Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews Review


About the Book ~

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted the need of it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonian army ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She honed her skill while living among the Medes, bowing her knee to both gods and men.

Now, as Daniel's wife and matriarch of her family, Belili things she's safe and can live out her days in Babylon without fear -- until the night Daniel is escorted to King Belshazzar's palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. On that very night, the Medo-Persian Army invades, and Belili's tightly-wound secrets begin to unravel.

As Yahweh's sovereign hand guides Jerusalem's exiles to the end of captivity, can the frightened Hebrew girl break the chains of survival and dare to live in truth? And how will the conqueror, King Darius, respond to Babylon's longest-living wise man, a man who prays to Yahweh alone? Experience, with Daniel and Belili, the majesty and splendor of Yahweh, the God of fire and lions.

For more information about Mesu Andrews and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Guys, Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews took stories of faith and deliverance that I have been reading my entire life and paired them with a fictional journey of unrelenting, freeing, and redeeming love, bringing the story of Daniel to life in a whole new way! Truly, this beautiful story will move many hearts with the abundance of truths waiting within it's lovely pages!

Daniel and Belili's love story is full of pain, secrets, and -- at long last! -- freedom! Even though the novel spans almost seventy years, I really felt like I knew the characters. The author didn't paint Daniel as an infallible hero of faith -- and I greatly appreciated that! In fact, I wanted to shake some sense into him a couple of times! Daniel is portrayed as a realistic man with desires, hurts, and fears in addition to the faith we know so well from the Bible! Belili's journey deeply moved me, and I found myself crying for her and rejoicing for her. Each facet of her progression as a character was realistic as she made her way from child to matriarch, from orphaned slave to cherished daughter of God, from a life of sin and secrets to one lived in truth and love!

I love Biblical Fiction because Biblical truths come alive with the power of story, and Of Fire and Lions does this so well! If I had to boil the spiritual theme of this book down to one line, it would be when Daniel says (and I'm paraphrasing) that the comfortable has made them afraid to trust God for the uncomfortable. Whether it's for supernatural protection, divine arrangement of events, or revealing painful secrets, this truth is evident throughout the story.

Four Stars ~ Of Fire and Lions will leave you breathless as you travel this fictional story of redeeming love that parallels the real accounts found in the book of Daniel in the Bible! Of Fire and Lions is the second novel in the author's Of Prophets and Kings Series, but readers will have no issue reading it as a standalone! I can honestly say that whatever Mesu Andrews writes, I want to read it! I can't wait for her next epic story!

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.

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.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Within These Lines Blogger & Reviewer Tour and Giveaway!

Banner_WithinTheseLines_Blog

Welcome to the Blog & Review Tour -and Giveaway -for Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

9780310765264Title: Within These Lines 
Author: Stephanie Morrill 
Publisher: Blink YA 
Genre: Historical Young Adult Fiction 
Release Date: March 5, 2019

When Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki are torn apart by the events following the attack on Pearl Harbor, they must fight if they want any hope of returning to one another before World War II steals their future together. Within These Lines is one unflinching, haunting, historical novel you don’t want to miss; perfect for fans of Monica Hesse, Ruta Sepetys, and Elizabeth Wein.

Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family living in San Francisco in 1941 is quiet and ordinary until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find away to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up their farm and move to a Japanese-American internment camp.

Degrading treatment makes life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world is treasured letters from Evalina. Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out against injustice, Evalina becomes increasingly vocal at school and at home. Meanwhile, inside Manzanar, fighting between different Japanese-American factions arises. Taichi begins to doubt he will ever leave the camp alive.

With tensions running high and their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichimust hold true to their ideals and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against unbelievable odds. 

Within These Lines:
  • Is a young adult historical novel set in the World War II era
  • Contains themes of love, separation, social justice, war, and diversity
  • Perfect for junior high and high school students
  • A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

stephanie-morrill-low-res-227x300

Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author of several contemporary young adult series, as well as the 1920s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and the WWII era romance, Within These Lines. Since 2010, Stephanie has been encouraging the next generation of writers at her website, GoTeenWriters.com. She lives in the Kansas City area, where she loves plotting big and small adventures to enjoy with her husband and three children. You can connect with Stephanie and learn more about her books at StephanieMorrill.com, Instagram, Facebook,and Twitter. 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR: website | facebook | twitter | instagram

GIVEAWAY

Giveaway_WithinTheseLines

(1) Grand Prize winner will win a release copy of Within These Lines & a special designed poster of Within These Lines from the publisher, Blink YA. Featured quote on poster: "Be Brave Enough to Care and Bold Enough to Act"

(5) First Prize winners will each with a special designed poster of Within These Lines from the publisher, Blink YA. Featured quote on poster: "Be Brave Enough to Care and Bold Enough to Act"


REVIEW

My Thoughts ~

I have been a fan of Stephanie Morrill's books since her debut, so when the chance came to review Within These Lines, I jumped (virtually speaking, of course)!

