Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Extravaganza Reviews - Part 2!

If you're like me, you can't get enough of Christmas! That in mind, I'm delighted to bring you round two of my peek into the Christmas Extravaganza from Pelican Book Group. Check out these titles, available to you during the month of December for just $1.00 each! What a bargain, and what great stories! Go shopping at http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com and ENJOY!

Christmas Forever – Robin Bayne

Jason hasn't seen Cami in three years. Now she's back, with the son he'd wanted to claim as his own. Can he believe her newly found faith or will she desert him, and God, again?

Finding your way to a new life, and rediscovering the love you lost. Those elements form the backbone of some of my favorite stories! If you feel the same, then you’re going to love Christmas Forever by Robin Bayne. It’s a gem of a novella full of the beauty of the season! Cami is a prodigal, heading home. Jason is the one she left behind—the one who has been in love with her forever. Can they find their way back? Is their love meant to be? Pick up a copy of Christmas Forever and find out! Robin Bayne’s story won’t disappoint!

She Came to See the Snow – Mary Annslee Urban

Haley Blackwell travels to Colorado with plans to relive her favorite childhood memories—including a snowy Christmas. When she meets her grandparents’ neighbor, she finds herself yearning for more than a white Christmas, but trusting men has never been easy for Haley.

After a failed marriage, and the death of his ex-wife, Tate Rivers is determined to concentrate on raising his preschool daughter, Ashlyn, and to stay clear of another relationship. He doubts he can ever trust his heart to another woman—until he meets Haley.

Despite the weather forecast that does not include snow on Christmas Day, Ashlyn prays that God will give Haley the desires of her heart. Will Haley realize Tate isn’t a man who will abandon those he loves, and will they be able to push aside the past and step forward together in love—the way God desires?


From deepest pain the greatest joy can bloom—by the grace of God, and if we allow ourselves to accept that gift. I love that aspect of Mary Annslee Urban’s story, She Came to See the Snow. This novella features true-to-life characters who face true-to-life situations. Realism in Christian fiction is something that tends to either turn me on to a story, or make me set it aside. Haley and Tate took hold of my heart and this lovely, well-written romance won me as a reader. Grab a copy, and enjoy!

Ransomed Hope – Deborah Pierson Dill

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…

Seventeen years ago, Ashley Turner lost her father as well as Manuel Vega, the man she loved. Since then, she’s been trying to make the best of a bad situation. Now a widow, burdened with the alcoholic brother who bankrupted the family ranch, and days from foreclosure, she’s beyond hoping for her situation to improve. Ashley knows God allows adversity for a reason, but she can’t begin to comprehend the purpose in her troubles.

“…But a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

When Manuel makes good on his promise to return after having been harshly turned out so many years ago, Ashley dares to hope that all is not lost. His intention is not to rescue her, however, but to pursue revenge for past wrongs. He soon discovers that his hardened heart is no match for her renewed hope.


This beauty from ashes story was a wonderful read! Captivating! Ashley and Manuel are characters you cheer for through all the messy circumstances life can sometimes stir up. Hope, fear, wistfulness and FAITH – all four of these elements create the tapestry of a story that is sure to be on your keeper shelf. Way to go, Deborah!!!

As You Are at Christmas – Davalynn Spencer

Angela Murphy’s plans for a cozy Colorado Christmas shatter when she finds her fellow-teacher boyfriend entangled with another woman. But she goes home anyway—to her grandmother Mollie’s Berthoud Boarding House where she’s forced into tasks with Mollie’s handsome new boarder, Matt Dawson.

While temporarily rooming at the boarding house until his new furnace arrives, Matt sees through Mollie’s manipulations to pair him with her granddaughter, but he can’t complain about spending time with the beautiful gray-eyed school teacher and the mangy stray they pick up on their way home from cutting a Christmas tree. In the company of both a beauty and a beast, Matt understands more clearly the words of a long-forgotten youth leader.

