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Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End by Loureiro

The book starts with journal entries by a man who has recently lost his wife. His pschologist suggested that starting a blog would help him work through his feelings. Infortunately, in Russia there is an outbreak of something that will make his journal about so much more than the loss of one woman; soon it will be about the loss of almost all people.

The Beginning of the End
Apocalypse Z #1
By: Manel Loureiro
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Brilliance Audio
November 2012

Unlike many zombie books this isn’t ultra action packed and filled with everyday people who suddenly become all-star athletes who can shoot zombies in the head from 100 yards witb a pistol. It also isn’t filled with non-stop vulgar language as if another cuss word would ramp up the realism. I enjoyed the pacing – based on journal entries – and the take on zombies (they are slightly different than your run of the mill Waking Dead.) I also loved the setting – so many in this genre have to happen in the US. It was a nice change of pace. I’m definitely looking forward to the next one.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

Hacked

If you follow this site (and you should!) you’ll notice that over the last month we’ve changed looks and haven’t posted new reviews and you may wonder why. Here’s the deal: we were hacked. We didn’t even know you could hack a website like ours (I mean we aren’t a bank or government or whatever). It turns out you can.

Our site was injected with something called Blackhat SEO some time in February to March. That means that someone hid code on our site that would give false links to all kinds of “enhancement” selling sites. Readers never saw it. We never saw it. But search engines did and boosted those links’ hits to raise their results. Nothing malicious and nothing dangerous for our readers or our content. But troubling.

So we reset the site with a backup, changed servers and did a bunch of stuff to harden the site. And it worked. We’ve now had this site running for several weeks (and a test site before this base don the backup for a month) and no more SEO.

The site is fully functional. All our old reviews (over 700!) from your favorite reviewers like Deanna Love Gottreu and the Golden Reviewer are back up. Some pictures aren’t working and we will continue to work on getting those back. In the mean time enjoy the reviews. We apologize for the lapse. And harden your sites!

-@ashertopia, Managing Editor

Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

raisingsteamMoist von Lipwig is called upon by Lord Vetinari – this time to deal with something most dastardly indeed: steam locomotion.

Raising Steam
Discworld 40
by Terry Pratchett
read by Stephen Briggs
Doubleday / Randomhouse Audio
March 2014

Dick Simnel is a bright chap who happens to figure out how to contain, and utilize steam for locomotion. The question is will this help bring the world together or help to tear it down? Moist is joined by Adora Belle Dearheart, of course, and finds himself at work for Sir Harry King and Lord Vetinari as Ankh-Morpork struck up a deal with the railroad to move, among other things, Vetinari to Überwald to visit a certain someone.

At the same time, Dwarfish fundamentalists seek to overthrow the current Low King of the Dwarves in a palace coop. The problem is that the current king needs to get home as quickly as possible, which means the railroad. Enter Moist and Commander Vimes and a race against time and external threats to make right the Low Kingdom.

Of course, Pratchett fans will love this. Specifically fans of both the Vimes and Moist series. What’s interesting is that Pratchett threw most of the protagonist from his last several series together in this one in a sort of all star cast of funny and it worked! Vimes and Moist play off each other very well. Vetinari gets to exercise his awesome evilness at times, although unseen, of course. And characters from all over the Discworld make an appearance. All that to say that anyone who enjoys any of the Discworld series will love this one. Funny as always but building towards more.

A note about the audio book: Stephen Briggs is once again magnificent in his dry, wry delivery of every silly pun and sarcastic note. It is a pleasure to listen to him and if you have the time the audio book remains my recommended method of reading Discworld.


@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.

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears

519MeCr2oqL._AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-49,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_To say that Everett was unlucky when it came to mail-order brides is putting it mildly. Though technically not a mail-order bride the first woman jilted him, the second was dead when she arrived, the third was already married to the town’s shopkeeper when she disembarked from the train, and the fourth left after a week for a man with a larger farm.

