Thursday, March 30, 2023

Author Interview: Sylvia's Mother by Jennifer Lynn Cary

About the Book

Book: Sylvia’s Mother

Author: Jennifer Lynn Cary

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: February 26, 2023

She’s an overprotective single mother…

…He’s a former protector who can’t give up the role.

But who will guard their hearts from scheming high school matchmakers?

Eileen Avery is determined her daughter Sylvia won’t experience the heartaches she did. Even if it means taking parenting lessons from her mother, the dragon lady. But she is not like her mother. Not even remotely.

If only Sylvia could see that.

But she wants independence. How much is a good thing? And how much is too risky?

Besides, Sylvia is in love and needing a little freedom. It’s not like she’s about to run away to a commune and become a hippy. However, she is willing to try about anything to get her mom to loosen up, even play matchmaker. Maybe if her mother had her own love life, she’d quite trying to put Sylvia’s under a microscope.

But will it all blow up in her face?

Seth Matthews thought he’d said goodbye to Kokomo until an on-the-job injury with the FBI changed his plans. This town holds more than his family, and those memories had better stay buried for all concerned. But how was he to put his honed instincts on the back burner and stop safeguarding the ones closest to him?

He was willing to help his family with almost anything. But pretending interest in some woman to help with his nephew’s romantic endeavors? That was one thing he couldn’t see himself doing.

Until he realizes there was more than coincidence at play.

Forget about Women’s Lib. Return to 1972 Kokomo, Indiana for the second installment of The Weather Girls Wedding Shoppe and Venue series—Sylvia’s Mother—and the fight for personal independence. Join Sylvia, her mother, Eileen, and the kooky mix ups that all point to romance in this small town romp. If you enjoyed the Weather Girls and Judy in Disguise, then this book is a must read.

You will love Sylvia’s Mother, inspired by the pop 1960s song by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, because everyone dreams of a second chance with a first love.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Historical Christian Romance author, Jennifer Lynn Cary, likes to say you can take the girl out of Indiana, but you can’t take the Hoosier out of the girl. Now transplanted to the Arizona desert, this direct descendant of Davy Crockett and her husband of forty plus years enjoy time with family where she shares tales of her small-town heritage and family legacies with their grandchildren. 

She is the author of The Crockett Chronicles series, The Relentless series, and The Weather Girls trilogy as well as the stand-alone novel, Cheryl’s Going Home, her novella Tales of the Hob Nob Annex Café, and her split-time novels The Traveling Prayer Shawl and The Forgotten Gratitude Journal. Sylvia’s Mother is the second book of her spin-off series The Weather Girls Wedding Shoppe and Venue.

Author Interview with Jennifer

What was the inspiration behind this novel?

Jennifer: The inspiration for the setting was my high school in my hometown of Kokomo, Indiana. We moved after my sophomore year, or I would have been in the 100th graduating class of KHS WildKats. I remember the buildings and activities and it was fun to contact classmates to ask them questions—“Do you remember?” My yearbooks sure got a workout.

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

Jennifer: The biggest surprise happened before I started to write this book. I had an idea of doing a spin-off series from my Weather Girls trilogy. Each book would be a standalone but would have certain elements from the first series—the mansion, the sycamore, and of course, the cardinal. I also wanted to use song titles from the 1960s that had girls’ names in them to name the books. I got a lot of inspiration from oldies music and enjoyed looking up some of the DJs who worked for WLS in Chicago—that’s what I always listened to.

Anyway, Chuck Buell was one of those DJs and I found an interview where he told the story of hanging out with the lead singer of Dr Hook and the Medicine Show while in Monterey, California. The lead singer, Dennis Locorriere, asked him if he wanted to meet the guy who wrote the lyrics to “Cover of the Rolling Stone” and “Sylvia’s Mother.” Turned out the guy lived on a houseboat close by. Dennis introduced Chuck to Shel Silverstein. I couldn’t believe it. I was a teacher and had raised four kids. So, of course, I knew Shel Silverstein’s work—The Giving Tree, A Light in the Attic. Then I learned he’d also written “A Boy Named Sue” for Johnny Cash. Yeah, that was my big surprise. Now when I hear any of those songs, I definitely hear Shel Silverstein’s cadence.

