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Betwixt Two Hearts ~ A Crossroads Collection

I felt very honored to be invited to participate in the new Crossroads Collection: Betwixt Two Hearts. I bought the first three when they came out, and I enjoyed the unique concept – a collection of novellas that are each free-standing book but tied together in a theme, and one full-length book by Amanda Tru that connects them all.  (Note – most of the “novellas” are more like full-length books.)

Betwixt Two Hearts - a Crossroads Collection by Amanda Tru, Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig, Carol Moncado, Kari Trumbo, and Alana TerryIn Betwixt Two Hearts,  Amanda opens the collection with a story about two people establishing an online matchmaking agency. Not a dating site, mind you, but a real matchmaking agency with the goal of setting up marriages.  Each of the subsequent books is a contemporary Christian romance about two people who meet through the Betwixt Two Hearts agency. In addition to mine, you’ll find delightful stories by Amanda Tru, Kari Trumbo, Alana Terry, Carol Moncado, Chautona Havig. and ME.

Mine is The Swedehearts Glory Quilt, the second book in my Glory Quilts series. It’s lighthearted – mostly – and features some of the same characters from The Christmas Glory Quilt.  David Reid is a sincere Christian man, eager to move on in his life. He’s an engineer, so he’s got a plan.  But is it God’s plan for him, or is it David’s?  Eleanor has no plan. Her loving, well-intentioned family wants to control her life and doesn’t understand why she would abandon the plan they made for her. So Eleanor runs away to find herself.

David signs up for Betwixt Two Hearts because he wants a wife. Eleanor’s motives are not so pure. She wants a fake boyfriend, to convince her parents she’s doing just fine in her new life.

Readers say they like flawed characters, so I’ve tried to make Eleanor a very human, flawed person. Even when she’s most annoyed with her family, she acknowledges that they’re good people.  But she occasionally crosses the line between a reasonable attempt at independence into selfishness and even lying, “gaming the algorithm” to get the perfect match and then being unwilling to confess when she finds out how much she likes the man they choose for her.  I hope her conflicted emotions resonate with readers.

As I write this, I am impatiently waiting for the publication of The Swedehearts Glory Quilt in paperback, repeatedly checking my email and hitting the refresh button on Amazon. I’m hoping to see it today, so I can share my beautiful cover! The picture on the cover is from 85mm Photography in Minneapolis – artistic, amazing wedding photographers.  They’ve “captured” Eleanor and David perfectly. 

I made a new quilt for this book – as is my plan for the whole series! – and will be offering the pattern as a bonus to anyone who purchases (or reads in Kindle Unlimited) the Betwixt Two Hearts collection or the Swedehearts Glory Quilt paperback before March 31.  More on that later.

 

In other news….

The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe SwansonThe Kindle version of The Christmas Glory Quilt is now available for Kindle and in paperback. (It’s free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, of course, )

If you read and enjoyed it in the Comfort & Joy Christmas Lights collection, I’d be thrilled and grateful if you’d leave a review on the Amazon page or on Goodreads. Thank you!

If you missed the free Christmas Glory Quilt pattern,  you can purchase it on Etsy. The Swedehearts pattern will be available after March 31.

 

Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock

Terri Blackstock Catching Christmas

About the Book

Terri Blackstock Catching Christmas

Book: Catching Christmas

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Christmas

Release Date: October 9, 201

This Year, Christmas Comes Just in Time

As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current court case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.

The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is making his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.

When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure that she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

Click HERE to purchase Catching Christmas

My Thoughts

Terri Blackstock is one of my favorite authors, and I will continue to read her books, but I was disappointed in Catching Christmas.  Or maybe not disappointed, exactly, but depressed.  The story is a meaningful, timely reminder that Christmas isn’t always full of children’s laughter and extended family. Many people aren’t busy and festive this time of year. Too many people are alone.

Ms. Blackstock is a skilled writer, so it’s a well-crafted book (if you like first-person present-tense format), but it’s a sad, sad story about a man who neglected and avoided his own dying mother and a woman who is frantically focused on keeping her (lousy) job. They’re both mired in guilt, so they are doing their best to care for the elderly Callie.

Callie is an extremely well-written character, typical of many lonely and confused elderly people who find life especially hard in the holiday season.  Her fixation on finding her granddaughter a date for Christmas day and uncharacteristically rude comments (referred to as “losing her filter”) accurately represent a person in that stage of dementia.

