After the Snow Falls by Carey Jane Clark

after_the_snowCelia is watching her son Caleb in a soccer game when he collapses on the field. After many tests the doctor informs Celia and her husband that Caleb has a brain tumor.

After the Snow Falls
Carey Jane Clark
Self Published
June 2012

After the Snow Falls by Carey Jane Clark is a very thought provoking story. Celia Bennett faces the worst situation that any mother can when her eight year old son collapses on the soccer field. After several tests at the hospital, Celia and her husband Jeff are devastated to learn that their son Caleb has a brain tumor. Frustrated with prescribed treatments, Celia searches for an alternative medicine but that ends in even more frustration. Celia’s father, Alfie, deserted her and her mother, Adele, thirty years ago but he has now come back into their lives. Her mother believes him when he says that he is a changed man and she forgives him and lets him back into her life. Celia has too much hate in her heart to forgive her father and she is also suffering from a loss of faith in God. Since I am a mother I can imagine what Celia was going through but at times I became upset with her for her refusal to even consider forgiving her father. And she was so determined to do everything herself and not ask God for help. Celia and Caleb spent a great deal of time at Ronald McDonald house and there things began to change for both of them.

The author did an excellent job in writing a very emotional story that could have been just a tearjerker but it was done so well that even though I did cry several times, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. . After reading the first page I was hooked on the story and could not stop reading until I had finished the book. All elements of the story were very well developed and I felt as if I knew all the characters and I even felt their pain and joy. The scenes were so well described that I was right there in the middle of whatever was going on and lending my support. The dialogue was right on target. Caleb’s illness and Alfie’s return provided just the right touch of suspense. I especially liked how the author included forgiveness, loss, hope, love, and the love and forgiveness of God as an integral part of the story. I have not mentioned anything about the ending for I do not want to spoil the story for future readers.

Highly recommended as a very good book but be prepared for tears as it is a very emotional story.


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 author as a review copy.

Destiny Binds by Tammy Blackwell

Scout Donovan’s world has just been turned upside down.  Her calm Kentucky life is no more, and she’s been thrust into the world of Shifters and Seers without warning.  And it started with a boy.

Destiny Binds
by Tammy Blackwell
Createspace Independent
March 2011

Scout is entering her Senior year when Alex Cole saunters into her AP Calculus class at Lake County High School.  Having run across Alex and his older brother the day before, Scout isn’t in any mood to deal with the cute new guy.

When Alex tries to get closer to Scout, she does her best to push him away.  And that works…temporarily.

A few months later, Alex and Scout are teamed together on a writing assignment, much to the chagrin of  her bother Jase and lifelong friend Charlie.   The more time they spend together, the more she likes him, and the less her brother and Charlie seem to resemble to easy-going guys they used to be.   Scout asks questions,for which she never receives answers.

And then, on a school trip, Scout gets an answer that she wasn’t expecting.   The class gets stuck in Nashville during a trip to watch The Taming of the Shrew.   It’s that night that changes everything, because Alex changes…into a wolf.

As their relationship deepens, Scout begins to learn more and more about shifter dynamics and surprises are around every corner.

As the story continues, Tammy Blackwell takes you deeper and deeper into the world of The Timberwolves.  You learn about their culture and their hierarchies in a story that builds their world without the drudgery that exists in the debut novels for some writers.

Blackwell’s writing is amazing.  It is apparent that she has experience with the age group about whom she is writing.  Scout is witty and snarky, exactly what you’d expect from a girl her age.  She is in turn experienced and naive, never sounding like she’s just a vehicle for an adult voice.

Blackwell is also adept at building the environment in her story as well.  Even if you aren’t a Kentucky native (as I am), she easily transports you to the state.  You feel as though you are an active particpant in her story, not just an observer.

Strong characters and a strong story leave the reader wanting more; luckily, this is the start of a series that has been written and for which there will be further installments.   This novel lands solidly on the repeat read list.


Robin Gwaro is a founding book review blogger at Bookgateway.com and has generously supplied this review. Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost. where she writes about whatever comes her way.

Unlike most of my review books, Destiny Binds was purchased by me and was not provided as a review copy.  It’s that good. 

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison

19 years prior to A New Hope the largest Imperial officer graduation ceremony becomes ground zero for a massive coup.

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison
written by Haden Blackman
art by Agustin Alessio
Dark Horse
April 2013

Laurita Tohm, our narrator via his report on the coup attempt, can’t wait to graduate as an officer. When the attack comes he battles his peers – members of a secret group loyal to a high ranking Imperial who is tired of seeing his cadets die in wasteful wars – when he finds himself with Darth Vader working to save the Emperor, who has been poisoned.

