Beautiful Star of Bethlehem by Lori Copeland

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.

Beautiful Star of Bethlehem by Lori Copeland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Fifty-something Arlene, a woman deeply in love with her husband and eager to go meet her new grandbaby during the Christmas season, finds herself living a confusing life in a rehabilitation center with a curious set of older people in Beautiful Star of Bethlehem by author Lori Copeland.

For me, this was an unusual choice for a holiday read. Having skimmed the blurb, I figured that, despite the lovely book cover sparkling with Christmas promise, this wouldn’t be a book to give me feel-good warm-and-fuzzies for the season. It is indeed a story that broaches a difficult subject, and it’s not the kind of read I’d necessarily recommend to anyone in a depressed place.

Yet, hard as this fairly quick read was for me at times, it was ultimately worthwhile. Even considering the heroine’s plight, I found her perspective interesting and even chuckle-worthy here and there. Certain stories give me a safe place to ponder ideas and how I might apply them, and Arlene’s reflections on happiness are worth reflecting on.

It’s the kind of story that reminds me that even in the midst of life’s trials and imperfections, hope can still be found, and love can still be given and received.

 

A Christmas Visitor by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer

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.

A Christmas Visitor by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With her career taking off and her daughters approaching adulthood, Molly isn’t excited to learn she’s pregnant again. Meanwhile, an injured man shows up in Cape Light with no recollection of his own identity. And when Reverend Ben finds an old angel statue to decorate the church’s sanctuary, rumor spreads that there’s something miraculous about the statue in A Christmas Visitor by authors Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer.

Even if I wasn’t already familiar with Cape Light and some of its townsfolk, I’m sure I could have followed this story just fine. As with other books in the series, I found this one to be an easy, interesting read without it merely being corny or fairy-like fluff.

Now, I’m not a fan of love triangles where one or more of the characters come off as wishy-washy or they spend much of the time feeling like the new romantic connection they’re getting deeper into is wrong. I also grew weary of a drawn-out misunderstanding along with two characters feeling sorry for themselves quite a bit. And even with its good backstory, the statue storyline struck me as weird for the most part, as did an unrelated scene involving hypnosis.

Yet, the read was like a warm, comfortable blanket for me overall, and it was quite nice to revisit this small town for another holiday season.

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Here’s my review of the fifth Cape Light novel and the first Christmas book of the series, A Christmas Promise.

 

Create by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick

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.

Create: An allegory for the misfit artists by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Well, no, I’ve not really written much of a book review, here.

This is one of those super-short stories about which I’d rather say very little, to keep the story’s few words as fresh as possible for other readers.

But this is indeed an allegory for misfit artists: a quick, almost ethereal read that was just the kind of lift this misfit creative needed when she found it. A dose of “keep going” to keep me going.

It’s worth the few minutes it takes to breathe it in.

 

Fifty-Five: City Edition by Tearra Rhodes

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.

Fifty-Five: City Edition: A Collection of 55-Word Stories by Tearra Rhodes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

A server at a city mission, with the chance to redeem something after a failed attempt at culinary school. A young man with no taste for coffee, working up the courage to talk to a cheery barista at an uptown bistro. The mother of a small child, facing the possibility of again living in her car. These stories and more are found in Fifty-Five: City Edition by author Tearra Rhodes.

Contemporary stories each composed of fifty-five words. I believe this is only my second time reading a flash fiction collection, and while I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on this particular form of storytelling, I’m no newbie to the art of storytelling in general. So I’m comfortable saying this collection is quite a credit to the art of flash fiction.

So much can be wrapped up in just a few words when a writer knows how to wield them, and page after page in this short book takes a close and compelling look at life, with faith woven in. Some of the stories are connected to pack a bonus punch, while others get the job done on their own. I found myself smiling, “hm”-ing, or shaking my head (in a good way) after many of them, and one of the stories brought tears to my eyes.

Just that fast. In fifty-five words.

Whether you’re new to the world of microfiction or not, if you believe that effective messages aren’t shackled to wordiness and that great storytelling comes in various forms—or even if you’re a little skeptical about short works of fiction—I’d encourage you to give this inspirational collection a go.