Making Spirits Bright Review!

Ah, Christmas novellas. You’ve seen a few of them on here lately and I have enjoyed them all. But this one….well it might be my favorite. It’s written by some talented authors, who just so happen to also be very sweet. I’m so glad I got the chance to read this!

About the Book
Making Spirits Bright: Christmas Lights Collection 2017 by [Swanson, Cathe, Havig, Chautona, Shiloh, Toni, Hayman, April]
Click here to purchase

Merri’s Christmas Mission by Chautona Havig

Merri Zeiger is on a mission–create a fabulous Christmas for her three children on a dime. Well, that is if she can spare one. After six months of unemployment, her benefits have run out and so has her Christmas fund.
But when she meets her rival in a giveaway for a pool table, things start to look a bit brighter.
“Barney” Barnett isn’t supposed to have to do fundraising for The Mission, but until they replace the last guy, he’s stuck on a daily trek to enter a giveaway for a pool table. Meeting Merri and hearing her story gives him a solution to both of their problems. Merri’s Christmas Mission–one woman’s quest to conquer Christmas.

Lead a Merry Dance by April Hayman

FBI Agent Trip Devereaux’ s time has run out: take his new wife, Libby, on a honeymoon (finally) or find out what it’s like to live in the dog house. His solution? A Christmas Carribean cruise! But when a jewelry thief strikes and Libby is – literally – left holding the bag, Trip’s vacation is put on hold so he can prove his wife’s innocence. Can he find the real thief in time? Or will their first shore excursion be a one-way trip to jail for Libby?

A Sidelined Christmas by Toni Shiloh

Sidelined with a career-ending injury, wide receiver Jahleel Walker is forced to return to his hometown of Peachwood Bay, Georgia to heal. Nothing shocks him more than running into his high-school sweetheart, Lucille “Bebe” Gordon.
Bebe Gordon returned to Peachwood Bay three years ago with a divorce certificate and her daughter, Hope. When Jahleel returns, all the memories of the past come rushing back. She can’t decide if he’s changed or if her heart is holding onto past hurts.
Will Jahleel and Bebe take a chance on love or let life sideline them at Christmas?

Hope for the Holidays by Cathe Swanson

Newly arrived from her home in the Congo and armed with a brand-new degree in nonprofit management, Carrie Strough is eager to organize and improve the Unity Plenkiss Community Center. Unfortunately, no one wants to be organized, and only Micah Neresen, the charming and handsome pastor of the local church, is interested in her plans. Or is he just interested in Carrie?
With a cast of lively and eccentric characters including a homeless vet with PTSD, a con man, an elderly couple with an over-the-top Christmas display, a feisty committeewoman with a past of her own, and a police investigation, Micah and Carrie wonder if there is any hope for the holidays this year!

My Perspective

This was such a great collection of stories to get me right into the holiday spirits. Although four separate stories, they had quite a few things in common: love, hope, fun, a little laughter, and Christmas (of course). They are all fast reads, so pick up a copy, sit in your favorite reading spot, and enjoy!

Merri’s Christmas Mission
I think this was my favorite story out of them all. And I hate to say that, because I loved them all, but this one touched my heart the most. Merri is pretty much the epitome of what moms should be, single or not. Yes, she made and will continue to make mistakes; and yes, there is (gasp) children born out of wedlock. It’s real life, and we should not at all turn away from this story because of it. I actually found I liked it even more because of that – it shows that God’s grace is real, and He is willing to love and help everyone. But, back to Merri. She does every single thing for her children. Sacrifices for herself, works hard, and yes, enters giveaways. Her heart is so big, she can be an example to us all. Barney was just the icing on the cake here. His character was fun, charming, and very likeable. I mean loveable. I mean swoonable. 😉 Chautona has easily become one of my favorite story tellers. She keeps the characters real, the scenarios real, and provides a little comical relief in places you do not expect it.

Lead a Merry Dance
Oh Trip Devereaux. You make my heart smile. FBI agent – almost automatic swoon. Totally in love with his wife (this may not be obvious to some, but I think he is in his own way!) and a hard worker – definite swoon. I mean, why wasn’t his picture on the cover? Probably because it would mess with the image I have in my head of what he looks like. Okay, we’ve established the fact that there is a swoony guy in this story. But that isn’t the only thing that makes it great. You know my favorite character(s)? Sissy and Sassy. Oh my goodness I just thought they were a hoot. They brought a great dynamic to the storyline and I found myself laughing at them several times. Overall this story was fun, mysterious and sweet.

A Sidelined Christmas
I wonder if Toni Shiloh has a football player in her house? I just found it so interesting how she wrote Jahleel’s character in such a realistic way. I imagine it is tough for a non football player to write about one in this way. I mean, you could just tell he was an athlete in his words and actions. I found myself wondering what would happen to him, and if he and Bebe would rekindle what they once had. They made such a sweet couple – almost Hallmark like in nature. In fact, I think this would make a neat Hallmark story – something a little bit different but certainly enjoyable!

Hope for the Holidays
This story had a lot going on, in a good way. I wasn’t sure what to think of the mysterious “stalker” and why he was getting involved with this church. And Carrie….she was so sweet, yet strong. Put her with Micah, and you’ve got a great combination. But this story was really more about the mystery and great cast of characters then it was about the love story. It reminds you that there is more than meets the eye, both good and bad. It was a perfect way to end this beautiful set of stories.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Authors!

 

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