Christmas Reads 2018 – The Christmas Heirloom

Today I’m exciting to be bringing you a blog post found only at Kat’s Corner Books! Karen Witemeyer, Kristi Ann Hunter, Becky Wade, and 
Sarah Loudin Thomas join me to talk about a special gift that they have received. In The Christmas Heirloom, four women are gifted a Luckenbooth Broach and find love at Christmas. Join me in sharing the authors’ stories.

Karen Witemeyer

Zucchini Bread recipe

Heirlooms can be anything that is handed down from one generation to another, but what makes them special is not the item itself, but the memories and emotions that item evokes. I have an antique washstand in my bedroom that once belonged to my grandmother on my father’s side and a small landscape painting that my grandma on my mother’s side painted. Outsiders would not see anything of particular value in these items, but they mean a great deal to me because they connect me to people I loved from generations past. One of my favorite heirlooms​, however, is a recipe for zucchini bread written in my dad’s handwriting. I lost my dad when I was only 16, so this is a prized possession. Not only is the recipe delicious, but seeing my dad’s handwriting brings back a flood of happy memories every time I take it out.


As for gifts I’ve received, the ones that mean the most are the ones that have heirloom potential. They tie into specific memories and emotions. A couple years ago, my husband gave me two such treasures. The first was a blanket made with a photo of my kids. My first child was leaving for college and the empty nest had begun. This was a way for me to snuggle with my kids even when they were gone. Love it! The other gift was a set of throw pillows made from pictures we had taken on a trip to The Netherlands. My Dutch publisher had brought me out for a book tour, and they allowed Wes to tag along. It was one of the best trips we have ever taken. We met so many wonderful people and saw so many amazing things. These pillows sit on my couch all throughout the year, and every time I see them, I remember that trip and smile.


I’m a cross-stitcher, so this time of year, the house fills with handmade items like stockings, ornaments, and wall hangings. I’d like to think that some of these will become heirlooms as my children start their own families and take a few touches of Christmases past to start their own traditions, but even if they don’t, they will still hold memories and joy for me every time I look at them.

Kristi Ann Hunter

BFFs Tendy and Scruffy

I didn’t often get the trendy toy of the year growing up. I never owned a Cabbage Patch Doll or a Furby, but when I was three I did get a Care Bear. TenderHeart to be exact. I loved that bear. I slept with it every night, carried it around the house, he was my constant companion. I called him Tendy. Over the years Tendy soaked up a lot of tears, got a lot of washings, and got hugged until he was pretty much smashed flat. Eventually, when I was in college, I had to admit that Tendy was getting a little too worn to be my constant companion. My father, who’d gotten me Tendy to begin with, went on a hunt for a replacement. At the time he was traveling around the world for work. Everywhere he went, he visited toy stores looking for the softest, cuddliest replacement for my beloved Tendy. I was twenty when I received Scruffy, a gray dog with floppy arms and legs and fluffy fur. Scruffy has since been replaced by my husband, but he and Tendy still sit together in a place of honor in my bedroom. 

Sarah Loudin Thomas

Being sentimental is my super power. My most prized possessions are the bits and pieces that used to belong to someone who matters to me. There’s the Brown Betty teapot that belonged to my neighbor Betty. The stitched wall hanging Aunt Bess made. The wooden butter mold Uncle Willis made for Mom. Dad’s shaving mug. 
Mom knows this about me (maybe instilled it in me?). Which means she knew exactly what she was doing the year she gave me my favorite book EVER. It’s the copy of Heidi that her own aunt gave her as a girl. Mom must have read it to me a hundred times.
There, inside the front cover, it says “To Nancy Cox, Christmas 1954.” And then she passed it on to me one Christmas. And some Christmas down the road I plan to pass it along to my niece–mom’s granddaughter. And hopefully, there will be a great-granddaughter to appreciate it one day–say in 2054? 
While the Luckenbooth in The Christmas Heirloom was a valuable piece of jewelry, what made it such a prized possession wasn’t it’s dollar value, but rather it’s link to family. My character, Fleeta, lost her mother when she was very young. Having that connection to her mother restored in a way was what gave the pin value in Fleeta’s eyes.
It’s much the same with my copy of Heidi. It’s not a book–it’s something my great aunt picked out and wrapped for my mother. It’s the memory of curling into my mother’s side while she read aloud. It’s a connection to people I want with me always. 
I’m so looking forward to sharing those connections on down the line . . .

Becky Wade

My great grandmother enjoyed a long and faith-filled life of laughter.  She had a wonderful marriage, numerous children, and even more numerous grand children and great grandchildren. When she passed away, my grandmother, her oldest child, inherited her gold wedding band.  Since my grandmother had two sons and no daughters, she chose to entrust her mother’s ring to her oldest granddaughter — me.  She gave it to me when I was still a teenager, long before I was in the market for marriage.  But, even then, I recognized the pricelessness of that ring.  I, like the characters in The Christmas Heirloom, had received a piece of jewelry that had been treasured and worn by my ancestors.  What a gift!   Years later, when marriage came my way, I had my great grandparents’ initials and wedding date inscribed inside the ring.  To this day, I wear it as my wedding band. I hope to pass it down to my own daughter one day.


Giveaway

Thanks you so much ladies for sharing your precious gifts and memories with us. To celebrate, I’m giving a gift of a Kindle ebook of The Christmas Heirloom. For the chance to win, enter via rafflecopter below. Please refer to my Policies. The giveaway will close at midnight of 12/10/18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Top Ten Tuesday – Villains on my Shelf

toptentuesday

Another week of top ten, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The theme is villains, and since I’m starting this point at 10:30 pm the night before, I’m going to focus on villains you can find IN PRINT on my shelf right now. These are 10 villains that stood out to me- they may not be the worst or even the only villain in a story. These aren’t all Christian Fiction either (I’ll note specifics) and I tried to pull a few different ones from the normal straight clean Christian romance.

FullSizeRender (4)

  1. Benson Gage – Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray (On edge of CF)

  2. Senator Holt – Falling For You by Becky Wade

  3. Perera – Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

  4. Malcolm Kincaid – The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White

  5. Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig

  6.  -Cameron/Joanna –  Always Watching by Lynette Eason
  7. Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig

  8. Duke – Aunt Dimnity and the Duke by Nancy Atherton (not CF)

  9. Narx – The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson (not CF)

  10. Alejandro – Lone Star Christmas Rescue by Margaret Daley

Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite Book Blogs/Bookish Websites

toptentuesday

I’m all in for this top ten, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. At first I thought, “How am supposed to pick ONLY 10.” But, then as I really started thinking through it for my favorites, the ones I check frequently, the list shrunk. Secretly, I’m sitting here hoping I’ll show up on someone else’s list 🙂 In no particular order:

Reading Is My Super Power and Just Commonly

I’m putting Carrie and Annie on the same line because they should be on everyone’s list as go-to blogs for new reads. If you haven’t met them yet, they’re awesome and make sure to sign up for #2 so you can meet them…

Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

If you haven’t been yet, you should put it on your schedule and go register! It’s an amazing event, founded by Annie, Carrie, and Bonnie (something about the -ie). The CFRR blog is filled with fantastic interviews from several authors who have visited CFRR. Registration is almost full, so hope on the train soon!

Popular Books Sites

…like Amazon, Goodreads, etc. You all know them. I thought about not including them at all, but they’re important for readers to be able to see reviews for books they’re considering and are even more critical for authors to get new readers.

Novelly Yours

…because who doesn’t want a delicious smelling book boyfriend?

Etsy

Because you can find about any bookish item you want on Etsy. Quote art? Check! Pillow with clever bookish puns? Check! Cross stitch, pendants, mugs? Check, Check, Check!

Pinterest

Kind of like Etsy in that you can find photos of anything bookish. I’ve entertained myself during many random waiting periods by reading book memes.

Kristi Ann Hunter’s Instagram

Entertaining. Also her Good Little Reader’s Group on Facebook. Kristi is one of the most active authors I follow on FB, which as a reader is cool and makes me feel like we’re friends.

Karen Witemeyer’s Reader Group

Also on Facebook. Karen is another author who does an fantastic job interacting with her readers in the reader group, especially since she’s newer to the FB group world.

Celebrate Lit Publicity Group

As a blogger, part of the fun is getting to read books and help authors promote them Celebrate Lit is who I most often tour with, finding new authors and more good books than I would on my own.

For The Love of Christian Fiction

Ok, technically, I stalk Alysha’s Instragram feed. Mostly because I’m jealous in awe of her bookstagrams and can only hope one day I’ll be half as good.

 

Hope you found a few new sites to check out!

More Than Meets The Eye

Hi friends! After a long absence, I am hopefully back for a while! I’ve been fighting some pretty intense health issues as well as family emergencies; it’s been an intense month. But, I know this: God is faithful. Back in June before it all got crazy I spent a happy Saturday reading Karen Witemeyer’s latest release, More Than Meets The Eye. It is finally getting a post!

“Love stayed. Even when things became messy
and unpleasant, love stayed.”

more then meets eyeMany consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Eva has two–Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers. 

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline? 

My Review

IMG_6671Evie has a unique condition called Heterochromia that causes her two eyes to be completely different colors. It’s an interesting “disorder” that may present within one eye, or both (as Evie has) and can be similar colors or very different (again like Evie). It can occur in humans, dogs, and cats! Looking up facts about Heterochromia, I learned that eye color is the distribution of melatonin within the eye. I knew that it had a role in skin color , but never knew it had bright colors.

This is one of the reasons I love fiction – learning cool stuff, because how else would I come across random information to file away? Now, if I ever meet someone with Heterochromia, I’ll be able to understand a little. I admit that I’ll still be insanely curious and probably still stare (sorry, Evie), but that’s because I find learning things fascinating and new facts enthralling.

“‘People might try to hide their broken places and pretend to be whole, but the truth is that we all have failings. That is why we need each other.'”

I love Evie’s cheerfulness. She often faces prejudices and people believing lies about her, but she chooses to look on the bright side of life and draw closer to her Savior. She learns a lesson that most of us struggle with our whole lives; that we are good enough and our identity is in Christ, not what other people (or ourselves!) think. I relate to the mean teasing Evie endures from struggling with weight my entire life. Most people are too polite to say something, but sometimes you get the look. You know the one; it makes you feel like crawling under a rock. I too struggle with feeling beautiful and accepted, and just like Logan, my hubs tries to speak into that place as much as possible. However, there’s no replacing letting the truth that God loves me no matter how I look sink into my soul.

I also enjoyed the family dynamics in this story. While it’s certainly a romance, there is a thread about the love between these chosen siblings. In a way, it’s a coming of age story; while the characters are grown adults, they’re learning how to function in their new world that is changing every day as they each try to find their place.

If you’r a Karen fan, or of historical set westerns, then check it out. If you’re not a fan of either of those, I’d encourage to get a copy from the local library and read; you never know when you’ll find a new favorite.

I was provided a copy of this story by the publisher. All opinions are honest and my own.

About The Author

Karen WitemeyerKaren maintains a super fun Facebook group, The Posse. Join the fun!

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

First Line Fridays – A Vast and Gracious Tide

A Vast and Gracious Tide Blog and Review Tour

Welcome to the blog tour and giveaway for A Vast and Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays, hosted by Hoarding Books. Today’s first line is from:

Vast GraciousTide

A Vast and Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter

“Sergeant First Class Caden Wallis grinned as his CO whistled – perhaps the fifteenth time today – that same tune again.”

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.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

lisa_carter2_2000px

Award-winning author Lisa Carter describes her Southern suspense novels as “sweet tea with a slice of murder.” She is the bestselling author of seven romantic suspense novels, four historical novellas, and a contemporary Coast Guard series. Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales and researching her next exotic adventure. A native North Carolinian, she has strong opinions on barbecue and ACC basketball.

CONNECT WITH LISA: website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


AVGT giveaway

Don’t miss your chance to enter this great giveaway prize pack! One winner (US only) will receive:

Print copy of A Vast and Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter
Sea glass jewelry set (see here)

Anticipated Summer Reads

I’m sorry I have been MIA, ya’ll. It’s been a couple interesting weeks. Work has been crazy, and then all of this allergy stuff (I’m sure someone can relate!) decided to settle in and turn into a sinus infection. Thus, I was a giant ball of misery last week, which is why there was no post. I felt so awful I didn’t even post to Instagram (GASP!), so if you’ve been wondering where I went….then our normal trip to see family for Memorial Day weekend, a trip which is normally 9 hours and turning into 10.5 (yes, while still fighting a sinus infection- misery). It’s also turned summer way too early, and while some of you all have a gushy relationship with the heat and sun, it is my least favorite season.

I NEED SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO. 

Here are my most anticipated summer reads. I hope to find a nice air conditioned spot to curl up and read (i.e. not my unconditioned apartment, except my bedroom, which thank you, God, has a window unit). What are you looking forward to reading this summer? Let me know in the comments.

P.S. It’s 10:30 at night and I might miss some…if I think of more, I’ll add them!

5-31-18 – I added Jane by the Book since the cover was just revealed!

Hearts Entwined

Hearts entwined Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer’s “The Love Knot,” Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister’s arrival by train. Mary Connealy’s “The Tangled Ties That Bind” offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a stampede. Regina Jennings offers “Bound and Determined,” where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears’ “Tied and True” entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory. 

Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers.

My Review

Anyone who enjoys American western historicals will enjoy this collection. In my opinion, all of the authors to a great job of developing a believable romance within the shortened format of a novella.

Karen starts off with the final story in the Harper’s Station series and Claire Nevin’s happily ever after. We find out why Claire so quickly left home to marry Mr. Fischer and while we also see the immaturity that her age denotes, she also grows and develops.

Mary’s story brings another Kincaid tale. It good to catch up with part of the family years later and revisit the cavern. I love the way Connor supports Maggie. As a woman with a hubs who is so supportive of my career, my heart melted with how he championed her.

Regina’s story seemed familiar. I’m not sure why and I still really enjoyed it. I’m not sure if I’ve read another story with the same historical impetus or what. Bradley’s self confidence would annoy me in person, but in this hero is adorable.

Melissa creates a heroine who reaches beyond her upbringing and crosses class divides in an era where it was rare and show compassion that is admirable in anyone. Calvin frustrates me, but he comes around eventually, so it ends happily.

Overall it was a very enjoyable collection and I encourage you to pick up a copy.

I received a complementary copy of this book from the author. A positive review was not required and all opinions are my own!

About the Authors

Karen Witemeyer is a winner of multiple Carol Awards and has been a finalist for the RITA Award and National Readers’ Choice Award. She lives in Abilene, Texas. www.karenwitemeyer.com

Mary Connealy is well-known for her award-winning, bestselling historical romantic comedies. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska. www.maryconnealy.com

Regina Jennings is the acclaimed author of The Fort Reno Series. She lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children. www.reginajennings.com

Melissa Jagears, author of the Unexpected Brides series, lives in Kansas. Her novella, “Love by the Letter,” won the 2014 Carol Award. www.melissajagears.com