Tag Archives: Christmas fiction

Book Review: Christmas in Winter Hill

3 Oct

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, “Where’s the snow?” Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you to spend this holiday season in a town you’ll never forget — and never want to leave.

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller”. Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors, etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/

 

My Impressions:

Melody Carlson is the queen of Christmas fiction. I look forward to a new novella every year to start the season off right. Christmas in Winter Hill is another winner from this talented author. With endearing characters, including an adorable little girl, a wonderful hometown feel, and a message of hope, this book cannot be beat. Recommended.

Let me first say if you are looking for a book with an all over Christmas-y feel, Christmas in Winter Hill is the one for you. The town of Winter Hill is over-the-top in its embrace of the Christmas spirit, something main character Krista finds hard to resist. Although she doesn’t like Christmas due to the many disappointments surrounding past holidays, she does try very hard to preserve the town’s traditions and her daughter’s dreams. With fits and starts in her new job as Winter Hill’s city manager, Krista learns about community and real family. I loved that though there is a promise of romance in Krista’s future, the story revolves around Krista’s emotional and spiritual growth and her relationship with her daughter. Dreams are not impossible as Krista once thought, and that is a very hopeful message. I knew where the story was going, but I loved the journey along the way. Christmas in Winter Hill is like your favorite Hallmark Christmas movie, only better — it’s a book!

So grab a copy and snuggle in to its warmth and heart.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. all opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Top 10 Tuesday — A-One, And A-Two . . .

1 Oct

Top 10 Tuesday is challenging bloggers to list books with numbers in their titles. There are few ways to go with this, but I chose to list books with the numbers one and two. All are #1 with me! In the words of Lawrence Welk (for you youngsters, Google) — with a-one, and a-two . . . .

For more numerical lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

With A-One

Her One And Only by Becky Wade 

Gray Fowler, star NFL tight end, is being pursued by a stalker, so his team hires a protection agency to keep Gray under the watch of a bodyguard at all times. When Gray meets Dru Porter, an agent assigned to him, he’s indignant. How can an attractive young female half his size possibly protect him?

But Dru’s a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt. She’s also ferociously determined to uncover the identity of Gray’s stalker. And she’s just as determined to avoid any kind of romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past. But the closer they get to finding the stalker, the closer they grow to each other. As the danger rises, can Dru and Gray entrust their hearts — and their lives — to one another?

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert 

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray–the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser–faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones — the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?

No One to Trust by Lynette Eason 

Summer Abernathy wakes up one morning to find her husband missing, three men in her home intent on finding him, and the life she’s been living based on a lie. Which Kyle Abernathy did she marry? The computer programmer she met in line at the bank? Or the one who was apparently using that image as a cover story?

The search for her husband — and answers — takes Summer ever deeper into a world of organized crime where people are used one moment and discarded the next. And with her deepest relationship of trust already shattered, Summer doesn’t know who to believe.

One Final Breath by Lynn H. Blackburn

When investigator Gabriel Chavez had his cover blown by an aggressive reporter, the silver lining was being able to rejoin the dive team. The downside? Dive team captain Anissa Bell — a woman who both fascinates and frustrates him.

Anissa grew up as a missionary kid on the Micronesian island of Yap and always planned to return after college. But she remained stateside, determined to solve the case that haunts her–the murder of her best friend and the disappearance of a three-year-old child.

When Anissa’s fractured past collides with Gabe’s investigation into the tragic shooting death of a teenage boy in Lake Porter, they’ll have to put their complicated history with each other aside in order to uncover the identity of a killer. What they’ll discover is that revenge has no statute of limitations.

Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn closes out her nail-biting Dive Team Investigations series with a story that will have you wondering how long you can hold your breath.

The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson

Living in rural Georgia in 1941, sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has her heart set on her brother’s friend Mack; despite their five-year age gap, Alice-Ann knows she can make Mack see her for the woman she’ll become. But when they receive news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mack decides to enlist, Alice-Ann realizes she must declare her love before he leaves.

Though promising to write, Mack leaves without confirmation that her love is returned. But Alice-Ann is determined to wear the wedding dress her maiden aunt never had a chance to wear — having lost her fiancé in the Great War. As their correspondence continues over the next three years, Mack and Alice-Ann are drawn closer together. But then Mack’s letters cease altogether, leaving Alice-Ann to fear history repeating itself.

