Friday, October 27, 2017

Colors of Christmas | Giveaway, Tour, FLF, and Blog Hop

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. ;)

Don't forget: you can be a part of First Line Fridays and share your link on Hoarding Books.

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 Book

Name 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.

My Review
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!

Blog Stops

Books N Baubles, October 17
Bukwurmzzz, October 17
Bigreadersite, October 19
Blogging With Carol, October 21
A Greater Yes, October 22
Mary Hake, October 22
Daysong Reflections, October 22
Baker Kella, October 23
Remembrancy, October 24
Carpe Diem, October 25
autism mom, October 25
Bibliophile Reviews, October 25
A Reader’s Brain, October 26
By The Book, October 26
The Power of Words, October 26
Pause for Tales, October 27
Splashes of Joy, October 27
Jeanette’s ThoughtsOctober 28
Karen Sue Hadley, October 28
Vicky Sluiter, October 29
Pursuing Stacie, October 29
Just Jo’Anne, October 30


Carol L. said...

Thank you for your post and review. Olivia Newport is a new Author for me so this will be the first book I'll be reading from here.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) AOL (dot) com

Ryana Lynn said...

Wow!I think I want to read this one!

No new authors this month :( But probably next month.

Love the Christmas season! I've had a recent obsession with writing about Christmas;) It's my favorite holiday!

Rebekah said...

I LOVE Christmas books! I just do! And over the years my collection of Christmas stories have expanded, but I'm still excited when I can add new stories to that collection! As soon as I heard about this book (Amanda's review) I wanted to read it! I added to my list and hope to be able to read it this year.
I've never read anything from this author before, so that makes this book more fun. :)

Sharon K. Connell said...

You know, I've never read a "Christmas" book. I've always watched Hallmark Christmas movies, but never thought to read a book at that time of year with all the stress of the holidays, but this could be the year that I start that tradition. It has occurred to me that it would be a stress-relieving activity. Strange I never thought of it before.

Thank you for posting this.

Suzie Waltner said...

I'm reading a Christmas book right now too (I have four lined up for the next month or so).

I shared a line from Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson on my blog today but the first line of what I’m reading is…

Is Daddy down there? (from Christmas at Cade Ranch by Karen Rock).

Enjoy your weekend.

Anonymous said...

I love Christmas books. I just finished a three story Amish theme. Thank You for this terrific giveaway.

Jewels said...

Christmas in Gold sounds really good!! It's so cool to hear that it's based off of a true story, too! I love it when true stories would make great books. I am going to share the first line of a short story I'm working on that will probably never get published :) It's just one of those stories that you get really inspired to write happens. We'll see. Anyway: 'On a wet, winter day, a lady could be seen hurrying along the streets of Paris, black feathered hat pulled low, head down, and tall black boots clicking along the brick road in her purposeful haste.'
I have not read anything by Olivia Newton. These stories of hers sound really good, though!
I've not been reading a lot this month...drawing/painting more than reading, doing homework, and writing my own stories a little bit. Therefore, I don't think I have read any new authors this month.
Thanks for sharing these first lines, and I hope you have a great weekend!

Jewels said...

Oh, and the short story I'm writing is about a secret/illegal Bible press, just for some context.

englishmysteriesblog said...

It's never too early for Christmas stories! :) And I didn't realize that there were two novellas in this's been on my to-buy list for the holidays. Happy Friday Amanda!

MeezCarrie said...

I really enjoyed this book!

My current first line is from A MOTHER IN THE MAKING by Gabrielle Meyer: "John Orton stared at Anna's portrait, his grief nothing compared to his pulsing guilt."

Unknown said...

I just read Colors of Christmas recently and enjoyed it as well! :)

I’m featuring Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh on my blog, but I’m currently reading a non-fiction book called She’s Got The Wrong Guy: Why Smart Women Settle by Deepak Reju so I’ll use that today.

Part 1:
From Problems to Faith
When it comes to dating and marriage, what problems do you face as a single woman?

Happy Reading!! :)

Becky said...

My first line is from The Color of Redemption by Lynn Cornell:

"An eerie foreboding had jolted me from my sleep this morning, vexing my spirit - the kind of vexing that made me want to cower under my covers and stay in bed."

Jodi Hunter said...

Incredible POst.

Amanda Tero said...

@ Carol – I hope you get to read it!

@ Ryana – I think you’ll enjoy it! One of these days, I hope to write Christmas! :)

@ Rebekah – this is the first year I’ve really read many Christmas books and I’ve loved it!

@ Sharon – it took me a few years to read Christmas books—I’m there with you on the watching Christmas Hallmarks. Reading in general, though, is more stress-relieving for me overall. :)

@ Suzie – ooh, four! Sweet! And what a first line! My mind goes several different places with that one!

@ Marilyn – that sounds like a fun read!

@ Jewels – yes, I agree: true stories make the best fiction stories. That’s a nice first line (and idea!!)! I do hope you’re able to go further in it!! And it sounds like you’ve been busy, although you’ve not done much reading. :)

@ English – haha! Okay, I’ll have to agree. ;)

@ Carrie – wow, great first line. Thanks for sharing!

@ Rebecca – yay! And that sounds like an intriguing non-fiction. I do like to balance my reading diet with both. :)

@ Becky – thanks for sharing!

@ Jodi – thanks!

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