About the Book
Book: These Simple Gifts
Author: Jennifer Sienes
Genre: Christian Christmas Contemporary Romance and Southern Fiction
Release date: November 8, 2022
This year, Annalee has more ugly to deal with than you can find at a Christmas sweater party.
After eighteen years of living in the shadow of danger, shame, and regret, preschool teacher Annalee Prichard just wants to keep life safe and simple. It’s worked so far, but her best friend has other ideas and guilts Annalee into helping with a Christmas charity event. When the event’s entertainment backs out, it’s up to Annalee to convince her high school crush, Nick Daniels, to step up and step into the gig.
Nick Daniels has never been accused of having but one oar in the water, and he learned the hard way that pride truly does come before a fall. He sacrificed everything to achieve the fame he desired above all else. But after hitting rock bottom, he returned home to Bedford County, clinging to a mustard-seed-sized faith.
That’s when homely Annalee Pritchard shows up, convinced he’ll be willing to flirt with fame once again—all in the name of Christian charity.
Nick’s friendship has Annalee grinning like a fool. Could there be more to life than shame and shadows? Could this be her most blessed Christmas ever?
Little does Annalee know that her fearsome past is about to rear its ugly and perilous head and drag her and Nick down together.
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About the Author
Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered life-experience is the the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing–and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies–two in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.
More from Jennifer
Who doesn’t love a good redemption story? The bad boy (or girl) gone good. My husband and I have recently started watching the television show Nashville. Yes, I’m aware it’s probably considered a prime-time soap opera, and it certainly wouldn’t come close to passing as “clean” television, but we were hooked from the very beginning. Why, you might be asking? First and foremost, the talent on this show is absolutely amazing. Take it from someone who can’t carry a tune to save her life, I am enamored with people who can sing like the actors in this show. The second reason we enjoy it is because it was basically filmed in our backyard. We live an hour south of Nashville, and it’s always a treat to recognize your own surroundings on television. I remember my mom was a big fan of The Streets of San Francisco back in the day, because she worked in this city and the scenery was familiar. I don’t think the fact it starred Michael Douglas hurt either.
How does this connect to a redemption story? One character in Nashville, named Avery Barkley, starts out as someone that’s hard to stomach. Self-centered, arrogant, and immature. He reminds me of Nick Daniels in These Simple Gifts and Night Songs. So much so, had I been watching the show before I wrote Night Songs, I would’ve believed that I based Nick off of Avery. However, that wasn’t the case.
And just like Avery in Nashville does a 180-degree (albeit slow) switch in his character, so it is for Nick Daniels in These Simple Gifts. Redemption is every bit as attractive to me as romance. I love that we are all just broken jars of clay that the Lord shapes for our good and His glory, if we’re sensitive enough (and broken enough) to recognize it.
I didn’t care much for Nick when I created him—and neither did my readers. More than one church lady-fans gave me an earful about how much they didn’t care for him. But if I know one thing it’s that no one is all good or all bad. We are a combination of our upbringing and choices (both right and wrong). And until we leave this earth, God isn’t done growing our character. I like to believe anyone can be redeemed given the right circumstances and a heart toward the Lord. Even Nick Daniels.
The book is a good story that illustrates redemption and forgiveness. I liked the two main characters and thought they were both intriguing. Annalee was definitely easy to identify with. I understand her reason for dressing the way she does. I tend to wear baggy clothes a lot especially when I was younger. What happened to Annalee could be a trigger for some readers so be mindful when reading. All these years she has carried shame, regret, guilt and insecurity.
Nick is known as a bad boy in the country music world. His life spun out of control and now he is finding his way back to God. I love that he is using his gift by being on a worship team at church. He says he doesn’t want to be in the lime light again after the mess he made of his marriage. But God has a different plan for him and I was excited to see if Nick would obey the calling.
There is a bit of suspense in the story which was handled well. Someone from Annalee’s past has come to get revenge. This causes alarm to her and her family. Having Nick as her friend now will hopefully help her feel safe.
I enjoyed that the author did a great job of showing how people can change and get a second chance. She also gives us an example of healing from the past and allowing yourself to move on. Don’t miss this story that has suspense, lessons that we can learn from and the unconditional love God shows us when we need Him.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read These Simple Gifts. I truly appreciate your thoughtful review.ReplyDelete
I always enjoy a good redemption story. The added suspense sounds good, too.ReplyDelete
Really nice book cover design-- I can't wait to read this! Thanks so much for sharing.ReplyDelete