About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now enjoy reading to my granddaughter and supporting authors through my reviews!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Heart of Christmas: A Mosaic Christmas Anthology III by The Mosaic Collection: Review & Giveaway with Celebrate Lit

 

About the Book

The Heart of Christmas

Author: The Mosaic Collection

Genre: Faith-Based Christmas Fiction

Release date: October 6, 2021

“At Christmas, we always…” And thus a tradition is born. The rituals stay the same, but if betrayal, illness, unfaithfulness, or tragedy strike, can cherished traditions survive?

When unexpected twists throw life out of kilter for the people in these stories, will beloved, time-honored customs lead them back to the heart of Christmas?

 

Click here to get your copy!

MY THOUGHTS.....
 
This is a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit, but be prepared! The Heart of Christmas has all of the 'feels', so you may alternate between laughter and tears. Six talented authors share stories of faith and inspiration, as they reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Some of these stories have grief and loss, while others are more light-hearted, but they all offer wonderful messages, and they all made me examine my own thoughts about the holidays.

The stories include  Broken Noel by Brenda S. Anderson; No More Night by Eleanor Bertin; Star Light by Sara Davison; Hart of Noel by Chautona Havig; Caught in the Act by Lisa RenĂ©e; and Claus-trophobic by Lorna Seilstad. This is a wonderful anthology and I will be reading these stories again, because you can never have too many reminders of love, faith, and the wonder of Jesus's birth!

I received a digital copy from the publisher via Celebrate Lit. There was no obligation for a favorable review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Authors

The Mosaic Collection launched in 2018 as an international community of independently published authors who approach life, faith, and writing together. Some have vast writing experience, others are somewhat new to the journey. Under The Mosaic Collection’s banner, they’ve published more than 20 novels and four anthologies.

With over 150 years of collective writing experience, Mosaic’s award-winning and best-selling authors are active leaders and members in prominent writing organizations. The goal of The Mosaic Collection is to encourage and uplift readers worldwide, offer hope in story form, and share the unconditional love and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ.

 

More from The Mosaic Collection

The Mosaic Collection authors welcome you into our hearts, homes, and lives and offer you tiny glimpses into our families and our favorite traditions.

 

Janice L. Dick

Christmas is always a special time of year. I love the festive reds and greens, strings of colored lights and gift-giving, but there is much that distracts us from the real meaning of the season. How do we hang onto the genuine, historical truths of the Savior’s birth? One of the traditions in our family is to read the Christmas story before we open gifts, thus realigning our focus to the most precious gift God gave us in Jesus. Visualize a fire in the grate, family lounging on every available couch, chair, and floor space; and one of the youngest grandchildren reading from the Bible, his eyes following his finger across the page. Once again, the age-old story comes to life as we hear of angels, shepherds, and a young couple keeping watch over the Christ-child in the manger. Maybe this year we will come up with a new way to direct our thoughts to the greatest gift ever given. To the nativity.

 

Sara Davison

The word Christmas immediately conjures up warm memories of church services, family, gifts, and food for me. The traditions my family engages in every year infuse this celebration of Christ’s birth with nostalgia and meaning. For me, one of the most meaningful traditions is setting out the nativity scene. Although the location has changed from mantel to coffee table to windowsill as we have moved from house to house, the little figures—the wise men, kneeling shepherds, Mary and Joseph gazing down at the manger with adoring looks on their painted faces, the cows and sheep curled in the corner of the straw-strewn wooden stable, the angel hovering above, the tiny baby in the manger—have never changed. I take my time setting up the display, slowly unwrapping pieces that have become a little worn and chipped over the years of being lovingly handled or played with by tiny toddler fingers. Each piece calls to mind another aspect of the beloved story in Luke 2. The nativity scene is the focal point of my decorations. In the midst of all the crazy busyness that can be the Christmas season, it grounds me and reminds me what this time of year is truly about.

 

Stacy Monson

Christmas is all about family for me – my nuclear family, grandkids, and in-laws, my family of dear friends, and the family of believers who rejoice at the birth of Christ. We’ve hung onto some traditions and welcomed new ones. As life situations change, we try to adapt and make the best of it, because regardless of what the holiday ends up looking like, it’s being with family that counts. So for me, Christmas is about celebrating the Christ Child with love, laughter, food and fun. It is indeed a time for celebration.

