Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry Humbug Christmas

Author: Sandra D. Bricker
Publisher: B&H Books
October 2013
ISBN:    978-1433680755
Genre: Christmas Novella collection / contemporary / Romance

A Merry Humbug Christmas features two holiday romance novellas from hilarious and heartwarming author Sandra D. Bricker. -- the perfect gift to yourself or someone else at this most wonderfully stressful time of year.

In "Once Upon a Jingle Bell," A Bah! Humbug cruise to the Mexican Riviera is Joss Snow’s answer to this year’s quest to avoid the holidays completely; at least until she’s rebooked on a different kind of cruise altogether. Candy canes, holly wreaths, reindeer and ornaments seem to be stalking her on the12 Days of Christmas holiday cruise extravaganza. An escape back to land is her only goal . . . until she meets a kindred spirit in rugged Irishman Patrick Brenneman, and then the game is on! Avoid Christmas festivities at all costs . . . except maybe for that one stop under the mistletoe.

My thoughts: I absolutely loved Once Upon a Jingle Bell and both Joss and Patrick were a hoot. I won’t lie and say I laughed until I cried, because I didn’t. But I did smile a few times and I want the candy cane earrings that light up. My daughter would love them. Great romance with lots of fun moments

In "It Came Upon a Midnight Deer," Reese’s guilt over abandoning best friend Joss on their holiday tradition of avoiding all things Christmas is trumped by the joy of her recent engagement. Meeting Damian’s family for the first time on idyllic Sugarloaf Mountain is about as far from that Bah! Humbug cruise as she can get, and Reese can hardly wait to get there. But from the moment they hit that deer in the road just two miles from the cabin, everything seems to go wrong. There are no drummers drumming or pipers piping this particular year! And once she sets her future in-laws’ family cabin ablaze, she’s pretty sure there won’t be even ONE golden ring in her future

My thoughts:  This was a quirky read and really a comedy of errors. Interesting premise. Damian was sweet and a lot more patient with her than I would be.

MERRY HUMBUG CHRISTAS has two stories in one. I liked the first one better. I love Ms. Bricker’s books. If you like romantic comedy, you will love MERRY HUMBUG CHRISTMAS.

304 pages. Available in ebook and paperback. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Nutcracker Bride

Author: Margaret Brownley
Publisher: Shiloh Run Studies
October 2014
Genre: Christmas Novella / Historical / Romance

The 12 Brides of Christmas! You're invited to a Christmas wedding...that is twelve of them!  Discover the joy of an old-fashioned Christmas romance with these twelve heart-warming stories. Brand-new stories from renowned inspirational fiction authors that take you into the heartland of historical America will release each week starting October 6. 

Author note: The earlier version of this story had some errors that occurred during the electronic conversion.  My publisher has fixed the problem. Thank you for your patience and kind understanding.

#2: The Nutcracker Bride
When Texas ranger, Chad Prescott, wakes up from a gunshot injury in Kansas, he finds himself surrounded by German nutcrackers and nursed by the feisty Lucy Langdon.  Could this be the start of a beautiful friendship or just a bad dream?

My thoughts:  Margaret Brownley is another of my favorite historical authors. I absolutely loved THE NUTCRACKER BRIDE.  I thought Lucy’s character was beautifully done and I couoldn’t help but fall in love with Chad. I wanted to see these two get together.

Great Christmas novella. The three stories I read in this collection were stellar (this one, The Christmas Star Bride, and The Gingerbread Bride.. Don't miss THE NUTCRACKER BRIDE.

51 pages.

Don't be late!  Watch for all 12 stories:
October 6 - #1: The Advent Bride
October 13 - #2: The Nutcracker Bride
October 20 - #3: The Evergreen Bride
October 27 - #4: The Gift-Wrapped Bride
November 3 - #5: The Yuletide Bride
November 10 - #6: The Gingerbread Bride
November 17 - #7: The Nativity Bride
November 24 - #8: The Christmas Tree Bride
December 1 - #9: The Festive Bride
December 8 - #10: The Christmas Star Bride
December 15 - #11: The Snowbound Bride
December 22 - #12: The Fruitcake Bride

...have yourself a Cozy Little Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Christmas Gift

Author: Kathi Macias
Publisher: New Hope Publishers
September 2014
ISBN:    978-1596694163
Genre: Christmas Novel / contemporary / Women’s fiction

Chiapas, Mexico, had proven to be the distraction and escape Julie needed. As a teacher, she had longed to travel and instruct abroad. Now, she was teaching and falling in love with her students. But what she didn't expect happened in the short days leading up to Christmas.  She didn’t know that her freedom would depend on Ramon, the local pastor. She didn’t anticipate the emotions this man of God would stir deep in her spirit. This Christmas Eve service would be unlike any other she had ever experienced. Would this simple man and his faith be enough to cause her to stay when she had every reason to leave?

My thoughts:  Julie is a heroine my age whose husband tragically dies, leaving Julie alone—except for her two college-age children. She is in depressed and after she gets home from work (a school teacher) she cries a lot. Her family want her to “get out more” to do something to get over her depression, but when she finds what she wants to do—teach school in Mexico—everyone is against it.