The only safe place to run to while the Emperor is healed is a secret prison full of ultra violent criminals and rebels (not in the sense of the movies). Once there they work to recruit an army imageof deadly prisoners to take back the Empire. (Some of the best scenes in the book can be found here.)

Ultimately, this is a story about Vader and how he becomes the monster hinted at in Episode III but fully realized in Episode IV. A fascinating and multifaceted portrayal that sheds light on the once hero, now villain, and one day to be redeemed right hand of the Emperor. Watching and learning from Lord Vader is the highlight of Tohm’s life – and of this book.

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The artwork is outstanding. In a world dominated by Jim Lee clones, Alessio hits exactly the right balance between artistic freedom and realism. (Right).

The story is never interrupted by oddly shaped, overly buxom women or overly buff men. Vader and icons of the Star Wars universe are instantly recognizable and extremely well done.

The cover art and full page pinups are also outstanding. Wilkins does a great job artistically portraying Vader! I love his Vader / skull pinup! (Left).

This is a great graphic novel. It’s well written, adds to the universe, and is beautifully done.


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 Girls Guide to Love and Supper Clubs by Bate

A fantastic and funny debut from Dana Bate! Hannah Sugarman can’t seem to get anything right. She hates her job, her life and feels at a crossroads until The DuPont Circle Supper Club.

The Girls Guide to Love and Supper Clubs
Dana Bate
Hyperion
February 2013

The adventures of Hannah Sugarman are classic! Hannah Sugarman is extremely unhappy with her career at ERD or NERD as she calls it, a think tank in Washington DC. Hannah has just recently moved in with Adam when she starts to feel things are not quite right with him. Adam dumps Hannah and Hannah has to find a new home and ends up renting a basement apartment from Blake, a local politician. Hannah has a love for cooking and would love to someday run her own kitchen or catering business even if that isn’t what her parents want her to do. Hannah and her friend decide to start an underground supper club, The DuPont Circle Supper Club. When Hannah’s basement apartment floods, she is forced to move her supper club upstairs into her landlord’s home. The supper club is a phenomenal hit! Hannah has had enough of her job at NERD and decides to just quit, that’s it, done, finished, tells them adios. Hannah has applied to culinary school and decides not to tell her parents.

Hannah holds one final supper club in her landlord’s home while he is out to a gala when something goes terribly wrong; a fire erupts in the kitchen in a pot of oil. The fire quickly spreads out of control, the smoke detectors are screaming, people are frantically scrambling out of the house when what does Hannah hear? Fire engines? No, it cannot be fire engines. A loud knock at the door and sure enough there are the firemen. Not only have the firemen arrived but Blake, Hannah’s landlord arrives and is not happy. Fortunately, the fire does not do too much damage to Blake’s kitchen however; he cannot believe Hannah would lie to him. In the two weeks after the fire, Hannah realizes just how much she enjoys (maybe even loves) Blake.

This is a fun, humorous adventure for anyone looking for a good fun book.


Nicole L. Wright is an avid reader and lover of books who enjoys sharing reviews with fellow book lovers. She also blogs at Newbie Book Review.

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

Prairie Song by Mona Hodgson

Anna Coben left her home in St. Charles, Missouri to travel west with her mother and grandfather in the hopes that the change will rid her family of their crippling grief and depression. Caleb Reger is traveling with the wagon train as a hired hand and he has secrets in his past that he hopes to put behind him during the next five months of the trip.

Prairie Song
Mona Hodgson
WaterBrook Press
August 2013

Prairie Song by Mona Hodgson is a very well written Christian, historical romance and most of the story takes place as a wagon train travels west. Anna Coben lost her brother in the Civil War and the loss has pushed her mother and grandfather into a state of depression and grief and Anna feels that a change will help them. Because of this, she decides to leave all her friends in the St. Charles, Missouri quilting circle and travel by wagon train to California. Caleb Reger has secrets from his past and he hopes that doing his job on the wagon train will help him forget. Above all he wants to avoid Anna for he feels that not only is she beautiful but that she is trouble. The wagon train is made up of a very diverse group of people but during the five months of traveling, they begin to work together for the good of the entire group. There are many problems along the way such as petty thefts, damage to wagons, sickness, and even death. The thefts are never solved and hopefully they will be in the second book of the series.
 
