Category Archives: General Fiction

Becoming the Talbot Sisters by Linden

Waverly Ross and Charlie Talbot are twins sisters. Shortly before their 13th birthday their parents were killed in a plane crash in Africa. The court awarded custody to their Aunt Mae and they went to live in Cookeville, Ohio. When they reach the age of 18 they receive their trust fund.

Becoming the Talbot Sisters
by Rachel Linden
Thomas Nelson
May 2018

Waverly used her inheritance to build a successful career with her home -entertaining show Simply Perfect. Charlie went to Africa to see where her parents had died in the plane crash. After staying in Africa for a few years she went to work as an aid worker in Budapest,
Hungary.

With their Aunt Mae passes away, they both returned to Ohio for the funeral. When Waverly opens up to Charlie about her inability to have children, Charlie volunteers to be a surrogate and carry the baby for them.

After returning to Budapest, Charlie witnesses a car crash in which she discovers several women who are victims of human trafficking. She agrees to testify against the traffickers .

Waverly arrives unexpectedly in Budapest and makes arrangements to film her shows for Simply Perfect in local kitchen. They are betrayed and kidnapped by Albanian Nationals who believes her popularity will persuade the United States to help them in their fight for unity.

Waverly receives an unexpected gift and Charlie has her baby. Will Charlie be able to give her baby to Waverly?

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it to all readers.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She describes herself as “an 88 year young great-grandmother and an avid reader.”

This book was provided by the publisher for review.

Indivisible by Thrasher

Darren and Heather Turner shared a passion for serving God. Darren felt there was something lacking in how he was serving God. After listening to a speech by President George Bush about the surge of boots-on-the-ground needed in Iraq, he knew at that moment that this was what he wanted to do. He wanted to bring Faith and confidence in Christ into a place of war.

Indivisible
by Travis Thrasher
Thomas Nelson
October 2018

Darren joined the Army and moved his family to Fort Stewart. After taking a few weeks to process into the Army, he knew he would soon be deployed to Iraq. The day came for deployment and he left his his family for his new position as chaplain to an infantry group.

Being Chaplin to a group of men who were fighting to stay alive, believers and non-believers, was not an easy job. Darren became friends with his men as they patrolled the desert looking for insurgents. As they continued to lose comrades in a never ending battle, Darren became more and more despondent as he conducted memorial services for the fallen.

At home Heather was fighting a battle of her own. She had her three children to raise all on her own while giving moral support to the wives who had lost their husbands. Having occasional phone calls with Darren just wasn’t doing it. She really needed him home, but that was not to be for quite a while.

What was left of the group was finally going home. But Darren was a different man from the one that had left 15 months ago. He was suffering from PTSD, angry all of the time and felt guilty because he had survived and so many of the others had not. Heather too had changed over the months he had been deployed. How would she and the kids interact with him once that he was home.

Darren is having a hard time adjusting to life away from the war zone. He is not the man that Heather married and Heather is not the woman that Darren married. They now face the biggest battle – to save their marriage.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The author clearly brought the horrors of war and what it did to two families being separated for a long period.

Highly recommended to all readers.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She describes herself as “an 88 year young great-grandmother and an avid reader.”

This book was provided by the publisher for review.

Steal Away Home by Coffey

Owen Cross is a minor league catcher. Baseball is his life and has been since an early age. He dreams of catching in the Majors and has devoted his life to achieving this goal. Paul Cross, his dad, had been a pitcher, but threw out his arm, thus ending his career. Paul wants Owen to succeed where he failed.

Steal Away Home
By Billy Coffey
Thomas Nelson
January 2018

Owen has a very successful Little League and High school career. Winning a scholarship, he is off to college at Ohio State.

Michaela Dullahan lived in Shantytown. No one in Camden talks to a Shanty. Owen is drawn to Mickey the first time he sees her on the hill above his house. They continue to meet in secret and soon he is falling in love with her. They make plans to leave together when he leaves for college at Ohio State.

