Thursday, July 18, 2024

Author Interview: Suddenly Rural Girl by Dann & Kennedy Hurlbert

Suddenly Rural Girl JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Suddenly Rural Girl by Dann and Kennedy Hurlbert, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Suddenly Rural Girl

Title: Suddenly Rural Girl: Facing Life, Death, Mean Girls, and Cute Boys in Rural America
Dann & Kennedy Hurlbert
Kirk House Publishers
Release Date:
February 1, 2024
Young Adult & Middle Grade Contemporary Christian Fiction

After her dad is tragically killed, Dakota Moore’s mom moves her to northern Minnesota where Dak discovers an outcast classmate may be a reclusive miracle worker. She thinks she found him too late. The truth is, she met him just in time. Will Dak discover the miracle worker’s secrets before the next tragedy strikes? 

Now, tucked into a secluded A-frame near a beaver-infested creek with her strong Sioux mom and her lisping little brother, Dak faces a new school and a trio of mean girls. Seemingly alone, she buries herself in a design app and self pity until an old blind man, his curly-haired horse named Eyeballs, a quirky dragon-doodling classmate, and a strawberry blonde with delicious sun-kissed freckles give her four reasons to keep on living. Then she decides to do more than just survive; Dak intends to thrive. When tragedy strikes again, she confronts the intriguing and repulsive miracle worker, but he doesn’t help their mutual friend. Learning why will change her life. 

Suddenly Rural Girl is a friend and faith-finding journey, featuring a strong, female, multiracial protagonist and is loaded with laugh-out-loud characters and gorgeous northern Minnesota beauty. The magnificent landscapes haunt like William Kent Kreuger’s Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land, and the quick-witted dialogue is reminiscent of Jenny B. Jones’ There You’ll Find Me and In Between books. The combination makes it an excellent YA read with cross-over into Contemporary Christian audiences. The novel also has a companion study guide full of plot-related questions for classrooms and theme based discussion prompts for book groups!

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Bookshop



"Hey!!!" Someone yelled from the crowd down below. "You gonna jump or what?!"

"Yeah! Jump!" Another voice echoed. I scanned what had been a short line in front of us; the old couple, the college students, and the prepubescent girls must have already taken the leap. A few more voices eagerly picked up the chant.

"Jump! Jump! Jump!" the chorus and my uneasiness both crescendoed.

Liam looked me through the eyes. Not in the eyes, into my eyes, and then he asked sincerely, "You ready for this? ‘ Cuz you don't have to." I glanced briefly at Mary. She smiled and winked. Liam extended his hand, perhaps an offer to hold hands and jump with me?

"I got this," I said, turning away from Liam's hand and stepping toward the edge. If a girl's gonna make something of herself, she can't do it holding hands with some boy—no matter how cute he is. My stomach was a mess of nerves, eggs, and applesauce, but I wasn't going to be some damsel in distress with both Mary and Liam wondering if I needed saving. I curled my toes over the lip, offered a terrified smile to the chanting crowd, and pushed off. Almost as an afterthought, I started a quick prayer: Dear God, please—

Freefall is what happened next. The whole drop took less than two seconds, but I heard the crowd cheer in those two seconds. I counted no fewer than thirty-one innertubes on the lake. I saw Liam's blue eyes and freckled face in the back of my mind, and I decided I would let that boy kiss me someday. Then I heard Taylor yell, "Feet together, girl!!!" before jerking my knees and toes together.


About the Authors

Dann & Kennedy Hurlbert

Dann Hurlbert has BSED in English and Theater Education from the University of South Dakota, an MFA in Digital Cinema from California’s National University, and has spent many years as an educator and professional actor and director. He currently serves as a Media & Design Specialist at Minnesota’s Carleton College. He’s a sucker for the Great Outdoors, Caribou Coffee, and his beautiful wife, and three impressive kids.

Kennedy Hurlbert is a cheerful and creative teenager who inspired much of the SRG story and corrected all her dad’s teen lingo. She enjoys being with friends, whipping up sweet and tasty desserts, and spending time at the lake. Any lake. She loves lakes. Especially the Boundary Waters. But any lake will do. She also likes sports and cuddling with the family Golden Retrievers.

Connect with Dann at to follow him on social media and sign up for email updates.

Author Interview

Q: What inspired you to write Suddenly Rural Girl?

"My English teacher gave us a writing prompt, so I wrote a one page short story about a scary day in the woods . . . and then asked my dad if we could turn it into a full book. My story became the first chapter of our book, and then we kept going from there!" --kennedy

Q: How long did it take to write this book?

"It took us about two years to write, but because of our busy schedules, we were mostly only able to write on Saturday mornings together. That became a neat routine. Kennedy and I would wake up early, go to a local coffee shop, and brainstorm, and research, write, and watch our story develop!" --dann

Q: What was the co-writing process like?