A Bride for Keeps
Melissa Jagears
Bethany House Publishers
October 2013

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears is a most delightful story about mail order brides and all the problems that can occur when they arrive at their destination. Everett Cline is having problems keeping up with all the work on his farm so he decides to write for a mail-order bride. To say that Everett is unlucky when it comes to mail-order brides is putting it mildly. Though technically not a mail-order bride the first woman jilted him, the second was dead when she arrived, the third was already married to the town’s shopkeeper when she disembarked from the train, and the fourth left after a week for a man with a larger farm. Everett is determined to never write for another mail-order bride but Rachel, the wife of Everett’s good friend, decides to write for Everett but does not tell him until the bride arrives on the train. When Everett sees Julie he is sure that she will never marry him for she is the prettiest woman he has ever seen and he just knows that she will not want a farmer for a husband. Julie Lockwood left her home in Massachusetts to become a mail-order bride in Kansas for she finally had all she could take of being nothing but a pretty face for her father or simply a business acquisition for her former fiance. Everett is sure that Julie cannot be happy as the wife of a farmer and Julie does not want to ever get married, but after a short time, they decide to marry but it will be a marriage in name only and this leads to all kinds of problems that make for a great story.

All the characters in the story were very well developed and each one came to life as I read about them and by the time I finished the book I felt as if I had several new friends. Not only was the dialogue well done but at times it was very entertaining. Quite a bit of action took place in the story and it was so well written that I was right there in the middle of everything that was happening. I even felt the pain when Julie broke her leg. At times there was even some suspense in the story for I was wondering if Everett and Julie would ever come to love each other.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good historical romance novel set in the early days of the American West.


Deanna Love Gottreu is a 74 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.

2012 BookGateway.com Booky Awards

BookGateway.com is pleased to announce its books of the year award, the Bookys, for books published in 2012!

The Booky is awarded annually by the editors of BookGateway.com, a book review website for reviewers and book bloggers founded in 2010 with the express goal of encouraging a lifestyle of continued learning through the love and practice of reading. The Booky awards recognize the best books published and reviewed at BookGateway.com during the preceding year. Each reviewer that submits at least 10 reviews during the calendar year along with each Genre Editor of BookGateway.com can nominate books for Booky award recognition. Final decisions are made by the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com, Scott Asher. All Booky award winners will be featured for a month starting in February at BookGateway.com.

In alphabetical order:
A Home in Drayton Valley by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Bethany House | October 2012
Nominated by The Golden Reviewer: “I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It will make you laugh, make you cry, you will experience the prejudice against the colored people, and you will pray that Tarsie finds the love and peace she so richly deserves.”

 

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
Bethany House | September 2012
Nominated by Robin Gwaro: “[Camden] has created a strong female character in Lydia Pallas. There are few things that will turn me away from a book faster than a female character who withers in the face of adversity. Lydia faces adversity at every turn and refuses to back down from any challenge that Camden creates for her. From childhood through the end of the novel, Lydia has to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds in order to come out on top at the end.”

 

A Shot of Faith to the Head by Mitch Stokes
Thomas Nelson | April 2012
Nominated by Scott Asher: “Stokes takes one step then another in a devastating deconstruction of philosophical evidentialism (the idea that a belief must be supported by evidential facts to be rational), which atheists and philosophical non-believers try to use to show faith in God is irrational… Our faith is perfectly rational and the most logical of all worldviews. We just need to be reminded why.”

 

The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann
Bethany House | November 2012
Nominated by ReneeK: “Wow, another amazing story by Kristen Heitzmann… This book is a reminder that Jesus never leaves or forsakes us. Thanks Kristen for inspiring and intriguing me.”

 

Casting Shadows by J. Kelley Anderson
World Castle Publishing | January 2012
Nominated by Matthew Scott: “Really, I just have to say that this story was truly a page-turner for me, and I loved every second of it. I can only hope that there will be more to come from Mr. Anderson about our unlikely hero and his bumbling foray into magic.”

 

Dog Stars By Peter Heller
Knopf & Random House Audio | August 2012
Nominated by Scott Asher: “Heller’s debut novel will haunt you as it did me. It is at once lyrical, poetic, revolting and wistful…An amazing debut novel.”

 

Explore Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest featuring Noah Justice
New Leaf Publishing | April 2012
Nominated by ReneeK: “Noah is fun, energetic and his enthusiastic is contagious. Noah makes the learning fun. The scenery makes you want to pack up your bags and head out to the parks. Your kids will absolutely love it. Mom and Dad will love it just as much!”

 

The Intercept by Dick Wolf
William Morrow | November 2012
Nominated by The Golden Reviewer: “WOW WOW WOW! This is the best nail-biting, page-turning, twisty suspense book I have ever read. It will literally take your breath away. The story will keep you glued to your chair with all the lights on and wondering just what will happen next.”

