Sunday, January 6, 2019

Review of A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz


About the Book ~ 

Though Magnus Macleish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is just the keeper of his bees - and the woman who could provide an elixir too help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Can they make a new beginning in this New World? Or will their hopes be dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony?

Laura Frantz's prose sparkles with authenticity as she digs into her own family history to share this breathless tale of love, exile, and courage in colonial America.

For more information about Laura Frantz and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Ready for a romantic tale that will whisk you away to foreign lands and times gone by?

Well, Laura Frantz has done it again with A Bound Heart! It is absolutely enchanting!

The vivid detail - one of the author's greatest strengths! - will engulf you the second you crack the spine. You will feel the spray of the ocean. You will smell the herbs of the stillroom. You will feel the heat of the Virginia sun. The attention to even the smallest details combined with the rich history of each setting will leave you breathless!

Magnus and Lark's story is told in three distinct parts, and a minor subplot with a secondary character served to provide even more rich history for the era. The author makes your heart ache for Magnus and Lark, for their unrequited love to finally bloom despite all the horrors and obstacles in their way. While the last third of the book made me shake my fist at the sky, I suspect that was the author's plan all along because I was desperate for these beautiful souls to find their way back to each other!

The author didn't ignore the painful realities and injustices of the world at that time. Instead, Magnus and Lark did their best to live their lives according to God's loving justice despite all the evil around them. When it would have seemed like providence for them to take the safe path, they chose to go where they were truly needed. Magnus and Lark may not have changed The World, but they changed their everyday worlds by choosing to walk in God's love, a truth that will resonate and challenge the heart.

Four Stars ~ A Bound Heart is a romantic tale that will sweep readers into it's poetic tide! A Bound Heart is a standalone, but fan's of Laura Frantz's previous novels, like The Lacemaker, will be captured by this latest treasure!

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 websitepersonal blogdevotional blogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Review of Mind Games by Nancy Mehl


About the Book ~ 

FBI Behavioral Analyst Kaely Quinn's methods may be highly unorthodox, but her talent is undeniable. She's done her best to establish a new life for herself after being demoted and transferred to St. Louis when a reporter revealed she's the daughter of an infamous serial killer. But when that same reporter claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely's, it seems her old life has followed her.


When a body is found that fits the poem's morbid predictions, Kaely and her new partner, Special Agent Noah Hunter, are forced to move past his skepticism of her approach and work together to unravel the deadly riddle.

With a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely must race to catch the murderer before anyone else, including Kaely, is killed.

For more information about Nancy Mehl and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~ 

If you enjoy a good romantic suspense that plays games with your mind, then Mind Games (like what I did there?) by Nancy Mehl should be moved to the top of your TBR stack!

You will want to clear your afternoon when you start this one because you won't be able to put it down! The story is told from multiple points of view, which really helped keep the story moving in the moments where some romantic suspense novels can drag. The author kept the focus on the main plot while working in the subplots in a natural way. I also love how the series is being set up because the romance is developing in such an organic way!

I wasn't surprised by the bad guy because this person was one of my suspects. However, I had several suspects, and the author expertly set up each of them to look like the bad guy! I truly didn't figure it out until the moment Kaely figured it out!

Kaely's unusual methods reminded me of the TV show Bones. While confronting the demons of her past made her feel like a monster at times, it was cool to see how she turned to God's redemptive truth! Noah, a widower, struggles with understanding how God can be good in a world so full of darkness. The author tackles some painful and chilling questions through Kaely and Noah. Mind Games reminded me of the TV show Criminal Minds, but God's love and hope shines a light in the darkness!

Four Stars ~ Mind Games is a chilling tale that isn't afraid to ask the hard questions! Mind Games is the first book in the Kaely Quinn Profiler series! I recommend starting with the first book because of the character relationships that are being built. The second book, Fire Storm, releases from Bethany House Publishers on August 6th, 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 websitepersonal blogdevotional blogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Review of Enclave by Thomas Locke


About the Book ~

To save his enclave's future, he must risk his own.

Nearly one hundred years have passed since the Great Crash. What was once America is now a collection of enclaves, governed at the local level and only loosely tied together by the farce of a federal government.

Catawba, one of the largest and most affluent enclaves in the southern region, is relatively stable. It maintains successful business relations with nearby enclaves. But when a new vein of gold is discovered beneath the feet of its citizens, it's only a matter of time before trouble finds them.

Now Catawba's fate depends on an untried young trader named Caleb. Could his plan help secure the enclave's future? Yet Caleb is keenly aware that if his secret were exposed, he would not live to see another dawn.

For more information about Thomas Locke and his books, check out his website here!

