Category Archives: Featured Reads

Seven Christmas Themed Reads for 2016

christmasthemedreads2016

It’s that time of year again, when we start shopping, decorating, and planning for the Christmas season. At my house, we’ve already hung the mistletoe, and we’re looking forward to picking out a Christmas tree soon, but the list of things to do between now and the 25th feels… long.

And yet, busy as this time of year can get, I love a good Christmas story to help me slow down and appreciate the joy and meaning of the season. With that in mind, I’ve been browsing the impressive selection of Christmas stories newly available this year in Christian fiction. You might say I’ve been, um… making my list and checking it twice. 😉

If you’re groaning over that one, sorry. I get it, but I couldn’t help myself.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few of the titles that have made my I-hope-I-can-find-time-to-read-it list. And I’d love to hear which titles you’re excited about this Christmas season.

Sleigh Bells Ring: Four Contemporary Romance Novellas by Sandra D. Bricker, Lynette Sowell, Barbara J. Scott, and Lenora Worth (Gilead Publishing. Available in print and electronic formats.)

Publisher’s Description: Santa Claus is coming to town, and so are the Tucker sisters. Never mind a pony. The Tucker girls have inherited their father’s horse farm for Christmas. Make that a run-down horse farm. It needs some serious TLC in order to make it sell-ready. Joanna knows that by recruiting her sisters and one handsome ranch hand they can fix up the place and even celebrate one last Christmas while they’re at it. However, to Isabella, returning to their home in Kentucky bluegrass country for Christmas seems like an impossible hurdle. Can her Chicago boyfriend make life merry and bright again? One thing’s for sure: nothing is peace on earth for Sophia as a new beau brings up old wounds. And when the fate of the horse farm is put in jeopardy because Amy accidentally fraternizes with the enemy, tensions rise. But it’s not like the land developer stole Christmas . . . just her heart. Can the Tucker sisters have themselves a merry little Christmas?

A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck (Zondervan. Available in print, electronic and audio formats.)

Publisher’s Description: Avery Truitt aches for true love—the kind she once shared with Prince Colin. Can she dare to hope for happily ever after, or is a fairy-tale ending beyond reach? College volleyball star Avery Truitt has not seen her former flame, Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom, since he suddenly pushed her away five years ago. But now, the sadness of losing her father and the joy of her sister Susanna’s pregnancy have brought Avery back to Brighton just in time for Cathedral City’s enchanting Christmas season. Avery knows she can’t avoid seeing Colin—now the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor—whether or not her heart is ready to relive the pain. But seeing him again might bring her the closure she needs after all this time. When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell. Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning—as tradition dictates—or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned? In the fourth installment of the Royal Wedding Series, New York Times bestselling novelist, Rachel Hauck, weaves a charming story of holiday romance as two broken hearts seek the love they once knew.

A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury (Howard Books. Available in print, electronic, and audio formats.)

Publisher’s Description: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes A Baxter Family Christmas, a life-changing story of love and hope featuring the Baxter family. Whether you’re meeting the Baxter family for the first time, or finding them all over again…A Baxter Family Christmas will leave fingerprints on your heart forever. Two years have passed since the terrible car accident that took the life of John Baxter’s daughter, Erin, her husband and three of their four daughters. Prompted by grief, and missing his daughter, John has invited a stranger for Christmas Eve dinner—Kendra Bryant, the transplant recipient who now has Erin’s heart. In light of their father’s idea, Ashley and her brother Luke don’t think it’s right. They want to protect their ten-year-old niece, Amy—the only surviving member of the accident. But John is determined and believes meeting this woman is something his deceased daughter would want. At the same time, Maddie West, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Brooke Baxter West, is praying for meaning this Christmas. Could she find it in a newfound friendship with a boy she never expected to see again? Maddie believes in miracles, especially at Christmastime, but this is a stretch even she can’t imagine. Meanwhile, Kendra Bryant has been struggling these past few years to find purpose in the tragedy that gave her a second chance. She believes the invitation to see the Baxters and witness their unwavering faith in God can instill peace and happiness back into her life. Heartwarming and touching, filled with love and redemption, A Baxter Family Christmas brings together two families in the aftermath of loss and in the midst of an unfolding love story, all with the help of one very special child.