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

Jennifer: I do. And it makes me giggle. “A whole lot of awkward going on.” I know, but it amuses me.

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

Jennifer: I was not the easiest child. Those who loved me used terms like precocious or active. My cousin, who I adored, had started taking piano lessons and I wanted to do everything she did, even if she was four years older than me. So, the piano teacher said if I learned the alphabet, I could start. I did, and at the age of 4, I began lessons. Fast forward to kindergarten and that active precocious me was getting in trouble at school. The music teacher just happened to be married to my piano teacher so, to get me to behave, I was bribed. Yes. Bribed. If I remained quiet and followed the rules, I could go up on the dais where the piano was and play a song for my classmates. It worked. At least enough to get me through to first grade.

Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your novel?

Jennifer: The best place to find me is on my website.

All the links to my social media accounts are there PLUS you can join my newsletter family and get a free copy of Tales of the Hob Nob Annex Café. I wrote this about my parents’ restaurant back in Kokomo. It is fiction with just a few facts tossed in from my faulty memory. Hope to see you there. Thanks so much, Jolene.

Thank you, Jennifer!

More from Jennifer

Do you remember your high school prom? The one in Sylvia’s Mother is based on an actual prom—the Stardust Ball at Kokomo High School. I didn’t attend it—I’d gone to the Autumn Prom, but not the Stardust Ball in 1972, so I had to contact fellow classmates to get the scoop.

The date in the book is actually when it really occurred. And there are a couple other real events and personalities added to this otherwise fictional dance. It was fun to have friends tell me of their memories and to find out what some of the nominees were doing now.

Something else I learned that made me want to write this story. I had been researching and found an old interview by Chuck Buell who used to be a disc jockey for WLS in Chicago. I’d always liked him so when I ran across the interview, I wasn’t too worried about getting anything specific—it was pretty much a stroll down memory lane.

And then he told a story about meeting up with Dr. Hook. They were hanging out in Monterey, California on the good doctor’s houseboat when he offered to introduce Chuck to the guy who wrote the lyrics for “Cover of the Rolling Stone.” Turns out the guy lived a couple boats down the marina, so they walked over and Chuck Buell met Shel Silverstein for the first time.

Yep, the man who wrote The Giving Tree and those childhood collections of poetry—Light in the Attic, Falling Up, and Runny Babbit—got his start writing rock and roll lyrics. Among them are “Cover of the Rolling Stone,” “A Boy Named Sue,” and “Sylvia’s Mother.” And once I learned that, I couldn’t help hearing his style (“voice”) in the songs since I had taught from his books in my elementary classrooms for many years. The thought made me smile and I had to write a story from one of those. “Sylvia’s Mother” fit the plan for my new series, so I borrowed the title.

I hope you will enjoy the story, even if you’ve never heard the song. But if you do know that old pop hit, I think you will enjoy a couple Easter egg surprises I hid along the way.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 17

Texas Book-aholic, March 18

By The Book, March 19 (Author Interview)

Cover Lover Book Review, March 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 21

Sylvan Musings, March 22 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 23

Connie’s History Classroom, March 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, March 25 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 26

Blogging With Carol, March 27

Pause for Tales, March 28

For Him and My Family, March 29

Beauty in the Binding, March 30 (Author Interview)

Books I’ve Read, March 30


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon card and an eBook 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.

Giveaway Link:

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Book Review: The Ribbon by Cara Grandle

About the Book:

Life rips away hope and sweeps her along…until she finds a future worth fighting for.

On the day her mother passes away, Heather Keeton weds a neighbor who promises to provide for her. They journey along the Oregon Trail, but tragedy strikes again. Widowed, alone, and far from home in Oregon Territory, Heather needs work. But where? She determines to use her cooking and baking skills at a logging camp to earn enough to remain independent and, eventually, reach her Porcelain Doll sister, Rebecca.

Land surveyor Zeke Bradley misses being part of a family. A surprise inheritance might open the way for him to settle down and begin a courtship, but he tries to come to the aid of an injured man only to be accused of murder. One wrong move, and he could unjustly swing by his neck from a rope. He flees and hides in a logging camp, waiting for his name to be cleared.

