Tag: Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: Under a Cloudless Sky by Chris Fabry

Posted January 18, 2018 by Fizzy Pop in book review, Chris Fabry / 2 Comments

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

BOOK REVIEW: Under a Cloudless Sky by Chris FabryUnder a Cloudless Sky by Chris Fabry
Published by NavPress on January 9th 2018
Genres: Christian, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Small Town & Rural
Pages: 416
Source: Tyndale House Publishers

A charming and engrossing novel for fans of Southern fiction and the recent hit memoir Hillbilly Elegy about a lush and storied coal-mining town—and the good people who live there—in danger of being destroyed for the sake of profit. Will the truth about the town’s past be its final undoing or its saving grace?

1933. In the mining town of Beulah Mountain, West Virginia, two young girls form an unbreakable bond against the lush Appalachian landscape, coal dust and old hymns filling their lungs and hearts. Despite the polarizing forces of their fathers—one a mine owner, one a disgruntled miner —Ruby and Bean thrive under the tender care of Bean’s mama, blissfully unaware of the rising conflict in town and the coming tragedy that will tear them apart forever.

2004. Hollis Beasley is taking his last stand. Neighbors up and down the hollow have sold their land to Coleman Coal and Energy, but Hollis is determined to hold on to his family legacy on Beulah Mountain. Standing in his way is Buddy Coleman, an upstart mining executive who hopes to revitalize the dying town by increasing coal production and opening the Company Store Museum. He’ll pay homage to the past—even the massacre of 1933—while positioning the company for growth at all costs.

What surprises them all is how their stories will intersect with a feisty octogenarian living hundreds of miles away. When Ruby Handley Freeman’s grown children threaten her independence, she takes a stand of her own and disappears, propelling her on a journey to face a decades-old secret that will change everything for her and those she meets.

Oh for the love of gravy, I have no idea how I want to review this book.  I really really liked it for so many reasons I really can’t tell you.  I mean, let’s face it, there are things I question and some concerns I have but there are so many other things that I just take with the wind and don’t even second guess.  I mean, truly that’s the way it is most of the time right?  The problem is I don’t have the words, any words much less all the words, to guide you through my time spent bonding with this book.

Here’s the deal.  Let’s start simple shall we.  I love how the author set the book up with himself as the narrator and each chapter having a date and time and a snippet of what is happening.  For example:

Hollis takes the long way home
Beluah Mountain, West Virginia
Friday, October 1, 2004

That’s important because some of the things take place in other areas.  It’s also important because it helps to create a seamless transition between then (1933) and now (2004).  Let’s talk about those transitions shall we.  They were seamless, each part of the story blended to the next, regardless of the date, in such a way that it was almost magical.  It drew you like a moth to the flame but saved you from getting burnt.  Each time period had scenes that were liveable, I could picture myself in their moments, bells even in their shoes as the characters were very well developed too boot.

Storyline, I have to go there.  I was about halfway through the book and on the phone with Kristin (you know this is a thing!) and I had already figured out one of the twists.  Oh, yeah there are more twists and turns, hills and valleys than a county road through the Ozark Mountains (if you have never driven around Branson, MO you have no idea the crazy that is possible in road creation) but they are way easier on the tummy.  Now back to Kristin, she’s already read the book.  In my infinite wisdom I tell her that I am going to tell her the outcome of ‘Thing 1’ (I’m not giving you spoilers!) and she has to tell me if I’m right just yes or no.  Well the big Thing, Thing 1, totally nailed it before I was half done with the book.  I think I impressed her with my mad skills and all.  Probably not.  Anyway, I had an inkling of a smaller but just as vital ‘Thing 2’.  So I ask her and she says no.  And she LIED to me!  Lied I tell ya.  She swears that she misunderstood my question and said her headache made her do it (ya right) but I was seriously doubting my deductive reasoning skills.

Now that you seriously doubt my sanity and words putting together skills I’m going to leave you with some closing thoughts.  Never assume anything.  Never leave a partially finished story on the table.  When you do someone else might come through and rewrite the world you thought you knew.  Never get so into who you think you are that you forget who you really are.  This book embraced everything that I respect in fiction, real yet flawed characters with heart and soul and spunk and intelligence.  There was that one thing that happened in the middle that enhanced the story not one wit but did create the endgame so to speak, it was a necessary distraction from the bigger picture (that could have been handled a number of different ways but still probably just a distraction).  This book has a glimmer of coming of age that tangos with mystery and a slice of intrigue but cozies up as just an amazing weekend read.

