Sabriel by Nix

sabriel_coverSabriel is the daughter of the Abhorsen, a man tasked with ensuring the dead stay dead and are not left free to feast on the living. But Sabriel has been going to school in the non-magical land of Ancelstierre, where magic doesn’t exist and few believe such a thing even exists. However when her father goes missing, Sabriel must travel past the Border into the Old Kingdom and take up the title of Abhorsen for herself. The Greater Dead are stirring and something very old is threatening to break free past the gates that separate Life from Death.

Sabriel
The Abhorsen Trilogy #1
Garth Nix
HarperTeen
October 6, 2009

The story of Sabriel is a very simple one, yet Nix weaves a very complex world of ancient magic and necromancy. The author doesn’t waste time with history or back story, and instead dives head first into the action. What little we do learn about the magic, necromancy, and the Old Kingdom is slowly pieced together through information spread out through the story.

Yet Nix’s easy going pace and simple prose doesn’t require the reader to understand more than the basic of concepts. At it’s heart, this is really a story about a young woman growing up, experiencing love, and finding her place in a confusing and troubled world.

If I had one complaint about Sabriel, it is that there wasn’t more. While Nix’s approach is sure to make the reading more palatable for those not wishing to be bogged down with the finer details, I found myself utterly swept away by this amazing and complex world. But the author expertly slips us only a taste of the Old Kingdom’s history and never tells us more that we absolutely need to know.

Fortunately, Sabriel is only the first in the Abhorsen trilogy. The book stands alone quite well, however, and even those not interested in continuing to the sequels are sure to enjoy this remarkable tale.


Matthew Scott is the Dark Fantasy & Horror Editor of BookGateway.com who describes himself as just another average reader who enjoys sharing his opinion on various books, authors, and whatever else may cross his path.

Blue to Remember by Suzanne D. Williams

51KNVnFrcDL._BO2204203200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-clickTopRight35-76_AA278_PIkin4BottomRight-6422_AA300_SH20_OU01_The first half of the book deals with the Old Man who cannot get past the terrible things that happened to him during the Civil War and the second half is about his son Tad.

Blue to Remember
Suzanne D. Williams
Self Published
August 2013

Blue to Remember by Suzanne D. Williams is a very good story that touches the heart. The book begins with The Old Man’s story and ends with Tad’s Story. The story begins during the Civil War when The Old Man and several young men are sitting around in a southern military prison waiting for The Boy to die from his battle wounds. Eventually the Old Man and the other soldiers are released from prison but he cannot forget the young Boy that died asking for his mother. The Old Man has trouble adjusting to life back at home and he is constantly upset by the nightmares that come so often. The nightmares are always about the young Boy that died in the prison camp and the Old Man just cannot forget the Boy’s death.. Through a strange twist of fate the Old Man travels back to where the young Boy is buried and hopefully he will gain relief from his sorrow and pain. The second half of the story is about Tad, the Old Man’s son. He meets Beth, the sister of The Boy, and thinks that she is the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Their meeting was quite unusual, she fell in the creek and he rescued her. For Tad, it was love at first sight and soon they were married and in time they celebrated the birth of their first child. Tad and Beth are very happy but they are not sure how to deal with the hatred of a woman in the community and the strange appearance of jars of strawberry jam.

The author did an excellent job with the characters, dialogue, plot, and scene descriptions. The people were so real that I felt as if I knew everyone of them personally. I could almost feel the Old Man’s pain and wanted to be able to help him find peace in his life. I also felt the pain of The Boy’s mother and father as they tried to find closure in the death of their son in the war prison camp. All the characters simply came to life on the pages of the book and they were so well developed that I felt involved in their lives and wanted to help them but there were two to whom I would have liked to deal out some kind of punishment. The plot had a few twists and turns which added greatly to my enjoyment of the book. There was even some suspense which centered around the strange appearance of jars of strawberry jam in odd places. There was also a little surprise when I finally realized the connection between The Old Man, Tad, and The Boy. All the scenes were so well described that I could see in my mind exactly what was going on and even felt as if I were right in the middle of the action. I really liked how love for others was so prominent in the book and that the love of God was woven throughout the book.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who likes a great story with a good bit of history and a Christian setting.


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.