Nothing comes easy at Camp 13 Logging Company, where the work is hard and hazardous. Heather hopes to move on soon, and Zeke longs to be free from his worries. Can these two survivors learn to trust each other before their pasts destroy their future?

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading The Ribbon by Cara Grandle. The good characters were likable and the bad characters were dislikable. Heather, the female lead, experienced great loss and grief kept her broken for a long time. This extended period of adversity allowed for beautiful character development that blossomed toward the end of the novel.

Liza, Jiggy, and Moses, all side characters in The Ribbon, made me smile. Liza had spunk. Jiggy might be the ultimate flirt. Moses was highly interesting with a mysterious backstory. On the flip side, I disliked David from the start due to his creepy thoughts and evil intentions.

The Ribbon lands as the second installment in Cara Grandle’s Sisters of the Porcelain Doll series but could be read as a standalone. Book one, The Rock, contained the porcelain doll promise scene, but the pact was explained in The Ribbon as well. Like the first book, the main couple in The Ribbon met later in the story than I expected, but this novel held my attention from the start anyway.

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.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Book Spotlight: Until We All Share Joy

About the Book:

Titan Dinsmore loves his family, but as the youngest of five, he craves his older siblings’ respect—and a little distance. A chance meeting at the train station with a forlorn young lady turns into a growing attraction between them. But Titan quickly learns there is a difference between wanting to be treated as an adult and truly stepping up to lead. How can he help tenderhearted Nora see beyond her father’s abandonment and rest in the love of her Heavenly Father? And will his secret plan to restore her family for the ideal Christmas together win Nora’s undying admiration or only lead to greater heartache?

This warm, standalone Christmas novella highlights a lesser-known member of the beloved Dinsmore family in the Finding Home series. With all the charm of a Victorian Christmas and yet the realities of navigating difficult relationships in a Christlike manner, this book is one to be savored throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Purchase Link: Amazon


Chicago, Illinois
Friday, December 13, 1867

Titan Dinsmore sank onto a bench outside Wells Street Station and stifled a yawn against the inside of his elbow. A gust of wind carrying an icy edge cut down the street, picking up refuse and the remainder of the paper boy’s stack, scattering newsprint across the wooden sidewalk. Titan buttoned his coat, rewrapped his muffler, and stuffed his gloved hands deep in his pockets as he watched the boy scurry past, snatching at papers.

Titan’s hand hit the rolled medical journal he had tucked into his coat pocket. Really, he should pull it out, rather than sit idly. Another yawn hit him, and he couldn’t produce the motivation to study.

The lamplighter came by, and the dim corner where Titan sat was soon bathed in yellow. A train whistle blew behind him, bringing two businessmen racing down the street in their suits before disappearing into the station. Titan settled back onto the bench. Empty dray wagons left the station, laborers sauntered past on their way home for dinner, and shoppers shifted packages in their arms as they carefully crossed the street.

Titan pulled his watch from his waistcoat pocket and opened it. A quarter to seven, and the streetcar was nowhere in sight. His grumbling stomach punctuated the knowledge that he was going to be late for family dinner. The only dinner besides Sunday that he even made it to most weeks, even though he technically still lived at the manse. More truthfully, he lived at Cook County Hospital and only slept at home.

Titan’s hand contracted, snapping the watch shut. Out of nowhere, a body stumbled against his knees, falling across his lap and filling his vision with yards of dark wool fabric.


The exclamation escaped from Titan unbidden. The body, uttering the same surprised sound, scrambled off him, tripping across his feet in its escape. Titan’s hand shot out to steady a coat-covered arm. The lady turned toward him, and he got his first view of her wide blue eyes and scarlet cheeks.

“I am so sorry. Pardon me. I didn’t see you there.”

Titan stared at her as her words sank in. She hadn’t fallen onto him. She’d actually tried to sit on his lap.

He came to his feet out of habit as he tucked the watch back into his pocket. The young lady took a step backward. Titan hadn’t meant to tower over her but hadn’t realized how small she was until he stood.

“It happens all the time,” Titan said, not quite untruthfully. “Don’t think anything of it.” Giving her a parting nod, he sank back onto the bench and looked down the street for the streetcar.

