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A Mighty Fortress (Hymns of the West Book 1)

A Mighty Fortress (Hymns of the West Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Faith Blum
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

“Stay back!” Joshua ordered. He kept his eyes on the scene below while waving his arm in Ruth's direction. “Get deeper into the woods and stay down low to the ground.”
Joshua hazarded a glance behind him. He could no longer see Ruth and breathed a sigh of relief. In one swift move, he grabbed his rifle and lay flat to the ground. Extending the rifle, he aimed at the shorter man whose gun was pointed at Bradshaw.

Joshua and Ruth Brookings are traveling by stagecoach to finally join their parents in Montana. Attacked by murderous outlaws, the teens barely escape with their lives and must survive in the barren Wyoming and Montana territories and escape the man who's hunting them.

Seven years ago, Jed Stuart ran away from home and joined Tom's gang. Jed is tired of the lawlessness and wants out. The only problem? He is the boss's right-hand man and will never be able to leave. And what's one more stagecoach robbery, anyway?

Can Joshua lean on God's strength to keep himself and his sister alive until they find a town? Will Jed be able to face his anger or will it consume him completely? All three are running--the hunter and hunted. What will happen when they meet?

About the Author

An avid reader, Faith Blum started writing at an early age. Whether it was a story about the camping trip that summer or a more creative story about fictional characters, she has always enjoyed writing. When not writing, Miss Blum enjoys reading, crafting, playing piano, moderating on the Holy Worlds Historical Fiction Forum and playing games with her family (canasta, anyone?). As a history enthusiast who has been fascinated for years with the Old West, Faith has endeavored to create a clean, fun, and challenging Western story. Faith lives with her family on a hobby farm in the Northern Midwest, where she enjoys the many cats they have.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3283 KB
  • Print Length: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Faith Blum; 2 edition (15 Dec 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #736,660 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Take On The Wild West 4 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Beginning in 1865 Illinois, it is the story of two young men, teenagers at the beginning of the story, Joshua and Jed. The story begins with Joshua and his sister who have been left behind as their family forges ahead to find land in a new territory. Jed was raised by an abusive father who he escapes at a young age, and finds himself part of a criminal gang. It is there that the story of Joshua and Jed intersect. When Joshua and his sister head across country to meet their family in Montana their paths touch Jed's when his gang holds up their stagecoach and in the process their driver is killed. When Jed and his sister escape the carnage, Jed embarks on a mission to find them. I was unclear what his motivation was to hunt down Joshua but in a journey across several states and over the course of time, he finally succeeds. The story has a strong moral and specifically Christian message. Despite a few breaks in character motivation and areas where the pacing slowed, I enjoyed the story and the fact that it provided an unexpected twist in the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 28 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fantastic well written book by a first time author who has clearly thought about the story with a simple yet clear Gospel presentation. A must have addition to book collections
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4.0 out of 5 stars A most enjoyable read. 16 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
My initial expectation of 'A Mighty Fortress,' by Faith Blum, was that it would be a journey through the trials and tribulations of a group of poor farmers in the 19th Century American Wild West. So I was most pleasantly surprised when the book introduced the protagonist, a wild red head named Jed Stuart. It quickly became apparent that Jed was in fact one of the book's main characters, and chapters typically alternated between Jed's descent into lawlessness, and the lives of brother and sister Joshua and Ruth.

'A Mighty Fortress' is Christian fiction, but makes no attempt to create a false, rosy picture of life, but shows it in all of its horror and beauty. Joshua and Ruth set a wonderful Christian example. Jed, on the other hand, is a character we could at times sympathize with, and at others despise, and I lamented the fact that he constantly made the wrong choices.

I was pleased that I was unable to predict the ending.

A most enjoyable read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book for Anyone 2 Jan 2014
By nlw - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I generally don't like westerns, but bought this book as a possible gift for the children of a friend. Of course I had to read it first for content, and once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. Although a Christian myself, I don't read much Christian fiction as most I've read seem too heavy-handed with preaching and lack sufficient plot and character development. Even people of faith like to read things that are well-written. I admit this Western (of all things!) was the best fiction book I've read this year. I was delightfully surprised to find myself engaged with the characters, caring about them, and compelled to read it straight through.

