Monday, November 11, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Celebration - Book Reviews & Giveaways

Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction are hosting the 12 Days of Christmas! They've teamed up with three of their authors for a Merry Facebook Party on November 12th {5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern}. Colleen, Tricia, and Beth will host an evening of book chat, Christmas traditions, and of course plenty of presents!

But wait! There's more! Each day between now and November 12th a different book (10 copies of each book) will be given away on the Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction Facebook Page. Ring in the holiday season and warm your heart with some great reads from Thomas Nelson and Zondervan!


  Click here to ENTER each day's giveaway here. RSVP for the Christmas Party here!

Good luck and hope to see you on the evening of the 12th!


Inspired by a true story, A Christmas Gift for Rose is a heartwarming novella of sacrifice and deep love.

Born in the midst of the hardships of The Great Depression, Rose grew up in Berlin, Ohio, in the arms of a loving Amish family. But she is overwhelmed by self-doubt when she learns the truth of her birth. She was born Englisch and abandoned when her family moved West in search of work. Was she meant to be Amish or would she have been better off growing up with her own kind---Englischers? And was her intended's gift of discovering her birth family given out of love or fear?

Don't miss award-winning author Tricia Goyer's first Christmas novella.


This is another wonderful book by Tricia Goyer. I always know when I pick up one of her books, it's going to be a winner and this book is no exception. I truly sat down and read this book in one sitting - it was that good.

Rose is a young woman who had her life all planned out - marry Jonathan, have children and a family of her own. However, she's also the kind of person who worries about what others are thinking of her. 

When Jonathan goes off to be a medic in WWII, she's horrified because he has chosen to be around the Englishchers and to actually go to war. Never mind that he never picks up a gun, but that he is saving lives, it's still unacceptable to her. Mainly because the Bishop comes to see her about it and she feels like everyone is judging her along with Jonathan. She decides to break off her engagement to Jonathan and then is heartsick at her decision.

She is also dealing with nightmares and an uneasy feeling that crops up around Thanksgiving. She's not sure why she feels this way, but it soon becomes apparent when her mother reveals the secret she's held for so long. Rose is adopted and was born Englisch! This forces her to take a look at who she is and, more importantly, who Jonathan is.

I really liked this story because it's all about accepting who you are and not judging too harshly those around you. I also loved the ending - it was incredibly sweet and brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes we gain much more than we ever lose and this ending certainly teaches us that. I love how the Lord blesses Rose and her family abundantly with love and family. 

This is a wonderful book to read for the holiday season - or any season - and it will truly bless your heart as you do read it. Whether you like Amish fiction or not, you'll love this book - I promise you! Obviously, I highly recommend this wonderful book!

One sinister phone call has derailed their wedding. Will they let it tear them apart forever?

A Christmas wedding on the beach---what could be more perfect? Poinsettias and fragrant pikake blossoms, soft sand and mistletoe, the gentle sound of the surf and the wedding march played on a ukulele. This wedding has been a long time coming, with Bane's trust issues and Leia's worries about her childlike sister, Eva.

Now they can hardly wait for the day to arrive. Thrilled to be a bridesmaid, Eva keeps trying on her ruffled dress. The tent is reserved, the caterers paid. Everything is going as planned---until Leia's phone rings and her world skids out of control. A muffled voice informs Leia that Eva's been kidnapped and will be killed unless Leia calls off the wedding without explanation---and no police! If she disobeys instructions and tells Bane, she'll risk her beloved sister's life. But how can she ever handle this without his help? And how can he ever trust her if she lies to him now?

I would love to say I liked this book, but I can’t. It was so typical and so, well…goofy. I always dislike it when I read a book I just don’t care for and have to say so, but this is one of those books. It’s just a short story, really, and I was really glad for that. 
The story starts out with Leia on the beach with her sister, Eva, nearby. There is a man in distress out in the water and Leia goes to help with the man. When she comes back, Eva, who has Downs Syndrome, is gone. Soon, she receives a phone call from someone saying she must call off her wedding to Bane or she’ll never see her sister alive again. 

This had the possibilities of being a good story, but the dialogue is just too (for lack of a better word) sappy for me. The plot was predictable and didn’t hold a lot of suspense or mystery. I also didn’t like that Bane was so unforgiving of her, even when she explained what happened. This happened right away in the book so it’s not like she left him hanging very long. I’m a big fan of Colleen Coble, but she just missed the mark for me on this book. I can only give it a 2 out of 5 stars. 


