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.

 

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!

Mom’s Mystery Monday – #3

It’s a mystery week here at Kat’s Corner books. Today I bring you another installment from my awesome mom, and tomorrow’s review will also be a mystery, so be sure to come back if you’re a mystery lover. Thanks, mom, for guest reviewing!

And, here’s mom:

Christmas is Coming.

The temperatures have started getting cooler and leaves are starting to change which means only one thing….fall will soon be followed by Christmas.  Which means the wonderful Christmas movies hit TV and my reading turns to Christmas mysteries.

Candy Cane MurderLast year I picked up a mystery by Joanne Fluke, “Candy Cane Murder”.  Where a trail of candy canes leads to a dead Santa.  I have always enjoyed her writing and her character Hannah Swensen, who owns The Cookie Jar.  This time of year her inclusion of recipes is great for a new sweet baking tradition.

Unfortunately, I was just getting into the intrigue when the story hurriedly came to an end.  This seemed odd with so many pages left in the book.  It was then I realized this was a three story book.  Two more books followed, one by Laura Levine and the other by Leslie Meier.  So, on I plunged into “The Dangers of Candy Canes.”

The story starts with her trying to take a picture of her cat in a Santa hat.  It was, of course, unsuccessful.  I have two cats and could have told her it was a useless endeavor, so why it took a chapter to explain this dilemma confounds me.   After this, it does not improve.  The main character, Jaine Austen, talks to the readers and whines a lot which I find irritating.  At chapter seven I gave up.  By that point I simply didn’t care what happed.

Why these three books were put together I will never know, but at this moment all I can suggest is buy a cookie cook book instead and save yourself some disappointment.

Oh, and what about Leslie Meier’s last story?  Can’t tell you.  With Joanne’s abrupt ending of her story and Laura’s disappointing start to hers I didn’t bother to read the last.


 

Poor Leslie, not even getting a chance. Mom can be a tough critic sometimes; maybe I’ll be able to convince her to give Leslie a chance. It’s always tough when we don’t enjoy a book, especially when we like the author and have invested in them for just that reason. But, we all have down days, so as we head into fall, let’s give an author whose had a not-as-well-loved book another chance.

kats-corner-cat-goodreads
 

 

 

Family Recommends

Whew! Boy am I happy to be home! Every Labor Day we make a whirlwind trip back to Ohio and stay at my husband’s eldest brother’s house. It’s a great time with tons of family, and I love them all, but my introverted self barely survives every year. This year I had some interesting bookish conversations with my three sisters-in-law sharing some of the things I love, memories from CFRR, and things they love. So, of course I asked them what Christian Fiction book they’ve read recently that they recommend; it sounded like a perfect blog post and I’m always looking for new reads. I hope that you can find something you’ll enjoy. Here is each of their top picks:

Veil of Fire by Marlo Schalesky Veil of Fire

“Replete with suspense. Very difficult to put down.” This recommendation comes from my youngest sister-in-law. While she couldn’t remember the title right off the bat, she was very animated telling me all about it and how awesome it was. It’s a fictional story woven into an actual historic event . Thank goodness for Google because I was intrigued.
In 1894, the worst firestorm in Minnesota history descended on the town of Hinckley, consuming 400 square miles and killing 418 people in just four hours.

Heat, flame, and darkness swept through the town, devouring lives, and consuming all hope. In the aftermath of the fire, the town of Hinckley rises from the ashes, its people determined to rebuild their lives.

But in the shadows, someone is watching, someone is waiting, someone who knows the secrets the fire lay bare. A rumor spreads of a mysterious figure that haunts the hills; monster, a ghost, or a memory?

Midnight on the Mississippi (Secrets of the South Mysteries #1) byMary Ellis

Midnight on the MissippiNext up is my oldest sister-in-law’s recommendation. She reads almost as much as I do and we often trade books we loved to add to our TBR piles. She was currently reading the third in this series and said she had been hooked from the start and was anxiously waiting for the third to come out. Thus, she recommended the first in the series so you can get hooked too. From what I understand, you’ll need to read all three as it’s an ongoing series; not always my cup of tea as I prefer stories to wrap up in one book, but some of you all love these cliffhangers.
Midnight on the Mississippi begins the new Secrets of the South Mysteries from bestselling author Mary Ellis. These complex crime dramas follow an investigator’s quest to make the world a better place…solving one case at a time.

New Orleans–Hunter Galen, a stock and securities broker, suspects his business partner, James Nowak, may be involved in embezzling their clients’ money, but he’s reluctant to jeopardize their friendship based on suspicion alone. After James turns up dead, Hunter realizes his unwillingness to confront a problem may have cost James his life.

Nicki Price, a newly minted PI, intends to solve the stockbroker’s murder, recover the missing millions from the client accounts, and establish herself in the career she adores. As she ferrets out fraud and deception at Galen Investments, Hunter’s fiancee, Ashley Menard, rubs Nicki the wrong way. Nicki doesn’t trust the ostentatious woman with an agenda longer than the Mississippi River. Ashley seems to be hiding something, but is Nicki’s growing attraction to Hunter–a suspected murderer–her true reason for disliking Ashley?

As they encounter sophisticated shell games, blackmail, and murder, Nicki and Hunter’s only option is to turn to God as they search for answers, elude lethal danger, and perhaps discover love along the way.

Just Look Up (Harbor Point #1) by Courtney Walsh

Just Look Up

Last, but not least, is my middle sister-in-law. We are the most alike and both outlaws in this crazy family and married to the two craziest brothers. We spent the weekend bonding over the fact that two seemingly intelligent women married such silly men, but we wouldn’t change them for the world. She’s in the throws of raising 5 kids, 4 of which are 5 and under, so she doesn’t get to read nearly as often as she would like. She remembers reading a great fiction book, but for the life of her can’t remember it; she’s more of a non-fiction reader. BUT, she really wanted to read Just Look Up, which I finished last week (it’s fantastic), I brought it to her this weekend and she was 6 chapters in before I left, even with the craziness of the weekend.
After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home–a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work–something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along–if only she’d just look up.

A Name Unknown

UntitledA name unknown quoteLadies (and gentleman, if you’re out there) I am privileged to finally be able to post about Roseanna White’s newest, A Name Unknown. Some of you might remember when I geeked out a bit with the cover reveal a couple months ago. I helped with a very small tibit of research (which we both love and I do a good bit of in my day job) and was super excited to see if any of it got incorporated into the book. A tiny bit did as it had to do with some of the questions of citizenship and how to prove it 1914. Needless to say, it is my one claim to fame in life. I am very privileged to have been able to help in any way. One day, hopefully, I’ll be able to meet Roseanna in person as we only live a couple hours from each other. Until then, I shall content myself with gobbling up any new books.

The Story

A Name UnknownRosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered. 

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?

My Review

Would it be cheating to just say “Read it, it’s awesome?” Yes? Ok, then. Let me start by saying I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher and am not required to write a positive review, but I am going to anyway because as Mikey always said “I really like!” Roseanna blends together two different world, classes, viewpoints, faith outlooks, etc. beautifully in a story that teaches both main characters that we’re never to old or young to learn and there is almost always a compromise if we allow ourselves an open mind and heart.

I could not put it down and was constantly drawn to the “what comes next?” That said, it broaches on war, and while it does get into some of those elements, it is not overwhelming to the story. You can feel the constant tension and the uncertain future, and I think just a little taste of what life would have felt like full time during that time period. I”m eager to see where Roseanna takes the family.

About the Author

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna’s fiction ranges from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.roseannamwhite.com.