Category Archives: Reviewers

The Lovers by Vendela Vida

Yvonne is a recent widow and the mother of grown twins – Matthew and Aurelia. Her husband Peter was killed in a hit and run accident approximately two years ago. Matthew has always been the brainy one – excelling at everything he tries, Peter was always so very proud of him. Aurelia is a troubled young lady living in Matthew’s shadow. She has been in and out of rehab since the age of sixteen. Yvonne is sort of estranged from her children. She doesn’t understand them and sees them only occasionally. Aurelia always has some crisis going on in her life. She didn’t have a very good relationship with Peter before his death due mainly to Aurelia’s problems and Peter had simply quit talking about her.

Yvonne was becoming more depressed and didn’t know how she would continue to cope. She decides a trip to Turkey, particularly Datca, a small village where she and Peter spent their honeymoon several decades ago, she finds a rental house on the Internet, contacts the owner, packs her bags and sets off on a journey to immerse herself in memories and try to become again the person she was so long ago. Things become complicated and instead of being comforted by her memories they trouble her.

One day at the beach she meets Amhet, a young Turkish boy, who sells sea shells. She commissions him to find shells for her, but what she would do with them is any one’s guess. This is her way of making sure he would be at the beach each day. Yvonne becomes deeply attached to him and begins to compare him to Matthew when he was Amhet’s age. Unfortunately a terrible accident involving Amhet throws her life in turmoil. She get lost in a sandstorm and believes she is going to die all alone in Turkey.

The novel is really about a tormented women traveling along in a foreign country and being unable to speak the language. She is trying to pick up the pieces of her life after losing her husband much too soon and in such a terrible way. She wants to connect with her children, but don’t know how. Ms. Vida does an excellent job of keeping you turning the pages, you can sympathize with Yvonne, feel her loss, her frustration, and her desire to become whole again.

Highly recommended.

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

The Map of True Places by Bunonia Barry

Zee Finch is a psychotherapist working with Dr. Liz Mattei. Zee is treating one patient in particular, Lily Braedon, who has a husband and three children. Lilly has been diagnosed as being bipolar. Lilly is having an affair with Adam, a construction worker. Zee believes he is abusing her and suggests she break off the affair. Zee is engaged to Michael, Boston’s most eligible bachelor, but something is always preventing her from meeting with the wedding planner. Lilly’s condition worsens, she become very depressed and commits suicide. Zee goes to Lilly’s funeral, against the advice of Dr. Mattei. This throws Zee into an emotional turmoil. Years ago Zee’s mother Maureen, had been bipolar, but refused to take any medication, and she too had committed suicide. Zee begins to have doubts about her profession. Why didn’t she see this coming – why hadn’t she picked up on Lilly’s suicidal tendencies? Her whole attitude changes and she is acting strange and doing things she would never had done before.

Zee’s father, Finch, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but has been hiding it from her. She discovers just how sick he really is. She takes a leave from her job to become his caregiver. Finch’s long time companion, Melville, has moved out, but is still very concerned about him. Being a caregiver is very hard on Zee. She becomes confused and depressed. She begins a new life which will not only take her into the future, but her past as well.

The book is a fast-paced suspense novel. The father-daughter relationship is based on half truths and her mothers untimely death.

Highly recommended, this novel is a page turner.


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.

Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller

I love Judith Miller and she doesn’t disappoint in this captivating book. This story is about two young women and their search for where God wants them to be. This is one of those life lessons we all go through and continue to learn even as we get older and wiser. The story takes place in a devout Christian community in Amana, Iowa. Johanna ( love the name, but only because it is my eldest daughter’s name) has grown up in Amana her whole life, but is fascinated by the outside world and wants to go discover what keeps her older brother from moving back to Amana. She is an exceptional daughter and member of her community. She believes strongly in what she has learned as a Christian growing up, but a family secret rattles her to the core. Will she be able to overcome what she has learned and find her path?
Berta is used to high society in Chicago, but her parents decided to move to Amana and she is greatly upset. She does not want to work hard or follow the rules given to her. Johanna is assigned to teach her how to behave and how to act. Can Johanna’s gently ways guide Berta or will a shocking discovery in her life send her down a path of destruction? Will Berta find some peace in her life?
This was a great book. I was highly interested in the life style of the villages in Amana and was caught up in the two girls and their stories. I spent a very relaxing Mother’s Day weekend reading this delightful story. This looks to be a series and I am looking to forward to the next book.
This book was a free book from the publisher.

The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw

Jed McClatchey is having an affair with Marcella Atkinson. Jed is visiting his sister for the summer, staying at their deceased parents’ home on the Cape. While looking for a tennis racket, he finds a swimming suit in a box in the bottom of his parents’ bedroom closet. He vaguely remembers Marcella wearing the suit when attending his parents’ summer parties. How is the world did it get in the closet and why in a wrapped box. On a hunch he decides to confront Marcella with the suit. They seem to hit it off and several visits later the affair begins.

The Swimming Pool
by Holly LeCraw
Doubleday
April 2010

Marcella is divorced from ex-husband Anthony and estranged from her daughter Toni. Toni just happens to be Nanny to Jed’s niece and nephew. Toni sort of has crush on Jed, but he only sees her as the children’s Nanny. He is too wrapped up in Marcella even though she is several years older than he is.

Callie, Jed’s sister, has never fully recovered from her mother being murdered and the crime had never been solved. Their father, Cecil. before his death had been an uncharged suspect. She has suicidal tendencies and sometimes goes off the deep end. Jed is really concerned about the children’s safety. Billy, the children’s father, works on the mainland and visits on weekends.

