Category Archives: General Fiction

The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher by Rob Stennett

Ryan Fisher is a real estate agent who needs a boost in sales. The agnostic Fisher decides to take out an add in the local Christian directory with the Ichthus symbol, the Christian fish we see on cars and signs, prominently displayed and immediately sees results.

The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher
by Rob Stennett

Wanting even more results, he and his wife decide to attend church to mingle with prospective buyers to keep up his new image as a “believer.” Recognizing the opportunity of the Christian market – and the money to be made there – Fisher and his wife relocate to Oklahoma to plant a church. A mega church.

Fisher creates a history for his new mega church pastor image, including seminary and prior pastorates, and sets to work creating his mega church. He hires a local songwriter (who puts Christian lyrics to popular songs) and a band, rents a carnival, and prepares his sermons all without input from God, Jesus or the Bible. His (what some Christians may call) seeker-sensitive style catches on and soon his popularity far surpasses even his wildest dreams. But the limelight is also a spotlight and his false past is quickly catching up to him as the local pastors, the media and concerned churchgoers all begin to take a closer look at the new superstar pastor. Oh, and there is his wife’s growing infatuation with his worship leader.

I won’t spoil the story for you, but suffice it to say it doesn’t end up how most Christian books do. Stennett takes Fisher on a ride that isn’t just almost true, but unfortunately, mostly true and also true a lot. And it never ends well.

Fisher, while not based on any individual, is reminiscent of many preachers today who seem to be after growth and monetary gain instead of spiritual truth. What I loved – and simultaneously hated – was that Fisher’s journey speaks to how gullible Christians can be and how wolf-like preachers can be. (Notice I said “preachers” not “pastors,” which are worlds apart sometimes and especially in this case.) Stennett’s book is a social commentary on how true Christianity is easily usurped by a slick presentation and feel good sermons and how Biblically illiterate believers can have a tough time knowing the difference.

The book is engrossing and engaging; I couldn’t put it down. Not only was it a spot on commentary, but also a hilarious (at times) satire. (See Fisher’s early attempts to be “Christian,” for example.) I recommend it highly for Christians who are interested in a good book with an excellent warning.

Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of Along with his contributions to BookGateway, he reviews for the commercial site 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.

One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

After an earthquake traps nine strangers in the basement office of the passport administration, fear and uncertainty begin to take their toll.  They begin to panic once the reality of their situation begins to close in on them. Without knowing if rescue is a hope they have, one of the strangers suggests that they each tell “One Amazing Thing” that has happened in their lives.

What follows is both a harrowing tale of survival and how people can come together in the face of insurmountable odds.  Chitra Divakaruni brings together nine individuals from completely different backgrounds.  Seven of the nine are attempting to get to India, all for different reasons, but all for an attempt at atonement for past failures or shortcomings.  The two remaining work in the passport office and have come to be there after their own amazing turns in India.

Divakaruni’s prose is entrancing. It was so completely wonderful, I couldn’t put it down. I read the entire book in one sitting, waiting for the next moment to both learn about each of the characters and his/her “thing,” as well as how the book would end. Divakaruni writes an amazing tale and makes each person’s story unforgettable. She details the amazing determination in the human spirit; our ability to love, desire, hate, forgive, create and break down our stereotypes, and our innate caring for one another.

This is a story that I could read again and again. The only negative I can really post is that I was left wanting more. The ending is surprising. It may not settle well with some, but I personally find it preferable in a book to have unanswered questions. I want to be left desiring to read more about characters I like. Divakaruni does that well. Her characters are fantastic and the story is beautiful. No reader could ask for more.

Robin Gwaro is a founding book review blogger at 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.

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Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott

Rosie Ferguson is a young teenager. She is intelligent, beautiful, athletic and a straight A student. This is only on the surface. She is not the well adjusted teen she appears to be. She hides a deep dark secret. Rosie is an addict, liar and a very manipulative person. She and her two friends, Alice and Jody, will do anything to get high, even trading sex for drugs.

