Mistletoe Kisses Tour | Christmas, Actually- Guest Post & Review

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

Welcome to the Launch for the MISTLETOE KISSES TOUR for
Christmas, Actually
Three Harlequin Heartwarming novellas
By Anna Adams, Anna J. Stewart, and Melinda Curtis

Introducing the Three Stories in Christmas, Actually

The Christmas Gift by Anna Adams

This anthology was born one night in January when Melinda Curtis and Anna J. Stewart and I (Anna Adams) were chatting on Skype, and Melinda suggested a holiday anthology. From there we went to setting, and then to the kind of stories we wanted to write. Christmas Town, Maine came to life and the Banning siblings began living. I hope readers will be moved as I am by Jack and Sophie’s story.

Sophie Palmer was confused when the pregnancy test came back positive, but one thing she knew—she already loved her unborn child. She didn’t expect former Army surgeon, Jack Banning to break all contact with them. He’s promised financial support, but he wants no other contact with her or their coming child.

He must have a reason. She’d known him and loved him for two years. At Christmas, she follows him to Maine to tell him she’s putting his name on the birth certificate.

She no longer loves him. He’s destroyed those feelings, and she will never give their daughter a reason to believe she can expect more than her father’s name, but Sophie can’t forget the soldier who lived by the code of “Leave no man behind,” the doctor who’s cared more for his patients than himself, the man who didn’t know how to be dishonorable.

Fatherless herself, Sophie doesn’t care about the financials. She’ll take care of her own, but she needs to understand why Jack’s become an impossible-to-love stranger.

The Christmas Wish by Anna J. Stewart

For as long as I’ve been writing, I never thought I’d ever write a novella. I’m a novel length kinda girl–I just write long books; sometimes very, very long. But when my friend (and writing Yoda) Melinda Curtis proposed the idea of interconnected novellas featuring a set of siblings, I couldn’t say no. Especially not when she, Anna Adams and I decided to make it a holiday themed anthology. There’s something magical about the holiday season, and writing Callie and Dean’s story was a true pleasure. In all honesty, it was also the easiest thing I’ve ever written; probably because this story comes straight from my heart.

When Callie Banning’s student declares war on Christmas, it’s up to her to teach the little girl–and her widowed father–to believe again.

Normally when I start a story, the heroine is first to pop into my head. This time around, Dean Galloway entered the scene first. I could see him so clearly, shoulder length blonde hair, the brown leather jacket, the haunted twinkle in his eye as he struggled to raise his little girl on his own. And he came with a camera. No idea why, he just arrived that way. Like a gift. There’s something incredibly appealing to me (and hopefully to readers) about a father who is so in love with his child he’ll do anything–even move them all across the country–to keep them happy. Adding a tinge of grief to their story and Callie Banning was just the healing effect they’d been looking for. There are people who just fit from the moment they meet; not necessarily that clichéd “you complete me” fit, but that something special that makes life and love all that more exciting. The Christmas Wish is more than about celebrating the holiday season and rediscovering the magic those months bring–it’s about finding where one truly belongs, both in home and heart. So come on, welcome to Christmas Town, Maine and meet the Banning siblings, who have a very special New Year coming their way.

The Christmas Date by Melinda Curtis

The Christmas Date is the third novella in Christmas, Actually – three holiday stories about three siblings living in Christmas Town, Maine, where tradition has it that a kiss on Christmas Eve in the town square gazebo will lead to wedding bells in the new year!

At a critique session, the Annas and I were talking about how we loved holiday stories. It was a natural progression to creating our own special town with heartwarming traditions.

In The Christmas Date, Gina Vernay was in an accident as a child and has a scar down her right cheek. Since then, Gina has always sat on the sidelines, lacking the self-confidence to shine. Wanting what many of her friends have – love, a family – Gina signs up for an online dating account. But her picture doesn’t show her scar. And she’s always too busy running The Tea Cup in Christmas Town to meet anyone, much less a man to share a kiss under the mistletoe in the town’s gazebo. But when one persistent on-line suitor arranges to meet her on Christmas Eve, Gina’s life turns upside down.

 

MY REVIEW:
I was so surprised and delighted to discover this wonderfully warm collection of stories from Harlequin Heartwarming. I had been wanting to try this line of books for awhile now. I heard that they were sweet, clean, romance stories and felt like this Christmas collection would be a great place to start.
Each of these stories surprised and delighted me so much. I loved the characters and loved that even though the stories were separate, they all had a connection through the characters.
Christmas, Actually is the perfect collection of stories to cuddle up and enjoy on a cold wintry night!

