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Barbara J. Shelton’s Review of “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by JoAnn Durgin

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Captain Jacob Marston, Starlight, Iowa’s wounded hometown hero, made a long ago promise to the Lord: he won’t kiss a woman until he knows she’s “the one” he’ll marry. Now, at age twenty-eight, the rugged firefighter questions if it’ll ever happen. Then he meets his best friend’s sister, Julia Sinclair, and Jake believes he’s found the woman of his dreams–but she’s promised to another man. When Julia makes an unexpected confession on Christmas Day, Jake shares his secret with her, and it looks as though happily-ever-after will make a holiday appearance. But somehow, everyone in the tiny town of Starlight learns Jake’s secret and he’s instantly transformed from town hero to laughingstock. Did Julia reveal his secret? Can Jake and Julia find their way under the mistletoe for a forever kiss?

To read more and purchase Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, click here.

( Meet Me Under the Mistletoe is now onsale for $.99 at Amazon – so get your copy now!)

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe
MY REVIEW 

What could possibly happen when a handsome, enticing, brave, young, kind firefighter and a darling, sweet, engaging, gorgeous, compassionate, bright young nurse are introduced by the nurse’s brother?

Well, when JoAnn Durgin begins to whip up a new recipe for romance she spills the wordy ingredients into writing and comes up with a wonderful Christmas Novella.  JoAnn writes about love and romance as though she invented it herself.

Let’s drop into the town of Starlight and meet JoAnn’s atypical candidates for romance, I mean – the characters Jake and Julia appear perfect in personality and physique, not to mention high moral fiber. However Barbie and Ken-like Jake and Julia might appear, they are alive and vibrant. Their human qualities are compatible and more importantly, they are equally yoked as believers and children of God.

We come into JoAnn’s charming story during a cold and snowy pre-Christmas scene and first meet Jake who is recovering physically from an injury incurred during a firefight saving a beloved family dog. He has his mind and hands busy repairing toys for Starlight’s Christmas Drive.  He says a prayer for each child who will receive this toy. A loud persistent knock at the door interrupted Jake’s solace and we meet Sergeant Dylan Sinclair, Jake’s best friend and fellow firefighter.  Now, we come to my query at the beginning of my review. Dylan is of the opinion that Jake has spent enough time in emotional pain over his broken relationship with Nicole one year ago. He begins to introduce his sister Julia and turns to see her adjusting the Christmas lights on Jake’s front porch. He tells her to come meet Captain Jake Marston, Starlight’s resident hero.  As Julia Sinclair comes through the front door, Dylan quietly lowers his voice to tell Jake not to mention the touchy subject of Julia’s fiancé.  Jake’s first response was to thank Julia for taking care of his bulbs, seeing Dylan’s smirk of amusement, he felt like a fool. Particularly when…ZOWIE….he wasn’t expecting to see a beautiful grown young woman with sparkling eyes – he was expecting a gawky teenager with braces. Julie shyly replied that she was happy to help him. I was wondering if she could see the size twelve foot in his mouth – but she showed herself to be a quietly discerning lady as she began to comment and admire the house Jake lived in. He informed her that the house had belonged to his grandparents – but from here, you’ll need to read for yourself why the house is so special. Does Jake recover from his injuries and get rid of that foot in his mouth?

JoAnn Durgin started a heat wave of love all over the state of Iowa, mainly the town of Starlight. This story is full of God’s love in every corner of this town. In fact, Dylan and his wife Hannah are “great with child” and the sweet entrance of this child is quite exciting and timely. I laughed at the Keystone Cop antics throughout between Dylan’s family, Jake and Julia, not to forget grouchy Caroline and her famous cup of coffee. Jake’s unprepared filling in for the absent angel at the start of the Christmas pageant was great comedy; but I loved most of all watching him embrace the children around him. They saw him as a hero, of which he was deserving. Jake’s head never swelled, he was a man of humility and humbleness. Julia is loving and full of compassion, always there to listen and help. What fun we all had with Jake’s new puppy and how Julia taught him the rules of puppy raising. I particularly enjoyed the other romance ongoing behind the scenes between Ben Picasso and Caroline from Barney’s Diner. She didn’t forget the generic generation.

