Monday, October 15, 2018

Review of Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette


About the Book ~

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a city of refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood, yet chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Can they uncover the betrayal in time to save their lives and the lives of those they love?

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

My Thoughts ~

Shelter of the Most High is another moving, eye-opening, and soul-stirring literary masterpiece by Connilyn Cossette!!!

If you're not in the mood for a gush review, then I suggest you leave now. Or go read the book and see for yourself. That's a better option. ;-)

I loved everything about this beautiful story! Everything! From the pirate angle (Yes, pirates in a Biblical Fiction novel! #winning) to the sweet romance to the characters I have spent YEARS loving to the powerful truths amongst the pages just waiting for readers to discover them!

Sofea had this free-spirited islander, Disney's Moana quality. Her island life seemed beautiful until she encountered God's people, opening her mind's eye to the heinous acts of her people that she had been trying to ignore. Though she had many, many reasons inflicted by the enemy to mistrust Him, it was truly beautiful watching God woo Sofea! My heart nearly burst as she discovered the one and only God, a God of love Who had declared her precious.

I loved seeing Eitan as a grown man! My heart ached for the burden he had been carrying, but when he finally laid those burdens down and accepted the mercy he had been freely given...well, reading that felt like I had been invited into a sacred moment... While his relationship with Darek started off strained, this father-son thread gripped my heart and illustrated the way God can restore even the most broken of families.

There were so many amazing truths in this novel! Each chapter, each moment, each character spoke volumes to me, tearing me in two before reuniting me with its goodness. I had tears in my eyes (and some full-on sobs) the entire time I was reading Shelter of the Most High. Trust me when I say you will not set this book down without experiencing a unique touch from Abba God! <3

I always like to remind readers that Biblical Fiction is still fiction. However, the fictional aspects of this story do NOT compromise the facts of the Bible. The author did an amazing job with her research, and she shares some of her findings in her note at the end of the story.

Five Stars ~ Shelter of the Most High is a gorgeous masterpiece! Shelter of the Most High is the second book in the Cities of Refuge Series by Connilyn Cossette. It can be read as a standalone, but you'll experience more story depth and see some beloved characters if you read A Light on the Hill and the Out from Egypt Series first. I am sooo excited for the next book in the series - Until the Mountains Fall - which releases July 2nd, 2019!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

Any questions? Check out my Disclosures and Policies Page!

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.
 
Connect with Joy on her website, personal blog, devotional blogFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Fallen Leaves Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review!

FallenLeaves_Blog

Welcome to the blog tour & giveaway for Fallen Leaves by Tessa Emily Hall, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

fallen leaves Title: Fallen Leaves  
Author: Tessa Emily Hall  
Publisher: Illuminate YA Fiction  
Release Date: October 26, 2018  
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction  

Selena Taylor thought her only worry this fall was starting her junior year at a new arts school in North Carolina, miles away from home. But when she finds out her mom could graduate from rehab sooner than expected—even worse, she could work for her former nothing-but-trouble boss—Selena's determined to create a new life for them. Back in her childhood Kentucky hometown.

Step one? Track down her dad and brother that she hasn't seen in eight years. Her anxiety is put to the test, though, when she unveils a truth that could threaten her dreams. Add to that an art competition that pushes her outside of her comfort zone and a girl who seems determined to come between Selena and her hopeful boyfriend.

Soon Selena must decide whether or not to continue her search for her dad and brother. But is there any hope that the ruins of her broken family could be resurrected? And how could God possibly have a purpose in the midst of these changing seasons?  

PURCHASE: Goodreads | Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

TessaEmilyHall_Headshot

Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic books for teens to show them they’re not alone—and because she remembers the teen life like it was yesterday (or a few years ago). In addition to being a frequent contributor to both online and print publications, Tessa’s debut novel was published while still in her teens. She’s the founder and editor-in-chief of PursueMagazine.net, a Christian teen magazine, and enjoys mentoring other young writers. She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. Tessa’s favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, email list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: http://www.tessaemilyhall.com.

