Tuesday, September 12, 2023

JustRead Rendezvous Reader Retreat + GIVE AWAY

JustRead Rendezvous Takeover Blitz

Welcome to the Takeover Blitz for JustRead Rendezvous, hosted, sponsored, and organized by JustRead Publicity Tours! I'm already signed up to go!! I went to my first reader retreat this year and it was AMAZING! As much as I loved getting to meet the authors, I may have loved getting to know other readers IN PERSON even more! I would LOVE to meet you!!

You are Invited

JustRead Rendezvous 

November 16-17, 2023

Holiday Inn St Louis SW – Route 66

Join fellow readers and authors at the inaugural JustRead Rendezvous to celebrate Christian fiction and sweet reads with food, games, giveaways, and books. This event aims to sweeten reading and storytelling experiences with fellowship and encouragement and is modeled after Christian Fiction Readers Retreat. Friday's activities will include speaker sessions, author panels, small group discussions, and author signings. 

On Thursday evening, JustRead is hosting a Meet and Greet and Watch Party for The Christy Award Winners Gala webcast. The Christy Award honors and promotes excellence in Christian fiction and is a program of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Additional Rendezvous event sponsors include Baker Publishing Group fiction divisions (Bethany House Publishers and Revell), Kregel Publications, and Ambassador International.

Learn more about the 2023 JustRead Rendezvous

Participating Authors

First 30 registered JustRead Rendezvous authors

Keynote speakers are Jocelyn Green and Pepper Basham, 2022 finalists of The Christy Award. Rounding out our first 30 participating authors are Amanda Cox, Ann Elizabeth Fryer, Ann H. Gabhart, Barbara M. Britton, Danielle Grandinetti, Elly Gilbert, Erica Vetsch, Heather Greer, Janine Rosche, Jenny Rae, Jerusha Agen, Kimberley Woodhouse, Kristi Ann Hunter, Lisa M. James, Lisa Phillips, Lorri Dudley, Megan Besing, Michelle Griep, Nancy Mehl, Peggy Trotter, Rebecca Hemlock, Regina Rudd Merrick, Sarah Hanks, Shaen Layle, Stephenia H. McGee, Suzie Waltner, Tabitha Bouldin, and Tamara Leigh. Additional interested authors will be invited to register as reader registration grows.


Friday's activities (including a book tote, light breakfast, lunch, snacks, and more) are $110 for readers and Thursday evening is an additional $30. Reader registration ends on October 13 (or earlier if event capacity is met). Subscribe to email updates and learn more about each author on the JustRead Rendezvous website. Connect with other attendees and hopefuls to arrange shared experiences or cost-sharing opportunities in the Rendezvous Roomies & Logistics ’23 private Facebook group

Register Now


(1) winner will receive a Rendezvous book tote loaded with books and swag, a signed event booklet, a cozy Route 66 throw, and an "If I can't take my BOOK, I'm not going" keychain!

JustRead Rendezvous Takeover Blitz Giveaway prize including keychain, Route 66 throw, books, swag, event booklet and tote bag

The giveaway begins at midnight September 12, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 19, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Items may vary slightly. Throw and keychain ship immediately. Tote, books, swag, and booklet available at event or to ship in late November. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

JustRead Rendezvous Takeover Giveaway

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Sunday, September 10, 2023

He Should Have Told The Bees By Amanda Cox

He Should Have Told the Bees
by Amanda Cox
Publisher: Revell

Having become a huge fan of Amanda's stories, when I saw this cover, I knew it would be on my shelves. As a gardener, and appreciating all of the bees, I couldn't wait to read this story. I was sent an ARC for review.


Beekeeper Beckett Walsh was living her dream, until her father's death sent her world into a tailspin. She suddenly finds she must deal with a new part owner of the family apiary--one who is looking to sell the property--and she cannot fathom why her father would put her in the position to lose everything they built together.

When Callie Peterson is named in the trust of a man she's never heard of, she's not sure what to do. Her fledgling business has just taken wing and her mother has reentered her life asking for help, making Callie's financial situation rather . . . precarious. She's sure she has no right to someone else's farm, but the money from the sale could solve her problems and give her the stability she's always craved.

With an entangled past behind them and an uncertain future ahead, Beckett and Callie must discover why they've been thrown together before all is lost.

