Sunday, October 13, 2019

Review: "Once Upon a Christmas" by Andrea Boyd, Mikal Dawn, Toni Shiloh, Angela Ruth Strong, Jaycee Weaver

I'm not one of those people who thinks Christmas entertainment should be reserved for the Christmas season. (Except for Christmas music. That should wait at least until November.) Christmas movies? Watch them in April! Christmas books? Read them in August! So when I had the chance to read a Christmas novella collection in October, I thought, "Why not?"

Embrace the magic of the Christmas season with these contemporary twists on timeless tales.

Upon a Dream — A rare sleeping disorder keeps Talia from performing, but when Philip recognizes her gift, he’ll do whatever it takes to see her onstage.

Claim My Heart — Li Na and Colin Wen face off in a Mulan-esque courtroom battle where the real win might be losing their hearts.

A Snow White Christmas — Sheltered heiress Amala White flees her conniving stepmother’s plans and finds refuge with a handsome orchard owner and his seven quirky uncles.

Christmas Ella — Reality TV meets Cinderella story when a location director is swept off her feet by a rising star.

A Splash of Love — Las Vegas glitz meets Land of Enchantment culture in A Splash of Love, a modern twist on the Little Mermaid.

Genre: Contemporary (Christmas) romance
Release Date: October 1, 2019

This novella collection is so fun! Each story is based on a classic (also Disney) fairy tale. Of course, I liked some novellas more than others, but all were enjoyable to read. A couple are very close to their fairy tale counterparts, others have recognizable elements, and one I didn't really see the parallels at all (but that's the fairy tale I'm least familiar with ...). My favorite novella is Toni Shiloh's A Snow White Christmas, but all are fun. This is perfect Christmastime reading! 4 stars.

Keep reading to see my thoughts on each novella:

Upon a Dream by Andrea Boyd (Sleeping Beauty)
This is an intriguing story about a woman with KLS syndrome—a real life Sleeping Beauty.

I was interested in the story and wanted to know what would happen, but I ended up skimming much of the novella. As readers, we connect with certain writing styles more than others, and, unfortunately, I didn't really connect with this author's style. Also, the relationship moved very rapidly, something I often have little patience for in fiction. 3 stars.

Claim My Heart by Mikal Dawn (Mulan)
This is a fun story! There was nice chemistry between Li Na and Colin Wen. I loved the "Mushu" character, and the end gave me all the feels. A few things happened quickly/conveniently with no warning, but I would definitely read more of Dawn's writing. 3-1/2 stars.

A Snow White Christmas by Toni Shiloh (Snow White)
I'm a big fan of Toni Shiloh's Maple Run series, and she's the reason I wanted to read this novella collection. A Snow White Christmas didn't disappoint! I found myself immediately swept into Amala's story, and, while super-quick declarations of love usually annoy me, Amala and Marcus's relationship felt real. Probably the closest of all to the source material, and I loved seeing the familiar story unfold. 4-1/2 stars.

Christmas Ella by Angela Ruth Strong (Cinderella)
It's pretty obvious who the reality TV family is based on 😂. This novella also featured a super-quick declaration of love, but didn't bother me because the chemistry was there, and it felt like Paxton and Ella had known each other longer than just a week. I really loved the New Year's Eve ball scene, and Paxton was really wonderful. 4 stars.

A Splash of Love by Jaycee Weaver (The Little Mermaid)
This one went from normal love story to incredibly far-fetched incredibly quickly ... but I still really liked it! I loved all the references to Disney's The Little Mermaid—though the actual story wasn't incredibly close to the Disney version, there were lots of little "winks" here and there. And Derek's family? Wonderful. I loved the time spent in Albuquerque, and now I want to visit! 4-1/2 stars.
Follow the tour:
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 2
Back Porch Reads , October 2
Activating Faith, October 2
A Baker’s Perspective, October 3
Genesis 5020, October 3
Among the Reads, October 4
Just Your Average reviews, October 4
Through the Fire Blogs, October 5
Adventures of a Travelers Wife , October 5
Quiet Quilter, October 6
Blogging With Carol , October 6
Stories By Gina , October 7
Batya’s Bits, October 7
Cordially Barbara, October 7
Melissa Henderson, October 8
Connect In Fiction, October 8
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 9
A Diva’s Heart , October 9
A Reader’s Brain, October 10
Maureen’s Musings, October 10
Hebrews 12 Endurance, October 10
Remembrancy, October 11
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 11
For Him and My Family, October 12
She Lives to Read, October 12
Inklings and notions , October 13
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, October 13
Blossoms and Blessings, October 13
Simple Harvest Reads, October 14
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 14
Texas Book-aholic, October 15
janicesbookreviews, October 15

To celebrate their tour, the Once Upon a Christmas authors are giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Andrea Boyd: Each of Andrea Boyd’s series represents a different genre but all fall into the category of romance. All offer an element of her own brand of humor. And all are a tribute to God. Besides writing, she loves spending time with her family, quilting, going to car shows, and driving around in her 1968 Barracuda convertible. Andrea lives with her husband, Tommy, and at least a couple of cats in York County, SC. Visit her at

Mikal Dawn: Mikal Dawn is an inspirational romance author, wedding enthusiast, and military (retired) wife. When she isn’t writing about faith, fun, and forever, she is obsessively scouring Pinterest (with coffee in hand!) for wedding ideas for her characters.

Mikal lives in Oklahoma with her husband and two of their three children. Visit her at

Toni Shiloh: Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Visit her at

Angela Ruth Strong: Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, been optioned for film, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon bestsellers. She also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at WRITE THAT BOOK. Visit her at

Jaycee Weaver: Jaycee Weaver is a wife, mother, and substitute teacher living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jaycee writes contemporary Christian romance with lifelike characters in everyday situations who always get their happy ending. Visit her at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the collection and A Snow White Christmas! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Glad I was able to be on the tour! I really enjoyed reading the novellas!

  2. These sound enjoyable! It's fun to look for elements of a story in a rewrite like these.

    1. Yes, I loved spotting the similarities! Hope you get a chance to read and enjoy, Emma!

  3. Thank you so much for the review!!! And for being part of the blog tour--we appreciate it so much! <3

  4. Wonderful review! This collection sounds like the perfect holiday read.

    1. Thanks, Caryl! It's perfect for the season!


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