Saturday, February 17, 2018

Review of A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette



About the Book ~

Though Israel has found relative peace, Moriyah has yet to find her own. Attempting to avoid the scorn of her community, she's spent the last seven years hiding behind the veil she wears. Underneath her covering, her face is branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods, a shameful reminder of her past captivity in Jericho and an assurance that no man will ever want to marry her.

When her father finds a widower who needs a mother for his two sons, her hopes rise. But when their introduction goes horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee for her life. Seeking safety at one of the newly established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face and the enemies--and unexpected allies--she will encounter on her way.

For more information about Connilyn Cossette and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~ 
 
I just...I can't...I can't even BEGIN to tell you how much I absolutely, utterly, completely ADORED A Light on the Hill! Prepare for a gushfest!
 
A Light on the Hill tells Moriyah's journey after the events of Wings of the Wind, the third book in the Out From Egypt Series. I squealed, shrieked, and did a little dance when I found out Moriyah was going to have her own story! Seriously. No shame. Her story could just not be over, and now, after finally getting the rest of her story, I'm having a hard time accepting it because I want more!

*silently screams*

*regains composure*

Anyways, the twists and turns (no spoilers here!) of this girl-on-the-run story will have the pages flying by you faster than you can drink your coffee. A Light on the Hill is told entirely from Moriyah's perspective, and my heart just wants to hug her. Many a heart will relate to her struggles with being in a prison of her own making, only to find spiritual freedom in what so many consider a physical prison. Your soul will rejoice as Moryiah looks past the mark on her face, finally seeing the woman God sees.

AND THE ROMANCE! OH. MY! *SWOONS* And yes, it was necessary to capitalize all that. The romance was one of the most beautiful, breathtaking, swoony romances that I've ever read! And I know romance, my friends. <3

One of the unique aspects of Connilyn Cossette's Biblical Fiction stories is that they are not retellings (which I also love!), but they are stories with relatable characters set in Bible days. The author does a lot of research so that her stories are Biblically accurate and true to the culture. In her Author's Note, she shares some of her research and places where she may have had to take artistic license.
 
Five Stars ~ A stunning start to what I'm sure will be a stunning series! A Light on the Hill is the first book in Connilyn Cossette's new Cities of Refuge Series! Waiting for the next book, Shelter of the Most High, is going to be very hard! *impatient squealing* If you are new to Connilyn Cossette's novels, then you can/should check out my review for Shadow of the Storm, the second book in her Out From Egypt Series. While A Light on the Hill builds on what happened in the third book, Wings of the Wind, it is not necessary to read the Out From Egypt Series first. I think it's more fun if you do, but to each their own... ;-) 

I received a copy of A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Story Behind the Story

I've always been a romantic.

Lacy wedding dresses, first kisses, winks, and secret smiles - they all make my heart swoon!

So it wasn't just natural for me to write stories with some serious romance vibes, it was like breathing - natural and necessary. Honestly, I could write a whole other post about the God-given beauty in romance. Maybe another day... ;-)

While Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations is not an exclusive tell-all, let's just say that there are definitely some themes that were draw from my own experiences in the romance department. And one of the key ingredients to Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations is trust in God, something I excel at. Not.

When I started writing this story, I was very single. I tended to binge-watch Say Yes to the Dress and fret about my lack of love life. And I loved this guy. We'll call him "Luke." And Luke cared about me, too. Had for years. Be we had never pursued a relationship because we went to a small Christian school where dating was a capital offense. The unofficial plan was that we would pursue a relationship once we had both graduated. That day came, went, and many months few from the pages of the calendar. I thought this was God's plan, but nothing was happening. I had a lot of those, "God, come on!" moments. One day I started venting my frustration writing, and Izze, my main character, started chattering in my head. I'd always been obsessed with weddings, and the idea of a single woman in the wedding business who wanted to get married and was fed up with the leading man seemed to be right up my emotional alley.

I started and stopped and rewrote this story many, many times. During one of the "stopped" phases, this guy FINALLY asked me out. But it was really awkward and weird. However, I was still sure this was just a dead squirrel on the path to Happily Ever After.

Three days later, Luke said we should just be friends.

Naturally, I binge-ate a lot of chocolate.

What followed was a particularly confusing and painful season for me. God and I may have exchanged some angry words... Okay, they were my angry words. But the more I turned to God, the more He whispered this message to my heart of hearts: I needed to trust Him.

