A Few of our Favorite (Christmas) Things

23715164_10104751480242515_1146636799_oWelcome to A Few of our Favorite (Christmas) Things blog hop (and giveaway!).

My favorite thing of this year is how launching this blog has helped me meet and become friends with so many bloggers and authors. One day this fall, one of those bloggers (Carrie!) and I were chatting and came up with this idea about a big Christmas blog hopping giveaway about what we love about Christmas.  We found some friends, and here we are. I’m excited to get to know my friends a little better, and I hope you’ll comment on this post with your favorite Christmas things so I can get to know you better as well!

Today, you will find five posts published by five bloggers, each with a few words forming a sentence. Collect all of the words in order and submit them in the rafflecopter on the final blog by 11:59pm Eastern on December 18th. The grand prize is FIVE Kindle ebooks! One grand prize will be awarded (please see the disclosures page).

Blog Stop Order:

Stop #1: Kat’s Corner Books (Moi)

Stop #2: Faithfully Bookish

Stop #3: Bookworm Mama

Stop #4: Singing Librarian Books

Stop #5: Reading Is My Superpower

My Favorite Christmas Movie

I love Christmas movies. Hubs and I watch them all year around, honestly. Leaves falling from the trees? Christmas movie time. Tulips starting to bloom? Christmas movie time. 100 degrees outside and we’re sweltering in our non-air conditioned apartment? Christmas movie time (So I can imagine I’m in a blizzard).

Christmas-in-conneticut.jpg

Thus, we own several and I have so many I love, but ever since I was little, one in particular has owned my heart: Christmas in Connecticut. If you’re not familiar with this classic, it’s romantic story about a relationship entirely based on lies a misunderstanding. Barbara Stanwyck plays a food writer who doesn’t know how to cook and in order to save her career, brings “home” a soldier for Christmas. Hilarity ensues. The soldier is, of course, swoony, handsome, and loves babies, but is slightly disturbed by the fact that he’s falling in love with a married woman. But, as in all of Hallmark’s contemporary Christmas films, it all turns out ok in the end.

Cookies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mirro

I think many have Christmas memories/traditions revolving around baking/eating cookies. For me, Christmas cookies HAVE to come from a cookie press. It was a grand production when I was young and I loved watching the cookies take shape. I knew I was finally growing up when I was allowed to use the cookie press all by myself. Granted, the cookies never tasted that great (I’ve since learned to use a sugar cookie recipe not included in their recipe guide) but they looked sooooo pretty. We’d put green food coloring in for Christmas trees and wreaths, decorate with colored sprinkles, red “berries”, icing, or whatever we could find. Just pulling the press box out of storage makes me a little in awe. Behold the power of Christmas cookies.

My Favorite Christmas Music

POG xmas storyHere’s another one that I partake of year around: Christmas music. (To all you grinches, I’m not listening!!!!) But my most favoritest Christmas music of all time is Point of Grace, A Christmas Story. My best friend and I were a bit obsessed with them for part of our lives, but this album is one that has continued a favorite into adulthood. It’s one of those albums that is orchestrated as a whole. The songs flow into each other and tell a story as you progress through the album, but are just as wonderful individually. And there’s no beating the orchestra composition behind the amazing vocal talent. The French Horns make my heart sing every time. Add to that, to me, this album means coming home. No matter where I am, if I have this album playing, I know I belong.

…and of course…

Books, books, and more books!!!!

Christmas isn’t Christmas without gorging Christmas stories. I do have some personal favorites, but there are many great ones. I will say that my most anticipated Christmas read this year was Melissa Tagg’s final installment of the Renwycke siblings, and it did not disappoint (if you haven’t read any of the three, you can also now get the full collection). I’ll be featuring several books throughout December, so check back often to see the highlights of this year. Also, follow me on Instagram for what #christmasreads I’m currently entranced with.

This year, I’m attempting a feat I’ve never accomplished before: reading ALL of Love Inspired’s Christmas books for this season. I’ll be posting later this month with how successful I am and a helpful guide of my opinions of which are not to miss and which might…be. I did not realize just how many books this entailed when I started with the idea and it’s proving difficult, but I am determined!

24989376_843542995817711_1758941341_nSo, there you have it! Some of my favorite Christmas things. Now onto the clue for the giveaway. Remember to gather all of the clues and hop over to Reading is my Superpower to enter!

First set of words to collect: We all agree

For the second set of words to collect Hop over to Faithfully Bookish!

What are your favorite Christmas things????