This story had me experience all the emotions. I cried a few times, smiled and frowned a few times, and even felt a little scared for my people once or twice. That's how Joshua and Ruth, and even Jed came to be for me, "my" people. I was caught-up in their world, their experiences.

I am keeping this copy for my library, and I am going to buy more copies for gifts. Great storytelling, and wonderful Scripture references, along with the uplifting message of salvation and redemption through Christ makes this a great book for anyone.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ending was worth it 13 Jan 2014
By Sarah - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Age Appropriate For: 13 and up for mild violence, and criminal activity
Best for Ages: 13 and up

I must admit, I didn’t think I was going to like this story or rate it very high after the first few chapters. After all, it was obvious the author has lots of room for improvement. However, in the end, I ended up giving this book four stars. Why? The story touched my heart.
It is true that sometimes this story seems to ramble. Occasionally, I felt a bit lost as to what was going on. Sometimes, the author told instead of showed. Yet, despite the imperfections in this story, the last few chapters made up for all its short comings.

The western setting felt like old Roy Rogers or Lone Ranger movies. It was fun and familiar, nothing jarring or out of the ordinary.

Joshua and Ruth start out feeling a little fake to me, but their characters strengthen as the story goes on. Joshua especially becomes a hero I admire. He protects his sister from harm and does what is right even when it was hard. The faith of the two siblings was very evident. They quote scripture often (toward the beginning it was a little over done, but it got much better) and are not ashamed to talk of their standards or beliefs with others.

My heart went out to Jed. Because of his rough childhood, he feels forced to fall into the wrong crowd. You can feel the tension within him sometimes of wanting to do what is right, but feeling trapped by his past. Jed ended up making the book work very well. Although sometimes, I didn’t understand why he was doing what he was doing.
There were some characters and scenes I didn’t think added to the book. Annabelle seemed to be thrown in for no reason other than to state the wrong kind of attention low cut dresses could make. Also, sometimes showing time passing didn’t work very well.

The ending, as I said, made up for all the short comings. Although not what I was expecting, it was so much more satisfying than anything I could have imagined. I even jot a little teary. I wish I could explain more, but I don’t want to give anything away.

I recommend this books to those who like surprise endings, strong faith, and western stories.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story-line, a little too religious 8 May 2014
By Natasha House - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Joshua and Ruth are on their way to meet up with their Ma and Pa on their brand new ranch, when a gang of robbers attack their stage couch. Forced to flee, the two young teens make their way, praying for God’s protection.

This story was about a 3.5 for me, I can’t say I loved it, but neither is it bad. I’m not a huge western fan, so I don’t judge stuff too harshly that isn’t my preferred genre. The story-line was good; you can keep up with what’s happening pretty easily. You really grasp that Ruth and Joshua are hard-core Christians throughout the book. The author does portray her characters very well. There’s a decent flow to the whole story.

What I didn’t care for was the repetitiveness of words. Such as, for just a random example, he moved his hand toward his gun, and grabbed his gun with his hand. Stuff like that, not that this example was used, but it did get on my nerves how words were repeated a lot. The religious tone to this book was very excessive for my taste. I just didn’t find it very realistic how these teens constantly quoted scripture, hymns, and prayed. I know this is fiction, and I’m sure maybe somewhere people do this, but for me it seemed a bit overkill. I can see how the author was trying to portray a strong message throughout her book, but I think about half the amount of scriptures would have made the dialogue less annoying for me. I did like the message of forgiveness, and honestly, it could have been just me who found all this stuff hard to swallow. I think with a tiny bit of tweeking this story could really go far. The author has a lot going for her. Overall, it was a good story with a strong Christian tone, I think a lot of people would enjoy it, if they don't mind this stuff. I was given this book for an honest review.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Conceptually good - Executed poorly 5 Mar 2014
By Joe - Published on
I hate to write these words - the meaning behind this novel and the intent behind these words is good, as I am a God Fearing, and God loving man -

But Christian undertones aside cannot make up for the poor decisions in this book.

