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