03 September 2013

Noela Nancarrow reviews 'A PIONEER CHRISTMAS COLLECTION'


A Pioneer Christmas Collection

by Various Authors
Barbour Publishing, Inc. (September 1, 2013)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
~5 STARS~ *****

In ‘A PIONEER CHRISTMAS COLLECTION’, nine exceptional and esteemed authors share their stories of brave pioneers who face daunting challenges and danger as they travel to, and occupy untamed lands. When Christmas arrives, the pioneers find shelter in unexpected and unconventional forms, and learn it is not the place but the heart, that’s needed to celebrate love.

This exciting collection of original novella’s are penned from these outstanding authors: Kathleen FullerVicki McDonoughLauraineSnellingMargaret BrownleyMarcia GruverCynthia M. HickeyShannon McNearMichelle Ule; and Anna Carrie Urquhart.

A BADLAND’S CHRISTMAS by MARCIA GRUVER

‘A Badland’s’ Christmas’ is an aesthetically delightful story that will submerge your senses in its charm and beauty with the captivating and enchanting storyline, coupled with the incomparable scenery of the Badland’s of Western Dakota Territory.

Desperate to help himself and his family heal after the loss of his wife, Jonathan Nancarrow brings his two daughters Noela and her younger sister Beatrice from Queensland, Australia to New York to live. However, when Jonathan gets to speak to an up and coming politician named Theodore Roosevelt at a function, he is inspired to pack up his family and undertake homesteading at Medora, which is in the heart of the wilderness. Along the way they meet young Hiram McGregor, who when hearing of the Nancarrow’s plans and prospective accommodation, is gravely worried for their well-being and survival in their dilapidated dwelling, from the chilling Dakota winter. How will this completely unprepared little Australian family ever survive in this harsh but beautiful land, and will Hiram be the answers to all their prayers, especially Noela’s? With both pleasant and frightful surprises around each corner, can Jonathan and his girls persist in their struggles to discover happiness, love, and peace, in time for Christmas?

Marcia Gruver writes with flair, delivering a touching and sweet to the soul romance, outstanding humour, and rich, vivid characters, in this wonderful historical romance. An immensely memorable and highly entertaining read! Thank you Marcia!!

A PONY EXPRESS CHRISTMAS by MARGARET BROWNLEY

In ‘A Pony Express’, author Margaret Brownley takes us on a fascinating journey across the wild and sometimes unforgiving land of Nebraska Territory, as Ellie-May Newman seeks her beloved missing brother Andrew - a Pony Express rider that never returned after the company had shut down.

The delightful but headstrong Ellie-May, strikes an amusing sight with her unusual bloomers and floppy straw-hat, and draws laughter and raised eyebrows from everyone she encounters, including Michael Corbett, a ruggedly-handsome man with intense cobalt eyes. This unlikely couple met in rather disconcerting circumstances and Michael was immensely appreciative she came along when she did! Helping Ellie-May in her search for her missing brother, Michael wasn’t prepared for all she would put him through. It didn’t hurt however that he began to find her quite appealing, even with her ridiculous bloomers, or that he felt surges of protectiveness toward this gal. He wasn’t quite prepared though to find that another in their small traveling party had their sights on him. This little love triangle provided some of the cutest and most hilarious scenes because the third party was none other than Josie, one of the mules! Take a step back in history as you traverse the trails in Nebraska of the Pony Express riders, and search for clues along with Ellie-May and Michael in their quest to find her brother.

Margaret Brownley is a brilliant storyteller, harmoniously incorporating historical facts and interesting geographical landmarks in a novella that’s replete with humour, adventure, and a delightful romance. An inspiring message of trusting God our rock crowns this captivating tale.

DEFENDING TRUTH by SHANNON McNEAR

In ‘Defending Truth’, author Shannon McNear takes us back to 1781, to a misty forest on a mountain of the western North Carolina frontier, and to the small Bledsoe farm just below the slope of the mountain. The story is set during the American Revolutionary War and after the legendary fierce but swift battle at King’s Mountain that had became the turning point in this conflict.

Truth Bledsoe’s father had left her alone to care for her younger siblings when he’d gone off to fight the British and militia loyal to the Crown. While on the lookout for game at her favourite hunting spot, Truth comes face to face with a bedraggled, hollow-cheeked young man in tattered blood-stained clothes. Realizing he was a Tory, the very enemy her father was off fighting and had warned her about, she kept her long rifle trained on him although compassion prompted her to feed this half-starved man.
Micah Elliot, an escaped loyalist prisoner, was bone-weary and soul-weary and uncertain where his allegiance lay anymore after seeing the horror that neighbours and brothers had inflicted upon each other. He wasn’t even sure where he could call home. Micah was ashamed of running away but although he had fled capture, he couldn’t escape the nightmares. Will Micah ever find a place to call home and something that is worth laying down his life for? Where might he find his future or will he forever be considered the enemy?