Rosie’s parents, James and Elizabeth, are puzzled by her fits of rebellion, tantrums and down right disobedience. James tries to be the disciplinarian, but most of the time is overruled by Elizabeth, who is very naive. She wants to be Rosie’s friend and not get her angry. Things are rough when Rosie is in one of her moods.

In a rare moment, Rosie admits to having smoked weed (pot) but never doing the hard stuff like cocaine. This, of course, is a lie. Things progress to the point that Elizabeth resorts to taking urine samples to check for drugs. Rosie gets around this by putting a drop of bleach in the sample.

Elizabeth believes is everything is fine and Rosie is no longer doing drugs. The truth comes out when she completely flips out on over the counter cough medicine and ends up in the drug ward at the local hospital. At their wits end on how to handle the situation, the parents send her to a Wilderness Camp in Utah for drug addiction.

Highly recommended for parents of preteen and teens. Ms. Lamott clearly points out the signs to look for to determine if your child is using drugs or other substances. Ms. Lamott is a very talented writer.

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

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.

Ransomed Dreams by Sally John

Eliot Logan Montgomery III and his wife Sheridan are living their dream life. He is US Ambassador to Venezuela and she is involved in helping abused and battered women start a new life. It is opening day of their new Women’s Shelter in Caracas. Eliot is getting ready to cut the red ribbon. Shots rang out. At exactly 12 minutes 35 seconds past 10 o’clock in the morning Venezuela time Sheridan’s world ceased to exist. Her best friend is killed and Eliot is seriously wounded. She is lying face down on the sidewalk, injured but not life threatening and something heavy is on top of her. She can'[t breathe and someone is screaming. The screams are coming from her. Finally the weight lifts and she is being pulled to her feet in the shelter of two strong arms. He is getting her away from the pandemonium. Her rescuer is none other than Luke Traynor whom she believes to be a spy for the US government. Luke is constantly protecting her through her long days at the hospital during Eliot’s slow healing. Sheridan dubs Luke Angel Gabriel (or Gabe) after the famous Archangel Gabriel in the Bible.

Ransomed Dreams
by Sally John
Tyndale House
June 2010

They retreat to a small quaint village in Topala, Mexico, to hide from the world -. a place far off the beaten path – no phone service or other modern amenities. Eliot is barely surviving – he has good days and bad days. He is withdrawn, moody, afraid and sometimes spaced out – not hearing or seeing anything. On good days he is writing his memoirs about his childhood and being US ambassador,

One day, out of the blue, Sheridan’s Angel Gabe (Luke Traynor) arrives on their door step. How in the world did he find them and what does he want. They had not seen or heard from him since moving to Popala. No one is supposed to know where they are. This is where the novel becomes interesting. Sheridan’s sister Calissa has hired Luke to locate Sheridan and bring her back to Chicago. Her estranged father, Representative Harrison Cole, has suffered a severe heart attack, a stroke and is dying. Sheridan is reluctant to go with Luke. She doesn’t want to see her father and doesn’t care if he lives or dies. She cannot forgive him for his treatment of her. She is afraid to leave Eliot and her safe world. After much debate and probably such to spite Eliot (who does want her to go) she leaves with Luke for Chicago.

Sheridan’s life undergoes another startling change when she and Calissa discovers Harrison’s ugly past. Evidence that implicates him in a conspiracy, diamond smuggling. And the fact her deceased mother had been a prostitute. Questions Sheridan can not answer – was Eliot involved in Harrison’s dirty dealings? Did he know she was Harrison’s daughter when they first met? Who is Luke and what role does he play is all this, Does she learn the truth about her marriage and confront her feelings for Luke? How does an elderly priest – Padre Miguel- help heal their wounds and restore their faith in God. One must read the book to learn answers to these questions.

Ms. John is an excellent writer of general fiction. She puts the reader right in the midst of Elliot and Sheridan’s world – you feel their pain, fear and their lost dreams. I found the book refreshing, intriguing, sometimes sad, and sometimes uplifting. It is one you will stay up late reading so as not miss one minute in the daily lives of Eliot and Sheridan.

Highly recommended. Ms. John is a marvelous Christian author.

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.