Clone #10 by Schulner, Ginsburg, McIntyre and Ryp

When the good folks at Skybound sent me Clone #8 a couple months ago I admit I was lost. Clone #9? Same thing. But I was intrigued enough to go back and read the first seven issues and by #10 I’m hooked! (And you should be, too).

Clone #10
written by David Schulner, Aaron Ginsburg and Wade McIntyre
art by Juan Jose Ryp
Image Skybound
September 2013

Clone is the story of an average man who encounters an intruder bleeding out on the floor of his kitchen. The man is him. and the other him is warning the man that he needs to get himself (both of him) and his wife (who is pregnant, which isn’t supposed to happen for clones) away to safety immediately. Of course, he is too late and his wife is abducted by a pseudo governmental agency that is trying to round up all the clones that the government has made over the last thirty years – all of the man. Without his knowledge. Yeah, it’s cool. But you can’t just jump in. You gotta start at the beginning.

Over the course of the next 9 issues, the man, Luke, with companions attempt to get his wife and young child back. The government agency and the Vice President vie for control of the program and its future. Lots of clones die and lots of drama happens. I’m not gonna ruin the story for you. Go read it. Then once you’re done read on.

[SPOILERS] In issue #10, Gamma has completed the virus and asks for his freedom and when it is denied he finds an ally in an unlikely place. Luke, Sanah, and Jennifer have broken in to the facility to save Luke’s wife but she isn’t there (she is with Eric – see issue #9). And the Vice President makes a surprise announcement that changes everything. [END SPOILERS]

It’s getting good! This is one of the best written and best drawn (and most consistently well drawn) books on the shelf right now. If you haven’t yet had a chance to pick it up, go pick up Clone Vol. 1 TP and catch up.


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.

Forewarned by Ullrick

Jasmine Moore lives in Colorado and spends the winter months inside for her body cannot take the cold. When boredom sets in she goes online to chat with friends and one of the chats leads Jasmine into danger.

Forewarned
Debra Ullrick
Spirit Light Publishing
August 2012

Forewarned by Debra Ullrick is a wonderful, suspenseful book that kept me on the edge of my chair and chewing on a fingernail. Jasmine Moore lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado but due to a near fatal accident, she can no longer stand the frigid cold of the winters in the area. Jack Warren has been Jasmine’s friend since they were young children. He has been in love with Jasmine for years and wants only to marry her and love her for the rest of their lives but she has a problem with trust even though she wants the same thing. Because the cold is so painful for Jasmine, she spends most of her time inside which leads to boredom. She decides to start chatting with friends online and connects with a man with the screen name of Simonrapport who sounds like every woman’s dream. Jack warns her about chatting with men online and even though she has slight feelings of danger, Jasmine continues to chat with Simon and soon finds herself in great danger.

The plot of the story was very well done and all the twists and turns in the action kept me guessing from page to page and I found it almost impossible to put the book down when I needed to do something other than read. All the characters were expertly developed and their dialogue was well written and easy to follow which made for an easy read. The realistic descriptions of the scenery had me feeling the cold of the snow and the joy of walking in the woods. The story was quite inspiring and without being critical or preachy, the author revealed that online chatting with strangers can lead to danger. Except for the bad guys, all the characters in the story showed by their daily living that God played a very important part in their lives. Jasmine and Jack were often praying for guidance and protection and God provided for their needs.

I very highly recommend this book to everyone who likes a story with a heart touching romance and lots of suspense to keep you guessing to the very end.


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.

A Simple Change by Judith Miller

simplechangeJancey Rhoder is very happy teaching orphans in Kansas City, Missouri but her life undergoes a drastic change when she and her parents move to the Middle Amana Colony in Iowa. Her mother is ill and wants to spend her last days in the Colony where she grew up.

A Simple Change
Judith Miller
Bethany House Publishers
August 2013

A Simple Change by Judith Miller is a well written wonderful story that begins in 1881 in Kansas City, Missouri but most of the story takes place in the Middle Amana Colony in Iowa. Jancey Rhoder is very happy teaching the orphans at the Kansas City Charity Home and is more or less comfortable with her suitor, Nathan Woodward. Her mother is quite ill and the doctors cannot determine exactly what is wrong with her and can offer no hope for recovery. Her mother and father lived in the Amana Colony until they married and moved to Kansas City. Now her mother wants to return to Amana to spend her last days, and her father is agreeable to the move. Jancey is torn because she wants to spend as much of her time as possible with her mother but she does not want to leave the children she teaches. Nathan definitely does not want Jancey to move but she is not too concerned about how he feels. The family moves to Amana and Jancey finds it a very different kind of life but she is not unhappy and fits in quite well with the women in the Colony. She cannot teach in Amana for women are not allowed to teach school but she is able to help a couple of the young girls with their reading skills which helps her adjust to not being able to teach at a school. Ritt is the son of the family that owns the house where Jancey and her parents live and since he and his family live upstairs, they have many occasions to meet and they quickly become friends and find that they are attracted to each other.. Nathan shows up for an unexpected and unwelcome visit and sparks start to fly in more ways than one.

