Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, starting with FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of  and have been wicked happy I can review for their imprints Grand Central Publishing, FaithWords & Center Street.
I received a complimentary copy of “A Very Blessed Christmas” and “Christmas Quiet” direct from the publisher FaithWords (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I wanted to start selecting colouring books to review:
I’ve known about adult colouring books for quite a long while now – I simply never had the proper chance to engage in the artwork or break out my watercolour pencils or crayons; my chaulk pencils and my coloured pencils to explore which of these suited me best for colouring in artbooks. What attracted me to start colouring this past Winter, is the joy of finding INSPY colouring books on the market which seek to uplift the person who wants to dip back into a well of creativity but is also seeking a mindfulness approach to where creatively inspiring words, soothing images and the lost art of being creative can become re-embraced.
When I first heard about A Very Blessed Christmas and Christmas Quiet – I was truly overjoyed! I never thought I’d find adult colouring books being released such as these – as one is a devotional and intentional thoughtful journalling experience and the second, is partially to get you into the festive spirit of the holiday season but also, can be coloured during off-holiday seasons as well; as the imagery is truly varied – from both in-season layouts to prepping for the changing of the seasons themselves.
These two discoveries led me to seek out more inspirational colouring books – one is an upcoming review featuring the women of the Bible. Outside of the releases by Hachette, I am finding there are hymns, psalms and other light-hearted and spiritually centred colouring books out there. For dashes of fun, I am finding myself drawn into themes such as Jane Austen, Trolls, Harry Potter and especially wildlife, forest or fantasy art colouring books. All of which I hope to explore throughout 2017. For now, I am simply grateful I could experience the INSPY side of adult colouring as you will quickly see these colouring books proved to be quite inspiring indeed!
Color your way to a meaningful holiday season with A VERY BLESSED CHRISTMAS COLORING BOOK.
There is no better way to get into the full spirit of the holiday season than by coloring more than 85 uplifting illustrations in this special volume: frosty winter scenes, carolers in the snow, trees trimmed in nostalgic trappings, ornate churches, angels, nativities--all reminiscent of cozy moments with family and friends and the sweetest, simplest blessings of the holidays. Each artist can rejoice with a grateful heart and be reminded of the ultimate gift God gave the world. Also included are illustrated Scripture verses and fun, holiday craft cutouts that everyone can use to create their own ornaments, Christmas cards, gift tags, and more!
Places to find the book:
Published by FaithWords
on 4th October, 2016
Format: Trade Paperback
Formats Available: Trade Paperback
Converse via: #ColouringBooks, #INSPYbooks and #ArtTherapy
The following are photographs of the colouring pages I loved colouring whilst listening to audiobooks! I cannot tell you how much fun it was to find these designs!
When I first saw A Very Blessed Christmas arrive by Post, I was elated! I was full of festive joy and was eagerly happy to see this beautiful gem of a colouring book arrive as it meant I could finally settle into a mindful respite from blogging, tweeting and reading! I wanted to simply find a way to carve out more personal time ‘away’ from my online life and withdraw into a more introspective mood where I could unwind my thoughts and simply find a bit of Zen out of the chaos of life.
This of course, precluded events that would alter my life Thanksgiving weekend (see also this post) – as I had fully intended to post this review and a succession of posts (mini-reviews) about Christmas Quiet throughout December, whilst honing in on the INSPY fiction and non-fiction I’ve received, too. What I hadn’t foreseen (nor who could?) was my father’s stroke, his hospitalisation and the recovery period at home during the holiday season. In many ways, we were quite fortunate we could still get involved with the merriment of Christmas; by the kindness of a family friend who sent us a Christmas box (including special gifts for my dear sweet cats) inasmuch as unexpected Christmas cards from dear friends or the correspondences I received whilst my Dad was at the hospital reinstalling strength, calm resolve and an uplift of spirit when I needed it most. Gone were the concerns about reviews, blog tours, and how I had scheduled all my FaithWords and Hachette reviews to be sprinkled throughout November and December alike (those are now shifting forward to resume this month instead). No, in the midst of a family medical emergency, your singular thoughts are on your family and the loved one in crisis.
However, just prior to this happening – I had a singular amazing experience with A Very Blessed Christmas – wherein I decided to not only listen to ambient electronica music whilst I colour, but to listen to *audiobooks!* I mention this directly on my first audiobook review The Cryptic Lines (as a precursor to this review, actually!) Something quite magical happened, dear hearts! Not only could I focus inwardly on the narrative springing to life from the voice actor who was bridging the novel into a new level of appreciation for me, but I was finding if I were to colour as I listen to an audiobook, somehow the art and the suspension of direct focusing on the audio led me to a more electric experience! I found everything was coming to life quite brilliantly and in such sharp tones of realisation!