First Line Fridays – Christmas Double Cross

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays, hosted by Hoarding Books. I didn’t realize when I picked this off the library shelf that it’s actually #2 in the series, but I don’t feel like I missed anything starting in the middle. That said, I’ll for sure go checkout book #1 and #3!

xmas double cross

Christmas Double Cross by Jodie Bailey

“Texas Ranger Colter Blackthorn shifted his borrowed Dodge Challenger into Park and left the engine running, the heater combating the near-freezing temperatures of an El Paso winter evening.”

So, grab the book nearest you and comment what your first line is (with title and author, of course!) and then head over to Hoarding Books to see all of the other books/blogs featured today.

 

Runaway Romance – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

Runaway Romance FB Banner copy

About the Book

RunawayRomanceFrontFinal

Name of book: Runaway Romance

Author: Miralee Ferrell

Genre: Contemporary romance with Amish thread

Release Date: October, 2017

When a reality TV star meets the reality of life, will it be her downfall or her salvation?

Ann Stanway had it all—a starring role in a reality show, an adoring boyfriend, and a sparkling future with limitless possibilities. Until the rules changed and the life she’d thought was real no longer existed. Leaving L.A. seems like her only option, and she lands in Kentucky at a quiet Amish inn—as far removed from her past as possible. Now she knows what was missing in her life–peace, true friendship and, dare she hope, a man who accepts her for who she is–or at least who he thinks she is.

Hunter Lewis is intrigued by the new woman staying at his friend’s Amish inn. Annie appears to be what she claims, but she’s secretive and won’t open up. He’s been burned by a woman before and can’t tolerate deception. But his interest in Annie is growing, and the attraction seems to be mutual—until something happens that makes Hunter question everything he’d thought was real. Dare he risk his heart, when he’s certain Annie is keeping secrets?

Can their new romance withstand the pressure, or will Ann choose to run again?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

My favorite character was the Amish Inn owner, Sarah, who found a way to stand up for herself while living her faith out to Ann. In my opinion, the best way for faith to be written into stories is by showing how the characters live it out and Miralee does that with Sarah. The story  is really a hybrid between your everyday contemporary Christian Fiction and Amish Fiction, dwelling in both worlds. While I think that this is a unique premise and I enjoyed having some variety within the story, I also struggled with what it was supposed to be as it didn’t seem to belong to either “world.” That said, Amish fiction is not normally my thing, so that may have been some of the difficulty getting into this story. I did really enjoy seeing the other side of a reality TV star. I’m not a big fan of reality TV, but I do know that we as a culture, and me included, can tend to forget they’re real people with feelings, and so I enjoyed the view into Ann’s life and the difficulties that come with it.

About the Author

miralee

I love life, love my family, love writing Christian fiction–reading, riding my horse and puttering in my garden are all ways I relax. I often have my little 7 lb Chihuahua, Lacey, on my lap when I’m working–there’s nothing like a warm ball of love on your lap to act as a stress reliever!

First and foremost I’m a child of God and daughter of the King. I’ve been involved in women’s ministries for years, I’m married to a wonderful man, have two grown children, two cats, two dogs, 10 chickens and ride my son-in-law’s Arabian mare since my old mare passed in 2013. We live about 9 miles from the nearest town on 11 acres, in a peaceful setting surrounded by trees.

I started writing shortly after I turned 50, and discovered I loved it so much I don’t want to stop. I have 15 novels out & a five book set of horse novels for middle-grade girls. I write both women’s contemporary fiction, historical & contemporary romance, and horse/mystery novels for girls. One of my Western romances, Love Finds You in Sundance, WY, was awarded the Will Rogers Medallion for Western Fiction, three books have been optioned as movies, and several books have been on the ECPA best seller list. You can find out more about me andmy books at http://miraleeferrell.com/

Guest Post from Miralee Ferrell

In the spring of 2015, I received an email from a Hollywood producer, followed by a phone call. Imagine my surprise when she asked if I’d be willing to write a book for them. They were no longer producing the Love Finds You books into movies and were working on a different project for UP TV, a possible three-movie series, and she hoped I might be able to work with them. She explained that she’d optioned Love Finds You in Sundance, Wyoming, two or three years earlier, and loved it. Of the thirty-five or so titles she’d read of the line, that was her favorite. However, UP TV didn’t want to make historical or old west movies, so she’d shelved it for now.

During that time period, I’d gotten my rights returned to all of my LFY books and had retitled them Finding Love in Last Chance, California, Finding Love in Tombstone, Arizona, and Finding Love in Bridal Veil, Oregon. Sundance became Outlaw Angel, and all four are still in print.