The author did an excellent job in the development of every element in this story. She grabbed my attention on the first page and held it until the last page. The characters were so realistic that I felt as if they were close friends. In my mind’s eye, I could see myself walking along beside one of the wagons for the author made everything in the wagon train come alive. I could even feel the aches and pains of the people walking beside the wagons or riding on them. Descriptions of the scenery seen along the trail were so realistic that in my mind I could see wagons and people, hear the noises made by the animals and even smell the food when it was cooking. There was some suspense in the story and the plot line had a few twists and turns that added to my enjoyment of the book. The way that the author portrayed the problems of Caleb’s past and Anna’s sorrow were well written and showed the forgiving and comforting love of God. I greatly enjoyed every word of the story and liked the ending. I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series so that I can continue the journey with all the characters.

The following links to resources related to this book are included here for any reader that is interested.
For interesting inside information about the author’s way of writing you can check out her website.
This site will provide more information about the book and the publisher.
To learn more about the author, read her bio.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who likes a Christian, historical romance that takes place in the nineteenth century during the westward expansion of America.


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.

Star Wars: Kenobi

After Obi-Wan defeats his apprentice Anakin Skywalker he has the task of taking Padme’s child in to hiding. When next we see him in Episode IV, Luke is grown and Ben Kenobi is aged. What happens in between those times is finally revealed.

Star Wars: Into the Void
by John Jackson Miller
read by Jonathan Davis
LucasArts / Randomhouse Audio
August 2013

Trying to keep a low profile, Obi-Wan takes up residence on Tatooine. There he finds a land full of people living on the edge with death constantly around them in the form of the harsh waterless world and the ever present Sandpeople. When he sees firsthand the devastation that the Sandpeople bring to the pioneers he steps in, risking his anonymity and the safety of his precious cargo. But can the valiant Jedi do anything other than protect the weak?

Kenobi is interesting as it adds to the mythology of Obi-Wan in a way that fills in the gaps for us without damaging the storyline (see Episode I for how that could go wrong.) It’s a serviceable story, with minor plot twists, but mostly straight forward. Since we know that he can’t die (and neither can Luke) a lot of the tension is lost. Still, I’d rather know this story than not so for fans this is a must read.

A note about the audiobook: Davis does a very good job channeling Obi-Wan Kenobi and the characters from this book. They are believable and we never lose track of who is speaking. And like always, this Star Wars audio production is a treat with sound effects and music tying it all together.


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.

Cooking Up Love by Cynthia Hickey

Harvey-1-cover-189x300Tabitha McClelland is traveling by train to Topeka, Kansas to begin her training as a Harvey House waitress. There she meets Adam Foster, the chef at the restaurant where she will do her training.

Cooking Up Love
Cynthia Hickey
Love Inspired Books
July 2013

Cooking Up Love by Cynthia Hickey is a most delightful book. Tabitha McClelland has just taken a job as a Harvey House waitress and to reach the job she has to travel across the country but at least she gets to ride on a train and does not have to endure the trip via stagecoach. At this time in America, well bred young ladies did not work outside the home but Tabitha has no choice for she is on her own and has to support herself. When she reaches Topeka, Kansas, she meets Adam Foster who is the chef at the restaurant where she will do her training. He is a widower and Tabby is drawn to him but family is everything to him and she only wants freedom and to be on her own. Fraternizing between the male and female employees is strictly forbidden by the Harvey House owner but the feelings that Tabby and Adam have for each other are just too strong to ignore. Adam’s dream is to open a restaurant in California with his family and he prays that he can convince Tabby to join him as his wife and to share his dream.

The author did an excellent job with the development of the characters. Everyone of them came alive on the pages of the book and I felt as if I knew each of them personally.
Scene descriptions were so realistic that I could feel the sway of the train as I traveled with Tabby to her new job. The author made Tabby’s training so real that I was feeling her pain and all her other emotions that were attached to the training. I especially liked the way that the author kept God’s love and forgiveness prominent in the book as Tabby dealt with her memories and grief and as Adam trusted God for guidance. The author also did a good job of educating me about the Harvey Girls. I had a passing knowledge of them but this book gave me a look into the outs and ins of the job. I had no idea that the training was so intense and that there were so many strict rules and regulations. Not only was this a great romance story but it also presented a bit of American history in a most enjoyable way.

I recommend this book highly to everyone that likes a great Christian historical romance with a happy ending and that also teaches a small history lesson.


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 author as a review copy.

Tornado Slim and the Magic Cowboy Hat by Langdo

When a coyote comes up to you and offers you a magic hat you say yes! It’s worth it!

Tornado Slim and the Magic Cowboy Hat
by Brian Langdo
Two Lions
October 2011

Slim just wanted to rest, but the coyote needed to get to his wedding and needed someone else to deliver a letter to Fire Gulch City. To sweeten the deal, the coyote offered Slim his cowboy hat as a present. Accepting the hat and the letter, Slim promised to deliver the letter. On the way, he comes across several natural (and unnatural) disasters that are all resolved by the magic of his new hat. When a flood threatens the hat swallows all the water. When a tornado and thieves come across his hat, Slim and his hat take care of business. And so on.

