Tag Archives: Christmas fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Parties

5 May

Parties of more than 10 people won’t be happening for many of us in the near future. It is sad that the things that bring us together — celebrations large and small, somber or silly — are prohibited during these days of social distancing. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about bookish parties. I have gone in a different direction this week than was probably intended in order to bring you books that feature gatherings that violate safer options. It doesn’t hurt that several of these books are also set at Christmas — the ultimate gathering time. I am hopeful that soon we will all be able to crowd together to laugh, cry, dance, sing, and just party!

For more bookish party fun, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Parties Found in Books

 

Balls

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor by Sarah Ladd

 

Family Gatherings

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

High Cotton by Debby Mayne

Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett

 

Festivals

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

 

Parades

More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade by Virginia Smith

 

Weddings

Glory Road by Lauren Denton

The Wedding Dress Christmas by Rachel Hauck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review + Giveaway! — The Wedding Dress Christmas

19 Dec

About The Book

Book: The Wedding Dress Christmas

Author: Rachel Hauck

Genre: Romance, Christmas

Release Date: October 22, 2019

December covers quaint Heart’s Bend, Tennessee with a blanket of white and the glitter of Christmas lights.

For JoJo Castle there’s no place like home. It’s her safe place. Her one-time love of adventure ended when life in the big city shattered her hopes and dreams. Now that she’s returned to Hearts Bend, she never wants to leave again.

Buck Mathews, the biggest country singing sensation in decades, has the world on a string – his guitar strings, to be exact. However, when news of his mother’s illness sends him back to Hearts Bend for the holiday season, he remembers how good it can be to live among family and friends.

Working with her cousin Haley in The Wedding Shop, JoJo has no aspirations of love. Leaving home, surrendering her heart again, is just too risky.

When she runs into her friend and high school crush Buck Mathews, she discovers Love might have other plans for her[BV1] .

Buck’s career is on the verge of an momentous leap. But seeing JoJo awakens feelings he’d buried long ago. Falling in love is easy, but winning her heart will take more than one of his melodic tunes and clever lyrics.

JoJo and Buck want opposite things for their lives, leaving no room for compromise. Can love, especially the kind that touches hearts at Christmastime, overcome her fears andhis quest for greatness?

When a very special gown – the wedding dress – begins to make its presence known, JoJo and Buck’s hearts bend in a way neither ever thought possible.

Click here to get your copy.

My Impressions:

I am a big fan of Rachel Hauck’s The Wedding Dress. A perfect mix of spiritual truths set in a contemporary setting with fairy tale elements — what’s not to love? So when I heard she had written a Christmas-themed novella featuring that divine gown, I knew I had to read it. Wow! What a truly lovely story with a message that resonated with me after the last page was turned. The story takes place in small town Heart’s Bend, Tennessee (the setting of The Wedding Chapel). A more charming town to visit at Christmas cannot be found. Right downtown is a shop full of wedding dreams, and locked away is the dress waiting to find its next bride. And at the center of the story are main characters Jojo Castle and Buck Mathews, high school friends who long for more. On the surface, The Wedding Dress Christmas is a heartwarming story of true love found, yet it has deeper truths that apply to all — the constant love and care of a Savior and the love that casts out all fears. I quickly devoured this book, but it really deserves a more thoughtful reading to uncover the gems inside.

If you can only read one Christmas book this season, I highly recommend you choose The Wedding Dress Christmas. I really, really loved this book and believe you will too.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

 

About The Author

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie.

Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

More from Rachel

Hello Royal Rockstar Readers!

I’m thrilled to share The Wedding Dress Christmas with you. I’ve heard from so many how much The Wedding Dress has touched them, and as I noodled over new story ideas, my thoughts drifted toward the wedding dress and Christmas. What’s more romantic than a Christmas wedding?

This novella is set in Hearts Bend, Tennessee, the fictional town ofThe Wedding Chapel and The Wedding Shop. Even if you’ve never read one of books inThe Wedding Collection, you’ll enjoy this story, the mystery of the dress, and the women whose lives it changed.

I love weddings. They remind us of the purity and the hope of love, the power of commitment. Something powerful is released when two people pledge to spend their lives together, loving and serving one another in both good and bad times. Every wedding I attend reminds me of the vows I made to my husband and I sign up all over again.

Stories are a powerful reflection of life. Yes, fictional stories are often told with wild hyperbole, but that’s what makes them fun to read.

I also love wedding stories because they remind us of God’s love for us, and that one day there will be the grandest wedding of them all. Isn’t it wonderful that God planned a wedding before He created the earth?