This was SOOO not easy, especially when Luke started volunteering at the youth group where I was a youth leader, so I had to see him even more. I tried bargaining like, "God, if I trust you, then You need to do this for me." Shocker, but that didn't work out so well. I just needed to trust God and put Him first in my life. He would sort out the details. And He showed me again and again that He was - and is - trustworthy.

Today, that guy and I are married, and we have a beautiful little girl.



 

I don't regret our separation. In fact, I'm actually glad it happened because it taught me to rely on God in a way I never had before those hard days. My husband went through a similar journey with God, and I believe we are stronger together because we learned to trust God when we were apart.

When people read Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations, I hope they laugh a lot and enjoy Izze and Miles' story. But most importantly, I hope they see that they can trust God with their hearts. Because He has the very best in store for them. He loves to give us beauty for ashes.



Isabel “Izze” Vez, bridal consultant extraordinaire, has been helping brides find The Dress for years. She loves nothing more than helping make wedding dreams come true…but sometimes the happy endings grate on her. How many times can a girl discover someone else’s gown without dreaming of the day it’ll be her turn to wear one?

When James Miles Clayton walks into her life, he represents everything Izze can’t handle: change. He’s determined to bring the Ever After Bridal Boutique into the black…and to prove to Izze that she should give him a chance.

But if there’s anything Izze handles worse than change, it’s trust. She may have a few issues—fine, she knows she does. But will they keep getting in the way of any chance of her own Happily Ever After? She wants to trust God to give her those dreams of love and lace, but that’s going to require some…minor alterations.

 
Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million!
  
P.S. My apologies if you've read this story before, as this is an updated post from last year. I wanted to be able to refer and share this story with my amazing bookish people without referring them to a post with an event that has ended. I may be a bit twisted, but I'm not that cruel. ;-)
 
God bless you, my friends!
 
Hugs! <3
 
~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

 



Friday, February 9, 2018

Review of The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron



About the Book ~

Ellie Carver arrives at her grandmother’s bedside expecting to find her silently slipping away. Instead, the beloved woman begins speaking. Of a secret past and castle ruins forgotten by time. Of a hidden chapel that served as a rendezvous for the French Resistance in World War II. Of lost love and deep regret . . .

Each piece that unlocks the story seems to unlock part of Ellie too—where she came from and who she is becoming. But her grandmother is quickly disappearing into the shadows of Alzheimer’s and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history. Drawn by the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty—a castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale—Ellie embarks on a journey to France’s Loire Valley in hopes that she can unearth its secrets before time silences them forever.

Bridging the past to the present in three time periods—the French Revolution, World War II, and present day—The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged in the hearts of men, and of an enchanted castle that stood witness to it all, inspiring a legacy of faith through the generations.

For more information about Kristy Cambron and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Kristy Cambron has written a fairy tale that should go down in history! Who cares that this particular story is fiction? History books, you've been warned. *deadpan stare*

The Lost Castle weaves together a present day search into the past, all the drama of a girl-on-the-run World War Two story, and the angst of the French Revolution. The modern storyline built more off of the World War Two storyline, but you see beautiful hints of the French Revolution storyline peppered throughout them, too. The heroines are spunky and endearing. While I especially loved Quinn, each of the heroes are dashing and worthy of a good swoon in their own unique ways. The gorgeous romance takes your breath away, and you may find yourself tearing up before you've reach the end of the novel.

As a fan of all things vintage, I've thoroughly enjoyed Kristy Cambron's novels and her vintage writing flare! The Lost Castle was no exception! The end result of these equally enchanting stories will have you blotting your eyes with the soul-deep knowing that something powerful, beautiful, and strong can stand the test of time. That God was, is, and always will be the Master Builder of our walls. <3

Four Stars ~ The Lost Castle is breathtaking, bittersweet, and beautiful! The Lost Castle is a timeslip novel, and make note (grab some paper!) that you will want to devour the author's other vintage novels immediately! Check out my review for her pervious novel, The Illusionist's Apprentice, if you don't believe me. Amazing!

I received a copy of The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron published by Thomas Nelson from BookLook Bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Review of Until We Find Home by Cathy Gohlke



About the Book ~

For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.