The author did an excellent job developing the characters, plot,dialogue, and all other elements of the story. The characters simply came alive on the pages of the book and by the time I finished reading, I felt as if they were friends, or at least some of them were friends. It was evident that the author did her research on the Amana Colony and it was very interesting to read about the daily life of the people living in the Colony. A very enjoyable way to have a history lesson. Descriptions of scenes in the book were very well done and with each I felt as if I were living and working in the Colony right long with the characters. The fire scene was so real that I could almost feel the heat from the flames.

I highly recommend this book to everyone that appreciates a great story with a happy ending.


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.

God’s Not Dead by Broocks

With so many loud, seemingly authoritative voices championing atheism and so few Christian voices being allowed the opportunity to broadcast the Gospel it can be hard for a Christian to answer the challenge. Enter Broocks.

God’s Not Dead
Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty
By Rice Broocks
Thomas Nelson
March 2013

Broocks uses philosophy and logic – the same tools being abused to condemn Christianity – to show that the most rational, logical and correct worldview is that of the Christians. The author goes in to great depth to show the meaninglessness of empiricism and how it leads to only one conclusion: that we can prove nothing.

I love how the book was deep enough for those who have some experience and want deeper answers but could also be boiled down to very easy to understand concepts. Consider how the author destroys the argument against God because of evil: how can I believe in a god when there is so much evil in the world? The author answers simply: no God = no evil. Evil and good are concepts that are only explained by a creator God who gave them to us. A natural world built by undirected change and chance cannot create concepts like good and evil. Good stuff.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with the questions raised by non-believers or for those who want to have an answer for the hope that lies within them.


Scott Asher is the Managing Editor 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.

Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Cue Party Cookbook

Today is Labor Day and if your BBQ skills are lacking and your guests underwhelmed it’s time to get help. Why not get help from one of the most famous and most awarded grill masters ever? You won’t be disappointed.

Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Cue Party Cookbook
Secrets of a BBQ Legend!
by Famous Dave Anderson
Famous Dave Anderson / Self
June 2013

Most cookbooks I’ve read and used tend to be dry descriptions with (possibly) a small picture to show you what you’re working towards. Not this one. At 264 pages – all full color – you get way more than you expect here. (Kinda like the restaurant of the same name.) Everything from appetizers (like Smokin’ Dragons, which are bacon wrapped jalapeños,) to salads (including my favorite Fruit Salsa Dip with Cinnamon Chips,) to sandwiches and burgers to sides (like Southwest Creamy Mac N Cheese with three different peppers) to Entrées (yes, the ribs are in here!) to desserts and even drinks! This cookbook is full to the brim with great ideas.

Not just great ideas about food ingredients but also how-to. Consider the hamburgers. I thought I knew hamburgers. But Anderson shows how to prep the meat (loose not patted tight) with pictures, how to grill, when to add ingredients and so on. Way more helpful than your standard cookbook. Want to know how to prep for a real smoked meal? Directions including size of wood and how long to soak for the best taste are included. Very thorough for all skill levels.

I’m not usually a big fan of cookbooks and I don’t normally go for restaurant tie-ins. But this is a top notch cookbook that anyone who grills out or loves BBQ would enjoy and find very useful.


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.

Stay With Me by Elissa Patrick

patrickDisillusioned with the world of music and movies, Hailey has decided to give it all up and try to achieve a “normal” life.    She leaves the glamour and glitz of her high profile life to enter college in Burlington, Vermont.   Hailey initially had no plans but to settle into college life and find herself; she finds Caleb instead.

Stay With Me
by Elyssa Patrick
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
August 2013

Hailey doesn’t plan to get involved with Caleb, she really doesn’t.  However, it seems that all her best intentions go out the window every time he’s near her.   And even though she tries to avoid him, he seems to appear EVERYWHERE.

