River Oaks Plantation by B. J. Robinson

A1fdwzVPZTL._SL1500_Camilla O’Brien has inherited River Oaks Plantation from her grandmother and she moves in on August 29, 2005, just in time to experience Hurricane Katrina and all the danger and destruction it brings.

River Oaks Plantation
B. J. Robinson
Self Published
December 2013

River Oaks Plantation by B. J. Robinson is two stories in one but expertly woven together by the author to make one wonderful story of love and hardship with love winning in the end. The story begins in 1856 when Margaret Turnrow, the fifteen year old bride of Danny Turnrow, sees her new home for the first time. She thinks it is the most beautiful house she has ever seen and immediately starts thinking of the formal gardens that she will plant and she plans to model them after the gardens she saw in Europe on her honeymoon. The Civil War brought many changes and heartaches to Margaret but she had her gardens to help her through the hard times.

The modern part of the story began when Margaret’s great, great granddaughter, Camilla O’Brien, arrived at River Oaks Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana, on August 29, 2005. Camilla spent many summers of her youth at the home and is overjoyed that her grandmother left the house to her and she plans to restore it to its former beauty. She had dressed to impress the manager of the plantation but when she met him she was soaked to the skin from the pouring rain. Camilla and Noah Gautreaux, the plantation manager, spent their childhood summers together but at their first meeting neither recognized the other. Soon Camilla and Noah were swept up into all the problems and dangers caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The author did an excellent job in the development of the story in the way that she interwove the story of the nineteenth century with the story of the twenty first century. I like the way the author included the diary of the great, great grandmother in the story. All the characters were so real that they seemed to came to life on the pages of the book and I felt as if I knew each one of them personally. All the action was so realistic that I was living it right along with the characters in the story especially the scenes that were taking place during Hurricane Katrina. Thanks to twenty-four/seven television coverage of Katina, I had lived through that part of the story and the author’s vivid descriptions brought the terror of Hurricane Katrina to life in the book. There were twists and turns in the plot and even a little suspense. Would Danny come home from the Civil War? Would River Oaks Plantation be destroyed by Hurricane Katrina? Would Camilla and Noah end up together?

I highly recommend this book to everyone that enjoys a great romantic story. This novel has two wonderful stories with one beginning in 1856 and the other beginning in 2005.


Deanna Love Gottreu is a 75 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.

Minding Molly by Leslie Gould

817APsagIqL._SL1500_Molly Zook is a very opinionated young Amish woman and always wants to be in control of any situation in which she is involved.

Minding Molly
by Leslie Gould
Bethany House Publishers
February 2014

Minding Molly by Leslie Gould is an Amish story with a little different twist. I don’t remember reading any Amish books that had such a domineering female main character. But by the end of the book I liked her and actually felt sorry for her at times. Molly Zook always wants to be in control of any situation and she is having a huge problem with her mother. Her mother wants Molly to marry Mervin Mosier for this will save the family farm. However, Molly is working very hard to get Mervin to renew his interest in her best friend Hannah. To add to the problem, Molly meets Leon Fisher and is instantly drawn to him. He is from Montana and is now living in Pennsylvania and working at a nearby farm training horses. Molly plans a camping trip in the hopes of getting to know Leon but it seems that he is more interested in Hannah than her.

The author did an excellent job in the development of the characters and they came to life on the pages of the book.. Usually I really like the main character of a story but I had to read almost the entire book before I began to like Molly. The other characters definitely were a group with a wide range of personalities. Some I liked and others were somewhat unlikeable. Scenes were well developed and I felt as if I were right where the action was happening. Sometimes I just wanted to shake Molly and her sister and tell them to shape up. At times the dialogue seemed a little immature but it did fit some of the characters. I was glad that by the end of the story, Molly had softened and was learning to let God lead her. There were a few twists and turns to the plot that kept me guessing as to which woman would end up with which man. All in all the story had a happy ending.

I recommend this book if you like Amish fiction and also like a bossy main character.


Deanna Love Gottreu is a 75 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.

Wren’s Nest by Deanne Durrett

81PtDcI-37L._SL1500_Joe Chandler, a retired cop, is awakened from a deep sleep by loud pounding on his front door. When he opens the door he sees a young woman and man drenched by the blowing rain. It is evident that the woman is in labor but Joe has delivered babies before so he is not worried.

