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.

The Facebook Diet by Adams

You know you’re a Facebook addict when a book about Facebook addiction catches your eye. Yes, you.

The Facebook Diet
by Gemini Adams
Live Consciously
May 2013

This hilarious gift book features 50 full color cartoons from talented artist Gemina Adams who uses understated, simple illustrations to point out the truth of modern society’s online addictions. The illustrations will have you laughing out loud recognzing yourself in the work! We all know this stuff, but recognizing it is wild fun.

Consider some of my favorites, like the one where a man wrote (in paint) on the wall of their friend’s house and asked if they saw what he had written on their wall today. Or an illustration that says, “Nothing seems real until you post it…”

(Note that some of the art and language, including the one above, while rare, include depictions of nudity, sexual relations, and some language. If that is something you are sensitive to, then you should be aware of it. In total, there are perhaps 5 of the 50 illustrations that could offend.)

The book also includes over 20 pages of ideas on how to detox, including facetious ideas, like, “Get sent to jail” to politically charged (and accurate) options, like, “If all else fails… move to China!” An appropriate dessert to the illustrated main course.

If you are a Facebook addict or know one this book will make a great gift for those who enjoy art and humor. If Facebook isn’t your addiction, Live Consiously also has Twitter, You Tube and Instagram Diet books coming out next year.


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.

Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge & John Ward

51oZRQrn9ML Faith and Luke have a good marriage and by the world’s standard they have it all but everything comes crashing down when Luke becomes involved in a Ponzi scheme.

Heart of the Country
by Rene Gutteridge & John Ward
Tyndale House Publishers
February 2013

Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge & John Ward is a wonderful story of love, betrayal, forgiveness, and going home again. The story is told in a first person format through Faith, Luke, Olivia, Catherine, and Calvin the main characters in the story. Faith and Luke are happily married, living in New York City, and by the standards of the world they have it all but things fall apart when Luke becomes involved in a Ponzi scheme. Faith does not give Luke a chance to explain but immediately leaves for her father’s home in North Carolina. Faith’s father, Calvin, is delighted to have her home but her sister Olivia is quite upset with Faith’s return. Luke is hurt by Faith’s leaving and finally has to turn to his family for help in getting through all the problems caused by his desire to be on his own and to make his fortune. The story has the feeling of the Prodigal Son in the Bible and just like him, Faith and Luke have to face their problems head on and admit their mistakes and then ask for forgiveness from their families and God.

Rene did an excellent job in the development of the characters and all the scenes that took place in the story. For me the characters came to life and with the story being told in a first-person conversational style, I felt as if I were sitting and talking with each character. Scenes were so well developed that I could feel what was going on and I was right in the middle of the action. The struggles that Faith and Luke were having with each other and with their families was so well portrayed that I was shedding tears with them and urging them on to get their lives back on track. I liked the addition of Catherine’s thoughts to the story for it helped to show why Faith and Olivia felt as they did about each other.

I highly recommend this book to all who like a love story with a good ending even if the couple have to go through hard times to reach the good times.


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.

Falcon Down by Cobb

FD-Cover-Image-mediumFalcon Down is an action packed spy thriller written by C.H Cobb. To be honest, Cobb hit my soft spot with Spy Thrillers. I love the action, the heroes, and the world of the spy. Not surprisingly, Cobb falls into the traditional spy-thriller novel quite well; he has a strong central character that works in the government, practically like a spy and ends up using his skills to rid the world of a different nations evil plans. Even more intriguing, however, is the internal struggle of the character.

Falcon Down
Falcon Series 1
by C.H. Cobb
Doorway Press
June 2013

Major Jacob Kelly is the spy-like figure and main character of the book. While working on a top-secret mission, his unarmed aircraft gets shot down. Open being captured, Kelly has to use his training to withstand torture and, ultimately, escape from the both the compound and country of his captors. It’s an action packed book, which left little room to be bored. Despite his amazing skills, Kelly struggles with the act of killing people. Although he feels he must, his conscience often pricks and prods him, telling him that it’s wrong. This internal struggle is vital throughout the entire novel.

Despite my overall enjoyment of Falcon Down, there were some minor aspects about the book that I hope will be resolved for any subsequent parts of this series. First off, the format of the book was tiresome; within chapters there are numerous dividing lines that section off different ‘scenes’ or ‘narratives’. This is a stylistic aspect, without question, but I firmly believe that Cobb would have had a more effective story had he elaborated on many of the scenes to form their own chapter and or nixed some of the shorter scenes. The many divided sections within a chapter, though at times useful, became too abundant and created what felt like unnatural breaks within the story. Even without that reason, however, I would still vote for fixing this up somehow just to keep the story more fluid and less choppy.

