Category Archives: General Fiction

Undetected by Dee Henderson

91hmdPSsO5L._SL1500_ Mark Bishop is the commander of a ballistic missile submarine and Gina Gray is an ocean science researcher. She has just come up with a new theory and needs his help.

Undetected
Dee Henderson
Bethany House
April 2014

Undetected by Dee Henderson is another great book by this author. Mark Bishop is the Commander of a ballistic missile submarine but when someone asks him what he does for a living he simply replies, “I’m in the Navy.” This is an extreme understatement for his job carries responsibilities that are not seen in any other job in the military. Mark is a widower and with all his heart he wants to come home to someone after spending several months at sea in a submarine with hundreds of men. He is attracted to Gina Gray but feels that maybe she is too young for him. Gina does ocean science research and her job is so important and secret that she has round the clock military protection. She would love to be married but due to a failed relationship, she spends nearly all her time working, sometimes even sleeping at her office. This work situation leaves her no time for a social life. She has just made a very important discovery and she needs Mark Bishop’s help to prove her theory. Fortunately, this will give them time together to get to know each other.

As with all her books, Dee Henderson did an excellent job in the development of all aspects of this story. It is very evident that she did the research necessary to write such a detailed story about life on a submarine and other jobs in the Navy. Also, she wrote in such a way that it was easy to understand what was happening on the submarine and with Gina’s work. All the characters were so well developed that I felt as if each one was a friend with Mark and Gina being close friends. Gina did not want to spend time on the submarine and this segment of the story was so real that I was feeling the same fear as Gina. There were several twists and turns to the plot line and these just added to the enjoyment of the story and kept me guessing as to what was going to happen. The characters and dialogue were so well developed that I had the feeling as if I were right in the middle of the action taking place on the submarine.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves a well written story that is also a learning experience. There is romance and enough mystery to keep one reading and guessing.


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.

The Painter by Heller

The PainterJim Stegner saw red. Rage overflowed and murder became the focus of his narrowing field of vision. The question is can he move on from his past or is he destined to repeat it?

The Painter
Written by Peter Heller
Read by Mark Deakins
Knopf / Random House Audio
May 2014

Stegner, after attempting to kill a man in a bar, does his time, moves away to take up the solitary life of a wilderness painter. Leaving the past firmly in the past he focuses only on the here and now. Until he comes across a man beating a horse. His vision goes red. Again. Now he has to deal with the consequences as the authorities and a vengeful family member close in.

The Dog Stars was perhaps my favorite book of 2013. Beautiful, sorrowful, and written with prose to match. The Painter’s prose delights and once again the reader becomes lost in Heller’s storytelling mastery. The problem is that it seems like Heller gets lost as well.

While the story is compelling throughout, and there are times of intensity that supersedes the ability most authors, and the way that Heller uses art to tell the story is fantastic, the ending is unsatisfying. How things wrap or not just doesn’t live up to the meandering, long build up. Still enjoyable I was disappointed ultimately in the book. I recommend The Dog Stars as highly as I can. But I think it would be fair to pass on this one and wait for his next book.

A note about the audio book: Mark Deakins does a masterful job of moving just slow enough through the prose to being the story to life but fast enough to convey the urgency that takes over at times. He also read The Dog Stars and was great on that as well. The listener can easily move between characters without losing the flow. In my opinion one of the best readers available.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

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

Seasons of Tomorrow by Cindy Woodsmall

A1HKfEQFCWL._SL1500_Rhoda Byler has finally realized that she loves Jacob King as a dear friend but she is in love with Samuel King and wants to marry him.

Seasons of Tomorrow
by Cindy Woodsmall
Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers
April 2014

Seasons of Tomorrow by Cindy Woodsmall is the fourth and final book in the Amish Vines and Orchards series. Rhoda Byler’s life has been a series of ups and down but she has finally admitted that she loves Jacob King but is in love with Samuel King and is now living an almost peaceful life. Jacob leaves the Amish settlement in Maine to work as a builder, a vocation that he loves. He still feels responsible for Sandra and gives her financial help but her young daughter has a piece of his heart. While away on a building job he literally runs into Esther and he immediately feels an attraction to her but thinks that she is married. Leah King goes against all the rules of the Old Order Amish and has fallen in love with Englisher Landon Olson. This relationship could have a very negative influence on the new Amish community in Orchard Bend, Maine. To add even more turmoil to the lives of all in the new Amish settlement, Rhoda’s sister-in-law Phoebe contracts a deadly virus and everyone is not only fearful for her life but for the life of the child she is carrying.