The lady didn’t move. “It does?”

Titan turned back to see her still standing there, mouth agape.

“I don’t mean actually getting sat upon. Not being seen. I’m used to it.”

She peered behind Titan, to the left and then to the right, presumably checking the doors of the station, before stepping back around his feet and taking a seat on the far end of the bench.

“That’s very sad, don’t you think?”

Titan studied her for the first time. Fine blonde wisps framed her youthful face beneath a felted bonnet. The dark coat wasn’t the threadbare one of a laborer nor the expensive cut of the upper class. Concern struck him. What was a middle-class lady doing out alone at dusk?

“I prefer it that way, actually,” he said.

She arched an eyebrow at him, folded her hands on her lap, and glanced over his head to the door again. Following her cue, Titan leaned forward, hoping to see the streetcar materialize, but only carriages and wagons clambered past.

He started a minute later when his seatmate addressed him again. “You don’t strike me as a criminal.”

Titan stared at her, unable to ascertain what had prompted the comment.

“I can’t think why else anyone would want to be unseen.”

Ah. “Privacy,” Titan said. “Peace and quiet.”

At that, her eyebrows reached for her hairline, and she pressed her lips together. “I beg your pardon and apologize once more for sitting on you.” She turned away from him, and the silence grew heavy in the middle of the bench.

Titan frowned. He hadn’t meant to offend her but to answer her question honestly and give reassurance that she needn’t feel unsafe next to him. Surely her own safety was the primary matter on her mind at the moment. It ought to be.

A crowd surged from the station doors, and porters pushed laden carts past the bench to waiting wagons. The lady came to her feet beside Titan, studying each face that passed. He was wrong. Her safety wasn’t on her mind at all.

The streetcar appeared and drew to a halt ten feet from the bench. Titan eyed it, shivering, and glanced at the young lady who was watching the station doors with disappointment etched across her face. Passengers disembarked from the streetcar and dispersed into the streets, and the waiting cluster climbed aboard. Titan looked from the lady to the streetcar and back again, searching his mind for a reason why he remained seated. He thought of his mother’s roast beef and the warm manse parlor as his eyes landed on a pair of seedy-looking bums lounging under the streetlight. When the driver cracked his whip and the horses pulled the streetcar away, Titan still had no explanation for his presence on the bench.

If this woman didn’t care about her own safety on a dark Chicago street, it was no business of his. He wasn’t responsible for the protection of every female in the city.

Except he was. As the son of a minister, the rules of gentlemanly behavior had been instilled too deeply to circumvent. It was the responsibility of upstanding men to consider every female in their vicinity, and he could not in good conscience leave this woman unchaperoned at the dim station with ne’er-do-wells lounging about. Whoever she’d been expecting had obviously not come, yet she sank back onto the bench.

Titan’s stomach rumbled, and he turned up his collar against the cold as time passed. How long would it take for this stubborn woman to admit defeat? She had to know that there were no more passenger trains after the six-fifty.

Titan checked his watch again. Fifteen after seven. He definitely should have taken the streetcar. He would have been home by now, and his dinner would have still been hot. His sister Rebecca would be at the manse with her husband and one of Justin’s famous pies. Luke would have left his job at Western Union by now, picked up his wife Kellie from their cottage, and joined them. Justin and Kellie’s brother Jack was on holiday from seminary and would have arrived with one of the two couples. Titan wasn’t sure which one Jack was staying with this time, but it was usually Kellie, even though Justin had the bigger house.

The only siblings still absent would be Titan’s two married sisters who didn’t live in Chicago anymore, and himself. Maybe they would wonder where he was. Luke would remember that he was attending the lecture at Rush University this afternoon. He should, at least. “Maybe he got caught up in a conversation with the lecturer,” they might say. It made a lot more sense than sitting here in the cold, playing nurserymaid to a stranger.

Titan was pulled from his reverie when the woman stood and gave a little sigh toward the station door. His heart twisted at the way her shoulders drooped as she turned and walked away down the street. Titan gave a glance toward the ne’er-do-wells as he leaped to his feet and tailed her.

