Category Archives: Fiction

The Long Way Home by Andrew Klavan

Andrew Klavan writes The Long Way Home in the first person serving to bring home the personal turmoil that the main character lives with. Charlie West, a 17 year old high schooler, who previously lived in a small town with his parents and sister, is on the run. He went to bed one night and woke up one year later accused of murdering his friend Alex and being a terrorist in an organization called “The Highlanders”.

Charlie was found guilty of murder and sentenced to prison. With the help of an unknown benefactor he excapes from prison and is running from the police and the Highlanders. Charlie cannot remember what transpired duiring his lost year. He wonders if he really is a murderer and a terrorist. How can he prove his innocence and who is really behind all this? Was he framed, as his friends say, or did he really do these terrible things? Charlie returns to his home town, holing up in a vacant house called the “Ghost Mansion”. He teams up with his friends Rick, Josh, Milner and his girlfriend Beth to discover the truth about the murder he can’t remember and who is behind the Highlanders, a terrorist group. The author keeps you turning pages as you eagerly anticipate answers to these questions and to see if (and how) Charlie will evade the police and the Highlanders. The book is well written and interesting, and ends on a cliffhanger.

Overall, this is an exciting mystery novel that keeps the reader interested in the outcome partially due to the first person perspective and partially due to the constant chase that Charlie finds himself in. A fun book for mystery readers. If you are new to this series, you must read the first book of the series to see what transpired in Charlie’s life to bring him to the situation he finds himself in at the start of this book, book 2 in the series. Charlie’s story continues in Book 3 – The Truth of the Matter.


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 Rose Conspiracy by Craig Parshall

J.D. Blackstone is perfect. Well, except that he can’t sleep. He has multiple degrees, knows everything, is in great shape, rich, a professor and lawyer. He drives a Maserati convertible. He has an attractive partner at the law firm and soon after the start of the book he has an attractive and very interested defendant. If this book was somehow filmed in black and white J.D. couldn’t have been more stereotyped.

The damsel in distress. The forgetful professor of religion (he forgets when he dropped off his dry cleaning. Really?) The tough P.I. who can get any information you need with just a few calls to his contacts. Everyone in this book is a stereotype! And yet, I found that I enjoyed the book.

This crime drama is fast paced, detailed and fun. The Booth diary and the Freemasons make for a fun setting for this mystery. Are we ever very surprised? Not really. But that’s something we can say of nearly every crime / courtroom show on TV yet we watch those.

The Rose Conspiracy is an enjoyable diversion that keeps the reader interested throughout.


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.

The Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda

The Templars have fallen on hard times in this young adult horror / fantasy novel by first time novelist Sarwat Chadda. Hunted down by the church and demonic forces over several centuries, only a small group of Templars remain to hold back the darkness. Residing in modern London, Billi SanGreal, the reluctant teenage daughter of the current Head Master of the Templars, Arthur SanGreal, is the newest member of the knighthood. Things take a turn for the worse – possibly Armageddon worse – when one of the Templars accidentally draws the attention of the Angel of Death. What follows is a predictable young adult fantasy with an ending that the reader will see far in advance.

Though predictable in plot, the characters are interesting and the take on the genre is compelling. For secular fans of the genre, this book is worth purchasing and foretells a promising future for Chadda. But for Christian readers the book signifies something more, and less desirable. < This book is the unfortunate result of the popularity of modern fantasy set in real world locales that mix myth, legend and religion into an unholy concoction resulting in the dumbing down of the three complex ingredients. When religion, which most of the world recognizes as real - not fantasy - is mixed with and then placed on the same level as myth or fantasy it becomes equivalent to fantasy, something that faithful readers of all religions should be concerned about. Targeting these books at young adults further complicates the issue as young faithful readers receive a message mixing myth, legends and reality in a way that can make it hard to distinguish between them. In a society that is increasingly Biblically illiterate this spells trouble. To be clear: I have no issue with fantasy. In fact, it is my favorite genre. Fantasy realms like that of Harry Potter, for instance, are set in a fictionalized real world but diverge from reality when it comes to sacred religion. This is vastly preferable as faithful readers can enjoy books like Harry Potter without worry that the author will pit the fantasies of that world against the realities of this one. Because of the equivocation of myth and religion in the world of the Devils Kiss, I do not recommend this book to faithful readers. Secular readers may enjoy a generic, although entertaining young adult fantasy.


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.

More Than a Skeleton by Paul L. Maier

Jenny Snow was spending her summer at an archaeological dig in Rome, not too far from Vatican City. The dig had uncovered a strange symbol on the floor of the synagogue. Needing someone to interpret the symbol, Professor Jonathan Weber of Harvard, Jenny’s husband and the hero from Maier’s A Skeleton in God’s Closet, the first book in this series, is called in. Due to all the other events in the story the symbol never really gets interpreted. Catholic Cardinals from all over the world were in Vatican City to elect a new Pope.