And Within These Lines did not disappoint! Seriously, I can't recommend this enough!

The story starts well after Taichi and Evalina have met and fallen in love. This surprised me at first, but I quickly realized how perfect this was. Within These Lines is not a story of HOW Taichi and Evalina fell in love; it is about how they FOUGHT for their love while uncertainty and hatred surrounded them. They were so beautifully and realistically written! Their uncertainties, fears, anger, and passion was life on the pages! Their sacrifices show what it means to love in verb form!

Within These Lines is set in a sad period of American history that is -- frankly -- largely forgotten and mostly ignored today. The author's attention to detail and sensitivity regarding the horrors of the Japanese American incarceration is the kind of amazing that humbles readers as it speaks to the heart with its fiery truth!

At the core of the story is a call to action. To be brave. To care. To be bold. To act. Evalina's passion and Taichi's pain will inspire you to fight against prejudice in your everyday world! To speak. To love.

Five Stars ~ Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill is amazingly powerful and beautifully moving! This standalone, World War Two era, YA romance should be on your shelf. Period. It's one I will read again and again!

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.

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.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Review of Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green


About the Book ~ 

She has always moved between worlds, but now she must choose a side.

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral in a world tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the Seven Years' War against her wishes when her British ex-fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel claims he has information that could help end the war, and he asks Catherine to help him escape.

Peace appeals to Catherine, even if helping the man who broke her heart does not. But New France is starving, and she and her loved ones may not survive another winter of conflict-induced famine. When the dangers of war arrive on her doorstep, Catherine and Samuel flee by river toward the epicenter of the battle between England and France. She and Samuel may impact history, but she fears the ultimate cost will be higher than she can bear.

For more information about Jocelyn Green and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green is a surprising and compelling tale!

The author brought this period in history to life! I confess that I knew very little about the Seven Years' War, but the research and attention to detail that went into Between Two Shores is astounding. The author skillfully handled each side of the conflict, showing the ugly truth and heartache of ALL the people with sensitivity and understanding.Sensitive readers, please be aware that there are some disturbing brutalities and deaths described. But given the time period and nature of the story, these things were not out of place. Additionally, abusive relationships are also woven into the novel. I applaud the author's sensitive handling of the lies that may keep someone in this situation, but I know that this may be a painful trigger to some readers.

Catherine was a unique and complex character! Her struggle with her personal identity between her warring heritages in addition to loving people who were labeled as "the enemy" was captured so well. The push and pull of where she should go, who she should help, how she should act, and who she was leaped off the page and landed in my heart! Each nugget of truth as Catherine finds herself is truly empowering! There wasn't a traditional romance in store for Catherine; rather, the author chose to go with an angle that illustrates loving someone and letting them go. While this made the story beautiful in its own way, it was still heartbreaking. Nevertheless, this also helped reinforce that this story was truly Catherine's journey from emotional chains to freedom as a unique child of God.

Three Stars ~ While the story wasn't really for me, Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green was a beautifully written and expertly crafted emotional journey with compelling truths! I look forward to trying some of the author's earlier stories.

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.

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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Review of A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter


About the Book ~

Daphne Blakemoor was content living in her own secluded world for the last twelve years. She had everything she needed - loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes to a new marquis with an undeniable connection to her past, everything she's come to rely up is threatened.

William, Marquis of Chemsford's main goal in life is to be the exact opposite of his father. Starting a new life in the peace and quiet of the country sounds perfect...until his housekeeper turns his life upside down.

Both Daphne and William have spent their lives hiding from the past. Can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds and, perhaps, forge a new path for the future together?

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

My Thoughts ~

A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter holds the cheeky humor and endearing characters that we've all come to cherish in Kristi Ann Hunter's stories! The story is humorous and fun, while staying true to the beautiful era! I adore the humor between the characters and the hilarious situations in which they find themselves! Readers, you won't be disappointed!

