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About the Book
Four novellas in a variety of genres—that’s all they are. Just four stories to quiet your heart and soul as you embrace the beauty of the Christmas season. Inside, you’ll find Vikki Kestell’s historical romance and a reminder that the Lord’s plans are always just what we need. You’ll be introduced to Cathe Swanson’s unlikely romance about a woman who sets out to do one good deed and is drawn into the lives of a cast of eccentric elderly people. You’ll meet April Hayman and her southern madcap mystery featuring an FBI agent, a con artist or two, and a few eccentric elderly people of her own. And you’ll find Chautona Havig’s Christian fiction novella that blends comedy, suspense, with a garnish of romance.
In the hope that through these Christmas stories your heart will be lightened and brightened, we offer you this collection. Merry Christmas! And a happy, light read!
The Heart of Joy:
I enjoyed this Christmas Novella about Joy and her ability to move on from her husband’s death. I imagine it was no coincidence that Edmund was at the cemetery when Joy went to visit Grant’s grave! What I liked the most was the pace of their relationship. It was obvious from the start that Edmund has feelings for Joy, however he never pushed her or made her feel uncomfortable.
There was one mystery to me however. It was stated that Joy had a son with Grant but he was not around, as if he was missing. I would have liked to have read a backstory for that (unless I missed it?). Was he kidnapped or was he sent away? I think it may have added to the depth of Joy’s character.
All in all a sweet read showing that magic does happen at Christmas!
I thought this was a nice story. I had to laugh at the way Lisa thought Pete was a “visitor” of the community center. I was one of those readers who chuckled out loud every time I read one of their scenes. Although I thought perhaps this charade went on a tad too long, it was still comical to read.
I really connected with Lisa once she got into the Snow Angels project. I feel like her character came to life once the opportunity to serve presented itself. She needed something to get her past the guilt of her husband’s death and this was the perfect way. I would love to see a future novella that shows the Snow Angels project expanding and helping more people!
Trip the Light Fantastic:
This story was just okay for me. I liked the storyline and enjoyed the way the author wrote, however I felt it just dragged on a little too long. It took me a bit to put the storyline all together and at times I felt a little confused as to what was going on. I may try and reread this one to gain some clarity – maybe second time around will be better.
I did like Trip’s character development. After reading about him through the first few chapters I was hoping there would be some changes coming for him. And I really enjoyed the subtle ways the author brought change to him. It made me like his character even more. While I did appreciate his willingness to work hard in order to take care of his mother, but at what cost?
I found this novella to be rather comical as well. Wendy reminded me of the crazy cat lady that talks to herself and has no friends! Then when she claimed things were happening, it’s no wonder people didn’t believe her! I felt the author did an outstanding job writing this character!
I found myself going back and forth between how I felt about Neal and Peter and their ability to woo Wendy. I felt that after what she had been through in her past, Wendy deserved a really great guy. I like the ending – thought it was just the right ending for Wendy!
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
About the Author
Vikki Kestell is the author of the acclaimed inspirational series, A Prairie Heritage—a compelling saga of family, faith, and great courage. Vikki’s contribution to this collection, The Heart of Joy, asks, “Can true, enduring love happen twice in a lifetime?”
Cathe Swanson: Author of contemporary mystery and romantic suspense, Cathe brings us Snow Angels – an entertaining companion novella and introduction to her upcoming Great Lakes series.
Chautona Havig: Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie’s Inheritance, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona brings humor, stalkings, and stockings to this collection.
Guest Post from the Authors
The Christmas Lights Collection formed in the spring of 2016 with the idea of bringing four novellas together with one unifying theme: light. After all, each author in this collection has one primary focus in life: Jesus. And in the book of John, He is called the “Light of Men.”
We thought we’d share what inspired our novellas and pray that these books are a delight and encouragement to all.
The Heart of Joy: This novella is a spin-off story from Vikki Kestell’s Prairie Heritage series and features one of her most beloved characters, Joy Thoresen, from book three, Joy on This Mountain. After three years of widowhood, Joy mourns not only the loss of her husband but the child someone has kidnapped as well. Only her faith sustains her through difficult days.
Vikki’s goal in writing is to provide FaithFilledFiction to Christians, and this novella is no exception. She worked to show that even amid our sorrow, the Lord brings good, hope-filled gifts to us even when we think we’re not ready for them. She also desired to fill in small, time-veiled gaps in Joy’s story. The Heart of Joy puts the finishing touches on Joy’s story.
Snow Angels: The idea for Snow Angels came to Cathe in slow increments. The idea of using homeless veterans originally prompted research into homeless shelters and programs, but the scope of those became too much for a novella. Still, those characters had stories Cathe wanted to tell, so she continued her research and became increasingly concerned with the plight of homeless veterans—particularly the women. For some reason, we often forget that women serve, get PTSD, and end up on the streets just like the men.
Cathe wanted to combine those realities with other misconceptions that often blind us to the person behind the façade. She wanted to demonstrate how people in otherwise normal lives also can be thrust into situations that trigger PTSD and how those people work through it. Of course, with such a heavy topic, Cathe chose to write the story with a liberal dusting of humor to lighten the mood as you read.
As her debut novel, Cathe introduces readers to characters we’ll see more of in her Great Lakes series and paves the way for her upcoming novel, Baggage Claim, releasing in early 2017.
Trip the Light Fantastic: April has been working on a mystery surrounding, of all things, Shakespeare’s inkwell! So, when she was invited to be a part of the Christmas Lights Collection, April decided to do an introductory novel to her Heirlooms of Deception series and Lance “Trip” Devereaux was “born.”
April admits to loving another character, Landry, just a little bit more than the others. Yet, he could never be a main character. He’s too much of a rascal and a mastermind, so he works best from the shadows. While this book wasn’t about him directly, it could be about someone similar—someone who works in the light but has lost his way and needs help from God and some new friends. Trip the Light Fantastic is a sideways introduction into a character that April hopes will entertain readers for more books to come.
April set her series in Mississippi where her grandparents lived, so the books are rich in southern manners, mannerisms, and manors! Well, there’s one plantation belonging to her irascible but charming con-artist. Watch for a book set at the Crawford house in Spilled Ink, releasing in December 2016.
Christmas Stalkings: A couple of years ago, Chautona was on a Facebook group and a young woman admitted to having seven Christmas trees. Intrigued, she named it the “Seven Tree Obsession” and wondered what kind of character would have seven trees—and why. Well, the more she thought about it, the more interesting it became. After all, what would happen if ornaments got moved around when she wasn’t looking? Who would do that? Why? And what could she add to complicate it?
So, when the opportunity to do the Christmas Lights Collection came, Chautona decided she wanted to do that story. It seemed easy enough to contain into forty-thousand words. HA! But she got in her car, turned on her trusty voice recorder, and in the three-hour trek to her ACFW meeting, she schemed, plotted, and laughed until her sides ached at the ideas she came up with. Half never made it into the book, of course, but that’s okay. Chautona has a prequel/sequel planned for it. Lord willing, New Year’s Revolutions will release on December 31. It’s the “Paul Harvey” version—the “rest of the story.”
While Christmas Stalkings does stand alone, Chautona wanted to explore Neal’s side of things a bit. So she is. It’ll be the fastest “write-to-publication” she’s ever done, but she just had to try. So, for NaNoWriMo, Chautona is off to try to figure out what’s up with Neal and why he’s such a crusty curmudgeon. He’s too young for that! And maybe, just maybe, he’ll embrace a “new life” in the New Year.
November 15: Bibliophile Reviews
November 16: blogging it out
November 16: God’s Little Bookworm
November 17: A Reader’s Brain
November 17: Blogging With Carol
November 18: Reading Is My SuperPower
November 18: Proud to be an Autism Mom
November 19: Daysong Reflections
November 19: Splashes of Joy
November 20: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
November 20: Christian Bookaholic
November 21: Bigreadersite
November 22: A Baker’s Perspective
November 22: A Greater Yes
November 23: Back Porch Reads
November 24: Blossoms and Blessings
November 25: Reviewing Novels Online
November 25: A Path of Joy
November 26: Bukwurmzzz
November 27: Raining Butterfly Kisses
November 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
November 28: Once upon a time
November 28: Carpe Diem
To celebrate their tour, the authors are giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a8ae