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on April 2, 2013
"waking up in heaven" is a very inspirational story of a very special womans life . crystal mcvea was having a tough life and was in the hospital for some surgery and lost her life and went to heaven and was able to experience God and heaven and was given the choice to stay or go but she decided to come back and she also shares that God took all of her cares away from her. very moving book great gift idea for a friend or family member. also recamended
the reason for my hope billy graham salvation,heaven awnser book by billy graham, heaven by anne graham lotz
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on November 2, 2013
He folks, it's 2013. It's not like we are living before humans discovered empirical science and believed crazy people having visions about a mythical entity called "God." I have not read the book. I have been probably close to death, but no experience such as described in nonsensical books such as this. I am not the most intelligent human being around, but it's obvious to me that religion is nonsense and once we die we are gone like a soap bubble. Come on. Deal with reality. I can't believe a book like this has hundreds of gullible reviews.
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on April 15, 2013
I read this book because I am still searching for answers as the why God allows such horrible suffering, especially to children. Crystal suffered like few have and yet her main message other than God is real, is God has a perfect plan. How can being molested at 3 be God's perfect plan? I firmly believe, after having lost my SIL at 42 to breast cancer, that God has a plan but not everything that happens is his plan. I have never doubted God's existence or his love for me, just the way this world operates. I received much more comfort from "Heaven Is For Real" and even better, "Why Bad Things Happen to Good People" by Harold S Kushner.
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on April 22, 2013
This is about the fifth book that I recently read that was very similar. I gave the author two stars because I believe what she says and yes she is inspiring and heroic. But,at the same time, many people face these same type of hardships and never have their stories published, because the aspect of the dieing experience is left out. I should be used to this by now but I continue to think that somewhere in these books there will be something valid for the readers to understand about death and the afterlife that we already haven't heard before.But, there never is. The religious get their affirmations and the non-religious and skeptics just get more of the same obliqueness. If anything I'm getting a sense that the way we experience death is highly personal based on individual wants, hopes, and views of the world which of late have been primarily of a certain christian bent. Now it must be very comforting to the religious community to know that their views of God and life after are similar in scope to their religious dogmas but it does little to advance the field of near death research and maybe that is not the point of this particular book. Yet the titles of these books all try to point the potential buyer towards a valid afterlife experience when in fact all we are getting is a bio that includes very little about death and a whole lot of discussion about peoples' personal relationship to God. And maybe I'm being too judgmental but some of the choices that people have made along with circumstances that arise that people have no choices in seems to have propelled people into authorship as a means of meeting financial obligations that they have incurred that have very little to do with the act of dieing or their belief in a certain kind of deity.
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on May 6, 2014
A friend at my Church suggested to our prayer meeting group one evening to buy this book and read it as he deemed it to be worth every penny of the cost for it. So I did. My take is that I could hardly get passed the half way mark of this book before I either had to put it down for days on end or eventually try to skim through all the chapters desperately searching for the entire story of her, Waking Up in Heaven. There was only 1 or 2 very, very brief descriptions of what occurred to her in the hospital followed by chapters thereafter that go on and on about her life autobiography. Her parents, her rebellious teenage years, her lack of faith, etc. I wouldn't mind a chapter or two of telling readers what her up-bringing was like and the utter hardships she experienced to explain her lack of faith within God, but after that, I wanted to get to- The Heavenly experience part with God. I felt like all she was writing a book about was trying to unload all of her unhappiness story first and foremost rather than to just give other Christians a peek at what God had shown her and said to her. I don't believe God was saying make an autobiography of every feasible detail of your life, but instead, he said to her to share this experience with others. That was is why I wanted to buy it. Even if my friend at Church thought this was an intriguing and fulfilling book, I pretty much regretted buying it.
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on April 5, 2013
"My name is Crystal McVea, and in 2009 I died and went to heaven.

"How is that for an icebreaker?