Here’s the amazing part. I came very, very close to turning down that contract offer with Summerside for Sundance. I was disappointed in the advance and royalty rate, and shortly after they released it, they sold the line to Guideposts, and that company didn’t continue the line much longer. Understandably, sales waned on their final releases, and I was disappointed with my sales from that final book as my others had done quite well. For a long time, I wished I hadn’t taken that contract and instead held out for one with another company for a three-book series. However, had I done that, I doubt Runaway Romance would ever have been written. It was Sundance that grabbed Chevonne’s attention and caused her to contact me. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Blog Stops

Blogging With CarolNovember 28

Reflections from my bookshelvesNovember 28

Janices book reviewNovember 29

Books, Books, and More Books.November 29

Books n baublesNovember 30

Blossoms and BlessingsNovember 30

Have A Wonderful DayDecember 1

Inklings and notionsDecember 1

Christian Chick’s ThoughtsDecember 2

Texas Book-aholicDecember 2

History, Mystery & FaithDecember 3

BigreadersiteDecember 4

The Power of WordsDecember 4

Kat’s Corner BooksDecember 5

Reading Is My SuperPowerDecember 5 (Interview)

Baker KellaDecember 6

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsDecember 6

Splashes of JoyDecember 7

Karen Sue HadleyDecember 7

Quiet QuilterDecember 8

Red Headed Book LadyDecember 9

Just the Write EscapeDecember 9

Cafinated ReadsDecember 10

RemembrancyDecember 11

Carpe DiemDecember 11

Giveaway

kindle

In honor of her tour, Miralee is giving away a grand prize of a Kindle Fire! Click the link below to enter! Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c31a

 

A Season To Dance – Just Read – Giveaway

 Welcome to A Season to Dance Blog Tour

About the Book
Title:  A Season to Dance

Author: Patricia Beal

Publisher:  Bling! Romance
Release Date:  May 9, 2017

Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction

Ballerina Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Met in New York and her future with fiancé Peter Engberg all figured out—until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, shows up in Georgia to dance with her and win her back. Claus kisses her after a rehearsal, a kiss Peter witnesses from the darkened audience. Convinced a kiss between Claus and Ana is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off his engagement with Ana. Rejected by Peter, and knowing Claus is dancing at the Met soon, Ana decides to repave her path to her dream. With her 2002 Thunderbird and Baryshnikov, an old dog crippled by arthritis, she moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own memories of Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company prove to be a high price for a shot at success.
Review / Guest Post

Happy Tuesday, all! I’m excited to be doing a tour with Just Read, organized by my friends over at Reading Is My Superpower and Just Commonly. What a book to start with!
As some of you may know, I am a serial end-reader (gasp!). I try to be good, but my uber planner personality just needs to know sometimes, you know? So, I have to confess that I got about two chapters in before I read the ending. I know, I know, some of you out there think this is horrendous, but for me, knowing there are two guys was hard, but reading the end, (which was very satisfying) allowed me to sit back and absorb into the story and enjoy the journey.
In my opinion, Patricia brings a wonderful viewpoint to a story about finding faith and growing in God, a journey that is lifelong for all. Ana takes us from Georgia to Germany and beyond, letting us in on her achingly beautiful journey. Together we search for God as He works to soften Ana’s heart. For the more conservative readers, know that Ana, Claus, and maybe Peter, are all unbelievers for a good portion of the story, and act as such. So, there’s sex, alcohol, good and bad choices, but Patricia handles it all in a very tasteful way and puts it all in the perspective and story of God pursuing her and all that comes with that. This story covers several years, but never becomes stagnant, nor does it get confusing jumping periods of time in Ana’s life. Having been a “believer” for most of my life I found Ana’s discovery of faith both enlightening and insightful to my own faith journey.

 

About the Author


Patricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She is represented by Les Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency, and A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). She 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.

CONNECT WITH PATRICIA:  website,  facebook,  twittergoodreadspinterestinstagram
  
 
Giveaway

 

(2) Prizes up for grabs! (US Addresses Only)

Prize 1:

#TeamPeter Country Christmas Basket: 

Blake Shelton Christmas CD, Hallmark movie A Nutcracker Christmas, Country Cookin’ – Recipes from Callaway Gardens, A Season to Dance, country chocolates, and a country ornament.

 

Prize 2:
#TeamClaus German Christmas Basket:
German Christmas Songs CD, Baryshnikov movie White Nights (with Helen Mirren), Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss, A Season to Dance, German chocolates, and an ornament.

