Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Memory of You Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway!!!

 

About the Book



Title: The Memory of You

Author: Catherine West

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction
 
Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?

When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.

And Natalie never says no to her father.

Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.
 
But finding freedom from the past means facing it.

My Thoughts

This was my first Catherine West book, and I am happy to report that it lived up to all my expectations and hopes!!!

So what makes this formerly-estranged-but-returning-home story different? Well, let me break down this sweet story for you.

First of all, the setting! The setting is so rich and vivid; I felt like I was walking through the fields, fingering the plump grapes, tasting the wine. The cover is the perfect visual representation of the stunning, imaginary scenery.

Second, the characters! The characters are wonderfully complex and perfectly flawed. Catherine West brings each character to life with intricate backstories, heartache, and triumphs. Each character has made good and bad choices, choices they've had to live with, choices they are working - with God - to rectify and overcome. It is always refreshing to see such well-rounded characters!

Third, the message! Thanks to the diverse characters, we see a wide array of battles, however, the message remains the same. No matter who you are, no matter what you've done, no matter the guilt you carry, God can carry it. Let go of the past. Give it to Him. Then you are free to walk towards a beautiful future with Him. <3

Four Stars - A heartwarming story! Much like the feeling of drinking hot chocolate on a frigid day, this story is sure to warm the hearts of all who read it. Also, this is a good story for those who are new to Christian Fiction, for someone who needs the Christian message to be more subtle, or as a crossover into the General Market.

I received a copy of The Memory of You by Catherine West from the publisher, Thomas Nelson. All opinions expressed are my own.

To Purchase a Copy:


 About the Author
 

Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Her first novel, Yesterday's Tomorrow, released in 2011 and won the INSPY for Romance, a Silver Medal in the Reader's Favorite Awards, and was a finalist in the Grace Awards. Catherine's second novel, Hidden in the Heart, released in September 2012, was long listed in the 2012 INSPY's and was a finalist in the 2013 Grace Awards.

When she's not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine[at]catherinejwest.com.

CONNECT WITH CATHERINE: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


 Tour Schedule

Many thanks to the publisher, Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction 

for providing review copies to our bloggers.





7/20 - Joy's Blog





7/25 - By The Book







 Giveaway


Rules, Info, and Such ~

(1) Winner will win a gourmet gift basket + a signed copy of The Memory of You, 
courtesy of the author, Catherine West.
(US mailing addresses only for the gift basket & print book prize. 
International winners will win a digital copy of the book.)



Enter here ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for hanging out with me today! I hope you enjoyed all the awesomeness. Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour!

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. 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, July 15, 2017

Review of High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin



About the Book ~

In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle's café. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She's a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.

For more information about Kate Breslin and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Guys. Just. Seriously. Read this book!

First of all, this cover! It's gorgeously vintage! I love how the cover model fades into the sky and the planes. Absolutely stunning!

Thankfully, the story is as equally as stunning. I think this is my favorite Kate Breslin story - at least for now. ;-)  High as the Heavens is a World War 1 romance. This story contains everything I could want. A hero and heroine separated by war, mystery, subterfuge, treason, hope, redemption, and a swoony romance!

Eve was such an amazing heroine! She was brave. The author note tells readers that Eve was based on three different women from World War 1. How cool is that?? Eve proved to be realistic, too. Her pain, heartache, and guilt over her mistakes in the war showcased God's amazing, redemptive love, forgiveness, and mercy. Simon reminded me of a Scottish version of Westley from The Princess Bride. He was tender, steadfast in his love, and had this dreamy "Death cannot stop true love," vibe. Yeah, I know!

Five Stars - Beautiful! Honestly, anyone who enjoys a war romance needs to pick up this book! You will be swept away! The story grabs you, refusing to release you until the last page.

I received a copy of High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. 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, July 8, 2017

Review of Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh


 

About the Book ~

After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home―a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work―something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along―if only she’d just look up.

For more information about Courtney Walsh and her books, connect with her on Facebook!

My Thoughts ~

What a lovely, lovely story! *insert a ridiculous amount of exclamation points here*

Just Look Up flowed so smoothly and the people, er, characters utterly captured my heart with their hopes and heartaches. In the idyllic town of Harbor Point, Courtney Walsh weaves together many simple, yet poignant truths, pointing readers back to God in such a loving manner.

