Prime Suspects by Bernheimer

primeA fun hard boiled whodunit with a protagonist who plays the part well while waiting to wake up from the nightmare he finds himself in: he’s a clone. The 42nd clone in his line. His “Prime” or the human who he and his brothers are cloned from has been killed. By one of his brothers. Since he was literally born today, he’s the only non-suspect among them.

Prime Suspects
A Clone Detective Mystery
EJB Networking
by Jim Bernheimer
read by Jeffrey Kafer
August 2012

While there is some interesting world building going on here, the main thing that sets this book apart from so many other sci fi novels is that it is fun! Not kitschy or corny fun. It’s solidly rooted in Maltese Falcon-esque detective stories but constant references to Hitchikers, in jokes and the extremely fast pace had me hooked from the start. I’m actually reading another science fiction suspense story by an author that I really enjoy – I’m enjoying that book as well – but when I had to make time for one of them I chose this one. In fact, I chose this one and listened to the whole audio in only a couple days.

I don’t know if there are other books in this series or world, but it is ripe for others. The clone economy is something I haven’t read before and was well done. I’ll definitely check out more books from this author.

A note about the audio version: Jeffrey Kafer was great! His quick, flat and sometimes monotone detective voice fit the mold of how I expected 42 to speak. The one thing I would have liked is a slightly longer pause when moving through a break. Chapter breaks were clear, but internal breaks (where you’d see a couple of blank lines in the text allowing the story to quickly progress or change to another location or character) weren’t. So occasionally, I’d find the story going in a new direction and not understand what was happening at first. One more beat of silence would have been perfect.


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.

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

The Emperor’s Railroad by Haley

emperorA slow moving novella that leaves the reader wanting more.

The Emperor’s Railroad
by Guy Haley
read by Tim Gerard Reynolds
Macmillan Audio / Tor
April 2016

UPDATE: The previous version of this review was based on a copy where there were parts of the audio book missing from the recording. The whole fight with the [SPOILERS] dragon was MIA. [END SPOILERS] It turns out there was a glitch in the audio book format causing a large, important portion to be cut out. If you are missing the fight then delete and redownload your Audible book to fix. Trust me, this new (full) version makes a huge difference in the story and enjoyment thereof.

Without giving too much away, [BUT SPOILERS ARE POSSIBLE] this story starts out with Abney, our narrator, and his mother on the road fleeing their home city, which was overrun by the dead (zombies, but slightly different.) Their wagon hit a pothole, broke an axle and their driver, a postman, has broken his neck and passed away. Into this dire predicament rides Quinn, a knight of the “dreaming city of Atlantis.” Quinn agrees to take the two survivors to a settlement north of Charleston in the Kingdom of Virginia.

Along the way we run into a few zombies, a railroad with carts that are driven by teams of animals rather than steam, and a town with hydro-electricity. [CLEAR SPOILERS] At the end there is a battle with the dragon – who is the physical embodiment of punishment by the “angels.” We are left with a lot of questions in the end.

Where is Atlantis? What are “Angels?” What exactly is the dragon? How do the Angels control the dead and the dragons? Why are there knights with swords when guns exist? Very little is answered here. And in fact, this novella is one of two (later in 2016) intended, it seems, to whet the appetite of this new fantasy world centered on the exploits of Quinn. Like an old fashioned Western film, the hero rides off at the end, but unlike a Western, there is clearly more to this story. [END SPOILERS]

When I read the description of a post-apocalyptic world with zombies, angels, dragons and knights I was intrigued. It’s more than that though. It’s methodical, slow paced and at worst times prodding and at best wistful. We don’t know much about what happens prior to or after this story, but we get an interesting primer into what to expect going forward. As Abney says in his final words, “I know that out there Quinn carried on his search. What was he looking for? I don’t know. It bothered me for years that I never found out. I guess I made my peace with that. Maybe he found ’em. Maybe he didn’t. Whatever fortune did to Quinn, wherever he went and why I’m sure as the good lord is enthroned in Heaven that someone, somewhere knows what happened to Quinn next… if you find out, stop by my grave and whisper it to the earth when you come home. It will be much appreciated.”

Note about the reader (audio book version): Reynolds does an outstanding job on his Virginia drawl and slow, methodical narration. The complexity of his gravelly and at times gentile voice worked really well as the voice of an older Abney. Very easy to listen to.


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.

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

8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids by Dr. Cartmell

8SimpleToolsForRaisingGreatKids_3DWe all know how to be great parents, right? That’s why our kids are coming out perfectly and they never have any trouble. Oh, wait…

8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids
by Dr. Todd Cartmell
Moody Publishers
January 2015

The title says 8 tools, but in reality the author includes 40 tools in 8 categories. Each of the 40 small chapters is about 3 pages long, many starting with an anecdote from counseling children or his own life and including simple ideas for overcoming the challenge.