"I started with a lot of enthusiasm, but it was taking a lot longer than I thought. Plus, I had soccer and other activities some Saturdays, so my dad kept going when he had time. He'd ask me lots of questions about characters, and he'd ask me to write passages or letters between the two characters, while he kept the plot moving. Then he asked me to review all his writing--especially the texting, to be sure it sounded like something teens would say or text." --kennedy

Q: What surprised you while researching/writing this novel?

"The research and writing was a lot of fun. We learned a bit more about horses, and Minnesota foliage and wildlife, and about how long and slow writing a full-length novel can be. But, I'm really glad Kennedy proposed the idea of working on it together. That, by itself, was really rewarding. We also learned a lot about things like Beta Readers, Publishers, Querying, and now we're learning more about the distribution and marketing process. Living is learning, and it's been a fun process . . .and I'll apply lots of what we learned to book #2!" --dann

Q: Do you have a favorite quote from Suddenly Rural Girl?

There are lots of great quotes in Suddenly Rural Girl. Here's one of our favorites from our protagonist, Dak:

"I got this,” I said, turning away from Liam’s hand and stepping toward the edge. If a girl’s gonna make something of herself, she can’t do it holding hands with some boy–no matter how cute he is."

Here's another quote about Dak's new neighbor, and the owner of the horse Dak begins to ride and care for:

George Washington Young was old, blind, and a pocketful of kindness. He was the kind of treasure you didn’t know you needed but can’t imagine living without. And it was all wrapped up in a pair of faded overalls and a smile.

Here's a quote that captures one of the themes in our novel, everyone carries some hidden struggle:

Taylor’s lips parted into a genuine smile, and the melancholy girl next to me was transformed into a beaming teenage girl—who was missing her front left tooth. My eyes shifted briefly to the small dark rectangle where the tooth should have been, and her wide grin immediately vanished. Taylor pulled in her thin lips, drawing them into a flat line where her smile had just been.

Aaaaannnd, there are some passages that we love, too! Here's one that carries the reader into some danger that Dak needs to overcome:

I had to give back. His dad helped me, and now his dad might be in trouble.

"Mary," I said firmly, turning Eyeballs toward her. "I need you to call the police. Tell them to head to the Redrickson house on Mill Creek Lane."


"Then, can you run a couple miles back to my house?"

"Can I run a couple of miles?" She smiled like Joan of Arc. "I was born for this."

"I mean, can you find my house?"

She pointed. "That way, over the bridge, turn left." Then she realized what I was asking. "What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to help Jackson find his dad."

"Ok," she said, pulling her phone out of her pocket.

The sun was a sickle now, shaving the horizon, and I knew it would slip into the dark's sheath in no time. I also knew Mary could run like the wind, and she'd have no problem finding our house again. What I didn't know was how my horse would react to letting Jackson climb on his back—or if Jackson would be interested or able to. I leaned forward, clicked my tongue, and Eyeballs and I were galloping after Jackson.

And here's a favorite passage about Ms. Bousta, an important teacher Dak comes to appreciate:

Bousta's leg-sized arm shot forward and pointed toward the door. The flab under her arm swung like an oversized flesh cocoon. Without turning around, Ms. Bousta sweetly added, "Dakota, I'd like you to tippytoe along with us, too. I imagine Principal Arpan will be interested in hearing how your first day is going."

Sophia swung around on her heels and stormed out, exasperated.

"Ugggh!" She plowed between Makayla and Teagan, flicking her hands free of the remaining spuds.

Bousta quietly whispered "OK" to herself, relieved at having prevented a bigger scene. Then, she took a fateful step directly into Sophia's lunch.

What happened next can only be described as something between incredible contortion and amazing performance art: Ms. Bousta's size fifteen shoe slipped forward on the grease, leaving her enormous torso with nothing to support it. As her shoulders and head fell backward, she made a quarter turn and planted her right hand on the tile while simultaneously swinging her left leg over—spinning her chest-down in mid-air. But she didn't faceplant! She somehow tucked her head and left arm like a gymnast doing a roll onto her shoulders, flinging her legs above her head and into a spin like some helicopter move you'd see in a breakdancing movie! Her massive body rotated like a top three or four times on her upper shoulders before she kicked out of it, landing comfortably on the floor with one leg extended and one hand behind her head like a plus-plus-sized supermodel posing on the beach.

It happened in the blink of an eye. But no one blinked. Everyone in the lunchroom had just seen potatoes thrown at point-blank range miss their mark. Then they all witnessed Ms. Bousta flip what could have been a terrible flop into a legendary dance move.

"Whooo!" Ms. Bousta exclaimed after a shaky breath. "I haven't done that one in a while."

Q: What are you currently reading?

Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther. --kennedy

I Cheerfully Refuse by Lief Enger --dann

Q:What is your favorite genre to read?