Wren’s Nest
by Deanne Durrett
Self Published
November 2013

Wren’s Nest by Deanne Durrett is a great story of love, the love one gives and receives through helping others. Joe Chandler is fast asleep when a very loud knocking on his front door awakens him. He opens the door to find a young man and woman soaked to the skin in the driving rain. As they enter the house, Joe realizes that the woman is in labor but he is an ex-cop and has delivered babies before. The young man tells Joe that Blake Adams in Phoenix sent them. With this information Joe relaxes and gets everything ready for the impending birth. The young couple are brother and sister, Loren and Sherman, and they are fleeing from their lawyer uncle who has substituted Loren as a surrogate mother due to the disappearance of the original surrogate mother. After Joe learned that Sherman was Loren’s brother then he just assumed she was a single mother. Loren assured him that she was married and that her husband was in the Air Force Special Ops somewhere in the Middle East.

Deanne did an excellent job in the development of all elements of this story. Each character was so well developed that I felt as if they were close friends. Well the lawyer uncle would never be a friend but he was also so well written that one could not help but greatly dislike him, even feel a little hate, and have the desire to toss him in jail and throw away the key. The scenes were so descriptive that during the birth of the baby I could almost feel Loren’s pain and then her joy when the baby was placed in her arms. There were several twists and turns in the plot and each one seemed to be more suspenseful than the next. While reading everything that Joe and his retired cop buddies were doing to protect Loren and the baby, I did a lot of nail biting and sitting on the edge of my chair. Matilda, Joe’s neighbor and friend, added a lot of love to the story but she also was the cause of a great deal of danger and fear. The story has a happy ending and even a surprise at the very end of the story, at least it was a surprise for me. I really appreciated the way the author showed through the main characters, the importance of prayer and how helping others brings happiness to the one being helped as well as to the one doing the helping. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the Phoenix Connection Series about Joe Chandler and his retired cop buddies.

I definitely recommend this book to all readers who enjoy a clean and suspenseful story with strong Christian values and enough romance to be interesting.


Deanna Love Gottreu is a 75 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.

Say It With Flowers by Suzanne D. Williams

910B0284W6L._SL1500_ Benito Bottari owns a florist and when Arabella Howland comes in to order flowers for her wedding Benito immediately falls in love.

Say It With Flowers
by Suzanne D. Williams
Self Published
April 2014

Say It With Flowers by Suzanne D. Williams is the fourth book in the Italian series and this book is just as enjoyable a story as the other three. It is a delightful feel good romantic story but how could it be anything else with a handsome and sweet Italian man as the main character. Benito Bottari owns a florist and when Arabella Howland comes into the store to order flowers for her wedding, Benito falls in love immediately. It is no surprise that Arabella also feels something when she meets Benito. He has secrets in his past but he is determined to win Arabella’s heart for he has a feeling that she does not really love Fredrick, the man she is to marry. When Arabella’s best friend tells Benito that Fredrick is not what he seems and that Arabella’s life is in danger, Benito thinks he may be the only person who can help Arabella.

Once again Suzanne has done an excellent job in the development of the characters, dialogue, and plot. All the characters were so realistically portrayed that I felt as if I were friends with all of them, well not with Fredrick. I was instantly drawn to Benito and was pulling for him to win the girl. The dialogue was gripping at times and at other times my heart was melting. There were a few twists and turns in the plot and one of those turns had me sitting on the edge of my chair and chewing on my fingernails. The author definitely knows how to keep the reader reading. And during all the action that took place in the book, I was right in the middle of it for the scenes were so well written and real. You will have to read the book to learn if Benito wins Arabella’s heart.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially to those that love a feel good romantic story.


Deanna Love Gottreu is a 75 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.

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.

Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves by Corey

honor_among_thievesAfter the destruction of the Death Star, Leah Organa needs some work done for the sake of the Rebellion and knows just the man – Han Solo.

Honor Among Thieves
Star Wars – Legends
by James S.A. Corey
read by Marc Thompson
LucasBooks / Random House Audio
March 2014

Han’s mission is to “rescue” Scarlet Hark from Imperial space without causing much of a fuss. Of course, he does and adventures ensue. Very like Harrison Ford’s other main hero, Indiana Jones, this version of Han is all adventure and intrigue. And his relationship with Scarlet is nearly identical to the one portrayed by Leah in the films and other novels. I found that rather jarring at times – almost like Han was cheating on Leah – but I had to keep in mind that this is prior to The Empire Strikes Back so it’s not really cheating at all.