Author Bio:

Heather Wood grew up in the Chicago suburbs, loving history, classic literature, writing stories, and Civil War reenacting. After obtaining her bachelor's degree in Bible/Theology from Appalachian Bible College, she settled in Virginia with her husband David. Her early passions fuel her writing today, although she spends most of her days now working to infuse her love for God and good literature into the hearts of her four small children.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Author Interview: Recruit of Talionis by C. J. Milacci

Recruit of Talionis JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Recruit of Talionis by C.J. Milacci, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Recruit of Talionis

Title: Recruit of Talionis
: Talionis Series #1
: C.J. Milacci
: Fayette Press
Release Date
: November 3, 2023
: Young Adult Sci-Fi Dystopian

"Forget where you came from. Forget the life you knew. You are now recruits of Talionis!"

A teen with a dark past. A secret military force that kidnaps new soldiers. Can she survive as a Recruit of Talionis? 

America has fallen. Seventeen-year-old Bria Averton grew up in a small town of survivors near the ruins of Portland, Maine. It’s all she’s ever known — until she’s kidnapped along with hundreds of other teens and brought to the city of Talionis. A city no one knew existed. 

The soldiers tell them the intense trainings are for the good of the survivors, and Bria resists being forced into a new life as a recruited soldier. But she soon finds the dangers in the city are greater than she imagined. 

Escape is impossible, and Bria fears drowning in the evil of the city… and the guilt from her own past. But can she find hope, even here?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | BookBub


September 25th has tormented me every moment for six years. Darkness clings to the morning, unwilling to relinquish its hold and allow light to enter the world. But that’s fitting for today.

The anniversary of my brother’s death.

My gaze probes the murky depths of the bay as waves lap at the shore, spitting up pieces of plastic, cloth, and whatever else the ocean has churned up today. Wind blows sand over the rusty frame of a pre-Demise car several feet to my right, creating a haunting tune. Chills inch up my spine. I hate this place, and yet can’t seem to keep myself away.

Bria… Bria… Bria…

The waves whisper my name with every splash on the shore, mocking me and beckoning me at the same time. My nemesis. The monster I must face—must defeat because of what it took from me.

My throat thickens, the memories stirring.

I take a step forward, then stop again.

Light edges its way over the horizon, brightening the surrounding landscape. I know it by heart. Every bit of forest and rock around the tiny beach. The cliffs to the east, stretching into the water. The old car wedged between boulders, half-buried in the sand. My stomach roils like the waves. It’s the same as it was during my last moments with Ezri.

About the Author

C.J. Milacci

CJ Milacci has found creating to be therapeutic in the chaos of life. Writing is her favorite way to create, and she seeks to take her readers on a grand adventure that begins with a single word. As a referee, she is always relearning the hard lesson that it’s impossible to make everyone happy, and she’s discovered that stories can be found anywhere, even on a lacrosse field. She is passionate about crafting stories of good overcoming evil, finding hope in the midst of seemingly hopeless circumstances, and true acceptance. Always willing to get real about hard issues, C.J. also enjoys the cheesiest of puns. She loves deep conversations, yo-yos, roller-blading, and finding reasons to throw a dance party. She chats about writing, her faith and the hope found in Jesus, bubble tea, and other fun adventures online (@cjmilacci) and at

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

Author Interview

What was the inspiration behind Recruit of Talionis?

C.J.: I was inspired to write the story because I wanted to illustrate how to find hope when the darkest possible circumstances collide with guilt from one’s past. So I imagined a world in which America has fallen and the rest of the world has moved on — like how Rome fell and the world dynamics changed. Then I thought, what would it be like if a man came and set up a hidden city in America and started kidnapping teens to, essentially, build himself an army? And what if one of those teens was a girl who has a dark past that she thinks will always define her and make her unworthy of acceptance? How could that girl find hope when evil seems to be taking over? And so Recruit of Talionis was born.

My biggest reason for wanting to write this kind of story was because I’ve talked to many young women who struggle with depression, anxiety, and painful situations in their lives. I wanted to write a story I could hand to those teen and young adult girls who needed a reprieve from the pain they were facing in their lives, but also a way to learn deeper truths. And find, ultimately, that hope can pierce even the darkest of circumstances.