Dreading the war will leave her with a beautiful dress and no happily ever after, Alice-Ann fills her days with work and caring for her best friend’s war-torn brother, Carlton. As time passes and their friendship develops into something more, Alice-Ann wonders if she’ll ever be prepared to say good-bye to her one true love and embrace the future God has in store with a newfound love. Or will a sudden call from overseas change everything?

 

And A-Two

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-
fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.

Peace appeals to Catherine, but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel’s life convince her he’s in mortal danger. Against her better judgment she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She’s risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?

A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep

London, 1853: Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life, for there’s nothing more mundane than serving customers day after day. Every minute she can, she reads and dreams of someday becoming a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.

William is a gentleman’s son, a charming but penniless rogue. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his scheming cousin. In an effort to secure the inheritance, William gives his uncle the impression he’s married, which works until he’s invited to bring his wife for a visit.

William asks Mina to be his pretend bride, only until his uncle names an heir on Christmas Day. Mina is flattered and frustrated by the offer, for she wants a true relationship with William. Yet, she agrees. . .then wishes she hadn’t. So does William. Deceiving the old man breaks both their hearts. When the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost.

Two Crosses by Elizabeth Musser
The glimmering Huguenot cross she innocently wears leads her deep into the shadows.When Gabriella Madison arrives in France in 1961 to continue her university studies, she doesn’t anticipate being drawn into the secretive world behind the Algerian war for independence from France. The further she delves into the war efforts, the more her faith is challenged.The people who surround her bring a whirlwind of transforming forces — a wise nun involved in the smuggling, a little girl carrying secret information, and a man with unknown loyalties who captures her heart. When she discovers a long hidden secret from her past, it all leads to questions about trust, faith in action, and the power of forgiveness to move beyond the pain of the past.

Two Roads Home by Deborah Raney

Minor-but-nagging setbacks continue to sour Grant and Audrey Whitman’s initiation into the world of innkeeping, but larger challenges brew when an innocent flirtation leads to big trouble for the Whitmans’ son-in-law, Jesse. Jesse Pennington’s friendly, outgoing personality has always served him well, especially in a career that has earned him and his wife Corinne a very comfortable lifestyle. But Corinne and Jesse are both restless—and for similar reasons, if only they could share those with each other. Instead, too many business trips and trumped-up charges of harassment from a disgruntled coworker threaten their marriage and possibly put their three precious daughters at risk. With their life in disarray, God is tugging at their hearts to pursue other dreams. Can Corinne and Jesse pick up the pieces of what was once a wonderful life before it all crumbles beneath them?

Two Women of Galilee by Mary Rourke

Seeking to restore health to her lungs, Joanna, wife to Herod’s chief steward, approaches her cousin Mary, mother of the healer Jesus. Though their families were estranged when Joanna’s parents adopted Roman ways, Mary welcomes her graciously. Jesus indeed heals Joanna’s body…and her soul blossoms through her friendship with Mary and with her work as one of his disciples. But as word of Jesus’ miracles reaches King Herod’s court, intrigue, treachery and murder cast shadows onto Joanna’s new path, changing her life forever.

Top 10 Tuesday — Autumn TBR List

24 Sep

The calendar may say it is Fall, but the temps here in the Sunny South say something much different. We are headed into a week with highs in the mid to high 90s yet again. Whew, I need some cooler weather! So while the rest of the country gets out the sweaters and the hot cider, I will just have to dig into some great Fall reading until our cool wave hits. Maybe in January! 😉

For more Fall Reading Lists, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Fall TBR List

 

The Art of Rivers by Janet Ferguson

A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Darcy by Any Other Name by Laura Hile

Dark Ambitions by Irene Hannon

Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt 

One Final Breath by Lynn H. Blackburn

Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Synapse by Steven James

 

What are you reading this Fall?

Book Review (+Giveaway!): Catching Christmas

17 Dec

About the Book

Book: Catching Christmas

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Christmas

Release Date: October 9, 2018

This Year, Christmas Comes Just in Time

As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current court case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.