Interestingly, James S.A. Corey is a pen named used by well known and successful sci-fi writers Nebula and Hugo Award nominees Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Not sure why the pen name, but whatever the case they do a very good job fitting their story and talents to the world and voice of classic Star Wars. Unfortunately, this book fits in the new “Legends” series and is now non-canonical due to Disney doing away with the larger literary universe of Star Wars. So while it’s a fun ride, ultimately it’s the equivalent of a day dream with characters you know.

A note about the audio version: Marc Thompson once again shines as the reader of a Star Wars audio book. His Han and characters are great and easily distinguishable. Along with the excellent audio mixing and sound effects this book is a pleasure to listen to.


@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.

Hands of Darkness by Heather James

1609555_734353786599112_1268552769_n Evelyn Barrett has a new baby and a new job as a police consultant. She helped the police solve the murder of her young daughter and is now trying to move on with her life since she can no longer work as a lawyer.

Hands of Darkness
by Heather James
Kregel Publications
February 2014

Hands of Darkness by Heather James was a good book but I had a hard time getting involved in the story. Evelyn Barrett can no longer practice law so she has taken a job as a police consultant and will be working with Detective Thatcher. She worked with him to help solve the kidnapping and murder of her young daughter. At the beginning of the book she is almost at the end of her pregnancy and has the baby before the middle of the story. Working as a police consultant allows her to be at home with her newborn son and to work only hours that are convenient. At least that was the way it was supposed to be. The first case she works on involves a very sadistic serial rapist and murderer who is very methodical in his killings. He leaves absolutely nothing at the scene that would lead to his identity so Thatcher and Evelyn have a very tough job in bringing him to justice. The case becomes very personal for Evelyn when her good friend Jen is raped but somehow manages to survives.

The author did an excellent job in the development of the characters. I had a problem liking the main character for she had so many quirks in her personality that simply rubbed me the wrong way. The description of scenes, especially ones that involved a dead body, were so real that I felt as if I were a witness to what was happening. I love a good police drama, even with murder thrown into the mix, but this story just seemed almost too dark for my taste. The villain was so evil that I cringed every time I read what he was thinking and doing. Evelyn seemed to be a devout Christian but it seemed that a great deal of the time, the devil controlled her tongue. And it bothered me that she would get a bee in her bonnet and strike out alone and not tell Thatcher what she was going to do. That trait finally got her into a lot of trouble and danger. I was a little disappointed with the ending but I guess it was the only way the story could end. In spite of the darkness of the story, there was a time or two that I actually laughed at whatever was happening or being said.

I gave the book a four star rating because I could not honestly say that I loved the book and give it five stars.

I would recommend this book only if you are really into dark murder mysteries with a murderer that seems to have a soul that is pure evil.


Deanna Love Gottreu is a 75 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.

Lucy’s Mansion by Deanne Durrett

91MJihThhBL._SL1500_Becca has bought the beautiful Victorian mansion from Lucy Evans and has turned it into a home for battered women and children. Residents of the community are not happy.

Lucy’s Mansion
by Deanne Durrett
Self Published
December 2013

Lucy’s Mansion by Deanne Durrett is a great book and continues the story that was begun in Rogue Trust. Becca buys the beautiful Victorian home of Lucy Evans and converts it into a home for battered women and children. The wealthy residents of the community that surrounds Lucy’s Mansion are doing everything they can to get the women thrown out of the house. Unfortunately, the shelter violates zoning laws which are upheld by the City Council. Becca and J.T. join together to fight the City Council and in the process they realize that they have a strong attraction to each other. There is also a problem with Becca’s twelve-year-old daughter for she keeps saying that second marriages are bad for kids. Becca wants a life with J.T. but she feels that her daughter comes first.

Deanne Durrett has done an excellent in the development of this second story about Becca and her huge inherited fortune. All characters were so well developed that I either loved or greatly disliked them. Only the two society ladies come to mind as ones that I really disliked. Dialogue was right on the mark and the descriptions of scenes were so real that I felt I was right there where everything was happening. Becca’s young daughter, Amy, seemed very real and concerned about her mother and in this book she displays more of the traits or a typical preteen. There was a great deal of suspense in this story. Would Becca or the City Council win the fight over the zoning for Lucy’s Mansion and would Becca and J.T. be able to overcome their problems in their love life? I especially liked the way that the author had the characters depending on God for guidance. I hope that there will be more books in this series for this is a group of characters that I really love and want to follow their lives into the future.