As Hailey and Caleb grow closer, she worries more and more about him learning a major secret that she plans to keep hidden forever.  As much as they come to care for one another, she is sure that if he learned of her dark secret he’d walk away.

Sadly, that plot tension sounds much more interesting than it turned out to be.   I kept waiting for a large climactic moment with the building tension of Hailey’s secret, issues with her mother, and the seemingly perfect family to which Caleb belongs.   It never really materialized.

The start of a new series by Elyssa Patrick came off as contrived and stale to me.  It’s fine that the story wasn’t overly original.  Let’s face it, with so many books on the market, it’s tough to create something entirely new.  The issue is that the characters and the story never really developed for me.   Caleb learns her secret, and he doesn’t seem all that concerned.   Patrick continually alludes to Hailey’s relationship with her mother, and the two never enter a scene together.   I kept waiting for the tension to break with a huge reveal, and that never happened.

It also doesn’t help that this was billed as a Young Adult novel when I received the email to review it.  That was on my mind until I started the review, and I was continually shocked at the scenes written.   They are sexually explicit, and I kept wondering how this would have been able to make it to a YA rating and what parent of a pre- or early teen child would let his or her daughter read it.  The book is actually part of a fairly new genre known as New Adult.   The main characters are normally aged 18-25 (although Hailey is 17 when the novel starts) and the content is directed towards readers aged 18 to 30.

In the end, this one is not on the list to be read again.  Additionally, I am not confident that I’d be very interested in reading other books that will come in this series.


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.

Speaking From Among the Bones by Bradley

A Flavia De Luce mystery is a treat worth waiting all year for. What a treat this one is!

Speaking From Among the Bones
Flavia De Luce #5
by Alan Bradley
read by Jane Entwistle
Bantam / Random House Audio
January 2013

In this, the fifth in the series, Flavia had to deal with the impending sale of her family’s home, Buckshaw, while also trying to solve a murder at St. Tancred’s Church discovered during the excavation of the saint’s remains (to prepare for his quincentennial in 1951.)

Then at the end, Bradley gives the reader one amazingly big cliff hanger to keep fans salivating for the next book – one that I found to be less compelling even though I am certainly a fan of the series. (I felt it was overused in current entertainment. Just my opinion.)

Like the previous books in this series, Flavia steals the show. Sure, we want to know whodunnit and how, but more we want to watch this precocious young lady navigate the murky waters of adult politics and dangerous situations. She is part Sherlock Holmes and part Indiana Jones and a hundred percent enjoyable to read.

An excellent, fun, witty novel that I highly recommend.

A note about the audio version: once again, Entwistle does a great job injecting sass and emotion into the words being read. (Like normal, see I Am Half Sick of Shadows for another great example.) Characters are clearly differentiated, and mood is well established through tone and pace. Very well 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.

Star Trek FAQ 2.0 by Clark

We all know Star Trek: The Motion Picture was lame. But do you know why? I do. Thanks to Star Trek FAQ 2.0.

Star Trek FAQ 2.0
By Mark Clark
Applause
June 2013

Star Trek FAQ 2.0 picks up where the original left off: the dawn of the original cast’s movies through the development of The Next Generation to 2009′s reboot Star Trek. Each section is packed with details and behind the scenes insight that, as a Trekkie, had me devouring it like a man starved who suddenly finds himself in front of a T-bone.

The book included chapters on each of the movies, each season of TNG, with detailed synopsis of each episode, the various alien species, analysis of show themes, actors and how they were selected along with biographies, directors and show runners, and more. Because this is not authorized readers get both the good and the bad, which enriches this work. Too often, we’ve had memories and authorized books that sugar coated the struggles of the movies early on and the difficulty in getting TNG made, the conflicts between writers and Gene Roddenberry, or the rivalry between Shatner and Nimoy. This book is refreshingly honest.

If I must pick something to dislike, I mean if you really bent my arm, it would be some of the titles used by the author. I grew tired of Roddenberry being called The Great Bird of the Galaxy and I dislike the term Trekkers only because I identified with Trekkies before I ever heard that term.

Seriously, there isn’t anything here that a Trekkie (or Trekker) would absolutely love in this work. It’s going on my shelf where I keep my favorite SciFi and fantasy. It’s a Star Trek fan’s dream come true.


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.

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