The Man Who Invented Christmas (The Movie)

Title:  The Man Who Invented Christmas (The Movie)

Year:  2018

Minutes:  108

Publisher:  Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

The last couple of years has seen, in my opinion, an unprecedented number of good movies to view.  The genres are as various as the stories they tell, some worth seeing while others perhaps not on most top 10 lists to see.  However, here is a gem that got lost in the onslaught of movies this past holiday season.  With another Star Wars movie released at the same time, any other movie released seemed to get past up or ignored and that is a shame, especially regarding this movie.

I think the title wasn’t the best chosen as it really tells the story of the life experiences of Charles Dickens.  We watched how hard it was for the man to write another blockbuster right after the exceptional story titled, Oliver Twist.  I was mesmerized as the movie took me back to the late 1800s.  It showed what happened to Charles when he was young and how that really tormented his heart and soul.

As he wrote The Christmas Carol, what becomes apparent is the intricate way his life and heart were needing the hope the tale tells readers.  I didn’t realize the hardest part for Charles was facing who he was becoming, what happened to him as a child and how that inhibited his telling of Scrooge.

At the end of the movie, we are told a few facts about the man and book.  When the last scene fades out, we were all touched to see how Charles became a better man or maybe a freer man.  No longer inhibited by hiding his past or from shame, and in turn helping others through his tale to find the same hope available should people chose to allow themselves to change direction in their lives.

Even if one should not desire to own the DVD, at least see this once and maybe consider adding it to your shelf of classics.

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The Heart’s Appeal (London Beginnings #2)

Title:  The Heart’s Appeal (London Beginnings #2)

Author:  Jennifer Delamere

Pages:  384

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Bethany

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

The London Beginning series begins with the novel titled, The Captain’s Daughter.  Here, in the second book, readers get to focus on the middle sister, Julia, whose hope is to become a physician and go to Africa as a missionary.  The year is 1881 and in London women were to be home or if they wanted to do some work, there were few opportunities.  Julia is attending a school that helps women become prepared to practice medicine as a physician at a time when that field was dominated by men.  Women could become nurses and even a midwife, but becoming a doctor took perseverance and hard work.

Julia was raised with her other sisters in Bristol at the George Mueller orphanage where needs were met by asking only one Person…God.  Julia is asking God to provide the means for her to attend school and practice medicine, though Julia originally thought that being married with children was something she couldn’t have at the same time.  When she saves the life of a barrister and he wants to repay the debt, the only thing Julia asks for are lessons in Latin.  From there, the story begins to lead the audience into a deeper story that is the heart of other characters as well as their pasts.

The themes of faith, prayer, forgiveness and more are inextricably woven into the novel set in the Victorian Era.  I was drawn into the interesting brother and sister relationship of Michael and Corinna as well as the other girls desiring to become doctors at a time when it wasn’t easily accepted.  I loved the romance that was and then wasn’t growing between Julia and Michael.  The other intriguing plot line was how far a father was going to bring what he considered a wayward daughter home.  Did his way work?

Before the third book comes out I hope you read The Captain’s Daughter and then The Heart’s Appeal.  The drama is on many levels.  I couldn’t put the book down because I was touched by the story in many ways.  What a challenge to be like George Mueller, praying for my needs and watch how God would provide is but one idea I am coming away with from this series.  I wonder what you will remember about the books?  I can’t wait to hear!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Paul was Not a Christian (The Original Message of a Misunderstood Apostle)

Title:  Paul was Not a Christian (The Original Message of a Misunderstood Apostle)

Author:  Pamela Eisenbaum

Pages:  336

Year:  2010

Publisher:  Harper One Reprint

My rating 2 out of 5 stars.

One of the reasons I wanted to read the book was hoping to gain insight into the Jewishness of Paul and his writings.  What I got was frustration and sadness.  The author isn’t a Messianic Jew nor does she believe that all the writings of Paul should be attributed to him for various reasons.  However, when someone takes bits and pieces of Scripture but not the whole that is wrong.  When the author accepts some of Paul while dismissing others for human reasons, that too is wrong.  For all Scripture is God-breathed; there is a holiness and height to which no mere writings of man can attain.

