Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: The 12 Gifts of Christmas by Lena Nelson Dooley

About the Book

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!

My thoughts...

The 12 Gifts of Christmas is a creative and enjoyable read, especially in these weeks leading up to Christmas. For a story where the attraction is almost instant and the relationship progresses rather quickly, Lena Nelson Dooley surprisingly crafts a story where the characters seem real and we get to know them well.

I loved how setting played such a huge part and enjoyed seeing the Dallas/Ft. Worth area through Dooley’s skillful writing. From restaurants to local events, like ICE, the area came alive as Malcolm and Alanza got to know each other. I also enjoyed the emphasis on family as the backgrounds of these two were gradually revealed.

Malcolm and Alanza, of Scottish and Brazilian descent respectively, come from very different heritages, yet they have a lot in common. Both are good-hearted,  comfortable financially, but most importantly, they share a strong faith. My favorite part was the emphasis on seeking God’s guidance and how prayer seemed as natural as breathing, which it should be.

I can’t leave without mentioning that there’s a great scene toward the end where Malcolm MacGregor appears in full Scottish regalia. There’s just something about a Scotsman that gets to me!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas is an uplifting, heartwarming story – perfect for getting in the Christmas spirit.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

Multi-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 


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 


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.


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 image above or the link below to enter.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, October 9
Among the Reads, October 10
A Diva’s Heart, October 10
Luv’N Lambert Life, October 11
Baker Kella, October 11
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 12
Britt Reads Fiction, October 13
Texas Book-aholic, October 13
Susan Loves Books, October 14
Splashes of Joy, October 15
Creating Romance, October 16
Bigreadersite, October 16
Mary Hake, October 17
Maureen’s Musings, October 18
Bibliophile Reviews, October 20
Pause for Tales, October 20
More Of Him, October 21
Carpe Diem, October 22


  1. Replies
    1. I enjoyed it, Melanie. So glad you visited today.

  2. Sounds interesting. Why would the gold-digger want him back now???

    1. His money and position, of course! LOL So good to see you here, Miss Terri.

  3. Thank you for the review. Sounds interesting.

    1. It really is perfect for this season, Debra. Thank you for visiting today.

  4. That hot chocolate recipe looks amazing. Book sounds like a great read for the holiday season.

    1. I made note of that recipe myself, Dianne. It reminds me of a recipe I used to love, and now can't find it anywhere. Thanks for visiting today.

  5. Thank you so much for visiting, James Robert! My TBR list keeps growing and I long for more reading time. Hope you get a chance to read Lena's story.

  6. This sounds delightful--ty for the giveaway too.

  7. Thank you so much this is such a great story and Lena is such a wonderful Author!

  8. Lena is a new to me author. Thanks for introducing her books to me.

  9. Thank you for a great review! IT sounds like a fun read! :D

  10. This sounds like a great book! I've always wanted to try making home-made hot chocolate, maybe I'll use this recipe. :)

  11. Thanks for sharing! Would really like to read. I am definitely going to try the hot chocolate recipe!