Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review of Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason





About the Book ~

Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.

For more information about Lynette Eason and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

A chilling cold case, a long lost family, the start of a swoony romance, and bad guys behind every page - this story is one wild ride!

Haley's story is finally told, and I have to you, it's staggering! I really want to say more, but I don't want to give anything away, so you'll just have to read the book. *winks and grins*  I have always loved the long lost family trope, and this story is no different. While Haley's story really thrilled me, Steven's spiritual story touched my heart. Through Steven's heartbreaking tragedy and some wonderfully veiled references, Lynette Eason shows readers how forgiveness can lead to a new heart.

I liked that Haley and Steven's romance was slow because otherwise it would have felt too fast for me. By the end of the overall story, they were just starting to date, and an epilogue gave me the Happily Ever After that I love so much.

Four Stars - An excellent conclusion to an exciting series! Chasing Secrets is the fourth and final book in Lynette Eason's Elite Guardians Series, and I think readers will be very pleased! Chasing Secrets is its own independent story, and very few references are made to the previous books, so readers will not be confused if they consume the stories out of order.

I received a copy of Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason 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


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. Joy is a youth leader because she 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, August 12, 2017

Review of the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible, Large Print



About this Bible ~

Easy to color and easy to read! Reflect on the precious truths of Scripture with the NIV Beautiful Word™ Coloring Bible, Large Print, featuring beautiful line art for coloring and a large type size. Perfect for all ages, this Bible’s thick white paper with lightly ruled lines in the extra-wide margins provides ample space for your own artistic expressions and journaling.

My Thoughts ~

I have been seriously jonesing for a coloring Bible, so I was pretty excited when this Bible popped up for review!

I love the cloth-over-board style, and the floral with leaves pattern is beautiful! I just want to stare at it. And the pictures! I love them! Some are small and simple, while others are intricate designs that take up two pages! Most of them are popular verses with simple designs that are in the extra wide margins. However, everything from the lovely pictures to color to the font choice suit my personality quite nicely!

The text is large print, so no squinting! Unless you're like me, and you get really intense about your coloring! Haha! Pages without pictures are set up for journaling and notes in the margins. This Bible is a New International Translation (NIV).

I will note that this Bible is extra large. It surprised me when it arrived, but it shouldn't have. It's a coloring, journaling, large print Bible. Everything about that says, "I'm a big book!"

I received a copy of the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible, Large Print, published by Zondervan 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, August 5, 2017

Review of Egypt's Sister by Angela Hunt



About the Book ~

You Don't Know Her Name. The World Remembers Only Her Greatest Friend: Cleopatra.

Raised together in the Alexandrian palace, Chava, the Hebrew daughter of the royal tutor, and Urbi, an Egyptian princess, become as close as sisters--and rivals with their dreams of greatness. When Urbi unexpectedly ascends the throne as Queen Cleopatra, Chava believes their bond is strong enough to survive. But absolute power has a way of changing everything.

The ultimate betrayal rips Chava from everything she's ever known and sends her to the lowest rung of Roman society where she must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God's will for her life, if she hopes to rise again.

For more information about Angela Hunt and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Angela Hunt has done it again! Wow! Wow! WOW!

Chava is a young woman who's grown up with a lot of privilege. Her family is not hurting for money, and they are in very good standing in the community. I mean, she's best friends with an Egyptian princess for crying out loud! Until standing up for what she believes results in her enslavement...

If you've been hanging around my accounts for awhile, you know that Biblical Fiction has become one of my favorite genres. Why? Because it makes you think about things in or surrounding Bible times to which we have become desensitized in our daily lives. While Egypt's Sister is set during The Silent Years (the time period between The Old Testament and The New Testament), it is still a very powerful story! And the rich history! I have never felt so woefully uninformed in all my life - with the exception of my freshman Algebra class. However, the history was not dry and boring, but naturally woven into the fast-moving plot.

I found it very moving to read about how God used Chava's sudden fall in society to not only humble her heart, but also to teach her about who she really was in Him. This is a girl power book at it's finest! Egypt's Sister also showcases the power behind God's words and how He can work even the worst situation for good.

Five Stars - An extraordinary look into life during The Silent Years. Egypt's Sister is a must read for fans of Biblical Fiction!