Will those words draw him back to a long-forgotten God? And will Angela find that home lies not in the Victorian house of her childhood, but in the arms of the man she’s grown to love?


Sweet touches of humor and love as tender as an evening snowfall make this novella sparkle! Davalynn Spencer is a new-to-me author and I can’t wait for her next release. This story featured not just a winsome hero and heroine but a match-making grandmother who’s totally endearing! I love watching two faith-filled people triumph in love over the obstacles in their lives…even when that romance needs a bit of a kick-start in order to flourish.  ::wink!:: Kudos, Davalynn!!

Breath of Christmas - EA West

When Esther Beauchamp agrees to drive a snowmobile during the Santa Snow Challenge, she expects a problem-free weekend of transporting snowboarders. What she gets is the task of transporting a single snowboarder and babysitting his service dog while he’s on the slope.

Robbie Kendrick is instantly attracted to the pretty staffer who volunteered to help him during the competition. While she’s clueless about asthma, he appreciates her efforts to understand how it affects him and his snowboarding. Best of all, she treats him like a man who isn’t disabled and gets along great with his medical alert dog.

But when Robbie’s ability to compete is called into question, is it in God’s plan for him to give up the career he loves, or will his competitive spirit cause him to lose his chance at a future with Esther?

There is something so beautiful about the way EA West creates her stories. They tug on the heart, they depict realistic characters, and I love the unique circumstances and fresh plots she develops. EA keeps me turning the pages because I never quite know how she’s going to “pull it off” in the end. Invariably, however, there is satisfaction, joy, and hope in the pages of her stories. Breath of Christmas is no different, and it’s such a wonderful holiday treat. Grab a copy!


One Christmas Eve – Robin Patchen

Movie star Blake Carmichael found more than just freedom from his drug addiction in rehab. He found God. And he has just one wish for the first Christmas of his new life: reconciliation with his teenage son, Eli. But after eight years of hardly hearing from Blake, Eli wants nothing to do with his father. So when his mother forces Eli to stay with Blake during the Christmas holidays, Eli sneaks out of the house.

From the New Hampshire seacoast to the dangerous streets of Boston, Blake searches for his son, desperate to protect Eli from sins Blake knows all too well. But even if he finds his son, will he ever be able to convince Eli of his love?

I love stories that portray real redemption. I love stories that portray flaws that are identified and overcome (both themes give hope to us all, yes?). Robin Patchen hits the mark with deft writing and smart plotting on her debut, One Christmas Eve. Sometimes we have to *keep* overcoming our sins because of the perceptions they create. Sometimes we have to ask for forgiveness when we jump to erroneous conclusions. How beautiful that grace that leads to love, hope and reclamation! Bravo, Robin.

A Christmas Homecoming – MaryAnn Diorio

Seven Christmases have passed since Sonia Pettit last heard from her daughter Jody. Since Jody’s departure, Sonia’s world has been turned upside down. Her husband has died of a broken heart, and her son, bitter over his sister’s destructive actions, has become rebellious.

Her greatest desire is to have her family together at Christmas, but after what Jody has put them all through, can Sonia truly forgive her daughter?

Jody Pettit O’Dair ran away to experience a life of adventure and excitement, but since her departure, her world has been turned upside down. She’s been abandoned by the man she met and married, lost her job, and is unable to care for her two children. With nowhere else to turn, this prodigal daughter begins the long journey home and prays she will be welcomed after walking away so long ago.

Will Jody find forgiveness in the arms of her family as easily as she received it from God?


Do you love stories about redemption and finding your way to faith, love and home? That’s part of what makes Christmas such a magical time of year, isn’t it? Restoration? The love of God? Christ’s birth in spirit and truth shining through tribulation and sin? Second chances? This offering from MaryAnn Diorio features all of that and more. This novella packs tremendous punch, and I highly recommend! It’ll restore your belief in second chances for everyone!

