Book Convention Survival Tips (with book giveaway)

Jesus calls His followers to be lights in the midst of darkness. If you’ve ever been to (or thought of going to an ABA book conference), the darkness is rampant.

During the first week of May, I got to hang with other readers at the RT Booklovers’ Convention in Atlanta, GA. This convention moves every year, and in 2018 it will be in Reno, NV. But despite the ever-changing city, the crowds flock to this convention for the parties and opportunities to meet with their favorite authors.


I’m by no means an expert at book conventions but this was my second RT (I went to Vegas for my first RT in 2016) and I thought I’d pass along some tips and hints to make the trip more enjoyable and worthwhile.

And if you hang with me until the end of the post, I’m doing a BIG giveaway for fans of Christian fiction (with multiple winners)!! Believe me, you’ll want to stick around and enter!!

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Because You’re Mine by Colleen Coble

Because You’re Mine by Colleen Coble


About the book

Amid the beauty of Charleston, not all is as it seems.

When her husband Liam is killed by a car bomb while their Celtic band is on tour in Charleston, singer and Irish beauty Alanna doesn’t quite know where to turn. Her father-in-law is threatening to take custody of the baby she carries, but Alanna knows she can’t lose the only piece of Liam she has left.

Alanna’s manager offers her a marriage of convenience to obtain U.S. citizenship and allow her to escape her father-in-law’s control. It seems like the perfect solution until she arrives at the family home of her new husband—a decaying mansion with more questions than answers.

Strange things begin happening that threaten Alanna’s life and the life of her child. Are they merely coincidences? Or is something more sinister at work?

A mysterious painting, a haunting melody, and a love stronger than death leave Alanna questioning where darkness ends and light begins.

My thoughts

While the story was a quick read, I had some mixed emotions about a few things going on.

The mystery behind Jesse’s actions wasn’t so much a mystery for me. I had that one figured out almost from the beginning. But Barry, his family home, and his motivations were not as clear until the end of the book. And there were some great action/suspense scenes in this one too.

Set in the Charleston, SC area, the book takes on an almost gothic quality (ala Jane Eyre) once Barry and Alanna return from Ireland and set up their lives in Barry’s ancestral home. Alanna’s career, her upbringing, and her family are all integral to the story and give readers deeper insights into her character.

I didn’t love how quickly Alanna was to give in to Barry on several occasions. Yes, she’s grieving but her husband has only been gone a few weeks (if that—the timeline wasn’t extremely clear).

If you’re looking for a read with a hint of the supernatural (which is all explained away by the end), Because You’re Mine may fit the bill. Overall, an entertaining read with a few scenes I’m still not sure how I feel about, but the ending was worth my time.
Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Twilight at Blueberry Barrens by Colleen Coble

Tell me if you can relate. Every once in a while, there’s a book on my TBR pile (and yes, sometimes they’re ones I’m supposed to review) that takes you forever to get to it? But then you finally, finally get some time to read it and you’re like, “Why didn’t I read that sooner?”

That’s exactly what happened with Colleen Coble’s Twilight at Blueberry Barrens. Once I started reading this story, I didn’t want to put it down.

But first, let’s take a minute to admire this beautiful cover. I love the colors on this one.

This is part of the Sunset Cove series that takes place in Maine but it can be read alone (in fact, I haven’t read the other two books but after this one, I’m going back to them).

When her family’s blueberry crop does not yield enough fruit to sustain her, Kate Mason needs to find another source of income and fast. When a potential renter is thrown into her lap with the additional income of a possible nanny position, Kate’s eager to help the man with his two little girls.

Drake Newham is determined to find out the truth behind his brother’s and sister-in-law’s deaths. If it means moving to the rugged coast of Maine for several weeks, he’ll do it. But digging into the truth will require leaving his nieces with someone.

As the attraction between Kate and Drake build, so does the suspense. Kate’s uncle has escaped from prison, someone keeps breaking into Kate’s house, and a local peeping Tom has the women in town looking over their shoulders. Can they, with the help of local law enforcement, solve the mysteries surrounding them before someone else pays the price?

There’s a lot happening in this book (which is why it was hard to put it down when I had other obligation—like work). And while I had an inkling of what was happening, the solution went deeper than I realized.

Coble creates loveable characters. As a reader, I rooted for Kate and Drake. Kate’s past is riddled with trials and unfair circumstances. Now that she’s found so much, I wanted her to have all of the good things she deserves in her life without having to earn them. Drake is skeptical at first but he grew on me quickly. And as a supporter of other Christian fiction authors, it was fun to read mentions of Denise Hunter’s Summer Harbor series and Carrie Stuart Parks’ Gwen Marcey series in this book.

Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

A Heart’s Home by Colleen Coble

heart's home cover

The final installment in the Journey of the Heart serials, A Heart’s Home finds Emmie Croftner with a difficult decision: Marry the man she loves or keep the promise she made to Amelia Campbell. The promise that if anything happened to her, Emmie would marry Jacob and care for him and Amelia’s daughter. With the Sioux attacks becoming more prominent and the death toll of men in Fort Phil Kearney increasing, Isaac Liddle volunteers to go to Fort Laramie for reinforcements in the middle of a blizzard. With weather and Indian attacks a threat, Emmie worries for the man she loves, refusing to give up hope he’ll come home to her.

A lot of emotion in this final book. Joy is followed quickly by heartbreaking sorrow. As someone who once lived in Wyoming, Coble’s description of the weather and wind is dead on. Most of the characters from the first five books at least make an appearance and the story is wrapped up nicely, including an epilogue to let readers know how the future turned out for Emmie. Another quick read because of the short installment length, but if you want all of them at once, the entire series will be available in September.

***Thomas Nelson provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via BookLook Bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own.

A Heart’s Promise by Colleen Coble

Book 5 of 6 in The Journey of the Heart serials

A Heart's Promise

Emmie Croftner is settling into life in Wyoming. She’s intent on loving and caring for her friends and trying to survive the wilderness. Her pregnancy still concerns here. Who will want her when they learn the truth about her so-called husband? Certainly not Isaac Liddle. He’s too good for her. When Jessica Dubois makes an appearance and seems to steal Isaac’s attention, Emmie struggles with the truth of her feelings. And when Jessica threatens to expose her secret, what is there for Emmie to do other than give in to the other woman’s demand to leave Issac alone.

Judging from the different descriptions I’ve seen of what this little 100 page serial is about, I’m guessing it was a section that Coble rewrote a little (or maybe a lot, this is the first time I’m reading these stories so I really don’t have a reference). Emmie has a good heart. I loved the scene where she meets and chats with the laundress at the fort. As a reader, it’s these little exchanges that sometimes resonate with me more than the actual story. You see the truth of who Emmie is in that moment, of her deepest longings. While Isaac’s “courting” seems fairly mild in this particular section of the book, he definitely express his interest in Emmie during the moments they are together (even more so at the end of this offering). One more to go and my fingers are crossed for Emmie’s happy ending.

***Booklook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson Fiction provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.