Finn, the cab driver, is burned out after losing his restaurant. He’s spiraled down into depression and ended up driving a cab. Sydney, the granddaughter, has a precarious job at a rather shady law firm. While I could see how a new college graduate, burdened with student loans, might feel desperate to keep her job, it didn’t ring quite true for a smart young woman with moral standards.

The ending implies a more promising direction for both of the young people, which is encouraging. Overall, I think this is a meaningful and good book for reminding us of the frailty of life and our responsibility to care for our elderly family and friends.

I look forward to Terri Blackstock’s next book!

About the Author

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Catching Christmas is her first Christmas romance. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter:@terriblackstock

 

 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 15

Daysong Reflections, December 15

Genesis 5020, December 15

Back Porch ReadsDecember 15

The Power of Words, December 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 16

Quiet Quilter, December 16

Among the Reads, December 17

Kathleen Denly, December 17

By The Book, December 17

Lighthouse Academy, December 17

Cultivating Us, December 18

Simple Harvest ReadsDecember 18 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, December 18

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, December 19

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 19

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, December 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 20

amandainpa, December 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 20

Multifarious, December 21

Cathe Swanson, December 21

Stories By Gina, December 21

Connect in Fiction, December 22

Have A Wonderful Day, December 22

Splashes of Joy, December 22

Bibliophile Reviews, December 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 23

Lis Loves Reading, December 23

Mary Hake, December 23

Bigreadersite, December 23

Book by Book, December 24

Pause for Tales, December 24

To Everything A Season, December 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 25

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 25

Vicky Sluiter, December 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 26

Inklings and notions, December 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 26

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 27

Captive Dreams Window, December 27

Texas Book-aholic, December 27

A Baker’s Perspective, December 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Older & Smarter?, December 28

Janices book reviews, December 28

Carpe Diem, December 28

11 Reasons to gift Kindle Books ~ Have a merry clutter-free Christmas

How to Give a Kindle Book as a Gift - Have a Merry Clutter-free Christmas

Why to give Kindle Books as Christmas Gifts

Everyone knows that books make great gifts, and digital books are especially nice because they are:
  1. Inexpensive – most Kindle books are under $10. Some are much cheaper!
  2. Environmentally friendly – no physical production or transportation “footprint.”
  3. Fast – forgot to shop in advance? Order online and have the gift delivered instantly. You can also schedule the delivery for later, if you are shopping early.
  4. Convenient – shop from home, in the proverbial pajamas.
  5. Abundant – you can find almost any title on Amazon.
  6. Easy to send – you only need the recipient’s email address.
  7. Free to deliver – you don’t have to pay postage or stand in line at the post office.
  8. Clutter-free – many of us have plenty of “stuff” and limited bookshelf space.
  9. Personal – we share books that we think other people will like.
  10. Easy to read – you can read Kindle books on a tablet, phone or computer. Or even on a Kindle.
  11. Returnable – if your recipient already has the book or is not interested, they can exchange it for an amazon gift card of the same value.

How to Give a Kindle Books as a Christmas Gift

 

Amazon has two options for gifting kindle books: they will send a personalized email and code directly to the recipient, or they will send it to you so you can print it out and deliver it yourself.

 

Amazon makes it easy for you, of course!

 

Comfort & Joy

 

First, find the book you want to send. This is a good one, and it’s just 99 cents, so you can send it to everyone on your list!

Comfort & Joy: the 2018 Christmas Lights Collection

Four heartwarming stories to fill this Christmas season with comfort and joy.

 

Kindle books giftsClick on the “Buy for Others” button:

 

 

 

And fill out the form – super easy!

You can send a fairly long message with it. 

 

Have you ever given a Kindle book as a gift? 

 

Kindle Books Gifts

 

I wish you a bright and blessed Christmas, with time to curl up with a good book!

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Comfort & Joy ~ The 2018 Christmas Lights Collection

Comfort & JoyIt’s here! Comfort & Joy, the 2018 Christmas Lights collection, has four brand-new books from Chautona Havig, Toni Shiloh, Alana Terry  — and me! My contribution, The Christmas Glory Quilt, features all the most heartwarming things I know: quilts, family, sewing, Minnesota winters and Swedish traditions. Add in a large homeschooling family with fun characters of all ages, a great aunt with an interest in genealogy, an old family farmhouse, and a unexpected family heirloom… what more could you want in a Christmas romance? Oh right… the romance! That’s

sweet and heartwarming, too.