*****5/5 STARS*****

Will your heart be warmed by a sweet kiss under the mistletoe this year?
Come along on the tour to find out!

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11/17
11/18
11/19
11/20
11/21
11/23 – Grand Finale

Christmas, Actually

Christmas, Actually
by Anna Adams, Anna J. Stewart, & Melinda Curtis
Clean Contemporary Romance
Paperback & Ebook, 202 pages
November 1st 2014 by Harlequin Heartwarming
Discover the magic of Christmas Town, Maine!
Three lonely strangers come to Christmas Town, Maine, and find love with three Banning siblings in the town that celebrates the holidays by decorating its square with lights and ribbons and a holiday pageant on Christmas Eve. Tradition has it that a kiss beneath the mistletoe that night means marriage for the couple in the new year.
The Christmas Gift by Anna Adams:
Jack Banning promised to support the mother of his unborn child… But she doesn’t need money, she only needs him.
The Christmas Wish by Anna J. Stewart:
Callie Banning’s student has declared war on Christmas, so it’s up to her to help the little girl—and her widowed father—believe again.
The Christmas Date by Melinda Curtis:
Gina Vernay is about to meet her online mystery date…and she’s in for the surprise of a lifetime!

About the Authors

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Anna Adams wrote her first romance in wet sand. The Atlantic Ocean washed it away, but Anna kept going. Her stories are of love, like the proverbial stone in a lake, making ripples that spread and contract and involve. From Iceland to Hawaii, and points in between, Anna and her own hero share with children and family and friends who’ve become family. All this living and loving gives Anna plenty of fodder for stories of love set in real life. Come along and live them with her!

Anna J. Stewart can’t remember a time she didn’t have a book in her hand or a story in her head and credits her mother never saying no to a book for turning her into a writer. Anna lives in Northern California with an overly attentive cat named Snickers and is happiest when setting her heroes and heroines on their road to happily ever after amidst family, fun and laughter.

Melinda Curtis

Melinda Curtis grew up on an isolated sheep ranch, where mountain lions had been seen and yet she roamed unaccompanied. Being a rather optimistic, clueless of danger, sort she took to playing “what if” games that led her to become an author. She spends days trying to figure out new ways to say “He made her heart pound.” That might sound boring, but the challenge keeps her mentally ahead of her 3 kids and college sweetheart husband.

Guest Post #2: 10 Gifts Ideas for Your Teen/Young Adult

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I’m a little bit anal about the holidays. I have a basic list I work from that my kids will enjoy or find useful. They’re all in college now, but that doesn’t mean they want a package of socks for Christmas. Here’s a list of 10 suggested gift giving categories for your teen/young adult:

1. Clothes. Stick to the basics, because your taste probably doesn’t match theirs. T-shirts (sports team, comic book/gaming character, funny saying), underwear/socks (they really don’t like to spend their money on this), PJs (especially if they live in a cold weather climate, but stick to bottoms only – matching is nerdy), a new jacket/sweatshirt.

2. Towels. Boring, I know. But they’ve either used their good bath towel to wash their beloved vehicle, or they’ve left them sitting too long wet in the washer and they can’t get the moldy smell out of it.

3. Gift certificates for food. For groceries, fast food, casual dining, coffee.

4. Books. Only if they read them. You can pre-order books at any retailer and have them delivered when they release. Suggested topics: bio of favorite celebrity/sports personality, how to beat a certain game, latest installment in a series of books they enjoy.

5. Technology. Given all you can do with a cell phone nowadays, this is a risk unless they specifically ask for something like a FitBit, tablet, or new gaming console. A new phone upgrade is always a win.

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6. Movie passes/gift cards. Another safe bet, especially the ones that allow you to go during prime time instead of bargain matinee.

7. Christmas ornaments. This sounds weird, but there are always ornaments releasing from movies. And not just Batman. I recently saw ornaments from my kids’ favorite childhood movies – The Rocketeer and The Christmas Story (the leg lamp!).

8. University gift cards. Hard to believe, but you can buy a gift card at the university store (to use for books) or a general gift toward college tuition. You can also buy Amazon gift cards (where text books are sold – try to pretend they won’t use it for something else, like a video game).

9. Passing it on. There are things that have been passed on from generation to generation in our house (my grandmother’s tea cup collection, my mother’s figurines, my grandfather’s tree topper). If they have a place of their own – not a dorm room – and you feel they’d enjoy a family treasure, pass it on.

