Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Review of The Wounded Shadow by Patrick W. Carr


About the Book ~

The Final Battle over the Darkwater Has Begun. Will Anything Be Able to Stop the Evil Sweeping across the North?

The kings and queens of the northern continent lay siege to the Darkwater Forest, frantic to contain its evil. But rumors of gold and aurium have lured deserters and the reckless into its shadow, creating a growing army that can see in the dark and fight like the gifted. Desperate after the death and dissolution of their greatest ally, Willet and the rest of the Vigil seek the truth of what lies at the heart of the evil they face. They delve the mind of an ancient enemy and find an answer far worse and more unimaginable than they had feared.

But while they seek to understand their past and peril, danger stalks the cities of the north striking at the rulers of the kingdoms. As Willet and the rest of the Vigil search for answers, the Vigil is scattered with an ever-growing darkness around them. They must discover a path to keep their land safe or risk losing the world.
For more information about Patrick W. Carr and his books, check out his website here!

My Thoughts ~

The Darkwater Saga is over. And I'm sad. Much sadder than I expected to be. Don't get me wrong, I've immensely enjoyed The Darkwater Saga! But these books rooted themselves into my heart in a way I never expected. These stories grab you.

And they don't let go.

And I mean that in the best, non-creepiest way possible. Haha! ;-)

The Wounded Shadow was probably my favorite book of the trilogy! The battle over the ancient evil in The Darkwater Forest reaches a climax that will dizzy your mind with it's fascinating complexities. Patrick W. Carr has a gift for throwing a multitude of seemingly unrelated conflicts in the way of the characters as they work towards saving their world, but when those big reveals come, you realize that random conflict has a HUGE impact on the outcome of the story. The story is told through multiple perspectives, but Willet Dura's (the title character) perspective continued to be my favorite. Probably because he's good at the sarcasm, and I love a hero who can wield his sarcasm like a sword!!

Despite the bloody battles, malicious villains, painful loses, and daring escapades, I found the root message of this story to be about believing in the power of love - that you are loved. And no weapon is mightier! The beautiful ending tore me to pieces, but drove that truth home ten times as much!

Four Stars ~ The wonderful conclusion to this epic fantasy series is both perfect and bittersweet! If you're a fan of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, or Donita K. Paul, then you'll want to check out this series! The Wounded Shadow is the last book in The Darkwater Saga. Note: you must, must, must read The Shock of Night and The Shattered Vigil respectively before reading The Wounded Shadow. Trust me. As sad as I am that this series has come to an end, I look forward to whatever Patrick W. Carr writes next because I know it will be awesome.

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 4, 2018

Review of Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig

 


About the Book ~

The Final Conflict Will Hinge on One of History's Most Dangerous Blades

Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies' blood. Cole "Tox" Russell wants only to put the dangers of his past behind him and begin his new life with Haven Cortes. First, though, he's called to complete a final mission: retrieve the sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order.

The AFO, however, is determined to reunite the sword. Threatening the life of Ram and Tzivia's father, they jeopardize Ram's long-held and dangerous secret while demanding Tzivia locate the blade. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the artifact is tied to both Ram's secret and a string of unsolved serial murders.

Tox, Ram, and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to target the true enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must destroy the AFO . . . or join them in the flames.

For more information about Ronie Kendig and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

I stayed up until two in the morning to finish reading Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig.

Two. In. The. Morning.

Worth. Every. Minute.

I can't believe this is the last book... I can't believe The Tox Files are over... What am I going to do now??? (If you're acquainted with Tox, then you know I'm NOT being dramatic. If you aren't...well, all three books are available now, so I'd say it's time to binge read!) I'm trying really hard to hold my emotions in check because I know if I open that door, there's no closing it. I won't be able to stop mourning the end of this series, these characters, those...events. Those...beautiful, devastating events that raised the impact level of this legendary tale, concluding this series in the best possible way while still shredding my soul.

Sorry, no spoilers. ;-) Hehe.

Guys, Thirst of Steel destroyed me and blessed me and blew my stinking mind! Ronie Kendig is a literary genius! The skill and complexity of this novel kept me glued to my reading perch, frantically turning the pages. Think military thriller, a hint of romance, and secret societies with a National Treasure feel, making for a enthralling story! The characters (I heart Tox and Ram) with their complexities, failures, and triumphs are imprinted on my heart. And I loved the new perspectives! But despite the serious nature of the story, Ronie Kendig was able to write humor and heart and truth into the story in an organic way!

But from reader to reader, what I hope you see the most is this series is how awesome God is! Through the supernatural events of this series, Ronie Kendig reminds readers how big and powerful our God is. That He operates in the supernatural. That we can't limit Him to what we "know" because He is so much more. This was the truth that encouraged and challenged me the most throughout the story. <3

Five Stars ~ An epic conclusion to a thrilling series! Trust me when I say that this is one series you don't want to miss!!! Thirst of Steel is the last book in The Tox Files by Ronie Kendig. You should definitely read Conspiracy of Silence and Crown of Souls respectively before reading Thirst of Steel because the information learned in those books are essential to Thirst of Steel's plot.

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!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Review of Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan


About the Book ~

“Maybe it was time to land straight in the middle of the adventure…”

Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times -- including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square.  When he meets his cousin's “right hand man,” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand.

Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo nightclub.
When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build.

For more information about Rachel McMillan and her books, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

My Thoughts ~

Next time I go to Boston, I'll see Hamish and Reggie. I'll see them everywhere. I'll see them at the Old North Church in the moonlight. I'll see them riding down the sidewalk on Hamish's bicycle, Reggie perched precariously on the handlebars. I'll see them blissfully savoring each bite of cannoli.

Oh, the cannoli!!! Was I the only one who closed this beautiful book (inside and out) desperately craving cannoli? No? Okay. :-)

Anyways, Murder at the Flamingo is like...cannoli. Delicious. A creamy romance stuffed into the crunchy shell of murder and mystery. Murder at the Flamingo is a clean read, and while none of the characters are overtly labeled as "Christian," the Christian themes are strong in the story. Much of the story sets up a grander mystery that I am eager discover, a mystery that arcs across the whole series! I also adored exploring one of my favorite cities through the lens of the 1930's! Rachel McMillan continues to be truly exemplary at immersing readers into former eras thanks to her keen eye for those special details that make a story come alive.

Reggie is a brave and clever woman, discovering who she really is away from the glitz and glam of her old life. I loved her spunk! Hamish is brilliant and endearing, discovering that his greatest weakness is actually his greatest strength. Rachel McMillan uses Murder at the Flamingo as a springboard to end the stigma against mental illness, using her own personal experiences as fodder for Hamish's journey. So many people, myself included, have fought against mental illnesses, such as panic attacks and anxiety disorders. This was truly an informative story that will fight for the good of many!

Four Stars ~ An excellent start to what is sure to be a positively radiant series! Murder at the Flamingo is the first book in Rachel McMillan's new Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery Series, which is a spin-off of Rachel McMillan's popular Herringford and Watts Mysteries Series. While you don't need to read the previous series to enjoy Murder at the Flamingo, there are a lot of fabulous Easter eggs (I need some more details about Maisie, please and thank you!) for those who have. I am sooo looking forward to the second book, Murder in the City of Liberty, releasing May 28th, 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, July 24, 2018

Review of The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham


About the Book ~

Alone in a strange town, can she find healing for her new home . . . and herself?

Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won't be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He's determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn't expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.

Welcome to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.

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

My Thoughts ~

Sweet and quaint equals The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham!

The Hope of Azure Springs gave me some serious Anne of Green Gables vibes, but this endearing tale was completely it's own story, filled with heart-wrenching twists and true love. When you pick up this charming story, be prepared for chuckles, happy sighs, and some tears.

Em 'twas sweet and kind, fragile yet courageous. Her story was truly tragic, but I felt like I could still identify with Em. Who hasn't struggled with their looks or been touched by grief? So much of Em's story revolved around that grief that tore me to pieces, but I cherished the message that we should find the joy in remembering loved ones who have passed. Also, I loved her passion for storytelling because it further showed the significance stories play in our lives - and in the character's lives. ;-)

Caleb 'twas the classic cowboy princely hero that we love to swoon over, but he had a lot to learn about love! Thankfully, he comes to understand the importance of kindness over vain beauty, realizing that when you love someone, then they become the most beautiful to you in all ways. Em and Caleb's love had a nice, organic progression that will leave a happy grin on your face.

The light spiritual thread makes this story appealing to a broader range of people, but Godly truths are clear and present throughout the entire story. And that ending! Oh, how beautiful and romantic and full circle!

Three Stars ~ The Hope of Azure Springs is filled with all kinds of heart! If you love sweet historical romances or Anne of Green Gables, then I think you'd really enjoy this endearing tale.

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, June 29, 2018

Review of A Rebel Heart by Beth White


My Thoughts ~

Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family's Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land.

Pinkerton agent and former Union cavalryman Levi Riggins is investigating a series of robberies and sabotage linked to the impoverished Daughtry plantation. Posing as a hotel management agent for the railroad, he tells Selah he'll help her save her home, but only if it is converted into a hotel. With Selah otherwise engaged with renovations, Levi moves onto the property to "supervise" while he actually attends to his real assignment right under her nose.

Selah isn't sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee, but she'd do almost anything to save her home. What she never expected to encounter was his assault on her heart.

For more information about Beth White and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Got a love for historical fiction, a desire to see modern issues tackled, a yearning for romance, and a fancy for a plethora of wisecracks that will have you snorting in an improper way? Want to see all those things combined into one fantastic story?

A Rebel Heart by Beth White fills this order like icy lemonade on a hot July day.

A Rebel Heart is full of mystery, daring escapes, and lots of suspects. I enjoyed how the mystery was laid out for the reader, finding that this style worked well for this novel. Major details were made known early in the story, but the author kept just enough tantalizing evidence back, leaving me eagerly turning the pages until I knew it all.

In the midst of this mystery, there's one of those romances that truly defines the "It's Complicated" status. Actually, that status defines all the relationships in this tale, romantic or otherwise. Levi and Selah navigate their complicated history while working on repairing the damaged relationships of friends and family around them as they also work together to transform the beautiful plantation into a luxury hotel. While the racism from some characters made me cringe, I applaud the author for not only writing a novel that was delicately handled, but (sadly) true to the era. The author takes a extensive look at all the characters, revealing deeper complexities than skin color or home state, but delving into forgiveness and what it really means to follow after God in your life.

Four Stars ~ A complex, humorous, and romantic start to what is sure to be an entertaining series! A Rebel Heart is the first book in Beth White's Daughtry House Series! I look forward to the next installment!

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, June 26, 2018

Review of Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh


About the Book ~

For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out―and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town―and Quinn’s life―possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.

For more information about Courtney Walsh and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Just Let Go is the perfect book to read when you need a really good excuse to avoid all those outside chores this summer! And maybe by the time you're done, you'll have a whole "wild and untamable" vision for your flower garden.

For me, that means another excuse to let it overgrown this summer and read! Hehe! ;-)

Revisit the adorable town of Harbor Pointe, spot a couple of your favorite characters, and fall in love with some new ones in Just Let Go! There's so much to love in this story that's sweeter than a bouquet of roses!

Quinn Collins is snarky, dedicated, and stuck. I love flowers, so I adored the fact that she's a florist. It all felt so whimsical and beautiful! Grady is snarky, talented, and rebellious. I love to ski, and while I'm much more cautious than Grady, relating to him in that way made this swoony character even more endearing. And did you notice that Quinn and Grady have something huge in common? Snarky! So I obviously loved, loved, LOVED the witty dialogue between Quinn and Grady! I could not stop grinning! Their progression towards being a couple felt natural, and the push and pull of I'm not good enough for you! coupled with But I want to be good enough for you! felt totally relatable.

In the midst of all those snappy one-liners, there lies a powerful truth that reflects the title of this sweet tale. The power of letting go of all the hurt, the lies, the unforgiveness, the past, the future, the questions, the anger, the everything! And only once you let go are you free to grow "wild and untamable" in God's love.

Four Stars ~ A witty and sweet romance filled with God's "wild and untamable" truth! Just Let Go is a standalone novel, but if you've read Just Look Up, you will be delighted to return to one of most adorable small towns in the fictional world!

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!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Review of Things I Never Told You by Beth K. Vogt


About the Book ~

It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine―as long as she manages to hold her memories and her family at arm’s length.

But with her middle sister Jillian’s engagement, Payton’s party-planning skills are called into action. Which means working alongside her opinionated oldest sister, Johanna, who always seems ready for a fight. They can only hope that a wedding might be just the occasion to heal the resentment and jealousy that divides them . . . until a frightening diagnosis threatens Jillian’s plans and her future. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart.

For more information about Beth K. Vogt and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Do you have tissues?

Well, you're going to need them...

Things I Never Told You is an intense read in women's fiction with some serious Little Women vibes - only everything goes horribly, horribly wrong... And I'm not exaggerating.

Have. Tissues.

Things I Never Told You is very well written and will be a powerful book for many, many people; however, since the grief and breast cancer storylines may hit too close to home, prepare yourself for the upheaval of emotions this novel will unleash within you.

The grief storyline is told mostly through Payton's first-person point of view as she finally starts to deal with the grief she's never acknowledged over the death of her twin sister. With a little help from an unconventional friendship with Zach Gains - another wonderful perspective - and the God she doesn't realize has been there all along, Payton finally starts to live her life again. The breast cancer storyline is told through Jillian's perspective, and while tactfully written, readers will ache with her on this journey.

A tale of estranged sisters who are desperately trying to find their way back to each other as they navigate decades of grief, fear, and secrets, this story really touches on what it means to be a family. Since the living Thatchers are not Christians, the spiritual angle is light, but I enjoyed how organic all the God moments and subtle nudges felt. Living in God's freedom regardless of present circumstances or mistakes from the past reverberates within these pages with a beautiful clarity.

Three Stars ~ Things I Never Told You is a heartachingly, intense, beautiful tale that will speak to the hearts of many readers. Things I Never Told You is the first book in Beth K. Vogt's new Thatcher Sister Series.

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!