Secondly, it is evident that Cobb is a pastor and he is aiming to talk about Jesus in some way within the novel. It came as a pleasant surprise, however, when I barely noticed any talk about Jesus or religion. This is not to say that I do not advocate talking about Jesus; rather, I believe many fictional works written by Christians could become more successful and effective if they do not overtly talk about Jesus (think, for instance, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S Lewis). Eventually, Cobb did talk about Jesus through some of his characters dialogue. But, it really did seem forced into the story. I’m not creative enough myself to think of a way in which Cobb could have subtlety made his message about Jesus clear, but I’m sure there is one. Sometimes, as an author, the best thing you can do is show instead of tell. It is clear that Kelly has an internal moral struggle, so maybe a more effective way of communicating the gospel through this book would be to probe into the characters heart and mind more deeply, showing how he comes closer to a conversion to Christ through his actions and internal debate. All in all, it’s a minor issue, but one that would have gone a long way for me had it been resolved from the beginning.

It’s with happiness that I recommend Falcon Down to anyone who enjoys an action packed story. You will be excited and on the edge of your seats throughout the entire book. For myself, I’m looking forward to the next part of the series and would enjoy reading the sequel!


Michael Krauszer is the owner/founder of Christian Literature Review. Currently he is a senior at The College of New Jersey, working to complete his BA in English, along with attending Veritas Evangelical Seminary for his MA in Theological Studies. If you’re an author and would like him to review your book, contact him at Mike@Christianlitreview.com

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

Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren

512PSzWdiQLCora Kensington is in Italy where the grand tour will end. Not only is she dealing with two men in love with her, but she also has to deal with the press that is hounding her for a story.

Glittering Promises
by Lisa T. Bergren
David C. Cook
October 2013


Glittering Promises
by Lisa T. Bergren is the third and last book in the series and is just as great a story as the previous two. Cora Kensington and the rest of the Kensington and Morgan families are now in Italy for the last leg of their grand tour. Not only are they having to guard against kidnappers but they are hounded by the press looking for any story about Cora and her new wealth that makes her one of the richest women in America. Cora is in love with Will but Pierre de Richelieu’s determined pursuit of Cora causes her to have a doubt or two. Cora is adding to her problems by doubting many of her decisions as she tries to determine exactly what she wants out of life.

All the characters come to life on the pages of the book and I felt as if I knew every one of them personally. The author does an excellent job in describing all the scenes as the group tours through Italy. I felt as if I were right in the middle of the group and seeing what they were seeing. There were several twists and turns to the plot but the author brought them all together at the end. There was a good deal of suspense in the story and I was kept guessing until the end exactly what would happen. I would think that I had the mystery solved and then something else would happen and I had to start over trying to solve the mystery. Just as in the first two books, the author’s extensive research was evident throughout this third book. In the end, things worked out as they should and there was a happy ending. I would like to see the author write a fourth book dealing with Cora’s life after the tour.

I highly recommend this book to all who enjoy a really good historical novel set in the early part of the twentieth century.


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.

Messiah: Origin by Dorff, Arey and Carpenter

Part translation, part interpretation and all art. Messiah is amazing!

Messiah: Origin
Written by Matt Dorff and Mark Arey
Illustrated by Kai Carpenter
Zondervan
November 2013

The first in a series, this fully illustrated retelling of the life of Christ starts with his birth and young childhood. Dorff and Arey stay close to the Bible manuscripts but reinterpret them to go along with outstanding artwork by Carpenter.

The art is where this really shines. The illustrations are so powerful they are emotionally moving. Visually breathing new life in to the birth of Christ.

I would have prefered a less formal interpretation but that is such a very minor complaint. I recommend it to anyone who loves the Word, loves art and may be looking for something truly different.


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.

Return to Me by Lynn Austin

71QsbnEhnxL._SL1500_ King Cyrus of Babylon gives the Jews permission to return to Jerusalem to live and to rebuild the temple.

Return to Me
by Lynn Austin
Bethany House
October 2013

Return to Me by Lynn Austin is a great Biblical and historical story about the return of the Jews to Jerusalem when King Cyrus of Babylon permitted them to leave and return to their homeland. He also gave them permission to rebuild the temple and promised to help with the expenses of rebuilding. Iddo is a priest who has been praying for years for the return of the Jews to Jerusalem but his family has grown comfortable in Babylon and have strayed from God. At the beginning of the story Iddo comes off as rather pompous and determined to get his own way in all matters. His wife asked Iddo how she could believe in God’s love when all he ever emphasized was God’s laws and wrath and did not talk about the love and forgiveness of God.. Iddo’s oldest grandson, Zechariah, is torn between staying in Babylon with his parents and their comfortable way of life and the beliefs of his grandfather. After hearing God’s voice, Zechariah decides to return to Jerusalem. The rebuilding of the temple is begun but is constantly beset with problems. Many of the problems are caused by the Samaritans who resent the return of the Jews. King Cyrus dies and his son orders the rebuilding to stop. After many years the prophet Haggai comes on the scene and encourages the people to again start the rebuilding of the temple. Shortly after Haggai comes to Jerusalem, Zechariah is called to be a prophet. Dinah, Iddo’s wife, and Yael, a young girl when the story begins, play a large role in the story.

The author did an excellent job with all elements of the story, Just for my own information I checked several things in the Bible and it is very evident that Lynn Austin did her research before writing this book. The story came to life for me and I was transported back to Jerusalem along with all the characters. In the description of the journey from Babylon to Jerusalem, I was trudging right along with the travelers. All the scenes in the story were very well written and I felt a part of each one and was living the story right along with the main characters. All the characters came to life and I felt as if I knew everyone of them personally, even some of them as good friends. If you are familiar with the Bible then you know how the story ends but reading the story as written by the author makes for a most enjoyable read.