My Review:

When I first saw the cover of He Should Have Told the Bees, I knew I was going to want to read it, aside from the fact that I love the author's writing. Be sure to look at it closely because there are lots of different bees on the cover.

If you enjoy books that draw emotion out of you, then be ready for it to happen throughout the entire story.

We initially meet Callie as a young girl and you can tell she doesn't have a stable life. Next we meet Beckett as a young adult navigating life after her father suddenly passes away. Her grief is palpable and the way she tries to just survive day-by-day is heart wrenching. Through the words of the story you can tell how close and dependent she was on her dad.

When Callie and Beckett meet for the first time, it's at the reading of Beckett's father's Trust. Their worlds collide and they have to figure out how to make decisions that will impact both of their lives. You see the struggle throughout the story. It was hard to imagine being in either woman's shoes. The possibility of losing all you've ever known or losing what you've hoped for.

One of the reasons I love this author's stories is because the situations and characters feel so real. As a reader, I become so invested in the story and begin to feel defensive of certain characters. lol I thought the author tackled some serious real-world issues in a very direct, yet sensitive way. It makes you wonder what she draws from to put this much heart and depth into her stories.

There's a powerful message of recovering from trauma as a child, the effects of addiction, and mental illness. In the midst of all of that heaviness is a quirky young girl and two men who come into the lives of Callie and Beckett. Beckett has the opportunity to teach them all about the art and life of beekeeping while trying to keep her world from shattering apart. There's also a strong message of faith throughout the story.

This book is NOT to be missed. It's powerful and beautiful.

About the Author:

Amanda Cox is the author of The Edge of Belonging and The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery, both of which were the Christy Award Book of the Year in 2021 and 2022, respectively. She holds a bachelor's degree in Bible and theology and a master's degree in professional counseling, but her first love is communicating through story. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with her husband and their three children. Learn more at AmandaCoxWrites.com.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

You Make It Feel Like Christmas By Toni Shiloh

You Make It Feel Like Christmas
by Toni Shiloh
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764242069

I was so thrilled when Toni asked me to join her launch team for her new release You Make It Feel Like Christmas. I've read so many of her other books, loved her characters, enjoyed the setting, that I couldn't wait to read this one. She sent it to me for review.


It's the most wonderful time of the year--for everyone except Starr Lewis.

As if going home for the holidays jobless and single wasn't bad enough, she's dragged into a holiday season full of activities leading up to her sister's uber-romantic Christmas Eve wedding--to Starr's ex-boyfriend. But when her brother's best friend, Waylon Emmerson, attends their family Thanksgiving, she starts to wonder if maybe coming home for Christmas isn't so bad after all.

As Starr finds the perfect distraction in helping Waylon make over his late mother's Christmas shop, the most wonderful time of the year works its magic and the spark between them grows. But with the holidays fast approaching, Starr must decide what she wants out of life after the gifts are unwrapped and the ornaments are put away--to go back to New York City or to open her heart to a love that will last beyond Christmas Day?

My Review:

What a fun story! I immediately rooted for Starr when I met her in chapter one of You Make It Feel Like Christmas. She was so likable and relatable. Then I met Waylon. Ladies, get your fans out because you're going to swoon over this modern-day "hero." You're going to get major Hallmark vibes from this story.

While it's set at Christmas time, it's not ONLY about the holiday. In fact, it's more about the family dynamics of Starr's family and her budding relationship with Waylon. Because it's closer to being a novella than a full novel, I liked that Waylon and Starr had a relationship from childhood that they could build on.

Not everything is coming up roses, that's for sure. I couldn't stand Starr's sister OR her sister's fiance. It's clear how alone Starr feels in her family since she's the baby of the family. Her family has pretty high standards for everyone, so coming home with her secret of being laid off adds a wee bit of tension.

There's a strong thread of faith woven throughout the story, which I appreciated SO much!

If you're in the mood for a great romance, main characters who you cheer on from the sidelines, and a taste of the holiday season, don't miss You Make It Feel Like Christmas!