The hardest part to follow is chapter to chapter jumps back and forth between two sets of characters, which normally is easy and fine, but it also changes time, and that is distracting - jumping back and forth eight years throws off the groove of the story, even though the author is trying to get you to know each of the characters a bit at a time.

The second problem is that in the chapters, there is a rush to get through time to make the story further in the past try to catch up to the more future time, and it gets rushed and it feels rushed.

I understand what the author wanted to do, but the good intentions do not make this an enjoyable read - and the 'western' dialect felt forced and unnatural, with some words and phrases sneaking in that would not fit the time period.

Also, the 'funny' story that was told by the coach guard was told in such a jumpy way, that the humor got lost in telling how funny the story was to the listener, that the reader doesn't get to enjoy the moment.

I received this as a Good-reads reward, and I am always honest with my reviews, and I apologize to anyone who does not agree with my assessment, but this is a poorly structure tale that does not entertain.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard to get through, but shows potential 10 Feb 2014
By J. Stiles - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had trouble enjoying this book.

The writing quality was okay, even rather good, in a lot of places, and the characters were vivid at times, but an overuse of character names and repetitive wording made it hard to enjoy overall.

There were a lot of "transitions", or places where the author would "fast-forward" to a later time (ranging from minutes to weeks later) in the story. Quite a few of these came about right when I felt the story was getting interesting, plopping me down in some (initially) totally foreign context.

I felt that the author overdid it when it came to putting Scripture and Hymn lyrics into the book. Sometimes a whole page would be Scripture or lyrics, totally distracting me from the story. Yes, the characters were reading or quoting or singing, but I think that in this case, less is more when it comes to putting lyrics/Scripture directly into the story.

I also found several parts that sounded cliché to me--"when you want to fight it out man to man, let me know" is one example. These could have been redeemed rather easily if more detail had been added and things were scaled more to the characters' unique selves (I do think the characters were well-crafted).

Another thing that irked me throughout the story was the spelling-out of the dialect that people would be expected to have in that time period and place. It didn't seem consistent to me, and was more distracting than helpful.

This book reminded me of some other Christian stories I've read, in that there are many "spiritual experiences", most of the central characters are strong Christians* (spoiler at bottom of review that relates to this point), and generally nothing very bad happens. Also, much of the story feels surface-level, doesn't go into much detail, and overall feels painted-over, or fake.
BUT this book is still far better than those it reminded me of. There is some very real sin portrayed tactfully in one part of the book, and I applaud the author for "going there". It added more power to the story than anything else, in my opinion, both in the immediacy of it, and in its effect on the story and characters as a whole. Well done.

Even still, much of the book did feel shallow, and lacked nuance in many ways. I could not stay in the story for very long before the writing style, a typo, a cliché, ill-placed transition, or passage of imported text (that is, Scripture or lyrics) would pull me out again. I felt like I was being told a story rather than seeing it for myself. When I read a book I want to SEE the story as I read. I want it to flow naturally and make sense as it comes. I don't want to have my attention constantly redirected to what the author is trying to say or show me as if they're showing me a slideshow of related, but poorly integrated images. I would sooner they weave those pictures into a cohesive film for my mind to digest as my eyes scan the pages.

The bottom line is this: The book made me groan several times, and was hard for me to get through. That shows two things--poor execution (in my perception), and great potential. The groaning was a result of disappointment born of unreached possibility. Faith has a lot going for her becoming an amazing writer (I would say she's already very good--we all need to improve to some extent, and a given project can't condemn a writer to "bad writership" on its own). With some fine-tuning to her craft, I really look forward to seeing what she'll write in the future.


*(or are Christians by the end of the story)
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