I highly recommend this book to everyone that enjoys a great historical story set in Biblical times.


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.

Manifest Destiny by Dingess, Roberts and Gieni

Lewis and Clark in 1804. And monsters. I’m with you.

Manifest Destiny #1
Written by Chris Dingess
Art by Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni
Skybound / Image
November 2013

Alternative history is all the rage. Headless TV shows. Vampire hunting presidents. Witch fighting children’s characters. Zombified romance books. It’s fun. A lot of time it’s really cheesy too. But Manifest Deistiny from Skybound and Image looks to be a lot better.

Chris Dingess starts our tale with our heroes, some soldiers and some convicts (expendables) on a mission from President Jefferson to travel Northwest. What else the mission is we have only hints in the opening issue. That it deals with finding “creatures” or “monsters” we know, but why and how and to what end we will have to find out. This first issue is compelling and fun and had my attention from the start.

The art and colors are vibrant and suitably detailed for all the outdoor scenes and animals. Some really nice use of colors (consider the red, ala the Sixth Sense, in one page) accentuate the adventurous feel. But the art never strays too far from cartoony. No superbuff, serious characters here.

A very promising start to the series. Check it out later this month.


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.

Can’t Wait Willow by Ziglar and Marten

What happens when a child says “yes” to all their desires and urges? Their star gets all sad, that’s what. And that matters.

Can’t Wait Willow
Written by Christy Ziglar
Illustrated by Luanna Marten
Ideals Children’s Books
April 2013

Willow has been waiting for the circus to come to town and when it is finally there she can’t wait to see the show. [SPOILERS] On the way she is tempted to spend her saved cash and her time on ice cream, soccer with friends at the park, lemonade, stuffed animals, and a visit to see exotic birds up close. When she finally gets to the circus it is over and she is broke. Her bad decisions and focus on immediate gratification have left her disappointed and dejected.

Through the kindness of the ringmaster, who finds her crying outside the circus tent, she is given a second chance to make the right decisions. The next day, Willow makes all the right decisions, saying “no” to small good things so she can say “yes” to something amazing. [END SPOILERS]

The lesson is timely and emphatic: instant gratification is fleeting gratification. Lasting satisfaction comes from learning to make smart decisions.

I’ve read this through with my two boys (ages 3 and 7) – yes, this is for boys as well as girls – and they have completely enjoyed it. Not just that, they have learned from it. As we read we are instructed to have the children point out the star (the visible depiction of the choices Willow makes on every page) and ask if the star is happy or sad. When the children answer we ask them why the star is what it is. This interactive lesson reinforces the smart and poor decisions that Willow makes and has left a lasting impression on my boys. I can now say to my almost-four-year-old, “Are you making a smart decision? If you make a bad decision then you may be happy right now but you will miss out on…” It works!

This book is genius! The story and the art are partly whimsy and partly lesson. And they work amazingly well together. I highly recommend this book to parents of kids up to 7 or 8 years old.

Enter to win a hardback copy of this book, generously provided by the publisher. Contest ends November 8th.

Congrats to John K. for winning a copy of Can’t Wait Willow!


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.

Audrey Bunny Giveaway!!

A spot, a fear, a lesson about unconditional love.

Audrey Bunny
Story by Angie Smith
Illustrations by Breezy Brookshire

B&H Kids
October 2013

Audrey Bunny had always wanted to be chosen as a child’s special friend.  Sadly, Audrey Bunny wasn’t perfect.  A small mark near her heart causes her to not be perfect for those who looked at her before.

And then Caroline appears.  Audrey Bunny thinks Caroline will also pass her by.  To her great surprise, Caroline chooses her as her special birthday gift.  Audrey Bunny and Caroline become the best of friends, but Audrey Bunny has a secret.  She tries to hide that smudge, because she knows that Caroline will not want her with this imperfection.

In the end, Caroline knew all along and loved Audrey Bunny anyway.

Angie Smith’s story is a wonderful example of the love God has for each of us.  We can try to hide our imperfections, but He already knew they existed and loves us in spite of, or maybe because of, them.  It’s set alongside beautiful illustrations that make this a FANTASTIC children’s book.

From an adult perspective, the story is cute.  The only issue I ran into was that some parts of the story don’t carry between pages, leaving me to flip back because I thought I missed something.  From a child’s point of view, my six year old son didn’t really notice.  He loved the pictures and understood the connection between the message of Audrey Bunny and how God views his children.

In the end, the value of a children’s book is not how an adult sees it, but how a child takes the message.   Smith’s book, coupled with Brookshire’s illustrations, ensured my child accepted and enjoyed the book overall.  And that’s the most important part.


Congrats to Laura M for winning her own copy of Audrey Bunny!!


Robin Gwaro is the Young Adult and Women’s Literature Editor at Bookgateway.com. Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost. where she writes about whatever comes her way.

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

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