William wasn't the typical hero that you see in Christian Fiction -- and that's a good thing! He was raised with the kind of privilege and entitlement that causes a person to forget the humanity of the people around them. However, his desire to be the exact opposite of his father -- what brought him to God in the first place -- helped him realize the hardness of his heart. I could relate to Daphne's fear of large groups all too well, and watching her journey from a tangled web to freedom made my heart very happy!

I grew to love Daphne and William, but they did frustrate me at times. However, I rather like it when I get the urge to growl at some characters because it means they are imperfect and relatable, and I think this is one of the author's greatest strengths! Her characters don't always make the right decision the first, second, or third time. Sometimes their emotions, hurts, and fears get the best of them. Sometimes you want to shake some sense into them. Because of this honest writing style, Daphne and William's perfectly imperfect story will touch the heart of each perfectly imperfect reader!

There are so many beautiful spiritual truths in A Return of Devotion! Each little revelation pointed to the big wonderful truth that God's abundance of forgiveness and second chances paints a future better than we ever could have imagined!

Four Stars ~ A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter is a gem filled with humor, endearing characters, and loads of truths! It is the second full-length novel in the author's Haven Manor Series, and I can't wait for the next book!

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.

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.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review of Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard


About the Book ~

The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up.

Forensic genealogist Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather's footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from a hospital more than twenty years ago. When someone makes an attempt on Willow's life to keep her from discovering the truth, help will come from an unexpected source.

Ex-FBI agent - and Willow's ex-flame - Austin McKade readily offers to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they'll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he's spent much of his life trying to forget - and put Willow's tender heart at risk.

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

My Thoughts ~ 

Make sure you clear your calendar now because Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard will not let go of you until you've finished!!

The mystery, the action, and the unfolding of events in Never Let Go is just how I love it in romantic suspense - fast!!! I thought the author did an excellent job at layering the plot twists and answering all those burning questions! I didn't see the twists coming, and they felt perfectly unexpected while also working perfectly within the story!

The "Former Flames" trope is one of my favorites, so I enjoyed the chemistry and tension between Austin and Willow! But I must confess that on multiple occasions I wanted to shake them while growling, "JUST TALK AND BE HONEST!" LOL! But this angst was necessary to the story because the author was able to show that relationships take vulnerability. I also loved how the author used this to more thoroughly illustrate another pitfall to relationships: the past. Austin needed to work through the pain, regrets, and lies of his past. He needed to confront those things and let them go. He needed to share these wounds with Willow before he could fully give his heart to her. This is a powerful truth for readers to absorb for all types of relationships, romantic or otherwise!

Four Stars ~ A thrilling adventure that lives up to its name! Never Let Go is the first book in Elizabeth Goddard's new Uncommon Justice Series from Revell! I'm looking forward to the next book!

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.

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.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations Release Day and GIVEAWAY!

Guys!!!!

IT'S RELEASE DAY!!!!!


Seventeen years after being orphaned, Apryl Burns and her twin sister Courtney have their own expectations for life. While Courtney continues to shine at everything, Apryl holds fast to he mantra that as long as her potato chip stash remains intact, then she'll be fine.

But when their beloved grandmother ends up injured and unable to manage her struggling antique store, Courtney makes it their mission to revamp the business and save what's left of their family's legacy. Despite rampant doubts in her abilities, Apryl finds herself trapped under the weight of family loyalty as they transition to a wedding venue decorating service. Soon she's forced to ask (translation: blackmail) their grandmother's renter/handyman, Chance McFarland, for hep, an arrangement that is made even worse by the fact that Chance is her former (ahem, and current) crush.

Chance knows a few dozen things about family loyalty, which is why he begrudgingly agrees to Apryl's insane plan. While Apryl claims they're archenemies, the girl Chance only glimpsed in their teens starts to emerge, stealing what remains of his heart.

But expectations are a powerful thing. Amidst the glamorous weddings and swaying willows, can those old expectations be revised into something new?


Available NOW!!!

Yes, that's right! Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations is available nowWeddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations is an inspirational romantic comedy and written from a Christian worldview. It is the second novel in my contemporary romance series from WhiteFire Publishing and the sequel to Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations. However, it functions as a standalone, so you do NOT need to read my first book to enjoy this one. However, there are some jokes and things that will make you grin if you have! ;-)

Guys, I have been thinking about what to say for days... Something that conveys the epicness I'm feeling. Something new, something that I haven't already said. Something with WOW! factor. Something from my heart to yours.

For the last couple weeks, I have been so focused on my huge To-Do List and my nervousness - oh, the nervousness! - instead of resting in how happy and blessed I am that you want to read my stories!