Shannon McNear has created a gem with her first novella that is exciting, thought-provoking, and historically fascinating. This story is an outstanding testament to her remarkable skill as a writer, compelling me to read anything else that Shannon might set her hand to!


*****

*Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy through NetGalley.*

This book is available at: DeeperShopping, Amazon, CBD and other bookstores.
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GIVEAWAY:  We have 2 copies of 'A Pioneer Christmas Collection' for giveaways! One from Marcia Gruver that be signed by all the authors and one from OWG!

QUESTION: What are some Christmas traditions unique to your family and/or your favorite Christmas food?


120 comments:

  1. Noela, what fantastic reviews. This book has intrigued me since I saw the cover. One of my favorite desserts for this season are homemade iced sugar cookies. Blessings, Susan Fryman

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    1. Thanks SUSAN! I agree, it is a gorgeous cover isn't it?!! :)

      There is nothing like homemade cookies and I'll bet yours just taste absolutely scrumptious! Blessings to you too!

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  2. Great review Noela! We usually will get up Christmas morning have our breakfast. Then we all go into the family room and Papa reads the Christmas Story from the Bible we then give thanks to Jesus. We do not do santa in our house. We then hand out the gifts. The tree of course has bubble lights on it which my grandmother had given me many years ago. I look at them and think of her she is no longer here she spends Christmas with Jesus.
    I love to make Ham and candy sweet potatoes and Bake beans. Hot rolls. Desert is my own pumpkinroll.
    Blessings
    Diana
    joeym11@frontier.com

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    1. Thank you DIANA! Your Christmas sounds so special, and I love the idea of your Papa reading out the Christmas story from the Bible first. We did that when our kids were younger and still living at home, but I think it's time to resurrect that tradition when they come a-visiting! :) Lovely that the lights make you think of your grandmother at that time too, very sweet.
      Mmmm love the sound of your Christmas dinner too! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Great review Noela, and how cool is that , that you are in one of the stories! These all sound great & I would really like to get my hands on the great collection!

    Christmas traditions--my family has fallen in love with what we lovingly refer to as "the pink stuff". This is a cran-raspberry mousse, a recipe I got from Ocean Spray Cranberries & I added frozen raspberries (thawed), which makes it even more yummy. This has turned into a tradition i our family for both Thanksgiving AND Christmas. another favorite holiday 'recipe' is to make pumpkin pie without the crust in a large rectangular dish, that my family has lovingly nick-named "Pumpkin Goo", using the recipe (the best!) on the Libbey's can. Mmm--I'm ready for holiday goodies!
    Vicki
    vmarney(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Hello VICKI, yes this fabulous collection is NOT one to be missed!! :) Oh and yes, it was VERY special to have my name in Marcia's beautiful story... an awesome honour and a story and book I'll treasure always!

      Fantastic Christmas food traditions VICKI - you're making me long for some good Christmas baking too! You free to come over here to cook up a feast for us??

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  4. For many reasons, I'm so excited about this release, Noela. It's a first for me in many areas. A Pioneer Christmas is the first anthology and the first Christmas collection of which I've been a part. A Badlands Christmas is the first novella I've ever written or had published, and it features the first main character I've patterned after a "real girl." I'm so glad that real girl is you.

    You've come alongside me to share in this book at every stage, from plotting to research, promoting to the thrill of seeing the book in print. I'm honored to be in the company of these nine amazingly talented authors, but I feel in some ways, at least where it comes to A Badlands Christmas, a name was left out. That name is yours.

    Wait, what am I saying? I didn't exactly leave out your name, now did I?

    God bless you, mate! Thank you for this brilliant review of "our" book.

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    1. MARCIA, our honorary Aussie and a true-blue mate :) - thank you again for the priceless gift of sharing in this wonderful story with you!! It's been so exciting being with you along for the journey... and I can't wait to hold 'our baby' in my hands! ;)

      Thank you also for your very kind words, and congratulations on all those firsts. Not that I'm biased or anything, lol, but I truly do LOVE our story and feel so proud of you for writing such a wonderful story for your first ever novella. My thanks also for so many smiles! :) God bless you! xx