Suddenly, out of nowhere there appears a man calling himself Joshua Ben Yoseph, claiming to be the intermediate return of Jesus Christ to get the world in line with God’s purposes before the final return. Soon Joshua Ben Yoseph has a large following, including Snow and Weber, as he tours Rome preaching, healing the sick and raising the dead just as Jesus did. Most of the people believe that he is Jesus due to all the miracles he performs. This causes quite a problem for the Cardinals as they try to elect a new Pope.

Joshua’s name translates to “Jesus” in Hebrew and he claims to be born in Bethlehem to Joseph and Mary Ben Yoseph as invited to the Basilica of St. Peter for Vatican III and to welcome all the delegates from around the world. What transpires that day is unbelievable. You must read the book to fully understand the extent an unscrupulous person will go to fool the world.

What transpires as Professor Weber tries to prove that Ben Yoseph is a fraud makes for a very interesting story! The author clearly paints out just what people may believe if something is presented in an authoritative, plausible way. Paul L. Maier does an excellent job keeping the reader guessing in this Christian thriller.


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.

Green by Ted Dekker

-Review by Scott Asher of AshertopiA.


Stephen Lawhead did an interview that was published in the back of a recent edition of his excellent Song of Albion trilogy where the interviewer asked him if he would ever go back to Albion and write a sequel. Lawhead answered with the equivalent of “No [bleeping] way!”

I first read Ted Dekker’s Circle Trilogy several years ago. I remember with vivid clarity the beautiful world that he created where God literally played with his followers. The scene in Black, the first book, where Thomas Hunter found the lake upside down and gravity non-existent was marvelous! As Michael said, “Oh, he sometimes does things like this.” loved it!
As the series went on I enjoyed the pace and grandness of the story. Would Thomas save the world? Was the world of Thomas’ dreams the future, an allegory for Heaven, or the real world? Again, I loved it. So when Green was announced I was full of anticipation of finding out what happened next.

Unfortunately, what happened was the proof that Lawhead was right. You should never go back. As I read Green, I became more and more frustrated that the book had been written at all. Once I finished Green, I went back and re-read Black just to be certain of my conclusions prior to publishing them in this review. My recollections were correct: Green should not be part of the Circle.

As a fan of the Circle Trilogy, I believe it was a terrible decision to write this book. The new ending/ beginning was completely unsatisfying (why would God do what he did at the end of Green when we already know what happens?) The addition of vampires was the nail in the coffin. If you want to read the Circle Trilogy go ahead. Just don’t read Green.

This book was provided free of charge by the publisher as a review copy. The publisher had no editorial rights or claims over the content or the conclusions made in this review. Visit ThomasNelson.com for more information on this book.

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin


Beatrice Aurelia Monroe, a Pennsylvania farm girl, born 7-19-1848, the same day, month and year as the first women’s rights convention. She was too young to realize what a portentous coincidence it was but would later declare her birth date a sign from providence. Beve as she was called lived through the Civil War, commonly known as the “War Between the States,” helping on the farm when her brothers went to war. She met and married Horatio Garner a man far above her station in life and was never accepted by society or her mother-in-law. Horatio was a weak, lying drunkard therefore Beve worked to help pass Prohibition.

Her grandmother Hannah worked on the Underground Railroad to free the slaves during the war. Her daughter Lucy took up the cause of women’s Suffrage, becoming instrumental in getting the States to ratify the amendment. Beve’s grand-daughter, Harriet wanted to be like all the women in her family and have a cause.

Throughout the novel Harriet is trying to answer the question, “How did I end up in jail?”

One thing that we need to remember is that our short time on earth isn’t about what we accomplish but what sort of person we become. Lynn Austin is an excellent author of historical fiction and has clearly portrayed that each of us grow stronger each time our faith is tested. That is how we learn to trust God. I highly recommend Christian women everywhere read this passionate and compelling novel.

God Gave Us Love by Lisa Tawn Bergren

-Review by Scott Asher of AshertopiA.

God Gave Us Love is another new children’s book in the popular series “God Gave Us…” from Lisa Tawn Bergren with art by David Hohn published by Water Brook Press. The God Gave Us series of children’s books work through questions of faith and practice from the viewpoint of Little Cub and one of her adult family members. Is this story, Little Cub and Grampa discuss love in its various forms, including a great lesson on loving those who we may not want to love.

