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

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 2018-07-10 16:37
Bad Heartburn
Your Heart Belongs to Me - Dean Koontz

Apologies on all of the Dean Koontz reviews today. I am just reading books as I find them in my messy under construction house. This has led me to re-read some Koontz books (really just skim since I have read them before). I forgot how much I disliked "Your Heart Belongs to Me" until my re-read of it. A main character who I didn't care for and a BS ending just made me roll my eyes. Koontz for once didn't have a HEA ending, but the whole book felt seriously out of sync.


A rich man named Ryan Perry has the whole world in his pocket. He has a woman he loves (Samantha) and can do anything he wants. Then he gets sick and gets diagnosed with something that is damaging his heart. If he doesn't get a heart transplant, he is going to die. Then Ryan starts to investigate how something could have caused him to get sick and then starts running scared from an unseen enemy. When Ryan meets with a doctor who promises he can get him on the top of a heart transplant list and damn the cost, the book goes sideways from there.


Ryan sucks. I really didn't like him and when we figure out as readers what happens and how Ryan was "saved" I really despised the guy. I can't recall Koontz ever writing a main character this way before. Ryan and Samantha are finished after his heart transplant and you are left wondering what the hell happened. When the book skips a year later we find out what Ryan has been up to and how he wants to reach out to Samantha again. When someone starts stalking Ryan and telling him that his heart belongs to her I maybe laughed a few times. The woman and the fear that Ryan has is not scary at all. I just felt bored and hoped that the woman ended up killing Ryan so something interesting would happen.


Samantha is perfection in literary form. Does Koontz know how to write women any other way these days? She is also a writer so when she and Ryan ends things, he spends a lot of time dissecting her work in order to read about the subtext behind her words. I hope you like the word subtext. I think it appeared like a billion times (sarcasm).


There are secondary characters I can't even recall or care about too much since in the end they don't matter. We have a red herring character who was just freaking odd and terrible. A mysterious nurse whose name I am blanking on.


I think the biggest issue I have with this book is that I don't think Koontz knows what it wanted it to be. We have Ryan who goes from being happy and in love with Samantha to then thinking she is all femme fatale. It doesn't ring true based on what Koontz shows us and we have to wade through a ridiculous amount of red herrings to figure out what is going on. The book was overly descriptive about things I did not give a damn about. At one point I wondered did I wander into a James Patterson novel (I stopped reading that guy years ago because I don't care to read about the thread count of people's fucking bedsheets) and felt really annoyed.


The dialogue was painful as hell to wade through. No one talks like this and stop it!

The flow was awful too. We just skipped a ton of stuff that I think was necessary to even get a gleam of figuring out what could possibly be happening.


As I said the ending was terrible. Koontz should have just went dark with things and been done with it. Also there are dogs and I maybe screamed a bit about that.

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review 2018-04-25 23:47
Praise in the Storm
My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado: Millie's Resolve - Rebecca Jepson

Glenwood Springs, Colorado, 1888. The peaceful surroundings belie the burgeoning turmoil that enters Millie Cooper’s life once again. As a poor fisherman’s daughter from Nantucket, she has ventured west and established herself as a nurse, working under a kindly doctor. The heartbreak of her past seemingly behind her, she has settled into the routine of her new life. However, when she reluctantly agrees to accept a position as personal attendant to a condescending, asthmatic woman, her past returns with a vengeance. Forced to confront what she had hoped was behind her—and the fact of her lingering hurt—she strives to find peace in the midst of life’s storms.

From the start, “My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs” captured and held my interest. Millie makes a dynamic character, with an independence that is unique for the time period and that serves as both a blessing and a hindrance given the constraints of nineteenth-century society. There are many twists and turns in the plot as characters emerge and interact with one another, and as a result, the novel’s conclusion is not clear-cut, with the suspense lasting until the end. This is difficult to accomplish in works of this nature, with a strong thread of romance and redemption and what can easily become a cookie-cutter narrative. As Millie’s story illustrates, healing sometimes comes long after the initial hurt, but God’s grace and mercy can always be found in all of life’s circumstances, guiding us toward His good purposes.

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 2018-03-11 00:02
Faith and the Gold Rush
My Heart Belongs in San Francisco, California: Abby's Prospects - Janice Thompson

“My Heart Belongs in San Francisco” by Janice Thompson was my introduction to this series. The storyline was not what I was expecting, especially taking into account the book’s cover, which made it all the more interesting, although I did take issue with some of the characters. Set in San Francisco in 1853 during the height of the gold rush, there is a menagerie of characters from around the country and the world, lending a balance across the spectrum of class and reputation. Abby herself comes from a background of privilege, and as such she is ill-equipped to deal with the lawlessness and immorality of the city. Her naiveté comes as no surprise, but her lack of good judgment regarding people borders on the unbelievable. She complains about being coddled and yet proves time and again that she is incapable of taking care of herself or, in many cases, making good decisions. Overall, the characters lacked depth. They were rather stereotypical and cookie-cutter, with a clear delineation between the “good guys” and the “bad guys.” Had they been more two-dimensional, the story would have profited and had more substance.

The faith element suffered a bit, as well. I agreed with all of the viewpoints on Christianity, but the way that it was presented in the novel was too heavy-handed and over the top. It seemed as though the author wanted to incorporate as many Biblical quotations as possible, but the execution was lacking, and the narrative needed more direction. The application to the characters’ lives and situations was too tidy and superficial. That is not to say that I did not enjoy the book, however. The idea of creating an aristocratic heroine in the setting of San Francisco is an intriguing one, and if the characters were fleshed out more and the plot tightened and implemented more compellingly, this would be a more absorbing story.

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 2017-01-15 17:17
My Heart Belongs to Only You (Cupid's Bow Book 2) - Melissa Storm, Designed by Rock Mallory,Stevie Mikayne This is a quick read. Both Deborah and Rip are living through a painful present. He is on a military leave to try and heal. The man she loved is MIA. Together they find a peace and a love that helps them feel normal. This story is part of a generational saga and is a taste of the series. Deborah and Rip seem to be the starting point. I received a copy of this story as a gift, and this is my unsolicited review.
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