Things change between them the night of their graduation. A group of kids are in the farmer’s field and one of them decides to play chicken with the oncoming train. Mickey jumps on the tracks and pushes him off standing with open arms while waiting for certain death. Owen jumps on the tracks to save her and something happens that will change both their lives. Mickey becomes religious, starts preaching to the Shantytown residence, building a Church. She refuses to go with Owen when he leaves for college. She has work to do because time is so short.

Owen graduate from college, signs a contract with the Cubs and he is on his way, so he thinks, to realizing his dream. He does fairly well in the Minors. He gets a call to go to the Majors to possibly catch against the Yankees. Unfortunately he didn’t get a chance to bat. Disappointed he returned back to the Minors. Would he ever realize his dream?

The second call came for him to fly to New York possibly be a relief catcher. This could be his big break. Arriving in New York he had second thoughts and decided to go back home to Camden. Leaving his gear at the airport he caught the next plane home.

All his life he had focused on a dream that he knew was never going to come true. What he needed was what he had left behind in Camden.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and highly recommend it to all readers.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She describes herself as “an 88 year young great-grandmother and an avid reader.”

This book was provided by the publisher for review.

You’re Gonna Love Me by Hatcher

Samantha Winters and Nick Chastain had been dating for several months. Nick is a brilliant professor at Organ State University and an adrenaline junkie. Samantha liked everything organized and safe. She is afraid of everything. She witnessed her father being killed in a skiing accident.

You’re Gonna Love Me
by Robin Lee Hatcher
Thomas Nelson
December 2017

When Samantha learned that Nick planned to go on a kayaking trip to Colorado on his spring break, this was all she could take. Harsh words were spoken, and Nick walked out. This ending their relationship. Samantha tried to apologize by email to Nick but he didn’t answer.

Two years later Samantha moves to Thunder Creek, Idaho to care for her grandmother who had been thrown by a horse and broken her ankle. Later, at the hospital, Nick comes to visit her grandmother. Samantha was speechless. How did Nick know her grandmother, why was he in Idaho, and why wasn’t he teaching at the University?

Over the course of weeks Samantha and Nick become friends. She learns the planned trip that had destroyed their relationship had almost ended Nick’s life. He can no longer teach and has opted for a quiet life in Idaho.

Will Samantha let go of her fears, trust that Nick is a change man, and will she and Nick recapture the love they once knew?

I highly recommend the book to readers of all age. A well written, entertaining book. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She describes herself as “an 88 year young great-grandmother and an avid reader.”

This book was provided by the publisher for review.

The Solace of Water by Younts

Delilah Evans has just buried her son in Montgomery, Alabama and moving to Sinking Creek, Pennsylvania. She has little faith in the fresh start her husband believes they will have in their new home. Deedee’s, as she prefers to be called, grief and doubt is overwhelming. She blames her daughter for the boy’s death.

The Solace Of Water
by Elizabeth Byler Younts
Thomas Nelson
June 2018

The move to Pennsylvania is not what they expected. The colored and whites are still segregated even though there isn’t any signs as there were in Montgomery. Deedee doesn’t help matter as she shuns the women in her husband’s church. However, an unlikely friendship develops between Deedee and Emma, an Amish lady. Emma had rescued Deedee’s son when he ran into bees in the woods behind her house. She had also became friends with Sparrow (Birdie) – Deedee’s daughter.

Emma had a secret. Her husband, a deacon in the Amish Church, is a drunk. If the people knew, they would be shunned and kick out of the community. Her son Johnny knew her secret and he is rebelling against she and his Dad.

Things became so bad for Birdie that she attempted suicide on several occasions. She refused to eat and started cutting her body. Her last attempt brought Deedee to her senses.

Will Deedee and Birdie resolves their problem? Will Emma and her husband reveal their secret? Read the book to learn the answers.

The Solace Of Water reminds us that friendship rises above religion, race and custom.