About the Author:

Toni Shiloh (www.tonishiloh.com) is a wife, a mom, and an award-winning Christian contemporary romance author. Her novel In Search of a Prince won the first ever Christy Amplify Award. It has also been praised by Oprah Daily, POPSUGAR, Library Journal, and Booklist, and is a Parable bestseller. Her books have been finalists for the Carol and Selah Awards, and the HOLT Medallion. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Toni loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Little Pilgrim's Progress: The Illustrated Edition By Helen L. Taylor

Little Pilgrim's Progress
by Helen L. Taylor
Illustrated by Joe Sutphin
Publisher: Moody Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-8024-2053-4

When Moody reached out to me and invited me to join their reviewing team, my first thought was Little Pilgrim's Progress. I had started following illustrator Joe Sutphin on Instagram about a year ago and fell in love with his illustrations. That's where I learned about the book. Moody Publishers sent me this stunning hardcover for review.


Perceiving the need for a simpler version of a timeless classic, Helen Taylor faithfully adapted John Bunyan's allegory of the Christian life, The Pilgrim's Progress, for young readers—hoping to bring its treasury of wisdom nearer to children's hearts and minds. That version has sold over 800,000 copies! It preserves the original plotlines of Bunyan's classic while telling the story of Little Christian and Christiana in a way that kids can understand.

In this fresh, imaginative new edition, bestselling illustrator Joe Sutphin portrays the characters of Bunyan's tale as animals living in a woodland realm. Children will delight in the lavish illustrations, reading alongside their parents or interacting on their own with the timeless words and beautiful imagery that they discover on every page.

This book will help children see the trials and triumphs of faithfulness with fresh eyes, leading them to declare along with Christian, "I am going to the King!"

My Review:

While I knew this was the children's version of Paul Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, I had no idea the children's version existed before Little Pilgrims Progress: The Illustrated Edition. When my son-in-law saw it on my side table a few days ago, he was SO excited. He said he grew up reading the original Little Pilgrim's Progress! I was really surprised, no realizing it had come out in the 80s! I knew at that moment this book would be a gift to him so my granddaughters can grow up having their daddy reading this book to them.

The story is even more incredible that I had imagined. I remember trying to read The Pilgrim's Progress years ago. It was a little difficult to get involved in the story to be honest. Little Pilgrim's Progress: The Illustrated Edition is perfect for children AND adults. I became thoroughly invested in the story and was able to understand it much better than the adult version.

Christian is a sweet looking bunny who hears about the Celestial City where the King lives. Even though he's made fun of by his friends, he is determined to learn more about where the King is. Christian recognizes he has nothing to offer the King, but the King isn't worried about that. He just wants Christian to come to Him. Along the way, Christian meets Christiana who is also a bit unsure of the Celestial City and the King.

As Christian goes along his journey to the King, he's waylaid by many of the things in life that bog us all down. People will distract us from our path or discourage us. Sometimes they will try to show us a different way, but that way doesn't lead to life. Thankfully, the King will send others along our path to encourage us, help us, and lift us up.

The story is told in a way that children (and adults) of varying ages will be able to grasp the concepts while understanding the deeper meaning for our faith journey. Kids can relate to the early part of the story when Christian is made fun of by his friends. And I appreciate how it can help prepare our children (and grandchildren) for what they may encounter as they go through life.

THIS story is one that should be in every family's home, especially if you have little ones. I would even suggest treading through it once a year so that the littles can glean something new with each reading. I would even suggest the book makes a unique baby shower gift!

One of the only pieces of the story that concerned me was his mother watching over Christian (as she was already in Heaven) and was guiding him. We won't find anything like that in Scripture so I would hesitate to add that piece of the story into my reading to a child. It would've been more appropriate to keep that relegated to the King.

Overall, this is a beautiful story that will teach the little ones more about faith and that it's a journey.

About the Author:

HELEN L. TAYLOR, author of Little Pilgrim's Progress, has carefully rewritten a centuries-old tale in order that children might be able to grasp the truths set out by John Bunyan in 1678. She is now at home with her Lord.

About the Illustrator:

Joe Sutphin is an illustrator of fine books for kids such as Andrew Peterson’s beloved Wingfeather Saga, the newly envisioned edition of Hellen Taylor’s timeless classic Little Pilgrim’s Progress (Moody Publishers) and the official graphic novelization of Richard Adams’s masterpiece Watership Down (Ten Speed - 2023). His love of nature, and of the living creatures in the fields and woods around his home, has informed his art for much of his life. Joe lives in a barn in Ohio with his wife Gina and a bunch of cats.

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.