The 12 Gifts of Christmas by Lena Nelson Dooley – Book Review, Preview

Posted October 10, 2018 by Phyllis Helton in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Excerpts, Giveaways /

Sign up for e-mail notifications of posts

The 12 Gifts of Christmas by Lena Nelson Dooley - Book Review, Preview

We are accustomed to thinking about a quick courtship being a thing of the past. In the last century, if a couple got married quickly, people often wondered when the baby was going to be born.

My husband proposed to me after we had known each other for just a few months, and we married only a few months later. It may have been my imagination, but I often felt like when people heard that and then followed up with asking how many children we have, it was an insinuation that maybe we “had” to get married quickly because of pregnancy. And, no, there was no way I could have been when we married!

Another assumption is that marriages where the courtship is short are doomed for failure. My take is that marriages that are based on anything other than the foundation of first, a deep love for the Lord and commitment to follow Him and His word, and second, a commitment to not giving up on the marriage are more likely to fail than for any other reason.

While my husband and I are not perfect and our relationship has had some rough times, we both knew that we are in this for life and have the motivation to work through our disagreements and to seek the Lord’s help.

The 12 Gifts of Christmas by Lena Nelson Dooley – Book Review, Preview

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

by Lena Nelson Dooley

Published by Whitaker House
Publication Date September 4, 2018
Genres: Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Texas Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-34
Written for: Adults
Pages: 240


Malcolm MacGregor is a descendant of Scotland’s Clan MacGregor and a successful young businessman in Fort Worth, Texas. Alanza Cantalamessa works at a gourmet pizzeria owned by her Brazilian artist mother and her Italian Poppa. Both of them are smitten with each other but Malcolm is too reserved to do much more than make small talk—until a promotion at work that will send him away to Australia for six months. It’s December and he has to do something—fast. Praying about the situation, Malcolm decides to give her twelve gifts leading up to Christmas. Their families and friends think they are moving too fast. And a gold-digger who tossed Malcolm aside in the past has now decided he’s the man of her dreams. Can Malcolm and Alanza overcome their obstacles before he has to go abroad? Or is it really not meant to be?

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

Purchase Links

Goodreads Amazon Barnes and Noble Book Depository

When Malcolm finds himself attracted to Alanza, he spends the night in prayer asking for wisdom and determines that the Lord is directing him to marry her. The following month! Now all he needs to do is convince her of that fact. The only problem is that they haven’t spoken other than when he pays for his meal at her family’s restaurant!

Malcolm was very sweet in the way he was determined to win Alanza’s heart through gifts and kindness. He was very thoughtful in his gifts, and perhaps more than a bit extravagant. Then again, when you have a wealthy family and an excellent job, what is expensive is a matter of perspective, right?

I did like Malcolm and appreciated the way he spent time in prayer for so many things. He wasn’t perfect and got so angry with his roommate that he couldn’t even talk to him. So it was nice that he wasn’t so perfect as to seem unrealistic.

The overall plot of the story was good and was romantic as well. There was even an unexpected situation near the end in which Malcolm got to prove himself a hero in a big way. There was a great focus on prayer and dependence on God. The characters’ hearts for ministry was very sweet – I love that they had several dates serving others.

I did find that the dialog was awkward in places and there were facts imparted in a way that felt too much like facts being imparted, despite being “disguised” in conversation. The writing was good in parts and okay in others.

Overall, the book was good, it just lacked that certain something that would have elevated it to great.



She took the pan off the burner, dropped tiny marshmallows into the waiting over-sized mugs, and filled them with the fragrant hot chocolate. “Do you want to drink it here, or would you rather go in the living room? The sofa is more comfortable.”

“Whatever you want to do.” His honeyed tone wrapped around her like a warm blanket.

She handed a mug to him, picked up her own, along with coasters and two napkins, and headed into the living room. He followed.


Alanza’s Best Hot Chocolate


4 cups milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup good quality cocoa powder

3 tbls. honey

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 dark chocolate bar

1 can real whipped cream

Maraschino cherries


Heat milk over medium to low heat, stirring constantly until milk starts to bubble slightly (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, mix sugar and cocoa together until well blended. When milk is ready, gradually add in sugar, cocoa, and honey, stirring constantly. Put heat on low and add shavings of chocolate bar and vanilla. Continue stirring until chocolate has melted. Remove from heat and pour into mugs. Add whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and cherries on top, as desired.

Blog Stops

The Power of WordsOctober 9

Two Points of interest, October 9

Among the ReadsOctober 10

A Diva’s HeartOctober 10

Luv’N Lambert LifeOctober 11

Baker KellaOctober 11

D’S QUILTS & BOOKSOctober 12

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 12

Britt Reads FictionOctober 13

Texas Book-aholic, October 13

Susan Loves BooksOctober 14

Proud to Be an Autism Mom, October 14

Splashes of JoyOctober 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 15

Creating RomanceOctober 16

Bigreadersite, October 16

Mary Hake, October 17

Janice’s Book Reviews,October 17

Maureen’s MusingsOctober 18

Abba’s Prayer Warrior PrincessOctober 19

Bibliophile ReviewsOctober 20

Pause for TalesOctober 20

More Of HimOctober 21

Carpe DiemOctober 22

A Baker’s PerspectiveOctober 22


To celebrate her tour, Lena is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbuck’s Gift Card and a surprise Christmas gift!!

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

About Lena Nelson Dooley

Multi-published, award-winning author Lena Nelson Dooley is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, her local chapter in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, the Christian Authors’ Network, and Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. Her forty-plus books have sold more than 875,000 copies. Lena’s books have appeared on the CBA, ECPA, and Publisher Weekly bestseller lists, as well as some Amazon bestseller lists. She also writes a popular blog, A Christian Writer’s World, that features other authors’ books. The blog received the Readers’ Choice Blog of the Year Award from the Book Club Network.
Lena is a three-time finalist in the Carol Awards ACFW contest. Her 2010 release, Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, won the 2011 Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in publishing Western Fiction. Her next series, McKenna’s Daughters: Maggie’s Journey appeared on a reviewers’ Top Ten Books of 2011 list. It also won the 2012 Selah award for Historical Novel. The second, Mary’s Blessing, was a Selah Award finalist for Romance novel. Catherine’s Pursuit, released in 2013, was the winner of the NTRWA Carolyn Reader’s Choice contest, took second place in the CAN Golden Scroll Novel of the Year award, and won the Will Rogers Medallion bronze medallion. Her book, A Heart’s Gift, won RWA’s Faith, Hope, and Love Readers’ Choice Award in July 2017.

Lena is also the host of The Lena Nelson Dooley Show on the Along Came a Writer blogtalk radio network. She has experience in screenwriting, acting, directing, and voice-overs, and currently serves on the board of directors of Higher Ground Films. She has been featured in Christian Fiction Online MagazineACFW JournalBook Fun MagazineCharisma Magazine, and Christian Retailing.


To see all current giveaways, go to the Home page and scroll down

For all disclosures and policies visit this link

Purchases via affiliate links help defray the cost of this website. Thank you!

4 responses to “The 12 Gifts of Christmas by Lena Nelson Dooley – Book Review, Preview

  1. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for your review on “The 12 Gifts of Christmas” by Lena Nelson Dooley and for being part of the book tour.

    Love this author’s books and can’t wait for the opportunity to read this one. Awesome cover!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net