In The Wedding Dress Christmas, JoJo and Buck have their issues, but love proves strong enough to conquer them all.

Thanks for going on this little tour with me and The Wedding Dress Christmas.

Yours,

Rachel

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, December 18

Through the Fire Blogs, December 18

Livin’ Lit, December 18

Robin’s Nest, December 18

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 19

By The Book, December 19

Wishful Endings, December 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 19

Among the Reads, December 20

Genesis 5020, December 20

Life as Lanhams, December 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 21

Daysong Reflections, December 21

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 21

Bigreadersite, December 21

Simple Harvest Reads, December 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, December 22

Britt Reads Fiction, December 22

She Lives to Read, December 23

Empowermoms, December 23

Inside the Wong Mind, December 23

Mia Reads Blog, December 23

Splashes of Joy, December 24

Christian Bookaholic, December 24

Hallie Reads, December 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 25

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 25

Blogging With Carol, December 25

For Him and My Family, December 26

Hebrews 12 Endurance, December 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 27

My Devotional Thoughts, December 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 27

Mamma Loves Books, December 27

Betti Mace, December 28

Batya’s Bits, December 28

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 28

Quiet Quilter, December 29

mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 29

janicesbookreviews, December 29

A Reader’s Brain, December 30

Inklings and notions, December 30

Texas Book-aholic, December 30

Carla Loves to Read, December 30

Back Porch Reads, December 31

CarpeDiem, December 31

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, December 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a print copy of the book and a Visa gift card for $25. Swag!!

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

 

If You Liked Silent Night, Holy Night . . .

18 Dec

My book club’s preferred genre is suspense. And we always read a Christmas book in December. So combining the two, we chose Silent Night, Holy Night by Colleen Coble, 2-novellas-in-1 featuring beloved characters from two of Coble’s series. If you would like to return to Coble’s Rock Harbor or Aloha Reef series, then this is a good choice for your holiday reading.

For more mystery and suspense set during the Christmas season, I recommend to you the following:

The Advent of Murder by Martha Ockley

Faith Morgan, former policewoman and vicar of Little Worthy, visits Oliver Markham’s farm in the run up to Christmas, only to discover the house surrounded by police cars. A body has been found in the local River Itchen, which turns out to be that of Lucas Kemp, a local boy and chorister. Markham is charged with his murder. Through her connections with Winchester Cathedral Faith is drawn into the investigation, discovering that Lucas had dropped out of college and that his mother had died a few months previously. There is a question of drugs, and a rivalry over Lucas’s distraught girlfriend – the choir is a hotbed of tensions. Lucas’s unsavoury uncle, and a local drug dealer, both come under suspicion, and Ben, Faith’s police inspector ex-boyfriend, has to rescue her when the drug dealer turns nasty. But the actual murderer is none of the above …

The Fruitcake Murders by Ace Collins

As Christmas 1946 draws near, thirty-something marine officer-turned-homicide detective Lane Walker has his hands full. Three men with seemingly no relationship to each other have been murdered, including the powerful District Attorney. The only connection between the crimes? The weapons: twenty-year-old unopened fruitcake tins manufactured by a company that is no longer in business.

While some foods may be to die for, fruitcake isn’t one of them! This heaping helping of murder will be no easy task for Walker, and he certainly doesn’t need the determined and feisty Tiffany Clayton, the political reporter for The Chicago Star, getting in the way.

Employing witty dialogue and historical accuracy, The Fruitcake Murders offers equal parts murder, mystery, and mayhem in a perplexing whodunit set in the days just after World War II.

Silent Night, Deadly Night by Richard Mabry

The colored lights on the snow gave it a holiday appearance, but the dead woman’s body in the yard added a grisly touch. How did Ina Bell Patrick die?
Who killed her? And why?

The dead woman had no direct heirs, so two nephews and a niece stood to inherit. Dr. Laura Morris was left to make all the arrangements, attorney Roger Morris could certainly use the money, and Zack Morris had disappeared two years earlier. Then there was neighbor and “best friend” Fay Autrey, who was certain the woman intended to leave her some money—a great deal of money.

The police were still looking for the killer who left the frozen body in the snow when it became apparent someone was trying to pick off the heirs, one by one. Who would win the race — the police or the killer?

 

 

Book Review: A Christmas Haven

2 Dec

Old Order Amish Ivy Zook is wrestling with her need to shed her community’s ways so she can grow the business of her dreams: planning parties. As long as she’s stuck living without modernization, she can barely get her business on its feet. But if she leaves too soon, she’d cause trouble for her sister, Holly, who is planning her wedding to Joshua Smucker. All of their plans become twice as complicated when an old car crashes into the storefront of Greene’s Pharmacy, carrying a Swartzentruber (ultra-conservative sect) Amish man, Arlan, and his very ill sister.