In fact, my favorite parts of this book were the stories from his counseling. Listening to children say things that no parent would ever want to hear of themselves is motivating and convicting. Nearly every chapter I found something I should do better.

For that reason and others I highly recommend this ready to read and digest book.


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.

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

2015 BookGateway.com Booky Awards

BookyBookGateway.com is pleased to announce its books of the year award, the Bookys, for books published in 2015!

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 editors of BookGateway.com can nominate books for Booky award recognition. Final decisions are made by the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com.


Children’s & Teens:
I Am Princess X
by Cherie Priest | Arthur A. Levine Books | May 2015
From the review: “This is an outstanding, tense book! It’s a mystery, drama and young reader novel all in one and the best part is that no fluffy romance muddling up the core story. No love triangles.”


Fantasy:
Hunt for Valamon
by DK Mok | Spence City | April 2015
From the review: “What the reader gets in the end is a fantasy that is fully developed, complicated but approachable, fun and adventurous and overflowing with heart. It will be enjoyable for teens and young adults as well as high fantasy readers. As for this reader, I have to admit that this was the most fun I’ve had reading a fantasy in a really long time.”


Graphic Novels:
The City on the Edge of Forever
By Harlan Ellison | IDW Publishing | February 2015
From the review: “Each page is fully painted and visually represents the characters very well. Fans of the original series and science fiction will appreciate and enjoy this excellent graphical version of the original teleplay.”

Darth Vader and Friends
by Jeffrey Brown | Chronicle Books | April 2015
From the review: “This is a whimsical, easy read that makes for a perfect gift book for fans of either humor or Star Wars.”


Literature:
This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!
by Jonathan Evison | Algonquin Books | September 2015
From the review: “No spoilers, but the ending left me floundering. I was expecting something completely different, and Evison threw me for a loop.”


Non-Fiction:
Fragile and Perfectly Cracked
by Sophie Wyndham | Independent Book Publisher’s Association | July 2015
From the review: “Having traveled the same path as Sophie, it’s VERY hard for me to be objective. The fact that she’s willing to open the pain of these moments and share with the world is highly commendable. Sophie doesn’t sugar coat what she endured. It’s a recommended read, but readers should be prepared for graphic details. There are unhappy parts to any journey through loss and infertility, and Sophie doesn’t hold back.”


Thriller & Suspense:
The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die
by Marnie Riches | Harper Collins, Maze | April 2015
From the review: “This novel is AMAZING! This is the first of Riches’ work that I’ve read, and I would quickly grab another! What seems to start out as a simple crime store with religious motivation quickly becomes so much more. Riches throws a plot twist into the novel that is completely unexpected, yet perfectly executed in this fast-paced, exciting novel.”

Under The Sea Holy Bible and Giveaway

undertheseaIn a sea (heh) of Bibles, the Under The Sea Holy Bible is a nice addition to the kid’s section of Bibles.  It’s in an easy to read format designed to help children connect with Biblical concepts.

Under The Sea Holy Bible
Zonderkidz
March 2016

Bright colors and sparkly glitter adorn the cover of this Bible, meant for children.   This is not an ordinary children’s Bible, in that it is the full text from Genesis to Revelation.  Many children’s Bibles are abbreviated stories highlighting the “heroes” of the Old Testament or focusing solely on Christ’s miracles in the New Testament.

This Bible is also written in the New International Reader’s Version.  A foreword discussing this NIrV version mentions that it is an extension of traditional NIV.  Its purpose is to make reading (and understanding) the Bible easier for children, adults learning to read, first time Bible readers, readers whose first language is not English, and those who have trouble understanding what they read.

A cursory glance of verses with which I’m familiar shows the meaning of the verse is virtually unchanged by adapting it from KJV.  The foreword also mentions that the translators worked to reference the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Old Testament as they worked to create the NIrV in an effort to maintain the integrity of this translation.

The remainder of the Bible is just that:  NIrV of the full Bible text.  There is also a dictionary and an index of “Great Bible Stories.”  These two sections could be greatly improved.  The dictionary is only 5 pages long, and the Great Bible Stories section is a list of 92 common Bible stories.  Both of these could be very much extended for referencing.  This would allow the Bible to work for children as they age.

This Bible also has a few inserts related to important concepts:  prayer, the 10 Commandments, love, and important children in the Bible to name a few.  Here’s where I would also like to see an expansion.  There are only 3 of these inserts in the whole Bible.  The last one is the ABC’s of becoming a Christian.   The Bible would appeal much more to children if there were more of these relevant passages included throughout the Under The Sea Holy Bible.

All in all, this is a very nice starter Bible for children.  It has the basics needed for a 3rd or 4th grader.   As a child gets older and begins to explore more, it is a Bible that would need to be replaced with one that has more expansive passages and explanations about concepts throughout.