Enter now!

And don’t forget to check out the other stops for more entries!


Tour Schedule
Week 1:
11/19 – Just Commonly
11/20 – Remembrancy
11/24 – C Jane Read
Week 2:
11/27 – Just Commonly
11/30 – Thorn & Vine
12/01 – Radiant Light

 


 

First Line Fridays – A Change in Fortune

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays, hosted by Hoarding Books. Today I’m featuring a book I’ve reread many times and plan to many more. If you’ve never read a Jen book, then you’re missing out. I’m also happy to report she’s an awesome person as well.

Change of Fourtune

A Change in Fortune by Jen Turano

“NEW YORK, 1880

Miss Eliza Sumner turned the page of the book she was reading aloud, glancing up and biting back a smile at the unusual sight of her two charges, Grace and Lily, listening attentively to her.”

So, grab the book nearest you and comment what your first line is (with title and author, of course!) and then head over to Hoarding Books to see all of the other books/blogs featured today.

 

Charming the Troublemaker – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

charming the troublemaker copy

About the Book

CTTfrontcover

Title: Charming the Troublemaker

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 1, 2017

Troublemaking never looked so good…

When Dr. Alex Murdock is demoted to a university in rural Virginia, the last thing he expects to find is a future. But country charm never looks as good as it does on Rainey Mitchell.

Rainey Mitchell doesn’t need a high-class flirt in her wounded world, but trouble and temptations wafts off the new professor as strong as his sandalwood-scented cologne.

When circumstances thrust them together to save her tutoring clinic, can the troublemaker find the hero inside and encourage the reticent Rainey to open her heart again.

Click here to purchase!

My Review

I’ll admit that I was late to jump on the Pepper Basham bandwagon, but once I was on, that wagon moved fast and furious. I consumed as many books as I could get my hands on, including the first in this series, A Twist of Faith. And guys, I was despondent when I found out that I had to wait until November for Charming the Troublmaker to come out. A few days later, I was checking emails, and lo, and behold, there it was, sitting in my email with the reminder that I had signed up for this tour. HOW IN THE WORLD HAD I FORGOT? I will never make that mistake again.

I immediately (and I mean immediately right after I might have jumped up and down, squealed, and posted a photo on Instagram) dove into the story. I was not disappointed.

Anyone who loves laughter, kisses, My Little Pony, kisses, awkward men who don’t know what to do with themselves, kisses, and, oh, yeah, kisses, will love this story. Plus, Pepper continues to show her writing talent by including elements of mystery/suspense while maintaining her trademark romantic comedy. How can a book be a contemporary-romance-comedy-suspense you might ask? Trust me, just read it.

I loved it so much that when I hit The End, I thought about starting it right over and reading it a second time, but then I decided that would probably be absurd. But I wanted to, and now that I’m writing this post, I’m realizing how much I miss Alex, Rainey, and Sarah, and….(I’m posting now because I have to go read this again…_peace out, ya’ll)

About the Author

pepperquilt

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016. You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram.

Guest Post from Pepper Basham

I have a thing for underdogs.

Misfits.

Lots souls who desperately need to find where they belong.

I can’t help it! Call it a ‘fix-it’ mentality or an awareness that God rescued me and now I want to rescue other people…even fictional characters, but I’m definitely a softy for those characters that people are less likely to root for. Catherine from The Thorn Bearer/Keeper became my first rescue…and I just HAD to find another.

I guess that’s how Charming the Troublemaker came into existence.

Dr. Alex Murdock desperately needed to be rescued.

In a bad way.

If you’ve had a chance to read my first book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, A Twist of Faith, you’ll know that Alex doesn’t seem to be made up of much hero material. He’s a flirt, a little arrogant, and…well, kind of like a lost puppy.

As book 1 grew and came to a close, I knew Alex and Rainey’s story would be next…but I immediately ran into a real problem.

Who in the world was Alex Murdock? We really didn’t get to know him very much in book 1. He zoomed in a few times, ruffling feathers and then finally showing off some interesting kindness/compassion in the end, but…he was still a big-time flirt.

So the question emerged: Can a flirt be a hero?

What is Alex hiding behind that ready smile and sense of humor? Why does he seem so lost?

The answers were surprising!! Just wait.

The Mitchell family draw him right in, as they did with Dee, and his world is forever changed.

And then there’s Rainey. Strong-willed and independent, she is deeply wounded by her ex-husband’s betrayal. Though she gives off all these ‘confident’ vibes, she hides her insecurities behind a tough exterior in a desire to keep people at a distance – well, everyone except her family.