Connect with Tessa: Website| Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

fallen leaves blog tour giveaway

(1) winner will receive a FALL KIT, consisting of:
  • a signed copy of Fallen Leaves,
  • book swag
  • a fall candle
  • Starbucks Instant Pumpkin Spice Latte
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 8, 2018 and lasts through 11:59pm October 15, 2018. Void where prohibited by law. US addresses only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustReadTours for a full list of stops!
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REVIEW

My Thoughts ~
 
Fallen Leaves by Tessa Emily Hall is the perfect sweet, romantic, inspiring YA read for Autumn! I mean, the title is Fallen Leaves! You can't get more perfect than that! ;-)
 
I loved Selena just for being Selena! She loved God and was trying to navigate school, relationships, and life. Sometimes she made the right decision, and sometimes she didn't. Selena and the other characters were beautifully broken. They all had their secrets and struggles and hurts, making them so relatable to me! The romance was very Christy and Todd/Robin Jones Gunn - which is a huge compliment! And I loved the diversity; Selena is Mexican! I'm half Puerto Rican, and I love reading books with Hispanic characters!
  
I loved Selena's heart towards her father. Even when their relationship was at its worst, there was so much love between them. Father-daughter themes in a story are very precious to me, and I kept tearing up while reading those scenes. They were so wonderfully reflective of our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

The overall spiritual thread packed a punch to the soul - in a good way! Trusting God no matter what the outcome is a horse-sized pill for anyone to swallow. Selena's story shows readers that God's plan for their life is good and that His light shines through the things we see as broken. This message and sweet deliverance touched my heart!
 
Four Stars ~ Fallen Leaves takes readers on a sweet, beautiful journey! Fallen Leaves is the second book in the Purple Moon Series by Tessa Emily Hall, but it can be read as a standalone. I look forward to the next book, and I'll be looking to get my hands on the author's other books, too! #bookhoarder

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

Any questions? Check out my Disclosures and Policies Page!

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.
 
Connect with Joy on her website, personal blog, devotional blogFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
 


Friday, September 28, 2018

Review of A Secret to Die For by Lisa Harris


About the Book ~

Psychologist Grace Callahan has no idea that she has a secret - and a target on her back.

When one of her clients is murdered, Grace quickly realizes that computer security specialist Stephen Shaw wasn't suffering from paranoia. What she doesn't know is that someone believes Shaw gave her a vital piece of information before he died - and they are ready to silence her at any cost. Her only hope may be an old friend, Detective Nate Quinn, who has just been cleared for active duty after a bombing killed his partner and left him dealing with PTSD.

With her signature pulse-pounding suspense, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you deep into the heart of fear in this race against the clock.

For more information about Lisa Harris and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Question: Do you know what I can always count on with a Lisa Harris novel?

Answer: A thrilling story that flies!

Seriously, I read A Secret to Die For in less than twelve hours, and when you've got a toddler, that's a miraculous feat! Lisa Harris has this ability to weave a thrilling, suspenseful story that always results in me frantically turning the pages to figure out the whodunit! And the who always surprises me!

Don't worry - this is a spoiler free zone! ;-)

The true, not-so-secret gem of this story is the spiritual journey that the characters take. This spiritual plot will strengthen many who are downtrodden and heartbroken. Grace and Nate have tragic pasts that will make you want to weep. (Don't judge me...) While the questions of grief surround them, their journey is filled with hope! They ask the same questions that we ask about death, disaster, sickness, grief, and living with God's joy despite those traumas. And I loved how Grace was actually the guiding light for Nate, drawing him back to God's loving embrace! Their sweet romance felt natural, realistically building over the duration of the story.

Three Stars ~ A Secret to Die For is a thrilling tale that will keep you guessing while strengthening your spirit! As far as I know, this is a standalone novel, but Lisa Harris' next chilling novel, releases Autumn 2019!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

Any questions? Check out my Disclosures and Policies Page!

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.
 
Connect with Joy on her website, personal blog, devotional blogFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Review of Loving Grace by April Smith


About the Book ~

Grace Summer lands herself in a melon load of trouble when she becomes torn between the boy of her dreams and the boy almost next door. As the newly crowned Watermelon Queen, she is thrust into the spotlight, meets the dreamy Warren Hartley, and continues trying to get over an accident that rocked her world. Mix in working with Beau Baron who Grace happens to fight with just about as much as breathing and the metaphorical sparks fly. Like most things in life, Grace must learn to take the good with the bad. While the good is the handsome and fun Warren Hartley, the bad is Beau Baron—or at least being around his annoying and rude self way more than she would like. For Beau, Grace is nothing more than aggravating and an irritating reminder from the night of the accident. Tensions soar as Grace and Beau fight to love themselves and maybe, just maybe, each other.

For more information about April Smith and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Loving Grace by April Smith is a "melon load" of sweet! So stinking cute!

Seriously, if you're looking for a sweet read, then Loving Grace should be added to you TBR, like, now. The story flows, reading easy and fast. While it may seem to scream "SUMMER READ," I think it's perfect for any season. Spring... Summer... Autumn... When you wish Summer was here (#goawaywinter)... I also found the watermelon farm and pageant to be a fun, fresh setting! I actually felt like learned some stuff, too. No joke! I might even try to grill some watermelon...

Grace is such a teen! I loved that about her! She's hardworking and sweet, but she could be sarcastic and pop an attitude like no one's business! She's just a girl who loves God and is trying to navigate the ups and downs of life after a family tragedy. The aforementioned family tragedy didn't overshadow the book, and the story still felt fun and sweet despite the heartbreaking heaviness of those scenes. Grace's relationship with God just flowed through the story, but her mistakes and emotions will have readers young and old alike empathizing with her. This coming-of-age story is filled with so many examples of true love that my romantic heart could just burst from happiness! And for me, that's the best part!

Four Stars ~ Loving Grace is sure to sweeten any reader's day with a gooey heart smile! To my knowledge, Loving Grace is a standalone novel, but the author has already made a fan out of me! I'll be looking forward to whatever April Smith writes next!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

Any questions? Check out my Disclosures and Policies Page!

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.
 
Connect with Joy on her website, personal blog, devotional blogFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Review of The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos


About the Book ~

A girl with a deadly lung disease . . .

A boy with a tragic past . . .

A land where the sun never sets but darkness still creeps in . . .

Madeline Oliver has never wanted for anything, but now she would give anything just to breathe. Jason Wu skates through life on jokes, but when a tragedy leaves him guilt-stricken, he promises to tell only the truth, no matter the price. When a mysterious stranger named Hanali appears to Madeline and offers to heal her in exchange for one year of service to his people, Madeline and Jason are swept into a strange land where they don’t know the rules and where their decisions carry consequences that reach farther than they could ever guess.

For more information about Matt Mikalatos and his books, check out his website here!

My Thoughts ~

The Crescent Stone is one of those books where all the awesome things you hear about it is totally and completely true.

SOOO GOOD!!!

The Crescent Stone had such a Narnia vibe while still professing its own unique identity. There's even extra content that will make the bookish giddy - at least I was giddy! New worlds. New magic. New races.

But circumstances that are achingly relevant to life today.

Madeline and Jason/Wu Song are more than just relatable, they are you and me and everyone around us. They represent the mix of millions of people who don't know, who are being pushed down, who are searching for truth, who are fighting for justice. Madeline's  journey of discovery was both enlightening and empowering. While her tale seems to have a hefty dose of heartbreak, I love this character for the way she looked at the truth she didn't want to be real and fought for a change of heart. Jason/Wu Song might be my favorite part of this story! His blunt snark had me laughing through each page, but his story was just as eye-opening. And his romance with Baileya will be one of my very favorites, I know this to be true!

Racial, class, and justice issues are the big themes of this novel, and God's loving heart shines on these issues through The Peasant King, the representation of God in the story. I loved this!I can't even tell you how much I loved this! So powerful!

Five Stars ~ The Crescent Stone is fantastical journey with a relevance that will pierce hearts! The Crescent Stone is the first book in The Sunlit Lands Series. The next book, The Heartwood Crown, releases Summer 2019, and I am so excited to continue this journey!!!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

Any questions? Check out my Disclosures and Policies Page!

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.
 
Connect with Joy on her website, personal blog, devotional blogFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Review of Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

 

About the Book ~

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father's plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th-century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn't do something soon, he'll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot--claiming it will put an end to the plague--Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas's choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there's no turning back.

