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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If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock

If I’m Found

by Terri Blackstock

Available everywhere March 21, 2017


About the book

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist that he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and just may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail.

In this riveting sequel to the USA Today bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows . . . but there is light shining in the darkness. Is Dylan a provision from the God who loves her, or another heartache yet to happen?


My thoughts

Most nights, I fall asleep reading a book. But once in a while, a story comes along that pulls me in so deeply, I forget about rest. I want to know what happens next.

If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock was one of those books. I could not put it down and finished it in one night.

Readers meet Casey Cox in the first book, If I Run. A young woman who flees the scene of the murder of her best friend. We also learned how intelligent Casey is and got a peek of her tender heart toward injustice.

Now, as Casey continues to hide from people who will surely kill her when/if they do find her, she works to uncover the truth of who killed her friend. She’s on her own with no one to trust. Though she wants to trust Dylan Roberts. The PI who found her but let her go.

Blackstock once again takes readers on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Through discoveries and close calls—a little too close for comfort sometimes—readers follow Casey through difficult choices, a little depression and glimpses of hope. Through it all, she remains true to herself. A suspense that left me on the edge of my seat, up late at night, and wanting more.

What’s the release date for the next book in the series?


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.

Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

I’ve read a couple books by Jonathan Friesen in the past, but Unfolding (available everywhere from Blink and Zondervan January 31, 2017) just might be his best yet.

In Gullary, Oklahoma, Jonah wishes he were whole. His life is filled with pain from a debilitating physical condition and seizures steal moments from his life. What Jonah wants more than anything is his best friend and neighbor, Stormi. But he doesn’t believe he’s worthy of her. Besides, Stormi has her own secrets and a seeming ability to sense the future.

Yet when Stormi needs him, Jonah’s there. As the two are swept into an adventure that reveals secrets about their small town and reveals things about Stormi’s past, their relationship begins to change. Stormi begins to change, to disappear from herself.

Friesen’s story is both captivating and engaging. While slow in a few parts, the mystery and adventure quickly picked up and kept me engaged. Jonah’s condition is written in a beautiful way, giving readers a glimpse into Jonah’s pain and frustration at his limitations. A wonderfully written story for adults and teens alike that will sweep you away for a few hours.

Disclosure statement: Thanks to BookLook Bloggers, I received a copy of Unfolding and the opportunity to honestly review it. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. (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.”)

Three Novellas in One Place: Kiss the Bride

I’ve missed the fun monthly wedding novellas that Zondervan gave readers the past two years. If you missed them, I have good news. They are re-releasing these short and fun stories in groups of three (plus you can get your hands on a hard copy this way instead of the eBooks).

kiss the bride cover

In Kiss the Bride, readers will enjoy novellas from Melissa McClone, Robin Lee Hatcher and Kathryn Springer. Each of the heroines works in some shape or form in the wedding industry and each of them embarks on their own journey toward true love.

In “Picture Perfect Love,” Jenna Harrison is finally experience success in her wedding photography business after a devastating and public breakup during her wedding rehearsal. When her ex shows up on her doorstep, she’d determined to forgive him but she’s moved on…or has she? Robin Lee Hatcher’s “I Hope You Dance” brings readers back to King’s Meadow, Idaho and the pretty dance instructor Skye Foster. As the wedding for mutual friends approaches, Chef Grant Nichols appreciates the dance lessons Skye offers. The more time the two spend together, the more sparks fly between Grant and Skye. In the final installment, “Love on a Deadline,” Mackenzie “Mac” Davis has returned home to Red Leaf, Wisconsin and taken a job at a local newspaper. When her editor assigns her the job of following all of the festivities for her high school nemesis, Mac balks at the assignment. But maybe spending time with the bride’s older brother—Mac’s first crush—will make the wedding craziness worth the headaches.

Last year I awaited each of these novella releases each month. Now readers can get three at one time and enjoy the wonder and awe of falling in love. The shorter novella (each about 100 pages) offers a quick and fun read with a happily ever after.

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

Healing and Hope

This past September, I had the privilege of sitting in a day-long class with authors Rachel Hauck and Susan May Warren in which they talked about a story equation. Hauck actually mentioned her story question for her newest book, The Wedding Chapel: What if a wedding chapel had set empty for sixty years, never having hosted a wedding?

wedding chapel cover

Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook spent years building his wedding chapel in the small town of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, by hand for the woman he loved. But time, war and circumstances tore his beloved Collette Greer away from him. For sixty years, the wedding chapel has sat empty, a monument to love.

Former Heart’s Bend resident, Taylor Branson now lives in New York with a new husband. After eloping with Jack Forester, another former resident of the small town, Taylor questions whether she rushed into the marriage after a whirlwind elopement. She loves Jack, but her family doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to lasting marriages.

Meanwhile, Jack’s success as an advertising executive stems from his desire to belong. His childhood left a lot to be desired and he struggles to express his love to his new wife.

These four people are brought together when Taylor takes an assignment to photograph the wedding chapel in her hometown. Through conversations, flashbacks, and letters, the truth of Collette’s and Jimmy’s relationship comes to light.

While many parts of the plot were predictable, Rachel Hauck once again draws readers into the story, making them feel welcome and a part of the community. As a resident of Nashville, I have visited many a small town exactly like Heart’s Bend. The Wedding Chapel is a story of forgiveness and hope. A story that expresses that some dreams are worth waiting a lifetime for.

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