 

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal
Bantam | October 2012
Nominated by The Golden Reviewer: “Ms. MacNeal is an excellent writer of historical fiction. She perfectly captures the spirit of wartime Britain. I loved the book and you will too.”

 

When the Blue Shift Comes by Robert Silverberg and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
“Zinos-Amaro deftly navigates the premise, handles the characters in ways that Silverberg may have been surprised to see (the narrator is a great example), and brings to a satisfactory conclusion this 30 year old idea… If you are looking for technical writing and literary style this book positively overflows with excellent examples.”

An Unlikely Suitor by Nancy Moser

This is a wonderful story of family loyalty, friendship, finding love and searching for your own path in life. Lucy, a dressmaker in New York, and Rowena, a socialite, become friends when Lucy helps her with her Newport wardrobe. Even though their social status doesn’t allow their friendship, Rowena devises a plan to get Lucy out to Newport and eventually Lucy’s younger sister, Sofia, and their mother. Rowena is troubled because of an arranged marriage. She wants to marry for true love but is not sure what true love feels like. Lucy listens and encourages as any friend would while she meets and falls in love with a man who is above her social class. She’s unsure of what her future holds with a man who should not marry her. Her sister, Sophia, finds common interest with a man and bonds quickly with him even though he is heir to family fortune and she is just a common seamstress. This story really captures your interest from beginning to end. I really had a hard time putting it down! I just couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next and if the girls were going to find happiness. This perfect love story also has a villain who is out for revenge. I truly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it.

This book was free from the publisher.

Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock

Roz is a young girl who just moved with her mother, brother and sister to a new town in order to get away from an abusive husband. Tillie is an older lady who raised her family in the house Roz’s family just moved into and she does not want to live anywhere else until she dies. Roz’s mother decides to let Tillie live there to help her with the kids while she works. Mara is a girl from Roz’s school and they form a quick bond because both of them desire and dream of their fathers coming back into their lives. The girls make a promise to help each other and pray for their relationship with their fathers. Both girl’s fathers do come back into their lives, but does it turn out the way the girls hoped for? Ann Tatlock wrote an excellent book. The story was intriguing and kept you guessing. It was also a book which teaches you about who our true Father is and that someday all our dreams will come true when He finally calls us home.

This was a free book from the publisher.

A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell

Three girls in 1918 have big dreams for their lives, but obstacles to overcome. Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana all work for a well known seamstress in Boston. Madame Fortier keeps them busy during the day making dresses for the wealthy but each girl spends their time thinking about their problems and their dreams. Julietta wants to be allowed to fall in love, but her family doesn’t see that as her future. Annamaria is ready to fall in love but doesn’t see the man most worthy of her love and instead keeps company with a dangerous man. Luciana’s past is secretive and if it catches up with her, it could be deadly so she must be careful and protect those she loves and the man she falls in love with. I would recommend this book. The story flows well and keeps you interested. I am a big fan of Siri Mitchell and have enjoyed her books. She does an excellent job of telling a good story during a particular time in history. Many of the events these characters live through are events which truly happened. I really enjoy reading her books.

This was a free book from the publisher.

The Vigilante’s Bride by Yvonne Harris

Emily McCarthy had no choice but to leave all she knows and travel to Montana by train to marry a man she doesn’t know. She is trying her best to realize she has no other choice when she is suddenly kidnapped on the stagecoach while it is being robbed. The man who kidnaps her does it because he feels he is saving her from a horrible marriage to an old man who he knows personally as unkind and abusive. She is not amused, but the story unfolds into a love story of two people who were not expecting to find love in the mist of the wild cattle range of Montana.
I enjoyed this book. It was a romance story with adventure and kept my interest throughout. I would recommend this book.

This book was free from the publisher.

In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Libby, Pete, and Bennett are three friends who are just starting college and trying to figure life out. All three were raised in an orphanage and each has different dreams to follow. Libby’s dream of becoming a journalist takes her into Pete’s past which cause Libby and Pete to rethink their dreams and goals. Bennett struggles with trying to figure out his place when he sees that his friends Libby and Pete seem to have a focus.
This book was not one of my favorites. I thought the story line was sometimes drawn out instead of keeping my interest and moving along. In the end, it does have a great message about submitting your life to God’s will. Overall is was an okay read.

This book was free from the publisher.