Christmas Embers by Chautona Havig



MY REVIEW:

I cannot say that I particularly enjoyed “Christmas Embers”. I’m not certain anyone would actually “enjoy” it. It is a story filled with hard-hitting truth about adultery and how it affects everyone it touches including family, friends, and even strangers. The emotionally charged plot is sometimes difficult to read because it is so realistic and touches that place inside the reader that tells them “this could happen to anyone – even me”.

“Christmas Embers” is beautifully written and the author does an excellent job of getting her message across. How true that the very ones who believe they would never fall are usually the ones who do. I have seen it happen over and over, even in the church. One thing I have learned is to try not to be too quick to judge lest I fall in the very same trap.

If you are looking for a fluffy, feel-good Christmas story, “Christmas Embers” is probably not for you. But if you would like a novel full of Biblical truth and a bit more “meat”, I would recommend this book. I would also say that it’s not a just for Christmas story but could easily be appropriate for any time of the year.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Click to purchaseIt’s a truth universally unacknowledged that sin will hunt you down and advertise its presence the moment you try to hide it.

Emily Byrne sits in her daughter’s classroom listening to the deepest wishes of twenty kindergartners as she sketches them. But when little Joey Cordell breaks down, weeping and insisting the only thing he wants to find is his father, she isn’t sure where her Christmas project will take her.

Davia Cordell came to Rockland for one purpose–find her son’s father before she dies. An ex-prostitute, she’s well aware that the news will cause waves, but what’s a mother to do?

As these women join forces to search for Joey’s father–a Rockland area pastor, no less– Emily learns compassion for a woman who just wants the best for her son and can’t quite imagine that Jesus wants anything to do with her.

Each day, Davia weakens until Emily isn’t confident she’ll find the boy’s father in time–if at all. Doubts form. Should she look? Is it right to risk destroying a family like this–an entire church? The weight of that responsibility crushes her as Davia wastes away before her eyes.

A mother’s love. A boy’s confidence. A family’s faith. A preacher’s failure. Is redemption even possible anymore?

Christmas Embers: a story of love, failure, and redemption.

Click here to purchase your copy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment.

GUEST POST FROM CHAUTONA HAVIG:

Infidelity to the Tune of Adeste Fideles

“I think my husband is having an affair.”

An explanation followed. Look, I tend to be one who assumes the best of others—to a fault even. I read the “evidence” and frankly could see it going either way. It’s hard to tell across thousands of miles. While others on the message board saw red flag after red flag—and frankly, I did, too—I also saw perfectly innocent explanations for things. It’s a curse sometimes—that ability to see both sides of an issue. I cautioned against assumptions no one would want other people to make of themselves. And I prayed she was wrong.

She wasn’t.

It wasn’t the first time I’d come face to face with infidelity. As a child, there was an extended family member. As a newlywed, one of my wedding party—then another. Then another. The excuses, the justifications. Friends and I went to confront a sister in Christ on her affair with her husband’s best friend. We foolishly asked “what happened?” regarding her marriage. Her words: “We drifted apart.”

I wanted to scream the words that battered my brain and heart. “Then row back together!

But over the years, it just grew worse. One by one, wives and husbands tossed aside vows made to a brother or sister in Christ—vows made before the Lord—in favor of what sometimes were serial affairs. Abuse. Horror.

I’ve prayed women I love through court cases, medical visits, and disclosures from children no mother should ever have to hear. I’ve prayed for men I didn’t even like because of the pain their wives inflicted each time she left them alone with the kids. He knew. He always knew.

Adultery is real. It’s ugly. And there’s absolutely a cure for it. Jesus. 100% surrender to Jesus. But as long as we rely on those little loops on the back of our boots instead of the saving, healing, strengthening power of Jesus, we’re just as vulnerable as the next person.

And that’s why I wrote Christmas Embers. I took every heartbreaking story I’d observed over the years and put in each character for a reason. Every scene, every plot point, every twist—I put them exactly how and where they are for a reason.

They’re there as a warning.

This isn’t your lighthearted Christmas novel. Some have suggested I shouldn’t have set it at Christmastime. But you know what? Over half the disclosures I’ve ever heard of happened between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. I couldn’t get the idea of Joey’s story out of my head. And to write his story, it had to be at Christmas.

Let me say it again. While Christmas may not seem like the optimal time for a hard-hitting book like this, I had to do it. Adultery is reaching epidemic proportions in the church. There’s a solution. His name is Jesus.

BLOG STOPS:

Carpe Diem, December 5

A Baker’s Perspective, December 5

Mary Hake, December 5

Moments Dipped in Ink, December 6

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 6

Daysong Reflections, December 6

Fiction Aficionado, December 7

A Simply Enchanted Life, December 7

Genesis 5020, December 7

Blogging With Carol, December 8

The Power of Words, December 8

Bigreadersite, December 8

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 9

A Greater Yes, December 9

Radiant Light, December 9

Just Jo’Anne, December 10

For The Love of Books, December 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 10

Aryn the Libraryan, December 11

A Reader’s Brain, December 11

The Fizzy Pop Collection, December 12

Books, Books, and More Books., December 12

Quiet Quilter, December 13

Seasons of Opportunities, December 13

Christian Book Devourer, December 13

Allofakindmom, December 14

Texas Book-aholic, December 14

Pursuing Stacie, December 14

Pause for Tales, December 15

Reader’s cozy corner, December 15

margaret kazmierczak, December 15

Red Headed Book Lady, December 16

Purposeful Learning, December 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 16

Janices book reviews, December 17

Christian Bookaholic, December 17

Karen Sue Hadley, December 18

Remembrancy, December 18

Blossoms and Blessings, December 18

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize of a 6 month Kindle Unlimited Subscription!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

https://promosimple.com/ps/c512

Magnolia Storms by Janet Ferguson



MY REVIEW:

As a lifelong Southerner, I am particularly fond of novels with a southern setting so I have loved reading all of Janet Ferguson’s novels. After watching the news on TV for hours during and after the devastation of hurricane Katrina, it was easy for me to understand Maggie’s fear of another storm. Although there were times when her character’s fear seemed to be a bit overboard, I had to admire the way she pushed past that fear to respond to her family’s need for help in a difficult situation.

Ferguson’s colorful yet realistic characters felt like old friends.  Fun and touching scenes with Josh’s little son J.D. added a special note to the story. I enjoyed reading about the struggles of Josh, Maggie,  and her family as they faced difficult challenges together. It was encouraging to see how their faith grew even as they walked through dark and scary situations.

“Magnolia Storms” is a great book and I can’t wait to see what Janet Ferguson has in store for her readers next.

I was the winner of a copy of this novel on the Life Fully Booked blog. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

A Coastal Hearts Novel
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you….

Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south—into the storm.

The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting—even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.

Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

*Magnolia Storms is a SARA’s Emma Merritt Contest finalist and First Impressions Contest finalist!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris



MY REVIEW:

After reading a few chapters of “Vanishing Point” I had the thought that the story seemed familiar. Then I realized that this particular book covers the entire span of years from the time Sarah Boyd disappeared until her case and the related cases were solved. Rather than featuring Nikki Boyd as the primary character, this book features other investigators on the case, including Garrett Addison and Jordan Lambert.

As I read this suspense filled story, I felt the frustration of the investigators as they were taunted time and again by the killer who always seemed to be one step ahead of them and their pain as they were unable to prevent the death of another young woman. With a relatively fast-paced plot, the tale is laced with danger and enough twists and surprises to keep most readers on their toes. A bit of romance spiced things up just the right amount without overpowering the mystery/suspense.

I felt that “Vanishing Point” was a satisfying conclusion to the Nikki Boyd series. It could easily be a stand-alone novel but reading the other books in the series adds a broader perspective to the story. I have enjoyed reading several novels by Lisa Harris and would recommend “Vanishing Point” and any of the others to those who enjoy Christian suspense.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Six girls missing . . . and every clue leads to a dead end

During Garrett Addison’s first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She’s just one in a string of disappearances with one thing in common–a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies, Garrett wonders whether he really has what it takes to be an agent. Maybe he should just walk. But while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him–or Jordan.

Read an excerpt HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 and 2015 from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. The author of more than thirty books, including Vendetta, Missing, Pursued, and the Southern Crimes series, Harris and her family have spent fourteen years living as missionaries in southern Africa. Learn more at www.lisaharriswrites.com.

The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall



MY REVIEW:

I have always enjoyed the books I have read by Cindy Woodsmall so I was excited to have the chance to read and review her latest, “The Gift of Christmas Past”. The fact that it was a Christmas novel to read in December was a bonus but overall it didn’t seem much like a Christmas novel to me.