Starring Christmas by Rachel McMillan and Allison Pittman (Independently Published. Available in electronic formats.)

Publisher’s Description: Starring Christmas features two Christmas novellas by beloved novelists in one set! Falling for a Christmas Star by Rachel McMillan. Sam Medina has finally made it. A last minute casting change finds him en route to Toronto to star in the latest entry of the Serendipity Network’s annual Christmas movie extravaganza, My True Love Gave to Me. Finally, he will have the chance to shake off his reputation for supporting roles as the best friend or kind-hearted barista and prove that he is leading man material. Merry Strathford is too busy for love. When she’s not pursuing a tenure track position in Medieval Women’s studies, she’s serving plum pudding lattes at the Holly and the Ivy Café. Thus far, the only romance in her life occurs when she falls under the spell of her favourite made-for-TV movies. That is, until Sam Medina walks through the coffee shop door. Suddenly, both Sam and Merry are living the romance of a Serendipity movie. But life isn’t all snowflakes and sugar plums and real life —and relationships—are far from cookie cutter shortbread. Lone Star Christmas Lights by Allison Pittman. Mari Medina is in love…with her neighborhood. She’s converted her historic ancestral home into a cool coffee shop and party space, with an apartment upstairs big enough to share with her mother. It’s a comfortable, safe existence, even if it lacks the spark to fuel her unsuccessful attempts to break into the world of writing romance. Still, she’s always on the lookout for a new taste to bring to her patrons. Larsen Clarke had everything that comes with a successful career: a luxury apartment, a flashy sports car, and his pick of society women. When hardship strikes his family, he gives it all up, trading for a room in his brother’s home, and a venture into creating craft beer. He’s traded his expensive suit for a plaid shirt, and the only risk he’s willing to take involves bold Texas-based brew. When Mari and Larsen meet, it’s a collision of retail and romance. She’s looking for a story, he’s looking for himself. Together, they just might find a little lone star magic.

Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti (Worthy Inspired. Available in print and electronic editions.)

Publisher’s Description: Alexis Blake has one chance to land her own show on the Home Project Network and nothing, not an uncooperative client, a job site without indoor plumbing, or a challenging videographer, is going to stand in her way. Elsie, at seventy-plus, is far from the ideal client, but she knows exactly what she wants her fieldstone house to look like, and no designer can tell her otherwise. Gabe Langley, the man with the camera, is caught in the middle and it is his wisdom and warmth that just may be the bridge that will bring these two women together. Can they restore more than just a house and bring about special, almost lost forever Christmas memories?

One Enchanted Eve by Melissa Tagg (Larkspur Press. Available in electronic formats.)

Publisher’s Description: A delightful Christmas romance about finding the perfect recipe for love. After years of mistakes and regret, Colin Renwycke finally has a plan: Hone his baking talent at the Denver Culinary Institute and embark on a new career as a pastry chef. If he’s lucky, he might even manage to earn back his family’s respect. But despite his skills in the kitchen, Colin’s a mess in the classroom and his ongoing disasters are proving too much for his prickly instructor. If he loses his spot at the school, he’s out of backup plans. Culinary school instructor Rylan Jefferson has the chance to reclaim her dream of running her own bakery. But she only has until Christmas Eve to come up with the perfect recipe to impress an eccentric investor. She has no time for holiday parties or family plans . . . and especially not for the unruly student baker who couldn’t follow a recipe if his life depended on it.  But Colin has the one ingredient Rylan needs most—talent. Lots of it. And when he makes a proposal that just might solve both their problems, Rylan can’t say no—even if it does mean traveling all the way to Iowa. It just might be that the snow-covered plains and a charming small town full of postcard Christmas cheer are exactly what her hungry heart needs . . . along with a man who is much more than he seems.

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful by Susan May Warren (SDG Publishing. Available in print and electronic formats.)

Publisher’s Description: She kept him alive in his darkest hour… CJ St. John never dreamed his epic summer as a smokejumper would end with a harrowing plane crash—one that crushed his pelvis and rendered him nearly an invalid. He wouldn’t have made it through the dark night of pain and danger without brave fellow smokejumper Hannah Butcher. In fact, if he were to admit it, he probably fell in love with her that night. He gave her the courage to reach for her dreams… Hannah Butcher had dreamed of being a smokejumper for years—but dreaming and doing are vastly different. During rookie camp, she would have given up if it hadn’t been for CJ St. John urging her on. She probably fell in love with him then—but especially when he held her hand and kept her calm during their terrifying survival. A winter storm awakens their memories—and fears… When Hannah discovers that CJ plans on skipping out on their mutual friends’ wedding, she knows he’s been lying to her about his recovery—and determines to give him the same stubborn encouragement he’s given her by forcing him to attend. But when a blizzard detours them, and worse, they’re run off the road, they’ll have to face their darkest fears to survive. A Christmas story about the miracles that happen when the weather outside becomes frightful. Note: If you picked up this title in the Candy Cane Kisses Christmas Anthology, this is an extended version! Discover how CJ and Hannah fell in love…and continue their story after the storm is over!


So, did any of these titles make it onto your Christmas reading list? Any other Christmas themed titles you’re excited about? Please share in the comments. :)

Three for the Books: Featured Reads in Christian Fiction, November 2016

three-for-the-books-november-2016

The monthly “Three for the Books” post is where I feature new (Hot Off the Presses), best selling (Topping the Charts), and award winning (Cream of the Crop) Christian fiction books. I select one title to feature in each category, as well as providing links to where you can browse additional newly released, best selling, and award winning titles. Have you read any of these featured titles? Any others you’d like to give a shout-out? Comments are always welcome!

Hot Off the Presses

Intermission by Serena Chase releases this month, in fact I believe today’s the day. It’s a contemporary YA coming-of-age romance featuring musical theater and family drama from the popular self-published author of the Eyes of E’veria series. Available in print and electronic editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More New Releases

Topping the Charts

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore appears fourth on the November 2016 ECPA Christian fiction bestsellers list. This contemporary mystery is the fiction debut by the New York Times Bestselling author of numerous nonfiction books and Bible studies. It is available from Tyndale House in print and electronic formats from Tyndale House, with an audio edition available from Oasis Audio.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Best Sellers

Cream of the Crop

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke was highly decorated this year. It won the Christy Award, the Carol Award, and the INSPY Award in its categories for 2016. This work of historical fiction set partly during World War II and partly in more modern times is available from Tyndale House in print and electronic editions, and from Recorded Books in audio format.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Award Winners

Three for the Books: Featured Reads in Christian Fiction, August 2016

Three for the Books, August 2016

The monthly “Three for the Books” post is where I feature new (Hot Off the Presses), best selling (Topping the Charts), and award winning (Cream of the Crop) Christian fiction books. I select one title to feature in each category, as well as providing links to where you can browse additional newly released, best selling, and award winning titles. Have you read any of these featured titles? Any others you’d like to give a shout-out? Comments are always welcome!

Hot Off the Presses

The With All My Heart novella collection released this month from Bethany House. It features historical romance novellas from a variety of time periods across America, each originally released as ebooks and now available in print through this collection. Authors include Karen Witemeyer, Jody Hedlund, Melissa Jagears, Jen Turano, and Sarah Loudin Thomas.

