Category Archives: Fantasy

Fiction with strange or other worldly settings or characters; fiction which invites suspension of reality. Includes: fantasy (Dungeons & Dragons, High Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy), fables (mythical creatures, like unicorns, faeries, ghosts, Greek and Roman gods, vampires, zombies, werewolves and other were-animals), non-Biblical angels and demons, and other non-sensical or magical creatures or characters.

Moondogs by Alexander Yates

This books has a little of everything – secrets, hostilites, a rooster who is ex=champion of the cockfights, an actor, wannabe kidnappers and the local celebrity-hero policeman.

Moondogs
by Alexander Yates
Doubleday
March 2011

Benicio Bridgewater is estranged from his father Howard. He has not spoken to him in years, His mother has recently passed away and he believes it is time to make amends. He travels to Manila to see his father. Howard is not at the airport to pick him up, Benicio thinks this is just like his father – invites me to come for a visit and doesn’t take the time to show up. Is Howard this insensitive . After waiting for what seems like hours, he hires a driver and goes to the hotel to wait for his father’s return.

Howard Bridgewater has lived in Manila for a number of years. He is known for his shady deals, jet-setting and womanizing ways. He has plenty of money and certainly enjoys all the creature comforts.. He is very excited that his son is finally coming for a visit and is looking forward to all the things they will do together. Howard is leaving his club late at night and all the taxicabs have left, It is a fine unusually quiet night so he starts walking towards the hotel. Suddenly he hears a sound in the darkness and is surrounded by several stray dogs. After running off the dogs he keeps walking until he sees a white cab parked at the curb. He hails the cab and gets in the back.

Ignacio is the local taxi driver. He and his green rooster Kelog are villains. Kelog used to be fighting cock but now is retired due to on the onset of blindness, This however does not prevent him from strutting around like the fighter he used to be and making people’s life miserable. Ignacio’s brother – Little Boy – is an idiot – he does everything Ignacio tells him to do. They are both meth-addled wannabe criminals, are just too stupid to be good , but that doesn’t stop them from trying,

Charlie Fuentes is the local actor and hero of the Ocampo Justice films. He stars as Reynato Ocampo – Dirty Harry of the Wild Wild East. Charlie’s trademark is the famous pistol Truth that gets second billing at the movies. Brig Yapha has a rag-tag bunch of soldiers known as The Boxer Boys. He and Charlies are coming to inspect the troops. They are especially interested in Efrem Khalid Bakkar. Efren can hardly believe his good luck – he is meeting Charlie Fuentes , Tough Knocks, Snaggletooth – the hero of his childhood. Efren is reported to be the undisputed best shooter in the entire country. He is a graduate of the Scout Ranger School and the tactical sniper with the highest number of kills in Boxer Division history. Efren can hit a target at any distance – he never misses.

What really happened to Howard Bridgewater? Will Benicio stay in Manila or return to the States. What part does Ignacio. Kelog (the rooster), Charlie Fuentes, Brig Yapha and Efrin Bakkar play in Howard’s disappearances?

The book is rather disjointed at times, but is a very interesting read. It gives you a glimpse of the real city of Manila and the Philippines as a whole – the corruption and hostilities that surround the tiny island.

Recommend it to all readers who are looking for some laughs, some thrills and some mystery. You won’t believe Kelog – the rooster – he is more human than fowl.


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

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

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Moondogs

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

When she as four years old, Ari was handed over to the custody of the state and her mother disappeared. Thirteen years later, she is looking for answers. That search will take her to New 2, as New Orleans is now known.

But the city is not what it once was. After being ravaged by hurricanes, the city was purchased by nine families who are intent on creating a place for those who are different. Rumors abound about what the city is now like, as the US government no longer has any part of governing the city.

But Ari will brave anything to learn about her past and to break the curse that looms over her. Every woman in her family has had a daughter and has died before her 21st birthday. Ari refuses to be the next.

What follows is the first installment in a new series by Kelly Keaton titled Darkness Becomes Her.

I have to tell you, I was completely transfixed while reading this; I couldn’t put it down. Keaton weaves a tale that leaves you on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what will happen. The twists and turns seem to be never-ending. There are parts where the prose seems to drag, but these sections serve to both describe the history and set up for the story going forward. These sections are informational without being dull, which can be difficult for an author to do.

Keaton also creates a family of misfits to which any reader would be happy to belong. After being on the outside and shuffled from foster home to foster home, Ari finds kindred spirits among others with special gifts and uncommon parentage.