I highly recommend this book to everyone that loves a great Christian romance that also has some suspense and tense moments.


Deanna Love Gottreu is a 75 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.

The Rogue Trust by Deanne Durrett

81a9P1wIlML._SL1500_Becca McGee is the heir to a huge fortune and she finds her life out of sync because of all the problems that result from the inheritance. She must also deal with J.T. Harrison the lawyer handling the inheritance for he wants to know her better and she wants nothing to do with him.

The Rogue Trust
by Deanne Durrett
Self Published
January 2014

The Rogue Trust by Deanne Durrett is a great story of a young woman who is the heir to a huge fortune that was created to honor a Vietnam war hero. The story begins with Becca receiving a bouquet of fourteen yellow roses and just gets better and better from that point on. Becca McGee is working hard to provide a good life for her twelve-year-old daughter, Amy K. Becca has been widowed for three years but still wears her wedding ring and really has no desire to date. J.T. Harrison is the young, good looking lawyer that is handling the inheritance and Becca seems to think that he is a jerk, a stalker, and an imposter. Neither want to admit there is an attraction and J.T. has his work cut out for him in convincing Becca to accept the inheritance and to give him a chance to get to know her better. The stealing of Miss Honey, Amy K’s cat, is just one of the many events that put a good deal of suspense into the story. One thing that was not in the story that I kept expecting to read was the amount of the inheritance. The reader is only told that it was a huge inheritance and that Becca would be able to do anything that she had ever wanted to do.

The author did an excellent job in the development of all the elements that make up this story. The characters were very believable and nearly all were very likeable. I was living Becca’s life right along with her for I have sometimes day dreamed about what I would do should I be fortunate enough to inherit a large sum of money. Becca’s struggles are real and the author did a great job in the way she portrayed Becca working through each problem. All the scenes were so well scripted that I felt myself taking part in everything that was going on. There were several twists and turns to the plot but each twist just added more to the story. I simply adored Becca’s daughter, Amy K, for it was so good to read a novel with a sweet and obedient preteen. I very much enjoyed the friendships and family interactions that were woven throughout the story along with the characters dependence on God for direction.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves a good romance spiced up with a little suspense and that has love and friendship all through the story.


Deanna Love Gottreu is a 75 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.

All Things Hidden by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse

81K54p9azPL._SL1500_Gwyn Hillerman lives in the Alaskan frontier with her father who is the only doctor in the area and helps him as his nurse. Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan moves to Alaska from Chicago when his medical license is revoked and soon an attraction develops between him and Gwyn.

All things Hidden
by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse
Bethany House
January 2014

All Things Hidden by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse was a most enjoyable story which also taught me some American history. Harold Hillerman felt called to take his medical practice to the Alaskan frontier. He moved his wife and two daughters to Alaska early in the twentieth century but his wife and younger daughter had only contempt for the land and the people and moved back to Chicago. Gwyn stayed in Alaska with her father and worked in the medical clinic with him as his nurse. In the era of the Depression, one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal projects was The Matanuska Colonization. This brought two hundred families to the area where Gwyn lived and soon her doctor father was greatly overworked. Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan was stripped of his medical license in Chicago, and to get away from the situation and his broken engagement, he moved to Alaska to help Dr. Hillerman who had been his mentor and friend since he was a young boy. Gwyn’s life had been hard since her mother left but she had great friends among the Alaskan natives and she felt that Alaska was the most beautiful place that God created.

The authors did an excellent job in writing this book. Even though it is a fictional story, they accurately presented actual historical events that took place throughout the book. The development of the characters was so well done that they came to life on the pages of the book and I felt as if I knew everyone of them personally. I even found myself taking part in the conversations in my mind. The plot had a lot of twists and turns and just when I had things all figured out, the plot would change. All the scenes were so well written that in my mind I could see exactly what was happening and was right in the middle of the action. Their descriptions of the mountains and landscapes of Alaska were so vivid that I could see them in my mind’s eye and it also made me want to visit Alaska. The story was filled with love, hate, suspense, murder, friendship, romance, forgiveness, and trust in God. I found this story to be uplifting, entertaining, and informative.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great story filled with suspense, romance, murder, history and has vivid descriptions of the beauty of Alaska.


Deanna Love Gottreu is a 75 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.

Your Gateway to Great Books!