That being said, “The Gift of Christmas Past” was actually a very good story that begins when Hadley and Monroe are teens in love and continues when they meet again ten or so years later. Because of events from their past, Hadley has reasons that she does not trust Monroe. Although Monroe still loves Hadley, he is bound by an agreement with his parent that prevents him from associating with her.

The authors have not only written a touching story of healing and forgiveness but have highlighted real issues and emotions experienced by foster children. I felt that I also learned some interesting facts about speech problems in children, specifically selective mutism and methods used by speech specialists to help restore their speech. I enjoyed reading “The Gift of Christmas Past” and I believe that others should enjoy it also.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Litfuse Publicity. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them.

Promises shattered.

Lies spoken.

She was arrested.

He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

Learn more, read an excerpt, and purchase a copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Cindy Woodsmall is the “New York Times” and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s “Nightline” and the “Wall Street Journal.” Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, GA.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.

Find out more about Cindy and Erin at http://www.cindywoodsmall.com.

 

Christmas at Grey Sage by Phyllis Clark Nichols



MY REVIEW:

One thing I love about being a reviewer of Christian fiction is that I can count on getting to read several Christmas novels this time of year. These books are usually in several different styles or genres from historical to humorous to contemporary romance. “Christmas at Grey Sage” is one of the Christmas books I was blessed to read this year and it might just be the most memorable one.

When I first began to read “Christmas at Grey Sage”, I thought to myself “why did I agree to review this one? It looks like it’s going to be slow going!” Yes, I did have a bit of difficulty getting into the story at first but I kept reading and soon found myself totally engrossed in the happenings at Grey Sage and Santa Fe. It was obvious that God had drawn this unusual combination of people together for a purpose and even created an unprecedented snow storm to keep them together a little longer than originally planned. He had such marvelous plans for these broken humans who each had reason to wish to escape their usual Christmas routine. Some found emotional healing, others received a new outlook on life or a boost in their self-confidence, and at least two of them may have even found romance.

“Christmas at Grey Sage” is filled with so many quotable lines that I wish I had written them down as I read. I couldn’t help but create a meme with one of the quotations but it was actually difficult to choose which one to use. I have included it below.

I loved this book and am so thankful that I had the chance to read it. I hope others will grab a copy for themselves and enjoy it as much as I did.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Litfuse Publicity. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

This Christmas, there’s plenty of room at the inn.

Nestled in the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe, the Grey Sage Inn looks like the perfect place for weary travelers to escape the craziness of the Christmas season. There’s plenty to see in historic Santa Fe during the day, and the inn’s owners, Maude and Silas Thornhill, are happy to spend their evenings hosting this year’s guests from across the country.

But an unusual snowstorm throws a wrench in the festive mood. The sprawling inn becomes close quarters as stranded guests discover this Christmas won’t be the relaxed vacation they expected. Tension and fear mount as the storm worsens, and Silas, a retired doctor, is called away in the middle of the night to care for a neighbor. The snow and stress unlocks tongues–and in the unexpected conversation that follows, secrets and pasts are revealed, and hearts are healed.

In the midst of snowdrifts and fireside conversations, of tales of days gone by, the warmth of Christmas brings a renewed hope as these trapped strangers become friends–proof again that the joy, hope, peace, and love of Christmas can be experienced no matter where you are.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Photo by Jeremy Kovac on Unsplash

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Phyllis Clark Nichols believes everyone could use a little more hope and light. Her character-driven Southern fiction explores profound human questions from within the simple lives of small town communities you just know you’ve visited before. With a love for nature, art, faith and ordinary people, she tells redemptive tales of loss and recovery, estrangement and connection, longing and fulfillment, often through surprisingly serendipitous events. Phyllis grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in South Georgia. Now she lives in the Texas Hill Country with her portrait-artist husband, where red birds and axis deer are her ever-ravenous neighbors. She is an English major and classically-trained musician, seminary graduate, concert artist and co-founder of a national cable network for the health and disability-related programming. After retiring as a cable network executive, Phyllis began leading mission teams to orphanages in Guatemala and now serves on three non-profit boards where she works with others who are equally passionate about bringing hope and light to those who need it most.

Find out more about Phyllis at http://www.phyllisclarknichols.com.