By Betsy St. Amant Haddox, Crosswalk.com
As the holidays approach, bringing with them a sleigh full of hustle and bustle, you’ll need to carve out some quiet moments for yourself. And if you’re anything like me, those quiet moments will be best enjoyed with a brand-new novel. (if you’re REALLY like me, then also coffee!)
I love to read Christmas novels during the holidays, but not exclusively. Sometimes, I need a break from the tinsel and bows, but I still want a fireplace-worthy read. I want my end-of-the-year books to be an event, something to lose myself in while listening to carols playing softly in the background and ignoring how many Christmas cookies I’ve consumed.
On that note, here are twelve new Christian fiction releases (some Christmas-y, and some not) that are sure to warm your spirit this holiday season:
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1. You Make It Feel Like Christmas by Toni Shiloh
Ahh, Christmas. Nothing better than a sweet holiday read right smack in the middle of cozy season! This new book from Toni Shiloh checks all the boxes. Romance, holiday magic, family drama… if you’ve ever felt a little out of place at Christmas, you’ll relate to this strong heroine attempting to find her way. (Don’t you hate it when you come home for Christmas and your sister is marrying your ex?) To all the women who have ever wondered “what’s next?”…this book is for you.
2. The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater by Jaime Jo Wright
While not cozy in the traditional sense, if you’re not reading a Jaime Jo Wright book by the fireplace, you’re doing it wrong. (Also, you might want to position your back against a wall) I once described to a friend that Jaime Jo Wright is “as creepy as Christian fiction will allow.” I stand by that statement, so for all you readers out there who enjoy a good spooky read without going TOO far over the line, this novel is for you. A haunted theater (or is it?), ghost-hunters, and a sprinkle of romance make this book a must-read this fall.
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3. A Louisiana Christmas to Remember by Betsy St. Amant, Morgan Tarpley Smith, and Lenora Worth
Nobody does Christmas like the south! This three-in-one holiday collection from three Louisiana-native authors (including yours truly!) is set in a fictional town inspired by Natchitoches. The stories follow three strong women from the founding family of Moreau, acting as a continuity leading up to Christmas. As an author, it was an honor to be a part of this set that features a rare snowfall, a beloved southern town recovering from a hurricane, a Christmas ball, a holiday market, a feisty granny, and all the romance that can fit under your tree! With tropes like second-chance romance and enemies-to-lovers, this holiday set will make you feel toasty faster than you can say “Ho, ho, ho.”
4. The Last Exchange by Charles Martin
I discovered Charles Martin books just this year. (I’m so very late to the game, I know!) His several-years-ago Murphy Shepherd series impacted me deeply, and now, Charles Martin is securely locked on the list as being one of my top five favorite authors ever. Think I’m being dramatic? Want to challenge the hype? I dare you to read his latest book The Last Exchange, then get back with me. (Go ahead, I’m waiting!) You won’t regret it. (Unless you’re feeling the pinch of your pocket book, because you’ll probably do like I did and go add every book he’s ever written to your cart) Dealing with addiction, bodyguards, and sacrificial love, The Last Exchange isn’t your typical holiday read. It’s so much more.
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5. All’s Fair in Love and Christmas by Sarah Monzon
Co-worker crushes, lovable, quirky characters, a high-stakes workplace competition—this sweet romance from Sarah Monzon will have you singing Christmas carols in no time. While addressing deeper topics like unexpected guardianship, anxiety, and dementia, this holiday read will leave you giggling, pondering, and then lingering deep in the Christmas spirit. Must read with cocoa!
6. A Royal Christmas by Melody Carlson
Modern-day royalty stories always get me! Add a fairytale spin, and I’m sold! In this latest Christmas book from award-winning author Melody Carlson, you’ll find a heroine who discovers a DNA connection makes her the direct descendant of a king in eastern Europe. Her journey to investigate this suspicious fact reveals an adorable village town, family mysteries, a castle, and her very own potential Prince Charming. Lovers of the movie The Princess Diaries will especially enjoy this clean holiday read, full of the best kind of magic—the Christmas spirit.
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7. Brynn and Sebastian Hate Each Other by Bethany Turner
There are only a handful of authors guaranteed to make me snort out loud while reading, and this is one of them. Rom-com lovers, look no further. (Then go check out Bethany’s backlist of novels!) Feeling stressed by the pending holidays? This latest offering from Bethany is the perfect escape read to laugh, snort, feel, and text your best friend all the highlights as you go. Just don’t start this one if you have a pending task, or you’ll never get to it!
8. We Three Kings by Angela Ruth Strong, Crystal Caudill, and Cara Putman
This three-in-one novella set features holiday stories from several well-known authors. Following three generations of the Weise family, this Christmas collection includes a Christmas-themed maiden voyage on a steamer ship, World War II art restoration, an essential oils mogul, a big Christmas lights festival, happily ever after, and plenty of romance to warm you all season long.
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9. Julia Monroe Begins Again by Rebekah Millet
The world needs more books featuring middle-aged, strong heroines just like this one! In this debut novel from Rebekah Millet, heroine Julia Monroe is forty, a widow, and an empty-nester who is absolutely NOT looking for love—until she gets thrown back in the path of her long-ago ex. This southern read set in New Orleans will help you feel all the feels this holiday season—with a Cajun flair!
10. Their Holiday Secret by Betsy St. Amant
This fake-date trope set right in the middle of the holidays serves as the perfect addition to your Christmas season! With match-making teenagers, a donut shop, a “Home for the Holidays” project house for charity, sibling rivalry, and plenty of mistletoe, this latest romance from yours truly will have you humming carols in no time (and craving donuts)!
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11. Better Watch Out by Natalie Walters
If you love Hallmark Christmas movies and Hallmark Murder Mysteries, you’ll love this latest from Natalie Walters. Mistaken identity, a bucket-list of Christmas items, a former NHL defenseman turned protection agent, and a whole heap of trouble make this a holiday read not to miss. “Leave the candy canes, take the pepper spray!”
12. A Novel Proposal by Denise Hunter
You’ve heard of Christmas in July. Well, why not a beach read at Christmas? Denise Hunter has always been on my “auto-buy” list, and her new novel is a further testament that this will always be the case! A Novel Proposal features an author who is forced to switch genres by her publisher and retreats to a beach house on the coast to figure out how to write a romance. Of course, she falls in love—and of course, it ruins everything. Or does it? Find out in Denise’s latest.
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