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

C.J.: I always have a hard time answering this questions, because I wrote a version of this story several years ago. Then I set it aside, learned more about the craft of writing, wrote other stories, and then picked Recruit of Talionis back up and rewrote it completely. There are echoes of what the story once was, but it’s a very different book now — a better book.
All of that to say, I have a hard time pinpointing exactly how long it took me to write. It was about a year for the first draft, but many rewrites and edits and changes since.

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

C.J.: “Sometimes the things you’re learning and doing have a greater purpose than what you realize at first. If you give up because you don’t understand, or because something doesn’t make sense to your logic, you risk missing out.”

This quote is from the “mentor” character in my story and it has a very practical application to my protagonist, but I’ve also found it to be true in my own life. The littlest things in life often have a far greater impact than we’ll ever realize, and if we faithfully do what we need to do, we will reap what we’ve sown eventually. It’s easy for me to want to give up sometimes because I don’t understand, but faithful diligence always brings about the best results.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from Recruit of Talionis?

C.J.: Stories can be a way of escape, a way to forget the difficulties of life for a time, and I want Recruit of Talionis to offer those things AND point to true hope. Hope readers can then bring back with them into whatever circumstances they were going through. Life is crazy and overwhelming and difficult, and I want readers to walk away from reading Recruit of Talionis knowing that, no matter how painful and hard things may be, there can always be hope.

Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers would not know?

C.J.: I’m a referee for girls and women’s lacrosse and field hockey…and I didn’t play either sport! I actually ref lacrosse at the collegiate level now, but when I started, I had no idea how the sport was played. None. I’d never even seen a game, but somehow I found myself training to ref the sport. I was sure I would utterly fail, and I remember praying, God, if You want me to do this, You’re gonna have to make it happen, because there is now way I can do it on my own. And by some crazy miracle, here I am almost nine years later. I’ve learned so much as a referee, made some great friends, and I’ve even been inspired with story ideas while on the lacrosse field. All that to say, you just never know where your life may lead. One major thing I learned was that if God has something for me to do, He can lead me through it. No matter how crazy. All I need to do is take the next step and do what I can do, and leave the rest up to Him.

Q: What are you reading now?

C.J.: I typically read a paperback book and listen to a different audiobook, so right now I’m reading The Choice (book 2 in The Chase Runner Series), by Bradley Caffee, and I’m listening to the audiobook for Silver Bounty (book 2 in The Royal Rose Chronicles), by Victoria McCombs.

Q: How many bookcases are in your home?

C.J.: Oh what a fun question! I have two beautiful floor to ceiling bookcases that my dad built for me, and I also have several bookshelves upstairs in my house.

Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Sometimes I’m reffing a game, other times I’m working for one of my author clients and helping them with their needs, and much of my non-writing work time is focused on marketing and learning.
But for fun, I love doing things outdoors — hiking, roller-blading, or kayaking if the weather is nice —, and spending time with friends and family playing games, watching movies, and going on adventures. I also enjoy cooking and baking.

Tour Giveaway

(2) winners will each receive a print copy of Recruit of Talionis with swag and a $15 Amazon gift card!

Recruit of Talionis JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight March 27 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on April 3, 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. 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

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Book Review: I'll Start Again Monday by Lysa TerKeurst

About the Book:

The Missing Companion for Healthy Eating Plans That Have Left You Feeling Defeated.

So often we characterize our food cravings as bad or guilt inducing, especially when dieting has made us feel even more disappointed and defeated. But the reality is we were made to crave. We just need to realize God created us to crave more of Him instead of misplacing that craving by overindulging in physical pleasures and unhealthy choices that will never truly satisfy. In the midst of her own personal struggle with this, New York Times bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst invites us into a new perspective of permanent change to get out of the same old pattern of losing weight but then gaining it back.

In this newly revised and condensed version of Made to Crave, Lysa shows you how to:break the cycle of “I'll start again Monday” and start taking steps toward consistency that lasts.
  • stop agonizing over numbers on the scale and make peace with your body.
  • replace rationalizations that lead to failure with wisdom that leads to victory.
  • reach your healthy goals and grow closer to God through the process.

