Happy Friday! I'm once again jumping ahead of myself and doing a Christmas story--or two, as this case is. Be patient and scroll through the entire post... there's a lot of great stuff packed in here!
But first... first lines from both stories!
Just have to say, that first line of "Christmas in Blue" is SO true!!! I'm a piano/violin teacher and yes, I know when my students haven't practiced...there are just things you know. ;)
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Now, after you get through this wonderful, long post, stop and comment!
~ Share a first line
~ Have you read anything by Olivia Newport?
~ What is a new-for-you author this month?
~ Anything else you feel like commenting ;)
About the BookName of book: Colors of Christmas
Author: Olivia Newport
Genre: Contemporary Christmas
Release Date: October 1, 2017
Christmas in Blue Angela just wants Christmas to be over. Instead, she finds herself in charge of the town’s celebration, and everything goes from bad to worse. Can she rescue Christmas for the town—and herself?
Christmas in Gold When eighty-year-old Astrid moves into an assisted living community and meets a young woman on the brink of despair, she resolves to stir up Christmas hope one more time.
Click here to purchase your copy.
I thoroughly enjoyed the two novellas in this book. I appreciated that they weren’t romances and that there was a strong, Christian theme in both of them.
“Christmas in Gold” is definitely my favorite of the two. I loved, loved, loved Astrid and her whole story. I really liked reading a story of an elderly woman entering a retirement center—that is not something I’ve read much of. That initially intrigued me to Astrid. But then her back story! I’m not a huge fan of back story, but wow. Her back story was VERY well written and thought out and portrayed. The flashbacks were perfect because of who Astrid was. Not everyone can get away with dumping in back story, but because Astrid was toward the eve of her years and the move jarred her, her living in the past was so very well done. So Astrid gets a five star from me.
I wish I could have liked Carly’s story a little more. Maybe I just had a hard time sympathizing with her, or maybe it was that her story was a little vague. It’s not like I did not like it, I guess I was just trying to understand the magnitude of her problem (maybe it made my brain think that this was leaning toward suspense but it didn’t reach that point, so I was just left confused?).
“Christmas in Blue”…after Gold, I was eager to see what other story was in this book. I didn’t care for it quite as much as Gold. The best way I can describe it is a Hallmark movie minus the romance. Everything that could go wrong went wrong—but then everything that could be solved was magnificently pieced together. It was just a little too perfect to be real life. I connected with Angela instantly, because I am a piano teacher as well and I rarely find books that feature music teachers. But beyond that, I just didn’t quite feel her pain. I wanted to, especially after reading Gold, but it just didn’t appeal to me quite the same. It is, however, an amazing story if you just want a “feel good” story (I usually don’t go for those). It kind of ranked more of a 3.5 rating for me.
Like I said, spiritual content in both of these were solid. Blue was a little more confusing to me—but it could have just been that by the end/climax, I was ready to be finished with the story. It brought out the beauty of healing. Gold portrayed that it is only by God’s strength that we can get through trials. I really did appreciate the emphasis on trials, and how they have potential to turn one to God.
The romance was almost nonexistent. There was absolutely none in Blue, but in Gold, there was a situation that Carly faced with a former boyfriend, and you knew that someone else was falling for her, but it was not a main part of the story at all.
There are some bomb scenes, some scenes with boyfriend restraint orders, but nothing explicit; just to mention it for my younger readers.
*I received this book from CelebrateLit and happily provided my honest review*
Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.
Guest Post from Olivia Newport
We All Have a Story
I’m younger than most of the people I exercise with. It started when I had a lot of pain in my feet and needed low-impact classes with the option of sitting down and learned I didn’t have to be a senior citizen to take their classes at my gym. Then I discovered how tough most of them are. Years later, though my feet are better, these are still my people.
A couple of years ago, while we waited for the younger and allegedly-but-not-really-tougher crowd to clear out of the group exercise room so we could invade it, a woman I would not have guessed to be 80, because she could out-cardio and out-lift me any day of the week, mentioned she had been widowed since she was 39. And she’d been widowed the first time at 19. And she’d grown up in Germany while Hitler was intent on destroying Europe and life was not easy.
Then the changing of the guard happened and I was left with my mouth gaping. I knew I had to hear this story. The next week after class, we went across the parking lot to Culvers for lunch and I scribbled notes on the backs of a pile of brown napkins while Astrid talked. Later she let me read the account of her life that she had written herself.
Astrid faced so many tragic circumstances, but she would be the first to tell you that God was with her even before she knew how to call on him. Many people with her life story would have found plenty of reason to wallow and stagnate. But not Astrid. Truly she is one of the most hopeful people I know.
Her story was the beginning of Colors of Christmas, which includes two stories. Astrid’s is “Christmas in Gold,” and the other is “Christmas in Blue.” Astrid inspired me to write about hope for a time of year when the Christian message resounds with hope yet so many people struggle to grasp hope for themselves. I pray these stories will help many recover a sense of hope afresh.
Olivia Newport chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.
To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a grand prize of a Christmas Bundle Bonanza which includes 7 Jumbo rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, 2 sets of stick-on gift tags, 2 packages of Christmas cards and envelopes, 2 collections of Christmas novellas—18 stories in all, and a signed copy of Colors of Christmas!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c319
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