YA Christian novels with a female main character --kennedy

Contemporary or Historical Fiction with some moral truths woven throughout --dann

Q: What is your favorite hobby?

I love playing soccer. --kennedy

I need a creative outlet. That's taken the shape of writing and directing plays and musicals, designing and manufacturing a teleprompter, creating videos, and now writing novels.! --dann

Q: What is your favorite season and why?

Summer. We both love the summer sun . . . and lakes. --dann & kennedy

Tour Giveaway

(3) winners will win a signed paperback copy (or ebook) of Suddenly Rural Girl!

Suddenly Rural Girl JustRead Tours blog giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight July 16, 2024 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on July 23, 2024. 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. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

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

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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Book Spotlight: Until Our Time Comes by Nicole M. Miller

Until Our Time Comes JustRead Takeover + Review Blitz

Welcome to the Takeover + Review Blitz for Until Our Time Comes by Nicole M. Miller hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Until Our Time Comes Title: Until Our Time Comes 
Author: Nicole M. Miller 
Publisher: Revell 
Release Date: July 2, 2024 
Genre: WWII Historical Romance 

American horse trainer Adia Kensington is living her dream of working at the famous Janów Podlaski stables in Poland, where they breed the best Arabian horses in the world. But her plans to bring the priceless stallion Lubor to the US are derailed when the German army storms into her adopted country in 1939. Little does she know this is just the beginning of six long years of occupation that will threaten her beloved horses at every turn. 

Bret Conway is at Janów Podlaski under the guise of a news reporter, but his true mission is intelligence gathering for the British. That and keeping Adia safe, which is harder and harder to do as she insists they must evacuate 250 horses to save them from being stolen, sold, or eaten by the invading forces. What follows will test their physical, mental, and emotional strength, as well as their faith in God, humankind, and each other. 

Drawn from true events of World War II, this epic story of escape, capture, resistance, and love from debut novelist Nicole M. Miller will thunder into your heart like a herd of beautiful horses across a raging river.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook | Bookshop


Her back was turned to Bret, though the angle of her head and her elegant stance sparked something in the back of his mind. She had the recognizable, practiced posture of an equestrian—something he recalled from his own time on horseback and among Olympians.

Ludwik and the woman leaned over the harness of a cart horse, lost in their discussion. The leather straps were crisp and new, and it appeared the woman was helping fit the cart to the small, chestnut- colored mare. Babka was sorting through the fruit and helping old man Pieter with his purchase. The thief stood in their midst casually, his relaxed posture almost seeming bored.

Bret needed that watch back—it was too priceless an heirloom to lose so embarrassingly to a little pickpocket. And yet the scene intrigued him.

“Amerykanka? Can we go now?” the boy said in heavily accented English. He reached up and tugged her sleeve impatiently.

The woman turned, her features fully in Bret’s view now as she smiled brilliantly while speaking with Ludwik. She stroked the horse’s neck confidently, kindly. “Yes, soon,” she assured the boy before resuming her conversation with Ludwik.

Something tightened in his chest. He knew of this Amerykanka. Everyone in Wygoda knew of this woman. She was a rarity. An outsider beyond what even he, a Brit, could boast.

The American horse trainer. Adia Kensington.

About the Author

Nicole M. Miller

Nicole M. Miller lives in Washington State with her husband and two sons, along with her Arabian horses, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats, and guinea pigs. As a longtime horse owner, she's been involved in many horse organizations, including serving on the Clark County Fair Court and as Miss Teen Rodeo Washington. She's received national and regional awards for her nonfiction from American Horse Publications and the Society of Professional Journalists. See her stories in The Horse of My Heart, The Horse of My Dreams, The Dog Who Came to Christmas, and Second-Chance Horses.

Connect with Nicole by visiting to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will receive a paperback copy of Until Our Time Comes and a $25 gift card to!

Until Our Time Comes JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight July 17, 2024 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on July 24, 2024. 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. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Enter Giveaway

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

JustRead Publicity Tours

Author Interview: Ransomed Peace by Kathleen J. Robison

About the Book

Book: Ransomed Peace

Author: Kathleen J. Robison

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Release date: June 11, 2024

When romance fails the romance writer…

After being terrorized in an abusive relationship, Roxanne Cook finally feels like she’s starting to heal. Even though her mother is ill, her return to Bay Town and the arrest of her ex-boyfriend has allowed anxieties to slip away and has renewed her faith in God. Even her faith in romance seems to be restored as she develops a school-girl crush on a certain Max Tippet.

Everything comes crashing down, however, when Roxanne finds out her ex-boyfriend is released from jail. As her new-found peace unravels, Roxanne realizes that shedding her fears isn’t the same as facing them.