The story and artwork are so well done that adults and children alike will be swallowed, like a tornado, and enthralled. The ending is a sweet and surprising resolution to a satisfying book. It’s very well done.

Highly recommended for children of all ages and maturity.


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.

A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston

Hannah Glick, an Amish widow, is working at the local hotel when she meets wealthy businessman, Trey Peterson, who is a widower. A close friendship develops between the two and this leads to trouble for Hannah.

A Hopeful Heart
Amy Clipston
Zondervan
June 2013

A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston is a wonderful Amish story with a different twist than most Amish novels. Hannah Glick has been widowed for four years and has sixteen year old twin daughters and a six year old son. She works as a housekeeper at the local hotel and in an embarrassing situation, she meets Trey Peterson a wealthy businessman who lost his wife and daughter a year earlier. Her brother-in-law, Joshua, has loved Hannah since they were children and the desire of his heart is to become her husband and a father to her children. As Hannah and Trey continue to see each other regularly at the hotel they realize that they are beginning to feel more than just friendship for each other. Hannah has been Amish all her life and loves her community and family but she has always had dreams that can be fulfilled if she decides to leave the Amish community and marry an Englisher. Rumors about Hannah and Trey fly through the Amish community and Hannah must decide if she wants to remain Amish which would require that she kneel and repent before the entire church or if she wants to leave the faith and marry Trey.

Characters were so well developed that they became alive on the pages of the book and I felt as if I knew every one of them personally and that they were my friends. The plot line had a surprise or two that kept me guessing if Hannah would remain Amish or marry Trey. The author’s description of the farms with their houses, barns, animals, and buggies were so expertly done that I could clearly picture each one as I read about it.
The emotions of the main characters were so real that I was crying or laughing right along with them and I wanted to give the mother-in-law a good shaking. I really like the way that the author included Dietsch words throughout the story for in my opinion they add authenticity to the story. I really liked that this story was somewhat different than all the other Amish stories that I have read. Usually the problems happen to the community as a whole or to one of the characters but in this book the main character has to decide if she will stay in the Amish community or if she will marry an Englisher. I am sure there are other Amish books that deal with that problem but so far this is the first one I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great Amish story.


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.

Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge

Jules Belleno lives as a recluse and spends all her time writing book reviews on her blog and posting comments on FaceBook. At the grocery store she meets her favorite author and that is the last thing that she remembers.

Misery Loves Company
Rene Gutteridge
Tyndale House Publishers
July 2013

Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge is a very intense story that grabbed my attention on the first page and with each following chapter the story became even more intense. Jules Belleno lives in seclusion since the death of her policeman husband and spends her time writing book reviews on her blog and posting comments on FaceBook. She only leaves her home to make short trips to the grocery store. On one fateful day when she is at the grocery store, she meets her favorite author and that is the last thing that she remembers. Jules wakes up in a strange bedroom and sees written on the ceiling the exact words that she used in a review of a book written by her favorite author, Patrick Reagan. She realizes that she has been kidnapped by Patrick and everything that happens in the days that follow cause Jules to question her husband’s death, to question her life in general, and to even question her faith in God. Colonel Jim Franklin, Jules’ father, and Chris Downey, her husband’s best friend and fellow policeman, are the only two individuals that take her disappearance seriously. Chris even goes against authority in his search for Jules’ and as a result he uncovers things that endanger his own life as well as the life of Jules.

The author did a very good job of keeping the reader hanging on every word and wondering what was going to happen next. The characters were extremely well developed to the point that I could feel Jules’ pain and almost feel sympathy for her alcoholic father. During the entire time that Jules was in the cabin with Patrick, I felt as if I were right there in the room with them for the author did an excellent job of portraying the emotions of both characters. There were many twists and turns in the plot line and just when I thought I had everything figured out the author would surprise me. As all the action was taking place in the last half of the book, I could feel the tension in the air and the danger lurking behind ever corner. The author’s description of all the scenes were very realistically done and while reading I could picture everything in my mind and see and feel exactly what was happening. I wish that the author had written exactly how Jules was kidnapped rather than just writing that she was at the grocery store talking with Patrick Reagan and that was the last thing she remembered. But I am sure the author had a reason for not elaborating on the kidnapping. I really like the way that the author kept God foremost in Jules’ life and how she was able to influence others.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who like a very suspenseful Christian novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next.

For anyone interested in information about the author visit this Tyndale site or check out the author’s webpage.


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.

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