The Christmas Star: A Love Story by Robert Tate Miller

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

The Christmas Star: A Love Story by Robert Tate Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

The pain of a crushing tragedy has driven Paul away from his family, and he now drinks far too much. He’s come to abhor Christmas, but one Christmas Eve accident lands him back in time—in the path of shepherds who’ll soon travel to see the newborn Christ in The Christmas Star: A Love Story by author Robert Tate Miller.

This novel wasn’t originally in my holiday reading queue for the year. But with the simple and tranquil but stunning quality of its chilly blue book cover sitting atop my TBR pile, and the beautiful white light of that star winking at me, I had to read this book sooner than later.

I usually dislike making comparisons between creative works, as I don’t want to set up people’s expectations for something other than the work in question. Still, here and there, this novel personally reminded me of four different movies I like, including two of my all-time favorites: It’s a Wonderful Life and The Nativity Story. I found much of this to be a fairly easygoing read, but just as it would settle into a predictable groove, it would slip in a little something unexpected to keep me on my toes.

The backstories of a couple minor characters went on a bit long to me, until I felt somewhat adrift from Paul’s tale. And there are some instances when backstory pops up to suddenly relate to an unfolding scene, instead of those past details being mentioned earlier in the book. Also, Paul has a minor tendency to be redundant, especially while he’s describing some of his lowest moments.

Nevertheless, this sobering story is saturated with the meaning of Christmas and the hope, redemption, and beautiful light that meaning brings.

 

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The Gift of the Inn by Golden Keyes Parsons

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. WhiteFire Publishing provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

The Gift of the Inn by Golden Keyes Parsons

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Innkeeper Naomi Lockhart should be happy on Christmas Eve of 1944. She has a batch of healthy daughters and a military husband who’s stationed at home instead of overseas, in the midst of a world war. But Naomi has never gotten over the past Christmas Eve disappearance of her infant child, and this holiday could make or break Naomi in The Gift of the Inn, a novel by author Golden Keyes Parsons.

I only skimmed maybe a sentence or two of the blurb before I decided I wanted to read this book, which I later found out is, sadly, the last book by this author. Coming to this novel knowing next to nothing about the plot, most of its unfolding was all the more interesting to me. I also felt wonderfully steeped in the historical setting, with fashion, hairstyles, and music so reminiscent of the period.

Nearly halfway into the book, I wasn’t expecting that the war would then come to the foreground for much of the time, with mostly different characters and much of its own storyline. Hence, several of the chapters felt a bit like a different book to me. Also, I wouldn’t want to give too much away, but there were at least three key issues in the plot that didn’t add up to me. Concerning one of those issues, I’d think that if you had a dark, crucial secret to hide, you wouldn’t knowingly leave clear evidence of it where other people could easily get to it.

Nevertheless, even beyond its themes of love and loss, this story includes a critical message on trust that I hope fellow ChristFic readers won’t miss. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author.

 

Winner: Christmas Book Picks 2017 Giveaway

A big “Thank You” to everyone who entered the Christmas Book Picks 2017 giveaway!

I’m happy to announce that Susanne won the paperback copy of 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep. Congratulations!

Be sure to check out all of this year’s Christmas Book Picks as well as a romantic comedy that ties right into the holidays: The “She” Stands Alone. It’s a part of a collection, Inspiring Love: Three Romantic Reads.

 

The Note (2007)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Note (2007) from Faith & Values Media
Not Rated. Drama, Christmas, Romance
My rating: ★★★1/2

Description (from the film case): Following a tragic plane crash, Peyton MacGruder [Genie Francis], a newspaper columnist, discovers a note written by one of the passengers on board during their final moments. She sets on a quest to find the person the note was intended for. As she searches to heal the heart of a stranger, she discovers the life that’s changed most profoundly is her own. Based on a novel by best-selling author Angela Hunt…

My thoughts: Yes, I’ve enjoyed books by Angela Hunt. No, I’ve not read the novel this movie is based on. Yes, I enjoyed the movie anyway.

This is some heartwarming stuff. I guess in the few years between the time I first saw it on television and the time I got the DVD, I forgot this is a Christmas flick. So I unintentionally treated myself to a little extra Christmas the second time around.

I’ve said it before: as a writer, I dig stories about writers. Now, there is some slowness to the pacing and a kind of flatness to some aspects. But the movie surely gets better as it goes along.

This one has now been added to my annual holiday movie queue. And although the following two movies aren’t Christmas ones (The Note II: Taking a Chance on Love and The Note III: Notes from the Heart Healer), they’re both good as well and are now also in my queue.

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