How will she trust in God to provide her the courage to escape the cycle that almost killed her?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Kathleen is an Okinawan-American. Born in Okinawa, raised in California, Florida, Mississippi, and Singapore. Her travels lend themselves to the settings in her books, and her large family provides fun fodder for her characters. She and her Pastor husband have eight adult children. Seven are married, blessing them with sixteen grandchildren, and more on the way! Her ethnically diverse family of 33 plus personalities presents many opportunities to write about God’s amazing love amid trials, tragedies, and blessings. He is the one true inspiration and hope for us all.

More from Kathleen

For some, Ransomed Peace may be a hard story to read. It was a hard story to write. But rest assured, it’s a romance, and I guarantee a happily ever after! One of my favorite passages in the bible teaches that beauty from ashes lends hope that rises from hardships. Ransomed Peace begins with domestic violence. By God’s grace, I’ve never been a victim of it, but someone very close to me was. It was long ago, and unfortunately, at the time, I had no idea how to help her other than to aid in her rescue and give her refuge from the situation. But even then, that wasn’t the solution. Fortunately, today, many programs, housing, and counseling are available for those who suffer this horrible crime, but it continues and can happen to anyone. I encourage victims to seek professional help. It is as close as the internet or your local church body. Here’s the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-7233.

In Ransomed Peace, the main character, Roxanne, is a victim. As in all my books, God is the ultimate answer to any problem. But just as Roxanne was urged to seek help, I urge all victims to take action. Especially preventative action. Drawing and staying close to the Lord through His Word, prayer, and relationship with other God-fearing believers will aid in avoiding toxic people. Together, we can learn to follow and obey God’s guidance, allowing us to make the right choices in relationships. Sometimes, such as in the case of children, a choice is not possible, but God’s help always is. As we step in and walk alongside victims, we have the opportunity to help them to seek Jesus. His solution is eternal.

In my Romantic Suspense books, I choose to write about difficult real-life situations because, as a Pastor’s wife, I’ve prayed and walked with many women. Nobody’s life is perfect or ideal, and everyone suffers something. A reader wrote to me once, sharing how my book had encouraged her to walk with the Lord in areas of her life she hadn’t thought about before. She was secure in her salvation, yet she said it wasn’t until she read one of my books that she realized that living a life of purpose in all areas was possible. And it is! That’s the non-fiction part of my books. Whether our difficulties are past or present, we always need to be pointed to God’s Word in everything, not just for bliss on earth, which is never going to happen, but for the hope of our future with Him in heaven one day.

Sometimes, we are victims of circumstance and are blindsided by a force we can’t seem to contend with. Sometimes, we suffer the consequences of violence because of a bad decision we’ve made, yet it is still unjustly deserved. Whatever the cause, God loves us, and Jesus knows and feels our plight. He lived it, and there is a way out. God’s plan is for us to live for His glory.

I pray my books will inspire all to seek Him and follow Him in every phase of life. “To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;” Isaiah 61:3. Giving Him the ashes from our tragedies so He can restore joy for His praise is to live with joy over the blessings, and to find joy in Him through our sufferings.

The Lord uses people to help us live a life worthy of Him, in good times and bad. But we can’t do it alone. That’s why I created Bay Town. A community that represents real life in some way. As you read the Bay Town Series, I hope you’ll be inspired and encouraged by the characters that help one another. Trustworthy authority figures like Chief Bert and Pastor Desmond and good role models like Melanie Thompson Brooks and Max Tippet. And you’ll love the little comic relief provided through Tina, Lyla, and Bethie Cook. At some point, you’ll meet the same people in each book and hopefully come to love them as I have. Each story is unique, and each stands alone, championing themes of hope! As you read the series, you’ll become a part of Bay Town. A community that lives to watch out for one another and purposes to love and serve God.

Author Interview with Kathleen

Q: How long did it take you to write this book?

Kathleen: My writing process is a whirlwind of creativity. I start with a bang, drafting the first 50,000 words in just thirty days as part of Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month. From there, it's a race to the finish line, with the first draft usually completed within another month. So, with a little divine inspiration, I can churn out the zero draft in two months.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote from this book?

Kathleen: I always have a spiritual mentor or two in every book, and it’s the main character’s mother. She tells her daughter,

“Don’t undervalue the women at Bay Town.” Her mother pointed upwards. “Most important, don’t underestimate God.”

“Yes, I’m getting that lesson hammered into my brain.”

“Well, don’t be such a hard piece of wood, dear.” Her mother laughed.

Q: If the book was made into a movie, who should play the main characters?

Kathleen: Choosing actors to portray my characters is always a fun exercise. For Roxanne, I envision Anne Hathaway, capturing her vulnerability and strength. And for Dwayne, the antagonist, I see Josh Brolin, who can bring out the character's menacing side while still showing a few sympathetic traits…very few. As for Max, I'm drawn to Jude Law's charm and strength, which I think would be a perfect fit.

Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers wouldn’t know?

Kathleen: I swam competitively in High School, and I lived in Singapore for two years during that time. Our school competed in an Island Meet, and I swam against Singapore’s only Olympic Swimmer! All the other contestants joked that when the gun shot off, we didn’t make it off the starting blocks before she was climbing out of the pool at the other end!

Q: What is your favorite hobby?

Kathleen: Is playing with grandkids a hobby? Because that’s what I adore the most! Seriously, I have too many hobbies to count. Among them are outdoor gardening, house plants, crocheting, junk journaling, sketching, and sewing. I just love to create. But I’d have to say that I crave writing. I have to turn off the keyboard in my brain when watching TV, driving, or walking. All I want to do is to write. For me, it’s like reading a good book. I can’t wait to finish writing a good book. I’m so grateful that the Lord gave me this desire to share His purpose through stories. The joy and excitement I feel when I'm crafting a story is unparalleled.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 8

Artistic Nobody, July 9 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 10

Stories By Gina, July 11 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 12

For the Love of Literature, July 13 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 13

lakesidelivingsite, July 14

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 15 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 16

Beauty in the Binding, July 17 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, July 18

Guild Master, July 19 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, July 19

An Author’s Take, July 20

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 21 (Author Interview)


To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Link for giveaway:

Friday, July 12, 2024

Book Review: Her Part to Play by Jenny Erlingsson

Her Part to Play JustRead Takeover + Review Blitz

Welcome to the Takeover + Review Blitz for Her Part to Play by Jenny Erlingsson hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Her Part to Play Title: Her Part to Play 
Author: Jenny Erlingsson 
Publisher: Revell 
Release Date: June 18, 2024 
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Desperate for extra income after her mother's passing, Adanne accepts a last-minute job as a makeup artist for a movie filming in her small Alabama hometown. She's working to save her parents' legacy and help her brother, but the money hardly seems worth having to face the actor who got her fired from her last job in Hollywood.

John Pope has made his share of mistakes over the years. But after turning his life over to God and enduring a messy breakup, he's ready to start rebuilding his career. Imagine his surprise when the woman called in to cover for his usual makeup artist is a quiet but feisty newcomer on the set--and definitely not a fan. 

Sparks of tension--and could that be attraction?--fly between them, but Adanne hates the spotlight, and John's scheming manager has bigger plans for him than to end up with the humble makeup girl from the small-town South. Can these star-crossed lovers find their way to happiness? Or will the bright lights of Hollywood blind their eyes to what's right in front of them? 

Debut author Jenny Erlingsson's diverse cast comes alive with faith, romance, and a touch of humor to create a story worthy of the big screen.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook | Bookshop


Adanne swallowed. How’d she go from a sleepy makeup artist to standing in as an extra? Most of the scenes were blocked before she finished applying the makeup. Surely someone else could do this with the stunt double instead of her standing in the last place she wanted to be . . . at the center of everyone’s attention.

Before she could come up with a better alternative, the stand-in sauntered out of an office building adjacent to the general store. Except, it wasn’t a double.

He approached her, adjusting the suspenders attached to his trousers as he listened to the production assistant who was walking beside him. Adanne blinked, swallowing down the bile rising in her throat. Surely the Lord would allow the Alabama clay to open and swallow her right up. Away from the man she’d been grateful to avoid since she’d stepped foot on set. The careless actor whose antics got her fired three years ago.

My Thoughts

Her Part to Play by Jenny Erlingsson was a pleasure to read. Many elements of the story drew me, but the theme about God doing new, fresh things in a person’s life (taken from Isaiah 43) resonated with me most. My present life circumstances made this theme particularly effective and gave me a right-book-at-the-right time experience. The hope and spiritual truth I gleaned from the novel has continued to encourage me in the days since finishing the story.

I also enjoyed the enemies-to-lovers romance in Her Part to Play. Since the animosity was fairly one-sided, the story also held friends-to-lovers vibes that laid a nice foundation for the romantic development between Adanne and John. While physical attraction appeared frequently, it was never lusty. Plenty of emotional connection and genuine care grew between the characters, making the fruition of their relationship beautiful.

Her Part to Play had a realistic small-town Alabama setting (except for the scenes set in Hollywood). Dialogue between the characters, as well as Adanne’s thoughts, gave an authentic, Alabama feel to the story. Though Adanne’s family served as side characters, they felt lively, real, and made me wish for family like that. Every so often, one of her family members spoke a statement that held a heap of life truth that made me laugh out loud or pause to truly take it in, depending on the situation. Looking back, I see I marked many quotes in the novel.