My heart seriously went out to Lane. Seriously. She's built a hundred foot wall around her heart because of severe bullying as a child, a horrid betrayal, and a loving yet flawed family. I really loved how the Kelly family loved each other, but they were so NOT perfect. They felt like a real-life family. And Ryan, he was so patient and loving! What a wonderful portrayal of how the husband (or in this case, the guy who will one day be the husband) is supposed to reflect God!

Four Stars ~  A lovely, heartfelt story! This is a standalone story, but by the time you finish, you really feel like you know these people, er, characters. ;-)

I received a copy of Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh published by Tyndale from the Tyndale Blog Network. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. 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, July 5, 2017

Review of Unraveling by Sara Ella



About the Book ~

What happens when happily ever after starts to unravel?

Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about—like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua’s finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something—or someone—is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections—and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

For more information about Sara Ella and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Oh. My. Gosh.

I'll say it again. Oh. My. Gosh.

Utterly amazing can't begin to describe Unraveling, Book Two in the Unblemished Trilogy! From swoony romance to horrendous betrayals to unicorn jousts to mythological places, this story literally has it all. READ IT!!!

Okay, I need to get this out in the open. When it comes to who El should be with, I'm #teamky all the way. But I love Joshua. Joshua. So in a way, I'm #teamjoshua, or rather #happyendingforjoshua. I'm hoping my sneaking suspicion about his Happily Ever After is right. I love to be right. ;-)

Speaking of sneaking suspicions! Once again,  Sara Ella taunts us with wonderfully delicious twists and turns. Although, I was very proud of myself for deciphering a few hidden clues. 'Twas not easy! Unraveling contains the superb world building we were introduced to in Unblemished - a world that never ceases to amaze me!

In the midst of this enchanting world, Sara Ella touches on topics like redemption, determining true love, and the power of good versus evil. The result leaves readers breathless since this incredible story is just a beautiful reflection (Like what I did there?) of the True Story.

Five Stars ~ Utterly, brilliantly amazing! Since Unraveling is the second book in an intricately complex series, you totally need to read the first book, Unblemished, before you slink between the pages of Unraveling. The third book, Unbreakable, releases May 1st, 2018!!! *wails* *makes tea from her own tears* *gags* *eats brownie instead*

I received a copy of Unraveling by Sara Ella published by Thomas Nelson from BookLook Bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. 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, July 1, 2017

Review of The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce



About the Book ~

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara's longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara's forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends' relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

For more information about Brandy Bruce and her books, check out her website/blog here!

My Thoughts ~

SO MUCH LOVE for The Last Summer!!! Oh, guys, I seriously LOVED this sweet story! *crushes book to chest in an alarmingly enthusiastic hug*

Twenty-something's ~ This is a book you NEED to read! It is so relatable. I understood all the heartache and strain and forgiveness and grace because that was my journey to the alter.

Everybody else ~ You all need to read this book because once again, it is so relatable! Who among us hasn't experienced these emotions and trials? Even now, we have good chapters and bad chapters in our story.

Married's ~ You will enjoy this story, too. It's a beautiful reminder that even after Happily Ever After, our spouses are not perfect. Forgiveness is so important in any relationship.

I love how flawed Sara and the gang are. Real life, real love, real people are messy, and not just in the my-husband-won't-pick-up-his-socks way. I'm pretty convinced Sara, Sam, Lilly, Luke, Addison, Jason, and Debra are real people who've made real mistakes and have experienced God's real, unending grace. Don't look at me like that. They're real.

Anyways. While reading The Last Summer and remembering the details of my journey from single to married to mother over the last seven years, I was just so overcome by the ocean of grace God has given us. This is a story of love and grace, and I was so blessed by the heartfelt truths Brandy Bruce seamlessly wove into the story.

As someone once said, praise the Lord!  ;-)

Five Stars ~ A beautiful story that I demand recommend everyone reads immediately!

I purchased a copy of The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. 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, June 22, 2017

WhiteFire Scavenger Hunt Stop 8!!!