My Thoughts ~ 

Enclave was...

It was like The Last Ship meets X-Men while being tinged with the Wild West!

That sounds awesome, right? Well, it was awesome! Dystopian and post-apocalyptic story lovers, Enclave needs to be added to your TBR immediately!

The story is told from the point of view of Caleb and Kevin, two very different men thrown together by hate and power-grabs from the mongrels welding their unlawful position against everyone, especially those with special secrets.

Sorry, no spoilers. Hehe!

I would have loved a little more backstory, specifically details about the Great Crash because I like to have ALL the details. However, it wasn't hard for me to imagine the country turning into the lawless wasteland described in Enclave. I especially loved the message the story spoke to me, about fighting for each other, standing by one other, and about welcoming all. Enclave showed a true democracy founded on equality rising out of muck of the evil. Truly inspiring, like a futuristic revolutionary war!

Four Stars ~ Enclave by Thomas Locke was exactly the type of thrilling story that I'd like to read a lot more! I am unaware if this is a series or not. The ending wrapped up the important details like a standalone story, but it also left some room for a sequel. So...we will see! LOL!

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 websitepersonal blogdevotional blogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Review of Pretty in Punxsutawney by Laurie Boyle Crompton


About the Book ~

A Groundhog Day meets Pretty in Pink mashup from author Laurie Boyle Crompton, Pretty in Punxsutawney tells the tale of a girl willing to look beneath the surface to see people for who they really are.

Andie is the type of girl who always comes up with the perfect thing to say...after it's too late to say it. She's addicted to romance movies - okay, all movies - but has yet to experience her first kiss. After a move to Punxsutawney, PA, for her senior year, she gets caught in an endless loop of her first day at her new school, reliving those 24 hours again and again.

Convinced the curse will be broken when she meets her true love, Andie embarks on a mission: infiltrating the various cliques to find the one boy who can break the spell. What she discovers along the way is that people who seem completely different can often share the very same hopes, dreams, and hang-ups. And that even a day that has been lived over and over can be filled with unexpected connections and plenty of happy endings.

For more information about Laurie Boyle Crompton and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

SOOO MUCH FUN!!!

I loved Pretty in Punxsutawney! From the first page, I knew this was my kind of book. The humor and Andie's voice immediately drew me into the story. Despite the same day recurring over and over, the author kept the story light and fresh, moving at an excellent pace. If you took all the things you loved about 80's teen movies and threw them into a literary blender (this device sounds horrifying, but just go with it!), this is the book you would get! And it is adorable and hilarious and romantic!

It's possible that not all readers will understand all the movie references... I even stumbled over a couple *hangs head in shame* However, I think the story would still be enjoyable for those readers who don't know who John Hughes is. (And there's no shame in this...but you should binge watch a lot of movies ASAP!)

I loved the hilarious escapades Andie brought on herself as she infiltrated each high school clique, discovering how to look past labels and see the person for who they really were in the process. Despite all her (in my opinion) brilliant ideas, it was actually the truth that would set her free from her blessing/curse, putting her right where she belonged. Andie's tale shows the importance of speaking the truth and loving the people around you instead of blindly sticking to dividing misconceptions. These powerful messages can be enjoyed at any age, but the fun delivery makes it all the sweeter!

Five Stars ~ Pretty in Punxsutawney will LIVE on my keeper shelf! This is a standalone YA romance. Pretty in Punxsutawney is a sweet, clean read; however, please note that Blink YA Books are not overtly Christian, making their books excellent for both the general market and CBA. I would definitely read more books like this from the author!

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 websitepersonal blogdevotional blogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Review of The Making of Mrs. Hale by Carolyn Miller



About the Book ~

Marry in haste, repent in leisure - Mrs. Hale is about to find out how painful that repentance can truly be.

Julia Hale ran off to be married in Gretna Green, following romance instead of common sense. But her tale isn't turning into a happily ever after. Her new husband is gone and she doesn't know where - or if he's ever coming back. Julia has no option but to head home to the family she betrayed by eloping and to hope they'll forgive her. Especially now that she might be carrying a baby from her brief marriage.

For more information about Carolyn Miller and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

This story is beautiful on so many levels!

First of all, I loved seeing an elopement set in the Regency Era! I haven't seen that in a lot of books set in this era, so that uniqueness pulled me into the story immediately. The narrative also really swept me into the era, and the witty dialogue was just my cup of tea! The political intrigue and unfolding mystery resulted in a binge read to ensure the safety of these dear characters!

I also thought this was a good "married" story! I thought the author did a good job at portraying some of the problems a young married couple would have faced after eloping. Those complicated (in a good way!) family dynamics were painfully raw and infamously real, making the proverbial happy ending all the sweeter!