Alex rocks her world with his ready charm.

And she sees beyond the plastic grin to recognize another wounded soul.

Throwing them together into a book has been a hilarious and heart-stirring adventure, I wasn’t prepared to encounter. They’re so much fun!

AND…he’s ADORKABLE!! Seriously!! He is SUCH a dork, but makes me grin. And…he looks like Armie Hammer 😉

Let me just give you a hint to some of my favorite scenes:

Anything with Sarah!

Underoos

All of the scenes in Rainey’s house

And those in Mama Mitchell’s

Okay, I like the WHOLE STORY…and I can’t wait to see what you think too.

Blog Stops

By The Book, November 14

Just the Write Escape, November 14

Avid Reader Book Reviews, November 15

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 15

Moments Dipped in Ink, November 15

Fiction Aficionado, November 16

autism mom, November 16

Fiction, Faith, and Fun, November 17

Inklings and Notions, November 17

Faithfully Bookish, November 18

Radiant Light, November 18

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 19

The Power of Words, November 19

Cordially Barbara, November 20

Red Headed Book Lady, November 20

Smiling Book Reviews, November 20

Kat’s Corner Books, November 21

A Greater YesNovember 21

100 Pages per HourNovember 22

Splashes of JoyNovember 22

Carpe Diem, November 23

Bookworm Mama, November 23

A Baker’s Perspective, November 24

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, November 24

Daysong ReflectionsNovember 25

Rachel Scott McDaniel, November 25

Remembrancy, November 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 26

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, November 27

Karen Sue HadleyNovember 27

Giveaway

 

5b0da174-3bb2-47fb-9e0d-a0ce456971e5-225x300To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a grand prize of a paper copy of A Twist of Faith, a mug from the Blue Ridge Parkway, one driftwood scented candle, one mango scented candle, and a Troublemaker snickers 😉 highly appropriate. Chocolate with a nutty personality :)!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c1f1

 

October’s Top Ten

October has been an outstanding book month for me. There have been so many good reads, that a so-so good read between them has seemed desperately lacking. Thus, I am sharing my top October picks with you because if I try to lump it into a season, it’ll take it over. These are all books that I have read in October, regardless of when they came out.

Happy reading! (In no particular order as that would be impossible)

All This TimeAll This Time

BEAR. Enough said.

Okaaayyyy…if you read all my posts, you’ll probably want to know how All This Time made it on my summer list and October. Technically I was reading it when the month changed over, so it gets to go in both!

Pepper Basham everything.

Yes, I know this is cheating and technically several books, but I am late to the bandwagon and thus have devoured them all in a month. Sue me. (But seriously, please don’t sue me. Just read them all.)

SLS HollenbeckThe Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

If you didn’t read my gushy review last week, catch it here.

Fair-GistIt Happened At The Fair

I’ve been working my way through Deanne Gist’s Fair Series for a while now and each book has been a wonder of historical details and scintillating romance. Not kissing has never been so hot. (And for a commentary on not kissing being hot, please read The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck and it will explain.)

36149086Better Than A Crown

The thing I loved most was that Valerie didn’t shy away from what it means to cross that “line” in Christian relationships and how to move forward. She handles a sensitive subject with ease while imparting Biblical truth.

34330219Count Me In

I am also late to this party. I met the vivacious Mikal Dawn at Christian Fiction Readers Retreat and finally got to her debut novel. I have to say that I’m extremely upset that book two isn’t out yet because I. JUST. DON’T. WANT. TO. WAIT. ANYMORE.

34020181A Dangerous Legacy

Technically I listened to this one, not read. I loved the details of learning about water pumps, the Pacific Cable, and the AP. And of course, romance and intrigue.

An Inconvienent BeautyAn Inconvenient Beauty

Despite having typed “inconvenient” a bajillion times this summer, I still get it wrong every time. Luckily, Kristi Ann Hunter got this story very very right. I am sad to say goodbye to the Hawthornes, but Griffith…swoon. See my review, here!

 whispers reading roomWhispers in the Reading Room

This one has been on my TBR pile for FOREVER and thanks to the swag from Christian Fictions Readers Retreat, I now own a copy! It was exactly what I imagined, which is very good, though I could enjoy more kisses.

Cowboy baby blessingThe Cowboy’s Baby Blessing

Technically, I haven’t finished this one yet. In fact, I’m only a couple chapters in. But, since my gut says I should already put it on the list…I am. I have high hopes for the finish!