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  5. Hello! Had to come by and see what my OWG gals were up to. See you are reviewing a great book. Noela, I was shocked to see your name in one of the stories. Neat! I love Christmas. The wonderful time to celebrate our LORD's birth. Also, my Christmas baby. On a Christmas day in 1958 I had a wonderful gift from GOD on His birthday, a baby girl. My own doll baby that really cried ans sucked a bottle. Such a happy time., So after we celebrate Jesus BD in prayer, we later have a party for her. She never wanted to celebrate it on another day. I love my Christmas tree and wouldn't care if it were all year. Filled with ornaments that I have collected from family and myself through many years. (a lot). I just can't make myself get rid of them. Our main tradition is for all of my kids and theirs to gather at one's house. for a late lunch. They take turns every year or most times. Later they exchange gifts with each other. And, so much yummy food and desserts. I look forward to dressing, and also candied sweet potatoes. And, a little of all of the desserts. Hope you will all be blessed with GOd's love.
    Maxie

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    1. Hello MAXIE! It is a great book indeed - and I know you don't always have a lot of luck in winning, but I'm rooting for you to win this one dear Maxie!! A perfect Christmas book to help you celebrate that wonderful season. :)

      I loved reading about your Christmas MAXIE! How special that you had a perfect gift yourself one year with your own baby girl, it sure beats the toy store version.. ;) I'm with you also about the Christmas tree, it'd be nice to leave it up all year wouldn't it? Our home always looks so dull after it's pulled down!

      Someone is going to have to tell me the recipe for these popular candied sweet potatoes too.. ;)

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  6. Hey NOELA, I know your reviews are exceptional as always! But, I am not going to read them as I have this book for review purposes (well, on Kindle anyway). I haven't started reading it yet though. Hoping to do that sometime this week. Just stopping in to say hi :)

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    1. A favorite family tradition at Christmas is having lots of hors d oeuvres on Christmas Eve and watching movies together. NO opening gifts!

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    2. Hi ANNE, thanks for stopping by, so lovely to see you as always! I'm like you, I prefer not to read other reviews either until I've written my own. :)

      Love your Christmas Eve tradition - but how do you get to sit down on Christmas Eve to watch movies, lol!! No matter how hard I try to be organized, there are always a hundred things still to do to be ready for Christmas Day! ;)

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  7. We don't really have a tradition other than opening our presents on Christmas Eve and don't really have a dinner that night we snack on meats and cheeses. Thank you for the chance to win

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    1. Thanks for coming by ANGELA and best of luck with your entry!
      Thank you also for sharing your Christmas traditions. We usually have a big lunch but I always make sure there are leftovers for dinner on Christmas night because we're all so tired!! :)

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  8. I love pioneer stories, & this novella sounds wonderful - so many great authors, & the stories all have wonderful storylines.

    Christmas is my favorite time of the year - above all, because of the celebration of my Lord's birth, but I just love the extra dose of happiness at this time of the year. I was also a Christmas baby, & am happy to celebrate my birthday along with the celebration of the birth of the Lord.

    I would love to have this wonderful book to read for the holidays - I like to buy a new Christmas book & movie each Christmas. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Oh yes BONNIE, you can trust me that this collection of Christmas pioneer stories is indeed wonderful! And like you say, how could it not be with so many fantastic authors and great storylines?!!

      How special that you were a Christmas baby, making it double the celebrations and the joy on this festive day for you and your family! :) I enjoy that tradition also of watching a Christmas movie each year... and this year I'll be following your tradition of reading a Christmas book with a little one I've got tucked away for just that occasion. ;)

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  9. Hi Noela,
    Just wanted to stop by and say hello from California. I can't THANK you enough for your lovely review of our book! Josie thanks you, too! You're the best!

    Family tradition: When our children were young we set an empty manger in the living room next to a bowl of straw. The idea was that whenever someone did a good deed or showed a kindness a piece of straw could be added to the manger. By Christmas Eve the manger was always piled high with straw and ready to receive baby Jesus.

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    1. And an Aussie G'day to you too MARGARET, from Queensland! :) You and JOSIE are most welcome!! I just LOVED your Pony Express story... and Josie also, lol! Bless you!

      MARGARET, that has to be one of the best and most original traditions I've heard of to date! I love it! What a fabulous idea and what great motivation for kids to think about what they can do for others. Wonderful!

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  10. In my family, our "must-have" food since my childhood is Watergate Salad. As an adult, our tradition is to have the traditional Puerto Rican Christmas menu on Christmas Eve, and the Southern menu (including Watergate Salad) on Christmas Day.
    Thank you for this awesome giveaway. I love Christmas-themed books!
    TCuevas@iccable.com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by TAMMY, all the best with your entry! I love Christmas-themed books also! Especially with a dash of romance and fascinating history to boot! :)

      Well, TAMMY, you've taught me something! I'd never heard of Watergate Salad until you mentioned it... So I looked it up and found a sweet chilled dessert that sounds rather interesting to say the least! :) Thanks for sharing!

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  11. We always had a complete turkey dinner Christmas night. We looked forward to it every year!
    Great give-away. It would be awesome to win!!