When I found out Julia was carrying a load of deception in which she had involved herself, I was shocked. It’s up to you to read how she worked that angle out. Oh, and yes, Jake had temptation thrown his way from several different directions, which added interest to his romantic feelings toward Julia.  When Jake was made the object of fun and ridicule, we did see a normal excusable flaw – anger, but he was full of hurt.  Julia was the only ointment that could soothe that pain.  Just when you begin to feel that everything will be alright, the feathers all explode from the pillow of comfort and the ending of that situation becomes unpredictable.

JoAnn’s Christmas story is full of the spirit of the majesty of Christ’s birth and why he was born to give us the gift of salvation. Meet Me Under The Mistletoe is a sensitive, touching, fun, wonderful read.  JoAnn Durgin is a terrific matchmaker and I can feel the fun she has making up these beautiful stories.   For a number of years, I’ve found it hard to feel Christmas in its true essence…didn’t feel like going through another stressful time. This season, I’m feeling excited and the Christmas Spirit is felt deep in my heart. Thank you, JoAnn, for the gift of reminding me about the true meaning of this wonderful season.  I’d advise anyone with the blues at this Christmas time to read JoAnn’s Novella and meet Jesus once again under the mistletoe. What love you will feel.

ABOUT JOANN

JoAnn Durgin

I like to say I’ve “been around” in the nicest possible sense. Meaning I’ve lived in several states in this great country, and I’ve lived long enough to have gained a certain amount of hard-earned wisdom. I’ve always heard to “write what you know.” My first published book, Awakening, is loosely based on my love story with my husband, Jim. A lot of the strength of character and unwavering faith in my hero, Sam Lewis, is based on Jim. The stubborness and feistiness of my heroine, Lexa Clarke, is based in part on yours truly, but I like to think we also share a resilience and resourcefulness. Awakening is a contemporary (1997) romantic adventure, and you’ll be swept into the world of summer director Sam’s TeamWork crew when Lexa signs on as a volunteer rebuilding homes destroyed by sudden flooding in San Antonio. This sweeping romance has all the elements – fun, humor, emotion, drama, mystery and lots of romantic moments. Hang on tight! The adventures of Lewis and Clarke have only just begun!

www.joanndurgin.com

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Barbara J. Shelton’s Review – “The Lewis Legacy Series” by Joann Durgin

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The Lewis Legacy Series

The Lewis Legacy Series Boxed Set collects the first three books–Awakening, Second Time Around, and Twin Hearts–in JoAnn Durgin’s popular Christian romance series.

Awakening:

A God-fearing man. A God-seeking woman. For Sam Lewis and Lexa Clarke, it proves a combustible combination. You’ll keep turning the pages of this sweeping romantic adventure. With great characters, plenty of humor, enough emotion to make you shed a tear or two, and an ending that’ll have you cheering, Awakening will leave you breathless. Hold on tight.

Second Time Around:

Newlyweds Marc and Natalie Thompson have it all, but two months after the wedding, Natalie suffers a horrible fall. Not only does she not remember their life together, but now Marc has a personal timeline to reconnect with her—seven months. You’ll root for them as they fight against the odds to find their way back to one another…the second time around.

Twin Hearts:

Joshua is a man redeemed. It’s been more than four years since the fateful events in San Antonio when Sam threw him out of the missions camp, and he’s still haunted by the bittersweet memory of his final meeting with another volunteer. When he also seeks her forgiveness, he gets the shock of his life. Could turning his deepest sin into his greatest blessing be God’s answer for his hurting heart?

Get ready for romance, adventure, friendship, faith and family in each installment of the Lewis Legacy Series with Sam and Lexa Lewis and their lively TeamWork Missions volunteers.