 

The Christmas Glory Quilt Pattern

Do you like to make quilts? I’ve been teaching quiltmaking for over 25 years, but this is the first time I’ve featured quilts in a book. It was fun!  You can purchase the quilt pattern for The Christmas Glory Quilt in the GloryQuilts Etsy shop.

The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe Swanson

The pattern is clear and simple, but if you like to have even more illustrations, I’ll have step-by-step photo tutorials on my GloryQuilts website soon, and I’m also working on a YouTube tutorial series to go with the quilt pattern. You can follow me HERE on YouTube to get a notice when I upload the tutorials.

 And when you’ve made the quilt, send me a picture!

 

 

Christmas at the Unity Plenkiss

Christmas at the Unity Plenkiss by Cathe SwansonHave you read my Great Lakes Christmas books? If not, this is the time to pick them up, at a discounted price.  Christmas at the Unity Plenkiss includes both books – Snow Angels and Hope for the Holidays.

Life at the Unity Plenkiss Community Center is always interesting.  There are so many different kinds of people in this Chicago neighborhood. I think you’ll be touched and entertained by the stories.

The first book in the Great Lakes series, Baggage Claim, isn’t set at the Unity Plenkiss at all, but you’ll meet some of the characters there. There are two more books in this series. Chasing Grace will be available this winter, and Home Run will happen next summer.

As always, my books are Kindle Unlimited library, so if you are a subscriber, you can read them free!

Snow Angels

When Lisa Marsh is roped into serving Thanksgiving dinner at the local community center, she encounters hundreds of children, lively teenagers, stubbornly independent veterans, eccentric elderly people, and a particularly rude and scruffy homeless man named Pete. The evening ends in disaster, but when her best friend challenges her to reach out and help other people, Lisa decides to take on the project of reforming Pete – whether he likes it or not.
Her plan is simple: Help him find a job and become respectable. All he needs is a helping hand and some guidance. And a shave. Definitely, a shave.

Pete is willing to work, especially if it means spending time with the pretty volunteer, but her tactless determination to “reform” him makes him dig in his heels. Her creative ideas for employment become increasingly outrageous, but every time he tries to put an end to her meddling, she charms him with her good intentions and willingness to serve others.

Lisa finds herself unaccountably attracted to her vagabond protégé and irresistibly entangled in the lives of the other people she meets at the community center. Before she knows how to stop it, her one small service project snowballs into an extraordinary Christmas ministry that just may change her life forever.

Hope for the Holidays

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 her?

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

A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson

I’ve been busy preparing for the launch of Comfort & Joy, the 2018 Christmas Lights novella collection, but I took time to enjoy the new Liz Johnson book, A Sparkle of Silver.

A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson

I’ve read other books by Liz Johnson, so when I was offered an advance reader copy of A Sparkle of Silver, I accepted it gladly and appreciated the break from my own writing! I really enjoyed it.  (Her book, not the break.) Millie and Ben are relatable – broke. burdened with responsibilities and guilt, doing the best they can in hard circumstances. They’re genuinely good people we like to root for.

We want them to succeed at finding the treasure because they aren’t just doing it for fun, being greedy. They need the money. Ben is stubbornly trying to make restitution for something that wasn’t his fault. Millie is desperate, working against a deadline to find enough money to pay for her grandmother’s care.

The setting – an opulent 1920’s era mansion with a history of lavish parties for the wealthy elite of Georgia – was intriguing. To gain access to the house, Millie got a job as a reenactor – dressing in the vintage clothing and putting on a show for guided tours through the historic building. I would have liked to read more about that, mostly because it sounds like a great job!

The historical romance and mystery were related through diary entries. Liz Johnson did a good job with this character. Ruth was a guest, not part of the rich crowd, and I could easily imagine her writing out the events and her feelings, a little overwhelmed and confused by her surroundings.

The ending is delightful for both timelines.  There is a swoony romantic scene and a not-too-outlandish happy resolution. I enjoyed it.

 

 

 

 

I look forward to the next book in this series, but unfortunately, it’s still nearly a year away. In the meantime, I recommend Ms. Johnson’s Prince Edward Island Dreams  series – especially if you’re an Anne of Green Gables fan!