Cindy did an excellent job in the development of the characters, plot, dialogue, and scenes. I already knew and loved the characters but this book make each of them even more loveable. The dialogue between the characters drew me into the book and kept me interested to the last page. Her description of the scenes were so realistic that I was right there in the orchard helping with all the before harvest work and then helping to pick apples. Scenes with Rhoda cooking up apples for her different products were so real that I could feel the heat from the stove. There were several twists and turns in the plot line and the story also had a good bit of suspense which added greatly to my enjoyment of the story. Several of the characters had problems that had to be solved and I really like the way that the author solved everyone of them. I was quite happy with the ending. I really liked the way that the author gave a short synopsis of the three previous books at the beginning of this book. I listened to the first three on audio and it was nice to have a refresher of what had already happened.

I highly recommend this book to all readers that love an Amish novel. I do suggest that you read the books in order for it just makes for more enjoyable reading, at least in my opinion.


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.

The Miting by Dee Yoder

81+G1r-jd2L._SL1500_Leah Raber wants to read the Bible but this is forbidden by the Old Order Amish Church. She leave the church but is so homesick that she comes back.

The Miting
by Dee Yoder
Kregel Publications
March 2014

The Miting by Dee Yoder is the most enlightening Amish novel that I have ever read. Leah Raber is torn between her Amish beliefs and her desire to read the Bible which is forbidden by the Old Order Amish Church. She has no desire to go through rumspringen as many of the Amish teenagers do, she only wants to be free to read her Bible, to understand her relationship with God, and to attend a Bible study conducted by an ex-Amish couple. She does not understand how so many of the Amish “rules” are not in the Bible so she asks questions and this causes her family and the bishop to call her rebellious. Leah’s best friend Martha is also Amish but her family and the church do not prevent her from being abused by a family member. This and all the other unanswered questions cause Leah to finally leave the Amish life. She adapts well to the Englisher world but she is suffering greatly from homesickness. She finally goes back to her family but the miting/shunning is extremely severe and very painful but if she will give up reading the Bible, the miting will be lifted. Leah also wonders if everything that is happening to her will prevent her from having a lasting relationship with Jacob Yoder.

I have read many Amish novels but none has ever explained shunning so well. I knew what shunning was but it had never really registered with me how devastating it could be to the individual being shunned. I was surprised at the large number of things that the Amish are not allowed to do, many in my opinion seem ridiculous. Dee Yoder did an outstanding job in the development of this story. Every character in the story came to life and I felt as if I knew them. Many I loved and several I could barely tolerate. All the scenes were so realistic that many times I was in tears as I was reading, and if not in tears then sometimes fighting mad. There were a few twists and turns in the story but they added to the suspense of the story. Would Leah stay Amish or become English and will Jacob become part of her life? After reading this story, I have great respect for those who want to leave the Amish life for the freedom to read and study the Bible and to accept God as their Savior. I never realized how very hard that could be. I definitely hope that there will be a sequel for I want to know more about Leah and Jacob and would also like to know if Martha ever found happiness.

I very highly recommend this book to all who would like to know more about the Amish while reading a very enjoyable story that will touch the heart.


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.

Dead Ringer by V. B. Tenery

81136tBJrqL._SL1500_Mercy Lawrence is abducted in Bermuda by Thomas Wallace for she was identified by airport facial recognition software as Traci Wallace, his missing wife.

Dead Ringer
by V. B. Tenery
White Rose Publishing
May 2014

Dead Ringer by V. B. Tenery is on my list as one of the best mysteries I have ever read. Mercy Lawrence was walking down the sidewalk in Bermuda when she is grabbed by Thomas Wallace and forced into his limousine. The man insists that she is his missing wife, Traci, and he intends to return her to their home on a private island in the Mediterranean. Their son is recovering from surgery and the father feels that having his mom at home will help in his recovery. Thomas believes she is his wife for the airport facial recognition identified Mercy as Traci Wallace. Unfortunately, Traci has made enemies of some ruthless men and since Thomas says that Mercy is Traci, Mercy is in grave danger. Thomas is an ex-CIA agent and is called back into service for a rescue mission and this only adds to all the danger and problems following Mercy and Thomas.

The entire book takes place between May 5 and September 14 but what a four months of excitement, terror, murder, death, happiness, love, and other emotions. This story grabbed my attention at the first sentence and did not let go until I read the last word. V. B. Tenery has a great ability for writing suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat and reading until the wee hours of the morning. She had so many twists and turns in the plot line of the story that I never knew what was going to happen next, but this just made the story that much more enjoyable. The characters were so realistic that I almost forgot that I was reading fiction. She made me love them, hate them, or fear them but I definitely felt something for every character. All the scenes were extremely well written and while reading this story I almost felt as if I were going through training for a CIA mission and then taking part in that mission. And I was right beside Mercy when she was trying to escape from her captors. All in all this was a very well written book that kept me guessing from chapter to chapter. And to make it even better, it had a happy ending.

I highly recommend this book to all lovers of suspense and mystery stories with lots of danger and some romance in the mix.