I thoroughly enjoyed the journey of Deedee, Emma and Birdie. Highly recommended.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She describes herself as “an 88 year young great-grandmother and an avid reader.”

This book was provided by the publisher for review.

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Graham

This is a funny story about Francis (Franny) Banks, a young lady, living in New York, with ambition of becoming a famous actress. She has set a goal of six months to accomplish her dreams. She is somewhat unsure of how she is to achieve her goal, but determined to do so. In case she fails, she can always marry her boyfriend in three years.

Someday, Someday, Maybe
By Lauren Graham
Ballantine Books
April 2013

Franny has some auditions, made a few commercials, but nothing that will make her an actress. She doesn’t even have an agent, but is hopeful of getting one soon. When she gets a call to audition for a bit part in a TV program she not only gets the part but an agent as well. Now, she thinks, I am really on my way. But, sadly, she is ignored by him and finally he dumps her. Now she doesn’t have an agent, no auditions or any chance of getting work.

The six months have come and gone, but she isn’t worried. She will just set a new goal. Someday, Someday, Maybe she will be a famous actress or not. She isn’t too worried about the future.

A very interesting read, full of hope, dreams and ambition of a young girl trying to make her dreams come true in New York.

I liked it. Very entertaining.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She describes herself as “an 88 year young great-grandmother and an avid reader.”

This book was provided by the publisher for review.

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison

harrietchanceHarriet Chance has always taken a back seat in her life.  As described in the novel, she’ “cheap” with herself.  She decides to take a chance on a trip, not knowing that she’ll soon discover everything she’s known is turned upside down.

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!
by Jonathan Evison
Algonquin Books
September 2015

Harriet Chance just spent the last two years of her life caring for her husband during his rapidly declining mental health.  Two years after his passing, she gets a call telling her he’s won a cruise to Alaska.  Against what’s normal for her, she decides to go and invites her spontaneous best friend on the trip.

At the last minute, her friend backs out.  Sending a cryptic letter explaining the absence.    What follows are glimpses into Harriet’s past and the way that Harriet has justified her life and treatment from Bernard during their marriage.  The picture painted is very different than what Harriet has created in her mind.

The tale that Jonathan Evison weaves in this novel is in turns hilarious and tragic.  You meet Harriet’s adult daughter and learn things about Harriet that change your view of her.  Overall, I think younger generations get the idea of the “cute little old lady,” and Evison tosses that to the wind.  You get to know Harriet as an individual, you see how she’s treated as a senior citizen, and you are challenged in the way YOU treat those in generations before you.

As the novel unfolds, Evison uses flashbacks that are tied to what’s occurring in Harriet’s present.  This is the PERFECT way to incorporate flashbacks into a novel.  It’s relevant to what you’re reading, and it doesn’t feel jarring like flashbacks used in other novels I’ve read recently.

No spoilers, but the ending left me floundering.  I was expecting something completely different, and Evison threw me for a loop.  While I LOVED the novel as a whole, the end left me unsatisfied.


Robin Gwaro is the Young Adult and Women’s Literature Editor at Bookgateway.com. She currently spends her days wrangling her 3rd grade science nerd and toddler aged busy body. You can visit her world of randomness at justwanderingnotlost.net, where there is no spoon.

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

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

blackeyedTessa is the lone survivor of a serial killer. The only Susan to survive several brutal murders. She helped put the killer behind bars. Years later, as his execution date approaches, Tessa finds messages left for her. Is the wrong man behind bars?

Black-Eyed Susans
by Julia Heaberlin
Ballentine Books
June 2015

 At seventeen years old, Tessa was subjected to pain and torture, left blinded by psychosis, and survived the rampage of a serial killer.  She fought to put the pieces of her life back together, slowly but surely.  She’s even been able to heal enough to have her own daughter.

Many times over the years, Tessa was approached by an inmate’s advocate who questioned the guilt of the man sentenced for the crimes.  It’s not until his exectution approaches that Tessa also begins to question.  And she only questions based on “gifts” that are being left for her.

