Category Archives: General Fiction

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

After a battle with infertility, infant loss, and finally, a very tumultuous pregnancy, Jude Farraday gave birth to twins Mia and Zach. From that day on, Jude did everything she could to make sure her children were protected. She learned all of their friends, provided a place for them all to be together (under her watchful eye), and involved herself in nearly every aspect of their lives.

On the first day of high school, Mia befriends Lexi Baill, who has recently come to live with her Great Aunt after being shuffled from foster home to foster home most of her childhood. As they grow closer, Jude welcomes Lexi into her family. Eventually, Zach even admits that he has loved Lexi since he met her, and the three grow even closer.

One night. One poor decision. Everything changes, and lives are altered irrevocably.

What follows is a story that could easily be a “Behind The Scenes” look at the wake left behind when a tragedy occurs.

Prior to Night Road, I had not read any of Kristin Hannah’s novels. This is an oversight that I am glad I have rectified. The story that Hannah weaves is so intricate and detailed that you feel as though you have stepped into the lives of her characters. You feel the emotional turmoil; you are invested in how (if at all) repair can happen.

Hannah is most certainly a master at her craft. As her story progresses, you find yourself relating to those on both sides, unable to decide who is “right.” She takes you through the tragedy and the aftermath, leaving it up to you to draw your own conclusions.

If there is one downside to her story, it’s that it didn’t come with a warning label. I highly recommend having a box of tissues on hand for this one. You will certainly need them.


Robin Gwaro 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.

A Young Wife by Pam Lewis

An interesting read! A mother’s sacrifice, determination, betrayal, and love spanning three continents. The novel is based on the author’s grandmother’s life in a place called Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina.

A Young Wife
by Pam Lewis
Simon & Schuster
June 2011

Minke van Aisma is a fifteen year old living with her parents and sister in a small village in The Netherlands called Enkhuizen A wealthy distant relative. Sander DeVries, is coming today to offer Fenna a job taking care of his critically ill wife Elisabeth in Amsterdam. Minke is to stay out of sight – the job belongs to Fenna. A stranger in Enkhusian is rare indeed. Minke’s curiosity gets the best of her and she peeks in the kitchen to get a look. Sander spots her and calls her in. He takes one look at her and offers her the job. Fenna is devastated. She job belongs to her. Sander will not change his mind and Minke travels to Amsterdam to care for Elizabeth. Elisabeth is very ill and unkempt. – given doses of morphine to dull the pain. The sick room is dark and hot. She immediately sets things in order and makes Elisabeth comfortable. There are two grown children living in the house – Willem and Griet. Willem is a student and Griet is a spoiled brat. She doesn’t like Minke and tries to make her life miserable.

One morning Sander tells Minke he is taking her home. What did she do wrong – is it because she slapped Grit for stealing her mother’s morphine? She leaves Elizabeth with a heavy heart – to care for her. Sander tells her Elizabeth is dead. He is sailing for Argentine in a few days – everything is ready. He wants to marry her and take her with him. She is stunned – how can he think of marriage when his wife has only been dead a few hours. He will return in a week for her answer. Minke’s mother plans a large wedding, but Sander is late and they are finally married by breaking the ring. She is excited to be going on a large ship to Argentine. Elizabeth had told her about the grass blowing in the wind and the gauchos riding their beautiful horses.

Arrival in Comodoro Revadavia , Argentine is a shock to Minke – where are the gauchos and grass. The land is a barren desert. There isn’t even a town – just shacks – she is forced to live in the only hotel available – a bar with a tin roof and several rooms. Dr. Cassian Tredegar who accomplished them to Argentine sets up a morphine processing factory with the help of local boys. Sander builds her a new house, she has a beautiful baby boy, Fenna has come to stay. and she is again pregnant. Dr. Tredegar is severally beaten by persons unknown and Minke’s son Jef is kidnapped. Sander has gambled away their money – it is not safe for him anymore. He and Fenna will go to America, find jobs and secure them a beautiful home. Minke and Cassian will join them after the baby is born.

When Minke arrives in America she is stunned. There is no money, or house – only a tiny apartment in a very poor section of New York. To make matters worse, Fenna is pregnant. What has been going on here – how could Sander do this to her? She has gone from the opulent life in Amsterdam to rough living on the Argentine coast, to the impoverished life of a recent immigrant in New York. Life in America is not what she expected. Minke finds work with a wealthy family as a seamstress and leaves Sander. Minke learns from the newspaper that their friends from Argentina – Frederik and Tessa Dietz and their young son are in New York. The boy looks just like her Jef. With the help of her employer she is able to get her son back. Sander is not who she thought he was. He is a drunk, a liar, and a gambler. Sander sold Jef to the Dietzs.

She takes the children and returns to Comodoro Revadavis, Argentina. She secures a partnership with the local store owner as a seamstress. She and her children will make a good life on the Argentine coast.

Highly recommended. This is a journey you not soon forget. Pam Leis is an excellent writer – she makes her characters come alive. You will feel Minke’s joy, hopes and devastation as her life unravels. Most of all you will feel the hurt inflicted by her husband’s betrayal.