"I am sharing that story with you, in this book. I knew God's plan for me was to share what happened with as many people as I could. Now, are there people out there who will think I'm a fraud, or a religious nut, or crazy? I'm sure there are. The truth is, I know my story is hard for some people to believe. I know what I went through is beyond the realm of what we can experience on Earth. But I also know that this book deals with the biggest and most important question of them all: Does God exist? Is there a heaven? What is God's plan for us? Why are we even here?

"I certainly don't pretend to have all the answers. In fact, I still have plenty of questions. Nor am I claiming to be anyone special. But what happened to me did happen, and now I know - after a lifetime of not knowing - that God does exist. He gloriously, beautifully, wonderfully does exist.

"And since God told me to share my whole story, that is what I'm doing - even though much of my story is painful and not always pretty. You will learn as you get deeper into this book that for most of my life I lived with terrible shame and horrible secrets. For the longest time I hated myself and believed I was worthless, and as a result made so many bad choices.

"But it's important to realize who I was in order to understand who I became. Some of what I describe about my time in heaven may be familiar to you from other accounts of people dying and coming back - the quality of the light, the shimmering entranceway, the presence of angels - but some of it probably isn't. Everything I describe is absolutely, 100 percent how I remember it - that has always been my one and only rule for sharing my testimony. Nothing is embellished or exaggerated even the tiniest bit. What I describe is what I experienced, nothing more or less.

"What I can say is that the things God showed me were simply astonishing in their power and impact, and now the reality of God's presence bursts forth from my heart every day. The truth is, I was more alive in those nine minutes than I have ever been in all my years on this Earth. I can only hope that through my descriptions, however inadequate they may be, you will feel even a fraction of the power and the impact and the absolute glory of what I experienced." (pg 4-5).

In the book, Waking Up In Heaven, author Crystal McVea shares her experience not only of her incredible nine minutes in heaven standing alongside God, but also the testimony of her entire life before and after that moment. It is painful to know and read how her childhood was and how often times, these things go on right next door and we never know it's going on. The people we may interact with may have stories similar to Crystals but we can never know unless we are willing to get to know them more and have them peel back the layers of shame and pain to reveal the person they really are on the inside. The book toggles back and forth between the moments of Crystal's experience in Heaven with chronologically walking with her from her childhood to the present through the chapters.

I received Waking Up In Heaven by Crystal McVea and Alex Tresniowski compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publisher for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. I was excited to read this book because it's not just another book about a person's experience of dealing with a life after death encounter, but also incorporates a memoir of Crystal's life. It's not always easy to hear stories that aren't the happily ever after fairy tales, but then again, most our us have stories in our own closets we aren't willing to let anyone see. I applaud Crystal for taking the step to share her life story as well as her after life story with readers. The time she shares of her heavenly experience is one I have always imagined it would be. Difficult to capture in words that pale in their description in human terms and one is which I look forward to sharing in one day. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it to anyone who questions if God exists and what Heaven will be like!
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on December 16, 2013
This is a well written autobiography about a woman's life from birth to the present, of which a very small and unenlightening part is about a near death experience she once had. I don't want to minimize that part too much, as clearly it's had a lasting effect on her. But the reality is, prescious little if the book covers that experience. Seemed like about 10 pages. And she never woke up in heaven. Sorry if that spoils it, but I think you should know, she never made it past the pearly gates. She only saw the light from them, from a distance. She was with God but could not describe what that presence was, aside from your basic near death experience. (it was a bright light; neither a male nor a female but completely loving)

Most disappointing of all is the fact that she didn't ask any questions except for one, that God didn't answer.

She explained that everything made perfect sense in that realm so she didn't feel the need to ask things she had always wondered before like why God allows children to be abused. In heaven (or near heaven) that doesn't matter. Suffering on Earth becomes inconsequential because there is no suffering up there---God doesn't even ket you think judgmental thoughts. She says. But she wants us to know that Gods plan is perfect, she just can't remember what that plan is, or explain it.

She sprinkled scriptural passages in, which never made sense to her before her time with God, but make sense to her now, though she couldn't explain them in a way that made sense to me. I'm like the person she used to be before she wizened up, I guess. I still have questions---none of which were addressed. I'm sorry to say that her explanations for the biblical quotes she included was the same song and dance they give in church, which is a non-explanation. "You can't understand now but take my word for it". An example of this was the following biblical quote: "For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all his ways". What she is telling us is that even in her darkest hours--which were pretty freaking dark and which began very early in her life, He was there. She did such a good job of describing how abusjve her childhood was, and how alone she felt----that this pitiful little quote, and her " just take my word for it, God is there for us all and when you die you won't even care." is at the very least unsatisfying and at the most insulting.

She interspersed her admittedly interesting life (95 percent of the book) with snippets of her visit with God, dangling a hook at the end of each brief chapter of her time with God, by leaving an unanswered question. Then she would come back 30 to 50 or so, pages later and pick up where she left off but it didn't feel like it was worth the wait. It was a very "where's the beef???" experience for me.

Finally, I have to admit that I've about lost my patience with spiritual NDE writers who say, "there are no words to describe how wonderful it was". My feeling is, "you chose to write about it, it's your job to FIND descriptions that convey it or you shouldn't be writing about it". When you buy a book called Waking up in Heaven, you have certain expectations. Namely that the author has been farther into the near death experience than other near death survivors who have written about it, and has more 411. unfortunately, that isn't the case. All this said, it was a pretty good autobiography if that's all you really care about. And she seems like a cool person.
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on September 26, 2013
I was skeptical about choosing this book, because of a lot of the reviews saying how she didn't write enough about her time in Heaven and spent too much time talking about her own life. I think it was absolutely necessary for her to talk about her own life, not only because that is the "message she was given in heaven" and the book was the easiest way for her to do that, but also because it makes it more believable. She writes in the book if she wanted to make it more believable etc... she could have really written and enhanced her experience. She didn't. I actually looked at it, because she said she was the last person that should be chosen to tell a story about God and how he loves everyone. She talks about what happened to her as a child and growing up and how she lost her faith, and because of that didn't think that she would be chosen because no one would believe her. I can say, not as a child where I grew up pretty religious, used to lead youth services, help in the school etc... but as an adult - due to things that have happened, that my faith was lost in the wind a long time ago - and trust me, I searched and searched and feel that I more than tried to meet to God halfway. I think I went further. I actually remember one time when my son who was angry about some things with certain people in his life told me that he didn't think that God listened to anyone or answered prayers. At that time, I remember telling him that " God answers every prayer, just that sometimes the answer is no." Well, personally like the author, I feel that I have had more than my share of NO. I reached the point where I spoke to religious leaders of several faiths... and got nothing. I tried on my own, and got nothing.... It doesn't mean that I don't believe that there is goodness and beauty in the world ( much like the author), or that I don't believe that there are still good people in the world... I do. I just don't believe (like the author) that God is there in our everyday lives anymore. I even have been lucky enough to have had several unexplained and unexplainable visits from beyond - so I don't even question that there is a heaven.
I will say the author made me think, and a few times - almost had me ( which should say that I am still looking and willing). I never quite got there, and some of the things she mentioned I thought were a bit much... not so much her recollections of heaven, but the things she did after. If it got me to think, it was more than worthwhile - even if I didn't quite get there. If it helps even one person, then it is worth it.... maybe that person will be you!
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on January 22, 2014
It is possible that the woman's story is true, but it is also possible that it could be just a money-making scam. In my opinion, the book does not have the details and dignity that one would expect to be presented from an ethereal experience. As other negative reviews have stated, the book is mostly about her life. She states that God told her to tell people everything she remembered about her experience, but she remembered very little (she admits that in the book). The book is about 250 pages, but her purported experience would probably need no more than 4 pages. I agree that some information about her life was needed for her to illustrate how God will grant his mercy, forgiveness and love to those who have done things he would severely disapprove; that said and supposing her story to be true, the book should have been no more than 30 pages. At times she also mentions financial problems in her life, which suggests that financial relief may be the true purpose of the book, especially when there is so little of her ethereal experience; and what little there is one could easily fabricate. Also in my opinion, the writing style of the book made for a somewhat irritating read: The author would interject chapters dealing with her ethereal experience among those dealing with her life.
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on July 2, 2013
I believe the author is attempting to be genuine, but her story is all too common and is ultimately only capable of raising doubts on her miraculous and divine claims.