I really wanted to like this.  The premise seemed solid, as did the characters.  The flaw in Julia Heaberlin’s novel is really in the formatting.  I don’t mind flashbacks as a general rule.  However, every other chapter in this novel flashes back to Tessa’s past, followed by a chapter in present day.  This continues through the entire book.

After a few chapters, it gets cumbersome to wade through.  I want to be able to enjoy fiction and focus on the building suspense in thrillers.  For me, this jumping back and forth only served as a disruption, never really allowing that suspense to build.

In the end, it became so disruptive to me that I couldn’t finish the novel.   I wasn’t left like I NEEDED to find out what happened.

So I didn’t.


Robin Gwaro is the Young Adult and Women’s Literature Editor at Bookgateway.com. She currently spends her days wrangling her 8 year old science nerd and 7 month old busy body.

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

Wabanaki Blues by Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel

wabanaki-blues-coverMona Lisa LaPierre’s parents give her little notice that she’ll be spending the summer after graduation  in a remote cabin with her curmudgeonly grandfather.    Mona must learn who she is in the face of family secrets and her dual Native American heritage.

Wabanaki Blues
by Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel
The Poisoned Pencil
June 2015

When Mona’s parents announce they’ll be heading to Russia to study bears, Mona is shocked to learn she’ll be spending the time with her granfather in remote New England woods.  She is forced to miss graduation and the chance to get her crush, Beetle, to notice her before they part.

Mona, the child of both Mohegan and Abenaki tribes, has a passion for blues.  This passion and the voice of her grandmother Bilki keep her grounded as she goes on a journey to learn the truth about a young woman’s disappearance and in reality, about herself.

Zobel, being Native American herself, really paid tribute to her heritage.  Instead of watering down Native traditions and stories, they took forefront in this novel.  Zobel shares her traditions and writes them with such reverence and respect.

I REALLY wanted to like this book.  Unfortunately, too many story lines and crossing details made it hard to keep the different parts of the story straight.  It’s a genuine coming of age story told in an uncoventional way, which I appreciate.  It just became very complex in a way that wasn’t able to keep me engaged.  Complex in the name of suspense is fantastic.  This just fell short of that for me.


Robin Gwaro is the Young Adult and Women’s Literature Editor at Bookgateway.com. She currently spends her days wrangling her 8 year old science nerd and 5 month old busy body.

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

 

The Healing Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter

91p39eAji4L._SL1500_Emma and Lamar are an Amish couple that have recently married and moved to Sarasota, Florida for the winter. Emma decides to have a quilting class in her new home.

The Healing Quilt
by Wanda Brunstetter
Shiloh Run Press
August 2014

The Healing Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter was a delightful story and it makes me want to go back and read the earlier books in the series. Emma and Lamar Miller, an Amish couple, have recently married and moved to Sarasota, Florida for the winter. Emma misses teaching quilting classes so she decides to hold a class in her new home. It seems that individuals that are hurting or have some other problem, gravitate toward Emma and her quilting classes. Jennifer, Phyllis, Erika, Kim, Noreen, and BJ sign up for the class and during the six weeks, Emma works her magic which is not really magic but just good common sense and a devout belief in God.

The author did an excellent job in the development of all aspects of the book. Everyone of the characters came to life on the pages of the book and the dialogue of each was very believable. All the scenes were so vividly described that I felt myself right in the center of all the action. Each individual that had a problem at the beginning of the class seemed to work through their feelings and situations and ended with happy results. It was actually inspiring to read about Emma and Lamar’s life and how they helped everyone that came in contact with the couple.

I recommend this book to all that enjoy a good story about the Amish.


Deanna Love Gottreu is a 75 year old widow and the mother of two wonderful sons who share second place in her life – with God being in first place. She spends her time reading or making quilts for charity. Her book reviews can also be read on her blog at www.buzzardsroostcrafts.com/blog.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.