her past – not even her name. When she sees a portrait of Susan Brandt on the wall at Crossroads Crisis Center she can’t help but realize that she looks just like the dead woman. She even has a cross necklace that looks just like the one in the picture.

Benjamin Brandt, the owner of the crisis center, hasn’t entered the building since his wife & son’s death. But when the woman calling herself Susan, looking like her and wearing her necklace goes in he has to follow. Soon they find themselves at the center of a far larger plight than they could imagine.

Fans of Vicki Hinze’s romance and thriller novels will love her first foray into Christian fiction. What begins with mystery moves quickly into a thriller worthy of readers’ attention.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the non-Christian sensibilities that were brought to the Christian medium. Too often in Christian fiction thrills are muted, mystery is easily resolved and a G rating is firmly stamped from page one. I liked that characters died – and not just bad guys. I liked that characters were genuinely evil, that they thought like real people; they weren’t easy caricatures. I liked that drugs, alcohol, sex and more played a part in the story. In short, I liked the gritty realism brought to the genre by Ms. Hinze that is all too often missing from other so-called Christian thrillers. And all the while, real faith shines through.

Decidedly PG-13, I loved this book. Highly recommended for believers and non-believers.

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

The Bridegrooms by Allison Pittman

-Reviewed by Lori Stilger of Heavenly Perspective Photography

Tragedy hits the Allenhouse family on a hot summer night in Ohio when a mother of four vanished. Eight-year-old Vada virtually grew up overnight and raised her three younger sisters while her father lost himself in his medical practice in the basement of their home.

Now, Vada is a grown woman, still making her home with her father and sisters. Her days are spent serving as an errand girl for Cleveland’s fledgling amateur orchestra.

Dizzying change occurs the day the Brooklyn Bridegrooms come to town to play the Cleveland Spiders and a line drive wallops the head of a spectator. The fan is whisked to the Allenhouse parlor, and questions swirl about the anonymous, unconscious man.

Suddenly, the subdued house is filled with visitors and Vada’s sisters are giddy at the bevy of possible suitors. Vada’s life is awakened amid the super-charged atmosphere of romantic opportunity.

This book is an easy read; from the beginning, Pittman grabs your attention. If you’re female, that is – I don’t think this is a “guy” book by any stretch of the imagination.

I found myself comparing this story to Little Women frequently. There are four sisters, one present parent, a (rather bossy) housekeeper, and close to the same time period. There were enough differences in the storyline, however, that that comparison didn’t arise too often.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s got its moments of humor, and moments of sadness. There’s just enough detail to invite the reader into the grand picture of the book without bogging one down. The personalities of the four sisters, especially, are beautifully distinctive.

Ms.Pittman took, what was for me, a surprising view at the end of the book. I am still struggling with it, to be truthful – and that’s one of the signs of a good book for me.

I would recommend this book, especially if someone wants to discuss it with me!

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

The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw

Jed McClatchey is having an affair with Marcella Atkinson. Jed is visiting his sister for the summer, staying at their deceased parents’ home on the Cape. While looking for a tennis racket, he finds a swimming suit in a box in the bottom of his parents’ bedroom closet. He vaguely remembers Marcella wearing the suit when attending his parents’ summer parties. How is the world did it get in the closet and why in a wrapped box. On a hunch he decides to confront Marcella with the suit. They seem to hit it off and several visits later the affair begins.

The Swimming Pool
by Holly LeCraw
Doubleday
April 2010

Marcella is divorced from ex-husband Anthony and estranged from her daughter Toni. Toni just happens to be Nanny to Jed’s niece and nephew. Toni sort of has crush on Jed, but he only sees her as the children’s Nanny. He is too wrapped up in Marcella even though she is several years older than he is.

Callie, Jed’s sister, has never fully recovered from her mother being murdered and the crime had never been solved. Their father, Cecil. before his death had been an uncharged suspect. She has suicidal tendencies and sometimes goes off the deep end. Jed is really concerned about the children’s safety. Billy, the children’s father, works on the mainland and visits on weekends.

Did Marcella have an affair with Cecil? Did Anthony know or suspect she had been unfaithful? Does he know about Jed and Marcella? Who murdered Betsy and why? Recommend you read the book to learn the answers to these questions.

The Swimming Pool is a gripping, passionate, intriguing novel full of lies and family secrets. Betrayals of the past cannot be ignored. The story will keep you turning pages – it will complete captivate you. Ms. Lecraw is an excellent author. Highly recommended!


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, 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.”.

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

Shoot to Thrill by P.J. Tracy

This is a Monkeewrench novel. Monkeewrench is a group of computer nerds who can hack into any program – national or international. They stay just ahead of the law. The local police and FBI have a situation. In this most recent book, the crew is called in by the FBI to determine if there may or may not be murders being committed across the country and then published on the web. The authorities need to know if the murders are real or computer generated fakes. There have been several real murders in the past few months, but are they connected to these on cyberspace?

The story will keep you turning pages. This is a book that is hard to put down! The novel has generous doses of humor and suspense. Are all the murders real or fake? If real, are they being committed by one person or several? Who is putting these on cyberspace? Can Monkeewrench help the FBI and the local PD solve the mystery?

The mother-daughter team of Patricia J. and Traci Lambert (P.J. Tracy) are excellent mystery writers. You will want to read all their Monkeewrench novels.

Highly recommended.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com. 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.”.

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

Radical Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt

I was reading the first chapter of this book and was interrupted while doing it. The whole time I was taken away from the book, I kept thinking about what the author was talking about and I couldn’t wait to get back to the chapter! I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book and sharing it with others. Especially my pastor. If you are interested you can request a free copy of the companion book The Radical Question at:

www.WaterBrookMultnomah.com/RadicalQuestion

You can also check out the first chapter, like I did, at: www.RadicalTheBook.com