Whew! What a line up!!! In conclusion, and just in time for your Christmas enjoyment, I'll be posting reviews for three concluding selections of the PBG Extravaganza! Stay tuned for more great book offerings, and happy reading!!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Review Extravaganza!!

Pelican Book Group has kicked off its annual "Christmas Extravaganza!" That means you can purchase absolutely fabulous novellas for a dollar each through the month of December. You might call it PBG's Christmas gift to you--a wealth of romance full of Christmas cheer at a price that's such a bargain!

To get the festivities started, I want to key you in on some of the books, what they're about, and let you know what I thought of them. That's right - it's a review extravaganza, and I hope you run out and grab your copy today! To purchase, simply visit: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com Happy shopping!

By the way, I'm part of the fun with what I like to call my "London Romance" - Finding Home! Join me at Harrods for tea, and Trafalgar Square for caroling! Share a romantic sunset walk with my hero and heroine, Peter and Lexie, as they wander a bridge over the river Thames. I believe even Dickens would approve!

Here's more to savor:

Angel Song – Mary Manners

Down on her luck, college-educated art teacher Quinn Sanders is a single mom who's returned to Landers Hollow to raise her five-year-old daughter, Linsey. While working at the local diner, Quinn is befriended by Jason Graves. She has no idea Jason's the youth director of Landers Hollow Community Church until he asks her to lend a hand with the children's Christmas pageant.

Jason is dealing with issues of his own--a painful divorce following a doctor's confirmation that he'll never be able to father a child. Jason longs for a family of his own, but, rejected and disheartened, fears it may never come to pass.

Jason and Quinn are both searching for a Christmas miracle. What they find is sweeter than an angel's song.


Mary Manners is a “must buy” for me because her books never disappoint. Her proven talent for blending joy, tears, heart ache and a faith-filled hope shines bright in the pages of Angel Song. Quinn and Jason (and Linsey, too – the little pixie!) absolutely won my heart, but that’s Mary Manner’s gift—pulling on your heart strings while shining God’s love in her stories. Kudos, Mary! Another winner!

Everybody Loves Mickey – Therese Travis

He’s a saint with a tarnished halo, and Aubrey Thomas can’t stand him…or can she?

Handsome fireman, Mickey Hurst is loved by all. He volunteers at the local parish where Aubrey Thomas works as an administrator. He sings in the choir. He leads the youth group. He even acts as the church handyman, but Aubrey knew him before he became Saint Mickey—when he told her he’d have to be drunk to kiss her…and he was. What’s so infuriating is that despite his horrible admission, Aubrey loves Mickey as much as everybody else.

Mickey doesn’t blame Aubrey for disliking him. After all, he kissed her when he wasn’t sober—and insulted her, to boot. Aubrey deserved a better man—a Godly man. But, since that fateful kiss, Mickey’s drawn closer to the Lord. With the intercession of God and the matchmaking parish staff, Mickey prays that this Christmas he will be able to prove to Aubrey he’s now the man for her.


What impressed me most about the novella Everybody Loves Mickey is the realistic and dimensional way Ms. Travis creates her characters. With a deft hand at description and plot, she draws us into the world of two opposed characters – one with a tainted past, another operating on the assumption that, pardon the cliché, ‘leopards just might not change their spots…’ The end result is a Christmas story full of magic, and redemption. Enjoy!!

An Aussie Christmas Angel – Clare Revell

On an extended holiday from the UK, John Connington finds himself in Sydney, Australia with no lodging, and only a telephone number from a friend-of-a-friend offering him a place to stay. Trusting that God knows what He’s doing, John makes the call.

Jo Heywood can’t believe the audacity of John Connington, yet when her flat mate knows of this obscure offer, there's nothing Jo can do. She’s not prepared for the avalanche of feelings this stranger elicits. Not impressed by God’s sense of humour, Jo fights how she feels.

Can a long distance relationship really work or is God just testing them both?