This was a realistic story that was alternately heart-pounding scary, heartwarming, and heartbreaking at times. I was glad Julie found a purpose, but I also understood her parents’ and children’s objections.

A great Christmas story, for keeping for yourself or for giving as a gift. Available in print and ebook. 224 pages. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Sandy's Seashell Shop Christmas

Author: Lisa Wingate
Publisher: Scribe Light Media
December 2014
ASIN:   B00Q8N1I7M
Genre: Christmas Novella / contemporary / Women’s fiction

A magical place, an island Christmas eve, a broken family in need of healing….

For young military widow, Tiff Riley, Christmas isn't just another day. It's the worst of all days. Hiding out on Hatteras Island with three-and-a-half-year-old Micah, she's desperate to once again ignore the anniversary of tragedy. The winter-season quiet of North Carolina's Outer Banks is the perfect place to escape. It never feels like Christmas at the beach.

But in tiny Hatteras Village, the crew at Sandy's Seashell Shop is determined to make sure no one is forgotten at Christmas. Is it possible for a magical Christmas Eve at the Seashell Shop to help mend one damaged life? On a night of miracles, in a place of miracles, can a young widow's heart be reopened to joy, hope… and even love?

My thoughts:  A SANDY’S SEASHELL SHOP CHRISTMAS is a sweet story that had my heart breaking for Tiff, swelling with love for her sweet little son, Micah, and leaves us with hope for this struggling dual.  A story of healing and hope. Highly recommended.

Proceeds from the sale of this E-short will help fund a donation to Operation Military Kids, which serves children whose parents are deployed. E-short length: 40 pages

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Interview with Therese Travis

Thanks, Therese for visiting me on my blog today. 

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

It hasn’t happened yet. That’ll be the day Jesus takes me home. Other than that, pretty much every day I’m alive is happy, even when things are bad. And no, I haven’t always had this attitude. I’ve had to force myself to think this way.

Yes, sometimes it is a daily struggle. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
You mean there’s life outside of books? I love to craft. Cross stitch, scrapbooking, teaching crafts. I try to incorporate a craft into every lesson I give when I teach the children at church.

I admire people who are talented with handcrafts. I'm so not. What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

Making myself write. I have to force myself. Some days it works, some days, not so much.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
I mentor a group of young writers, and I tell them the same thing. WRITE. READ. Get together with a group (we’re blessed that we’re face to face) to get feedback on your work. And don’t confuse school writing with good fiction.

Tell us about Annabelle’s Angel – a brief blurb:

Annabelle Archer has been crushing on Rick Stockton for years. And now, when he notices her, it’s only because her brothers and sisters make it impossible for him to miss her. Annabelle still hasn’t decided if God’s will means she spends her life taking care of her six siblings, or if He has more in mind for her. Rick Stockton doesn’t mind that church activities and Annabelle’s brothers and sisters keep throwing Annabelle and Rick together. He just isn’t sure what it means. But as the kids keep trying to turn Rick into a snow angel—with sugar, baby powder, and more—he’ll work on figuring it out. Spending time with Annabelle’s family gives Rick a longing for one of his own…and an idea to make it happen. This Christmas, Annabelle may just find there’s a special angel in her corner, one that will stick around for a lifetime.

Is there one particular message or “moral of the story” you hope readers walk away with?

God has a plan for each of us, and it’s not always what we expect, what He has planned for others, or what others think is out plan.

How did Annabelle’s Angel get started?

Oh, cool story. My best friend had temporarily lost her license, and I drove her to the DMV to get it reinstated. To distract her, I asked her to help me brainstorm my next Christmas story. She wanted it to be Victorian (it is, in a way) and she chose Annabelle’s name. But the most important part was the grandmother who didn’t or couldn’t drive. Other than that one issue, Annabelle’s grandmother is nothing like my friend!

That is a cool story. How do you see yourself in your character’s story, if at all?

I always end up learning the lesson I’m trying to write. I’m pretty sure God is laughing as He gives me the idea, and here’s me thinking it’s all from my own head, and He says, no, it’s from Me.

Will we know what happens to your character after the end of the book?

I hope so. Annabelle learns a lot, and starts to use her gifts the way God intended.

When you’re working on a project, how do you keep the immensity of it from getting you down?

I tell myself to take one small bit at a time.

How do you choose between ideas you’d like to write about?

I don’t! I have six or seven stories going right now. I just work on whichever one I miss the most, whichever one excites me the most, or the one that my crit group has been working on (sometimes) and I want something critiqued.

I can't imagine doing more than one at a time. I get too confused. Both of your lead characters have “baggage” that keeps them from wanting to pursue a new relationship. Do you think sometimes we let our past get in the way of what God has planned for our futures?

Always, always, always. And in fact, that’s largely what Annabelle’s Angel is all about.