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    1. Oh yeah BETTY, we often do Turkey every Christmas as well!! My son-in-law LOVES his seafood however... so now it's a matter of trying to fit seafood in with turkey for our Christmas meal! :D

      Thank you and all the best with the giveaway!!

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  12. Our little town has a Christmas parade, which we never miss.

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    1. Oh how awesome - I love the idea of a Christmas Parade!! :)
      Thanks for coming by HOPE, God bless you!

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  13. I love reading Christmas books. They are so full of good happy times and lots of love. Would love to win a copy of your book.

    Mine & my husbands tradition for Christmas is to have Chili soup then open our presents. On Christmas we have a traditional Christmas Dinner.

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    1. I couldn't agree more JUANITA - and you are going to LOVE this book because it is jam-packed with lots of love and happy Christmas miracles!

      Interesting tradition JUANITA with the Chili soup! :) Think I'll just jump straight into the presents though! ;)

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  14. Oops forgot e mail address.
    seraphinangel7@aol.com

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  15. One of my favorite things to do is read Christmas stories leading up to Christmas, so this book would be a great place to start. Our family has a tradition that on Christmas Eve you get to open 2 gifts and one of them is always a new pair of jammies to wear that night so everyone has new jammies on in pictures Christmas morning. Our children have always looked forward to their new pajamas and our married children have carried that tradition on with their own children.
    ibakecakes4you(at)AOL(dot)com

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    1. Yes you are so right IBAKECAKES4YOU, this book would be an EXCELLENT place to begin!

      I love your tradition!! That's an excellent idea!! I've got a feeling, with all these amazing ideas being talked about, many are going to be inspired to start some new traditions of their own from these suggestions! :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  16. Thanks for the great review, Noela. I'm glad you enjoyed the book! :)

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    1. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read KATHLEEN, I truly did enjoy all the fabulous stories including 'The Calling'!! :) Blessings!

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  17. When I was a kid my grandpa would always have a container of Tic Tacs in his shirt pocket, and we would climb on him to find them. After he passed away my mom started putting Tic Tacs in our Christmas stockings as a way to remember him. 25 years later we still do it every year!

    colorvibrant[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Oh wow, that is really touching and very special HEIDI, thanks for sharing that! A tradition with special memories attached are the sweetest ones I think. :) God bless!

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  18. We all get new pajamas that we open on Christmas Eve so we all have new ones for those Christmas morning photos. We cook a late breakfast, then have a traditional Christmas meal in the afternoon. When my daughter, neices and nephew were young, we made homemade pizzas on Christmas Eve. Everyone made there own. We helped the small kids with there crusts, but everyone decorated and ate their own.

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    1. Cool! Another pajama Christmas Eve tradition... it's such a great idea, I wish that I'd thought of that back when my kids were little!! I also really like your pizza idea I must admit! I was just saying a few comments ago that we love our turkey for Christmas but our son-in-law is a big fan of seafood... making our own pizza's would be a brilliant way to incorporate both!! You've got me thinking now... ;)

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  19. Thank you, Noela, for your fabulous review! So glad you enjoyed the collection!

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    1. Thank you ANNA, and yes I thoroughly enjoyed the collection! And your story 'A Silent Night' was just fantastic!! Loved it! :)

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  20. When I was growing up, the Sunday before Christmas was the day to have Christmas with my grandparents and all the cousins. Such fun memories.
    susanmsj@msn.com

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    1. Isn't Christmas such a wonderful time of the year SUSAN, we get to have all these fun and memorable times year after year! And though they may change, they are still special in their own ways! :) God bless!

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  21. I love Christmas and your book sounds so good, i would love to win it, thanks for the chance
    Shirley Blanchard
    jcisforme@aol.com

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    1. It certainly is a special time of the year isn't it SHIRLEY - with celebrating the birth of our Saviour and sharing in that joy with giving to others! :)
      It's a wonderful book and I know you'll enjoy it SHIRLEY!

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  22. I love reading some of the stories about the Christmas season during the month of December. We always read the Christmas story in Luke on Christmas Eve. My favorite dessert is Banana Dessert (similiar to Banana Pudding, except made with ice cream and Ritz Crackers. Thanks and God Bless.

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    1. Hi PHYLLIS, thanks for coming by and sharing with us all! I hope you get to read these wonderful Christmas stories in A Pioneer Christmas Collection this December! :)

      Reading about the birth of Jesus in Luke on Christmas eve is a great tradition PHYLLIS, and your favourite dessert sounds delicious!! Interesting with the Ritz Crackers.. :)

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  23. My husband's family always get together at his Mother's house on Christmas Eve. It is a small house now that the family is four generations which equals about 60 people! Of course she wouldn't have it anywhere else nor would their Dad when he was living!! My family's favorite dessert at Christmas or any other holiday is a Mississippi Mud Cake I make -- very good and very rich! Thanks for the chance to win A Pioneer's Christmas!