Keaton keeps the reader guessing right until the very end. Darkness Becomes Her is in no way short on surprises and leaves you wanting more!

Keaton’s novel is a classic example of the down side to getting a copy of a story to read in advance. This novel has yet to be published, and I am already waiting in anticipation for the next installment! I cannot wait to see what happens to Ari and her friends.


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

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

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Darkness Becomes Her

The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger, the best selling author of the beloved The Time Traveler’s Wife, indulges her dreams as a teenager with The Night Bookmobile a graphic novel both written by and drawn by Niffenegger.

The Night Bookmobile
by Audrey Niffenegger
Abrams ComicArts
September 2010

Like all good stories of love and lust, this one starts with a fight. Lexi, our narrator and main character, is out walking late at night after an argument with her boyfriend Richard when she happens on a Winnebago blaring Bob Marley. The door is open. She glances inside to find a librarian sitting at the wheel inviting her to view the collection of books. The collection is every book that Lexi has ever read – novels, school books, even her diary. After reading for most of the night, Lexi takes her leave promising to come back. When she does come back the next night she finds the bookmobile missing.

Lexi’s search for the bookmobile continues for years; her obsession with the books she is reading (and thus adding to the collection) knows no bounds. By the time she finds the bookmobile again – or perhaps by the time it finds her again – she is alone and consumed with reading. This cycle is repeated as we find Lexi pulled further and further away from the world and more and more into her lust for books.

I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that I was surprised and disappointed. After reading the Afterword the ending makes a little more sense. Lexi’s obsession with books should be read as a cautionary tale of lusts and addiction gone awry. However, since Niffenegger ends the book on such a positive note she seems to undermine that moral leaving the reader with an almost too positive outlook on obsession: obsession as an ultimate reward in itself.

There is no doubt, regardless of the ending, that this graphic novel is very well done. Niffenegger’s stilted, put-upon amateur art style is perfect for this story. The art clearly conveys feeling and setting without overwhelming the story. Unlike so many graphic novels today, this book remains story driven and the art serves the story. This is not about splash pages and action shots. This is about emotion and a woman driven.

A stellar artistic debut from the best selling author. I look forward to the next one.


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

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

Originally Published at BuddyHollywood.com

Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor by Chuck Black

12/27/10

Chuck Black’s series for young adults is a beautiful allegory of the Lord and making choices. Are you willing to give your all to the Prince or would you rather live a comfortable life serving the Prince?

Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor
by Chuck Black
Multnomah
October 2010

In this, the fifth book of the Knights of Arrethtrae Series. Two knights of the Prince have been raised together since a fire killed Quinlan’s family. Quinlan know as, “Twitch” by family and friends in the city of Burkfield. Twitch named due to the nervous twitch in his face when he is stressed or nervous. Twitch is the one who no ones see’s a lot from the outside. He his not built very well and nothing stands out of him in appearance, personality or physique. He doesn’t even handle a sword as well as most in the training haven or probably the Kingdom. While Gustav nicknamed “Tav” is by all appearance the handsome, outgoing, and handles a sword with some of the best.

The young Knights are both looking forward to following the Prince and maybe even going out into the kingdom to spread the message of the Prince. They want to defend the Kingdom against the evil.

Then they come across a strange, cuddle, smart and loving creature and this strange pet becomes the center of the boy’s attention. The pet multiple and all the young knights of the Prince at the haven have one. Then almost everyone in Burkfield has one. Everything is going so well for the city. It is prospering and the violence seems to not have effected this part of the kingdom.

Then, Twitch has a life changing experience with the Prince and chooses the narrow road and faces many hardships. Tav chooses a different path to follow the Prince and both choices are pivotal point in their lives.

I have read all the previous titles in both series and can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. These action packed allegory’s have such a beautiful message of our walk with our Savior. The ending in this book has by far surprised me the most and has been my favorite.

This series will be a mainstay on my bookshelf. My 5 and 8 year old are loving all of Chuck’s Black series. I love the great discussions with my kids. Did I mention that mom is just as crazy about the series that I had to read ahead!


ReneeK is a sweet tea addicted mamma who loves to cuddle up to a good book. She blogs at Little Homeschool on the Praire and writes about family, homeschooling, having a special needs child, and about whatever else tickles her fancy.

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

Give Away: The Emerald Atlas by John Stevens

Enter to win an advance reading copy / uncorrected proof (ARC) of the forthcoming young adult fantasy by John Stevens The Emerald Atlas.

Read the review here: The Emerald Atlas reviewed by Robin Gwaro.

If you like Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and other fantasy books then you will love Steven’s new fantasy series. To enter follow these instructions:

1. Fill out the entry form below
2. Follow @BookGateway
3. Retweet this give away:

I just entered to win a free ARC of The Emerald Atlas @BookGateway! Click here to register: http://BookGateway.com

Winner will be chosen by random drawing. Winner will be announced Monday the 20th. We will send the book to the address supplied in the registration form so make sure you enter it correctly!

Good luck!


This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Kelly Vorhis (@kelvorhis) for being randomly chosen as the winner of this ARC. The book will be sent out to the address in your submission. Contact us if you need to make any changes.

Thank you everyone else who entered! Check back for more opportunities to win free books!

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul

Cora Crowder never enters the Christmas Season without a plan. To avoid last minute stress, she plans ahead and sticks to the plan. On a shopping trip to a bookstore on Sage Street, Cora encounters the bookstore of Warner, Warner, and Wizbotterdad. While shopping, her boss’s boss wanders into the same store. Serious Simon Derrick, as he is known in the office, is focused at work and little else while he is there. After five years of working in the same office, Simon has only a vague recollection that Cora exists.

The magical matchmakers of Warner, Warner, and Wizbotterdad set out to change that. Both leave the shop with tickets to the enigmatic Wizard’s Ball. As circumstances throw Cora and Simon together again and again, they begin to learn more and more about one another. As that like grows into love, the magical forces of love and faith surround the couple and help them find their way.

I absolutely loved this book! Donita K. Paul’s story is full of wonderment and fun. It is a very quick read. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down. The magical story interwoven with Biblical principles is a format to which it is easy to relate. Paul proves that you don’t have to choose between Magic and Truth. The story is a lovely romance and is very uplifting.

This is certainly a book that I could read again and again. As with all the books that I enjoy, it just seemed to end too quickly. The book is lighthearted and fun. Paul has done an amazing job on this very sweet love story.


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

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

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

Blending Time by Michael Kinch (BuddyHollywood.com)

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

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

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

CONTINUE READING AT BuddyHollywood.com

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: The Emerald Atlas (Books of Beginning)

Beyond The Valley of Thorns by Patrick Carman

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

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

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


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

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

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

The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman

From the back: Twelve year old Alexa Daley is spending another summer in Bridewell with her father. She looks forward to exploring the old lodge where she stays each year, with its cozy library and maze of passages and rooms. She’s also eager to finally solve the mystery of what lies beyond the immense walls that were built to keep out an unnamed evil that lurks in the forests and The Dark Hills-an evil the towns people are still afraid of. As Alexa begins to unravel the truth about what lies outside the protective barrier she’s lived behind all her life, she discovers a strange and ancient enchantment. Armed with an unexpected new power, Alexa exposes a danger that could destroy everything she holds dear-and change The Land of Elyon forever.

This book was about a young girl named Alexa Daley. Her country was made of three towns that were all inside stone walls. The passages to get to the other towns were also surrounded by walls. All of the buildings were one story high so that no one would be able to get into the towns or out. The walls were made by Warvold (who is now a old man) when he was young to protect his family and everyone in the town from a dark evil outside the walls. Alexa Daley likes going to Bridewell (the town that Warvold stays at.It is in the middle of the other towns,) because it has a three story building in it. Alexa is an adventurous girl who is always getting into trouble with the head guard Pervis. (They don’t exactly get along very well.) Alexa brings her mother’s magnifying glass to Bridewell even though they are forbidden. She has the only room in any of the towns that you can hop up on the window sill and get a peek of the Dark Hills, and the wilderness outside the walls. She is caught by Pervis using the glass to see outside the walls. He breaks the magnifying glass after taking it a few days later. Alexa always is looking for a way outside the wall throughout the story in till she finds out about the Joscastas. They are gems that Renny (Warvold’s now dead wife.) used to make. If you had a strong enough magnifying glass you could see what message was inscribed on the Joscata. Alexa is a very intelligent girl. She studies the gems for several days. Alexa finds a way outside the walls using the Jocastas and finds out that she was chosen by Warvold to continue the mystery of the walls and what lays outside them. She discovers that she has a power and that she must use it to save Bridewell, the Dark Hills, and the Land of Elyon.


Arieltopia is an 11 year old avid reader – usually going through a book a day – who gives readers a unique perspective on Young Adult and Teen Fiction; an actual teenager’s perspective.

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