 

Want a copy of your own?  I have partnered with Fly By Promotions to provide this review AND a chance for you to have a copy of your own!  Just leave a comment below telling me what Bible verse is your favorite to share with children.  I’ll draw a winner on April11th!  The winner will get his/her own copy of the Under The Sea Holy Bible.

___________________________________________________________________________

Robin Gwaro is the Young Adult and Women’s Literature Editor at Bookgateway.com. She currently spends her days wrangling her 3rd grade science nerd and toddler aged busy body. You can visit her world of randomness at justwanderingnotlost.net, where there is no spoon.

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

The Deavys by Foster

DeavysI wanted to read this book for two reasons: 1) Alan Dean Foster has a great reputation and a long list of books, and 2) somewhere in the press for this book it was mentioned that Foster would use puns ala Terry Pratchett or Pierce Anthony. Within the first few pages, though, it didn’t matter who the author was – this is no Discworld or Xanth. In fact, for most of the book I was bored.

The Deavys
by Alan Dean Foster
Open Road Media Teen & Tween
February 2016

Simwan (pronounced “Someone”), his two and a half sisters (one phases in and out of physical reality) and their cat go on an adventure to find the “Turth” which was stolen and taken to [MILD SPOILERS] New York. The four kids (I count N/Ice as a person even if she isn’t always around, and yes, that is the terrible name of the third sister) and the cat travel to visit their uncle (a zombie) to start looking for the Crub, who they think is behind the theft. Along the way they come across several bad guys, none of whom are interesting, and good guys, ditto. They go to a place, do some stuff, somehow fight off terrible and powerful monsters (as four kids under 16 and their cat are known to do) and … well if you really want to know how it works out you can suffer through the book if you like. I’m not happy that I did. [END SPOILERS]

The book isn’t punny or funny. It’s long winded, hard to read at times (see above names for examples), and not that interesting. The idea that someone stole the Truth could totally be a great Xanth novel, but Anthony is busy writing much better books than this. I really hate saying all of this about the book. But it’s the Truth (there, I found it for you.)

I recommend you pass. Especially if you are looking for a funny, and fun, book.


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.

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

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

tellthewindandfire-1Lucie Manette is the Golden Thread in the Dark.  The symbol of freedom to the Dark Magicians long oppressed by the Light.  The symbol of need for that oppression by the Light Magicians. A young woman who desires to be neither, and yet must be both.

Tell The Wind and Fire
by Sarah Rees Brennan
Clarion Books
April 2016

Having missed the last train to Light New York and forced to take a later one, Lucie and her boyfriend, Ethan Stryker, are stopped by Light Guards.  Ethan has been accused of treason, an offense punishable by instant death.  Saved only by her image, his name, and a stranger with a familiar countenance, Lucie is brought face-to-face with a secret that could destroy the foundation of the Light’s most powerful family.

Although she’s accustomed to keeping secrets, Lucie is still rattled by what she learns.  She makes decisions that will impact the course of the Light…and the Dark.  She becomes an unwitting pawn in a game in which there are no winners.  The heroine in a story for which there can be no happy ending.

Before I can speak to the story, I have to speak to Sarah Rees Brennan’s writing of it.  Story aside, the writing is brilliant.  Her prose is lyric and deep, bringing the scenes and feelings to life.  I could read books of hers over and over again, just for the writing itself.

As to the story, I wish it lived up to the talent of the writer putting pen to paper (or keystroke to keyboard, as it were).  About mid-book, I kept wondering where we were headed.  There are so many undercurrents that felt unresolved.  If this is the start of a series, then that makes sense.  If it is not, then  is hard to reconcile this into something I can say that I liked.  Appreciated, yes.  Liked?  Not so much.

It does, however, live up to the theme of similar novels by other authors.  Dystopian novels will not have happy endings, and that is something to which the reader must reconcile him/herself going in.   I wasn’t looking for happy inasmuch as I was looking for resolution.   I can deal with unhappy; I have issues with incomplete.

Overall, again, if this is the start of a series, then I could read others to see where Rees Brennan might take us.  Based on her writing, the journey would be incredible.

 


Robin Gwaro is the Young Adult and Women’s Literature Editor at Bookgateway.com. She currently spends her days wrangling her 3rd grade science nerd and toddler aged busy body. You can visit her world of randomness at justwanderingnotlost.net, where there is no spoon.