Her Part to Play stands as Jenny Erlingsson’s fiction debut and I hope she’ll continue her fiction work. I loved everything about this book. Recommended for fans of Christian fiction who enjoy contemporary romances with sparking chemistry, racial diversity, and poignant truth.  Five stars!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the Author

Jenny Erlingsson

Jenny Erlingsson is an author and speaker of Nigerian descent. After 12 years working in junior high and women's ministry, she moved with her family from Alabama to Iceland. When she's not running after her four kids or ministering alongside her husband, she can be found writing romantic fiction and creative nonfiction to inspire deep faith in diverse settings, as well as encouraging other writers. Her other writings have been featured on (in)courage, Live Original, Velvet Ashes, and more. And in the margins, you might find her reading five books at a time with a side of Icelandic chocolate.

Connect with Jenny by visiting to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Her Part to Play and a $25 gift card to!

Her Part to Play JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight July 10, 2024 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on July 17, 2024. 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. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Enter Giveaway

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

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Thursday, July 11, 2024

Author Interview: 12 Ways to Age Gracefully by Susan U. Neal

About the Book

Book: 12 Ways to Age Gracefully: How to Look and Feel Younger

Author: Susan U. Neal

Genre: Nonfiction, Christian Living, Healthy Living

Release date: May 28, 2024

Embrace the Youthful Spirit at Any Age.

As you face the mirror each day, do you meet an older version of yourself? It’s a familiar journey, one where we acknowledge that we’re not as young as we once were, yet not quite ready to embrace being old. But what if there was a way to traverse this path with grace and vitality?

The good news is you can slow time down. By making the right choices, you can look and feel younger. You don’t have to spend a fortune on products either; simply learn the tools needed to move gracefully and joyfully through your senior years.

By making simple lifestyle changes, you’ll look and feel better. Discover how to choose vitality over disease; joy over depression; youthfulness over listlessness. 12 Ways to Age Gracefully, will empower you to:

  • boost your energy levels,
  • improve senior brain health,
  • learn how to feel better about yourself,
  • develop better stress management, and
  • fulfill your God-appointed purpose with renewed vigor.

What path will you choose? Discover the secrets to not just feeling better but also looking fantastic as you do so!

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Susan Neal, an RN with an MBA and MHS, combines her passion for health and her faith to guide others toward wellness. As an acclaimed author and health coach, her works including the transformative 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates aim to uplift the health of the Christian community for God’s service. To help fulfill that mission, she wrote, Eat God’s Food: A Kid’s Guide to Healthy Eating.

Author Interview with Susan

Q: Please give us a little introduction to your book.

Many people are surprised to learn my true age, often remarking that I appear ten years younger. They frequently inquire about the secrets behind my youthful appearance. Now in my sixties, I attribute my vitality to a commitment to wholesome living, a testament to the power of integrating scientific findings into everyday routines. In my newest release, 12 Ways to Age Gracefully, I included a blend of scientific knowledge and personal wellness strategies that will empower readers to reclaim their health, vitality, and optimal weight. I wrote this book from a holistic perspective going beyond mere diet and exercise. It delves into a wide range of topics including the minimization of toxin exposure, balancing hormones, cultivation of a positive mental state, enhancement of brain health, all while weaving these practices into a sustainable lifestyle.

Q: What was the most surprising thing you discovered while researching and writing this book?

I enjoy uncovering fascinating scientific facts. When I was conducting my research for my newest release, 12 Ways to Age Gracefully, I discovered our genes can turn and off based upon our health choices. It is empowering to know that possessing a gene linked to Alzheimer’s, doesn’t seal one’s fate—especially when proactive steps toward health are taken. This book is full of compelling scientific insights written in easy-to-understand language.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from your book?

Twelve years ago when I suffered from ten medical diagnoses and two surgeries, I lost hope. Now that I’ve recovered, I have a passion to guide others on their own path to restore their health and zest for life. My desire is for my readers to experience the robust health and vitality they were divinely designed to enjoy. I want my book, 12 Ways to Age Gracefully to be a beacon of hope that they can recover their well-being and embrace life with an optimistic spirit. My aim is for every reader to greet each new day with joy and boundless energy, eager to pursue their God-ordained purpose.

Q: In what setting do you enjoy writing the most?

I enjoy writing on my back porch, taking in the view of my fruit orchard and soothing sounds of birds. This connection with nature brings me a sense of closeness to God and serenity. The tranquility of the outdoors makes writing there a joy. Additionally, I've set up a standing desk to keep active while I work. Beneath it, there's a compact stair stepper, allowing me to exercise as I write.

Q: What do you wish you’d known when you were younger?

I wish I had known how to improve my health through my diet. I try to make it simple, look at your plate and see if you’re eating food that came off of a ranch or out of a garden. That’s God’s foods. When a food manufacturer strips the food of its God-given nutrients and shreds it and puts it into a shape and color that is indistinguishable from the original product, we shouldn't eat it. Those food-like substances contribute greatly to our health problems including autoimmune diseases, food sensitivities, and gastrointestinal health problems. I had no idea how harmful it was to feed my kids hot dogs on white flour bun and macaroni and cheese.