This is not a “how-to” book or the latest and greatest dieting plan. This is the necessary resource to use alongside whatever healthy lifestyle plan you choose that will help you find your “want to.” This message is what’s been missing in your journey toward sustainable success and health.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading I’ll Start Again Monday: Breaking the Cycle of Unhealthy Eating Habits with Lasting Spiritual Satisfaction by Lysa TerKeurst. It was easy-to-read and well-organized. As a revised and condensed version of Made to Crave, it featured plenty of the same concepts, but was set up in the style of a daily devotional with short readings for each day. The book held my attention and did not drag in the middle like many self-help books do.

I’ll Start Again Monday focused on breaking unhealthy eating habits to become physically and spiritually healthy. Lysa TerKeurst shared some of her personal nutrition plan but did not advocate for a specific food regimen. Rather, as the author explored her thoughts on finding spiritual satisfaction, she laid out smart principles for Christian living. Some examples include: walking in victory/freedom, taking each thought captive, replacing lies with truth, commitment, perseverance, and deepening one’s relationship with God.

The exhortations in I’ll Start Again Monday can be applied to multiple areas of life, not just the pursuit of physical health. Some of the teachings felt a bit heavy-handed and strict. I didn’t buy into everything in the book, but overall, I found it to have excellent spiritual insights and encouragement.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product via the Amazon Vine program. All opinions in this review are my own.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Book Spotlight: The Rock at the Bottom

The Rock at the Bottom JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Rock at the Bottom by Cynthia Hilston, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

The Rock at the Bottom Title: The Rock at the Bottom 
Series: Lorna & Tristan Series #3 
Author: Cynthia Hilston 
Publisher: Independently Published 
Release Date: March 18, 2023 
Genre: 20th-century Historical fiction/Christian fiction/Romance

A big dreamer and successful novelist carries the sins of his father and a secret that leaves him wondering if he is the author or killer of love.

Stephen feels he is marked from day one to lose the ones he loves. His mother dies giving birth to him, and his alcoholic father makes sure Stephen never forgets it. To block out his father’s hate, fists, and belt, young Stephen loses himself in his imagination. Stories become his closest companions and barricades against a family that never wanted him. Once he can look his father in the eye, Stephen swears he will never be the monster his old man is. He vows he will become a published author, if for no other reason than to prove his father wrong. 

While his dreams of being a bestselling novelist and falling in love come true, Stephen has much to prove to himself before he can write his own happy ending. Set against the backdrop of Prohibition-era Cleveland, Stephen fights the same alcoholic demons that plagued his father as he tries to begin a life free from his family. He meets equally headstrong Julie and is smitten, but their marriage is as fractured as his career is solid. He can find ten ways to write about being in love, but he has a hard time translating love on the page to love in real life. Julie slips between his fingers like sand, and Stephen sees his father staring back when he looks in the mirror. 

Try as he might to rewrite his life, even going so far as to change his name, he has to wonder if he is the author or the killer of love.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon

Amazon ebook sale March 21-22 $0.99

More Books in this Series

Lorna versus Laura Rocks and Flowers in a Box


My mother was the first person I killed. My father made sure I never forgot it.

I tried to forget. Oh, did I ever. As soon as I could read, I lost myself in books at every opportunity. But as a six-year-old boy, who was reminded every time my drunk old man took retribution out of my flesh, the hurled words became etched on my soul.

You’re the reason she’s dead.
You took her from me.
You’re a mistake.
You weren’t supposed to be born. To exist.
You aren’t supposed to exist.

Those words cut into my being with every laceration on my back. Or every purple bruise on my cheekbone—left or right, take your pick. Whichever side my father was on when he struck.

But he was never on my side.

I was on my side. I and I alone. Sometimes, even I wasn’t on my side.

My older brothers and sisters had their lives, and I wasn’t part of theirs. Twelve years and a chasm separated me—the unwanted—from them—the loved.

When printed words failed to cover my scars, I escaped to the only place I knew: my imagination.

About the Author

Cynthia Hilston

Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction, although she still dabbles in fan fiction.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, shamelessly watches Hallmark movies and When Calls the Heart, pets her orange and black kitties, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell. 

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

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and a book bundle including Lorna versus Laura, Rocks and Flowers, and The Rock at the Bottom!

The Rock at the Bottom JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight March 21, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on March 28, 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. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

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