Quick Links: About the Book | More New Releases

Topping the Charts

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker appears first on the August 2016 CBA Bestsellers list in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi category. It is first in the Seer series for Young Adults, for which Book 2 The Calling is also available (and appears on the Best Seller list this month as well), with Book 3 anticipated in January 2017. This series is available from Tyndale House in electronic and print editions, or from Recorded Books in audiobook formats.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Best Sellers

Cream of the Crop

With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden won the 2015 Carol Award in the Historical Romance category. It’s published by Bethany House, and available in print and electronic editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Award Winners

Three for the Books: Featured Reads in Christian Fiction, July 2016

Three for the Books, July 2016

The monthly “Three for the Books” post is where I feature new (Hot Off the Presses), best selling (Topping the Charts), and award winning (Cream of the Crop) Christian fiction books. I select one title to feature in each category, as well as providing links to where you can browse additional newly released, best selling, and award winning titles. Have you read any of these featured titles? Any others you’d like to give a shout-out? Comments are always welcome!

Hot Off the Presses

Deep Shadows by Vanetta Chapman released this month from Harvest House Publishers. This dystopian novel is first in a new series from this popular author, and is available in electronic and print editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More New Releases

Topping the Charts

Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson appears first on the July CBA Bestsellers list in the suspense/mystery category. It is first in the new Evie Blackwell Cold Case mystery series. Available from Bethany House Publishers in electronic and print editions, or from Recorded Books in audiobook formats.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Best Sellers

Cream of the Crop

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund won the 2016 INSPY Award in the Literature for Young Adults category. It’s a historical romance for young adults, first in its series, and published by Zondervan. Available in print, electronic, and audio editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Award Winners

Three for the Books: Featured Reads in Christian Fiction, May 2016

Three for the Books, May 2016

The monthly “Three for the Books” post is where I feature new (Hot Off the Presses), best selling (Topping the Charts), and award winning (Cream of the Crop) Christian fiction books. I select one title to feature in each category, as well as providing links to where you can browse additional newly released, best selling, and award winning titles. Have you read any of these featured titles? Any others you’d like to give a shout-out? Comments are always welcome!

Hot Off the Presses

Medical Judgment by Richard L. Mabry, M.D. releases this month from Abingdon Press. This medical thriller is available in electronic and print editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More New Releases

Topping the Charts

Behold the Man by Bodie and Brock Thoene appears on the May CBA Bestsellers list in the historical fiction category. It is third in the Jerusalem Chronicles series, following When Jesus Wept and Take This Cup. It’s available from Zondervan in electronic, print and audio editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Best Sellers

Cream of the Crop

Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke won the 2015 INSPY Award in the General fiction category. It’s a historical novel set during World War II and published by Tyndale House. Available in print and electronic editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Award Winners

Three for the Books: Featured Reads in Christian Fiction, April 2016

Three for the Books, April 2016, small

The monthly “Three for the Books” post is where I feature new (Hot Off the Presses), best selling (Topping the Charts), and award winning (Cream of the Crop) Christian fiction books. I select one title to feature in each category, as well as providing links to where you can browse additional newly released, best selling, and award winning titles. Have you read any of these featured titles? Any others you’d like to give a shout-out? Comments are always welcome!

Hot Off the Presses

Tainted by Morgan L Busse released this month from Enclave Publishing. It’s the first novel in the new Soul Chronicles steampunk series. Available in electronic and paperback editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More New Releases

Topping the Charts

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon appears on the April CBA Bestsellers list in the romance category. It’s available from Revell in print and electronic editions, with an audio edition available from Recorded Books. Here’s my review of the audio edition.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Best Sellers

Cream of the Crop

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas won the 2015 INSPY Award in the Debut novel category. It’s a historical romance set in 1950s West Virginia and published by Bethany House. Available in print and electronic editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Award Winners

Three for the Books: Featured Reads in Christian Fiction, March 2016

Three for the Books, March 2016 small

The monthly “Three for the Books” post is where I feature new (Hot Off the Presses), best selling (Topping the Charts), and award winning (Cream of the Crop) Christian fiction books. I select one title to feature in each category, as well as providing links to where you can browse additional newly released, best selling, and award winning titles. Have you read any of these featured titles? Any others you’d like to give a shout-out? Comments are always welcome!

Hot Off the Presses

The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan released this month from Harvest House. It’s the first novel in the new Herringford and Watts historical mystery series, following a novella called A Singular and Whimsical Problem (see my review of the novella).  Available in electronic and paperback editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More New Releases

Topping the Charts

If I Run by Terri Blackstock appears on the ECPA’s March Christian Fiction Bestsellers list. It’s a romantic suspense novel, told from a first person present tense point of view. It’s available from Zondervan in print and electronic editions, with an audio edition available from Brilliance Audio.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Best Sellers

Cream of the Crop

Feast for Thieves by Marcus Brotherton won the 2015 Christy Award in the first novel category. It’s historical fiction set during WWII and published by River North. Available in print and electronic editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Award Winners

Three for the Books: Featured Reads in Christian Fiction, February 2016

Three for the Books, February 2016

The monthly “Three for the Books” post is where I feature new (Hot Off the Presses), best selling (Topping the Charts), and award winning (Cream of the Crop) Christian fiction books. I select one title to feature in each category, as well as providing links to where you can browse additional newly released, best selling, and award winning titles. Have you read any of these featured titles? Any others you’d like to give a shout-out? Comments are always welcome!

Hot Off the Presses

Always Watching by Lynette Eason released this month from Revell. It’s the first in the author’s new Elite Guardians romantic suspense series. Available in electronic, paperback, large print, and audio editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More New Releases

Topping the Charts

Risen by Angela Hunt appears on the ECPA’s February Christian Fiction Bestsellers list. It’s a novelization of a movie by the same name that’s coming to theaters this week (February 19, 2016). Here’s some background info about the book, that appeared on the publisher’s blog. The novelization from Bethany House is available in print, electronic, and audio editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Best Sellers

Cream of the Crop

A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes won the 2015 Carol Award for Speculative Fiction. It’s first in the author’s Out of Time series, published by Enclave Publishing. Available in print and electronic editions. Check out my review to learn more.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Award Winners

Three for the Books: Featured Reads in Christian Fiction, January 2016

Three for the Books, January 2016

The monthly “Three for the Books” post is where I feature new (Hot Off the Presses), best selling (Topping the Charts), and award winning (Cream of the Crop) Christian fiction books. I select one title to feature in each category, as well as providing links to where you can browse additional newly released, best selling, and award winning titles. Have you read any of these featured titles? Any others you’d like to give a shout-out? Comments are always welcome!

Hot Off the Presses

Merchant of Alyss by Thomas Locke (a pseudonym for Davis Bunn) released this month from Revell. It’s second in the Legends of the Realm fantasy series, following Emissary (see my review). Available in print and electronic editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More New Releases

Topping the Charts

The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen appears on the January ECPA Best Sellers list. It’s a regency era romance published by Bethany House, and is available in print, electronic, and audio editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Best Sellers

Cream of the Crop

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade won the 2015 INSPY Award in the Contemporary Romance category. Published by Bethany House, it’s available in print, electronic, and audio editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Award Winners

Three for the Books: Featured Reads in Christian Fiction, December 2015

Three for the Books, December 2015

The monthly “Three for the Books” post is where I feature new (Hot Off the Presses), best selling (Topping the Charts), and award winning (Cream of the Crop) Christian fiction books. I select one title to feature in each category, as well as providing links to where you can browse additional newly released, best selling, and award winning titles. This month I’m featuring Christmas themed books. Do you have any favorite Christmas-y reads? Any you’ve been wanting to read? Please mention them in the comments!

Hot Off the Presses

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson was released recently from Revell, and features a cross-country RV Christmas adventure. This contemporary Christmas novel is available in hardcover and ebook editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More New Releases

Topping the Charts

An Amish Christmas Gift by Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, and Kelly Irvin appears near the top of the ECPA Best Sellers list for December. Published by Thomas Nelson, this collection includes three Amish novellas. It’s available in paperback, ebook, and audio editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Best Sellers

Cream of the Crop

The novella, I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Sarah Sundin was a finalist for the 2015 Carol Awards. It appears in the Christmas novella collection Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Sarah Sundin, which is published by WaterBrook Multnomah and available in print and electronic editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Award Winners