WhiteFire Scavenger Hunt Stop #8
 
 
Welcome to the WhiteFire Publishing Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to go back to stop #1 and collect all the clues in order. Once you have them all, you’ll have uncovered a secret message. Turn that in at the final stop for a chance to win one of THREE amazing prize packages! (Oh. My. Goodness! Those prize packages are the dream, my friends!!)
 
A few things to note:

~ The Hunt begins at Roseanna White’s site

~ Take your time! You have all weekend to complete the Hunt—entries will be counted until Monday June 26—so have fun reading all the posts along the way and getting to know each author.

~ Lots of extra prizes! Many of the authors are featuring unique giveaways as well, for even more chances to win!

~ Submit your entry for the grand prizes back at
Roseanna White’s blog.


The Story Behind the Story ~

Hi everyone! *waves awkwardly* I'm Joy. I'm an awkward bookworm, purple fanatic, and Gilmore Girls groupie. I'd like to share a little about the story behind the story of my debut novel, Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations. One of the key ingredients to this story is trust in God, something I excel at. Not.

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

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

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

Naturally, I binge-ate a lot of chocolate.

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

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

Today, that guy and I are married. Four years in August, and we have a beautiful little girl.

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

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


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

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

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

Here's the Scoop on Stop #8 ~

You can order my book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million!

Clue to Write Down: AND if you want the TRUTH, then you'd better read this sentence twice. Hehehe  ;-)  Yes, the clue is "and truth,".

Be sure to check out Stop #9 with June Foster!

Need the full list of stops?

Roseanna M. White
April McGowan
Cara Luecht
Christine Lindsay
Debra Marvin
Dina Sleiman
Gail Kittleson
Joy Palmer
June Foster
Melody Carlson (hosted)
Nelson Hannah
Rachelle Rea Cobb
Sara Goff
Susie Finkbeiner
Susanne Dietze
Suzie Johnson
 
 
 
All finished? Submit Your Entries!
 
But wait, there's more! Now it's time for my giveaway!


Bonus Giveaway Rules, Info, and Such ~

There will be two winners! Yay! :)

>>> US Giveaway ~ 1 Signed copy of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations, a $20.00 Gift Card, an Oreo Chocolate Candy Bar, a Hershey's Cookie Layer Crunch Vanilla Crème Bar, and a Bag of Ghirardelli's Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Squares!
 
*Disclaimer ~ The chocolates do contain various allergens. The recipient is responsible for their own health concerning the chocolates.*

>>> International Giveaway ~ 1 eBook Copy of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations!

My giveaway will run from today, Thursday, June 22nd, through Monday, June 26th.

Please enter using the handy Rafflecopter ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for hanging out with me today, and I hope you have an awesomely fun time hanging out with the other wonderful WhiteFire authors! And as Effie Trinket might say, may the giveaway odds be ever in your favor! ;-)

Blessings and hugs!


~V. Joy Palmer



V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. 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, June 13, 2017

Review of Under a Summer Sky by Melody Carlson



About the Book ~

High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn't long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who's determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of Nicole's close childhood friends--who also happen to be brothers--vying for her attention.

With a backdrop of a beautiful historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!

For more information about Melody Carlson and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

How many of you have ever picked a book to coincide with a particular time of the year or a season of your life? No? Just me? ;-)

Well, for the bookish nerds who do that from time to time - because sometimes we just do - then Melody Carlson's latest novel is for you!

Nicole is a high school art teacher who is stuck in life like paint under fingernails. When her mom arranges for her to house sit and manage an art gallery for a family friend, Nicole reluctantly agrees. However, it turns out to be just what she needed! As Nicole immerses herself into Savannah life, old friends resurface and long wondered "what ifs" are finally answered. And, boy, am I a fan of answered questions!

Under a Summer Sky is a light, sweet romance sure to give you all the fireflies! This is a clean romance that is perfect for the person(s) in you're life who are new to Christian Fiction. It's clean, sweet subtleness makes it a wonderful crossover book. Also, Melody Carlson does an excellent job of catching the flavor and history of Savannah; I felt like I was there!

Four Stars - A light, summer read! Under a Summer Sky is the third book in Melody Carlson's Follow Your Heart Series, but you do not need to read the first two books, Once Upon a Summertime and All Summer Long, since the stories do not build on each other.

I received a copy of Under a Summer Sky by Melody Carlson from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer