Christmas Read-Alouds Everyone Can Enjoy

Hi Friends,

Reading aloud is such a wonderful way to bring family and friends closer and share a special experience together. We homeschooled our five children, and reading aloud was always one of my favorite parts of the day. We read the Bible aloud, and we often read historical fiction or award winning childrens’ books to compliment what we were learning. We also have a special collection of Christmas books that we bring down each December to enjoy together.

Here are some of our favorites:

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan ToomeyThe Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechoski

“Christmas is pish-posh,” grumbles Jonathan Toomey, the best wood carver in the valley. He’s a Scroogelike recluse; but he has a gentle grouch, and it turns out that he hides a sad secret. He is transformed, not by Dickensian ghosts, but by an eager seven-year-old boy and his widowed mother who ask him to make carve a Christmas creche. The spirit of Christmas heals a sorrowing woodcarver’s heart in this splendid edition of a holiday classic. Lynch’s beautiful illustrations, in shades of wood grain, are both realistic and gloriously romantic, focusing on faces and hands at work before the fire and in the lamplight. This is wonderful read-aloud story that even young children will enjoy. Amazon link.

christmas-on-jane-street-billy-romp-hardcover-cover-artChristmas on Jane Street by Billy Romp

The warm, wonderful, real-life tale of the family that brings the Christmas spirit to life on a street corner in Manhattan. Every holiday season for nearly twenty years, Billy Romp, his wife, and their three children have spent nearly a month living in a tiny camper and selling Christmas trees on Jane Street in New York City. They arrive from Vermont the day after Thanksgiving and leave just in time to make it home for Christmas morning—and for a few weeks they transform a corner of the Big Apple into a Frank Capra-esque small town alive with heartwarming holiday spirit.

Christmas on Jane Street is about the transformative power of love—love of parent and child, of merchant and customer, of stranger and neighbor. The ideal Christmas story, it is about the lasting and profound difference that one person can make to a family and one family can make to a community. Amazon link.

An Edwardian ChristmasAn Edwardian Christmas by John L. Goodall

This small book is a treasure! It is all illustrations with no text, but each page follows the story of a family visiting wealthy relatives in a large country house during Edwardian times. Depicted in loving detail, is Christmas as it was at the beginning of the twentieth century, indoors and out, above stairs and below, as seen through the eyes of a boy and girl. My favorite illustrations are of the family walking to church by starlight, and everyone gathered to play games on Christmas Day. It was first published in 1978, so you may want to look for a used copy online.

Peter Spire's Christmas!Peter Spires Christmas!

This is also a wordless picture book by the Caldecott Medal-winning artist of Noah’s Ark, and it contains more than ninety full-color paintings capturing the spirit and joy of Christmas through the delights of three young children. My children all loved this when they were young, and it can be enjoyed by preschoolers through adults.  First published in 1996, you will also want to look for a used copy online.

Some of the other books in our collection include:

Esther’s Gift by Jan Karon, A Cup of Christmas Tea by Tom Hegg, The Christmas Cross by Max Lucado, A Little House Christmas by Laura Ingles Wilder, A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, Mary’s First Christmas by Walter Wagerin Jr., Christmas at Long Pond by William T. George, The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado, Christmas by Jan Pienkowski, Santa Are You For Real by Harold Myra, The Nutcracker, A Three Dimensional Story Book Illustrated by Michael Welply, The Christmas Stories of George MacDonald, Mele Kalikimaka, Christmas in Hawaii by Julie Mehta, and The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Do you enjoy reading aloud? Can you add a favorite Christmas story to our list?

She Does Good Hair by Terri Gillespie

She Does Good HairHi Friends,

Today I am celebrating the launch of a wonderful new eBook, She Does Good Hair, by Terri Gillespie

Here is my 5-Star review:

What a great story! Terri Gillespie has created characters that step off the page and into your heart. She Does Good Hair is a modern Ruth and Naomi story featuring Shira, a successful stylist with all kinds of issues, who inherits her aunts rundown salon with the provision that she must keep on the three stylist who work there. But those stylists are not so sure they want to work with Shira. There’s drama and romance and some wonderful lessons to take to heart. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry and I think you’ll be very glad you downloaded this wonderful novel! I highly recommend it!

Terri is hosting several fun events to celebrate the launch of She Does Good Hair.

Terri GillespieOnline Chat with Terri Gillespie

Grab your copy of She Does Good Hair and join Terri for a live author video chat on Thursday, October 3rd at 8:00 PM EDT (that’s 7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, & 5:00 Pacific)!

Terri will be hosting the chat and Q&A, as well as announcing a grand prize winner at the end! There will  be plenty of fun giveaways during the course of the party! Follow this link to register for this fun event.

Terri's book launch party

Book Launch Party

On Saturday, Oct.5, 3:00 – 5:00pm Salon Bella Gente, is hosting a fabulous event to celebrate one of their clients’ newest eBook, She Does Good Hair, by Terri Gillespie! Prizes, complimentary blow drys, refreshments, and some surprises! Bring your KINDLE, iPod, laptop, or smart phone to download this wonderfully funny and endearing novel.Here is the link to RSVP and see the details!

She Does Good Hair Prize

Grand Prize Giveaway

SHE DOES GOOD HAIR GIVEAWAY! Participants in the Release Day, Salon, and Chat Events are automatically entered into the big giveaway! The winner will receive the official SHE DOES GOOD HAIR tote filled with surprises–valued at over $75! Attendees to two or more events increase their chances of winning.

You can connect with Terri on Facebook, and you can learn more about Terri and her books here! 

When a Love Story Makes You Cry


My HOpe is FoundHi Friends,

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Joanne Bischoff, the author of the Cadence of Grace Series. I loved Be Still My Soul, and Though My Heart is Torn, books 1 and 2.  So I was thrilled when I received the manuscript for My Hope is Found, book 3, to read early for endorsement. It is wonderful! I highly recommend starting with Be Still My Soul so you don’t miss any of Lonnie and Gideon’s story!


Joanne is doing an awesome giveaway, and I am adding to it. Please read all the way to the bottom for details.

When a Love Story Makes You Cry, by Joanne Bischoff

Recently, I had the privilege of reading Carrie’s novel, The Governess of Highland Hall, for endorsement. My husband and I were heading to St. Louis for the 14th annual Christy awards, and having Carrie’s manuscript in hand, I packed it in my suitcase for some in-flight reading. When we and all the passengers were buckled into our seats, I was immersed in the story that Carrie was so beautifully weaving. I’m a nervous flyer, so I get a bit of anxiety when the plane lifts off—so my solution was to keep my nose in her book as we sped down the runway.

There’s a tender, beautiful scene that takes place in the gardens on the great estate of Highland Hall… and in that moment, just as the plane was gearing up to lift into the air, I had tears in my eyes. I’m quite certain I looked like the nervous flyer that I was, but the tears had nothing to do with the liftoff and everything to do with the pages before me. I love it when a book does that. When a book hits our heart in such a way…that the tears come.

Joanne BischoffFor those of you who know me, I write Appalachian Romance and one of the things I always try to pour into each story is an emotional connection between the reader and the characters. But tears and…romance? How can that be?

Love takes on so many shapes and forms. It has the ability to move us in incredible ways. Stretch our hearts taut with yearning—in the way that only love can. Because of this, love stories can at times, make us cry. I often think that books should come with a little secret pocket to hold a few Kleenex. That and a small box of dark chocolate! For extra emotional support, of course. As an author, it’s been so special to receive notes from readers who have been reading the Cadence of Grace series and hear them share the emotions they experienced. Here are a few snippets:

“Oh, you should have warned me that I would need a tissue…BOX! I am about half way through the book and half way through a box of tissues…I am excited to see how this all plays out.”

“I’m sitting at my son’s baseball practice reading chapter 20 of book 2 with tears rolling down my face. Amazing writing!”

“How long does it take to read a 334 page novel? Between working, sobbing, preparing meals, sobbing, jumping up in reckless abandon because I’m flooded with emotion and sobbing some more… Thank you, thank you!”

There’s just something about being a girl. And the fact that sometimes…we just need a good cry. A bit of angst. That will they won’t they—it’s good for the soul—love story cry. But how can a love story break your heart? How can it still be a romance?

How can it still satisfy?

It satisfies because as women we understand the chase. The depths that yearning can take us to. The unknowing if it’s all going to work out, all the while hoping that two people can find one another. Love—it’s a beautiful thing. We see it played out in scripture, the greatest love story of all time. We reach for an inspirational romance because as the tears roll down, we hunger for victory. It’s the knowledge that hope and love are laced throughout, growing stronger with each turning of the page. It’s what has our nose in the pages, the phone ringer set to silent, a few Kleenex on hand, and a full, full heart.

Have you read a love story recently that’s tugged at your heartstrings?


Thanks for visiting us on the “A Book For Every Reader” blog tour! Leave a comment below to be entered to win not one but TWO books! One of Joanne’s and one of mine. Also, to enter in the grand giveaway prize which includes some country goodies and an e-reader, simply hop on over and fill out the entry form:

You’ll also find the official details. Winners will be drawn on September 28th and contacted via email. Thank you for joining us!

Christy Award-finalist and author of The Cadence of Grace seriesJoanne Bischof has a deep passion for Appalachian culture and writing stories that shine light on God’s grace and goodness. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, folk music, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life.

Thanking Readers Who Review

Surrendered Hearts, by Carrie Turansky

Surrendered Hearts, by Carrie Turansky

Hi Friends,

Today I wanted to say thank you to all my reading friends who take time to post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and other websites. I appreciate your feedback, and I believe it helps other readers decide if they might enjoy the book. I’m convinced positive reviews can really help boost book sales., so keep them coming!

I recently lowered the price of Surrendered Hearts to free for a few days on Amazon, and it was downloaded by 35,000 more readers. It’s exciting to think of so many people having an opportunity to read that story of healing and redemption. Offering a novel free like that helps me connect with new readers. And I hope some of those who enjoy it will want to read my other novels. It also brings in a new wave of reviews. Surrendered Hearts now has over 80 reviews, and most of those are 4 and 5 stars. That’s so encouraging!

Surrendered Hearts is set in beautiful Vermont

Surrendered Hearts is set in beautiful Vermont

Thanks very much! Here are a few of the most recent reviews For Surrendered Hearts:

“This book, along with its author, deserve more than five stars but that is the limit on here. Those who have lost their faith or believe they never had it, just need to open their minds, hearts and mouth to God and give Him the chance to prove His love for them . . . Every scar we have can never beat the ones Jesus bore for our sins and Jennifer just had to take a leap to faith and God let her know that He is ALWAYS with us.” From June

“Everything is described so vividly, I could clearly visualise it. The combination of a small town, reclaiming faith and love is truly amazing. I loved reading this.” From Rissiepit

“I downloaded this book when it was free on Kindle, and it was the best download I have made this year! I could really feel God’s influence in this heart warming story which I devoured in a couple of days. I loved Jenn’s transformation not only on a spiritual level but also dealing with the scars she had from the gas fire. As a “new to me” author, Carrie has won me over with her story and very believable characters. I plan on reading more of her books.” Kate

Blessings and Happy Reading,




A Little Help From My Friends


Surrendered Hearts, by Carrie Turansky

Surrendered Hearts, by Carrie Turansky

Hi Friends,

Have you read a good book lately? Did you share that info with anyone? Friends recommending books to friends is one of the key ways readers discover new authors and books. Creating a buzz through word-of-mouth promotion is every author’s dream. So next time you enjoy a book . . . please spread the word!

Here are several ways you can get that word out online:

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