 


 

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 author as a review copy.

Sweet Olive by Judy Christie

cover32008-mediumCamille Gardner works for her uncle’s oil company and is sent to Samford, Louisiana, to obtain the mineral and water rights to land that belongs to a group of artist that reside in an area known as Sweet Olive.

Sweet Olive
by Judy Christie
Zondervan
September 2013

Sweet Olive by Judy Christie is a most delightful book and a joy to read. Camille Gardner is a “landman” which is someone who works for an oil company and whose job it is to get property owners to sign over the mineral and water rights to their land. Camille is in Samford, Louisiana, against her wishes but her uncle Scott, and boss, forced her to accept the job. Camille once spent the worst weeks of her life in Samford so her plan is to get the signatures in record time and get back to Houston where she plans to work in an art gallery. After meeting the artist in the Sweet Olive area of Samford, Camille definitely has a problem for she has fallen in love with the artists and greatly admires their works of art which are proudly displayed in their yards and she completely understands why they do not want oil drilling on their land. Shortly after arriving in Samford, Camille meets Marsh Cameron who just happens to be the attorney representing the Sweet Olive landowners. Sparks begin to fly between the two and all of them are not about the oil deal.

The author did an excellent job in the development of this story. The characters were so well developed that they came alive on the pages of the book. I especially liked all the artists and was hoping that they would not give in to the oil company. When the author was describing the homes and art of the residents of Sweet Olive, I could very clearly see each one in my mind’s eye. And then add the descriptions of the personalities and lives of the artists, and I immediately felt as if they were close friends. Camille was very realistically portrayed and I could feel her doubts and pain and her growing affection for Marsh. I definitely liked that the author had Camille finally turn back to God and let Him lead her life. She found what had been missing in her life—faith, friends, and love. There were several twists and turns in the plot and quite a bit of suspense . The story had a great ending and proved that honestly is the best policy. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes a great story set in the south, Louisiana to be exact.


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.

Murder Simply Brewed by Vannetta Chapman

81YJaQPfAQL._SL1500_Englisher Amber Wright and her Amish employee Hannah Troyer work together to solve the mystery of the death of the owner of the coffee shop located in the Amish Artisan Village.

Murder Simply Brewed
by Vannetta Chapman
Zondervan
March 2014

Murder Simply Brewed by Vannetta Chapman is a most enjoyable Amish story. Amber Wright is in charge of the Amish Artisan Village in Middlebury, Indiana, and is having a great day until she learns that one of the shop owners has been found dead. Hannah Troyer, a young Amish employee, finds Ethan Gray the owner of A simple Blend on the floor near the espresso machine and at first it appears that he died of a heart attack. Amber hires Hannah to take over the running of the coffee shop and the two become good friends while trying to solve the mystery of Ethan’s death for they are convinced that he was murdered. Amber and Hannah face several dangerous situations for someone does not want them to solve the mystery. Tate Bowman who owns the property next to the Village gets involved in trying to solve the mystery and he also finds himself drawn to Amber. Hannah is also learning that her friend Jesse Miler has feelings for her that are more than friendship.

The author did an excellent job in the development of all parts of the story. One part that I personally did not like was when the boa constrictor came into the story for I have a great fear of snakes and that part of the story gave me the heebie jeebies. The way the Amish and Englischers worked together in this story was extremely well written and was a joy to read. Every character was very believable and every one of them came to life on the pages of the book. Scenes came to life and I could picture myself working right along with Amber and Hannah to solve the mystery of Ethan’s death. There were several twists and turns in the story and each one just added to my enjoyment of and interest in the story. I especially liked the way that God’s grace was evident throughout the entire story. This book has it all—Amish and Englischers working together, a murder mystery, and romance.

I highly recommend this book to all lovers of Amish fiction for this story is an exceptionally good one.


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.

A Place to Call Home by Merrillee Whren

51a-f35IueLKurt Jansen has just been released from prison and is seeking a job restoring a house for Molly Finnerty. He needs money to hire a private investigator to find the real killer and also to hire a lawyer to gain custody of his six year old twins.

A Place to Call Home
Merrillee Whren
Self Published
April 2013

A Place to Call Home by Merrillee Whren is a wonderful story of love and forgiveness of God and man. Kurt Jansen has just been released from prison where he has served six years for the charge of manslaughter in the death of his wife. He has insisted that he was innocent from the very first and is looking for a restoration job so that he will have money to hire a private investigator to find the real murderer and a lawyer to help him get custody of his six year old twins. He is referred to Molly Finnerty for she has a house that she wants to restore and turn it into a bed and breakfast. Molly finally decides to give Kurt the job since she is a supporter of the prison ministry in her town. And, she has secrets of her own that involve the death of her husband and a short stay in jail..