With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help. Though desperate to return to France and the man she loves, Claire has few options. But her tumultuous upbringing―spent in the refuge of novels with fictional friends―has ill-prepared her for the daily dramas of raising children, or for the way David Campbell, a fellow American boarder, challenges her notions of love. Nor could she foresee how the tentacles of war will invade their quiet haven, threatening all who have come to call Bluebell Wood home and risking the only family she’s ever known.

Set in England’s lush and storied Lake District in the early days of World War II, and featuring cameos from beloved literary icons Beatrix Potter and C. S. Lewis, Until We Find Home is an unforgettable portrait of life on the British home front, challenging us to remember that bravery and family come in many forms.

For more information about Cathy Cohlke and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Until We Find Home is such a deep, moving story that I would compare it to the ocean! There's depth and heartache and life explored within these pages. Racial prejudices, the meaning of home and family, and the fear of love are just some of the topics the author will gently use to touch and challenge the reader's heart.

The story starts in such a way that I was having serious Father Goose vibes. (If you don't know the movie to which I refer, then you must binge watch all Cary Grant movies immediately!) The majority of the novel is really the characters learning to navigate - and eventually love - each other. However, the end is packed with some eerie drama! Also, I so enjoyed the many references to beloved classics and the cameos appearances from Beatrix Potter and CS Lewis! But I won't spoil those for you! ;-)

There were at least seven points of view, making a way for the author to flesh out even more of the challenges that this eclectic group of characters must face. I didn't connect with the characters in the way that I had hoped, but I definitely think that they were well written. Claire's struggle with giving and receiving love was especially moving! She struggles with the very concept of love because she has never known true love, only rejection and betrayal. Aunt Miranda's journey deals very much with the way she has become frozen in her grief.

The romance was sweet, yet very, very subtle. Truly, this was not a romance novel, but rather the romance was like the creamy aftertaste of a delicious cup of coffee. Well, at least the way I make coffee. :-)

Three Stars ~ An enjoyable story about what - and who - home really means set to the backdrop of World War Two. Until We Find Home is a standalone novel, but Cathy Gohlke is an award-winning, multi-published author, so be sure to check out her other titles!

I received a copy of Until We Find Home by Cathy Gohlke published by Tyndale from the Tyndale Blog Network. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Review of Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren


About the Book ~

Billionaire Ian Shaw can have everything he wants--except a happy ending. Or at least that's what it feels like with his fortune recently liquidated, his niece, Esme, still missing, and the woman he loves refusing to speak to him. In fact, he doubts she would date him even if they were stranded on a deserted island.

Despite her love for Ian, Sierra Rose knows he has no room in his life for her as long as the mystery of his missing niece goes unsolved. The only problem is, Sierra has solved it, but a promise to Esme to keep her whereabouts secret has made it impossible to be around Ian.

When the PEAK chopper is damaged and Sierra lacks the funds to repair it, Ian offers a fundraising junket for large donors on his yacht in the Caribbean. But the three-day excursion turns into a nightmare when a rogue wave cripples the yacht and sends the passengers overboard. Shaken up and soaked to the bone, Ian finally has a chance to test his theory when he and Sierra do indeed find themselves washed up on a strange, empty shore.

It will take guts and gumption for the PEAK team to rescue the duo. But it will take a miracle to rescue Ian and Sierra's relationship.

For more information about Susan May Warren and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

If you're like me and have been anxiously awaiting (translation: pacing, binge eating, and counting seconds) the arrival of Ian and Sierra's story, then you will not be disappointed.

If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, then get thee to a bookstore! ;-)

Susan May Warren drops you into mystery and action on the first page, and it doesn't let up until the end. And I don't know if this is important to you or not, but I am never getting on a boat ever again! This edge-of-your-seat story is told mostly from Ian and Sierra's perspectives, but you will get some glimpses from a couple other people on the PEAK team.

But I can't tell you who. ;-)

Did someone say romance? Was that me? Well, since someone asked, the romance is sweet and clean, yet steamy and real in the way that only Susan May Warren can do it, and the end - OHMYGOODNES!!! Welcome to Swoon City, my friends! <3 <3 <3

Ian is one of my favorite dudes in the Montana Rescue Series, second only to Deputy Sam Brooks (#allthehearts). He's hardworking and charming and makes mistakes that make you want to slap him. And when he makes the choice to love, forgive, and trust, you will do a happy dance. Well, at least I did. :-) And Sierra's struggles are so relatable! Who among us hasn't felt like they have had to earn love, respect, or their place in life? Fear of being left behind... Fear of not being able to control the world around you... Forgiveness... Truly these beautifully flawed people, er, characters will reflect your heart in an alarming way.

