Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Giver of Wonders by Roseanna M. White





Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book



A miracle once saved her life ~ will another give her a future?

Cyprus was little more than a child when a fall left her paralyzed…and when the boy known as the wonder-worker healed her. Ever since, she has wondered why the Lord spared her, what he has in store for her. But her pagan father thinks she was spared solely so she could be introduced to the wealthy wonder-worker, Nikolaos.

Nikolaos has never questioned that his call in life is to dedicate himself to the church and to God. Never, that is, until he and his cousin Petros meet the compelling Cyprus Visibullis. For years he struggles with the feelings she inspires…and with the sure knowledge that Petros loves her too.

Petros knows he will never be good enough for Cyprus’s father to consider him as a match for his favorite daughter not as long as Nikolaos is there. But when tragedy strikes the Visibullis family, he will do anything to save his beloved. Unfortunately, his beloved is determined to do anything to save her sisters ~ even at the cost of herself.

As the festival of lights bathes their Greek city in beauty, Cyprus, Petros, and Nikolaos celebrate the miracle of their Savior s birth together one last time. And in remembrance of their Lord’s greatest gift, one of them will make the ultimate sacrifice for the others…and a centuries-long tradition will be born.


My Review

When I saw that this was going to be a Christmas story, I had my expectations. Usually a feel good story with a little drama and romance. What a surprise I got when I started reading Giver of Wonders. We open on Cyprus, a pretty red head caught in the wrong area of town- escaping for her life and freedom. She ends up paralyzed until she meets Nikolaos and Petros. A miracle occurs which Cyprus praises the Lord for. But, instead of this miracle pointing Cyprus's father to the Lord, he sees it as an opportunity to set up a betrothal with a wealthy man. Meanwhile, Petros is slowly falling in love with Cyprus of whom he is sure he will never win her love. But, this book is much more than a sweet romance, my friends. Oh so much more! I have to say that the spiritual backbone of this book gave it a wonderful, inspiring quality especially when our characters are faced with enormous heartache and the feeling of being stuck in an impossible situation with no good solution. We see how the love of the Lord in our characters motivates them to love and sacrifice for those they love without question. We see how the strength the Lord gives them to live helps them persevere, and in the process, shows a glowing testimony of what the Lord can do in our lives. Nikoloas' gift is most intriguing, and his humility is what makes him the character we want to know as a Christian brother. And, more than that, it's the kind of humility that points us to Christ as the true "Giver of Wonders." The romance in the book is not the focal point, just a sweet aside to the main plot that draws us in from page one and doesn't let us go until we see the conclusion. The characters are so well described and so well thought out, and the culture and era in which we find ourselves are accurate and clear in the mind. When we think of Christmas stories, we think of hallmark movies ( which, don't get me wrong-there's nothing wrong with a good hallmark movie). Giver of Wonders gives us so much more than that- an intriguing tale with characters full of the Spirit that love each other and sacrifice for each other through the Lord's love and strength in their life. At the end of this book, I was reminded that the Lord has a plan for everything, that his timing is never late, and that all he asks of us is obedience. Pure and simple obedience- and our reward is the experience of His priceless blessings. Thank you for blessing me Ms. White with a Christmas tradition that gave a well known figure a whole new life and meaning to me!

I received this book for free and all opinions given are my own. 



About the Author



Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two small children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com
 





Guest Post from Roseanna White

I was fed up with Christmas.

Or, no. I was fed up with the Christmas the world kept shoving at me. The one that was all about presentes. I’d always enjoyed gift giving and receiving, but I began to wonder: What was it I really valued—my Savior . . . or the stuff? We all say the right thing when this question is brought up. But we also all talk about “giving people Christmas” who can’t afford it. About how disappointed our kids might be if they wake to few packages under the tree. And you know, that belies our claims that it’s all about Jesus, doesn’t it?