Because I am so happy and so blessed!

And I'm going to rest in that joy now.

It's here! It's really here! This beautiful story of my heart is ready to travel through the world and find a home in readers' hearts. I poured so much heartache, hope, and love from my journey into Apryl and Chance's story. Through their story, Abba opened my heart to rediscovering my worth in Him, to Him. And while this story won't resonate with everyone, I know it will touch some. It's in God's hands now, and there's something beautifully freeing about that.

I hope you guys swoon at all my favorite parts. I hope you laugh and grin from ear to ear. I hope my pop culture references will make you think I'm the new (and shorter) Lorelai Gilmore. But most importantly, I hope you close the story with no doubt in your heart about your worth to our loving Father. <3

And now it's time for a giveaway!

Giveaway Rules, Info, and Such ~


There will be a US Giveaway and an International Giveaway with separate Rafflecopter sign-ups!

US Giveaway - A signed print copy of Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, a custom Roaring Twenties Art Deco theme book sleeve from The Cozy Life on Etsy, and a hand-carved Reading Willow Tree Figurine!

International Giveaway - A digital copy of Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations!

Both giveaways will close on March 1st, 2019, at 12:00 A.M. for all the night owls.

The winners will be drawn within four days after the closing of the giveaway. If the winner(s) does not respond to my e-mail(s) within one week of notification, then a new winner(s) will be drawn in their place.

And may the odds be ever in your favor. ;-)

Enter the US Giveaway here ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter the International Giveaway here ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you guys so much! I am so honored that you follow me and read my stories. I am blessed!

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 13, 2019

Review of The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson


About the Book ~

She knew a woman was expected to marry, cook, and have children, not go to war. Can she manage to stay alive, save her mother, and keep the handsome son of a duke from discovering her secret?
When Mulan decides to take her father’s place in battle against the besieging Teutonic Knights, she realizes she has been preparing for this moment her whole life—and that her life, and her mother’s, depends on her success. As the adopted daughter of poor parents, she has little power in the world. If she can’t prove herself on the battlefield, she could face death—or, perhaps worse, marriage to the village butcher.
In her disguise as a young man, Mulan meets Wolfgang, the German duke’s son who is determined to save his people even if it means fighting against his own brother. Wolfgang is exasperated by the young soldier who seems to be one step away from disaster at all times—or showing Wolfgang up in embarrassing ways.
From rivals to reluctant friends, Mulan and Wolfgang begin to share secrets with one another. But war is an uncertain time and dreams can die as quickly as they are born. When Mulan receives word of danger back home, she must make the ultimate choice. Could she be the son her bitter father never had? Or would she become the strong young woman she has been created to be?
This fresh reimagining of the classic tale takes us to fifteenth-century Lithuania where both love and war challenge the strongest of hearts.
For more information about Melanie Dickerson and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

The Warrior Maiden is amazing! I know that's really simple, but it's the truth! The Warrior Maiden is one of Melanie Dickerson's best books - EVER!!!

Disney's Mulan holds a special place in my heart (it's the first movie I remember seeing in theater), so I had high expectations for this story. And it more than lived up to them! To start, I will always be in awe of how the author weaves the fairy tale we all know and love into the Medieval world she has created, and after nine books, we also know and love this world! The execution of this in The Warrior Maiden is flawless! I even felt breathless on more than one occasion because the author had raised the stakes so much that it didn't matter that I knew everything would work out in the end; all that mattered was what was happening right there!

Wolfgang was such an amazing hero! Handsome, brave, loving, and Godly! His pride got the best of him a couple times, but that only made me love him more. Through Wolfgang's past, the author shows that God's forgiveness has nothing to do with how good we are, but rather how great His grace is. This tender message warmed my heart so much!

Mulan earned a spot as one of my favorite heroines! It was so cool to see her embrace her differences as the unique woman God had created her to be! Her personality was so vivid! I could feel the sting of rejection that she faced from her father, and I could understand all way to my core why she was afraid to let herself love Wolfgang. Mulan is the type of heroine that will empower young and not-so-young women to not only fight for themselves, but to know that it's also okay to need someone to fight with you or for you. And to love with an open heart.

Five Stars ~ If I could, I would give a hundred stars to The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson! It is that good!!! The Warrior Maiden is the ninth book in the author's YA Hagenheim Series, but it can be read as a standalone. I am looking forward to the redemption of a certain character in the next book, The Piper's Pursuit, coming December 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.

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.