Five Stars ~ Another thrilling installment in the Montana Rescue Series! Troubled Waters is book four. While you could probably read Troubled Waters by itself, you may be confused by some of the character dynamics and a building mystery if you read the series out of order. I recommend reading Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me (#allthehearts), and A Matter of Trust respectively before you dive into (minor pun intended) Troubled Waters.

I received a copy of Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Review of The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz


About the Book ~

It is the eve of a new age of freedom in the colonies.
But can a proper English lady dare hope for her own independence?


Lady Elisabeth "Liberty" Lawson has nearly everything a lady of her position could want. Daughter of the British lieutenant governor of the Virginia Colony and a darling of fine society in a rugged land, she is anticipating an advantageous marriage. That her betrothed is a rake and love is lacking is of little consequence--or so she tells herself.

Though her own life seems in order, colonial Williamsburg is a powder keg on the verge of exploding, and her fiancé's cousin Noble Rynallt carries the flame of revolution in his heart. Those with connections to the British nobility are suspected as spies, and Liberty soon finds herself left with a terrible choice. Will she stay true to her English roots? Or side with Noble and the radical revolutionaries?

For more information about Laura Frantz and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

This was my first novel by Laura Frantz...

Please, don't aim for the face. ;-)

If I've shocked you, then you will at least be pleased to know that I found The Lacemaker to be thoroughly enchanting!

Set at the start of the American Revolutionary War, this story was filled with all kinds of historical details that would make you honestly believe that it was penned by someone who had lived through this tumultuous period if it wasn't for the copyright date. For me, The Lacemaker was the kind of story that started slowly, but built and built, until I realized that I was very much enamored with it. <3

Noble is, because he's very much REAL, honorable, brave, and worthy of a hearty swoon! He represents so many brave men who fought for their home and family. And Lady Elisabeth/Liberty proved to be made of sturdy stuff ( <--- understatement of the year)! Laura Frantz did a wonderful job describing the plight of a young woman from a notoriously British family trying to survive on American soil. The transformation of these beloved - anwylyd - characters blesses the heart in only the dearest of ways. <3

Four Stars ~ The Lacemaker proved to be a beautiful, delightful surprise! The Lacemaker is a standalone novel, but one you wish would go on and on. Lovely! You can be sure that I will be reading more stories by Laura Frantz. <3

I received a copy of The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.


Monday, January 8, 2018

Review of The House on Foster Hill by Jamie Jo Wright

 


About the Book ~

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious demise fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather's Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house's dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy's search leads her into dangerous waters, resurrecting painful memories and forcing a reunion with the man who broke her heart. Can Ivy unravel the mystery and find a renewed hope before any other lives--including her own--are lost?

For more information about Jamie Jo Wright and her books, check out her website!

My Thoughts ~

Warning: The House on Foster Hill is sure to steal your breath!

The House on Foster Hill is a timeslip novel. Part of the story is told through Ivy's perspective in 1906, while the other half takes place during present day with Kaine. Their mysterious stories weave together with such excellent pacing that you will need to be sure that you can devote the entire day to reading! Answers. You will NEED answers. ;-)

But do you get all of them?

I'll never tell... ;-)

Ivy's side of the story almost felt like a gothic novel, while Kaine's side had all the terror and angst of a girl-on-the-run movie. Ivy's journey proved especially intriguing to me. Even though I always have a hard time with widow/widower angles, I try not to let this stop me from reading excellent stories. So while this angle is difficult for me, it was understandably a huge part of Kaine's story and character development. Rest assured, when you close the cover on this chilling, twisting tale, you will find that the message of hope and living life despite, through, and in triumph over darkness resounds in your heart. I also appreciate and admire the author for tackling difficult topics like death and sex trafficking in such a candid way.

Four Stars ~ The House on Foster Hill is a thrilling romantic suspense rarely seen in Christian Fiction. I look forward to reading whatever Jamie Jo Wright pens - er, types - next!

I received a copy of The House on Foster Hill by Jamie Jo Wright from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.