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    1. Wow TAMMY, with about 60 people, that WOULD make a house small, lol! But it sounds like so much fun!! I like the sound of that Mississippi Mud Cake of yours too!! :)
      All the best with your entry Tammy!

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  24. Our tradition was that none of us children could go to the livingroom to "see" the tree and presents till our parents called us in. We spent time opening our stockings, filled with an orange,apple and bannana,coloring book and crayons untill they called us. The smell of oranges reminds me of Christmas eveytime. Cqnt wait to read your book. Thanks for the offer. Laurie

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    1. LAURIE, how did you ever cope with the anticipation? lol I imagine that would be so hard not to see the tree and gifts as children until the last minute! We have an open plan home so our kids couldn't help but see the tree and the gifts when placed under, but they weren't allowed to touch! :) That's cool that you had stockings to open in the meantime - very thoughtful parents you had Laurie!
      I know you'll enjoy this wonderful book when you get a chance to read it!!

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  25. My favorite Christmas dish is still 24 hour fruit salad. It is very rich. My grandmother always made it. My mother kept up the tradition, and now I do too. Hoping that my daughter-in-law will pick this up and hand it down to her children.

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    1. I think it's so special when families can have traditions passed down from one generation to another! And your 24 hour fruit salad sounds like a real treat!! Thanks for stopping by MARTHA!

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  26. Noela, these are such stellar reviews and I can't wait to read about "you" in the story! I'm not a big novella reader per se, but as some of my fave authors are included in this one, it's a given this one will be displayed on my table during the holiday season! Sorry I'm so late getting over here! I was uh...playing with stickers. ahem ;)

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    1. Thank you so much my lovely cohort and I'm SO excited to have you read Marcia's (and my) story!! :) This is such a gorgeous book DIANA, it will look so beautiful displayed on your table over Christmas!! Love you!

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    2. Diana, I tried to make this character resemble Noela in every way that I could. I hope I succeeded, but I sure had fun trying. :) And yes, this book is just downright pretty. Barbour Publishing did such a phenomenal job on this cover!

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  27. We always open our presents on Christmas Eve so the kids can enjoy Santa's gifts on Christmas morning, then we always have turkey and stuffing (dressing) for dinner.

    I'm really looking forward to reading this book, it has stories from many of my favorite authors. Thank you for the chance to win a copy!

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. I think it's interesting that quite a few people open gifts on Christmas Eve WENDY... I confess, we have never done that. Instead, preferring to cram everything in on Christmas morning LOL, so I can see the sense in it! I looove the sound of Turkey with stuffing for dinner... which is definitely going to be something on my table this Christmas! :)

      You're right WENDY, there are soooo many wonderful authors in this book, and even the newer authors have all written such outstanding stories.... this book will be so much fun for many this Christmas!!

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  28. When our children were younger they loved getting up at 4 or 5 am on Christmas Day. One year they stayed up all night singing Carols. As adults they get their children up early now.
    My favorite Christmas food would have been my mother-in-laws fruit salad. Loved helping her make it every year.
    donnac.taylor@hotmail.com

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    1. DONNA, your comment made me smile because it reminded me of when my siblings and I were young and we would sneak out of bed early in the morning, but just to feel the gifts and guess what they were... then we'd go back to bed until later because we weren't allowed to open gifts until after breakfast... which seemed like an eternity when you're a kid!! I love fruit salad too DONNA, and I'm thinking that will also have to have a place at the table this year also!! :)

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  29. Wow, Noela, thank you so much! What an honor to be here, and what a joy to know so many are enjoying the stories already.

    Christmas traditions here--our family opens gifts on Christmas eve, with our big dinner on Christmas day. We like the traditional Thanksgiving fare so well that we pretty much do it again for Christmas: turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and pecan pie. I also like baking cookies and making desserts with the kids, but these days we have to do more veggies, and be more selective on desserts, since I'm diabetic. :-)

    Oh, and I nearly forgot--something else we do is choose some charitable program--either Angel Tree or Samaritan's Purse--and prepare a gift package for a boy who's the age our baby-in-heaven would have been. :-) This year, it's 14.

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    1. i need to come to your house, Shannon--sounds great!!! We like to do Angel tree as my health permits, too. Also Samaritan's Purse--I switched from filling the shoeboxes to sending a check, though, once I couldn't shop much because of my feet (PTL they are much better now!)

      My son "demands" the same thing, Shannon!!! Clark loves Thanksgiving food so much we do the same thing except the pecan pie (usually don't have that) but extra pumpkin pie.
      We make a Christmas cake every year for baby Jesus. I like for the kids to bake it with me. We open gifts Christmas morning and we take our time. No rush. My kids are really clear that it is all about the Lord. We girls do like our bling, though, too, lol!