I don’t agree with excusing disbelief because of nuances of writings or one codex being used and ignoring others.  To me it is like when we eat certain meals where ingredients are mixed together, we pick out before eating it what we don’t like and consume what is left.  The Scriptures are by no means equal to any writings by man.  God’s ways and thoughts aren’t like ours.  God is high and lifted up, and His train fills the temple.  He is holy, holy, holy.  We aren’t.

I agree Paul wasn’t a Christian as stated in the title.  He was a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee of Pharisees, a man who learned to be content in all circumstances.  He was from the tribe of Benjamin, he was an apostle and frankly he was brilliant.  Even the apostle Peter tells us that Paul wrote things hard to understand, not impossible, but hard.

When will mankind understand that being finite we can never fully comprehend the Infinite, nor explain the infinite God of heaven and earth?  The God who made us, knit us in our mother’s womb, whose words go forth and don’t return void!  We need to realize that faith is believing and must be exercised, especially when we come face-to-face with our inability to adequately understand the Word.  The problem with unbelief is that it keeps a person from seeing the spectacular God who is revealed in the heavens and in the Word of God.

Other reviews can be read as I read them, and one even pointed out the author’s misuse of Greek.  I am not in the world of academia, but others are like Ravi Zacharias who can far better defend faith and other issues with such warmth and understanding.  This book undermines Paul, God’s revelations to him, and the gospel to which Paul proclaimed to the Gentiles after doing so first to the Jewish people.

His Risk (The Amish of Hart County #4)

Title:  His Risk (The Amish of Hart County #4)

Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray

Pages:  266 (ARC)

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Avon Inspire

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

Calvin Fisher has left the Amish faith after a terrible childhood.  His older brother, Mark, was the one who raised him.  At the age of 14 Calvin left Horse Cave, Kentucky and began a descent into a life of alcohol and drugs.  Now, he has cleaned up his act.  He works for the DEA as an informant in exchange for them paying debts he owed to a gang.  Calvin is still a member of the gang, but he secretly reports information to the DEA.  The only way out of the gang is death, so Calvin knows he has a dim future and short life ahead of him.  He has kept his distance from his brother in the past, but recently they had somewhat of a reconciliation.  He doesn’t want Mark or Mark’s wife to become a potential target for the gang, so he stays away.

Calvin receives a telephone call from his sister-in-law telling him Mark is very sick with kidney cancer and she needs Calvin’s help with Mark.  Calvin returns home and becomes interested in the neighbor across the street, Alice Yoder.  Alice is a preschool teacher who is house-sitting for her brother while he is on vacation.  She finds Calvin attractive and accepts him at face value.  She doesn’t know he is involved in a gang or what he must do as a member of the gang.  Soon, criminal activity is on the up rise in Horse Cave.  Has Calvin’s gang decided to move in or are they just checking up on him to make sure he is doing what he said he would do?  Is the gang doubting his loyalty?  Alice even has some scary encounters and her school is vandalized.  Is Calvin’s gang responsible?

This is a story that will get readers involved from page one.  Shelley’s writing is such that it draws readers in with easy prose and likeable characters.  Calvin’s protectiveness of Alice was admirable.  He was so gentle with her, but so tough with his gang.  He had a difficult time when people still thought the worst of him because of his past, but he couldn’t tell them he had changed as he was undercover.  Alice believed in him as a person not based on his job.  I’m looking forward to book five that will be released July 2018 to see what is new in Hart County!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back From the Brink

Title:  Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back From the Brink

Author:  Anthony McCarten

Pages:  336

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Harper Perennial

My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

What an enigma of a man!  I watched the movie, The Darkest Hour, and was struck by how much I didn’t know about Winston Churchill.  There were references in the movie about Churchill, his father and family that I wondered if they were matters of fact or fiction.  Personally, I agree with the author that Churchill prepared for this moment in history whether he knew it or not.  The man was loved by his wife and people even though others disliked and ignored him.