And of course, when one thinks of gifts at Christmas, a jolly old elf springs to mind. So I started thinking that if I wanted my kids to understand the meaning of Christmas, it might be time to pull the plug on the embodiment of the commercialism: Santa Claus.

But I’m a historical novelist, and I believe in looking at the real history before making decisions. So one morning before our homeschool day began, I sat down and did some online research about Saint Nicholas. About the traditions he began that persist to this day. Who was he, before the Victorians turned him into the figure we know today as Santa?

I read. And I was awed.

Within fifteen minutes, I realized that St. Nick wasn’t the problem with Christmas. This was a man who was committed, above all, to honoring Jesus. Who believed in giving anonymously, so that all the glory went to God. Who performed miracles. Who healed and shepherded a flock under persecution.

St. Nicholas was a man who deserves my honor and respect. Who should be my inspiration for what Christmas is really about, not my scapegoat.

Nicholas gave generously—and in secret. It wasn’t until after his death that the stories started making their rounds about the many times he quietly gave of his wealth. But for centuries afterward, whenever someone wanted to give a gift anonymously, they would sign it from St. Nicholas—it was like saying, “This is because God loves you.”

Why are we giving? Is it to give God glory . . . or to please ourselves and our families? Would you still give if you got no credit for it? If no one even knew it was from you?

That day I read about St. Nicholas, I also decided I’d write a book with him as one of the main characters. A novel that brings one of our traditions—gifts coming down chimneys, stockings stuffed with goodies—to life. And so, we have Giver of Wonders. Is it a Christmas story? It is. But not like the others out there.

Is it about Santa Claus? It is, but not the version you see all over your TV. Is it about giving? It is. But not about presents wrapped and put under the tree. It’s about sacrifice. And it’s about Jesus. And it’s about what He really asks of us, and what He really did for us. And what we’re willing to give for love of Him.

Because that, my friends, is Christmas.

Blog Stops

December 6: Neverending Stories
December 7: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 7: A Greater Yes
December 8: Book by Book
December 9: Stuff & Nonsense
December 10: Blogging With Carol
December 10: Giveaway Lady
December 11: New Horizon Reviews
December 12: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
December 12: Genesis 5020
December 13: Daysong Reflections
December 13: Inklings and Notions
December 14: A Reader’s Brain
December 14: Pause for Tales
December 15: Redeemed Hope Dweller
December 15: simple harvest reads
December 16: Baker Kella
December 16: For The Love of Books
December 17: Bibliophile Reviews
December 17: Reader’s Cozy Corner
December 18: Henry Happens
December 18: Bigreadersite



Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a stocking full of wonder! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Undiscovered Treasures by Carole Brown





 
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book



Caroline Gibson is co-owner of Undiscovered Treasures, a shop of antiques, collectibles, and junk in rural West Virginia. Inside the shop is a music box that Caroline particularly relates to, believing that her own life is similar: forever spinning and never going anywhere.

She dreams and prays for the right man to turn up. But when family and friends hint that the local artist could be the guy, Caroline forgets about trusting God and takes matters into her own hands.

Besides, she could never love a man who paints such depressing pictures.

Andrew Carrington, painter of said depressing pictures, insists there’s always one redeeming trait to each of his works.

He’s loved Caroline since they were kids and thinks he’s not handsome enough, strong enough, or rich enough to impress this woman. But when God—or is it?—suddenly sends contracts begging for his signature, Andy thinks this just might be the way to win the only woman he can ever love.

But there’s a hitch in their plans. Someone is stealing Andy’s pictures, and why would they do that when he’s an unknown–so far? Do they know something Caroline and Andy don’t know? Is it mischief? Or something deeper that neither understand? Andy gets the chance to work with Caroline, and she must put aside her on-going battle to avoid Andy and his art so they can discover the art thief in Appleton before Andy loses the chance of a life time to ‘make it big.’

My Review

Why won't Andy ever take a hint from Caro that he's not her dream guy? Why does Caroline feel as though she's stuck and just not going anywhere? Why is someone interested in stealing a low profile artist's paintings? How long will Andy have to wait for Caro to accept his love for her? Suspense, a feel good read, and a touching romance all flow seamlessly throughout Undiscovered Treasures. And there are more treasures to be discovered from unexpected sources than first meet the eye at the beginning of the book. I have to say my favorite character was Andy because his devotion to Caroline withstood so much- her ridicule and anger, constant rejection, and yet, he saw all past that to see the wonderful person  that she was. I have to admit I found some of myself in Caro as well too. I too gave my husband a hard time until we started dating- but he was patient and eventually I ended up finding out the treasure he was! I really identified with Caro in that she was clumsy and a little unsure of herself. Just a regular, ordinary girl that isn't high maintenance but does have dreams of the future to come. The story line was not only suspenseful, but endearing and heartwarming as well. The spiritual undertones of the books were a wonderful side to this story line. The character's learned the importance of God's timing, His will, and looking for His plan to come from unexpected sources. This book perfectly balanced a good solid story line of suspense and feel good with a sweet romance that was not overly emphasized, which I appreciated. I feel as though anyone could pick up this book and enjoy it- it's a cozy, endearing, high quality read  that made me smile! 

I received this book for free, and all opinions given are my own. 



About the Author



Besides being an active participant of many writing groups, Carole enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense, tough topics, romance and whimsy into her books, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?



Guest Post from Carole Brown

Fun Tidbits About Undiscovered Treasures (Book Three of the Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery series) By Carole Brown
 
  • Why did I write this book? Several years ago, my agent urged me to write a romance novel for a certain publishing group. I did, and while I was at it, decided to write about three friends, all living in the made up town of Appleton, WV. Each had their own story, but the romance books didn’t go anywhere (because I’m not a “per se” romance writer. But when a current editor asked me for a new series, I thought about these three books and wondered if I could turn them into light mysteries. Ta da: the Appleton, WV series was born!
  • How much of myself do I put into my books? Almost always little dabs of this and that. I love antiques and flea markets, cats, flowers (including Caroline’s favorite: daisies) and coffee. If I drink tea, I’m a Tea Snob (same as Caroline). I’m clumsy and fall over practically nothing (Caroline too!).
  • What is your main characters like? In Undiscovered Treasures, Caroline Gibson, is a “home-town” girl. She doesn’t have a lot of confidence in her own looks, is clumsy, and sometimes quite outspoken. But she’s loyal, trustworthy, and soft-hearted, always watching out for the “underdog,” helps her brother run a successful business, writes plays, and oversees the local youth organization at her church.
  • Andy Carrington, on the other hand, is quiet, but confident in his own abilities, friendly, a dedicated Christian, and an up-and-coming famous artist. He’s best friends with Caroline’s brother, and grew up with him and Caroline. Best of all, he’s loved Caroline forever and trusts God to direct his and her life.
  • Where did I get the title for this book? When I plotted for the third friend (Caroline), I decided a junk/antique/collectibles store would be fun and unique. It also fit her personality. Having a brother and sister run the store worked well with the plot and giving them both a bit of wittiness added interest to the novel. I also thought this title played into the emotional love story part of the plot. Caroline, always dreaming of a real live prince for her life, doesn’t realize that she already has one. It’s only when she discovers Andy’s virtues that she finally clasps the truth: Andy is her treasure, chosen by God, just for her.
  • Why a cat in the story? It played into Caroline’s personality very well. I can just see her volunteering at the local pet shelter. Angel, the cat, also was a ready (or not) listener when Caroline needed a sounding board.
  • How does the music box play into the plot? It’s a constant reminder–and not a very welcome one–that her life is somewhat unsatisfactory. She thinks it’s because she doesn’t have a “prince” riding up to save her from a mundane existence, but really, it’s more like the proverbial ostrich inserting his head into the sand, and unwilling to accept the will of God for her life.
  • Why have Caroline travel out of the U.S. when she’s such a homebody? Having her travel, which she isn’t totally fond of, forces her to climb out of her comfort zone. She knows what she has to do–make an apology–whether everything turns out the way she wants it to or not, and because she has to travel a distance, she has plenty of time to ruminate on her “follies.” Overall, a good disciplinarian action for her.
  • Is there a spiritual thread? Yes. Accepting God’s will for our lives. We can’t make things happen the way we want, and if we force the issue, most times, it turns out to be an unsatisfactory situation. Caroline has to learn that, and once she does, she couldn’t be happier.

Blog Stops

November 30: autism mom
November 30: Carpe Diem
December 1: Quiet Quilter
December 3: On Jenna’s Shelf
December 4: Pause for Tales
December 6: bigreadersite
December 8: Karen Sue Hadley
December 9: A Reader’s Brain
December 10: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 11: Blogging With Carol

Giveaway





To celebrate their tour, Carole is giving away a themed basket including (but not limited to) 2 kitchen towels, 4 fun coasters, a travel journal w/ photo frames, a “happiness” picture, a recipe box and recipe cards, a fridge magnet, a magnetic phone list w/notepad, and a print copy of Undiscovered Treasures! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a934

Friday, December 2, 2016

Surround Me by Marguerite Martin Gray



To purchase your own copy, click here.

About the Book



Returning to Charles Town, Louis faces obstacles surrounding his engagement to Elizabeth and a city questioning its role in a volatile resistance to British rule.

As the dark curtain of the rumors of revolution threatens to descend, Louis Lestarjette pursues his relationship with Elizabeth even as the emotion and physical struggles set the course for a life of changes. Will his commitment to God stay firm or will the tide of change cause fear and flight?

The chance of reconciliation with England moves further out to sea leaving Elizabeth Elliott on the shores of surrender to a greater challenge. Although others of unwavering courage give her strength, she must choose to allow God’s love to surround her. How can she enter into a marriage during a time of uncertainty? Will selfish, safer options take her away from Louis and his love?

 

 

My Review


Surround Me thrilled my inner history nerd to the core. While the romance contained within the book was charming and beautiful, the Revolutionary War starting up outside of it gave me a sense of urgency and fear along with the characters. Will Elizabeth be able to win the war in her own household between her father's loyalist leanings, and her secret fiancee's patriot leanings as well as her own? Will the talk of war threaten her future family's happiness and peace? Will Louis even return in the first place with the same love he professed before he left for his hometown? Will Elizabeth wait for Louis and take a chance with him despite the fact that her family is diametrically opposed to who he is and what he stands for? All these answers and more are revealed in Surround Me. What I enjoyed the most was the character's personal spiritual growth in the midst of conflict all around them. They trusted the Lord in every situation, and obeyed Him no matter how hard it was. The historical aspects are so enchanting and gives us a very accurate and charming look at life during those times. The activity and conversation flows seamlessly in this book, and the characters and action were so clear in my mind. This book aroused in me feeling of patriotism, inspiration, and feel-good fuzzies as well. Adventure, Romance, Inspiration, whatever you're looking for- this book has it. For the book to so easily transition from war talk to a Godly romance was a great accomplishment. You won't be able to put it down once you start! Looking forward to continuing the story!

I was given this book for free and all opinions stated are my own.

 

 

About the Author



Marguerite Martin Gray is the author of Hold Me Close—Revolutionary Faith Book One. She enjoys the study of history and writing fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Marguerite is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Abilene Writers Guild, and Daughters of the American Revolution. Originally from Louisiana, she currently lives in Abilene with her husband.

 

 

Guest Post from Marguerite Martin Gray

About ten years ago I stood in the front bedroom of my parent’s antebellum house listening to my father tell stories about his ancestors–my ancestors while waving around a silver candlestick–my eight times great-grandfather’s gift to his bride. A story was born and I was off to Charleston, S.C.

Blog Stops

 


December 2: A Reader’s Brain
December 3: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 4: Lane Hill House
December 4: Karen Sue Hadley
December 6: A Greater Yes
December 7: Proverbial Reads
December 10: Bigreadersite
December 10: Bibliophile Reviews
December 12: Pause for Tales
December 13: A Path of Joy

 

Giveaway



To celebrate their tour, Marguerite is giving away a print copy of Hold Me Close and Surround Me, a print copy of A Spy’s Devotion by Melanie Dickerson, a $10 Amazon Card, and a Yorkshire Gold Box of Tea! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/aa5c

Friday, November 18, 2016

Finding Margo by Jen Turano


 
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book



Off the charts and on the run.

International pop star Margo Hartman could use a night off. A grueling tour and overbearing entourage have sent her over the edge. It’s time for this diva to disappear. And who would think to look for the superstar in a small town in Ohio?

Sheriff’s deputy Brock Moore is undercover as well. He knows Margo isn’t who she appears to be, but her uncanny resemblance to a local Amish woman is raising all sorts of questions . . . the kinds that make her a target for a killer.

Both are determined to find answers, but their mutual attraction stands in the way of either of them doing it alone. Is finding Margo the solution to Brock’s problems or the just the beginning . . . ?

 

My Review


Finding Margo delivered in so many ways to me as the reader. We get to meet the enchanting, quirky, sweet, and exhausted Margo who just wants a break from her pushy mother and demanding pop star career. Thanks to colliding with a duck (which was cute and humorous), she ends up in the town of Millersburg, OH which is famously known for it's large Amish community. We get to see worlds collide as Margo's English pop star world collides with a simple Amish one. One that ends up being full of thrilling suspense and life-threatening circumstances that one wouldn't expect in a cozy community of Amish. Brock is on a quest of his own trying to figure out the key to his sister's death. In steps Margo who throws him for a loop in more way than one ;) Finding herself confined to the Amish world and in hiding, Margo truly finds her way back to God and back to her home that she always longed for. The plot of this story will keep you laughing, smiling, sighing, cringing, and crying along with the characters. It is a rare thing indeed to be able to have an intriguing, page-turning, shocking thriller in the midst of an Amish setting, but Ms Turano pulls it off seamlessly. The characters were clear along with their actions and conversations- I felt like I was part of the action. I couldn't put the book down once I had started! I will definitely be watching for more installments from Ms. Turano- the sooner the better!!

 

I received a copy of this book for free. All opinions given are my own.

 

 

 

About the Author



USA Today best-selling author Jen Turano writes contemporary and historical romances with quirky characters and unusual storylines. Just outside Denver, Colorado, Jen and her husband live as empty-nesters, and they do so fabulously. Contact Jen at jenturano.com.

 

 

 

 

Guest Post from Jen Turano

The Making of “Finding Margo”

By Jen Turano

To say that my entrance into the publishing world was a tad difficult is certainly an understatement. My very first attempt at writing was centered around a middle grade book, specifically written for my son who was in the third grade at the time. After finishing that, and sending it out to all of five companies, none of whom represented middle grade, I then moved on to young adult with a little more interest sent my way, but no success story to report in the end. Not one to embrace the idea of complete and utter failure, I then tried my hand at a contemporary romance, moved on to what I assumed was a delightful regency romance, but one that turned out to be not that delightful, at least according to numerous agents, and finally landed on gilded age stories, filled with quirky heroines. That is when I finally received my very first publishing contract, which then saw me catapulted into the very weird world of publishing. After completing the second gilded age story of my two-book contract, I found myself with some time on my hands as I waited to see if anyone would read my stories, which might then result in an offer of additional book contracts. As I waited, I decided I might as well keep writing, so decided to try another contemporary story, although my agent at that time suggested I try to write an Amish book since she had numerous requests from publishers for those specific books. Because my writing voice is not what anyone might consider normal, I really didn’t believe I’d be able to do justice to an authentic Amish story.

Because of that, I settled on the idea of writing a contemporary romantic suspense, being a huge fan of that genre. I had a vague notion of exploring a theme centered around a dog walker who might stumble on a body while walking her pack of dogs, or perhaps have a storyline that centered around a makeup artist who witnessed a crime while setting out her makeup for a client, but those ideas went straight away when I pulled out the vacuum one fine day.

Vacuuming, as well as staining the deck, cleaning the shower, and power-washing the garage, are my go-to activities when I need to get the muse working right before I start a first draft. On that particular day, as I pushed the vacuum around the house, I suddenly had the most intriguing idea – an idea that started off with two delightful little words…What…and…If.

That was all it took for a premise to begin festering through my mind, a fester that grew into this – What if three Amish children were stolen straight out of their beds, never to be seen or heard from again until… Now here’s where it gets interesting. I decided to have a woman by the name of Margo Hartman, an international superstar no less, stumble into this small Ohio town quite by accident, and…she happens to bear an uncommon resemblance to an Amish woman who lives in this town. To add an addition sense of intrigue, someone immediately begins trying their very best to kill poor Margo.

By the time I was done vacuuming, the storyline for “Finding Margo” was firmly cemented in my mind, which translates into Jen had no choice other than to write the story. However, before my agent at that time found a home for the manuscript, I signed another contract for more gilded age books, which meant I did not have the time to commit to what was certainly going to have to be a three-book series since, well, there were three Amish children who’d gone missing.

Fast forward around five years and I found myself a little ahead of schedule at exactly the right time. There was a new publishing house in town, my current agent remembered me talking about this quirky book I’d written long ago, and as luck would have it, I found the flash drive that’s been home to “Finding Margo” for all these years.

Since my writing style has certainly changed since I first wrote Margo’s story, I ended up rewriting the entire book, and I must say that I’m still just as intrigued with the storyline as I was when it popped to mind while vacuuming what seems like ages ago. I’m just tickled to death that Margo Hartman has finally found her way out of a flash drive and onto the pages of a book. I’m hoping readers will enjoy her as much as I enjoyed writing her.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me today, and for supporting my books over the years. I cannot properly express how important all my readers have become to me, and I’m incredibly thankful for every one of you. You’ve brightened up my life and without you, well, I wouldn’t have anyone to share the stories that always seem to rumble around my mind.

God bless!

~ Jen ~



Blog Stops


November 17: Book by Book
November 17: cherylbbookblog
November 18: A Reader’s Brain
November 18: I Hope You Dance
November 18: Blogging with Carol
November 19: ASC Book Reviews
November 19: Bibliophile Reviews
November 20: Lighthouse Academy
November 20: Karen Sue Hadley
November 20: Back Porch Reads
November 21: Genesis 5020
November 21: 100 Pages per Hour
November 22: Pause for Tales
November 22: Quiet Quilter
November 22: Bigreadersite
November 23: Just Commonly
November 23: A Greater Yes
November 23: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
November 24: Smiling Book Reviews
November 24: Ashley’s Bookshelf
November 25: inklings and notions
November 26: Daysong Reflections
November 26: The Scribbler
November 26: Blossoms and Blessings
November 28: The Power of Words
November 28: Reader’s Cozy Corner
November 29: Faithfully Bookish
November 29: Christian Bookaholic



Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of her book! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine entries on the giveaway!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Christmas Lights by Vikki Kestell, Cathe Swanson, April Hayman, and Chautona Havig



To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book



Four novellas in a variety of genres—that’s all they are. Just four stories to quiet your heart and soul as you embrace the beauty of the Christmas season. Inside, you’ll find Vikki Kestell's historical romance and a reminder that the Lord’s plans are always just what we need. You’ll be introduced to Cathe Swanson's  unlikely romance about a woman who sets out to do one good deed and is drawn into the lives of a cast of eccentric elderly people. You’ll meet April Hayman and her southern madcap mystery featuring an FBI agent, a con artist or two, and a few eccentric elderly people of her own. And you’ll find Chautona Havig's Christian fiction novella that blends comedy, suspense, with a garnish of romance.

In the hope that through these Christmas stories your heart will be lightened and brightened, we offer you this collection. Merry Christmas! And a happy, light read!

 

My Review


Christmas Lights certainly did what I hoped it would do by reading the title- put me into the Christmas mood! It was a unique opportunity to read the offerings of different genres and authors to help me ring in the holiday season. While each book is totally unique and ambitious in it's own way, I was able to get that warm, fuzzy feeling from a feel-good read in each book.

 

In The Heart of Joy, we read of a lonely widow who has thrown herself into serving down-trodden women. She avoids the hope of loving anyone again because her love for her late husband is still such as strong presence in her life. Can she accept her husband's best friend as a suitor? I was touched by the spiritual aspect of this book in unfolding the plan that the Lord had for the character's lives which were contrary to what they had planned for themselves.

 

In Snow Angels, we find an unexpected setting for a feel-good Christmas novella- a homeless shelter. I have to say it was an unexpected setting. We follow our heroine as she learns the importance of seeing all men as equal no matter where they find themselves in circumstances and how everyone should be treated with dignity. We see her reach out to to others in need and find an unexpected treasure along the way. I have to applaud the ambitiousness of working from this setting and with this plot, because it's a sad, eye-opening look into the life of the homeless which touched me in a special way.

 

In Trip the Light Fantastic, we find a humorous yet serious character that I identified with highly due to his clumsiness :) He is a dedicated agent who is committed to finding his promotion and helping his family out how he can while depriving them of his time and presence which in the end is what we all need from each others- love and attention. I found the story line mischevious, endearing, and humorous and I have to admit that Landry was my favorite character as well. 

 

In Christmas Stalkings, we find a humorous but suspenseful tale of a "crazy cat lady," or so we have heard them called. This book was every bit as humorous as it was suspenseful, while we wonder who would want to bother sweet Wendy and threaten her and her cats, we have an amazing revelation that turns us on our heads when we realize the true colors of the characters that Wendy rubs elbows with frequently. You will laugh and sneak along with Wendy in this endearing, suspenseful tale.

 

Thank you ladies for the endearing, inspirational, suspenseful, humorous, Christmas read!

 

*I received this book for free and all opinions given are my own.

 

 

 

About the Author



Vikki Kestell is the author of the acclaimed inspirational series, A Prairie Heritage—a compelling saga of family, faith, and great courage. Vikki’s contribution to this collection, The Heart of Joy, asks, “Can true, enduring love happen twice in a lifetime?”  





 


Cathe Swanson: Author of contemporary mystery and romantic suspense, Cathe brings us Snow Angels – an entertaining companion novella and introduction to her upcoming Great Lakes series.  






 
April Hayman : Author of Heirlooms of Deception series, debuts with a novella featuring mystery, humor, and “divine intervention.”









 

Chautona Havig: Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie’s Inheritance, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona brings humor, stalkings, and stockings to this collection.

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post from the Authors

The Christmas Lights Collection formed in the spring of 2016 with the idea of bringing four novellas together with one unifying theme: light. After all, each author in this collection has one primary focus in life: Jesus. And in the book of John, He is called the “Light of Men.”

We thought we’d share what inspired our novellas and pray that these books are a delight and encouragement to all.  

The Heart of Joy: This novella is a spin-off story from Vikki Kestell’s Prairie Heritage series and features one of her most beloved characters, Joy Thoresen, from book three, Joy on This Mountain. After three years of widowhood, Joy mourns not only the loss of her husband but the child someone has kidnapped as well. Only her faith sustains her through difficult days.

Vikki’s goal in writing is to provide FaithFilledFiction to Christians, and this novella is no exception. She worked to show that even amid our sorrow, the Lord brings good, hope-filled gifts to us even when we think we’re not ready for them. She also desired to fill in small, time-veiled gaps in Joy’s story. The Heart of Joy puts the finishing touches on Joy’s story.  

Snow Angels: The idea for Snow Angels came to Cathe in slow increments. The idea of using homeless veterans originally prompted research into homeless shelters and programs, but the scope of those became too much for a novella. Still, those characters had stories Cathe wanted to tell, so she continued her research and became increasingly concerned with the plight of homeless veterans—particularly the women. For some reason, we often forget that women serve, get PTSD, and end up on the streets just like the men.

Cathe wanted to combine those realities with other misconceptions that often blind us to the person behind the fa├žade. She wanted to demonstrate how people in otherwise normal lives also can be thrust into situations that trigger PTSD and how those people work through it. Of course, with such a heavy topic, Cathe chose to write the story with a liberal dusting of humor to lighten the mood as you read.

As her debut novel, Cathe introduces readers to characters we’ll see more of in her Great Lakes series and paves the way for her upcoming novel, Baggage Claim, releasing in early 2017.  

Trip the Light Fantastic: April has been working on a mystery surrounding, of all things, Shakespeare’s inkwell! So, when she was invited to be a part of the Christmas Lights Collection, April decided to do an introductory novel to her Heirlooms of Deception series and Lance “Trip” Devereaux was “born.”

April admits to loving another character, Landry, just a little bit more than the others. Yet, he could never be a main character. He’s too much of a rascal and a mastermind, so he works best from the shadows. While this book wasn’t about him directly, it could be about someone similar—someone who works in the light but has lost his way and needs help from God and some new friends. Trip the Light Fantastic is a sideways introduction into a character that April hopes will entertain readers for more books to come.

April set her series in Mississippi where her grandparents lived, so the books are rich in southern manners, mannerisms, and manors! Well, there’s one plantation belonging to her irascible but charming con-artist. Watch for a book set at the Crawford house in Spilled Ink, releasing in December 2016.  

Christmas Stalkings: A couple of years ago, Chautona was on a Facebook group and a young woman admitted to having seven Christmas trees. Intrigued, she named it the “Seven Tree Obsession” and wondered what kind of character would have seven trees—and why. Well, the more she thought about it, the more interesting it became. After all, what would happen if ornaments got moved around when she wasn’t looking? Who would do that? Why? And what could she add to complicate it?

So, when the opportunity to do the Christmas Lights Collection came, Chautona decided she wanted to do that story. It seemed easy enough to contain into forty-thousand words. HA! But she got in her car, turned on her trusty voice recorder, and in the three-hour trek to her ACFW meeting, she schemed, plotted, and laughed until her sides ached at the ideas she came up with. Half never made it into the book, of course, but that’s okay. Chautona has a prequel/sequel planned for it. Lord willing, New Year's Revolutions will release on December 31. It’s the “Paul Harvey” version—the “rest of the story.”

While Christmas Stalkings does stand alone, Chautona wanted to explore Neal’s side of things a bit. So she is. It’ll be the fastest “write-to-publication” she’s ever done, but she just had to try. So, for NaNoWriMo Chautona is off to try to figure out what’s up with Neal and why he’s such a crusty curmudgeon. He’s too young for that! And maybe, just maybe, he’ll embrace a “new life” in the New Year.

Blog Stops

 


November 15: Bibliophile Reviews
November 16: blogging it out
November 17: A Reader’s Brain
November 17: Blogging With Carol
November 19: Daysong Reflections
November 19: Splashes of Joy
November 20: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
November 20: Christian Bookaholic
November 21: Bigreadersite
November 22: A Greater Yes
November 23: Back Porch Reads
November 24: Blossoms and Blessings
November 25: A Path of Joy
November 26: Bukwurmzzz
November 28: Once upon a time
November 28: Carpe Diem

Giveaway



To celebrate their tour, the authors are giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter.
Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a8ae