August 14, 2017

Christian Fiction Readers Retreat 2017!

2nd Annual Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

So this past weekend I spent all day Saturday with 3 women (Annie of Just Commonly, Carrie of Reading is my Superpower, and Bonnie Roof) who organized this amazing event with 40 authors and I'd guess around 160 readers! It was so much fun to be congregated in a room with so many Christian readers/reviewers/bloggers/authors all at the same time. We all just got each other. We all understood staying up until the wee hours of the morning to finish that book that just can't be put down. It was so fun to see each other getting super excited to see our favorite authors in real life! This event truly was a dream come true! And for the record I restrained myself and only bought ONE book. Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh. Though I would have bought Pepper Basham's new one, Just the Way You Are, if they'd had it!

Just look at all those amazing authors! And there were so many bloggers there that I love too. And I got to room with two women, Sarah and Jessica, I've known through review circles for years. We stayed up way too late both nights talking books, authors, and genres! It was so fun!

I just want to share with y'all a few of my favorite moments!

  • Worship! The beautiful Nicole Coley led worship. We sang some favorites and we also learned a couple of songs she wrote! The sound of all our voices lifted up praising God was very spirit filled and a true blessing!
  • Becky Wade and Dani Pettrey did a super fun video presentation about the stages of writing a book. Such a neat glimpse into their lives! 
Becky Wade and we Facetimed Dani Pettrey!

  • The breakout session with a panels of authors talking about Book Boyfriends! There really is nothing better than talking about the heroes in these books. The only thing better would have been more time with more authors to talk about more heroes!
Book Boyfriends chat!

  • Meeting all these authors I've been reading/reviewing for for so long. Especially the ones that I'm on street teams for! It was fun to meet them all but I especially went all fan girl when I saw Melissa Tagg walk through the hotel lobby! And then when Katie Ganshert recognized me in the bathroom!!! Yup! Fun times! I also had the privilege of sharing books with Courtney Walsh! I mean how fun is that!
Melissa Tagg!

Courtney Walsh!

Katie Ganshert!

  • Getting books signed by these amazing women! I'm pretty minimalist when it comes to keeping books but these books I have signed by Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Courtney Walsh, Katie Ganshert, and Susan May Warren...those are keepers! I'm just sad I couldn't buy Pepper's book! They didn't have her latest that I LOVED! But it was a joy to meet her! There were so many other authors I was super excited to meet too. But I truly cannot name them all without leaving someone out. But I'll try! I'd already met Dawn Crandall but it was great to see her again, Susan Anne Mason, Ruth Logan Herne, Sondra Kraak...

Susan May Warren

  • And look at all this book swag we all got! The bag is amazing and came with tons of books and cute little gifts from authors/publishers/bloggers!
Most of this came in the bag! There are four books I brought from home to be signed and one book I bought at the retreat!
  • And last but not least! I made all kinds of new friends! So fun to meet more authors, aspiring authors, bloggers, reviewers, and readers! Looking forward to cultivating those new friendships online this year and then reuniting next year!

Truly hope I can attend the 3rd annual CFRR next year too! This was an amazing experience!

Thanks again to Annie, Bonnie, and Carrie and Melony and Beth, and all the authors for an amazing event!

July 29, 2017

A Matter of Trust

A Matter of Trust (Montana Rescue, #3)A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! This book flew by. Literally. As in a rush of snowboards and slopes. And cliffs and avalanches!

I've loved every book in this series but I especially loved this one. Gage and Ella were a wonderful pair of characters. I really loved Ella's ability to impress and keep up with Gage no matter what. I could never dream of being as brave and daring as her but loved living vicariously through her in the pages of this book.

I also loved all of the returning characters from the other books in this series. I've loved all the books and it seems each one is my favorite until I read the next one! Warren is an amazing author and I always get lost in the pages of her books.

Anytime an author uses her characters to learn a lesson on forgiveness is always a favorite theme of mine. It is a hard concept to forgive someone that has hurt you. I also love how Warren turns her characters back to God.

This book also started to answer some of the mysterious questions from this series. Though now I really can't wait for the next book to see how some of these mysteries resolve! I'm also curious to see how some relationships continue too.

This book is super fast paced, full of amazing descriptions of snowboarding, and also full of amazingly terrifying events. I couldn't believe what a fast read it was until I realized half the book I'd been snowboarding in terrifying conditions!

Special thanks to Revell for the advanced copy. All opinions are my own.

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July 15, 2017

Just Look Up

Just Look UpJust Look Up by Courtney Walsh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sometimes I get so engrossed in a book that at the end I realize I don't know what to write for a review other than "I loved it!" So I actually went back and re-read this one so I could properly review it. And also because I just wasn't quite ready to say goodbye to Lane and Brooks and move on to another book yet!

I think I possibly loved it even more the second time. Mostly because the first time through I was so focused on Lane. I related to her in many ways because even though I didn't have the same exact struggles as her it did bring back some memories and made me realize how our pasts shape our futures. I loved her work ethic but I also loved how she learned to "look up" throughout the book.

The second time through I was able to appreciate Brooks even more. Don't get me wrong I loved him the first time but this time I was able to really fall in love with his character. He actually reminds me a lot of my husband. So patient. At one point he says "It'll be fine." and that is seriously my husband's line. He says it all the time to me. Probably because I tend to worry and stress.

I really enjoyed the romance in this story. It wasn't the main topic of the story but was a beautiful part of it. I really like relationships where the guy does the pursuing. And I love stories with flirting.

But mostly I loved the reminders in this book that the past shapes the present and the future. That sometimes there are things we shove into the back of our minds and try to forget. But that ultimately those things have made us who we are today. The good and the bad. I also love that forgiveness was prevalent throughout this book with more than one character. It is such a hard concept. But so freeing.

And more than anything I loved seeing characters overcome very difficult childhoods. I know it takes a lot to write a book with so much character depth and so much honesty and I really appreciated those qualities in this book. I'm very much looking forward to the next book in the series and a return visit to Harbor Pointe.

I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley. This is my honest review. 

Have you seen the trailer for the book? Courtney does amazing book trailers!

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