As I read this book to my three year old son I found him becoming impatient with the depth and breadth of information on each page and eager to move ahead to the next page and its colorful pictures. Some of the concepts seemed to me to be well above the heads of younger children as the author ambitiously attempts to break down three different types of love, grace and kindness into bites small enough to be swallowed by children. I’m not certain that many of the nuances, that frankly adults have trouble understanding, will in fact make sense to younger children.

Even if younger children miss some of the more in depth meanings of love, they will certainly understand that they should love everyone – even the otters who scared away the fish. This is another charming book in the series and well worth your time and money.

This book was provided free of charge by the publisher as a review copy. The publisher had no editorial rights or claims over the content or the conclusions made in this review. Visit RandomHouse.com for more information on this book.

God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren

-Review by Scott Asher of AshertopiA.

God Gave Us Christmas is a new children’s book in the popular series “God Gave Us…” from Lisa Tawn Bergren with art by David Hohn published by Water Brook Press. Is this story, as Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate Christmas, Little Cub asks questions like “Who invented Christmas?” and “Is God more important than Santa?”

The God Gave Us series of children’s books work through questions of faith and practice from the viewpoint of Little Cub and one of her adult family members. In this book, it’s Mama’s turn to work though the questions.

Many times, children’s books are no more than a few colorful pages with a couple sentences each page. Not so with this series though. In fact, many of the pages are so full of information that I sometimes felt it was hard to keep my children’s attention while I read through paragraph after paragraph.

That is a minor quibble, though, as my children and I enjoyed the book and its vibrant artwork immensely. The questions Little Cub brought up lead to interesting discussion topics for older children, while younger children seem to easily grasp the theme of the story. As Mama points out, “It is God and Jesus that we celebrate most come Christmas. Was always want to thank God for giving us Christmas.”

This book was provided free of charge by the publisher as a review copy. The publisher had no editorial rights or claims over the content or the conclusions made in this review. Visit RandomHouse.com for more information on this book.

The Dopple Ganger Chronicles: The Secret of Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor

-Review by Scott Asher of AshertopiA.

I had previously started to read Shadowmancer by G.P. Taylor but hadn’t gotten in too far before I set it aside so I wasn’t expecting much out of his new series. The quote on the back cover of the book calling G.P. Taylor, “The new C.S. Lewis” didn’t help either. Yet, sometimes out of nowhere there comes a revelation. When I opened The Secret of Indigo Moon, book two in The Dopple Ganger Chronicles I had one of those moments.

The story is standard fare for youth fiction. A young man and his twin friends live at a school for abandoned children and stumble upon a theft and decide to investigate. Enter their enemy from the first book, along with a soft-hearted henchman, and a cast of interesting if unoriginal characters and you have the ingredients for a story that any middle schooler would enjoy. But it wasn’t the story that was the revelation. It was the presentation.

Open the book and you immediately find yourself in an amazing world of line art, comic book pages, fantastic fonts and typeset pages. Illustrations give form to the characters that imagination can sometimes leaves incomplete. Huge two-page drawings, like the clock on page 2 and 3, cause the reader to switch between reading to interpreting (you have to tell the time yourself,) and then back to reading on page 4 then to comics on pages 5 and 6. The multimedia experience keeps the reader involved from the start. I loved it!

It seems that anyone can write a teen fantasy judging from the volume of new titles on any bookstore shelf. But something different can serve to get a teen who perhaps doesn’t read to become a reader or those give those who like to read something different. G.P. Taylor isn’t the new C.S. Lewis but he did come up with a great idea for a series of books.

This book was provided free of charge by the publisher as a review copy. The publisher had no editorial rights or claims over the content or the conclusions made in this review. Visit Tyndale.com for more information on this book.

C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters

Focus on the Family and Tyndale take C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, a series of imaginative and insightful letters from a senior demon, the title character Screwtape, to his novice nephew Wormwood, and add over four hours of audio by an accomplished cast of actors, like Andy Serkis, Gollum from the Lord of the Rings movies as Screwtape, and 10 original songs written for this production all in 5.1 surround sound. The Collectors Edition comes with 4 CDs and 1 DVD in a tri-fold case with original artwork with a slipcover. All 10 original songs are included in their entirety on disc four. Disc 5 includes behind the scenes featurettes.

Anyone familiar with the original book by Lewis will instantly recognize his witty and timely message; nothing is lost in the translation. The actors play their part just right – not too over the top and certainly not blandly. The original score hits just the right creepy note. The benefits of the 5.1 surround sound can not be over-stated.

The packaging is well done and gives the impression of worth even though the set only costs about $27 on Amazon.com
. ($39.99 MSRP.)

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this well done audio dramatization of Lewis’ excellent book. So many times the publishers don’t put in the effort on audio books and we end up with a lame soundtrack read by a boring voice actor. Not so with The Screwtape Letters. I highly recommend it to you.

For more information visit the official site.


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.