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review 2018-11-17 21:50
The Vagaries of War
My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Clarissa's Conflict - Pura, Murray

Many aspects of “My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg” reminded me of “Gone With the Wind,” one of my favorite classics. The Civil War setting drew me in, especially since it was set in such a renowned location. In fact, that was one of the striking parts of the reading experience because most of the action took place prior to the famous Battle of Gettysburg, when the town was just a quaint place that outsiders would never have heard of. The heroine, Clarissa Ross, points this out herself, commenting that she does not want her idyllic town and its environs to be remembered for death and destruction. Given all of the tragic events that have occurred even recently in the U.S., this was a reminder that disasters can happen anywhere, and this is where faith comes in as we trust God that He is ultimately working all things for the good of His children.

Clarissa was a distinctive character, to be sure. In some ways she reminded me of Scarlett O’Hara, with her stubbornness and her temper. An inimitable redhead, Clarissa was very strongminded and outspoken, which I think was due in part to her being an only child and also to her living in the North. Had she been raised in the South, I think that the patriarchal society there would have had a deeper influence on her and she may have been somewhat more submissive. At first I found her character to be off-putting, but I soon grew to admire her and her antics. The romance, which is usually my least favorite part of a story, was very engaging because it was fraught with both danger and surprises. From a historical viewpoint, I was pleased that this novel pointed out that the Civil War was about much more than just the issue of slavery; states’ rights and the economy were at the forefront of the fighting, especially in the beginning. The many different levels of conflict in the book were well balanced by the Christian and romantic aspects, and I only wish that the story had been a bit longer in order to fill out some of the details more fully and allow for the plot to play out more slowly.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2018-11-15 17:00
The Unannounced Christmas Visitor Review and Giveaway!

About the Book

 
Book: The Unannounced Christmas Visitor  
Author: Patrick Higgins  
Genre: Christian fiction/Christmas  
Release Date: November 18, 2014

What if angels really did come from the most unlikely of places? That’s exactly what happens in this heartwarming story, set in a homeless community in Anywhere USA. Sent to Planet Earth by his Maker, disguised as a homeless person, Enoch was on a mission: to rescue a man whose life was slowly but steadily spiraling out of control Inspired by Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” this story will stir your soul like never before, guaranteed! 2016 IPA (INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHER AWARDS) GOLD MEDAL AWARD WINNER.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author



Patrick Higgins is the author of “The Pelican Trees”, “Coffee In Manila”, the award-winning “The Unannounced Christmas Visitor”, and the award-winning prophetic end times series, “Chaos In The Blink Of An Eye.”

Guest Post from Patrick

 

Why I wrote the book: Inspired by Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” this story will stir your soul like never before, guaranteed!

My Review

 

“Those who rest in the promise that God really does take care of those who belong to Him, despite what happens each day, are the ones who leave all of the consequences to Him.”
 
Reminiscent of a Hallmark Channel movie, “The Unannounced Christmas Visitor” certainly embodies the spirit of the Christmas season. The reading experience was an unexpected surprise because on the surface it seemed as though the story was very transparent. From the beginning I knew what was going on, and the revelations were apparent. As an avid reader of mysteries and thrillers, this concerned me because I was uncertain about what this meant for the book. What now? What is going to keep me turning the pages?

As it turns out, in spite of my misgivings, I became emotionally invested in this book. The characters were not unique, and I say this in a good way because they represent all of us and enable us to connect with them so easily. They aren’t perfect; they reflect our own sins and shortcomings, with a familiar internal monologue of contending thoughts. Marital troubles, homelessness, and hypocrisy are some of the main themes. Where this story really shines is through how it navigates these predicaments, embracing them rather than shying away from them. “The Unannounced Christmas Visitor” contains a plethora of Scripture, which will be reassuringly familiar to seasoned Christians and immersive and enlightening to non-Christians. Not only that, but the way in which the story tackles the difficult questions offers readers a different perspective. This book is nothing if not inspirational, and it is a call to action for all of us to entertain strangers, not only at Christmastime but all year round.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops

 

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 10

Lighthouse Academy, November 10

The Power of Words, November 11

Christian Centered book ReviewsNovember 11

Genesis 5020, November 12

Bogging With Carol, November 12

God’s Little Bookworm, November 13

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, November 13

Girls in White Dresses, November 14

Moments, November 14

Mary Hake, November 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 15

For the Love of Literature, November 15

Inklings and notionsNovember 16

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 16

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 17

Bibliophile Reviews, November 17

Vicky Sluiter, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsNovember 18

Godly Book Reviews, November 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 19

