Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review of Like Never Before

From the back cover:

A dying newspaper. An intriguing mystery. And a love they didn't see coming.

Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley's haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered. But her new life as a newspaper editor is shaken when the small-town paper is in danger of closing. Her one hope: A lead on an intriguing story that just might impress the new publisher...if only she knew who he was.

After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker now has the chance of a lifetime--a spot on a presidential campaign. But his plans are interrupted when he finds out he's inherited his hometown newspaper. He travels home intent on selling the paper and spending some much-needed time with his young daughter before making the leap into national politics.

But instead of a quick sale and peaceful break from his hectic career, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story. She's scrappy, but wounded. He's dependable, but lost. They may butt heads more than expected, but a series of leads on Maple Valley's quirky unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts.

My thoughts:

I really liked this adorable, sweet story! So, so, so many sweet moments and swoony feels. There are tons of references to classic movies, and what I'm going to take as a veiled Gilmore Girls reference. (By the way, Gilmore Girls forever!) Amelia and Logan have instant chemistry. Melissa Tagg has not been exaggerating Logan's mega charm! Who doesn't love a book savvy, writer man?

Amelia and Logan have both been through heartbreak, and honestly, they've lost hope. But then God shows up, hope is found, and sparks fly! God works a new thing out of their broken ashes and shattered dreams.

My only critique would be that there were parts I felt could have been trimmed down, and other scenes (like at the end) that could have been expanded. I would have liked to see more of a Godly, "Ah!" moment for the characters. However, I don't think this detracts from the story, or it's important message. Also, the widower and divorce angles were not so extreme that the entire story felt depressing. This was a big plus for me.

This is the second book in Walker Family Series, but you can read it as a stand alone novel as well. However, you will be certain to have the feels if you read the first book in the series. I'm looking forward to reading Beckett's and Reagan's stories!

So this is the bottom line book friends: I liked this story, and I think you will, too!

I received a copy of Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

God bless you guys! See you next time! (May 1st... or 2nd! Can you say baby on board? Lol.) :) :) :)

V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Blog on Snack Time Devotions: When You Answer God's Call...

Hey all!

You can check out my post on my other blog, Snack Time Devotions here. It's about Ananias, what he did, and how he might have felt when God told him to talk to Saul. And what we should be doing when God speaks, and we answer.

God bless you guys! :)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Review of Playing the Part


Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucetta's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson's estate to hide out.

Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows.

Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail's matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can't ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it'll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed Playing the Part by Jen Turano. The story started a little slow for me. It took about sixty pages for me to really feel drawn into the story, and for me to start to see Jen Turano's trademark humor. Once I did, I enjoyed the story much more. I liked the goat. Yes, I said goat. Trust me.

Lucetta was a strong-willed, independent heroine, and while I like a strong heroine, it does become a mite bit frustrating when they constantly refuse help because they don't want to be seen as a damsel in distress. I was happy to see Lucetta learn that it's ok to be strong and accepting of someone's help. Bram indeed was dishy. ;) I enjoyed his character very much, finding him very amusing and fun - but that's all I can say about him! I thought both of their characters had good development throughout the story.

Playing the Part is the third book in the A Class of Their Own Series, however, it can be read as a stand alone novel without feeling lost, confused, and hurt. ;) But if you've read the previous series, you will see characters you love without feeling like they steal from Lucetta's story.

I received a copy of Playing the Part by Jen Turano from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.

God bless you guys! :)

V. Joy Palmer

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Check Out Snack Time Devotions!

Hey guys!

I thought I'd post a direct link to this week's post on my other blog, Snack Time Devotions.

My thought was about why God made you. And me. And us. Check it out here.

God bless you!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Why I Review Books

So about a year ago, I had decided to review books more professionally, and posted my first formal review. I had just been offered my first contract and found out I was pregnant, so taking all this time to read was, well...

Kind of wonderful. :)

But it's also time consuming.

In the last year, I've reviewed 16 books. I know that's nothing for most people, but that number is on top of my personal reading, youth ministry, working full time, writing, being pregnant, and being in and out of the hospital all year. Most of them were books I received from publishing houses and blogger programs. A few of them were books I just loved so much I wanted to help spread the word about them.

This picture shows all the books I reviewed in the last year, as well as the three I will be reviewing soon. (Yes, I'm one of those people. I read more than one book at a time.)

So why did I decided to start formally reviewing books? Well, there was a number of reasons.

1) Books. That's a great reason.

2) Books again. :)

3) As an author, it's part of my job to read books. I need to know what kind of stories are selling, how they touch readers, and be able to converse about them somewhat intelligently.

4) It would help build my presence and readership on social media.

5) Because some reviewers can be mean.

Honestly, that was the main reason. I had read a review of a book I was interested in, and was shocked. I'm weird because I like to read the negative reviews, too, because they tell me things that the positive reviews don't. This reviewer ripped into the book. I was appalled. The worst part was this reviewer said they were also an author.

I just thought, "If you're an author, how can you be so cruel and derogatory about a story into which someone poured their heart and soul?" The author was just trying to convey this one important lesson, which they ignored. There was no respect.

I've said several times on this blog that a book wasn't my taste. Not every book or every author is for every person. I don't always like the popular story trends. However, I always try to look for the positive points in a story. And I hope reviewers will do the same for me.

The main reason is because God sees the positive in me, despite all my flaws. So I try to do that for that for others. That's why I review books.

God bless you guys! :) See you April 10th!

V. Joy Palmer