Don’t forget to download Daydreams, Book Four in the Lewis Legacy Series, now available!

MY REVIEW

JoAnn Durgin’s writing began reflecting who she is in Christ with the first novel in this trilogy – The Lewis Legacy.  What fun and imagination she wrote into “Awakening,” the story of Lexa Clark and Sam Lewis and the beginning of their romance…in fact a hint of several romances being shaped through God’s plans.  The thought occurred to me often that this possibly was actually a recounting of the truth about a real romance written as fiction.  It takes place in Sam’s TeamWork camp, a Christian mission summer setting with interesting characters to know and love as this trilogy continues.  I recall this book was one of the first I reviewed ever…and I simply wrote:  “A delightful and heartwarming story about Sam Lewis and Lexa Clark in their romantic duel.  You’ll need to read this sweet book to find out who won!”  My rating was five stars.  So with that noted, let’s venture on to JoAnn Durgin’s next five star stories…….

The Second Time Around was written on a more serious tone including mystery and adventure about Sam & Lexa’s friends, newlyweds Mark and Natalie.  JoAnn was right on target immersing her love of the Lord in His many ways explaining WWJD (What would Jesus do?) in the numerous sub-stories.  Each of JoAnn’s writings indicates her development of writing skills and obedience to God’s Word.  She definitely listens in her still small moments for God’s voice.  My review quote – “JoAnn’s second book, “The Second Time Around,” builds on the story of other friends of Sam & Lexa,  newlyweds Mark and Natalie. This book involves the trust and renewal of faith in God as well as suspense involving the amnesia of one of the partners early in the newlywed’s marriage due to an untimely accident. Guilt preys on the mind of the other partner because the accident could have been prevented had they performed a needed repair on rotten wood steps. The couple struggles painfully to renew the marriage and bring back the memory of the injured spouse being married to the other. Sam & Lexa are the catalysts of friendship who help the couple find solutions. An engaging story you’ll not be able to put down until you find out what happens… mysteries will be answered with God’s help.”

“Twin Hearts,” – again, JoAnn’s increased skill at good clean Christian writing is about the redemption of the sins of a former TeamWork member.  It is a tear jerker, a heartwarmer – a “can’t put this book down” read regarding the surprising blessings that occur in Ms Durgin’s quality writing about sin and redemption.  Again, JoAnn listens to that still small voice within that develops an even more interesting story from one talented writer.  JoAnn is an extraordinary story teller.  She never stoops beneath the line of dignity to enlighten a story about matters not easily discussed.  Twin Hearts received my 5 star rating and this review: “ JoAnn Durgin and God were in constant consultation while this book was being written. Twin Hearts is JoAnn’s finest and most tender story, in my estimation. The characters come alive off the page, she develops them so vividly. She writes the details so clearly I felt myself wanting to enter into verbal conversation with the characters. JoAnn wrote in perfectly ethical situations and outcomes. I love the people and characters in this series of books. I can’t wait for her next work. I know it will be a clear collaboration with our Abba father. With that kind of guidance….JoAnn can’t go wrong!”

Oh yes, it’s easy to recommend all of JoAnn’s writings.  Her very soul and love for Jesus appears in every page.  From the moment of our friendship until this day – I am blessed knowing JoAnn Durgin in a more personal way, sharing about our lives and supporting one another in love and prayer.  JoAnn’s sweet soul appears in each new writing.  It has been my privilege to review her recent awesome publishings; and encourage you to read everything she writes in the future and catch up on her past novels.  God has truly blessed JoAnn with many fruits of the Spirit that makes her an inspiration to me, and a respected friend.

About the Author:

JoAnn Durgin

JoAnn Durgin lives with her husband, Jim, and their three children in southern Indiana and works as a full-time administration paralegal in Louisville, Kentucky. She’s a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Louisville Christian Writers.

Please visit her at www.joanndurgin.com or at Author JoAnn Durgin on Facebook.