Luv’N Lambert Life, November 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20

Texas Book-aholic, November 21

Janices book reviews, November 21

Carpe Diem, November 22

Bigreadersite, November 22

amandainpaNovember 23

A Baker’s Perspective, November 23

 

Giveaway

 

 
 
To celebrate his tour, Patrick is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d5c7/the-unannounced-christmas-visitor-tour-giveaway

 

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review 2018-11-08 00:49
Game On
Stratagem - Caroll, Robin

Starting this year, I have been avoiding looking at the summary of most of the books that I read, including those I review, to make reading a more exciting experience and to steer clear of figuring out the plot too early. “Stratagem” was featured on many Christian book blogs prior to its release, so when the chance came to read and review it, I jumped on it. Going in, I thought that it was going to be a techno-thriller, so I was actually very pleasantly surprised when I realized that it was about a (fictional) murder investigation. Mysteries and thrillers, including crime thrillers, are among my favorite genres, and it is an added bonus when it happens to be Christian fiction as well because despite the subject matter, I can be assured that the language and details will not be too coarse or gritty.

“Stratagem” deals with many contemporary issues and a believable cast of characters. There is the murder early on in the story, and as the backstories of the characters unfold, it becomes evident that they are true-to-life in all its virtues and vices. There are no saints, and even the protagonist, Grayson Thibodeaux, has a painful past; he is still coming to terms with prior betrayals when he is plunged into even bigger problems. Some of the topics broached in the novel are divorce, abortion, infidelity, and phobias, among others. The concept of Game’s On You was simultaneously intriguing and disturbing, especially with the real advent of escape rooms as entertainment. Virtual reality takes flak for its potential ill effects on players, and I shudder to think of something like Game’s On You coming into play in society as well. Nevertheless, its use in the novel certainly stokes the reader’s adrenaline, and that, combined with the progression of the narrative, make this an un-put-downable thriller.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2018-11-07 05:23
Shelter of the Most High - Connilyn Cossette

I received this book for free from the publisher (Bethany House) in exchange for an honest review. 

 

This book is the second in a series and I did not read the first book. Like a lot of Christian fiction series, the first book centers on one of the characters in this book. The fact that I did not read it did not hinder my comprehension of the story. Anything that happened in the previous book was explained fully in this one, so it it totally possible to read this as a stand-alone. 

 

This was also my first time reading biblical fiction so I had no idea what to expect or if I would even like it. Luckily, I ended up really enjoying it. 

 

 

The book captured my interest from the very first page. We are immediately thrown into the action of when Sofea and her cousin are kidnapped by pirates. Sometimes books can take too long to get the actual storyline, so I was happy to see this book get right to it. As a whole, this book had quite a bit of action and excitement which I wasn’t expecting (but loved). 

 

There was a really good balance of the religious elements. I never felt like it was too much or too preachy. It was woven into the story beautifully. 

 

The only thing that prevented me from giving this 5 stars was that I didn’t connect much with Sofea. I wanted a little bit more from her. I connected with Eitan no problem, but Sofea not so much. 

 

All in all, this was an exciting tale and if you are looking to get into biblical fiction, consider picking up this book/series. 

 

 

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review 2018-10-23 00:43
Over the River and Through the Woods
The Christmas Prayer - Wanda E. Brunstetter

Wanda Brunstetter’s “The Christmas Prayer” leaves me with mixed feelings. A brief novella, it is great for a one-to-two hour diversion, and the writing is very easy to understand. However, these qualities are also part of my criticism. The storyline seems like it would have been better suited to a full-length novel, as the plot comes across as rushed, jumping over weeks and even months at a time. The same is true of the characterization. As the reader, I did not feel any strong connection with any of the characters, and they were not developed to any real extent. Part of the narrative comes from Cynthia Cooper’s journal, which in my opinion detracted from the flow of the story. This read more like a teen or young adult novella, and everything came together too neatly and too quickly to be believable. It is reminiscent of a Hallmark Channel movie. Nevertheless, the cover is absolutely beautiful, with an embossed gold border on both the front and back, and anyone looking for a fast, feel-good tale will enjoy this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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