10. A special trip home for the holidays. We always pay for our kids to come home for the holidays. That’s how important it is to us. We want our kids around. We’ve paid for gas and airline tickets. We’ve also hosted special get-togethers for our kids and their friends (we supply the food). We get more out of this gift than they do. Being together is more important than any gift we can buy.

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Tour-Wide Giveaway
- Gift Card Prize Pack: $20 Amazon gift card and ebook of Christmas, Actually (open
internationally)
- US Prize Pack: Paperback of Christmas, Actually and three Christmas ornaments
(US only)
- 3 ebooks of Christmas, Actually (open internationally)
Ends November 30th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prism Book Tours

2014 FAVE | A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker

From “New York Times” best-selling author, “A.D.30” is a sweeping epic set in the harsh deserts of Arabia and ancient Palestine.

A war that rages between kingdoms on the earth and in the heart.

The harrowing journey of the woman at the center of it all.

Step back in time to the year of our Lord…A.D. 30.

A.D. 30
by
Ted Dekker

*** Special THANK YOU to sheltoninteractive.com for providing me with a review copy. My review is my own personal opinion.***

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

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The outcast daughter of one of the most powerful Bedouin sheikhs in Arabia, Maviah is called on to protect the very people who rejected her. When their enemies launch a sudden attack with devastating consequences, Maviah escapes with the help of two of her father’s warriors–Saba who speaks more with is sword than his voice and Judah, a Jew who comes from a tribe that can read the stars. Their journey will be fraught with terrible danger. If they can survive the vast forbidding sands of a desert that is deadly to most, they will reach a brutal world subjugated by kings and emperors. There Maviah must secure an unlikely alliance with King Herod of the Jews.

But Maviah’s path leads her unexpectedly to another man. An enigmatic teacher who speaks of a way in this life which offers greater power than any kingdom. His name is Yeshua, and his words turn everything known on its head. Though following him may present even greater danger, his may be the only way for Maviah to save her people–and herself.

Praise for “A.D. 30”:

“The reigning king of Christian thrillers expands into biblical fiction to explore the time and teachings of Christ … The author paints vivid scenes of desert crossings on camels, aristocratic life in ancient Palestine, and the private doings of kings and queens. In the first of a pair of novels about Jesus, Dekker kicks down the door of biblical fiction.” — “Publisher’s Weekly”

“Dekker’s descriptions of the Nafud’s dangers—think Lawrence of Arabia—are powerfully done, as are his portrayals of the perils posed by the clashing customs of Arabs, Jews and Romans in an era when women were property.” — “Kirkus”

“This is the kind of book that the term ‘sweeping epic’ was made for.” — Ilene Cooper, “Booklist”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Ted Dekker is a New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels with a total of more than 10 million books in print. He is known for thrillers that combine adrenaline-laced plots with incredible confrontations between good and evil.

MY REVIEW

Wow! Ted Dekker’s latest release really is unlike ANYTHING he has written before…and I absolutely LOVE it!
Maviah’s story is so powerful, this character really allowed me to look at the life of Christ in a whole new way. The story was so rich in setting, I could literally breathe in the desert sand through the page. Full of action, mystery, and suspense- which we all love and expect from this author…A.D. 30 will thrill long-time fans of Dekker and I hope open the door for some new readers as well.

*****5/5 STARS- 2014 FAVE!!! DO NOT MISS*****

First Wild Card Blog Tour | Recipe For Love by Brandy Bruce

Today’s book selection has all the ingredients for a fabulous romance . . .

Recipe For Love
by
Brandy Bruce

*** Special THANK YOU to the author for providing me with a review copy. My review is my own personal opinion.***

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

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Is Jeremy Mitchell Cooking Up Romance?

Overworked chef Jeremy has ordered up the perfect vacation: a fly-fishing getaway and some much-needed alone time. But when he arrives in the Colorado mountain town, he’s immediately captivated by the lovely proprietor of the bed-and-breakfast, not to mention her young son.

Alison Taylor still mourns her first husband even as she fights to keep their shared dream of a B and B alive. But there’s no denying that she and her big-city guest have all the right ingredients for something special. Will this star-crossed pair realize that second chances can happen…if only they’ll let them?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Brandy Bruce was scribbling stories in spiral notebooks by the age of 12. Her love for books never left her. She graduated from Liberty University, married the one person she could never get enough of, then started working as a book editor for a publishing house. Brandy and her husband, Jeff, live in Colorado with their two children. She can be reached through her blog at http://www.brandybruce.blogspot.com

MY REVIEW

I have enjoyed every single one of Brandy’s releases under the Heartsong Presents line and Recipe For Love is another of my favorites!
I love that the characters were real to me from the beginning. I loved them and really couldn’t wait to watch their relationship develop. I love that they were both dealing with their own “issues” and that their faith shone through. Alison’s son was a wonderful character and brought lots of humor to the story from the beginning, but also helped the characters learn some things (that I won’t give away here).
I loved the setting of the B&B, the beautiful scenery….I could just picture it all in my mind- it was just the kind of place I’d like to visit.
If you enjoy books with small town settings, memorable characters and faith-filled romance…you simply must read Recipe For Love!!!

*****5/5 STARS- FABULOUS!!!*****

Review | A Mom’s Prayers For Her Son

A Mom’s Prayers For Her Son
by
Rob and Joanna Teigen

*** Special THANK YOU to the publisher for providing me with a review copy. My review is my own personal opinion.***

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

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From the moment your little boy was born, you knew you were going to be doing a lot of praying. So you may wonder, What exactly should I be praying for?

Now the authors of A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter show you how to pray for every area of your son’s life. Rob and Joanna Teigen give you a strong foundation to build a lifelong habit of prayer for your son with a collection of specific prayers you can use to get started right now. With engaging stories from well-known authors such as Kathi Lipp, Pam Farrel, Lisa Samra, and others, you’ll learn how to pray for your son’s development of character, courage, self-control, forgiveness, and more.

Remember: you may not always understand your son, but God does! Start asking for his guidance, protection, and blessings today.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

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Rob Elliott is the author of Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids, Laugh-Out-Loud Animal Jokes for Kids, and Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids, and has been a publishing professional for more than fifteen years. Rob lives in West Michigan, where in his spare time he enjoys laughing out loud with his wife and five children.
Learn more at http://www.laughoutloudjokesforkids.com

Joanna Teigen is mom to her and Rob’s five children. The Teigens enjoy church, foster parenting, books, music, and laughter. They live in West Michigan.

MY REVIEW

I cannot begin to tell you how awesome and necessary this book is!
I love it!
The authors have thought of EVERYTHING possible concerning praying for your son.
Basically each section deals with a different topic in your sons life. They give you scripture that relate directly to that topic and then a guided prayer.
We all want to pray for our children, but often don’t know what to pray. Well, this is the perfect guidebook to help you along the way.
For anyone with a son, grandson, or if you just desire to pray in a new way for the boys and young men in your life….this book is for you!

*****5/5 STARS- DO NOT MISS*****

Review | If You Follow Me by Pam Rhodes

If You Follow Me
by
Pam Rhodes

*** Special THANK YOU to Kregel for providing me with a review copy. My review is my own personal opinion.***

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

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In the parish of Dunbridge, hard choices face not only Neil, but also Claire and Wendy. Ben, Claire’s former lover and Sam’s father, arrives back from Australia keen to pick up where they left off. Neil finds Wendy very supportive – but is she biding her time? Meanwhile, Neil has little chance to ponder his future as the whole weight of running the church and parish descends upon his inexperienced shoulders. His mother, Iris, has just moved to be near him which means she’s all too ready give her opinion on every aspect of his life. Meanwhile, Neil’s time as a curate in Dunbridge is coming swiftly to an end. Where should he go next, and who will go with him?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Pam Rhodes for many years has presented the world’s numberone religious television program, Songs of Praise on BBC. She writes for the UK national newspaper, the Daily Mail, and is also a successful novelist—author of The Dunbridge Chronicles, With Hearts and Hymns and Voices, and four other novels, as well as a number of additional books.

MY REVIEW

I have really enjoyed this series so far and was thrilled to be able to get a copy of the third installment.
I enjoyed this one, though not as much as the first book..I think it wall always be my favorite. This book held a few surprises.
I love the characters and the setting of the story so much, there were a few questionable moments in the story that I wasn’t sure was cohesive with the main character, but I digress.
If you love small town stories, rich in characters don’t miss this one!

*****4.5/5 STARS- Enjoyable!*****

NOTE: I do run a Christian book blog and feel obligated to let my readers know when a book contains questionable content. This book did contain some (very little) language.

Review | The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet

10-Minute Fixes to Get the Body You Want and a Life You’ll Love

THE FIT BOTTOMED GIRLS ANTI-DIET
by
JENNIPHER WALTERS & ERIN WHITEHEAD

*** Special THANK YOU to Blogging For Books for providing me with a review copy. My review is my own personal opinion.***

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

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Everyone wants a super-quick fix to lose weight, but here’s the secret: The only way to get the results you want is to love yourself and your life. Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead, founders of the uber-popular website Fit Bottomed Girls, have spent years helping hundreds of thousands of readers fall in love with a healthy lifestyle. Now, they are sharing their 10 principles that will help you lose weight, love your body, enjoy your workouts, and face every day with a positive attitude—all at the same time!

Being a Fit Bottomed Girl is about more than just the size of your rear: It’s about feeling physically and mentally energized every day, no matter what is going on in your life. In this definitive guide to becoming an FBG, you will learn how to:
*Ditch the diet drama and learn to follow your true hunger cues
*Create your own workout schedule that feels more like more fun than “work”
*Develop the inner confidence and self-love you need to go after your best life

From the best way to enjoy a piece of chocolate (yes, eating chocolate is encouraged!) to designing a workout around your favorite guilty pleasure songs to easy ways to break free from the scale and build confidence, The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet is packed with the tools you need to design a healthy life you love. Come see for yourself what thousands of women have already discovered: being an FBG rocks!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead, founders of the popular health and fitness site FitBottomedGirls.com and named as one of Time magazine’s best 140 Twitter feeds to follow of 2013, have created a cutting-edge approach to weight loss and getting healthy. The program lets women choose from a range of small 10-minute fixes—like beating unhealthy cravings and creating a fun workout based on their favorite songs—to create a better, healthier life without drastically adding to their to-do lists. Designed to break the negative yo-yo dieting cycle as well as find the fun in a fit lifestyle, The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet gives readers the tools they need to take control of their body image and start feeling better in as little as 10 minutes.

MY REVIEW

I was super excited to be able to request a copy of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet! I had seem some of the the girls videos before and I really liked their “take” on living a healthier lifestyle. I am always looking for inspiring and motivational books to keep me on the right track, so I definitely could not pass up a chance to check out their new book and share my thoughts.
This book is very practical. I love that it is also very motivating in a way that makes me feel good…about myself and feel like I can do this. I don’t like when books or products are demeaning and talk down to you, this method does not motivate me in the least. Anyone can apply the tips, tricks, ideas, and principles of this book to their life.
This book hits on every single topic I can think of that is related to living a healthier lifestyle…everything from food to fitness to support to stressors- it’s ALL here!
I love the “Fixes” found at the end of the chapters. These simple to follow steps will keep you motivated and on the right track to success…they are easy, fun and they work!
This book also has lots of “goodies”, such as opportunities to journal, recipes, fit bottomed quotes to inspire, thoughts straight from the FBG’s themselves, and so much more!
You have to try this book for yourself. It is jam-packed with everything you need to get headed in the right direction for good health.

*****5/5 STARS- Fabulous!!! Don’t Miss It!!!****

PLEASE NOTE- I do run a Christian book blog and therefore feel it is my responsibility to disclose any questionable material in the books I review. This book did contain some language that I felt was unnecessary. It is not through-out the book, I only caught 2 instances.

Free Chapter & Review | At Bluebonnet Lake by Amanda Cabot

Her life is set to warp speed. His is slowing to a crawl. But love has its own timing.

AT BLUEBONNET LAKE
by
AMANDA CABOT

*** Special THANK YOU to the publisher for providing me with a review copy. My review is my own personal opinion.***

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

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Marketing maven Kate Sherwood’s world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is grind to a halt at Rainbow’s End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. Still, she cannot deny her ailing grandmother’s request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week fifty years ago. There, Kate meets Greg, who appears to be the resort’s unassuming handyman. But there’s more to Greg than meets the eye–billions more, in fact.

Kate isn’t looking for romance, but she can’t deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate’s long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?

Amanda Cabot invites you to step into a place away from the pressures of the day. You might be surprised by what you find at Rainbow’s End.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at http://www.amandacabot.com

MY REVIEW

I absolutely adored Amanda Cabot’s debut of her new Texas Crossroads Series!!! This is such a fun, funny, heart-warming contemporary romance. Escape to wonderful Rainbow’s End…where the pace of life is a little slower than elsewhere. This doesn’t make workaholic Kate Sherwood very happy at all, but will handsome “handyman” Greg?
This was a really quick read for me, because I enjoyed it so much. I love that Kate’s first impression of Greg was a little skewed…I like when characters don’t know the whole story. These characters both had deep issues they need to work through, making them more “real” to me. I loved the small town, country setting, secondary characters, and of course the romance was sweet and spot-on- exactly what I like!
If you love cute romances with country flair, you’ll find it “At Bluebonnet Lake”.
*****5/5 STARS- Fabulous!!! Don’t Miss It!!!*****