Therese Travis is a wife, mother, grandmother, follower of Christ. She's been writing stories since the age of eight, and "telling stories" (you know what that means) since long before. She finally figured out how to put those stories onto the page. She loves to talk about Jesus and His love for us, about her family, crafting, writing, and praying.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Christmas Star Bride

Author: Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Shiloh Run Studios
December 2014
Genre: Christmas Novella / historical

The 12 Brides of Christmas! You're invited to a Christmas wedding...that is twelve of them!  Discover the joy of an old-fashioned Christmas romance with these twelve heart-warming stories. Brand-new stories from renowned inspirational fiction authors will take you into the heartland of historical America. Releasing each week starting October 6, you'll want to read them all.

#10: The Christmas Star Bride

Esther Hathaway lost her one true love at Gettysburg twenty years ago, but she is still willing to celebrate her niece’s wedding by commissioning Jeremy Snyder to paint her portrait. Will Esther's prayers for God to ease her loneliness be answered by a wounded vet?

My thoughts:  Amanda Cabot is one of my favorite historical authors and I’m glad she sent me a review copy of this story. Only 45 pages, it is a quick read.

I enjoyed getting to know Esther and Jeremy and their stories. I thought Esther was a very sweet woman and I could tell why her niece loved her so much. I also felt for both Esther and Jeremy when they lost everything they dreamed of thanks to the War Between the States. I wanted them to find happiness.

This was a great story. If you are looking for a good Christmas novella, you’ll want to read The Christmas Star Bride.

Don't be late!  Watch for all 12 stories:

Available Now - #1: The Advent Bride
Available Now - #2: The Nutcracker Bride
Available Now - #3: The Evergreen Bride
Available Now - #4: The Gift-Wrapped Bride
Available Now - #5: The Yuletide Bride
Available Now - #6: The Gingerbread Bride
Available Now - #7: The Nativity Bride
Available Now - #8: The Christmas Tree Bride
Available Now - #9: The Festive Bride
December 8 - #10: The Christmas Star Bride
December 15 - #11: The Snowbound Bride
December 22 - #12: The Fruitcake Bride

...have yourself a Cozy Little Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Beauty of Believing / Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing: Deluxe Edition

Title: THE BEAUTY OF BELIEVING: 365 Devotions that will Change Your Life
Author: various
Publisher: Zonderkidz
September 2014
ISBN:  978-0310736172
Genre: Nonfiction / Devotional for tweens

Are you ready to blossom?

Faith is like a flower. In order to grow, it needs soil, water, and sun—food for the spirit. That’s just what this devotional is. Spiritual food to help your faith grow strong and beautiful.

Featuring 365 days of wisdom from your favorite Faithgirlz! authors, as well as quotes and questions from real girls like you, this devotional offers pages of inspiration on everything from navigating friendships, to taming the tongue, to trusting God in everything, big and small. Growing up can be tough, but Jesus is guiding you every step of the way.

Beauty of Believing combines the talents of Faithgirlz! authors Tasha K. Douglas, Mona Hodgson, Kristi Holl, Lois Walfred Johnson, Allia Zobel Nolan, and Nancy Rue, and their words of wisdom will help your faith bloom and flourish as you grow into the girl God wants you to be.

THE BEAUTY OF BELIEVING is a great devotional for tween girls. They will love the colorful cover and the devotions are decorated with flowers and an appealing layout. They start with a verse, a devotional and are followed by more to read, a question to consider, and a short prayer related to the devotion.

My tween daughters both loved this book and highly recommend it to other tween girls. If you are looking for a devotional for your favorite tween girl this holiday season, then THE BEAUTY OF BELIEVING is a great one to consider. Available in ebook and paperback. 432 pages. 


Author: Sally Lloyd-Jones
Illustrator: Jago
Audio by: David Suchet
Publisher: Zonderkidz
October 2014
ISBN:   978-0310747505
Genre: Nonfiction / Devotional for Children

From Jago and Sally Lloyd-Jones, the creators of the bestselling Jesus Storybook Bible, comes this gorgeous and innovative collection of 101 simple-yet-profound thoughts on faith. Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing Deluxe Edition shares profound spiritual truths from the Bible told in a conversational tone—drawing insights from creation, history, science, the writings of great thinkers and preachers and writers, and more—to turn the reader’s eyes toward the God who loves them with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. The deluxe edition also includes audio from award-winning actor David Suchet, allowing read-along opportunities or inspiration wherever you go.

Perfect for family devotions, bedtime, story time, or even as a companion to The Jesus Storybook Bible, this accessible yet theologically rich book reveals biblical truth in word and image, all working together and designed to do one thing: to make the reader’s heart sing.

THOUGHTS TO MAKE YOUR HEART SING: Deluxe Edition is a perfect gift to give to a mom with young children. The children can listen to the audio cds in the car or in the nursery or when the designated reader is otherwise engaged and follow along in the book if they want. Or they can read each devotional individually.

No substance really, but each does start with thoughts and followed by a Bible verse. The illustrations are lovely. This would be a lovely baby gift as well. Available in hardcover (includes two audio cds). 224 pages.