 

Milla Holt

Our four children are still young, so my love for Christmas is quadrupled because of their enthusiasm. We begin the buildup with an Advent calendar starting on December 1st. Every morning until the 24th, they open the day’s box, read the little lesson, and do a treasure hunt.

More than any other holiday, Christmas lends itself so beautifully to teaching them about the loving all-powerful God who knows exactly what it means to be human. They understand and marvel at how Jesus, the creator and Lord of the universe, once needed a diaper and had to be

potty trained. He had to learn to read, write, and spell just like they do. I love the reminder that one of his names is Immanuel: God with us.

 

Deb Elkink

Mom (a visual artist and farm-girl cook) and Dad (an imaginative storyteller of deep enthusiasm) made Christmas a celebratory holiday every year! Thanks to Mom, the food not only tasted fantastic, but the table and tree and household decorations were gorgeous. Thanks to Dad, our days were full of the magic of wonder (he actually climbed onto the roof carrying bells on Christmas Eve to herald Santa’s arrival) and the mystery of the Incarnation (reading the Luke story about the Ultimate Gift before a single package was opened). We were diligent church-goers except on holidays—including Christmas—when we would focus on family time and not attend the special services. Instead, following an afternoon of snowmobiling, and then mugs of rich cocoa around the fireplace, we five kids would wear our hand-sewn PJs, sing carols, and snack on expensive delicacies: Halva and roasted nuts and cheeses from around the world.

 

Candace West

My favorite thing about Christmas is fellowship with family and friends. At the end of the year, we gather at our homes or church to celebrate the birth and life of Christ. Because He is at the heart of our love for one another, He is the One Who strengthens the bond of our fellowship. Whether we’re opening gifts, gathering around the table, sharing laughter over cups of cocoa, or playing board games, I feel His love abiding through and within my loved ones. And I feel the whisper of His promise that one day all Believers will be gathered around His table of fellowship for eternity. Christmas is only a foretaste of our glorious future with Him.

 

Lisa Renee

What I love about Christmas is seeing extended family come together in one place, sharing memories of the year over delicious food. Most of all, I love how the world stops to celebrate a significant event in history, our Savior’s birth.

 

Brenda S. Anderson

There’s so much to love about Christmas! Music, gifts, twinkling lights, snow, decorations, chocolate, family time. It’s all so bright and cheery, and the world is focused on Jesus. The world may not understand who Jesus is and what He did for us, but there’s no better opportunity to show Him to the world. The opportunities to serve are vast, and being God’s hands and feet is a beautiful way to shine His light. Really, showing other who Jesus is, apart from the trappings, is what I love most about Christmas.

 

Eleanor Bertin

When I was six years old and just learning to read, I unwrapped a package I’d received for Christmas but didn’t know what it was. Puzzling over it, my dad came alongside me. Slowly, painstakingly, I sounded out the word Slippers on the label. Patiently, so unlike his usual brusque way, my father helped me. I cherished the nearness of him, always fearful he would give up on me. But he didn’t. That is one of my most treasured memories of him. There are others, too, like the one eleven years later when after my rebellious stint, my heavenly Father patiently and painstakingly began a transformation in my heart. My dad responded with what I now realize was his best effort at encouragement. “I’m glad to see you’ve made some changes.”

Christmas is always precious to me because of the memories it holds of how the Word made flesh worked His Word in me. He has never given up on me despite my slowness of heart to trust and obey. In painful and pleasant ways, for over six decades, He has assured me of His bountiful forgiveness and lavish love.

 

Chautona Havig

Tree night in the Havig house is most definitely our family’s favorite tradition. Even our older children tend to come home for the annual trek to the lot, the annual argument over which tree, and the annual popcorn and cranberry stringing party. It all ends with the final decorating. You’ll hear, “Oh, here’s your train!” or “Where’s my baby’s first Christmas?” as everyone jostles to get their ornaments in just the right place.  It’s chaos with popcorn all over the floor, Christmas songs belting out in our tiny house, and laughter. Tons of laughter. My personal favorite moment is when everyone has gone to bed and it’s just me in my dimly lit living room. That beauty, the memories, that laughter… it’s what I consider the Lord’s gift to me. I just get it early and it lasts a whole month!