I received a copy of Egypt's Sister by Angela Hunt 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.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Review of Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess



About the Book ~

From award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess, comes Solo, a YA novel written in poetic verse. Solo tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, who knows the life of a rock star isn’t really about the glitz and glamour. All the new cars and money in the world can’t make up for the scathing tabloid covers or the fact that his father is struggling with just about every addiction under the sun—including a desperate desire to make a comeback and regain his former fame. Haunted by memories of his mother—who died when Blade was nine—and the ruin his father’s washed-up legacy and life have brought to the family, Blade is left to figure out life on his own. But, he’s not all alone: He’s got the friendship of a jazz-musician mentor, Robert; the secret love of a girlfriend, Chapel; and his music. All may not be well in the Morrison home, but things are looking up for Blade, until he discovers a deeply protected family secret—one that further threatens his relationship with his family and has him questioning his own identity. Thrown into a tailspin, Blade decides the only way he will understand his past and begin his future is to find out the truth behind the music and himself. He soon sets out on a journey that will change everything he thought to be true. His quest lands him in Ghana, stuck in a village just shy of where answers to the secret can be found. There, Blade discovers a friendship he couldn’t have imagined, a people founded in family and community, and a reconciliation he never expected.

With his signature intricacy, intimacy, and poetic style, Kwame Alexander explores what it means to finally come home.

For more information about Kwame Alexander and his books, check out his website here!

For more information about Mary Rand Hess and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

WOW!

When I first heard about Solo, I thought it looked really interesting. But when I found out that the entire story was written in poetic verse, I knew I NEEDED to read this book! Pretty much amazing. The poetry wasn't "uptight" like high school English students might fear. ;) It was moving and fluid. There were times where I focused on the beauty of the poetry, but there were just as many, if not more, times where I was just so caught up in the story being told! The poetry did not detract from that story. In fact, because the story is so rock-and-roll centered, I think the lyric quality added to the story.

This is definitely a story music lovers will cherish! Each hidden and brazen mention of the rock-and-roll greats will just make you smile. Read Solo. You won't be disappointed. And if you're not into music at all *gasp*, then I think you will still enjoy the story and the message.

Readers should be aware that Solo is not an overtly Christian book. There are Christian overtones, but the story is written for the general market. However, it packs a powerful punch!!! The authors explore what home and family really mean, as well as forgiveness, redemption, life, love, fear (face the spider!), and death. I can't recommend Solo enough, and it would be a powerful book for adults and teens alike who are new to God and/or don't really know God yet.

Five Stars - this is a great book! Now excuse me while I get my hands on more Kwame Alexander books!

I received a copy of Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess published by Blink from the Solo Launch Team. 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.




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review of A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren



About the Book ~

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he's remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana's rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can't seem to find his footing--or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him.

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret--one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track.

When Ella's brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park's most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn't so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he'll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder--and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella's secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other--even when disaster happens again?

For more information about Susan May Warren and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Looking for you next thrilling read? Then you must read A Matter of Trust because Susan May Warren has done it again!

First of all, I loved all the skiing/snowboarding lingo! I grew up skiing, so it was a lot of fun to see that piece of my world included in a novel! <3 And may I just say that a certain mountain kiss was Swoon City, my friends!

Trust is a core subject in this novel, and it's handled SO well. Ella and Gage have to - wait for it - overcome some obstacles and learn to trust each other and God once again. I know that's fairly shocking given the title, A Matter of Trust. ;) Ella and Gage do not have an easy time since they both feel like they were betrayed. And trusting someone who has broken your trust is one of the hardest things we have to do in this life.

Then you have the God angle of the trust triangle. Even though three years have passed since the incident and Ella and Gage's anger has slightly waned, they are having trouble trusting God. Ella regrets her actions during the trial, especially once information came to light. Add that to the fact that she feels like she has to earn everyone's love and approval, to life up to the legacy of her family, and it's no wonder she's struggling to trust God. And Gage believes that he is responsible for all the hotshot skiers who are trying to follow his line. Learning to trust that God is bigger that our mistakes is no easy feat, as Gage learns! I loved reading about their journey and seeing God's truths settle on their hearts like a warm blanket!

Four Stars - Another wonderful addition to the Montana Rescue Series! While A Matter of Trust is its own independent story, events and an ongoing mystery build in each book, so I recommend reading the series in order. Start with Wild Montana Skies and Rescue Me (AMAZING!!!).

I received a copy of A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren 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


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, 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.