The Zooks take in Arlan and Madga, tending to the woman’s illness and Arlan begins helping around the family farm. Ivy and Arlan are on different tracks, one wanting to leave her community and the other to return to his. But both young people are trying to discover what God has in store for their futures and what miracles might lie around the corner this Christmas season.

Cindy Woodsmall is the “New York Times” and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s “Nightline” and the “Wall Street Journal”. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, GA.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.

Find out more about Cindy and Erin at http://www.cindywoodsmall.com.

 

My Impressions:

Cindy and Erin Woodsmall return to Raysburg, Pennsylvania and the Zook family with A Christmas Haven. (The Christmas Remedy introduced readers to the quaint town and its Amish/English community.) This novella-length book features Ivy Zook, a young woman who identifies more with glitter and tulle than the Plain community in which she was born. But her plans to join the English world are put on hold when an unexpected crash into the Green Pharmacy front window brings new people and new perspectives into her life.

As always, Cindy and Erin Woodsmall created a community that resonates with all faith traditions. In A Christmas Haven the rules of the Old Order Amish actually seem pretty lenient against the extreme legalism that Arlan and Magda Keim experienced in their Swartzentruber Amish family. Readers may be surprised with the differences between Plain communities that the Woodsmalls describe. But the true message is that of mercy and grace and being true to what God has designed for your life. I liked the easy pace of this novel and the true-to-life characters. While the book is billed as a Christmas novella, most of the action takes place before the holiday season, so this book can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

Likable characters, charming setting, and a relevant faith message makes this a good choice for your Christmas reading.

Recommended.

Audience: YA to adults.

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

 

 

Reading Road Trip — The Christmas Edition!

27 Nov

With Christmas right around the corner, I though it would be fun to travel to some fun settings that feature Christmas — A Merry Christmas Road Trip! The books I have chosen are novella length — perfect for the busy holiday season — and feature actual Christmas road trips or are set in towns with a definite Christmas-vibe. I hope you enjoy the journey!

 

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

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?

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that’s exactly what she’s getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix — in the dead of winter, no less — the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride — and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.

No one captures the heartwarming fun of the Christmas season quite like Melody Carlson. Fasten your seat belt, because it’s going to be an exciting ride!

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 Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

On the way to Christmas with his family, Micah asks Katie to marry him. She says no, but there is no getting out of Christmas now. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it’s Christmas.

 

 

 

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.

 

A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

College volleyball star Avery Truitt has not seen her former flame, Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom, since he suddenly pushed her away five years ago. But now, the sadness of losing her father and the joy of her sister Susanna’s pregnancy have brought Avery back to Brighton just in time for Cathedral City’s enchanting Christmas season.

Avery knows she can’t avoid seeing Colin — now the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor — whether or not her heart is ready to relive the pain. But seeing him again might bring her the closure she needs after all this time.

When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell.

Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning — as tradition dictates — or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned?

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Reluctantly returning home for the holidays, Meg Campbell receives a frosty reception from her family and decides to leave for Edinburgh. Delayed by a snowstorm, she pours out her heart to a secretly hurting traveler named Gordon, who asks all the right questions. Can they find healing in each other—and perhaps something more?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Ruin A Book Title with Just One Letter

22 Oct

First, I need to apologize to all the wonderful authors I may offend with today’s Top 10 Tuesday post. I promise it is all in fun 😉 . Bloggers were directed to give novels new titles, so I am playing the fun game of ruining a book with just one letter. Who knew changing just one little letter could impact the whole trajectory of a story. (Be sure to look at the images for the real titles!) Please play along and leave a comment with your ruined book title.

For more title changes, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Ruined Book Titles

 

Bark Ambitions by Irene Hannon

Dogs shouldn’t be involved in politics.

Between Two Snores by Jocelyn Green

Can two people get past their sleeping difficulties in old Canada?

A Christmas Raven by Erin and Cindy Woodsmall

Quoth the raven “December 25th nevermore”.

 

Far Side of The Pea by Kate Breslin

It’s WWI and peas are on the menu.

Glory Toad by Lauren K. Denton

Amphibians in the garden.

If I’m Round by Terri Blackstock

Too much fast food on the run.

Never Faithful by Karen Barnett

Fickle lovers and geysers at Yellowstone National Park.

 

The Purse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Searching for a mysterious pocketbook.

A Sale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep

Transplants gone awry in Dickensian England.

Sweat on You by Becky Wade

Can two friends find love despite their personal hygiene?

 

 

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.)