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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Book Review: Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon

Book review

Do you ever feel like you’re unworthy of something? That you don’t deserve anything good in your life because of bad choices or mistakes you’ve made in the past?

Step into Adam Stone’s shoes. As an ex-convicted intent on starting over and living a good but solitary life, Adam is content with his little home on the edge of the Oregon seaside town of Hope Harbor. But when Police Chief Lexie Graham enters the picture, the loneliness he’s tried hard to bury is as obvious as the blue of the Pacific.


Book Review: Sandpiper Cove

With the help of two young boys, a slew of townspeople, and a fish-taco-selling artist, will Adam discover that God wants more for him? That he was made for community?

This is a story of God’s grace and forgiveness. A story of letting go of the past and clinging to those who support you. Sandpiper Cove is a beautiful reflection of God’s endless love for each and every one of His children.

I’m looking forward to visiting Hope Harbor again (and I’m looking forward to my trip to the Oregon Coast this summer even more). Pick up the newest installment in the lives of the residents of the town where “hearts heal and love blooms.” today.


My Rating:

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Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

In a town whose name inspires hope, heartache and pain reside.

hope harbor cover

Michael Hunter has travel across the county from Chicago to the Oregon town his wife had loved as a child. Desiring to find peace—or something—he is desperate to spend time in this town and grieve his wife while taking stock of his life. Fate (or perhaps more) brings him across the path of Anna Williams, a curmudgeon who seems to have plenty of secrets of her own. And then there’s Tracy Campbell. A woman who raises feelings in Michael he hasn’t felt in a long time, feelings he needs to ignore.

Anna is nursing a twenty-year-old heartache. She shut herself off from the outside years ago, preferring to care for her wounded animals and staying inside her small house. So why in the world did she offer for a stranger to live in her annex? Is she that lonely?

Tracy Campbell loves the town of Hope Harbor, Oregon. Even when she left for college and then for a job away from home, she always knew she would return to her family’s cranberry farm. But now they are in danger of losing it. And she’s in danger of losing her heart…again.

This story moved along well. While not one of the romantic suspense Irene Hannon is best known for, there is plenty of mystery. Why is Michael really in Hope Harbor? What happened with Anna and her son? Or Tracy’s husband? And all of that keeps the story moving along at a rapid pace. They chemistry between Michael and Tracy is almost immediate and the anticipation of when they are going to act on it keeps you turning the pages as well. Hannon also introduces readers to the difficult life and the labor of love that goes into running a family farm. Despite the struggles and the monetary strain, the family pushes on. The characters were well-rounded and likable—even Anna with her curt words and need for privacy grows on the reader as you learn more of her story. This is definitely one to pick up.

***Revell Publishing provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Once Upon a Summertime by Melody Carlson

once upon a summertime

New York City is on my shortlist of places I’d like to visit some day. When a book is set in the city, I get to experience it just a tiny bit. What I loved about Once Upon a Summertime was the main character was new to NYC and through her experiences, I got a tourist’s view of the city.

Anna Gordon thought her life would be more than managing The Value Lodge in her small hometown in Indiana. In college she’d had dreams of making a difference while managing a hot hotel. Instead she’s stuck in a rut. The owner’s of the Value Lodge don’t want to spend the money to make their establishment more inviting to guests, the employees don’t do their jobs, and Anna is sleeping on her grandmother’s couch. When she runs into a friend from the past, an opportunity to land a position at a boutique hotel in New York City feels like providence. While it wasn’t the job she’d hoped for, Anna accepts a management position at the new establishment. During her tour with one of the owners, she runs into another face from the past. Sean O’Neil was three years older than her and hadn’t paid her or his friend’s little sister, Marley any attention when they were teenagers. Now, Sean is paying lots of attention. So much attention, Anna fears losing her job. Will Anna have to choose between the job she desperately needs and the man who just might be the love of her life?

I’ll admit, after reading a little bit of a dud from Melody Carlson earlier this year, I was a tad bit hesitant to pick up another offering from her. Sometimes a risk offers a reward. Overall, I enjoyed this story. The NYC setting was a huge plus. Anna’s journey was interesting. The reader gets to know Anna very well before Sean enters the story about a quarter of the way through the book. Anna’s friend Marley is hard to get a good read on. One moment she seems friendly and excited for Anna, and another she’s angry and upset with her. The ending was a little too hastily wrapped up, and the solution to the huge problem was not the one I was expecting. This one still has a few issues that were not hammered out well in the book. That said, this is a great beach read for summertime. Take with you on vacation or read it by the pool. It offers what we’re all hoping for during the warm summer months: an escape.

***Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Live Your Life for Half the Price by Mary Hunt

****Family Christian provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own****

Life is expensive. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find ways to make it less expensive? Oh, I know what you’re thinking. “I don’t have time to clip coupons” or “I don’t want to give up my (fill in the blank).” One of the top New Years resolutions people make every year is to get out of debt. The people who are successful are those who take time to plan, the people who live within their income instead of exceeding it every month. There are so many places people can cut expenses. Some you may have heard of (clipping coupons, doing away with credit cards) and some you may have never thought of (all of those excessive charges on your cell phone bill).

live your life cover

In Live Your Life for Half the Price, Mary Hunt provides strategies for reducing your debt and spending less. From grocery shopping tips (yes, coupon clipping is involved but her suggestions and helps will keep it from becoming tedious) to saving on insurance, from cleaning out your closet and building a basic wardrobe to car buying tips, Hunt offers solid advise on how to trim your cost of living. Hunt offers readers many tools to make cutting your expenses easy (websites, phone numbers, books, recipes, and more). In addition to her suggestions, she tells her own stories. She has been where you may be now. She and her husband struggled with credit card debt, and she now makes a living helping people get out of debt. Readers don’t feel like they’re alone in their struggle to bring their expenditures within their income (Hunt suggests living on 80% of your income, giving away 10%, and saving 10%).

<em>Live Your Life for Half the Price has sound advice for anyone wanting to reduce what they are spending. You may not want to drive that old clunker another year, but what’s more important to you, driving the newest model car or providing your children, spouse, parents, etc with a future that isn’t clouded with debt?

The single greatest money-saving strategy I’ve learned over the years is this: When I run across something I think I have to own, I just wait a little while. -Mary Hunt in Live Your Life for Half the Price

Found money is always nice so Family Christian is offering one lucky person a $25.00 Customer Appreciation Certificate. Use this in stores or online. You can purchase this book to help get you started on making a plan for getting out of debt or perhaps you need a gift for something that has come up unexpectedly. Enter for your chance to win.

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