Most folks know I’m a fan of Clare Revell’s. She’s a remarkable author with a fabulous repertoire of Christian romantic suspense novels. However, this time she offers us a trip to the land down under rather than a dose of murder and mayhem. She takes us to Australia, and treats us to the charming love story of Jo and John – a pair who are destined to be together, despite horrendous logistics and questions about how they can blend the lives they’ve created on separate sides of the globe. This story resounded with faith, hope and romance. Can long-distance relationships work? Read An Aussie Christmas Angel and find out for yourself! Bravo, Clare – great job!

Dr. Noah and the Sugar Plum Fairy – Carla Rossi

College senior and not-so-ex-ballerina Jane Trumbull is home for Christmas break. She welcomes the joyful chaos of a happy family holiday – then the rollercoaster of emotions begins.

Veterinarian Dr. Noah Barron hopes his return to Texas and his new clinic will help him forget about his dark days in California. But he can’t outrun unresolved issues and doesn’t know how lonely he really is – until he meets slightly clumsy Un-Plain Jane.

Can Jane and Noah learn to share who they really are and what they really want? And can they allow God to send joy after sorrow, hope for hidden dreams, and healing for past wounds?


I’m a Carla Rossi fan from way back. Her books are some of the first I ever read from White Rose Publishing, and spotting Carla’s talent is a large part of what made me want to write for this publisher. I figured, if WRP endorsed work this good, then I wanted to try to be part of their ranks as well!! She didn’t disappoint with her latest novella, a Christmas release that is sure to warm your heart, tickle your funny bone, and leave you sighing with delight. A charming plotline and delightful characters kept me turning the pages and left me bummed when the story came to an end, only because I wanted more! KUDOS, Carla – keep up the great work!

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe – JoAnn Durgin

Jacob Marston, Starlight, Iowa's hometown hero made a long-ago promise to the Lord: he won't kiss a woman until he knows she's "the one." Now at age twenty-eight, the rugged firefighter questions if it'll ever happen. Then, he meets his best friend's sister, and Jake believes he's found the woman of his dreams. But what will she think when she discovers his vow?

When Julia makes an unexpected confession on Christmas Day, Jake shares his secret with her, and it looks as though happily-ever-after will make a holiday appearance.

But somehow, everyone in the tiny town of Starlight learns Jake’s secret, and he's instantly transformed from town hero to laughingstock. Did Julia reveal his secret? Can Jake forget the humiliation and find his way under the mistletoe to share a forever kiss with Julia?


I love finding my way to new and talented authors! JoAnn Durgin is just such a recent discovery for me. With heart, wit, faith and hope, she develops a charming story of second chances driven by winsome characters wrapped by a plot that kept me turning the pages, eager to find out what happened next! I look forward to reading more from this gifted writer!

Southern Fried Christmas – Marian Merritt

Love: purer than Colorado snow, deeper than a Louisiana bayou.

The Colorado Rockies have always been home to journalist Kelly Shepherd, but after the death of her father, and facing her first Christmas alone, she accepts an assignment that leads her deep into Louisiana’s Cajun country.

Since his wife’s death, Denny Labouve has focused his attention on his ten-year-old daughter and the family business, but Kelly sparks the dying embers of his heart even as a Christmas cold front moves through his beloved Cajun country.

Will Denny and Kelly be able to trust God to bridge the span between the Colorado Rockies and the Louisiana bayou?


Marian Merritt is a ‘new to me’ author that has landed straight onto my ‘to buy list’ for subsequent releases. I can’t wait to read more from this talented author who has a beautiful way of capturing scene, setting, and dialogue. I felt like I was in N’Orleans for Christmas when I read her novella, Southern Fried Christmas (how awesome is that title?!?). Love lost, love found, and starting life anew form the backdrop of the story – and it’s one I highly recommend.
Those are the review to now - but stay tuned!! There are more to come. Pelican Book Group is jam-packed with Christmas gifts. In the days ahead, I look forward to sharing additional reviews and great books with you!!
Blessings ~