About the Book
Book: Comfort & Joy
Author: The Christmas Lights Collection: Alana Terry, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance, Cozy Mystery, Suspense, Christmas
Release Date: October 16, 2018
The third-annual Christmas Lights Collection is pleased to present: Comfort & Joy–four Christmas Novellas. From contemporary romance to cozy mystery and suspense, this diverse collection celebrates the comforts and joys of Christmas.
I was pleasantly surprised by my 99 cent purchase. I’m always a bit skeptical of the “cheap” collections and usually expect and entertaining time, but I had a hard time putting the collection down to adult. Like, seriously guys, couldn’t put it down. I stayed up waaaayyyyy too late reading.
Deck The Shelves – Toni Shiloh – Once I started to read I remembered that a while back Toni had polled her readers about bookstore names and what their ideal bookstore would look like. Toni put all of the ideas together into a perfect bookstore with great characters, including an adorable little bit. I fell right in love with this prospective family.
The Christmas Glory Quilt – Cathe Swanson – This is the first I’ve read from Cathe, but it sure won’t be the last. A sweet romance with just a little bit of mystery and an Aunt who likes to mix things up a bit. This story has some good secondary characters as well the main characters and I felt like I could relate to most everyone.
The Ghosts of New Cheltenham – Chautona Havig – I LOVED this story. I really liked how we get a third point of view from Lauren, our tweeny detective, in addition to the main characters. Chautona can sometimes be hit or miss for me, strictly because I’m such a romance sap (her writing is always solid), but this story had great romance in it with some sizzling build up tension. For those of you who love the build-up of a relationship, you’ll definitely enjoy this story. I think I might I might find some mistletoe that needs “testing.”
Alana Terry – Frost Heaves – I appreciated Alana broaching a tough topic that I’ve only seen in a few Christian fiction books; that of spiritual abuse and cult churches. I think Alana handles it well, balancing the lies of the cult, countered with Biblical truth and showing the inner thoughts of woman who has been set free, but also struggles with everything she was taught growing up.
While I enjoyed the story, it was a bit jarring to me after the rest of the collection. I think if you know it’s more of a suspense story going into it, then you can focus on the story line; it just surprised me after a couple sweet stories and a cozy mystery. I like both Ben and Jade as characters and wish I could’ve seen more of their story as the end jumped into their relationship a little farther then what I felt was developed in the body of the story. I’d like to see a full length novel of this story that goes into more depth on their relationship.
About the Authors
Alana Terry: Pastor’s wife Alana Terry is a homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second. You can find her at alanaterry.com
Toni Shiloh: Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. You can find her at tonishiloh.wordpress.com
She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the president of the ACFW Virginia Chapter.
Cathe Swanson: Cathe Swanson lives in Wisconsin with her husband of 32 years, and the long Wisconsin winters are perfect for writing and reading books! Cathe enjoys writing stories with eccentric characters of all ages. Her books will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again. You can find her at catheswanson.com
Chautona Havig: Amazon bestselling author of the Aggie books and Past Forward, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave desert where she uses story to connect readers to the Master Storyteller.
Guest Post from Chautona Havig
Why Do So Many Christians Love to Celebrate Christmas?
“We don’t celebrate Christmas because we were ordered to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We were never commanded to celebrate His birth.”
Something about that statement didn’t sit well with me, but I was honest enough with myself to admit that it might be because I happened to love Christmas, and the idea of not celebrating it didn’t sit well with my twelve-year-old mind.
No, I didn’t go in for the Santa thing. I never had. As later my children were taught to say, Santa wasn’t “invited to our family celebration.” But still, the family, the joy, the music, the spirit of the thing moved me.
So, I did what I always did when I didn’t understand something. I asked Dad. “Why do we celebrate Christmas?”
If I recall correctly, Dad took a sip of coffee and watched me for several long seconds before he said, “What is Christmas?”
Ever the teacher, Dad had to put on his Socratic robe and make me work for it. I answered. “What we call the day Jesus was supposedly born. His birthday.”
“Okay. So, we celebrate Christ’s birthday on Christmas—on Christmas.”
He gave me that slight smirk that always meant something good was coming. “And what did God do when His Son was born?”
Dad stumped me there. I blinked. “I don’t know.”
“He sent out the biggest birth announcement ever known to man—a star, angels, music.” Then Dad continued his leading questions. “He…”
I got it. “Celebrated the birth.”
“Yes.” Sometimes Dad was a man of few words.
But I couldn’t be satisfied—not yet.
“So, why do we give presents to each other if it’s Jesus’ birthday? Isn’t that backward?”
“Isn’t all of Christianity backward to the fallen mind?” When I didn’t answer, he smiled again. “What does Christ say about doing things for others?”
It wasn’t word-for-word Scripture—not even close. Just as he would have prompted again, I remembered Jesus’ story of the man who was fed, clothed, and given a drink. “When you do things for others, it’s like you’re doing them for Jesus.”
Dad shrugged then. “Maybe it’s just justification for continuing a beloved tradition, but it brings me joy to give you gifts. And Christ had something to say about how fathers love to give good gifts to their children.”
That brought me back to the original question.
“What about the fact that we’re told to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus? We aren’t told to celebrate the birth. Does that make it wrong?”
This time, Dad’s jaw hardened. I saw it twitch, and prepared for a blasting. After all, I had kind of argued with him. I hadn’t meant to, but I could see how it might be taken that way.
“Chautona,” he said, “don’t ever put rules on yourself that God hasn’t. We may not be commanded to celebrate Christ’s birth, but we aren’t forbidden, either. We have God’s example to emulate, and we have this truth.” His voice gentled when he saw he’d startled me. “We would never have been able to celebrate Christ’s death if He had not been born. If that’s not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.”
What does all that have to do with Christmas novellas (or “noellas” like I prefer to call them)?
Well, people ask me all the time. “Why do you write so many Christmas books? Why do these Christmas collections? Why focus so much on the birth of Jesus and the trappings of cultural Christmas when it’s inferior to the “big thing”—the Resurrection?”
Dad’s answer is mine. Because it points to it. It draws attention to it. And because Christmas is one time of year—the only time of year in which you can walk into almost any building in America and still hear praises sung to God at some point. They slip in between love songs about giving away your heart at Christmas and rocking around Christmas trees to “Jingle Bell Rock.”
And even the more “secular” versions that aren’t an outright praise to God like “Silent Night” or “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” sometimes throw in Jesus anyway because they can’t quite leave out, “Merry Christmas” in some place or another.
So maybe our Christmas books are inferior to what “Easter” books could be. Maybe they are. But if Christmas trees, caroling, and “ghost stories” keep Jesus at the forefront of someone’s mind in October, November, or December, then I think that’s a pretty cool thing.
Happy Birthday, Jesus. Thanks for coming.
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Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 29
A Baker’s Perspective, November 29
Multifarious, November 30
Blossoms and Blessings, November 30
Bibliophile Reviews, December 1
Britt Reads Fiction, December 1
Vicky Sluiter, December 2
Remembrancy, December 2
Among the Reads, December 3
A Reader’s Brain, December 3
KarenSueHadley, December 4
Inklings and notions, December 4
Quiet Quilter, December 5
Lots of Helpers, December 5
God’s Little Bookworm, December 6
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 6
Simple Harvest Reads, December 7 (Mindy Houng)
Captive Dreams Window, December 7
Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 8
Mary Hake, December 8
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 9
Janices book reviews, December 9
Carpe Diem, December 10
Bigreadersite, December 10
Kat’s Corner Books, December 11
Texas Book-aholic, December 11
Aryn The Libraryan, December 12
Josephine’s Bookshelf, December 12
To celebrate their tour, the Christmas Light Collection is giving away a grand prize of a 6-month Kindle Unlimited subscription!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d62a/comfort