Monday, November 25, 2019

Review of Deadly Deceit by Natalie Walters


About the Book ~

Welcome back to Walton, Georgia, where everyone knows your name -- but no one knows your secret.

Independent and tenacious journalist Vivian DeMarco is back in Walton, Georgia, for one reason -- to do her job and get out. When her boss suddenly dies under suspicious circumstances, Vivian's only hope for finding the truth -- and the next big story -- is small-town law enforcement's lanky poster boy, Deputy Ryan Frost. But the deeper they dig, the more twisted the truth becomes. False leads, incriminating emails, and someone called the Watcher force Vivian to fight for answers -- and her life.

For more information about Natalie Walters and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Guys, Deadly Deceit by Natalie Walters was sooo good!!!

Hmmm...I wonder how many times I can tell you that Deadly Deceit was "sooo good" before my paltry offering of words looses all meaning...

But really...Deadly Deceit was sooo good!!!

I was really pleased with Deadly Deceit! There was a uniqueness to the entire story, and I don't say that lightly! The small town gave the story a fun setting and allowed me to connect in a genuine way. The people and town events of Walton charmed me, and the overall mystery with its cyber angle felt realistic. I really loved that Vivian was a reporter because I don't see enough reporters in fiction anymore. I also enjoyed how the suspense flowed nicely with the personal struggles Vivian and Ryan were overcoming.

Speaking of which, Vivian and Ryan were sooo good! I loved the humor in the whole story, but their banter was the best! All the superhero references made my inner geek grin from ear to ear! Both of them had some daddy issues, and the realistic ways these wounds affected them in their lives was refreshing to read. I cheered all the more as they individually allowed God's love to shine into those dark places, illuminating the lies that said they needed to prove themselves or earn love!

Five Stars ~ Deadly Deceit by Natalie Walters is a romantic suspense you don't want to miss! It's -- last time -- sooo good! Deadly Deceit is the second book in the author's Harbored Secrets Series from Revell, but it can be read as a standalone without any issue. I will definitely be reading the third book, Silent Shadows!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. 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 Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is 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, November 23, 2019

Review of The End of the Magi by Patrick W. Carr


About the Book ~

Centuries before the magi arrived in Bethlehem, a prophecy sets a young magus on his path...

Following his vision of the coming Messiah, the prophet Daniel calls forth a select group of men who will count down the calendar until the arrival of Israel's promised king. Centuries later, as the day draws near, Myrad, a young magi acolyte, flees for his life when his adoptive father and others are slain by a ruthless Parthian queen.

Equipped with very little, in haste Myrad escapes the city and, searching for a way to hide from the soldiers scouring the trade routes, tries to join the caravan of the merchant Walagash. The merchant senses that Myrad is keeping secrets, but when the young man proves himself a valuable asset, an epic journey filled with peril, near captures, and dangerous battles begins.

With every day that passes, the calendar creeps closer to the coming Messiah. And over everything shines the dream of a star that Myrad can't forget, and the promise that the world will never be the same.

For more information about Patrick W. Carr and his books, check out his website here!

My Thoughts ~

The End of the Magi by Patrick W. Carr is the PERFECT book to read this Christmas season if you're looking for a story that literally doesn't mention mistletoe even once! LOL! So what will you get in The End of the Magi? A perilous journey made by an imperfect, broken man and his unlikely companions as they search for the Most Holy One!

I've been a fan of Patrick W. Carr's fantasy stories for awhile, but when I discovered that he'd written a Biblical Fiction novel (a genre I adore), I was ecstatic! I'm pleased to report that the elements I loved about the author's previous novels fluidly translated into this Biblical Fiction tale. Through Myrad's journey, the author was able to tell a story we know so well in a way that feels like we were experiencing it for the first time as Myrad experienced it for the first time. The wonder and majesty just leapt from the pages!

There were three distinct parts to The End of the Magi: Daniel's prophecy; Myrad's trek and discovery of baby Jesus; Myrad and company's presence at Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, and the coming of the Holy Spirit. While Myrad's trek and discovery of baby Jesus is the bulk of the story, the other parts are impactful and flow smoothly with the main storyline. I also loved learning more about the magi as well as the additional layers of political strife that wreaked havoc on Myrad's journey!

The End of the Magi is a beautiful story that shows how God likes to use the most unlikely people to accomplish His glorious means! Myrad struggled with being different and handicap, causing him to seek God's will for him in a way that will both encourage and convict. His growing faith will nudge, redirect, and reignite readers with a passion to pursue God in their own perilous journeys through life!

Four Stars ~ The End of the Magi by Patrick W. Carr is a wonderful story to read this Christmas season (or even for a little Christmas in July!)! As far as I'm aware, The End of the Magi is a standalone, but the author has a backlist of stories for new readers to discover!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. 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 Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is 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.


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Review of A Pursuit of Home by Kristi Ann Hunter


About the Book ~

Jessamine Beauchene has spent most of her life in hiding and always on the move in an effort to leave her past far behind her. But when she learns the family she thought long dead just might be alive and in danger, she knows her secrets can only stay buried for so long.

Derek Thornbury loves the past, which has led him to become an expert in history and artifacts. He knows Jess has never liked him, but when she requests his help deciphering an old family diary, he can't resist the urge to help solve the puzzle.

As Jess and Derek race to find the hidden artifact before her family's enemies, they learn as much about each other as they do about the past. But can their search to set history right lead to a future together?

For more information about Kristi Ann Hunter and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~ 

A Pursuit of Home by Kristi Ann Hunter is a masterpiece of romance, adventure, and witty bickering! These vivid brushstrokes of story have guaranteed that A Pursuit of Home will forever and always be one of my favorite Kristi Ann Hunter books!

So in case you didn't catch it from my terminology above, there's a lot of art in this story! Some of the art mentioned is real, and some of it's not. Regardless of it's "realness," I loved the way the author pulled these vivid images into the story in a way that didn't slow down the adventure! And that adventure!! No spoilers, but it was like a fairy tale and a treasure hunt come to life in Regency England! Absolutely amazing!

I've loved Jess since I first met her! She's snarky, loving, and intriguing. And I loved the journey that she took on a personal level while traipsing around England! Watching her finally step out of  the shadows and into the light, finally believing that she was worthy of sacrificial love, will squeeze your heart into a pile of happy goo. And Derek! Derek was quirky, quick-witted, and steadfast. You gotta love a guy that knits! He didn't let Jess' prickly demeanor push him away, but instead remained a steady presence for her, lovingly drawing her away from her chamber of secrets. Their rocky, bickering relationship slowly gave way to perfectly-timed love! I'm still swooning from their romance!

Five Stars ~ A Pursuit of Home by Kristi Ann Hunter is a work of art! A Pursuit of Home is the third book in the author's Haven Manor Series from Bethany House. While some details and setup would make more sense if you've read the previous books in the series and/or A Noble Masquerade (where Jess first appeared on the scene!) from the Hawthorne House Series, A Pursuit of Home can be read as a standalone.

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. 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 Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is 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.


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Review of Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan


About the Book ~

Hamish DeLuca and Regina "Reggie" Van Buren have a new case -- and this one could demand a price they're not willing to pay.

Determined to make a life for herself, Reggie Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.

Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he's afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes.

When Hamish has his carefully constructed life disrupted by a figure from his past, he is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever...even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.

For more information about Rachel McMillan and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan is an enthralling conclusion for the dynamic duo of Van Buren and DeLuca!

The author has certainly proven that she can write a cozy mystery coupled with a sweeping romance (and a few end-of-the-world kisses!), but I think the author's greatest strength is her attention to the ginormous and minuscule details that transport the reader back in history! The author clearly gave writing style, references, characterization, architecture, and social/political climate careful consideration while crafting this intriguing story! While reading, I felt like I was watching a new installment in The Thin Man franchise that had been lost to a time-traveling vortex unfold in my mind's eye!

Three years have passed since the events in book one, Murder at the Flamingo. While I did wish that there had been another book between these two stories and am still pinning for another book to follow this one, I very much enjoyed the established and angsty relationship between Hamish and Reggie in this volume. Hamish is an endearing character who struggles with an anxiety disorder, and Reggie is the strong, independent, and headstrong heroine. While both Hamish and Reggie make some foolish mistakes with dire consequences as a result of immaturity, this not only made them more relatable but also showed their steps of growth in their journey. Threads of racism, justice, empathy, and forgiveness are woven into their journeys in a lasting way, like a bell that rings of truth for all of Hamish and Reggie's readers!

Three Stars ~ Murder in the City of Liberty is a gripping mystery and romance that sweeps readers to days gone by! Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan is the second Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery, and to prevent confusion, I would recommend reading the first book, Murder at the Flamingo, because there's some crucial information there!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. 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 Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is 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, November 4, 2019

Review of Always Look Twice by Elizabeth Goddard


About the Book ~

Justice lies just on the other side of fear.

At the advice of her therapist, Harper Reynolds has traded her job as a crime scene photographer for a more peaceful life taking photographs of the natural world. But her hopes for a life surrounded by the serenity of the outdoors are dashed when she inadvertently captures a murder being committed. She flees the scene in fear -- and loses the camera.

Former Green Beret Heath McKade, a reserve deputy in an understaffed county, has been called in to protect Harper, a childhood friend he is surprised to see back in the area. When Harper learns that the sheriff's department can't find any evidence of the murder she witnessed, she is determined to do what she can to see justice is done. What neither Harper nor Heath could know is how many explosive secrets from the past will be exposed -- or how deeply they will fall for each other.

For more information about Elizabeth Goddard and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Always Look Twice by Elizabeth Goddard is an action-packed ride!

The author certainly knows how to craft a thrilling, mysterious suspense with unexpected components! Even after I determined the villain (proudly patting myself on the back for that accomplishment!), the author still managed to cast reasonable doubt on that villain. Additionally, the little details that made up the villain's motivation remained shrouded in mystery and well-paced action until the exciting conclusion!

While I personally didn't connect to the characters the same way I did in the previous book, Heath and Harper were well-developed characters. Their respective pasts are riddled with complications and trauma that continue to complicated their lives in relatable ways, greatly adding to the will-they-won't-they romantic tension!

The spiritual plot is light -- an extension of the characters themselves -- but overcoming fear, guilt, and trauma are key facets of the character's spiritual journeys. Depression and Survivor's Guilt play a large part in the story, and while each individual's journey through these sensitive issues looks different and has it's unique difficulties, the overall message is encouraging!

Three Stars ~ Always Look Twice is an explosive mystery with romance to boot! Always Look Twice is the second book in Elizabeth Goddard's Uncommon Justice Series from Revell. While the setting and some of the characters are introduced in the first book, Never Let Go, Always Look Twice can be read as a standalone. I'm looking forward to reading the next book -- Liam's story!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. 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 Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is 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, October 21, 2019

Review of Unscripted by Davis Bunn


About the Book ~

Line producer Danny Byrd is well known in Hollywood for being someone who gets things done on time and under budget. But when his reputation takes a beating after his partner -- and former best friend -- makes off with their investors' money, Danny has but one chance to redeem himself and restore his ruined career.

LA layer Megan Pierce has sacrificed years of her life proving herself to impossible bosses, only to find herself disgusted at their snobbery and their specious business practices. When an opportunity to actually make a difference comes her way, she knows she has to grab it -- even though she's not entire clear what "it" is.

Danny and Megan are each other's best hope for redemption. What they never could have imagined was that they might also be each other's best hope for love.

For more information about Davis Bunn and his books, check out his website here!

My Thoughts ~

Unscripted by Davis Bunn infuses readers with layers of powerful emotions! In fact, I dare you to read Unscripted and NOT feel the emotion! Seriously. I dare you.

Unscripted is one of those unique novels that portrays a story within a story. The story was different from what I expected -- but in a good way! I don't know how the author did it, but all of the characters tug on your heartstrings, and there's also a mystery surrounding Danny that had me trying to figure out what in the world was happening! The result is a beautifully complex story.

The author draws from his own experience in the film industry (and puts it into a fictional story for people like me, LOL!) in Unscripted, showing the behind-the-scenes process to creating and filming a story. Learning about all the different people, jobs, procedures, terms, and techniques involved in filming a movie was really cool! It was like experiencing a day on set!

The spiritual plot of Unscripted is very subtle, making it a wonderful story of redemption without being in-your-face. It's a gentle drawing. The message of letting go of the past -- mistakes, hurts, ambitions -- rings true for not only the main characters, Megan and Danny, but also in the story of the film that's being written throughout the book and in the personal lives of the actors and actresses. The author truly captures real and raw emotion in a breathtaking way with this!

Four Stars ~ Unscripted by Davis Bunn is a unique story with the makings of a classic! Unscripted is a standalone, but the author has many other titles in his backlist.

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. 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 Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is 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.