I found him to be a man who took learning in a school setting with little interest, but in the world as a young man he thirsted for knowledge.  Churchill would have his mother ship books to wherever he was, so he could read and learn.  The amount of writing Winston did is astounding let alone a lot of what he did was written at a young age.  The wealth of insight the man had and heart of a patriot is so deeply touching.

Clemmie, his wife, was a special woman who adored her husband.  This book didn’t talk a lot about his children, though he has many descendants.  There have been many books written about him and by him.  To me, that speaks of man who few can explain easily with a book.  Lord Halifax is definitely a man I wouldn’t have wanted to work with, and frankly Parliament is hard for me to comprehend.

I would recommend this book if you haven’t done much reading about the man Winston Churchill as this is a good place to start.  I found the information easy to understand and written to be very engaging.  I plan on learning more about this unique person.  Here is man Britain had at a time they truly needed him.  He withstood enemies, both within the government and without.  However, looking back we see a man who was brave and brought his nation back from the brink of extinction!

A Most Noble Heir (A Novel)

Title:  A Most Noble Heir (A Novel)

Author:  Susan Anne Mason

Pages:  368

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Bethany

My rating is 5+ out of 5 stars.

Have you ever read a book where you felt you knew how it was going to end, but read on because how it would happen really captured the imagination?  Well, for me, this book did just that!  What really cemented the book as a treasure to me was reading the letter to readers by the author after finishing the tale.  The story is set in England in the late 1800s where a young stable hand named Nolan Price is about to have his life turned about by the unexpected!

Another main character is Hannah who works in the kitchen and has been in love with Nolan since they were both 14 years of age.  However, relationships between house staff were not encouraged.  In fact, both Nolan and Hannah could have lost their positions had they been found together.  What begins to turn Nolan’s world upside down is the secret his mother reveals to him and the Earl of Stainsby before her last breath.

The long-withheld truth sends both Nolan and the Earl on a path that will either forge them to become better men or tear their hearts out even more than life has already done.  These two men aren’t the only two who are impacted by the secret being revealed, but Hannah and a host of others readers will meet as they turn the pages of the novel long into the night.

I really was easily captured by the story as it reveals the heart of Nolan, Hannah and the Earl along with some unique background players.  Each time I started reading I couldn’t wait to find out how the action, adventure, intrigue, and the highly climactic ending were going to play out.  Susan Mason writes from the heart that includes her knowledge gained as she researched a time that revealed aspects of life of that era.

I hope readers will take advantage of reading a romantic novel with threads of faith, hope and perseverance.  Consider sharing the book with family or friends, or tell them about it so they can get a copy for their own personal library.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

The Pirate Bride (The Daughters of the Mayflower #2)

 

Title:  The Pirate Bride (The Daughters of the Mayflower #2)

Author:  Kathleen Y’Barbo

Pages:  256

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Barbour

My rating 5+ out of 5 stars.

What a fun story to read!  I sat and read it in one night and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  There is mystery and danger, intrigue and drama; yet, there are some parts of the story that are just comical.  Maribel is a young girl who wants to be a privateer.  As she reads about these men in books, the sense of adventure just speaks to her heart.  Maribel is a character who bucks what is expected of her or even the mold others want to place her in.

Maribel experiences many different and dangerous moments she didn’t sign up for, but she is determined nonetheless.  She is raised in a convent and becomes a teacher, but there is still a part of her that longs to escape into a book without being bothered.  What I laughed about was the place she chooses to read her books and how others react to her choice!

Towards the end of the story the author throws a twist in the plot that really made my heart race and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!  Here is one book I know I will read again and enjoy at some time in the future.  Until then, I plan on telling others about the series as well as encouraging people to get the book for their own personal libraries!  So, ahoy mateys, grab a copy and come aboard for an adventure you won’t regret it!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the product for free from Barbour even though a review was not required.