Comfort & Joy, The Christmas Lights Collection by Alana Terry, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson and Chautona Havig on Tour with Celebrate Lit

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.

Click here to purchase your copy!

Frost Heaves by Alana Terry, set in Alaska is a thriller. The tale is very suspenseful, sometimes heart-stoppingly so and is not your normal Christmas story (and may be too intense for some readers).

Deck the Shelves by Toni Shiloh, features one of my lifelong dreams, to own a bookstore (never mind that in today’s society books are almost obsolete, a girl can still dream, can’t she?). Throw in a swoon-worthy mechanic who is “once bitten, twice shy,” and you have a tale of romance, everyone can enjoy.

The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe Swanson is such a sweet romance. How many men will wait for years for the woman they love to realize he’s perfect for her? Add to this, the young woman starting a wedding planning business while overcoming dyslexia and trying to honor her heritage and you have the makings of a perfect Christmas story.

The Ghosts of New Cheltenham by Chautona Havig, has a very Dickenseque feel to it, though not so strong as to be a retelling of A Christmas Carol. An adorable well-mannered matchmaking “tween” adds interest to this mild mystery of “who’s the ghost.” But don’t let the title throw you off, the story resonates with Christian values.

A fun collection to curl up with, in your favorite chair, under your favorite blanket, sipping your favorite drink, and whisk away to different locations and lives. You won’t want to miss the “Joy” in Comfort and Joy!

I received the book from one author through  Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

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.”

“Yes.”

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 Jesusbirthday? 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.

Blog Stops

A Diva’s Heart, November 29

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 BrainDecember 3

KarenSueHadleyDecember 4

Inklings and notionsDecember 4

Quiet Quilter, December 5

Lots of Helpers, December 5

God’s Little BookwormDecember 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 reviewsDecember 9

Carpe Diem, December 10

BigreadersiteDecember 10

Kat’s Corner Books, December 11

Texas Book-aholic, December 11

Aryn The LibraryanDecember 12

Josephine’s Bookshelf, December 12

Giveaway

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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

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Murder Comes by Mail (The Hidden Springs Mysteries Book #2) by A. H. Gabhart

murder-comes-by-mail

About the Book

A Cozy Mystery Complete with a Small Town Full of Charming, Quirky Characters

Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane doesn’t particularly enjoy being touted as the hero of Hidden Springs after pulling a suicidal man back from the edge of the Eagle River bridge in front of dozens of witnesses–a few of whom caught the breathtaking moments with their cameras. But the media hype doesn’t last long as a new story pushes its way into the public consciousness of Hidden Springs’ concerned citizens.

Photos of a dead girl arrive in the mail, and Michael becomes convinced she was murdered by the man he saved. With a killer one step ahead, things in Hidden Springs begin to unravel. Now Michael must protect the people he loves–because the killer could be targeting one of them next.

Readers will love racing along with Deputy Sheriff Keane as the clock ticks in this page-turning mystery.

My Review

Sheriff Michael Keane loves his Aunt Lindy and doesn’t want to disappoint her, even if he prefers not to help her. Nevertheless, he helps her and things go downhill from there.

First, while taking a group of Sunday school seniors to a play in a nearby town, he has lots of trouble with the old church bus. Then he has to talk a potentially suicidal person off a bridge, and to make matters worse, the local newshound shows up to take a plethora of photos. However, what Michael doesn’t know is that these are the least of his worries.

Returning to Hidden Springs and becoming reacquainted with the townspeople was delightful, and you get to know and love the people even more. Consequently, when some of the individuals are threatened, you want justice.

The story is written in a swiftly moving pace, primarily from Sheriff Keane’s point of view, and pulls you in, keeping you guessing about the identity of the murderer until the very end.

I generally refrain from reading murder mysteries; however, I had read A. H. Gabhart’s (aka Ann Gabhart) other books in contemporary novels and Shaker historical fiction and really enjoyed them.  So, when the opportunity arose for me to review her mysteries, I decided to read them, and I’m glad I did.

If you like suspenseful, psychological page-turners, then you are sure to enjoy Murder Comes by Mail; even though it is the second book in a series, you won’t be lost if you read it first.

Murder Comes by Mail is a little more intense and graphic than book one, Murder at the Courthouse (see my review: https://captivedreamswindow.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/4607), but don’t let that stop you from reading it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and was under no obligation to post a review.

Wednesday’s Write-up

Gunfight at Grace Gulch (Christian Cozy Mystery) (A Dressed For Death Mystery Book 1) by Darlene Franklin is a contemporary novel based on the re-enactment of the history of Grace Gulch, a fictionalized town in Oklahoma.

Audie Howe recreates the gunfight, part the beginning of the town of Grace Gulch, every year.

Cici (Cecelia) Wilde is the owner of a vintage clothing store and provides the costumes for the re-enactment.

When the remake results in a murder, Audie and Cici decide to investigate the murder. After all, Cici’s sister/niece, Dina, and her best friend, Cord, are considered suspects, and she knows they are innocent.  Audie wants to assist her to clear the smirch on his production and be closer to Cici.

Scattered throughout the book are letters from Grace Gulch’s namesake, Robert Grace, to his fiancée, Mary. The letters give insight into the establishment of Grace Gulch. Do they also provide a clue to the murderer’s identity?

The characters in the book are fun, and some are delightfully quirky. The story is believable and keeps you guessing through plausible and realistic plot twists and turns.

An intriguing and fascinating story steeped in mystery and (imagined) history, Gunfight at Grace Gulch, is a hard book to put down.

I was given this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. (Thank you, Darlene Franklin, for a delightful story!)

CowboyLady at gunfight