Under a Cloudless Sky
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About Chris Fabry

Chris Fabry

Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live on Moody Radio. He is also heard on Love Worth Finding, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and other radio programs. A 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and a native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, now live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.

Chris’ novels, which include Dogwood, June Bug, Almost Heaven, Not in the Heart, Borders of the Heart, Every Waking Moment, The Promise of Jesse Woods, Looking into You, and his latest release, Under a Cloudless Sky, have won five Christy Awards, an ECPA Christian Book Award, and two Christianity Today Book Awards of Merit, but it’s his lyrical prose and tales of redemption that keep readers returning for more.

Chris has also published more than 70 other books, ranging from nonfiction and film novelizations, including the recent bestseller War Room, to novels for children and young adults. He coauthored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteries and The Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. RPM is his latest series for kids and explores the exciting world of NASCAR.

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BOOK REVIEW: Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

BOOK REVIEW: Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

Biblical fiction can go one of only two ways, it can be done extremely well or it can do a complete 180 from that and be done completely so far from well that it’s well you know what 180 means.  Even established amazing Biblical fiction authors can have those 180 books.  Every time I pick one up I know the risks.  Heck, I embrace the risks.  It’s a genre I love and Mesu Andrews hit it out of the park with ‘Isaiah’s Daughter’.  There were a few things that gave me pause but all in all this book made King Hezekiah and Queen Hephzibah come to life in all the right ways. Let’s briefly glance over the things I was washy on and get to the good stuff.  There were some word phrases and choices I wasn’t sure would have been relevant or appropriate during this time.  ‘Two shakes of […]

BOOK REVIEW: A Song Unheard by Roseanna White

BOOK REVIEW: A Song Unheard by Roseanna White

If you remember last July when I fell in love with this series then you know why I was so anxious to get my hands on this book.  Need a refresher?  Check out my review of ‘A Name Unknown‘.  I had high hopes with the return to the family and the mysterious Mr. V in their lives.  While this book didn’t disappoint on some levels I wasn’t quite as drawn into it as I was the first in the series.  I’m still all in though and ready for the next book at it’s earliest convenience. Let’s talk about where it fell flat for me.  Perhaps the first book did this and I didn’t notice it but there were a lot of choppy, fragged sentences; predominately early in the book and the again later in the book.  It was a thing throughout but it eased up as the characters fell into […]

BOOK REVIEW: The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

BOOK REVIEW: The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Posted January 11, 2018 by Fizzy Pop in book review, Sarah Loudin Thomas / 0 Comments

When I started reading this book I was on the phone with Kristin (it’s a thing, just embrace it).  She hasn’t read it yet and I was so into this story I kept telling her she needed to start it ‘right now’.  Just to chapter 7 so we can talk about this thing.  Just start it so I can get your opinion on this other thing.  She still hasn’t started it yet and I’ve finished it just as enamored by the book’s first sentence as I was the last. Imagine waking up in the most complete total darkness that you can imagine.  So dark that the idea of light becomes foreign.  Literally no light, fragments of anything resembling light.  So dark you aren’t even sure you are alive.  And that shoe you feel touching your head?  It’s your own, but it’s still attached to your body.  OK, I think I […]

BOOK REVIEW: Strains of Silence by Bethany Kaczmarek

BOOK REVIEW: Strains of Silence by Bethany Kaczmarek

Posted January 9, 2018 by Fizzy Pop in Bethany Kaczmarek, book review / 2 Comments

Before I even get into this review there are disclaimers that I need to provide.  This book could be a ginormous trigger on several issues for some readers.  I say ginormous because while it is triggering it is also redeeming.  A book of hope and overcoming through faith.  This book tackles the very heavy topics of dating/domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault.  It’s not graphic but it’s not cozy either.  Statistically, if these topics don’t affect you personally they definitely affect people you know.  Christian’s are not immune from these traumas and they are not set aside to just those ‘of the world’ so to speak. I loved this book.  It was told with a refreshing honesty and depth that is hard to find in Christian fiction that deals with heavy topics.  I’ve read more than my fair share of glossy ‘Jesus heals all’ books, both fiction and nonfiction.  Guess […]