The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is making his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.

When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure that she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Impressions:

My book club always picks a Christmas-y book for our December discussion. And since Terri Blackstock is one of our go-to authors, we knew we had to read Catching Christmas. And while this novella is not her typical romantic suspense, Blackstock fans will not be disappointed by the sweet story of second chances. Recommended!

Sydney is an overworked first year attorney facing an impossible case. Finn is a former chef turned cab driver who lives with lots of regrets. The two are brought together by Sydney’s adorable grandmother, Callie Beecher. Callie may be ill and not always in the present, but she does know a lot about love and faith. As Sydney and Finn wrestle over Callie’s care, they learn just what is important in life.

I really liked Catching Christmas. Filled with laugh out loud scenes and poignant moments, this story is true to life — there are plenty of people in this world struggling to make sense of missed opportunities, life-changing mistakes, and the need to connect with others. Callie is the best of characters. She epitomizes the impact a person of faith can have on those around her. The action takes place in the days leading up to Christmas, and the reader can feel Callie’s urgency to beat the deadline for bringing happiness into her granddaughter’s life. Finn and Sydney are very relatable in their disconnected lives. Catching Christmas is a great reminder of what is really important. A fast-paced read, you’ll finish this book in no time, but be prepared for a bit of sorrow in leaving this wonderful story.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

About the Author

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Catching Christmas is her first Christmas romance. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com

Facebook: tblackstock

Twitter: @terriblackstock

From Terri Blackstock

Enjoy this premium excerpt from Catching Christmas

https://aerbook.com/books/-128993.html?utm_source=pubpage

To get you in the Christmas mood, here’s an early holiday playlist:

“White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby

“I Heard the Bells” sung by MercyMe

“Light of the World” sung by Lauren Daigle

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sung by Amy Grant

“Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day” sung by Avalon

“Till the Season Comes ‘Round Again” sung by the Katinas

Blog Stops

 

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 15

Daysong Reflections, December 15

Genesis 5020, December 15

Back Porch Reads, December 15

The Power of Words, December 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 16

Quiet Quilter, December 16

Among the Reads, December 17

Kathleen Denly, December 17

By The Book, December 17

Lighthouse Academy, December 17

Cultivating Us, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 18 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, December 18

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, December 19

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 19

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, December 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 20

amandainpa, December 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 20

Multifarious, December 21

Cathe Swanson, December 21

Stories By Gina, December 21

Connect in Fiction, December 22

Have A Wonderful Day, December 22

Splashes of Joy, December 22

Bibliophile Reviews, December 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 23

Lis Loves Reading, December 23

Mary Hake, December 23

Bigreadersite, December 23

Book by Book, December 24

Pause for Tales, December 24

To Everything A Season, December 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 25

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 25

Vicky Sluiter, December 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 26

Inklings and notions, December 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 26

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 27

Captive Dreams Window, December 27

Texas Book-aholic, December 27

A Baker’s Perspective, December 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Older & Smarter?, December 28

Janices book reviews, December 28

Carpe Diem, December 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away a grand prize of a finished copy of Catching Christmas and a Christmas Tree Ornament!!

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

 

If you liked Catching Christmas . . .

12 Dec

My book club read Catching Christmas this month. This heartwarming novella is a departure from Terri Blackstock‘s normal fast-paced suspense, but we all really liked it. It was just the right length for a very busy time of year, it was sweet and touching, and the author’s afterword was an inspiration. So what to read next? If you too liked Catching Christmas, consider the following books for the days leading up to Christmas.

The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson

For Colleen, life is spinning out of control. She just lost her husband, and her relationship with her young adult son Jamie is crumbling. Should she confess to him the secret that has been haunting her for twenty years? Jamie has a few secrets of his own. When he announces his plans to join the military, Colleen decides it’s time for the two of them to take a trip together — to Ireland. The truth they discover there could fulfill both their dreams in a way neither ever thought possible.

 

 

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

Rick Denton lives his life on his terms. He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one. So when his mother calls on Thanksgiving weekend begging him to come home after his stepfather has a stroke, Rick is more than a little reluctant. He’s never liked Art and resents the man’s presence in his life, despite the fact that his own father abandoned the family when Rick was just twelve. When what was supposed to be just a couple days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and running off the homeless man who keep hanging about, Rick’s attitude sours even more.