I could understand the flow of the narrative faster, and I was finding on reflection of the artwork unfolding before me, that I liked this kind of ‘art therapy’! I wasn’t just colouring for the sake of colouring but I had found a way to off-set my reading life through print books by taking a chance on audiobooks – at the very same time, I found a way to focus on art in a medium that suited my needs right now! The images I would select per each audiobook (as I listened to at least three if not four whilst colouring in this book!) were picked quite by chance but also, as a ‘lead-in’ to Christmas and the festive season.
I wanted to keep the Christmassy images and layouts for the 25 Days leading up to Christmas Day (of course those will await next Christmas now!) – imagine my surprise at the selections to choose from!? I even found out a few things – watercolour pencils might have worked but my blender pen was malfunctioning so I switched to trying caulk pencils. These worked alright, but the chaulk does brush off a bit and sometimes it blurs the artwork your attempting to conceive within the space provided. The best choice I had on hand were my coloured pencils – I have a rather nice selection of them – where all the colours are equally presented, giving me a variance of degrees by hue and by choice of key colours any artist would love to use on their palette of choice.
By selecting colours to focus on ahead of playing the audiobooks, I could also direct where my colouring would lead me – from warm colours to cool colours to focusing on holiday specific colour combinations – I liked to mix it up whilst seeing what I could draw out of the images themselves as I coloured. I did not lay too much thought on choosing individual colours, as like I said, I was listening to audiobooks and thereby, part of the colouring process for me became a meditative walk of faith!
As this is the best way I can describe it – a colouring mediation begins the moment you engage in both activities! I find that it helps me slow down and be more mindful of the stories I am listening too, whilst giving a bit of pure joy back to myself, as I used to love to colour when I was a child! There is just something wicked brilliant about the time we spend colouring and I’m thankful to have started my colouring book journey with the artwork of Robin Mead!
She truly knows how to give you the happiness of Christmas and Yule; whilst including several extras, such as the pages where you can colour small gifts to cheer up your friends and family as well! I had planned to spend those pages on my friend and family this year, but as said, circumstances altered in a blink of an eye!
I had a happy time tweeting out random joy notes for Ms Mead – whilst trying to encourage others to give A Very Blessed Christmas a consideration this holiday season. I cannot even express all the joy I had whilst tucked inside this colouring book before my father’s stroke and this month, whilst I tried to find my path back into blogging and reading alike. One thing is for certain: I am truly blessed by how many pages are included and how many hours of bliss Ms Mead has given me to look forward too! I cannot wait to see which audibooks inspire me next December whilst I can continue to colour the non-Christmas season pages off-season, be as it were! It is definitely by far, one of my #unputdownable finds as I simply cannot help but to smile each time I open a new page, pull out my coloured pencils and hit the ‘play’ button on an audiobook!
It goes without saying, this colouring book becomes a beautiful keepsake full of memories of listening to stories & creating artwork inspired by the artist who assembled the images which created this wonderful space of artistic expression upon the artist who follows in their footsteps.
A special note of gratitude to FaithWords and Hachette for their patience in me whilst I found my voice to blog and to articulate once more how I am reading their books for review. They sent me a Christmas card this December and when it arrived, it truly had impeccable timing as it was one of those days that I was feeling quite low and felt consumed by my father’s condition; sometimes even a simple gesture of a Christmas card is enough to inspire you forward! I am not even sure if they knew about my Dad’s stroke as I hadn’t had the chance to tell them what had happened. To me it simply felt serendipitous; their random kindness to send me Christmas joy and my need for a bit of cheer! This is one reason I decided to originally cluster my #ChristmasReads reviews into #TwelfthNightReadthon – I am continuing that idea in spirit as if you read my top anchour on the first review that began the series, you’ll notice I had some unexpected events occurring that took my attention away.
Book Synopsis for Christmas Quiet:
Receive the gift of God’s peaceful presence for Christmas while enjoying this uplifting devotional coloring book for 25 days.
In the 25 days leading up to Christmas you will deepen your awareness of God’s loving presence and rejoice in the gift of your Savior by pausing daily to immerse yourself in these uplifting devotions, faith-building exercises, and peaceful coloring pages. Enjoy the true essence of the holiday as never before as you draw closer to God with this book.
25 powerful devotions that can be read in five minutes and provide lasting inspiration,
25 reflective questions and thoughtful activities that deepen the experience of each devotion, and 25 gorgeous holiday coloring pages to enjoy whenever you like.
Initially, I wanted to colour in A Very Blessed Christmas whilst listening to audiobooks and moving into Christmas Quiet on the 1st of December whilst journalling my experience each day I tucked inside this beautiful colouring book journal on my blog. However, as most of my readers realise Thanksgiving weekend changed quite a few things for my family and I; the greatest of which would be an absence of a peace of mind as everything was upturnt for quite a long while whilst we awaited the results of my Dad’s tests after his TIA’s (small strokes) and the ensuing tests and surgery as a result of those findings. It was a very intensive eight-day hospital stay which led to a period of recovery at home during December. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind as I had been prior to December to envelope myself inside a purposeful journal of thought and solitude.