Merrillee did an outstanding job in the development of all elements of the story. The characters are so real that one almost forgets they are fictional individuals. Molly and Kurt came to life in the story and I was pulling for them to solve all their problems and hopefully fall in love. All the settings are so well described that I felt as if I were right in the midst of the story. There were several twists and turns in the plot and a good bit of suspense. Who did kill Kurt’s wife? Would Kurt be able to get custody of his children? Would Molly finally let go of her secrets about the death of her husband? I was somewhat surprised when the true murderer of Kurt’s wife was revealed. I like when a book has a strong Christian message and this one did, both Molly and Kurt had a relationship with God and looked to Him for guidance and forgiveness. In addition to Molly and Kurt, there were other strong Christians in the book.

I highly recommend this book to all that enjoy a great story with romance, suspense, Christian values, and a happy ending.


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 author as a review copy.

Minding Molly by Leslie Gould

817APsagIqL._SL1500_Molly Zook is a very opinionated young Amish woman and always wants to be in control of any situation in which she is involved.

Minding Molly
by Leslie Gould
Bethany House Publishers
February 2014

Minding Molly by Leslie Gould is an Amish story with a little different twist. I don’t remember reading any Amish books that had such a domineering female main character. But by the end of the book I liked her and actually felt sorry for her at times. Molly Zook always wants to be in control of any situation and she is having a huge problem with her mother. Her mother wants Molly to marry Mervin Mosier for this will save the family farm. However, Molly is working very hard to get Mervin to renew his interest in her best friend Hannah. To add to the problem, Molly meets Leon Fisher and is instantly drawn to him. He is from Montana and is now living in Pennsylvania and working at a nearby farm training horses. Molly plans a camping trip in the hopes of getting to know Leon but it seems that he is more interested in Hannah than her.

The author did an excellent job in the development of the characters and they came to life on the pages of the book.. Usually I really like the main character of a story but I had to read almost the entire book before I began to like Molly. The other characters definitely were a group with a wide range of personalities. Some I liked and others were somewhat unlikeable. Scenes were well developed and I felt as if I were right where the action was happening. Sometimes I just wanted to shake Molly and her sister and tell them to shape up. At times the dialogue seemed a little immature but it did fit some of the characters. I was glad that by the end of the story, Molly had softened and was learning to let God lead her. There were a few twists and turns to the plot that kept me guessing as to which woman would end up with which man. All in all the story had a happy ending.

I recommend this book if you like Amish fiction and also like a bossy main character.


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.

Wren’s Nest by Deanne Durrett

81PtDcI-37L._SL1500_Joe Chandler, a retired cop, is awakened from a deep sleep by loud pounding on his front door. When he opens the door he sees a young woman and man drenched by the blowing rain. It is evident that the woman is in labor but Joe has delivered babies before so he is not worried.

Wren’s Nest
by Deanne Durrett
Self Published
November 2013

Wren’s Nest by Deanne Durrett is a great story of love, the love one gives and receives through helping others. Joe Chandler is fast asleep when a very loud knocking on his front door awakens him. He opens the door to find a young man and woman soaked to the skin in the driving rain. As they enter the house, Joe realizes that the woman is in labor but he is an ex-cop and has delivered babies before. The young man tells Joe that Blake Adams in Phoenix sent them. With this information Joe relaxes and gets everything ready for the impending birth. The young couple are brother and sister, Loren and Sherman, and they are fleeing from their lawyer uncle who has substituted Loren as a surrogate mother due to the disappearance of the original surrogate mother. After Joe learned that Sherman was Loren’s brother then he just assumed she was a single mother. Loren assured him that she was married and that her husband was in the Air Force Special Ops somewhere in the Middle East.

Deanne did an excellent job in the development of all elements of this story. Each character was so well developed that I felt as if they were close friends. Well the lawyer uncle would never be a friend but he was also so well written that one could not help but greatly dislike him, even feel a little hate, and have the desire to toss him in jail and throw away the key. The scenes were so descriptive that during the birth of the baby I could almost feel Loren’s pain and then her joy when the baby was placed in her arms. There were several twists and turns in the plot and each one seemed to be more suspenseful than the next. While reading everything that Joe and his retired cop buddies were doing to protect Loren and the baby, I did a lot of nail biting and sitting on the edge of my chair. Matilda, Joe’s neighbor and friend, added a lot of love to the story but she also was the cause of a great deal of danger and fear. The story has a happy ending and even a surprise at the very end of the story, at least it was a surprise for me. I really appreciated the way the author showed through the main characters, the importance of prayer and how helping others brings happiness to the one being helped as well as to the one doing the helping. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the Phoenix Connection Series about Joe Chandler and his retired cop buddies.

I definitely recommend this book to all readers who enjoy a clean and suspenseful story with strong Christian values and enough romance to be interesting.


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 author as a review copy.