Still, slowly but surely, the little bookstore and its quirky patrons — as well as the lovely young woman who works at his side each day — work their magic on him, revealing to Rick the truth about his family, his own life, and the true meaning of Christmas.

 

Audiobook Mini-Review: The Christmas Light

12 Dec

In the small town of Grandon, five very different people discover the true meaning of Christmas. Jennifer and Ryan are both single parents, struggling with their own losses and heartache as they attempt to move forward in the present while still holding onto the memories, joy, and heartache of the past. Sixteen-year-old Kaylee is faced with a life-changing situation that has affected her whole family. Stephen and Lily are happily married and ready to start a family. All of them are facing their own struggles, and all are finding their way through the dark. When they are brought together for a rather unconventional church Nativity, they will learn that with strength, courage, and love, there is always hope.

 

Donna VanLiere is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author and gifted conference speaker. She has published ten titles including The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing, both of which were adapted into movies (starring Rob Lowe, Kimberly Williams-Perry and Neil Patrick Harris) and garnered big ratings for CBS television. LifetimeTelevision adapted The Christmas Hope (starring Madeline Stowe) and premiered it December 2009 to stellar ratings as well. Donna’s non-seasonal novel, The Angels of Morgan Hill, has captured the same warmth as her Christmas books and continues to please loyal and new fans alike.

Donna is the recipient of a Retailer’s Choice Award for Fiction, a Dove Award, a Silver Angel Award, an Audie Award for best inspirational fiction, a nominee for a Gold Medallion Book of the Year and was recently inducted into the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges Hall of Excellence joining such luminaries as Coretta Scott King, Hugh Downs, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Senator John Glenn. Donna is an in-demand conference speaker having appeared at countless women’s and family events, including select Women of Faith and Extraordinary Women conferences.

The Library Journal says of Donna’s latest book, The Christmas Star (2018), “Second chances abound in this story, resulting in a Christmas gift worth waiting for . . . This sweet tale of love and overcoming obstacles offers a festive atmosphere readers will savor.”

Donna lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, Troy, and their children, Grace, Kate and David.

Learn more at http://www.DonnaVanLiere.com

My Impressions:

There is just something about a Christmas novella by Donna VanLiere that I cannot resist. I downloaded the audio version of The Christmas Light and was immediately swept away to the warm and welcoming town of Grandon. Longtime residents and familiar characters, Gloria and Miriam, are a hoot as they navigate the treacherous waters of a church nativity program. They, along with new characters, fill the pages of this book with humor, wit, wisdom, and hope. Yes the book is a bit predictable — I saw the endings for many of the characters coming — but that didn’t keep me from loving every minute and shedding a few tears. One particularly moving (and hilarious) moment is when one of the children proclaimsthe baby of all babies has been born!” Isn’t that just wonderful! There’s a little bit of something for everyone — second chances, new starts, and new love. The audiobook is narrated by the author, so you get exactly what she was going for in terms of inflection and meaning.

A fun and very Christmas-y read, this one is perfect to help you get in the spirit!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — December Bookish Bingo

11 Dec

I just found bookish.com! How did I miss this site? For all book nerds, this is the site to bookmark. (See what I did there!) Anyway, their Holiday Calendar is the perfect Advent Calendar for all your bookish needs. I especially loved their December Book Bingo, so I decided to incorporate it into my Top 10 Tuesday list. To get you started, I have included some recommendations that will fill those squares. While the books don’t have to be specifically Christmas-y, that’s what I shared. Enjoy!

Find out what other fun things bloggers are sharing today in the Freebie Top Ten Tuesday by visiting That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

bookish.com

Top Books for December Book Bingo!

There’s Mistletoe — Magnolia Mistletoe by Lindsey Brackett

Red or Green Cover — Jane and The Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron

Characters Are Snowed In — 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michele Griep

Set During A Winter Holiday — Christmas by The Sea by Melody Carlson

Characters Sing — The Christmas Light by Donna VanLiere

Less Than 200 Pages — The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

Bookish Book Club Pick — The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

Snow on The Cover — A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

 

Bingo!