I had hoped I could resume the idea behind this beautiful journal a few days late – as it is meant to start on the 1st and continue as your walk through the devotional grace contained within it’s pages to Christmas Day; a responsive journal of internal respite and a multitude of interpersonal discoveries as you walk through the prompts and colouring the additional supplements to keep your mind, heart and spirit directed on the purpose behind Christmas Quiet.
This December I was seeking grace and joy moreso than I was seeking quiet – ergo, I simply was in the wrong frame of mind to attach myself to the benefit of this journal, however, next Christmas this journal will play a special part of my holidays. I look forward to being able to lay heart and mind on the beauty Ms Sparks and Ms Younis has provided us with as they truly have found an engaging way to seek out a way to devote a portion of your holiday festivities around focusing on the spirit and the mindfulness of rooting yourself not only in your faith but inwardly reflecting on how your faith resonates with you on a personal level.
I personally think they make a great companion set for anyone who is seeking a return to unwinding their stress and sorting out how to bring a bit of ‘stillness’ back into their lives where they can detach themselves from the readiness of the world and re-draw themselves back into a place of quiet relaxation. Colouring I will contend lets you take a breathier of a break from the consistency of ‘thinking’ about your everyday hours and woes; it allows you to find that space where you can simply disappear into the palette of colours and find joy in the simplicity of enjoying the moment your colouring a pattern an artist has left for you to find. By extension, journalling allows you to sort through your emotional health and conscience of thought – processing things in a different way than you regularly do and take a moment to find clarity and purpose through how inspired you are by the prompts a journal like Christmas Quiet can provide to you.
This book review is courtesy of:
I am cross-promoting my Christmas readings this year via the #WYReadathon of which was put together after I had envisioned my own Christmas selections! I felt it was quite kismet on the timing of it all, and looked forward to engaging with other readers who were going to blog their readerly delights this Thanksgiving and Christmas season! I find that I am the most comfortable reading Christmas Stories between Thanksgiving and Twelfth Night (in January); as the stories just appeal to me to be read during this short period of time where the fullness of the season is not only apparent but can be felt by spirit, mind and heart. I look forward to sharing more of my selections with you as I proceed forward with my readings! Happy Christmas!
There are more #ChristmasReads arriving on #JLASblog ahead of Twelfth Night as I had to push my schedule forward a bit during Christmas Week. Therefore, the select Christmas stories I’ve been reading and enjoying company inside are still going to be featured this first week of 2017. I had to amend my #ChristmasReads schedule due to my father’s stroke (see also this post).
This marks my 9th #WYChristmasReadathon post –
- Read my initial joy over reading Christmas Stories on my review of “Finding Father Christmas”!
- You’re the One that I Want by Angela Britnell (review)
- Blueprint for Love by Henriette Gyland (review)
- Grand Designs by Linda Mitchelmore (review)
- Marry for Love by Christina Courtenay (review)
- Only True in Fairy Tales by Christine Stovell (review)
- The Art of Deception (review)
- Gifts of the Magi (anthology) edited by RJ Sullivan, E. Chris Garrison & John F. Allen (review)
- A Very Blessed Christmas (colouring book) by Robin Mead
- Christmas Quiet (colouring book devotional) by Maisie Sparks and Lauren Younis
+ films I’ve watched:
A Merry Murdoch Christmas (Murdoch Mysteries) | The Croods (as it’s fitting for a New Year)
Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.
I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read (and colour)
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— Jorie Loves A Story (@joriestory) December 8, 2016
— Jorie Loves A Story (@joriestory) December 10, 2016
— Writerly Yours (@writerlyyours) December 11, 2016
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— Jorie Loves A Story (@joriestory) January 17, 2017
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- Blog Book Tour | “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” by Jennifer Laam - Wednesday, 17 January, 2018
- #TopTenTuesday No.6 | Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to In 2018 - Tuesday, 16 January, 2018
- Blog Book Tour | “House on the Forgotten Coast” by Ruth Coe Chambers #JorieReads her latest entry in #MagicalRealism and finds a spell-binding #Suspense! - Saturday, 13 January, 2018
- Blog Book Tour | “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen” (Vol.1) by Collins Hemingway - Friday, 12 January, 2018
- Double-Showcase | Book & Audiobook Review of “The Woman in the Camphor Trunk” (Anna Blanc series, No. 2) by Jennifer Kincheloe - Wednesday, 10 January, 2018
- #Harlequin #SuperRomance Book Review | “Promises Under Peach Tree” (part of a duology) by Joanne Rock - Sunday, 7 January, 2018