Did Marcella have an affair with Cecil? Did Anthony know or suspect she had been unfaithful? Does he know about Jed and Marcella? Who murdered Betsy and why? Recommend you read the book to learn the answers to these questions.

The Swimming Pool is a gripping, passionate, intriguing novel full of lies and family secrets. Betrayals of the past cannot be ignored. The story will keep you turning pages – it will complete captivate you. Ms. Lecraw is an excellent author. 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.

Shoot to Thrill by P.J. Tracy

This is a Monkeewrench novel. Monkeewrench is a group of computer nerds who can hack into any program – national or international. They stay just ahead of the law. The local police and FBI have a situation. In this most recent book, the crew is called in by the FBI to determine if there may or may not be murders being committed across the country and then published on the web. The authorities need to know if the murders are real or computer generated fakes. There have been several real murders in the past few months, but are they connected to these on cyberspace?

The story will keep you turning pages. This is a book that is hard to put down! The novel has generous doses of humor and suspense. Are all the murders real or fake? If real, are they being committed by one person or several? Who is putting these on cyberspace? Can Monkeewrench help the FBI and the local PD solve the mystery?

The mother-daughter team of Patricia J. and Traci Lambert (P.J. Tracy) are excellent mystery writers. You will want to read all their Monkeewrench novels.

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.

Radical Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt

I was reading the first chapter of this book and was interrupted while doing it. The whole time I was taken away from the book, I kept thinking about what the author was talking about and I couldn’t wait to get back to the chapter! I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book and sharing it with others. Especially my pastor. If you are interested you can request a free copy of the companion book The Radical Question at:

www.WaterBrookMultnomah.com/RadicalQuestion

You can also check out the first chapter, like I did, at: www.RadicalTheBook.com

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Anne O’Sullivan is a 32 year old up and coming realtor. She is abducted on the day of her open house for the new condo development in Clayton Falls. She is taken to a remote cabin in the mountains and held prisoner. Her life is forever changed as she is forced to abide by the abductor’s rules, kept in a locked cabin, repeatedly raped and left alone for days.

The book will keep you spellbound from the first page to the last. As you read the book, you will feel Anna’s frustration and questions as she tries to survive living with a madman. The questions she wants answered is why – who is this person – and who is really behind her abduction. You will keep turning the pages (it is a book you can’t put down) to see if she is rescued, if she manages to outwit her abductor, and does she learn his identity. I recommend that you read the book to find answers to these questions.

The book is a compelling, sometimes funny, mostly sad and a heartbreaking novel that keeps you in suspense the the very end. It is a book you will devour, a tense thriller and completely believable as you feel Anna’s pain, her hopelessness and frustration.

Ms. Stevens is a very talented writer. Highly recommend this book to all adult readers.


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.

Fools Rush in by Bill Carter

This book is Bill Carter’s memoirs. He is a world traveler and one of his trips lands him in Alaska working in a salmon factory. Corrina, a very beautiful young girl also works there. Bill is immediately attracted, but is reluctant to approach her. On the last day of employment, he finally get up the nerve to speak with her. She also is a wanderer and after much discussion they agree to travel together. However, fate has a way of changing our plans and Corrina is killed in an automobile accident. Bill is devastated, but there is no turning back with his plans.

After several side trips. Bill finds himself in Bosnia right in the middle of the ethnic cleansing war. Sarajevo is a city caught in the middle. Bill meets Graeme Bint, an Englishman, and his motley crew (who calls themselves The Serious Road Trip) running humanitarian aid into Bosnia. Bill joins the group and his life is changed forever. Bill is convinced that Corrine’s spirit is constantly with him and the driving force behind his actions. Bill convinces the rock group U2 to help bring the story of the siege of Sarajevo to the world via satellite during their European tour.

One must read the book to fully understand this war of ethnic cleansing. A war that the UN and America let draw on for so long without interfering. However, I cannot recommend the book. The language is repulsive. The author could have written a more compelling novel if he had concentrated more on the hardships of war and less explicit details of his drunken brawls, drug use and sex.

Bill Carter has received many accolades and international praise for this book, but I found it offensive.


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.

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.

GiGi, God’s Little Princess: Gigi’s Big Break by Sheila Walsh

This is a 2-episode Christian live action & animated DVD about GiGi – an only child.

In The White Lie, GiGi gets herself into trouble when she accidentally breaks her mother’s vase and lies about it. She tells one lie to her mother and another to her father. When they inform her she needs to go to the police and tell them she saw a kidnapping, a burgery and how the cat broke the vase, she owns up to the lie. She asks her parent’s forgiveness and also God’s forgiveness.

In the Pink Surprise, when GiGi is told she is to be a big sister she is happy. However, she listens when one of her friends tells her that her parents will not love her as much, not have time for her and will spend all of their time with the baby. Thinking she will be second best, she decides to go live with her best friend. Her parents tell her there are other blessing in life than being first and there will only be more love in their home. Having a sibling is a blessing from God.

This is an excellent Christian video. Recommended for children of all ages. It can be used to teach a Sunday school class or just lessons about honesty and loving your siblings, as well as loving God. Lying is a sin, your heart will become heavy with guilt, but God will always forgive you – you only have to ask. Parents, as well as God, always have enough love for you. The video can teach our children to love God, their siblings and to always tell the truth.

This DVD was supplied by the publisher as a review copy.

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