 

Lorna Seilstad

Whether your family celebrates the Christmas season with special foods, a colorful light display, or a tree handpicked from a farm, I’m sure you have your own treasured traditions. Christmas traditions are one of the things I like best about the season. Our traditions make our families unique, and in a world where everything constantly changes, they remind us some things remain the same. There’s comfort in honoring Christmas traditions. They keep us connected to our past, help us rediscover our families, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

 

Johnnie Alexander

My children’s Christmases were very different than the ones from my own childhood. Sleds and ice skates could be found under our Christmas tree, a baked ham on the dining table, and snow-covered hills outside our door. My kids, raised in Florida, never received “winter toys.” A roasted turkey usually graced our dining table but grilling out was also an option. Yet our Christmases were also similar. I passed along to my children the tradition of opening our stockings first—and everyone in the family has one. As adults, it seems they anticipate the goodies hiding inside their stockings even more than the gaily wrapped presents under their trees. Most important, though, is that my children are now sharing with their children the truth that my parents shared with my siblings and me—that the baby in the manger is our Lord Incarnate and Savior of the World.

 

Thank you for celebrating the release of The Heart of Christmas. We pray the stories within this anthology will fill you with love and joy and prepare your heart for the greatest celebration this season—remembering the birth of our Savior. What a sacrifice! What a gift!  What love.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 8

CarpeDiem, October 8

For Him and My Family, October 9

deb’s Book Review, October 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11

Joanne Markey, October 11

Texas Book-aholic, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 14

Splashes of Joy, October 14

By the Book, October 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 16

Older & Smarter?, October 17

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 18

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 20

Mary Hake, October 20

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, October 21

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, The Mosaic Collection is giving away the grand prize package of a $30 Amazon gift card, two copies of The Heart of Christmas in paperback, and a $10 coupon to Mosaic’s Etsy shop!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11fdf/the-heart-of-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway


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Friday, October 15, 2021

A Lancaster Family Christmas by Kate Lloyd

A Lancaster Family Christmas
ABOUT THE BOOK

What starts as a getaway to Amish Country could turn into the Christmas that changes Diana’s life forever, if only she opens her heart.

Diana can’t face another lonely Christmas in her Manhattan apartment. When a coworker invites her on a last-minute trip to visit her Mennonite family in Lancaster County, Diana jumps at the chance.

Arriving in Amish Country in the middle of a snowstorm, Diana discovers a world that couldn’t be more different from her life on the Upper East Side. She is fascinated by the sprawling farms and buggies on the roads, but what she really notices are the welcoming families, cozy kitchens filled with home-cooked meals…and the two handsome men who may or may not be vying for her attention.

But every community has its secrets. Jesse, the rakish young Amish farmer, is hiding more than just a forbidden cell phone. And then there’s handsome Brett, the guarded Mennonite craftsman who harbors a dark secret of his own.




MY THOUGHTS.....

Diana Manzella seems to have it all: she lives in Manhattan, she works at the Metropolitan Art Museum gift shop, and she's the first to admit that she's a spoiled city girl. She, however, doesn't have it all, and it takes a weekend visit with her co-worker's family to help her see what's truly important. Diana learns that it's certainly not what she's always known!

Author Kate Lloyd shares a unique story that combines English, Amish, and Mennonite cultures, and I was drawn in from the very beginning. A Lancaster Family Christmas is a heartwarming story, and Diana witnesses a committed marriage, family devotion, and the power of faith and forgiveness. She also gets a chance to be 'courted'. Is it possible that her true love is there in Lancaster County? Could she ever be content to live among the Mennonites and Amish?



I thoroughly enjoyed this story, with its emphasis on family and a simpler Christmas. There are also secrets and a hint of mystery but, best of all, there is sweet romance! Do yourself a favor and get a copy of A Lancaster Family Christmas so that you can also experience the warm, fuzzy feelings of a family Christmas!




I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. There was no obligation for a favorable review. These are my own thoughts.


My rating: 5 of 5 stars



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bestselling author Kate Lloyd is a passionate observer of human relationships. A native of Baltimore, Kate spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, PA, the inspiration for her novels Leaving Lancaster, Pennsylvania Patchwork, and Forever Amish, the third book in the Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy, and also A Letter from Lancaster County and Starting from Scratch. Her Kindle novella An Unexpected Christmas Gift is available for preorder. Kate and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest, the setting for Kate's first novel, A Portrait of Marguerite. Kate studied art, art history, and Italian in college. She's worked a variety of jobs, including restaurateur and car salesman. Kate enjoys travel and walking with her camera in hand.

Learn more at Kate's      Website     Facebook     Instagram     Pinterest


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