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.

The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly

A delightful book. The characters are descendants from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women – Jo March’s great-great granddaughters. Ms. Donnelly makes the characters absolutely live! A very entertaining read.

The Little Women Letters
by Gabrielle Donnelly
Touchstone
June 2011

Lulu Atwater is the middle daughter of Fee Atwater – a descent of the March family in Little Women. Jo March is her great-great grandmother. Lulu has a very good education – – having earned a university degree in science. She doesn’t like science or anything else to do with university. She is content to go from one small job to another. She will decide her future at a later date or not at all – it makes no difference to her. One day her mother Fee asked her to look in the attic to find some receipts for her Aunt Amy. These are recipes the March family used decades ago. Her great-Aunt Amy wants to have them published in some society newspaper. Lulu doesn’t find the recipes, but she finds something much more important which enriches her life.

Lulu has two sisters – Emily and Sophie. Emily is planning her wedding and Sophia is trying to launch her career on the London stage. Lulu is sort of in limbo. She is presently employed in an antique art shop. But the owner is selling the place. She doesn’t have a clue what she is going to do and is not too disturbed about the fact she will be jobless. One day when she and her sisters are having tea with their mother at the family home. Fee asked Lulu to look in the attic for some family recipes. Lulu is reluctant to go into the dirty attic, but does so at her mother’s urging. She can’t find the recipes, but stumbles across letters written by her great-great grandmother Josephine March to her sisters. There were four March sisters – J,. Amy, Meg and Beth. Beth died very young, much too soon, but the family never forgot her. Jo would write long letters to her – telling her about the happenings going on in the March family. Lulu spends every spare moment she can in the attic reading the letters. She is keeping her find a secret from the family. She wants to keep Jo’s letters all to her self.

Lulu and Sophie live with Charlie – a good friend. Lulu takes several uninteresting job, Sophie gets a small part In a TV soap opera and Emily continues to plan her wedding. Lulu spends a lot of time in the attic reading Jo’s letters. Her great-great grandmother, like Lulu, despaired of every finding love, having a home and family. Lulu meets Charlie’s brother. Sophia gets her big break and Emily has a wedding that will be remembers by all for a long time.

Lulu has decided to show the letters to her mother and sisters. A letters falls out of the box – a letter written especially to her from great-great grandmother Josephine March. Can this be possible – Jo writing to her?

If you liked Ms. Alcott’s Little Women – you will thoroughly enjoy this book! Ms. Donnelly expertly binds the March sisters with the present Atwater sisters. You will live Jo’s frustration as she writes about love and love and Lulu’s attempt to find solace and guidance in Jo’s letters. A must read – a keeper.

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.

GoD and DoG by Wendy Fransisco

You can find the oddest things on YouTube. Most of it junk or salacious in nature. But sometimes you find a true gem. GoD and DoG is one of those gems.

GoD and DoG
by Wendy Francisco
Center Street
September 2010

Francisco’s homemade two minute song and animated video has been viewed by millions of people on YouTube to near unanimous acclaim. The simple but profound lyrics and melody that sticks with you all day make it one of the best ways to spend a few minutes. (If you have a couple, click here.)

This gift book is a frame by frame adaption from film to paper, using the original artwork. The only thing it lacks is the cool Hallmark music card ability to sing the song when the cover is opened! This is a great story and a great truth that deserves our attention, and our decision to stop walking away.

An excellent gift.


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 anything he finds funny and Christianity, which sometimes overlap.

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

Freedom’s Stand by J.M. Windle

This riveting story is filled with people who seem so real. You almost forget that this is a fiction story. The devotion and sacrifice that each of the characters make all because they choose to follow the Lord. The author captures the culture of what it would be like living in country like Afghanistan. We take our freedom for granted in so many ways. This book will open your eyes to the struggles that others endure.

Freedom’s Stand
by J.M. Windle
Tyndale House
May 2011

Jamil was a jihadist until he met Isa Masih or as we know him Jesus the Messiah. Jamil’s is passionate to share the love of Isa Masih with the lost in his country of Afghanistan. He has a powerful testimony of faith. He was once full of hate for everyone but his bitterness has turned into compassion. Jamil is willing to share with others Isa regardless of the cost.

Amy Mallory is a relief worker. She has a desire to minister to women who are treated like property not a human being. She wants them to find freedom in Isa Masih. She is dismayed at the changes in the organization that she is working with. The changes could have a dramatic implication on the women and children in her care.

Special Forces Steve Wilson is searching for something yet he isn’t sure what it is until he observes the lives of Amy and Jamil.

Farah is a young woman in which this story begins with. She captured my heart. I could not imagine her plot in this story. Her pain and desire to be loved is enough to break your heart.

This story suspenseful, a little splash of romance, and packed full of faith in action. It will give you a glimpse into the daily life of the Afghanistan people. I don’t think my words can accurately describe this book. You will have to read it yourself. You will not be disappointed. The gospel is very prominent in this story. The story is 428 pages and well worth it. I would highly recommend this book.


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.

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
Zondervan
2008

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 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.

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 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: Amazon.com.

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 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.

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.