Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

All Is Bright Christmas Lights Collection 2019 Review

All Is Bright FB Banner (1)

About the Book

Book:  All Is Bright (Christmas Lights Collection 2019)

Author: Kari Trumbo, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, & Chautona Havig

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October  17, 2019

Four of your favorite contemporary romance authors join festive forces to bring you the fourth-annual Christmas Lights Collection.

Kari Trumbo-  Merry and Dashing: Merry hates Christmas corporate greed. Jacob loves finding the perfect gift for everyone. When Scrooge and Santa volunteer at a local thrift store together, will the mix be Holly Jolly?

Toni Shiloh-  I’ll Be Home: What could be worse than being laid off right before the holidays? For Starr Lewis that would include returning home jobless, single, and, oh yeah, just in time to attend her sister’s wedding on Christmas Eve… to Starr’s ex-boyfriend. In the midst of it all, her brother’s best friend soon has her wondering if she can take another chance on love.

Cathe Swanson- Season of Change:  Charlea’s ready to sell Serenity Hill, but Drew is back in town, 15 years after their dream date ended in disaster, helping her mother and daughter turn the old commune into a commercial Christmas wonderland. Between poinsettias and sleigh rides, angst and romance collide in this Christmas second-chance romance!

Chautona Havig- The 12 Dates of Christmas : When Reagan runs into Alex, her high school nemesis, he is stunned to discover that’s how she saw him. It’ll take twelve dates and a lot of forgiveness on both sides to even hope for a Christmassy-ever-after.

Brighten your day with these four heart-warming novellas today!

 

Click here to get your copy!

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For the last several years I have enjoyed reading books by these authors and reading the Christmas Lights collections.  So I was glad to have the opportunity to participate in this tour and read these books.  Chautona Havig and Cathe Swanson always write books that pull me into their stories.  This book represents the fourth book in the Christmas Lights collection and is just as captivating as the previous books.

The collection begins with Kari Trumbo’s book.  What should a woman to do when her brother decides not to come home for Christmas and her parents decide to head south for the winter?  Merry winds up being pushed out of her comfort zone by her mother encouraging her to volunteer at a thrift store.  She finds the commercialization of Christmas unacceptable.  But then she mets Jacob, someone who loves searching for and finding the absolutely perfect present for everyone.  So when the two meet, interesting things are bound to happen.

The next story is Toni Shiloh’s I’ll Be Home.  Losing your job, having to move home, and topping it all off with having to go to your sister’s wedding (who happens to be marrying your ex-boyfriend) provides a horrible situation.  But becoming reintroduced to your brother’s best friend and taking a second look provides hope for the future.

A second chance at romance occurs in Cathe Swanson’s Seasons of Change provides a wonderful look at what can happen when you meet someone from your past. Cathe Swanson does an incredible job of creating settings and characters that pull me into the story.

Finally, the collection concludes with Chautona Havig’s The Twelve Dates of Christmas.  Regan saw Alex as her high school nemesis, but he is taken by surprise when he discovers that years later.  Chautona Havig does a remarkable job of creating memorable stories that make me want to keep reading.

So check out this collection for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

karitrumbo

Kari Trumbo:  Kari Trumbo writes swoony heroes and places that become characters with detail and heart. Kari loves reading, listening to music, singing when no one’s listening, and curling up with a fuzzy blanket, a book, and a hot cup of tea by the wood stove. She loves her make-believe people almost as much as the real thing. You can find out more about her and her worlds at karitrumbo.com

 

 

 

ToniShiloh

Toni Shiloh:  Toni Shiloh writes ethnically diverse characters that could be your best friend. She writes to understand the Lord more and shares her lessons with her readers. Visit her at www.tonishiloh.com.

 

 

 

cathe swanson

Cathe Swanson:  Cathe Swanson, the author of the Great Lakes and Glory Quilts series, enjoys gardening, sewing, papercrafting, and kayaking on the beautiful Wisconsin rivers. As a child of the 60’s, she’s having fun writing about hippies and the Jesus People movement in her new Serenity Hill series.

 

 

 

 

chautona havig

Chautona Havig: Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com

 

 

 

 

 

More From Chautona

Christmas in “The Christmas City”

 

I wrote most of 12 Dates of Christmas in Noel, Missouri, otherwise known as “The Christmas City.”  That’s kind of funny, because Noel isn’t pronounced No-ell.  It’s “Nole”—rhymes with pole.  As in North. 😉

By the time I’d finished, it was almost time to leave the little town and head home after nearly six weeks with old and new friends.  I had to say goodbye to memories I might never visit in person again, and it was difficult to imagine.

So, I did the only thing I knew to do.  I wrote a super-short story.  It’s just over seven thousand words (including a bit of history behind different people, places, and things in the story), but it captured things near and dear to my heart—my mother’s house, the church I’ve loved for so many years, town traditions, and now characters I’m not sure I can let go of.

In fact, I am considering writing a full-length novella next year for the fifth-annual Christmas Lights Collection next year!  I think Rob and Lissa deserve to have their full story told.

As my thanks to readers who purchase or read the collection on Kindle Unlimited, I’m offering this short story, “A Noel Christmas,” FREE.  Just send me your receipt or a screenshot showing you’ve completed the collection and it’s yours.  Visit https://chautona.com/bonus for more information or just zip an email to any of the authors in the collection. We’re all happy to send it on.

We all hope you have a very meaningful Christmas this year—one that offers bright spots in your days. May God richly bless you now and in the new year.

Kari Trumbo, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, and Chautona Havig

 

P.S.  If you read the short story, do let me know if you think I should turn it into a full-length novella/novel. I’d love to know your opinion.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, December 6

Texas Book-aholic, December 7

janicesbookreviews, December 8

Through the Fire Blogs, December 9

Mary Hake, December 9

Genesis 5020, December 10

Inklings and notions, December 11

Blossoms and Blessings, December 12

CarpeDiem, December 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 14

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 15

Batya’s Bits, December 16

She Lives To Read, December 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 17

Lots of Helpers, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 19

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, The Christmas Lights Authors are giving away the grand prize of a six-month Kindle Unlimited Subscription!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f2b3/all-is-bright-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for A Season to Dance

A Season to Dance FB Cover About the Book

Book:  A Season to Dance

Author: Patricia Beal

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Release Date: May, 2017

A Season to Dance coverAna Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back. Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.

Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes everything.

Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement. With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success. Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

 

Click here to get your copy!

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Perhaps my daughter taking ballet when she was younger pulled me into this story.  Or maybe my love of reading about The Nutcracker ballet pulled me into this story.  But whatever, the reason, as I started reading this story, I feel in love with the characters and storyline.

The relationship between Ana and Claus and Peter moves at a pace that keeps the reader interested and wondering what will happen next.  Starting in the present and jumping back to the past adds an element of suspense to this book.  I found it difficult to put this book down.

I wanted to see Ana get a happy ending rather than the tragic ending of Romeo and  Juliet – another ballet mentioned in the book.  This book does an excellent job of showing someone seeking for God and for answers from Him even while questioning her own faith.  So check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

Patricia BealPatricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). Her second novel comes out in February of 2020. Patricia graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and has worked for the U.S. Army as a writer and editor for many years. Patricia writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two children. You can find more info about Patricia on her website here.

 

More from Patricia

A Season to Dance: The Book That Wrote Me

When I wrote the first line of my first novel in January of 2011, I wanted to get published because I was desperate to feel important.

I finished writing A Season to Dance that fall and hired coach Gloria Kempton via Writer’s Digest to look at the whole thing and tell me if it was any good.

She saw potential in the story of a small-town professional ballerina with big dreams, but explained I needed a clearer quest, more telling details, better scene structure, and better balance between sequels and dramatic scenes. I joined Gloria’s critique group and spent a year rewriting.

During that year, my husband got orders to move the family from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Germany, and he deployed for the sixth time soon after we settled on a lovely mountaintop in Idar-Oberstein.

When I finished rewriting, Gloria said the novel looked good and had everything a novel was supposed to have. But… “Something’s still missing. I don’t know what it is. We’ve covered it all.”

So of course I did what any writer desperate for validation would do. I told my coach that surely nothing was missing and that it was time to query. I hired a service to blast queries everywhere for me. I know… Shame on me… But God used that.

 

God’s Plan—Phase One

One query ended up with Mrs. Joyce Hart, of Hartline Literary. The novel wasn’t Christian—I wasn’t a Christian. She shouldn’t have received my query. But she did. She sent me a note saying she liked the storyline but that in Christian novels the protagonist couldn’t live with her love interest without being married. She was very kind and said that if she was missing the point and if the novel was indeed Christian that I should resubmit explaining the living together piece.

When I read it I laughed and rolled my eyes. I started typing a condescending reply. Something about Christian fairy tale brains and me living in the real world, but I decided not to send it.

Days passed. A week passed. A month passed. And all I did was collect rejections. I became bitter. Bitterly sad at first. Then bitterly discouraged. And then bitterly ugly. I’d never been ugly before. Not like that.

See, up to that point, I’d believed that there was some kind of “god” and that somewhere, somehow, being good was right and that it paid off. But with the disappointments of the publishing journey those beliefs became a joke to me. I stood in the middle of my empty German kitchen—husband deployed, kids at school, my first dog had just died. And I looked at that inbox full of rejections and stated to whomever or whatever was out there: “God is dead.”

Mercy. Surely I said that to the “god” of my imagination, and not to the real God—God as He reveals Himself in the Bible. But I know that He was in that kitchen with me. And phase two of His plan was about to start.

Luke 22:31-32: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

 

God’s Plan—Phase Two

As I lost all restraint and became the worst version of myself, God removed me from my green German mountaintop.

After less than eighteen months in Germany, we were sent back to America, to the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas. To a place called Fort Bliss—a place from which you can see a Mexican mountain with the words: “Cd. Juárez. La Biblia es la verdad. Leela.” That translates to “City of Juárez. The Bible is the truth. Read it.” Gotta love it. God is good.

During the first six months back in America, I went to two secular writers’ conferences and met more rejection. My lack of restraint and my selfishness didn’t really make me happy. I wanted to go to therapy. I wanted a job. I still dreamed of that book deal that had to be just around the corner. I wanted, I wanted…

But nothing happened, and it didn’t matter how hard I tried to get help, get happy, and find any kind of relief for the pain I felt. Nothing. Happened. I’d never seen so many closed doors—slammed-shut doors—ever in my life. Even the shrink kept double booking, closing early, and somehow cancelling on me. It was ridiculous.

 

The One Open Door

When God planted our family in the desert, He planted us two blocks from a friend from the Fort Benning years. A friend whose claim to fame was church shopping whenever the Army moved her family. I asked her to take me to church on the first Wednesday of January of 2013.

I fell in His arms. Surrendered, defeated, and dependent. Or what God likes to call—ready. I was born again two weeks later and was baptized on Super Bowl Sunday that February.

 

Gloria’s “Something Missing”

I had tickets to go to New York for the Writer’s Digest conference that spring, but sometime in March, it dawned on me: “You silly goose of a girl. You wrote a salvation story without the salvation piece.” My first coach, Gloria Kempton, had been right all along. There was something missing!

A Season to Dance isn’t just the story of a small-town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York and the two men who love her. It’s also the story of a girl desperately trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with often misguided career and romantic pursuits.

I deleted Mrs. Hart’s email that week. Yes, it was still in my inbox. Job well done, Mrs. Hart.

Now, I had work to do. I spent 2013 and the first half of 2014 rewriting the novel. Five ladies from my Sunday school read chapter after chapter as I produced them and cheered me on through that gruesome process. I couldn’t have done it without their support. God is good.

Jeff Gerke edited my novel in the summer of 2014 and had me read Robert McGee’s The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes. God is good.

I went to my first Christian writers conference, the ACFW 2014 in St. Louis. Two weeks later, Les Stobbe offered to represent me. God is good.

ACFW 2015 was fantastic and many houses are looking at that first manuscript. God is good.

In early 2016, we sold the manuscript to Bling! Romance, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. A Season to Dance released in the spring of 2017. God is good.

My family got saved, too. My husband in July of 2013. Our son in December of 2013. My mom in the fall of 2014. And our little girl just this past summer, the summer of 2015. God is amazingly good!

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, December 12

The Power of Words, December 12

As He Leads is Joy, December 13

Through the Fire Blogs, December 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 15

For the Love of Literature, December 15

Hallie Reads, December 16

By The Book, December 16

Girls in White Dresses, December 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 17

Texas Book-aholic, December 18

janicesbookreviews, December 19

God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae, December 19

Godly Book Reviews, December 20

Blogging With Carol, December 20

Christian Bookaholic, December 21

For Him and My Family, December 21

Inklings and notions, December 22

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, December 22

Emily Yager, December 23

CarpeDiem, December 23

A Reader’s Brain, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 25

Batya’s Bits, December 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Patricia is giving away the grand prize package of a themed basket of book-inspired coffees and chocolate!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f23d/a-season-to-dance-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Non-Fiction Books

Review and Giveaway for Made For Brave

Made for Brave FB Banner

About the Book

Book:  Made for Brave

Author: Alyssa Galios

Genre: Christian Memoir, Widowhood, Cancer

Release Date: November, 2019

MadeforBrave_CoverEFrom the testimony viewed over 100 million times on the internet:

“I am so sorry I have to deliver such awful news.” Shaking his head, the doctor muttered, “You are both so young.”

A young woman in her twenties with a future and a plan for her life comes up against a tragic nightmare when her handsome and otherwise healthy husband is suddenly diagnosed with a rare inoperable cancer. As her husband’s beliefs grow stronger, Alyssa’s dreams evaporate, and her faith slips away when the worst happens.

Experience soul-searing pain and miraculous moments of joy in this poignant true-life account. Journey with Alyssa as she grapples with life and death, faith and unbelief, disappointment and hope in a search for answers that takes her beyond grief to peace and a surprising new love.

Along the way, you’ll find answers to the questions you may be asking in your own life:

  • Where is God when it hurts?
  • Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?
  • Can God make something good come out of bad?
  • Does true love ever strike twice?

Made for Brave is a striking example of how God can create overwhelming good from even the worst of life when we choose to partner with Him.

 

Click here for your copy.

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Made For Brave consists of twenty chapters that inspire hope and more even in the midst of the devastation of illness. Covering topics from control, to purpose, to focus and more, this book offers so much to her readers. Dealing with the sickness and fear of losing the one you love can cause anyone to question their faith.  Alyssa Galios shares her journey through the darkest event a person can go through with her readers.

The book will invoke a lot of emotions and is definitely one worth reading.  It illustrates how the darkest hours can be followed by a rebirth of hope and faith.

So check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

AlyssaAlyssa Galios is a writer, speaker, social media influencer, and coach. Founder of the #MadeforBrave movement and CEO of the Made for Brave Company, Alyssa is known for helping countless people create better lives through faith, family, and fitness. Her life story has been featured on sites like Yahoo News, Christian Post, Fox News, HuffPost, and Viralized. Alyssa and her husband Jay run their business out of their home north of Seattle, where they happily raise their daughters. For more information, visit alyssagalios.com.

 

More from Alyssa

Some people come into your life as bright as shooting stars. They zip across your horizon then, all too soon, drop back into the blackness. Though you can no longer see them, you are forever changed by their brilliance. This is just as it was with Nicholas Magnotti. Six beautiful years changed the person I will always be.
Before my strapping, young and handsome 25-year-old husband got sick, I missed a large part of the point of living. I was a workaholic mainly; a worry wort often; and I got really good at playing the comparison game. As such, I spent the first three years of our marriage living in selfish fear. Nick’s presence in my life taught me something I won’t ever forget… It taught me that every single moment counts and that what we do in love for others is the only thing that truly makes a lasting impact. And, eventually, the strong faith he exuded through his trials would cause me to question and rebuild my own faith.
The day that I said yes to a blind date with a gorgeous man I had never met… the God of the universe set into motion a series of miraculous events that I couldn’t have possibly ever predicted. He didn’t cause the bad parts of my story. Not at all. But, He saw those parts, from way off in the distance and game-planned so that it would all still work together for good and for His glory. You’ll be amazed at all the good He was able to create. And, the craziest part? He is so not finished yet.
Made for Brave: A Journey Through Devastating Loss to Infinite Hope is an uncommon love story and, at times, a harrowing journey but, more than that, it’s my true life journey that I know I have been called to share. I hope you will walk it with me and come away knowing you have always been made for brave, too.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, December 2

A Reader’s Brain, December 3

Reader’s Cozy Corner, December 4

Just the Write Escape, December 5

As He Leads is Joy, December 6

Simple Harvest Reads, December 7 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, December 8

Artistic Nobody, December 9

Inklings and notions, December 10

Lots of Helpers, December 11

janicesbookreviews, December 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 14

Through the Fire Blogs, December 15 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Alyssa is giving away the grand prize package of  $25 Amazon Gift Card & a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f1b9/made-for-brave-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Non-Fiction Books

Review and Giveaway for Crown

Crown FB Banner

About the Book

Book:  Crown

Author: Nancy Kaser

Genre: Christian Non-Fiction, Biblical Marriage

Release Date: August 20, 2019

crown coverWhether you’re in the honeymoon stage or celebrating your fiftieth anniversary, you have never before been in this season of your marriage. Your family dynamics, finances, health, emotional state, location, ministry, employment status—all the factors of your life—are in a perpetual state of transition. As a married woman, you are continually wife-changing. The Scriptures never change, but they can always be freshly applied to every season of marriage.

Crown is a resource that combines solid Bible teaching, humorous and humbling tales from the author’s own marriage journey, and dozens of compelling stories from real women just like you. Based on Proverbs 12:4, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,” Crownincludes concrete Scriptural truths and real-life examples that will equip you to be the excellent wife God created you to be. Complex issues such as biblical roles within marriage, physical intimacy, communication, forgiveness, and home management are all addressed with candid honesty, encouragement, and biblical substance. In thirty wife-changing lessons, you will be instructed, challenged, and motivated to walk in obedience to God’s beautiful design for marriage.

 

Click here to get your copy.

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Crown is 30 lessons combining Biblical truths and real-life stories from the author and other women.  The six chapters are each broken into five lessons provide inspiration for what can happen when women turn to God and His Word

The book is divided into six chapters with five lessons in each chapter.  The stories from the author and other women bring the book to life.  I found the book to be one that caused me to want to study more and dive deeper into God’s Word.

This book is definitely worth reading.  So check it out for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

 

About the Author

Nancy Kaser Bio PicNancy Kaser is a passionate pastor’s wife and veteran missionary. For over twenty-five years, she has taught women’s Bible studies, provided biblical counseling, and been a dynamic women’s conference speaker. Based in Southern California, Nancy teaches literature and history classes at The Writtenburg Door. She and her visionary husband also lead short-term mission trips with the Calvary Chapel movement and run a child-sponsorship organization.

 

More from Nancy

Closing the church door after my seventh counseling appointment that week, I was overcome with the realization that every appointment had been relatively indistinguishable. The women I counseled from our congregation were generally unsatisfied, disappointed, and disillusioned with their marriages, and some were downright rebellious in their role as wives. The same anxieties, the same troubles, (and the same sins creating the anxieties and troubles) came up in almost every meeting. Though these church ladies may have been well-versed in the scriptures, no one had taught them how to live out biblical principals in their everyday lives.

As a pastor’s wife, I wished I could meet with every married lady in my church and offer practical discipleship with this hope: that a glorious, fulfilling, and God-honoring marriage—to the same guy she is married to right now! —is absolutely possible through obedience to God’s word.  

Crown – 30 Wife-Changing Lessons is a resource that combines solid Bible teaching, humorous and humbling tales from my own marriage journey, and dozens of compelling stories from real women just like you. Based on Proverbs 12:4, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,” Crown includes concrete, scriptural truths and real-life examples that will equip you to be the excellent wife God created you to be. Complex issues such as biblical roles within marriage, physical intimacy, communication, forgiveness, and home management are all addressed with candid honesty, encouragement and biblical substance.

Whether you’re in the honeymoon stage or celebrating your fiftieth anniversary, you have never before been in this season of your marriage. Your family dynamics, finances, health, emotional state, location, ministry, employment status— all the factors of your life—are in a perpetual state of transition. As a married woman, you are continually wife-changing. The scriptures never change, but they can always be freshly applied to every season of marriage. In thirty wife-changing lessons, you will be instructed, challenged, and motivated to walk in obedience to God’s beautiful design for marriage.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 13

Mary Hake, December 13

Inklings and notions, December 14

Artistic Nobody, December 15

All-Of-kind Mom, December 16

Just the Write Escape, December 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 18

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

janicesbookreviews, December 20

Simple Harvest Reads, December 21

For Him and My Family, December 21

A Reader’s Brain, December 22

As He Leads is Joy, December 23

Lots of Helpers, December 24

Quiet Workings, December 25

Godly Book Reviews, December 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Nancy is giving away the grand prize package of 2 copies of Crown and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f23e/crown-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fiction, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for Christmas on Breakers Point

Christmas on breakers point

About the Book

Book:  Christmas on Breakers Point

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction, Christian Romantic Fiction, Christmas

Christmas on Breakers PointOne man’s last Christmas wish might change two lives forever.

Mallory Barrows has one last Christmas with her uncle.  She’s determined to make it the best one he’s ever had.

She knows when she asks what he wants as his final gift, it won’t be a tie or a new mug. He won’t need those where he’s going, and he’s quite happy about that.

Mallory just didn’t think he wanted a miracle wrapped in paper and tied with a shiny red bow!

Christmas on Breakers Point is the introductory book to the Independence Islands Series.

 

Click here to get your copy!

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For several years now, Chautona Havig has been one of my favorite authors.  I love reading her books and the variety of stories she has to tell.  This book is the first book in the series of books for the Independence Island series that will include stories from a variety of authors.  She has a way of creating characters and settings that draw the reader into the story.

Mallory and her Uncle Bud tugged at my heartstrings with the love they had for each other.  I appreciated the details about her turning in her resignation to her boss.  The emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows kept this story interesting.  At many points, I found myself wanting to shed tears over the idea of Uncle Bud dying.  He was a character that pulled me into the story.

So check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

ChautonaChautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

The book opens with a phone call that goes like this:

Her phone buzzed. Without taking her eyes from the page, Mallory Barrows fumbled about until her hand closed around it. The book held her bound in ropes of suspense as the villain slipped into the party unannounced—unseen. While she followed him around the edge of the imaginary room, her thumb swiped, tapped, and answered the call as if on autopilot.

Even as Mallory said, “Hello?” her breath caught. The guy had found his prey.

“Mallory, honey?”

Without a second look, she dropped the book and sat up, feet planted firmly on the floor and all attention on the call.  “Is it time?”

“’Fraid so, darlin’. Doc says it’s a matter of weeks or a month or two. And I promised.”

“I’ll be there Friday afternoon.”

 

Just days after I wrote those lines, I woke up to a message from my sister.  “Call Mom.”

I called.  Mom said, “I need you to come.”  That was Thursday.  I walked into Mom’s house on Saturday evening and our lives changed forever.

I don’t know if God prepared me for this change by having me write that scene just days before, but I have to say it felt like it!  Everything went crazy for over a month as I tried to wrap up my mother’s affairs in Missouri, I had to try to finish three books in a time of upheaval and turmoil.  No, it’s not the same as trying to help a young woman reclaim her True First Love so she could reclaim her first earthy love.  It isn’t the same as starting a whole new life and a new business.  But… oh, how it felt like it.

Another parallel in the story and my life was how Mallory struggles to try to get Uncle Bud to eat. I did the same thing for most of my time in Missouri.  Mom struggled and hard just to swallow and just wanted to eat.  So, while I was writing, I worked hard to come up with a recipe that Mallory might use to convince Uncle Bud to eat something.  The result were these Coconut Lime Cookies. I hope you love them as much as Uncle Bud did.

 

Coconut Lime Cookies

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups white flour

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup sugar

3 oz room temp cream cheese—cubed

½ tsp vanilla

Zest of 1 lime (key limes may be preferred)

½ cup (1 stick) melted butter (warm)

1 egg

1 TBS milk (whole is the most delicious… and half & half is even better)

1 TBS lime juice (again, some may prefer key limes)

½ cup powdered sugar  (reserved for rolling cookies in)

 

Directions: (oven preheats to 350)

Stir together the first five ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside

Stir together sugar, cream cheese, and lime zest in a large mixing bowl. Cream butter in. Repeat with egg, milk, and lime juice, one at a time. Make sure your ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Add dry ingredients slowly. Mix well.

Roll dough into approximately 1” balls.  Roll each ball into powdered sugar and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

Bake for approximately 11-12 minutes until lightly golden.

 

Before you eat, close your eyes and imagine yourself beneath swaying palm trees with warm sand between your toes.  Merry Christmas!

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, December 2

She Lives to Read, December 2

Daysong Reflections, December 2

A Reader’s Brain, December 3

Mamma Loves Books, December 3

Aryn the Libraryan 📚, December 4

CarpeDiem, December 4

A Baker’s Perspective, December 5

Hebrews 12 Endurance, December 5

Betti Mace, December 6

For the Love of Literature, December 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 7

Cultivating Us, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 8

For Him and My Family, December 8

janicesbookreviews, December 9

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Texas Book-aholic, December 10

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Lots of Helpers, December 11

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Wishful Endings, December 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 12

Stories By Gina, December 12

Quiet Quilter, December 13

Batya’s Bits, December 13

Godly Book Reviews, December 14

Emily Yager, December 14

Blossoms and Blessings, December 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 15

Back Porch Reads, December 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize of a 6 Month Kindle Unlimited subscription!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f1b8/christmas-on-breakers-point-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fiction

Review for An Amish Christmas Bakery

an amish christmas bakery FB bannerAbout the Book

Book:  An Amish Christmas Bakery

Author: Various Authors

Genre: Amish Fiction, Romance

Release Date: October 2, 2019

Amish Christmas BakeryFrom bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four delicious novellas perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the holiday season.

Cookies and Cheer by Amy Clipston
As Christmas draws near, Alyssa Byler dreams of a window display for the bakery where she works. When she decides to design and build a sugar cookie nativity scene, all she needs is the right cookie cutters-and handsome blacksmith Kyle Smoker is the one she asks for help. Using Kyle’s handmade cutters, Alyssa creates a striking display that brings more tourists to the bakery than she can handle.
And when shoppers request handmade cookie cutters of their own, Kyle finds himself overwhelmed by the demand. As Christmas approaches, Alyssa realizes she’s been too caught up in work to focus on the true meaning of Christmas-and too distracted to explore the feelings she has for Kyle. Together, they put aside the holiday rush and spend their time celebrating the season that has brought them together.

Loaves of Love by Beth Wiseman
As the only girl in a family of eight, Katie Swartzentruber has been left in charge of her family’s bakery while her mother recuperates from surgery. At first, Katie doesn’t think tending to the bakery alone will be difficult. She’s worked alongside her mother for years. But Christmas is coming, and with the holiday comes a flood of patrons, both regulars and tourists. When Katie becomes overwhelmed with the orders she is receiving, she is tempted to move her Old Order family into the modern world by purchasing propane ovens to help with the workload. She finds help from an unexpected source-childhood friend Henry Hershberger, who has harbored a secret crush on Katie for years. He’s been afraid to tell her how he feels, but he’s sure that this Christmas is his moment. As the demands of the bakery only get more intense, both Katie and Henry have to decide what really matters . . . and find the courage within themselves to go after it.

Melting Hearts by Kathleen Fuller
Mattie Shetler is an expert baker, so when her aunt Carolyn begs for help during the busy Christmas rush, Mattie eagerly packs her bags and heads to Birch Creek. What she doesn’t know is that her uncle has also asked for help with the bakery’s new expansion, and he’s asked none other than Peter Kaufman, Mattie’s sworn enemy. As the two work side by side, though, Mattie discovers not all is as it seems. With Christmas just around the corner, Mattie and Peter open their hearts for the greatest gifts of the season: forgiveness and maybe even love.

Cakes and Kisses by Kelly Irvin
Martha Ropp works hard at her family’s bakery, making cakes and pies in preparation not only for Christmas but the many community weddings, including her sister’s. To help during this busy season, Martha’s mother hires Ambrose Hershberger to make deliveries. Martha remembers Ambrose as a gentle giant from her school days, but soon discovers that still waters run deep. The more they work together, the more they want to spend time together outside of the bakery, but both Martha and Ambrose are too timid to make the first move. That’s when the town matchmakers step in.

 

Click here to get your copy.

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Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,  So combining that with stories about the Amish set in bakeries makes for a book completely worth reading.  I love how the characters, settings, and stories all come together.  Set in different bakeries in different parts of the country the stories weave together into one unforgettable story.

I think the first story sets the stage beautifully for this book.  The idea of having a metalworker create Nativity scene inspired cookie cutters to create a Christmas display for a bakery leads to incredible scenes in my mind.  Alyssa Byler finds herself so caught up in work that she loses sight of what is most important at Christmas – her family and her boyfriend.  The story captured my attention.

Then to have a story about a young woman trying to run her family’s bakery alone while her mother recovers from surgery demonstrates how we sometimes miss what is directly in front of our face. It is easy to get caught up in doing what seems to be easy rather than doing what is right and true.

Truly this is a book worth reading.  So check it out for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

Read an Excerpt

Read an excerpt of An Amish Christmas Bakery here.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, December 7

The Avid Reader, December 7

Chas Ray’ Book Nerd Corner, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 8

Books, Life, and Christ, December 8

preciousbitsandmusings, December 8

Quiet Quilter, December 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 9

Life as Lanhams, December 10

Britt Reads Fiction, December 10

D’S QUILTS &BOOKS, December 10

Emily Yager, December 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 11

Texas Book-aholic, December 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 12

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 12

Older & Smarter?, December 13

Miss Tinas Amish Book Review, December 13

janicesbookreviews, December 13

Bigreadersite, December 14

Batya’s Bits, December 14

For Him and My Family, December 14

Splashes of Joy, December 15

Lighthouse Academy, December 15

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 15

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 16

Nighttime Reading Center, December 16

EmpowerMoms, December 16

My Devotional Thoughts, December 17

Blossoms and Blessings, December 17

Hallie Reads, December 18

Inspiration Clothesline, December 18

Mary Hake, December 18

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 19

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, December 19

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 19

A Reader’s Brain, December 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 20

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review for The Camera Never Lies

The Camera Never Lies FB Banner About the Book

Book:  The Camera Never Lies

Author: David Rawlings

Genre: General fiction/allegory/magical realism

Release Date: December 3, 2019

cover Camera Never LiesDavid Rawlings, author of The Baggage Handler, returns with another probing story: what would you do if your secrets were revealed to those around you?

Daniel Whiteley is a successful couples counselor who regularly puts families back together, helping them face up to the things in life they hide. But his own marriage is falling apart.

His wife, Kelly, knows Daniel is hiding something from her, but she doesn’t dare probe for fear her own secrets will be revealed.

When his grandfather dies, Daniel inherits an old SLR camera from a time when cameras pointed away from the person taking the photograph. On the camera is an inscription: “Use this camera wisely and remember, regardless of the picture you think you took, the camera never lies.”
When Daniel first uses his new camera he finds someone has already filled the roll of film. Annoyed, he processes the film and finds photos of a secret that he’s been hiding from his wife and daughter.
He has no idea who took them.

Now every time he uses the camera, the photographs reveal another secret about himself the he is desperate to keep-as well as those of his wife, which he is desperate to uncover.

 

Click here to get your copy.

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Imagine having secrets from those you love and should share everything with all the time.  This situation is exactly what happens to Daniel and his wife Kelly.  The secrets they are keeping from each other could potentially devastate each other and their daughter.  But then Daniel’s beloved grandfather dies and leaves him a camera.  Daniel begins to experience strange things, such as an entire roll of film being taken by someone other than him.  But even stranger, when the pictures are developed Daniel sees things that never happened.

When a marriage counselor and his wife are having marital problems, who can they turn to (especially when the marriage counselor is a best-selling author who has secrets of his own?  I love how the story slowly winds its way through unexpected twists and turns.  Millie, daughter of Daniel and Kelly, is one of my favorite characters.  She sees everything and only wants her life to return to normal.

The book ends on a note I was happy with, but then an epilogue enters the scene that makes me want to read more about the characters in this book.  I feel there are so many more stories that need to be told.  So check out this book for yourself.  It is definitely worth reading.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

headshot-david-rawlingsDavid Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father of three who loves humor and a clever turn of phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.

 

Read an Excerpt

Read an excerpt of The Camera Never Lies here.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 5

amandainpa, December 5

Older & Smarter?, December 6

Through the Fire Blogs, December 6

Blogging With Carol, December 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 7

For Him and My Family, December 7

Christian Bookaholic, December 8

Emily Yager, December 8

Splashes of Joy, December 8

As He Leads is Joy, December 9

Mamma Loves Books, December 9

Vicky Sluiter, December 10

mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 10

Robin’s Nest, December 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 11

Bigreadersite, December 11

Genesis 5020, December 12

Remembrancy, December 12

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 12

Pause for Tales, December 13

A Reader’s Brain, December 13

For the Love of Literature, December 14

Seasons of Opportunities, December 14

Inklings and notions, December 14

Artistic Nobody, December 15

To Everything There Is A Season, December 15

Texas Book-aholic, December 15

Just the Write Escape, December 16

janicesbookreviews, December 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 16

Hallie Reads, December 17

My Devotional Thoughts, December 17

Quiet Quilter, December 18

Literary Reflections Book Blog, December 18

Godly Book Reviews, December 18