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

The Lassoed By Marriage Collection

LassoedNine relationships started after saying I Do

The Lassoed by Marriage Collection
by Bell, Breidenbach, Carter, Connealy, Jepson, Lillard, Welborn, Y’Barbo, Zediker
Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Jan 2016

Lassoed by Marriage is a collection of short stories about unwilling marriage. Start a journey with all the characters that start off in a situation that forces them into marriage. Walk with them as they try to overcome obstacles and try to start a relationship. See them try to overcome their fears and reservations and strive to help better their relationship. Follow Cynthia and Lord Elliot Carlyle struggle to get past her sister’s deceptions and work to make their marriage work. Observe Katie as she strives to keep her son by marrying George her son’s uncle. See as she fights to break the stigma that follows her as she is the mother of a illegitimate son. Root for Penny as she fights to keep her family’s land by marrying a prisoner. Watch her try to teach her husband forgiveness for past wrongs done to him. Watch Coral and Hiram try to break the family feud despite being virtually forced to marry each other. Witness as a lord without title preform act of mercy as he rescues a widow and her land from people that threaten her. But both have secrets they are keeping from each other will they drive them apart or bring them together. Notice as a new minister offers sanctuary to Molly who was in a desperate situation. But will her outlaw brother drive the m apart? Laugh at Hattie’s antics that land her married to the town sheriff. Watch Maila fight to free herself and her husband from Rose the first wife. Observe as Tanner discover Debba after 4 years of isolation.

This book is filled with so many different elements its impossible to get bored.


Myra Ovalle is your average typical girl. She loves to read. Her favorite types of books are historical fiction, biblical fiction and action adventure fiction. She would love to share her love of books and all the wonderful books she have read with you. Check out her new blog: From a Book Worm To You

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

 

Whispers in the Reading Room by Gray

ReadingCan a man with a mysterious past and naive librarian work together to solve a murder.

Whispers in the Reading Room
Shelley Gray
Zondervan Fiction
Nov  2015

Lydia is fascinated by the handsome mysterious stranger that visits her library every day. Not knowing who he is or having ever spoken to him she feels puzzled when he rescues her at the lobby of a prestigious hotel. She discovers his name and the fact that everyone in the city is either afraid or intrigued by him. After rescuing her at the Hartman Hotel they ensue a fragile relationship. Sebastian Marks is intrigued by the quiet librarian but is hesitant to form any kind of tie to her due to his secrets. After peering into her seemingly happy life he discovers that she is penniless, with a demanding mother hounding her to marry anyone for money. On the other hand Lydia knows nothing about what he does and demands that he take her to his establishment. When he finally agrees to take her to his establishment things take an unexpected turn. A gentleman’s murder puts both of them in danger. Sebastian afraid that because of him Lydia will get hurt tries to break off their blooming relationship. Will Sebastian and Lydia realize their feelings for each other and find the murder?

I loved the book it was mysterious and hard to put down. I loved how much detail was put into the book and the perfect balance of mystery. I will probably read the rest of the series as soon as I can. I would recommend this book to historical fiction lovers. Get ready to be blown away by this book.


Myra Ovalle is your average typical girl. She loves to read. Her favorite types of books are historical fiction, biblical fiction and action adventure fiction. She would love to share her love of books and all the wonderful books she have read with you. Check out her new blog: From a Book Worm To You

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

 

A Spy’s Devotion by Dickerson

CSpy an two people who seemed to be destined to be apart work together to stop a traitorous plot?

 A Spy’s Devotion
The Regency Spies of London
By Melanie Dickerson
Waterfall Press
Feb 2016

Julia Grey is an orphan that grew up in the charity of her uncle’s home. Growing up in upper society she was never let forget that fact she was not up in the social class. With a small dowry her hopes of landing a good match are slim. She and Phoebe her cousins have grown up as close as sisters, so when Phoebe is enamored with Nicholas Langdon and asks Julia’s help to land him she willingly agrees. Nicholas Langdon is a second son who needs to marry someone with a good dowry. Back from the army due to an injury he tries to fulfill a promise to a dying man to deliver his diary to someone at the War Office. When he gets mugged and the journal stolen he gets pulled in to the spy game. After being brought up to date his mission is to get as close as possible to Robert Wilhern who is suspected of treason. Using Phoebe as his way in, he meets Julia Grey who captures his attention and feelings. Having been burned by his past fiancé who left him for a much older richer man he decides to be cautious. Julia is trying her best to get Nicholas to notice Phoebe but soon realizes that she has growing feelings for him. After being continuously reminded by her aunt and uncle that she is the poor relation and should stay away from Nicholas she starts to see things more clearly. So when Nicholas reveals that he is a spy and asks for her help she agrees. As danger mounts and sparks fly will they be able to stop a traitorous plot and figure out their feelings?

This book was very hard to put down. It had mystery intrigue at every flip of the page.


Myra Ovalle is your average typical girl. She loves to read. Her favorite types of books are historical fiction, biblical fiction and action adventure fiction. She would love to share her love of books and all the wonderful books she have read with you. Check out her new blog: From a Book Worm To You

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

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