Book Review: The Accidental Gatekeeper by Carla Rehse

The Story:

Everly Poppa is a 45 year old woman with a sassy teen daughter and a husband in jail. With no one else to turn to, she heads home to her Mom, despite having left her home town, years before, vowing never to return. Home is a small town in America that happens to be one of the Gates to Hell. Angels and demons govern the town which is in a state of flux. The old Gatekeeper has died and their successor has disappeared. A hellhound bites Everly. The town is locked down. Everly must find her daughter and the new Gatekeeper, battle the demons, support the angels and find a snarky witch. Oh – and deal with her old high school boyfriend just for good measure. Then perhaps she can deal with her real world issues: the FBI wanting her to testify against her husband and his drug-dealing friends who don’t.

This is a delight of a book. Everly Poppa is the the new premenopausal heroine of women everywhere. Anyone who is a daughter or a mother will love it.

Review

The Accidental Gatekeeper by Carla Rehse

The Accidental Gatekeeper is a joy of a story that keeps you reading right to the end. Everly is very relatable and the relationship with her daughter and her mother very real. The fact is that we never grow up and humans can keep making the same mistakes over and over again. The paranormal element is well-drawn: the demons are annoying until things get messy and the angels are grand and judgemental until the chips are down. There are also shapeshifters, werewolves, ghosts and poltergeists and witches. Carla Rehse has painted an enjoyable world.  I would recommend this story for people who enjoy paranormal stories. There will be two more books about Everly coming in the future and I am looking forward to reading more about her adventures.

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Book Review: Dark Horses by Susan Mihalic

Dark Horses by Susan Mihalic

Dark Horses by Susan Mihalic

Thanks to Netgalley for proof copy

The book cover has been changed since publication.

This book is a rollercoaster of dark emotions, young romance, abuse and fierce ambition which makes for a gripping read.

Horse Book

I was drawn to this book because I loved horse books as a child but this is not a book for young children. The central character, Roan Montgomery, is a grown-up 15 year old who is strong and fierce and who does not back down. Roan is training for the Olympics as a three day eventer in the disciplines of eventing, dressage and show jumping. She has to balance this tough life with the pressures of school and a less than harmonious home life. Added to the mix: her coach is her father, a former Olympic competitor and strong disciplinarian with the stirrings of first love and you have an amazing concoction of a book that keeps you engrossed from start to finish.

Strong Female Character

Roan, herself, is a strong female character: she has to be in order to keep winning but there is more to her life than outsiders see and the way she is able to deal with it is impressive in one so young.

There are some strong scenes in this book which might be triggering for some. Characters are well-drawn and believable. Will and Roan’s romance is tender and provides some counterbalance to the strong forces that rule her life. The novel is very dark in places and there are points where it is very tense. The reader definitely understands what pressure there might be for people who wish to succeed in their chosen sport.

I would recommend Dark Horses with the caveat that if you have had some trauma in your life that you might want to approach with care.

Sarah Charmley.

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Book Review: Mamaji by Elisheba Haqq

Release date: October 2020

Mamaji  by Elisheba Haqq, is a sometimes heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting memoir about self-discovery and a child’s journey from babyhood to being an adult without the guiding influence of a mother.

Female-hand-supporting-baby-feet

The loss of her mother at 3 years old provides a poignant counterpoint to the love and laughter that fills Elisheba’s life from her six older siblings. The family have moved to Minnesota from India, and the children find it hard to fit in at school. A year after Mamaji dies, her father marries again and the children have a new stepmother in their lives. Sadly, she is not much interested in taking over the role of mother, appearing disinterested and selfish. The children of the family have a roof over their heads, but very little else and there is no love and affection for the children, apart from the love they have for each other.

Growing up without a Mother

Elisheba tells the story from her own point of view, honestly acknowledging her inability at 3 to understand what has happened, throughout her school years where she must try to fit into a school where she is an outsider, and into college and marriage, eventually having children of her own. Throughout the book, she tries her best to get on with her stepmother and maintain her relationship with her father. When Elisheba is able to visit Chandigarh, the place where her parents had spent their early married years and talk to relatives, she is able to find remnants of her mother and answers to the many questions that she has had. The book is filled with family photographs, which are memories of happy times.

The strength of a mother’s love for her daughter and that of a daughter for her mother, will stay with you long after you have closed this book.

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