More from Susan

Welcome to the Journey of Graceful Aging with 12 Ways to Age Gracefully

 As we embark on this exciting blog tour for my newest book, 12 Ways to Age Gracefully: How to Look and Feel Younger, I’m thrilled to share the passion and purpose behind this project. This journey is about more than just sharing information; it’s about embracing each year with joy and vitality. This isn’t just a book tour; it’s a movement towards embracing a more vibrant, healthful approach to our advancing years.

Inspiration Behind the Book

The inspiration for 12 Ways to Age Gracefully stems from my personal journey of losing my health. After facing significant health challenges a decade ago, I’ve been on a quest to inspire others to improve their health and optimal weight. This book is my way of sharing those solutions, offering guidance on how to maintain vitality, strength, and joy as we age.

When a person integrates the holistic practices in this book, they not only combat the physical signs of aging but also enhance their overall well-being. This book is a culmination of years of research and personal trials that has been put into practical, actionable strategies that anyone can adopt to enrich their lives.

What Makes This Book Unique?

What sets 12 Ways to Age Gracefully apart is its holistic approach, blending scientific insights with practical wisdom along with spiritual considerations. Each chapter is crafted to help you implement changes that have profound effects not just on your physical health, but on your mental and spiritual well-being too.

This book isn’t just a guide; it’s an invitation to reevaluate lifestyles and make decisions that can profoundly impact health and happiness. To add a practical component to the book, each chapter concludes with a list of Personal and Practical Applications for the reader to evaluate and incorporate into their daily routines.


A Fun, Interactive Element

To make this journey interactive and truly beneficial, 12 Ways to Age Gracefully introduces a “21-Day Age Gracefully Challenge.” This challenge encourages readers to apply one tip from the book each day, helping to form habits that lead to long-lasting health improvements. It’s a great way for readers to engage actively with the content and see real changes.

Join Us on This Tour

Throughout this blog tour, hosted on Celebrate Lit, we’ll share more behind-the-scenes details, stories from readers who are already experiencing the benefits of the strategies in the book, and additional tips and surprises along the way.

I invite you to join in, leave comments, and share your experiences. And you can find out more about healthy living at my website. Aging gracefully is more than just a concept—it’s a practical, joyful path that we can choose every day. Let’s walk this path together, learning and growing as we go!


Susan Neal

This blog post is your gateway into a world where aging is not feared but embraced with energy and enthusiasm. Follow along on the tour for inspiration, community stories, and practical advice that can transform the way you view aging. Let’s age not just gracefully, but joyfully and purposefully!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 3

Lots of Helpers, July 3

Inspired by Fiction, July 4

Vicky Sluiter, July 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 6

Texas Book-aholic, July 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 9

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, July 10

Beauty in the Binding, July 11 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, July 11

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 12

Splashes of Joy, July 13

Artistic Nobody, July 14 (Author Interview)

An Author’s Take, July 15

Lily’s Corner, July 16


To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Link for giveaway:

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Book Spotlight: Sounds Like a Plan by Multiple Authors

Sounds Like A Plan JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Sounds Like a Plan by Lorna Seilstad, Eleanor Bertin, Sara Davison, Brenda S. Anderson, and Stacy Monson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Sounds Like a Plan

Title: Sounds Like a Plan: Stories of Change and the God Who Doesn't
Lorna Seilstad, Eleanor Bertin, Sara Davison, Brenda S. Anderson, Stacy Monson
The Mosaic Collection
Release Date:
July 10, 2024
Christian Fiction Anthology

A Baby in the Mix by Lorna Seilstad
Not By Chance by Eleanor Bertin
Five Things You Know About Me by Sara Davison
Mercy’s Detour by Brenda S. Anderson
Piper’s Sweet Dream by Stacy Monson

What Reviewers are Saying About The Mosaic Collection Anthologies:  

Each is a picture of God’s grace working in the hearts of hurting people through individual writing styles.  

Each author has her own voice, yet somehow they all fit perfectly together.  

The stories are just the right length to relax with at the end of a long day.  

I love these Mosaic author anthologies. These are stories about real people with real problems and emotions. 

Such beautifully written, inspirational short stories with themes of grace, forgiveness, love, and peace.  

Uplifting stories of ordinary people dealing with their faith and life’s struggles.  

Thank you to all the Mosaic Collection authors for giving us more lovely stories to remind us that we will never be alone as God is always with us. 

Each of these faith-based fiction stories in Sounds Like a Plan is uniquely and beautifully written with believable characters sustained by the amazing grace of God. Memorable, touching, inspiring, and a true reading pleasure. May you be blessed by this collection. 

 PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

Excerpt from Not By Chance

Engrossed in her search of the Classics bookshelves, Lily did not see the crash. But the deafening bang of metal slamming on brick made her jump, her whole body flinching. Glass sprayed the room when the front window to her right shattered. Screams from the bookstore clerk and others outside on the street pierced the air. Pinpricks peppered her right arm and leg. She brought her hand to her cheek, gasping when it came away bloody.

The shock rooted her to the floor. She gaped at the broken store window below which the crumpled front end of a car intruded through the cracked wall. Behind the spiderwebbed windshield of the vehicle, a woman’s head slumped onto the steering wheel.

In a moment, a warm presence enveloped Lily from behind. “Are you alright?” A deep, reassuring voice urged in her ear, “Let’s get you to the back, out of harm’s way,”

Mute, Lily pointed to the injured driver, then cast a panicked look at the man behind her.

He rushed to the shop door, yanking futilely on the handle, then scanned the smashed window, calling to the victim, who stirred slightly. He turned back to Lily. “The whole wall has shifted from the impact. But she’s alive. We can only pray the ambulance arrives quickly.” He pulled a phone from his pocket and punched in the number. A deep crease between his dark eyebrows only relaxed once the message had been relayed.

Excerpt from Five Things You Know About Me

The place had been updated although, thankfully, it still smelled of roasting coffee beans and fresh-baked scones. Andrea drew in a deep breath in a desperate bid to quell the emotions swirling through her like the foam designs on most of the hot drinks she could see.

Mario half stood as she pulled out her chair, and she gestured for him to sit.

“I hope you don’t mind. The line-up was long, so I took the liberty …” He nodded at the paper cup sitting at her place, steam curling from the hole in the lid. A massive chocolate chip cookie lay on a napkin next to it.

Andrea settled on the seat and wrapped her fingers around the cup, lifting it closer to inhale the steam. A frozen drink would have been more appropriate, given the weather, but it was never a bad time for chai tea latte.

Mario inclined his head toward the cup. “Still your favorite?”

“It is, actually. Thank you.”

“The cookie too?”

“Of course not, since I’m a grown-up now and only eat grown-up desserts.”

“Grown-up desserts.”

“That’s right.”

A gleam ignited in his eyes as he grasped the edge of the napkin and dragged it closer to himself. “Then you won’t mind if I …”

With the tip of her finger, Andrea stabbed the corner of the napkin nearest her to hold it in place. “Leave it.”

About the Author

Lorna Seilstad  Eleanor Bertin

Lorna Seilstad delves into life’s complexities with a generous dash of humor. She is a Carol Award finalist and the author of nine novels including the Lake Manawa Summers series and the Gregory Sisters series. Her stories are part of several novella collections. When she isn’t eating chocolate, she teaches women’s Bible classes, runs a toy store, volunteers with 4-H, and is a wedding planner. She has three adult children and lives in Iowa with her Pyredoodle named Honey Bea.

Connect with Lorna at to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

From her home in central Alberta, Canada, Eleanor Bertin writes fiction that ponders the depths of God’s love and mercy to humanity. 

She is the author of The Ties That Bind series, Lifelines, Unbound, and Tethered, the Burning Bright series, Flame of Mercy and Flicker of Trust, as well as the memoir, Pall of Silence, about her late son, Paul. She lives with her husband of 40 years and their youngest son, in what will someday be a beautiful century home.

Connect with Eleanor at to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Sara Davison   

Sara Davison is the author of The Night Guardians, The Rose Tattoo, two sparrows for a penny, and In the Shadows series, as well as the standalone, The Watcher. A finalist for more than a dozen national writing awards, including the Christy Award, Davison is a Holt Medallion, Cascade, and two-time Carol Award winner for romantic suspense. She lives in Ontario with her husband, Michael. Like every good Canadian, she loves coffee, hockey, poutine, and apologizing for no particular reason.

Connect with Sara at to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Brenda S. Anderson writes authentic and gritty life-affirming fiction that shows God at work in people’s messy lives. She enjoys live sports and theater, walking along the shores of Lake Superior, sharing hot cocoa with friends and family, and taking road trips with her newly retired husband. She lives near Minneapolis with her husband and their mischievous twin kitties. Connect with Brenda at to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates. 

Stacy Monson is the award-winning author of stories that reveal an extraordinary God at work in ordinary life. Residing in the beautiful, peaceful countryside outside of the Twin Cities with an old dog and 17 chickens, she has two kids, two wonderful in-law kids, and adores being G'ma to 7 amazing grandchildren. 

Connect with Stacy at to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will win a paperback copy of Sounds Like a Plan, a $25 Amazon gift card, and a piano music CD by Eleanor Bertin's son!

Sounds Like a Plan JustRead Tours blog giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight July 9, 2024 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on July 16, 2024. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

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

JustRead Publicity Tours