The 12 Gifts of Christmas by author Lena Dooley is a 240 page Christian fiction book published by Whitaker House. This contemporary romance is different from most of the books I have read by author Dooley. Normally I pick up historical fiction.
This is the whirlwind romantic tale of Malcom MacGregor and Alanza Cantalamessa. He is a successful Texas business executive from a wealthy family. A descendant from the Scottish MacGregor Clan, he is a perfect hero. Alanza Cantalamessa, the daughter of a wealthy gourmet pizza restaurant owner, is the woman he has fallen in love with while eating lunches at her family’s restaurant. It is love at first sight for each of them. Both characters are nice looking, mannerly, polite, wealthy, and Christian. However, they aren’t totally relatable or realistic. Parts of their characteristic are great, but others I cannot fathom.
Author Dooley’s leads are just perfect, too perfect. Readers will want to be friends with them or maybe even switch places with them for a while. It is rare these days to find a man with a heart for God like Malcolm’s. That causes him to be dedicated to family and friends, too. Malcolm even asks Alanza’s parents if he may date her. Wow!
I was actually surprised when I received this book because I did not expected it to be a contemporary romance especially set in Texas. The majority of the author’s books I have read have been historic. I was so intrigued by Alanza’s family’s gourmet pizza restaurant that I wanted to go there. The descriptions were spot on. I could envision the quaint place and wanted to taste the pizzas.
For the most part I found this to be a predictable story. There was a monkey wrench thrown in to make it interesting. It goes along smoothly and fast. I loved that there was prayer in it. Malcolm prayed for a wife, specifically Alanza. There are worship services, missions, and prayer. I love Christian books where I don’t need to search and search for the message. The message is clear in this fiction. We need to pray, trust God, and listen to His guidance.
I would recommend this sweet, love at first sight romance to anyone that enjoys Contemporary Christian Romance. It gets a 4 out of 5 stars from me. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own honest opinion.
About the Book
Book Title: The 12 Gifts of Christmas
Author: Lena Nelson Dooley
Genre: Christian Romance/ Christmas
Release date: September 4, 2018
Malcolm MacGregor is a descendant of Scotland’s Clan MacGregor and a successful young businessman in Fort Worth, Texas. Alanza Cantalamessa works at a gourmet pizzeria owned by her Brazilian artist mother and her Italian Poppa. Both of them are smitten with each other but Malcolm is too reserved to do much more than make small talk—until a promotion at work that will send him away to Australia for six months. It’s December and he has to do something—fast.
Praying about the situation, Malcolm decides to give her twelve gifts leading up to Christmas. Their families and friends think they are moving too fast. And a gold-digger who tossed Malcolm aside in the past has now decided he’s the man of her dreams.
Can Malcolm and Alanza overcome their obstacles before he has to go abroad? Or is it really not meant to be?
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About the Author
Multi-published, award-winning author Lena Nelson Dooley is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, her local chapter in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, the Christian Authors’ Network, and Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. Her forty-plus books have sold more than 875,000 copies. Lena’s books have appeared on the CBA, ECPA, and Publisher Weekly bestseller lists, as well as some Amazon bestseller lists. She also writes a popular blog, A Christian Writer’s World, that features other authors’ books. The blog received the Readers’ Choice Blog of the Year Award from the Book Club Network.
Lena is a three-time finalist in the Carol Awards ACFW contest. Her 2010 release, Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, won the 2011 Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in publishing Western Fiction. Her next series, McKenna’s Daughters: Maggie’s Journey appeared on a reviewers’ Top Ten Books of 2011 list. It also won the 2012 Selah award for Historical Novel. The second, Mary’s Blessing, was a Selah Award finalist for Romance novel. Catherine’s Pursuit, released in 2013, was the winner of the NTRWA Carolyn Reader’s Choice contest, took second place in the CAN Golden Scroll Novel of the Year award, and won the Will Rogers Medallion bronze medallion. Her book, A Heart’s Gift, won RWA’s Faith, Hope, and Love Readers’ Choice Award in July 2017.
Lena is also the host of The Lena Nelson Dooley Show on the Along Came a Writer blogtalk radio network. She has experience in screenwriting, acting, directing, and voice-overs, and currently serves on the board of directors of Higher Ground Films. She has been featured in Christian Fiction Online Magazine, ACFW Journal, Book Fun Magazine, Charisma Magazine, and Christian Retailing.
Guest Post from Lena
She took the pan off the burner, dropped tiny marshmal-lows into the waiting over-sized mugs, and filled them with the fragrant hot chocolate. “Do you want to drink it here, or would you rather go in the living room? The sofa is more comfortable.”
“Whatever you want to do.” His honeyed tone wrapped around her like a warm blanket.
She handed a mug to him, picked up her own, along with coasters and two napkins, and headed into the living room. He followed.
Alanza’s Best Hot Chocolate
4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup good quality cocoa powder
3 tbls. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 dark chocolate bar
1 can real whipped cream
Heat milk over medium to low heat, stirring constantly until milk starts to bubble slightly (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, mix sugar and cocoa together until well blended. When milk is ready, gradually add in sugar, cocoa, and honey, stirring constantly. Put heat on low and add shavings of chocolate bar and vanilla. Continue stirring until chocolate has melted. Remove from heat and pour into mugs. Add whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and cherries on top, as desired.
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Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 15
Creating Romance, October 16
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Mary Hake, October 17
Janice’s Book Reviews,October 17
Maureen’s Musings, October 18
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 19
Bibliophile Reviews, October 20
Pause for Tales, October 20
More Of Him, October 21
Carpe Diem, October 22
A Baker’s Perspective, October 22
To celebrate her tour, Lena is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbuck’s Gift Card and a surprise Christmas gift!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.