Friday, December 1, 2017

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

As a granddaughter of a Cuban exile, this story brought back the stories my mother used to tell about her life in Cuba. She grew up in a privileged family, just like one of the main characters, Elisa Perez. My mother visited Cuba often with my brother and I in tow. Sadly, the revolution brought the visits to a halt. This book deals with those tumultuous times.

 Next Year in Havana, tells a story about Marisol and her Grandmother, Elisa. It delves into how families were split up, many never heard from again. Some fled to the United States when Castro came to power, and some either could not bear to leave their homeland, or were prevented from leaving. This book tells about those times, and how many things remain the same even today. Marisol, soon learns the spirit of those within the beautiful homeland never faltered.

Marisol was raised in the United States, but always relished the stories her grandmother, Elisa told her about Cuba. Broken-hearted after her grandmother’s death, Marisol travels to Cuba to fulfill Elisa’s final wish—to spread her ashes somewhere in her homeland.

Once there, Marisol meets obstacles, both of the heart, and politically. She acquires a box filled with mementos. Among them are letters from a revolutionary—a man her grandmother loved. This sparks a profound need to find out more. In doing so, lives are changed.
The peek into Cuba’s political and everyday life, culture, scenic beauty, and the dual love story, left me breathless. The descriptions drew me into the story so well, I could feel the sea breeze, smell the salt in the air, and hear the laughter in the street. In addition, my heart raced with the kidnapping of individuals. I will not forget this book. Ever.

The writing is impeccable. There is much more to this book than what I’ve included here. It is so hard to do it justice with a few paragraphs. Dive into this story. I guarantee you will enjoy the love, loss, secrets, redemption, mystery, healing and so much more.

I received a copy of this book from Net Galley

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Christmas Star by Robert Tate Miller

The Christmas Star by Robert Tate Miller seeped into my heart the moment I started reading. The narrative of the main character, Paul Bennett, was so real I could hear his voice tell of young love, hope, faith, and despair. My heart broke when he suffered a loss so severe, I was left wondering how he would survive it.

This story is full of faith, though not preachy. Its filled with undying love, though not sappy. This story holds a wonderful balance of both. In my opinion, it is the most unforgettable Christmas story I have ever read. The author entwined present day with days long ago. This depicts how timeless the story of Christmas is, and how it impacts the world today. The setting in The Christmas Star has a small-town feel, with vivid characters. The story is heart-felt and filled with hopeuntil hope is snuffed out of Paul Bennetts life. His weaknesses overshadow his strengths when he turns to drinking. His self-alienation pushes everyone out of his life. Even God.

I loved the story, its characters, and the beautiful message of faith. Through all of Paul's struggles, God shines, providing a new beginning that leads him out of the depths of pain. The path is not without obstacles, but it is illuminated by the light of the Christmas star. 

I highly recommend this book.

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Prairie Girl's Faith by Stephen W. Hines

A Prairie Girl's Faith, by Stephen W. Hines, is an inspiring read. This biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder warmed my heart. The undying faith of the Ingalls family through very difficult times really depicted the closeness and faith they shared.

The research about the relationship between Laura and her mother was enlightening. I never really thought about the Christian example and teaching of the wonderful wife and mother, Rose. Of course, “Pa” had a hand in their upbringing, as well as their faith. His music and preaching within their four walls when they didn’t have a church to attend really showed what a great man and father he was. The way the family pulled together and stood strong no matter the circumstances was touching.

I enjoyed learning more about Laura Ingalls and her family. Though I watched the show “Little House on the Prairie” I learned so much more than the televised series could convey. Wonderful book about faith and family.

I highly recommend this read.

I received this complimentary copy from Blogging for Books.