“12 Days of Christmas” Celebrate Lit Book Tour, Review, and Giveaway

My Review:

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.
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About the Book

The 12 gifts of Christmas
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?
Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Leena DooleyMulti-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
Ingredients:
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
Maraschino cherries
Instructions:
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.

Blog Stops

The Power of WordsOctober 9
Among the ReadsOctober 10
A Diva’s HeartOctober 10
Baker KellaOctober 11
Britt Reads FictionOctober 13
Texas Book-aholic, October 13
Susan Loves BooksOctober 14
Splashes of JoyOctober 15
Creating RomanceOctober 16
Bigreadersite, October 16
Mary Hake, October 17
Maureen’s MusingsOctober 18
Bibliophile ReviewsOctober 20
Pause for TalesOctober 20
More Of HimOctober 21
Carpe DiemOctober 22

Giveaway

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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.

 

Find a Book Friday: Dare to Begin Again Celebrate Lit Tour

Dare to Begin Again by author Rosalinda Rivera has an enticing pink cover with a lovely bouquet of flowers and says “Let God Write Your Best Future”.  Okay, I’m in.  This 184 page by Whitaker House had me with its cover.  Then when I learned the DARE stood for Decide, Allow, Rise, Enjoy there was no putting this encouraging book down.
After an introduction there are sixteen chapters with different topics.  All of these are relevant in today’s life.  Dream Again, Forgive Again, Risk Again, Trust Again, Heal Again, and Love Again are just a sampling of what you will explore.   There is a story, a God lesson, Bible tie in, closing with “I DARE YOU TO…”. Author Rivera encourages readers at the end to DARE to whatever the chapter title is.  Dare to Hope, Begin, Forgive, or Listen.
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I enjoyed the author’s writing style.  It was easy to see this book has been well thought, researched, and organized.  The author has a smooth style of writing and her words seem to just flow.  Her stories and experiences are transparent and written to help readers.  She provides encouragement, scripture, and food for thought.  Author Rivera gives many positive, inspiring suggestions that stayed with me.  “Stay positive and don’t allow negative thoughts to enter.”  Another favorite is “Don’t let your past hurts, disappointments, and rejections hold you down.”  Both of those stuck with me and had me nodding in agreement.
This book reminds readers that God is with us and for us.  He has a plan for our future.  She says to keep moving forward with determination and God,  It is an upbeat, positive book.  There is a lot of cheerleading to uplift readers but not a lot of instruction on how to exactly accomplish your goal.  That is more implied or left to readers.  She does give some guidance but not an abundance.
Author Rivera has written a God glorifying book filled with ideas, support, inspiration, scripture, and experiences to help readers.  It is really a wonderful book.  Any readers club, small group, or individual read would highly benefit from reading it.  I highly recommend it and rate it 5 out of 5 stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. These are my own honest opinions and review.

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About the Book:

Book Title: Dare to Begin Again

Author: Rosalinda Rivera
Genre: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Woman’s Issue
Release date: September 4, 2018

We all have struggles and challenges in life. Whether they are of our own making or not, things don’t always work out. Sometimes, we just give up on our dreams and goals. But it doesn’t have to be that way! God is a God of new beginnings, and throughout the entire Bible, we read about people who were stuck, disappointed, and faced impossible situations—people God freed. Rosalinda Torres Rivera challenges us to Dare to Begin Again. Using stories from her own life, other people, and biblical times, Rosalinda offers inspirational, down-to-earth advice on beginning again. Each chapter tackles a different issue where you may be “stuck”—such as an inability to forgive, trust, or hope—and examples of people who overcame similar challenges. Practical tasks at the end of each chapter walk you through a DARE challenge (Decide, Allow, Rise, Enjoy) to help you move closer to a fresh start. Rosalinda is the daughter of Victor Torres, an ex-gang member from Brooklyn, New York, and his wife, Carmen, founders of the New Life For Youth ministry. She has seen more than twenty thousand people get out of tough situations and turn their lives around. “They’re people whose tales of transformation prove God is still at work,” she says. “He’s written and re-written their life’s chapters—and He’s willing to do the same for you.” It takes a commitment, but with the help of God, inspiring, true stories, and practical applications, you can Dare to Begin Again.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Rosalinda Torres Rivera is the executive director of New Life For Youth, one of Virginia’s largest residential facilities helping to rehabilitate people from a life of addiction. She has been reaching out to families in crisis, poverty, and hopelessness for over twenty-five years. Using her business skills, Rosalinda developed a model of social enterprise to sustain the non-profit New Life For Youth by creating businesses that train thousands of young people in job skills and leadership.

47B0BEFA-8F9F-45A2-914D-4E00541D43D9She is also the president of New Life Enterprises, the founder of Mercy Moms Home, a place for single mothers to find hope and healing, and the founder of Bella Women’s Ministry in Richmond, Virginia, which hosts annual conferences for over five hundred women.
Each year, Rosalinda is a featured presenter at various events nationwide. She has ministered throughout the world and has traveled to over twenty-two countries. From the White House to the local community, she has been nationally recognized for her impact in bringing hope to the hopeless.
Rosalinda was appointed to the Board of Governors of the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives, headquartered in Washington, DC. Style Magazineselected her as a “Top 40 under 40” leader for her impact in Richmond, Virginia.
In 2018, the Valentine Museum in Richmond will feature the work of her family as one of the city’s first Hispanic families to impact Richmond in the non-profit sector.
Rosalinda is the daughter of Victor Torres, an ex-gang member from the streets of New York, and his wife, Carmen, the founders of New Life For Youth and pastors of New Life Outreach International Church. She served as an associate producer on Victor, a movie about her father’s journey from drugs and gangs to Jesus and redemption.
Rosalinda and her husband, Carlos, have three children: Alana, Gabriel, and Victor.

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