As Christmas day nears, Bree and her faithful search-and-rescue dog Samson follow the trail of a troubling mystery into the snowy forests of Rock Harbor.
Bree Matthews is preparing for Christmas guests, but her heart is reeling from the recent and tender loss of her unborn child. Her sister-in-law, Lauri, suddenly turns up on the doorstep of the lighthouse home Bree shares with her husband, Kade, in Rock Harbor. Secretive and withdrawn, Lauri seems curiously intent on discovering what happened to a parachuter who disappeared in the North Woods along Lake Superior's icy shore.

As Bree and Samson, her search-and-rescue dog, plunge into the search, Bree wonders if Lauri may know more than she's admitted about the parachuter. And then the clues lead them to the trail of a young woman whose family fears the worst about her disappearance.

Will the search on this snowy, silent night lead Bree and Samson to more than clues about the missing girl? And will Bree's prayer for a baby ever be answered?

I really, really liked this story! This story continues the story of Bree and her wonderful search and rescue dog, Samson. I haven't read any of these stories, but it mattered not. This story definitely stands alone and I wasn't lost about what the characters were talking about or who they were at all. She beautifully tells us what's happening and who everyone is in a wonderful way that doesn't leave you guessing.
When Bree's sister-in-law shows up, I definitely had a bad feeling about what was going on. Was she involved in some drug deal or other illegal activity and dragging her brother, Kade and Bree into it with her? The mystery of what's really going on and how it all unfolds and why was really a great shock! The suspense of it all kept me riveted to this book!

I loved seeing how the dogs go out and search for people that are lost. It made me really understand what heroes these people and their dogs are. Searching for the lost parachuter and the distress of knowing that he didn't make it is hard on all involved. Why he was out there and what he was doing adds to the mystery.

The story was so captivating and, actually rather creepy, when we find out the truth of all involved. I love how we see the growth in certain characters and how things actually end up. I highly recommend this novella - it's really good! 

A Daughters of Promise book.
Anna's grandfather seems determined to ruin her Rumspringa . . . and any hopes she has of finding a husband.

Anna Byler should be enjoying her Rumspringa as allowed by her faith. But because of the strict rules enforced by her grandfather---the bishop---the available suitors in town are afraid to court her. Even Anna's grandmother is keeping a big secret from Anna's grandfather in an effort to keep the peace. Under her grandfather's oppressive watch, Anna begins to feel her faith slipping and wonders if God has forsaken her.
Jacob Hostetler and his family have relocated to Lancaster County following a family tragedy in Ohio. As his family struggles to rebuild their lives, Jacob is forced to act as head of the household when his father is unable to cope with recent events. It's been a long time since Jacob has felt any joy. Until he meets Anna Byler. But will Anna's grandfather succeed at keeping them apart? And can Jacob put the past behind him and open his heart?

This is a wonderful book full of laughs and tears! I really enjoyed the different women in this book and to see how they handled life and the different struggles that they dealt with.

Anna has been raised by her grandparents after her parents died when she was young. Her grandfather is loving but very strict and is driving those around him away. When Anna meets Jacob and they long to date, her grandfather puts a stop to that quickly. Anna's Grandmother, Marianne, tries to help them but she is living with her own secret that she keeps from her husband. I really had to chuckle at her secret because I think all women will be able to relate to her secret - although maybe not tot he extent that she does it! lol

Cora has lost her daughter and, while she is trying to move forward for her family, her husband is not. He's dragging his family down with his uncaring attitude and forcing his son and wife to step into the role he should be doing. 

I really liked Lucy in this book. She has a young child by a married Amish man who died before the child was born. She has been treated with disdain by the community who look at her as an adulteress. However, she has given her life to the Lord, repented of her sin, and I love how we see her trying to go forward in her life and be a good mother to her son and a good daughter to her mother, who has had a stroke.  I really loved what Marianne says to her, "You are a daughter of the Promise." I thought this was beautiful and reminds me that we are all daughters of the promise!

I laughed out loud when Marianne's secret finally comes out and her husband's reaction! We see both of them grow in wonderful ways and this secret ends up being a blessing to so many in the community.  I loved that each character grew in their faith and in maturity. 

This is just a beautiful book and I highly recommend it! Like me, you won't be able to put it down!

*All these books were provided to me for my honest review by LitFuse Publicity Group for my honest review. 

Blessings - Julie

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