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    2. Very happy to have you here with us SHANNON and to feature your amazing story!!

      Mmmmm I love the sound of that big Christmas dinner of yours - definitely the way I would like to go this Christmas... Just gotta figure out how to include prawns for the son-in-law LOL, perhaps we'll just have a side dish of them just for him! ;)
      Sorry to hear you're diabetic and yes, you would have curb the temptation for those enticing sweet desserts!
      We're not big on Pumpkin Pie over here like you guys are in the States, and I do feel like I'm missing out!! ;)

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    3. LOL, you should come, Carrie!! How fun would that be. :-D And Noela, you can include anything you like, of course!

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  30. Another great review, Noela! So glad you could share this with us! And so glad Shannon's debut is so great. I can't wait to read it!

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    1. Thanks so much CARRIE - and I can't wait for you to read this book either!! Make sure you give me your thoughts on it when you do!! :)

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  31. With a last name pronounced like the holiday, Yule, we have a lot of fun during Christmas. (My mother-in-law's name was Mary, and she always said, "Merry Yule!")

    We celebrate Jesus' birthday with a Ule log boasting a candle on top. We have enough family members now, however, we have to make two!

    Thanks for the lovely review and I'm glad you read the book all the way to my ending story!

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    1. Hi MICHELLE! Yes, absolutely... your story was a wonderful ending to such a brilliant collection of Christmas stories!!

      Wow, I hadn't even thought of the Yule log before with your name, but you could have a whole theme going there couldn't you?! :D How funny of your mother-in-law, but what a very Christmassy name she has!!! :)

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  32. Noela this is a great review! I can't wait to get started on reading this.

    Christmas Foods...yum yum I am the baker of Christmas treats. cheesecakes, all kinds of Cakes...lemon, coconut or the mystery layer cake (you have to count the number of layers to find out). And what's a southern Christmas without pecan pie? Our family always meets with hubby's side on Christmas Eve and then with mine on Christmas Day. :)

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    1. Thank you sweet TERESA, and I can't wait for you to read this book either!!!! ;)

      I stopped baking when the Chronic Fatigue became too much so I sure do miss out on lots of baked goodies these days! My coconut cake and the impossible pie were two of my personal favourites. Since you live too far away lol, I might have to do some babysitting and get my daughter to do some baking for me!! :)

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  33. The book sounds wonderful! Thanks for the review and giveaway.
    One Christmas tradition we have is to make our own nuts and bolts. We do this every year, and while we usually bake some kind of sweets, the n&b are a constant.
    Looking forward to reading this one.
    Betti
    bettimace(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks BETTI, that's sweet of you! And you will most definitely enjoy this one!!

      Well, nuts and bolts was another one I had to research up as I couldn't quite imagine you making the steel version lol! Very, very interesting!! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas this year Betti!

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  34. When my daughter was very young, I made peppernuts (little German spice cookies) at Christmas. We started doing this every year, with her helping me with the rolling out, slicing and baking of the cookies.It's quite a time consuming process but it gives us some good time together. Now, at age 23, she won't let me quit. It is our Christmas tradition.
    Thanks for a chance to win this book. I enjoy reading Christmas stories; this sounds like a great line up of authors.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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    1. That's really special that you have that Christmas tradition with your daughter!! Treasure those times and I hope they last always!

      Yes I totally agree PAM, it is a really great line-up of authors! And equally great stories that I know you'll enjoy! :)

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  35. These stories sound wonderful! I like the reminder that Christmas can be celebrated anywhere - as long as we remember WHO we are celebrating. :)
    We don't have any huge specific traditions, but our family does do something fun for the adult men each year. This year I have a stash of nerf guns ready for a nerf war! The men do look forward to some "child like" fun each year. lol
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

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    1. Amen SUSAN, and in all these stories, it eventually matters not where they celebrate Christmas, but as long as they get to celebrate the birth of Christ!!

      Your family sounds like a lot of fun!! Those men are going to have a blast this year!!! :)

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  36. One of my fondest Christmas memories involves my dad, who has passed away. When I was growing up we would always go to my Aunt Donia's house for Christmas Eve dinner. She was my dad's only sister and she always made my favorite pie for dessert....homemade brown sugar pie. That was my Dad's favorite, too. When my Aunt Donia saw us coming up the driveway, she would meet us at the back door with a pie in her hands. My dad would lick his right point finger and shove it into the middle of the pie she was holding, claiming it as his own. It may seem unpleasant to some, but we always had the same ritual every year.

    As for a favorite food, you know what my favorite pie is. As for "regular" food, I love homemade cornbread dressing with cranberry sauce and fresh sweet potatoes. I could live on that.

    jociadam@hotmail.com

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    1. Haha I love that CINDY!! So did he get to keep and eat the whole pie or did you all still have a slice? :) I haven't heard of a brown sugar pie before... what are the other ingredient in it apart from brown sugar of course! ;)
      God bless!

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  37. I always enjoy Christmas stories. I'm going to enjoy this.

    When decorating the Christmas Tree we always put the Angel on the top of the tree first. A food favorite would have to be my Mother's Port Wine Trifle.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. You'll most definitely enjoy this book MARY! :)

      One of our traditions was that the kids took turns to put the Star on the top of the tree, except it was the very last decoration to go on! :)

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  38. Since we don't get to spend Christmas with our families anymore (we're in Mexico) I decided to think back to my childhood traditions. Our church always had their Christmas program on Christmas Eve where we'd see Santa, open one gift and get candy sacks. As a child it was the MOST wonderful night to look forward too because then we'd hurry home, check out the candy sacks (with homemade candy from a homemade candy shop), switch out, run to bed then wake early to check our stockings. AFter going thru those, we'd go back to bed till our parents woke us to open presents. Oh, how I miss those days with my brothers and parents!

    missionwife@hotmail.com

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    1. Hi MELODY, thank you for stopping by and sharing with everyone! It really sounds like you had such a wonderful and happy childhood and Christmas - with lots of great memories attached!! God bless you for your sacrifices and the important work that you and your hubby do!!

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  39. I love our family time and reading about the birth of Jesus. Making handmade gifts for our children and others. My one thing I love is to have dressing and turkey and rice.

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    1. Thanks for dropping in LE-ANN, lovely to meet you! Family time is so important and even more so when we can share about Jesus with our children. I hope you all enjoy your turkey and dressing this year! Yum!!

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  40. What a wonderful collection! Christmas stories are some of my favorites!! With three young children, Christmas is so much fun at our house. One of our favorite traditions is having each child choose an angel from the angel tree sponsored by various organizations around town. We then choose gifts for the children we have chosen in hopes of making their Christmas special too!

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    1. Hello BRITNEY, yes it is an amazing collection of awesome authors and fantastic stories, and if Christmas stories are your favourites, you will absolutely love this collection!! :)

      I must say I do miss having young children around for Christmas like you have, but at least this year we will have a delightful little one year old grandson who will be no doubt completely spoiled by everyone and the centre of attention! :)
      I love how yourself and many others have made the Angel tree part of your tradition!

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  41. One of my precious children I just mentioned hit enter before I was finished. ;) My email address is texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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    1. That's cute!! Thanks for your e-mail - very important for us to have that if you are the winner! :)

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  42. NOELA, you make all those stories sound so good! I think I must find time to read them, esp. Marcia's one to read about your adventure. :) Yes, I need this book for Christmas!!

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    1. Thanks Marian! :) Easy to make them sound so good though, because they are!! ;) And yes my friend, you NEED this book for Christmas!! :) Ahh Marian, can't wait for you to read 'A Badland's Christmas', I think you'll have a good laugh at your cohort when you read about some of the things that happen to her! :D

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    2. Ah yes, Marian. Our Noela has quite a few adventures in our book. A little run-in with a mouse comes to mind. . . Teehee!

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    3. That was such a funny scene - and I really would have acted EXACTLY like I did in the story!! :D

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  43. WE ALWAYS TO CHURCH ON CHRISTMAS EVE. ANGELACHESNUT246@GMAIL.COM

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    1. Thank you ANGELA for stopping by OWG. To go to Church at Christmas is a great tradition!! God bless you!

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  44. homemade Chocolate covered cherries is my fav. holiday treat. once you've had my recipe for them you won't like the store bought ones. ;P

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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    1. Haha APPLE BLOSSUM, but how will we know unless you give us your recipe for them?!! LOL!
      Thanks for coming by, always nice to see you!

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  45. Our favorite food was my Mother's yeast rolls .But she went to Heaven going on 14 years ago so we don't have them anymore .We did try to make them the year she passed away and they did not come out so good .Thanks and Blessings ,Dana "Girl "

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    1. Hi DANA Girl, lovely to see you! That's so nice that you still remember your Mother's yeast rolls 14 years later - I think this shows how special and memorable Christmas traditions can be in families. God bless you!

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  46. Traveling to family, playing board games, hot chocolate and popcorn, wrapping that last minute present secretly, and just being together. I remember a Christmas when my two oldest children were small and I had put together a little circular train. I finally put it under a chair (with a skirt) at night instead of taking it apart ~ because I "had to see if it worked." I loved that little train. They would wake up and ask, "What is that?" when the little whistle would blow. I'd shoo them off to bed trying to hide the train set. I hope they liked it under the tree Christmas morning as much as I did, ha ha. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

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  47. Haha sounds like you had fun with that train KATHLEEN! :) We finally purchased a small train set to go around the tree only just last year! All our children are grown now lol, however we're just in time for our first grandchild who'll be a year old by Christmas! :)
    All those things you mentioned sound sooo nice KATHLEEN - invokes thoughts of warm, happy, and fun family times. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. What an idea! To get my very own under the tree Christmas train! Thanks, Noela! Kathleen

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    2. Yes Kathleen, they look great under the tree! I don't think ours will last too long with mister 1 yr. old, but it'll still be worth it to see his reaction! :) Bless you!

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  48. My favorite holiday food item would have to be candied yams!!! My mother in law is a splendid cook and makes the best!

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    1. Going to have to try out these candied yams I think, they seem to be a favorite of many! :) It's good to have someone in the family that can cook great isn't it?! :) God bless!

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  49. My favorite Christmas food is Fried Sweet Potatoes. Yum! And then it is also dressing, which is what we call it in Alabama.

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    1. Hi JALYNN, well that is something we have done with sweet potatoes - fried them! Usually on the bbq and along with slices of potato as well... we've done this when we've wanted a quick and convenient way of cooking a whole meal, lol! Although I'm not exactly sure that's what you actually meant by frying the sweet potatoes.. ;)

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  50. It's so much fun reading about all your Christmas traditions and favorite foods. It seems there's another book in all of this, somewhere.

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    1. Hey MARGARET, if anyone could find a book idea in this and turn it into a brilliant story, it'd be you! :) But yes, so many varied and interesting traditions everyone has shared here!

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  51. My favorite Christmas food is Homemade Cheesecake. I love to make it!
    ~Grace P.
    gracelz1@hotmail.com

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    1. Wonderful GRACE! I'm hoping to get my daughter make her homemade cheesecake for us all this Christmas - she only tried it for the first time recently and apparently it was very successful, which begs us to be able to try it also! I'd love to know how you make yours!

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  52. After our father left us, my brother will read the Christmas Story and we'll pray for our many blessings before we open Christmas presents.
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. BARBARA, I love your tradition - and I think thanking God for our many blessings before we open our Christmas presents is PERFECT!! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  53. We have the same Christmas traditions every year. We gather at one house on Christmas Eve to eat, talk and the kids open presents. On Christmas day we gather at my sister's house even though the crowd is smaller as others are going to in-laws homes. Dessert is my favorite holiday food - cheesecake, lots of different cookies, cake, pies, dirt cake, chocolate delight.

    Karen G.
    kmgervais(at)nycap(dot)rr(dot)com

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    1. Sounds wonderful KAREN!! Lots of family, love, and food! :) I'm not sure what a 'dirt cake' is, but it seems like it'd be a perfect accompaniment to the the Soddie (dirt house) in Marcia Gruver's story, lol! :)

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  54. Wonderful Review!

    Growing up a Christmas tradition was every Christmas eve my mother would read to my younger sister and I before bed a Christmas story. Each year I would make some birthday cake for celebrating the birth of Christ Jesus of why He came into this world for us! The cake has gone from Chocolate cake to vanilla cake and now to Cheesecake. My favorite kind of Christmas meal is when my mother's side of the family gets together and brings dishes to pass to share a big Christmas dinner together!

    Tracy
    http://poetics-of-life.blogspot.com/
    tlcfinch4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Thanks for sharing your family traditions with us all TRACY! The Christmas story on Christmas Eve will be a very special memory you'll always have I'm sure. I also love the idea of making Jesus a birthday cake to remember His birth. :) And all those dishes shared sound fantastic!! We only have a small family to share Christmas with so we don't get to do that. God bless you!

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  55. Hello This is Crystal Herman, I had commented on loving to win the Christmas stories and you need my e-,ail address. it is crystal2cpht@yahoo.com. Thank you!!!

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    1. Thanks for coming by to enter in the competition CRYSTAL! All the best with your entry to win this fabulous book! God bless!

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  56. Our family has a "family" box each year where we put gifts to encourage each other in our walk with the Lord. It can be music, books or other uplifting things!
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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    1. WOW this is another wonderful tradition I just love!! Thanks so much for sharing that MERRY - It's a great way to start off the New year as well! God bless you!

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  57. We've started watching the Nativity Story every year and we always watch a ton of Christmas movies. We go to the Christmas Eve service and then open our presents after we eat. I love all the desserts! shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I love Christmas movies too VERONICA... especially Christmas night when I'm too exhausted to do anything other than chill out and relax on the recliner to watch some tv! Thanks for sharing your traditions, sounds lovely!

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