For more information about Nadine Brandes and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

"Fawkes rocks! Fawkes rocks! Fawkes rocks!"

Sorry, that's the multitude in my head cheering for Fawkes by Nadine Brandes. They're good people, but they must have overtaken my fingers for a moment. ;-)

But seriously, Fawkes does rock!

The author did an amazing job of creating a new world within the confines of history. The era felt so vivid but not stilted. And I loved the magical color system!! I also loved how representative of God it was, God's playful and loving side that craves a relationship with us!!
 
Did I mention that Fawkes was written for the general market? That's right! This story has a huge crossover appeal, but that God stuff is still ingrained into the story in a subtle way that is sure to leave readers hungry for more.

There are so many amazingly layered truths in Fawkes! Nadine Brandes truly wrote a story that showed the reader that there are multiple points of view on any given subject - especially the difficult subjects! Thomas was so relatable to me. He wanted his father's love, but he needed to discover what truth was for himself. Emma was one of my favorite parts, and I loved the truth she represented. I also loved the natural way the main characters were convicted. Even Emma realized that she had been looking at something with a skewed viewpoint, and that is so powerful. Seeking the truth by going to the source rings loud and clear throughout the story!
 
I sobbed so hard through the entire last chapter - and not just because the book was ending! It didn't take a lot of wondering (or a lengthy Google search) to determine what would happen to Thomas' father, Guy Fawkes. But the story ended with a hope so profound that my only option was to cry it out. Powerful!!!

Five Stars ~ Fawkes reaches a new level of awesome that needs its own awesome name because saying "awesome" doesn't do it justice. Highly recommended!!! Fawkes is a standalone novel. I am sooo looking forward to reading Nadine Brandes' next historical fantasy, Romanov - a retelling of Anastasia! But what am I going to do with my life until May 2019??? *wails and gnashes teeth*
 
Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

Any questions? Check out my Disclosures and Policies Page!

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.
 
Connect with Joy on her website, personal blog, devotional blogFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Review of A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano


About the Book ~

Welcome to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England.

Tressa Harlowe's father kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Now Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it.

It doesn't take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they're really up to. She'll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father's fortune--before someone else finds it first.

For more information about Joanna Davidson Politano and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Guys.

AMAZING!!!

A Rumored Fortune is a treasure trove of powerful truths just waiting to be discovered so they can enrich your soul! This gorgeous book is everything I could have hoped for and more! Joanna Davidson Politano's sophomore novel did not disappoint!!!

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

One of the things I love most about Joanna Davidson Politano's writing is that her characters are so relatable. They aren't perfect. They make mistakes. Then they make even bigger mistakes. But they so reflect the world around us, those who are searching, those who are loving, and those who hurting. Tressa had this rare quality that made you love her as a heroine - that although she was broken, she had an astounding capacity to love. And she chose to love. And Donegan Vance, well, fetch me some smelling salts because this hero - *falls over*

What was I saying? Oh, right. Our hero has an unimpeachable moral code, a selfless love, a blunt delivery, and a desire to serve God. He was the perfect complement to Tressa and showed readers how important it is that your "oddities" be cherished, not tolerated.

I loved the setting: a vineyard carved out of the English countryside in the Victorian Era! Vineyard's have become a popular setting in novels, but it felt fresh in A Rumored Fortune. I think this was because the author chose to weave in so many important truths that God desires to teach us through the beauty and complexity of vineyards. The love of money is also lovingly addressed in this treasure hunt of a novel (You know, as we the readers are trying to figure out where the money was! LOL!). But perhaps my favorite message was God being so vividly painted as our dear Father - a message I always cherish hearing, er, reading. But whatever your takeaway, the spiritual journey that the characters travel is so organic and natural, they could be you and me.

Five Stars ~ A Rumored Fortune is a true treasure! A must-read for fans of historical, romance, mystery, and truths so deep you could swim in them! A Rumored Fortune is a standalone novel, and I am sooo looking forward to Joanna Davidson Politano's next novel!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

Any questions? Check out my Disclosures and Policies Page!

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.
 
Connect with Joy on her website, personal blog, devotional blogFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram!