Sunday, December 20, 2015

Review of The Shock of Night

From the back cover:

The Darkwater Claims All Who Enter It.
All But One.

When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded, Willet Dura, reeve to the king of Bunard, is called to investigate. As he begins to question the dying priest, the man pulls Willet close and screams in a foreign tongue. Then he dies without another word.

Willet returns to his task, but the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers, and his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, as though he can divine their deepest thoughts. In a world divided between haves and have-nots, gifted and common, Willet soon learns he's been passed the rarest gift of all--a gift that's not supposed to exist.

Now Willet must pursue the murderer still on the loose in Bunard even as he's pulled into a dangerous conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world--a conflict  that will force him to come to terms with his inability to remember how he escaped the Darkwater Forest--and what happened to him inside it. 

My thoughts:

Willet Dura is a reeve to the king, which from what I gathered was like the king's personal detective. He has an uncanny ability to ask the questions others don't think of, or see the details lost in the shuffle. Despite his ability, this was not the life Willet had originally sought. He wanted to be a priest, but the king called every man to arms. When Willet went to war, the blood on his hands forced him away from the priesthood. Willet was also one of the only men to survive a night in the Darkwater Forest, a place were evil practically leaks from the branches. As a result, the story deals a little with Willet's PTSD. Now thanks to an unknown priest's death, the way he looks at the world and the happy ending he thought he'd finally found are changed forever.

When the story started, it had a detective vibe, which was kind of fun. It was like reading about a cop in another world. I also liked the idea of "gifts" being handed down from God. The society was completely built around who was gifted and who wasn't. It was an interesting concept, and it has a lot of potential.

The story felt very dark to me, but Patrick Carr did a great job with layering the details. The first book in a series often seems slower because there is so much new information being given to the readers. I LOVED that Willet's perspective was told from the first person. It made a big difference for me. However, I had a hard time relating to Willet as a character. I often couldn't follow his thought process until he was back from his latest scheme.

Bottom line is that I want to know more. I have questions that still need answers, and the story drew me in enough that I need to know the answers. The first book of The Darkwater Saga ended on a somber note, so I pray that the series has happy endings for the characters. I'm a happy endings kind of girl.

I received a copy of The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr from Bethany House in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.

Hope you all have a Merry, blessed, joyous Christmas! God bless and see you guys on January FIRST!! Oh, my goodness! Goodbye 2015! :)

V. Joy Palmer

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Review of A Season to Wed

From the back cover:

They’ve helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples. Now twelve new couples will find themselves in the wedding spotlight in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

Love at Mistletoe Inn by Cindy Kirk

Sometimes the road to happiness is paved with youthful mistakes.

Ten years after what she thought was her almost-wedding, Hope Prentiss discovers that the ceremony counted—and, as fate would have it, the jilted John Burke has just ridden back into town. After spending some time with John and helping plan a Christmas wedding for a mystery couple, Hope begins to wonder if she really wants a divorce . . . or a real wedding of her own.

A Brush with Love by Rachel Hauck

Revealing the beauty in other women might be Ginger Winters’s specialty—but it will take an unexpected kind of love to help Ginger see the beauty in herself.

Ginger Winters will be the “beauty-maker” for the Alabama society wedding of the decade. But when high-school crush Tom Wells shows up looking for a haircut, Ginger’s thinly veiled insecurities threaten to keep her from love once again . . . despite Tom’s best efforts.

Serving Up a Sweetheart by Cheryl Wyatt

Meadow knows how to serve delicious food to match any wedding theme. But can she accept love when it’s served up on a silver platter?

Meadow Larson is having the mother of all Mondays when her roof caves in during a blizzard, right before the most important wedding contract of her career. Renovation contractor Colin McGrath offers to fix Meadow’s roof, even though he knows he is the last person she would accept help from.
But the more Meadow gets to know the new Colin, the more she realizes God may have something more permanent in store than a new catering kitchen.

My thoughts:

I loved this book. Loved it. From the gorgeous cover design to the amazing authors all the way to the end of each sweet story. I can't even pick a favorite of these three sweet novellas.

Let me break it down a little bit.

Love at Mistletoe Inn by Cindy Kirk -

The characters were good. Hope's bestie was the comedic relief for me. I thought she was hysterical. If John wasn't caring, sweet, charming, and hunky, he still would have been awesome because he said "darling." I'm a sucker for a man who says that, even if he is fictional. I liked Hope. She didn't draw out drama, and I could related to her.

Spiritually, Hope had to learn to be silent and trust God, and John had to learn not to run but fight for the things - and people - he loved. The biggest thing holding Hope and John back was wounds from their respective childhoods that they had never discussed or truly realized. While touching on serious things, this was still a fun story.

A Brush with Love by Rachel Hauck -

Ginger suffers from emotional and physical scars due to a trailer park fire she was caught in as a child. Due to the opinions of stupid people, Ginger has never viewed herself as beautiful, wanted, or even worthy. She feels like God abandoned her.

Tom always had feelings for Ginger, but because of his father's demons, he moves away before he can tell Ginger how he feels. Now he's back and he feels God's call to lead Ginger to Jesus and to help her understand her true beauty - even if it's only as a friend.

The spiritual plot was much more intense, but in a good way. It dealt with believing lies about ourselves. Lies that have shaped us, controlled us, and hindered us. This was a moving story with a deep, emotional ending.

Serving Up a Sweetheart by Cheryl Wyatt -

Meadow suffers from deep, emotional scars from her childhood and teen years. She came from an abusive home before she and her siblings were moved to her grandparents home where money was very tight. Unfortunately, love interest Colin played a big part in Meadow's emotional trauma. He gave into peer pressure and ignored the horrid way his friends treated Meadow. He was selfish and concerned with his social status, but also suffered from a difficult home life that was just more concealed due to his family's social standing.

Meadow has carried her scars into adulthood, and always looked for the bad in people first. When she sees Colin again, she struggles with forgiving him and letting those lies go. I liked Meadow because she was fun and sarcastic, and her struggle was realistic. Colin was endearing because he had given his life to Jesus years ago, and when he and Meadow met up again, he made it his mission to right the wrongs he had done to her.

My favorite part was when Colin sees Meadow again for the first time. There's no golden ray of sun illuminating her. Instead she's beating up a snowman. This was a fun story, with all too realistic struggles.

 If you're looking for a charming, romantic, wedding related read, then pick up your copy ASAP!!!

I received a copy of A Season to Wed by Cindy Kirk, Rachel Hauck, and Cheryl Wyatt from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.

See you guys on December 20th! God bless!

V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


On November 25th, I had a baby.

My beautiful baby girl, Maddie. :)

After a day of irregular labor, two days of stalling labor, and painfully long induction, an hour of pushing, a failed forceps delivery, and then an emergency C-section, my sweetly crying baby girl was held up Simba style for my husband and I to see. After such a long and difficult pregnancy, there was the beautiful baby that had been occupying the majority of my thoughts for the last nine months.

And she was absolutely perfect. Still is.

Today's post isn't going to be a regular blog post. I was in the hospital for a six days, and am recovering from a C-section with my sweet daughter who has decided she needs to be in my arms in order to sleep. I'm still a little out of it. I just wanted to share this wonderful event with you guys, and ask for your prayers during recovery and sleepless nights.

I am so incredibly thankful for God's hand in such a long, difficult, and scary time, but I'm beyond words thankful to God for my amazing daughter. It was the perfect Thanksgiving present from Him.

Daughter. That seems so weird to say. :)

Thanks guys! I'll see you on December 10th!

V. Joy Palmer