On McVea's uncanny coincidences:
McVea shares a number of coincidences in her story. Most of them are easily explainable when one puts thought into it. For example, she tells her story to many women who inevitably reveal themselves to have been sexually abused. McVea believes this to be providence, but it is really easy to see that statistically, sexual abuse of female children can be remarkably high in many places in the United States. A quick search on Wikipedia and its related sources shows that in the United States, child abuse of female children ranges from 8% - 71% with an average of 28% nation wide (looking up these stats depressed me). I am glad that McVea's telling of her story does a lot to help other victims of sexual abuse; I hope she continues to support these victims. However, the reality is that basic skepticism does well to show her claims of divine guidance are untenable.

And even for her other remarkable coincidences, it is important to remember that even though they may be extraordinary, they do not necessarily imply that a divine hand is at work. There are much more remarkable coincidences that by no means have spiritual requirements. For example:
"The lives of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two of America's founders. Jefferson crafted the Declaration of Independence, showing drafts of it to Adams, who (with Benjamin Franklin) helped to edit and hone it. The document was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. Surprisingly, both Jefferson and Adams died on the same day, July 4, 1826 - exactly 50 years from the signing of the Declaration of Independence." Or my personal "favorite", the Japanese pin-up/Supermodel that is inauspiciously cursed: [...]

On McVea's trip to Heaven:
One must ask themselves: Did McVea really travel to heaven and see God? Or did McVea hallucinate the whole thing?

It's important to realize, that people do hallucinate; it's not an abnormal thing. Scientific studies show that hallucinations are not uncommon when one's brain is suffering from oxygen deprivation. In McVea's case, oxygen deprivation is exactly what caused her to temporarily "die". This point is even briefly mentioned by McVea herself in her book. Ultimately, she persists in her belief that she went to heaven, but does acknowledge the possibility that she may have hallucinated the whole thing. Again one must ask, which of the two scenarios is more likely?

Once more, many miracle stories such as McVea's are no different than stories from people who claim to be abducted by aliens. The information McVea brings back from her "trip" to heaven and encounter with god is incredibly unremarkable. The God in her story tells her no meaningful information that could not have not been discerned in one way or another from McVea herself. As is the case with other "I went to heaven" stories and alien abduction stories, nothing about preventable disasters, terrorism, scientific discoveries, or meaningful truths are offered by the God in McVea's story.

To be fair, the lack of meaningful information does not disprove her claims. However, it does mean that her claims stand on a shaky foundation. Thus one must ask themselves: Is it more likely that an average woman from Oklahoma died, went to Heaven, saw God, and then God sent her back without any meaningful divine information to prove her credibility? Or that the same person is yet another victim of coincidences and hallucination brought on by oxygen deprivation?

After reading her story, and learning about her life, I will say that my heart goes out for her and all the hardships she has gone through. McVea struck me as a loving and generous person, thus in the end, I wish nothing but the best for her and family. As far as her story goes however, it continues to perpetrate baseless miracle stories that distract society from truth and reality. Her claims of the miraculous and divine are questionable at best and I do not think any sensible person has means to argue otherwise.

In comparison to this book and books like it, I highly recommend reading Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. It is a respectful book that is illuminating and worth everyone's time to read.
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