Friday, December 13, 2013

Countdown to Christmas | The Christmas Star by Ace Collins


It's another day of the Countdown to Christmas Party! I'm excited to share about The Christmas Star by Ace Collins and hear some special Christmas memories from the author himself. (If you've missed other stops along the way, you can check them out here.)

About the Book
Can the broken heart of a child be healed by an unexpected Christmas letter?Robert Reed gave his life for his country in the early days of World War II. His sacrifice was honored when his widow and son were presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor. At Christmas, the final decoration Marge Reed hangs on the family’s tree is that medal. Rather than being a symbol of honor for young Jimmy Reed that shining star represents loss, pain, and suffering.

Yet a message delivered by one of Robert’s fellow soldiers and a mystery letter found in a Bible put a father’s sacrifice and faith into perspective and bring new meaning to not just the star hanging on the Christmas tree but the events of the very first Christmas. Then, when least expected, a Christmas miracle turns a final bit of holiday sadness into a joy that Jimmy has never known.


My Thoughts
The Christmas Star is a sweet Christmas read. While the plot was a bit predictable (and the ending was a stretch), I still felt like the book was a great reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. I also loved reading the true story of the meaning of mistletoe! I'll definitely look at this "decoration" differently in the future! I also enjoyed getting to know many of the other townspeople, Calvin the bus driver in particular. The community and love for others was so special, and I loved reading how everyone in the town looked out for one another. [3.5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Abingdon Press in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Ace was kind enough to answer a few questions about Christmas past! I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I did!

i blog 4 books: Ace, welcome to i blog 4 books! What is your most memorable Christmas and why?

Ace Collins: I was five, it was at my grandparents in Salem, Arkansas, and man dressed like Santa brought a Lionel electric train to the front door. I still set that train up under one of our trees each year.

ib4b: Oh my! I bet that was so exciting! Name three words that you associate with Christmas.

AC: Family, home and light.

ib4b: How will your family celebrate Christmas this year?

AC: We attend church and then exchange presents on Christmas Eve. After that we drive around and look at lights then usually watch a holiday movie. Our big family dinner is at noon on Christmas Day. So it is a simple time being with each other.

ib4b: Simple times are the best sometimes. What is the best gift you’ve ever given?

AC: I take a lot of time and put a lot of effort into picking out gifts, so it hard for me to choose just one. But if I narrowed it down I think it might be a basketball I gave our son Clint that was autographed by the Boston Celtics Championship team. We he was growing up he loved Larry Bird.

ib4b: Who gave you the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received? What was it?

AC: When I was really young my parents gave me a radio. Sounds funny now, but radio was different then and it allowed me to tap into music, sporting events and news and listen to what I wanted to listen to. It was really my first chance to experience a bit of true freedom of choice.

ib4b: I remember getting really excited about an alarm clock one year ... maybe because it was kind of a "grown up" gift? Tell me about the Christmas tradition that means the most to you.

AC: Gifts. I just love to watch the faces of folks as they open their presents. Now in truth, opening or receiving gifts does not mean that much to me, but I love to search for just the right thing, I enjoy wrapping those presents and I love to watch people’s reactions as they find out what they are. So it is the giving that counts in my world.

ib4b: How do you keep your focus on Christ during this hectic but wondrous time of year?

AC: Music is everywhere in our home, at Thanksgiving I even put 100 holiday 45 RPM records in our 1957 Wurlitzer jukebox, so the songs of the season keep me centered. Also, I know all the stories behind the traditions of the holidays and their original meanings, so I see things such as mistletoe that others pretty much ignore and remember the lessons early missionaries taught by using that plant. Same goes for the other traditions.

ib4b: What is your favorite ...
  • Christmas movie? The original 1945 version of Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan.
  • Christmas song? Of the carols, “O Holy Night,” of the secular holiday songs, “Its Christmas Once Again.” There are many versions of that song but I most enjoy Mandy Barnett’s.
  • Christmas treat? My wife’s homemade Christmas cookies.
  • Christmas smell? Walking outside and smelling wood burning in fireplaces or stores. Reminds of my grandparents.
    Christmas children’s book? The Christmas Collie, which is a wonderful obscure book that unites my love of dogs with the real spirit of the season.

About the Author
Ace Collins is the best-selling and award-winning author of more than 60 titles, including The Stories Behind The Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, Darkness Before Dawn, and Lassie: A Dog's Life. Ace frequently speaks across the country and on radio and has appeared on national television shows, including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Fox and Friends, Entertainment Tonight, The Early Show and more. When not writing, he works as a magazine editor and graphic designer, as well as host for a charity organization radio and television broadcast. Ace and his wife, Kathy, are based in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Ace Collins Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Twitter

Giveaway
Abingdon Press has graciously offered to give an Ace Collins prize pack to one reader! One reader will win a copy of each of the following books: The Christmas Star, Music for Your Heart, The Cutting Edge, and Darkness Before Dawn. Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends December 19. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*** All participants must be 18 years or older. The winner will be contacted via email. Once contacted the winner has 72 hours to respond with the required information. If the winner does not respond within the timeframe specified, another winner will be chosen. I am not responsible for shipping mishaps. Void where prohibited. ***

18 comments:

  1. I really like all white lights at Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love any kind of Christmas lights. The sparkle, glow and twinkle just make me smile.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like white lights. Doesn't matter if they twinkle or not.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like both white and colored lights but not lights that blink.
    pmk56[at] sbcglobal[dot]net

    ReplyDelete
  5. We have mostly white lights but have one tree with colored lights. I prefer lights that do not blink.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love color lights that twinkle.

    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love both colored and white lights.
    oh.hello.hiya@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I like both white and colored lights,but not twinkling lights.

    specialbutter918(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love white lights. Their stillness and purity bring a calmness to my soul.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I like white twinkling & blue lights. Stars in the night sky...

    ReplyDelete
  11. I like colorful lights best although I like the tiny white lights as well. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love all Christmas lights. Colored and twinkling tend to be my favorites. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hello Ace. Seems like you have some interesting books. I have tried to read this Christmas book way back on The Book Club network, but wasn't one of the lucky winners. As to christmas lights I like a variety, but prefer the colored lights. I do love the colored blinking lights outdoors on my porch. Hoping to win. Thanks! Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com (please use this address.)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hallo, Hallo everyone! :)

    I will have to admit that I love all twinkle lights which light up our lives with the pure joy of seeing the Christmas decorations alighting neighbourhoods and hearts throughout the Christmas Season! Having said that, I would personally love to play around with either all red lights OR all white lights because I like the effects that each colour spectrum provides! White lights have this magical allure to them as I love snow! :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I like color lights. They just make you feel good. Kinda like they are the color of the rainbow and i think of god's promise. He is here.
    Blessings
    joeym11@frontier.com

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! Thanks for letting me know what you think!

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