today’s book: Celebrating Tina
Welcome to another post in my annual blog series spotlighting new and recently-released Christmas reads! (Over 50 this year – And I’m SO EXCITED about it!)
Christmas is only 10 days away (Yikes! lol) and I think we all could benefit from some extra Christmas cheer this year, right? Continuing through just before Christmas, I’m going to spotlight several new/recent Christmasy releases. So… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and start your bookish Christmas list! Oh… and did I mention there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)
Today’s first book is an inspirational romantic suspense – plus author Sara Blackard shares why she loves Christmas!
SERIES: Styker Security Force #3
GENRE: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
RELEASE DATE: November 9, 2020
A K-9 handler determined to prove she belongs. A detective with an unwavering plan. Can they overcome their painful pasts and accept the gift of love?
Tina West has spent her life feeling like she stood on the outside, but since taking a job at Stryker Security, life seems to be turning for the better.
Tina never imagined when she took a job as a nanny she’d end up training for search and rescue. Yet, when her boss shows up with a retired military dog and the opportunity to train with him, Tina snatches up the chance to help those who are lost. If she saves enough people, maybe she could find meaning in a life that left her with nothing but a bruised heart and a tarnished picture of family. As holiday festivities loom before her, she wonders if she’ll ever shuck the regrets that haunt her dreams and keep her from connecting with others.
Milo Bishop’s every move has been to take care of his mom and younger brother.
Since his father’s murder, Milo has worked hard to make sure his mom and brother were provided for. He joined the police force straight out of high school, took night classes so he could move up to investigator, and put his life on hold until his brother graduated from college. But when he is rescued on Thanksgiving Day by Tina West, his well-laid plans take a sharp detour.
When a series of kidnappings threaten to ruin the holidays, can Tina and Milo put aside their doubts and find the abducted children before it’s too late?
Can Tina trust her instincts when they’re put to the test or will children being harmed hit too close to her past for her to deal with?
Will Milo put his desires above his family’s needs when a chance at love catches him by surprise?
If you like nail-biting adventure, fascinating characters, and engaging stories of triumph, you’ll love Sara Blackard’s riveting Christmas romantic suspense.
five reasons i love christmas
by Sara Blackard, author of Celebrating Tina
When Carrie asked me to be a part of Reading is My Superpower’s It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas event, I was like “Absolutely!”
One: I love Christmas. Okay, full honesty here. I’m not the ‘love Christmas so much I listen to festive songs all year long’ type. That would be my husband. I’m more of a ‘tolerate Christmas in November, then blast it all December’ type.
Two: My birthday is two days before. I waited a full three weeks past my due date just to be born close to Christmas. Well, that may have been more because of me deciding a breech birth would be fun and exciting and the extra comfiness of my teeny mom’s belly than actually wanting to be born as close to the 25th as possible. However, I like to pretend it was my love of Christmas and my desire to go home in a stocking on Christmas Day that kept me tucked in my mother’s tummy so long. I was born to love Christmas.
Three: While I’d rather relegate Christmas music to December to joyfully warm up the frigid Alaskan winter, I can devour a good romantic Christmas story anytime of the year. A swoony holiday read while hanging out at the lake in July is a favorite pass time of mine. (I like to leave the fishing to others.)
Four: I love experimenting in the kitchen. With a family of five kids who love to experiment with me, we get a lot of joy out of trying new holiday recipes and giving them to others. In fact, the kids love it so much they’ve baked for the holiday craft fairs held here in Tok, Alaska over the last five years, selling out before noon each time. As the events draw closer, I get messages asking if they’ll be selling their cookies and bread again.
Five: Most importantly, I love being able to celebrate Jesus’ birth all month long (not that it has to begin and end in December). I can’t wait to hear our small church sing traditional hymns rejoicing His birth that have been sung for generations. I eagerly anticipate finding new books or activities to help the kids embrace the only reason for the holiday season. I cherish unwrapping old traditions like the Jesse Tree ornaments the oldest kids made or the nativity scene my grandma gave me. All the preparing, singing, decorating, and giving softens my heart to remembering the amazing miracle of Jesus’s birth and the insane grace He gives me.
In the spirit of giving, I’d like to pass on a special cookie recipe that is a favorite of my family’s and made by the characters in my holiday romantic suspense, Celebrating Tina.
The unassuming cookie that sneaks up on you.
1 cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 egg, plus 1 yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ¾ cup flour
Sneaky Sugar Mixture
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice (this is the secret ingredient that give it a sneaky punch.)
- Preheat oven to 325°Line a baking sheet with a parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add in the egg, the yolk, vanilla, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and cinnamon and mix for 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Turn mixer to low and add in flour, mixing until just combined.
- In a separate small bowl make your Sneaky Sugar by mixing cinnamon, Chinese five-spice, and sugar, stirring until evenly combined.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, portion out the dough and roll into a ball. Then roll each cookie dough ball into the cinnamon sugar mixture until coated.
- Place on prepared baking sheet about 2- inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, turning cookie sheet halfway through baking.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Sara Blackard is a Christian romance novelist who writes stories that thrill the imagination and strum heartstrings. She’s been a writer since she was able to hold a pencil. When she’s not crafting wild adventures and sweet romances, she’s homeschooling her five children, keeping their off-grid house running, or enjoying the Alaskan lifestyle she and her husband love. Visit her website at www.sarablackard.com for her latest giveaway.
Sara Blackard is offering an ebook copy of Celebrating Tina to one of my readers! (Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Celebrating Tina by Sara Blackard? Why do YOU love Christmas?