The author tackles some painful subjects in Thomas and Julia's story, such as betrayal, trust, and forgiveness. The life-changing power - and freedom! - of forgiveness will both challenge and encourage readers in their own relationships and walk with God. My heart connected to Thomas and Julia. Forgiveness and grace should be freely received and freely given, but their story shows how we are in a prison of our own making when we attempt to navigate life without these things.

Four Stars ~ The Making of Mrs. Hale should be added to the TBR pile of every Jane Austen fan! The Making of Mrs. Hale is the third book in Carolyn Miller's Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope Series, but I had no issues reading it as a standalone. However, now I am officially a fan and must get every book ASAP!

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 websitepersonal blogdevotional blogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Review of Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse



About the Book ~

Dreamwalker. Nightwatcher. Lady of Ravenwood.

Lady Selene Has Come into Her Family's Power.

But Has She Inherited a Gift or a Curse?

Lady Selene is heir to the House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person's dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. Soon after the gifting, however, Selene discovers that the Ravenwood women have been secretly using their gift to gather information or to assassinate those responsible for the fall of House Ravenwood to the Dominia Empire hundreds of years ago.

As she becomes more entrenched in Ravenwood's dark past, Selene longs to find out the true reason behind her family's gift, believing that its original intent could not have been for such evil purposes, but she is torn about upholding her family's legacy - a legacy that supports her people. Selene's dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations - but who is also prophesied to bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and likely death. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

For more information about Morgan L. Busse and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Since finishing Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse, all I want to do is scream and fangirl at its awesomeness!!!

CAUSE IT IS AWESOME!!!

I'll say that again before this review is done. Just warning you guys. Hehe.

Mark of the Raven has it all! Assassins. Secret powers. A fascinating world. Political intrigue. A slow-burn romance that is sure to be among my favorites. And a Light so pure and holy that it makes your heart dance!

When Selene's power arrives in all its fury and glory, her preordained life begins. But as haunting secrets and powerful hatred are uncovered, Selene starts to question whether she can really take up her family's mantle. The push and pull of her heart felt so REAL! She wanted to save her sisters and help her people, but she questioned whether she could do it at the expense of her own soul. She hungered for something more, for Light. When her own brokenness and darkness seemed to proclaim that she was too much of a monster to save, I felt chills. Who hasn't struggled with this very question? Selene's narrative was powerful, but I also loved Damien! His love for the Light sprung from the pages, and just like Selene, readers will feel it pulling them in for more!

The world building felt organic, making me ask questions and giving me answers in all the right places. I want to know everything about the Great Houses and the gifts, and I have a feeling even more game-changing secrets will come to light in the next book. But more than anything, Mark of the Raven asks the question, Am I worth saving? I believe readers will discover God's heart for them on Selene's journey to discover the Light.

Five Stars ~ Mark of the Raven is a spellbinding start to The Ravenwood Saga! I will be marking off the days on the calendar until Flight of the Raven releases on April 30th, 2019. I would definitely recommend reading the series in order due to spoilers and the fact that it is 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 websitepersonal blogdevotional blogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Review of Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan


About the Book ~

In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman the woman C. S. Lews called "my whole world." When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis - known as Jack - she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn't holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn't destroy.

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren't meant to have a voice - and yet her love for jack gave them both voice they didn't know they had.

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer's life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story - a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.

For more information about Patti Callahan and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

While The Chronicles of Narnia is a beloved series to me, I didn't know a lot about the personal life of C. S. Lewis (Jack), and I knew virtually nothing about Joy Davidman, so I was really excited to read this fictional account of their love story!

Yeah, I'm a nerd.

Patti Callahan's writing style transports you into this fictional account of history! The sensory details were so vivid that I could almost feel the damp dirt by the lake, taste the fresh (or dirty, depending on the location!) air, and smell the tobacco and books in Jack's office. Becoming Mrs. Lewis has a wealth of information, literature, and history tucked between its pages, making it a grand place for history geeks!

While I didn't know the tragic turn the story would take, I appreciated the "warts and all" approach to the picture painted of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman. So often beloved figures like this are imagined as perfect, so I liked that the author choose to show us struggles, temptations, and failures in a very realistic way. Joy Davidman's spiritual journey was empowering as she fully embraces God as her True Love in every way.

Three Stars ~ Becoming Mrs. Lewis is romantic blend of true love, literature, and England. However, if abuse, physical affairs, emotional affairs, or breast cancer are painful subjects for you, then I would advise caution, dear reader. Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a standalone, but Patti Callahan has quite the backlist of titles for readers to peruse!

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 websitepersonal blogdevotional blogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram!