Monday, May 22, 2017

Review of What Hope Remembers by Johnnie Alexander



From the Back Cover ~

When you need a new beginning, sometimes the best place to start is homeWhen Amy Somers leaves her job as a lobbyist, she moves to Misty Willow, well aware that she's crossing bridges she'd burned years before. With all the mistakes she's made and the things she's done, she can hardly believe that happiness will find her--especially when Gabe Kendall, her first crush and her first kiss, rides back into her life atop a buckskin mare.

A former Marine, Gabe is at loose ends after serving a prison sentence for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He sees beyond Amy's hard exterior to the girl he once knew and loved, and he longs to see her open her heart. Yet with his vision clouded by shame for his past and fears about the future, it's difficult to see the path ahead.

But the memory of that long-ago kiss just may have the power to reignite a romance that brings out the best in both of them.

For more information about Johnnie Alexander and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

What Hope Remembers is a sweet, lyrical story with surprising depth! Simply beautiful! This story is so full of spring and summer vibes, I can almost taste the cool breeze blowing through the luscious green grass and dainty willow trees. And I love the author's nods to Cary Grant and J. R. R. Tolkien! Also, if you're a fan of cowboys and horses, then this is another reason you will love What Hope Remembers.

Both Gabe and Amy need a fresh start. Amy has taken a lot of wrong turns on her journey, and after hitting her ultimate low, she gets a wake up call. She's desperate to change, but worried she can't - or won't - be able to change, and she thinks that maybe she doesn't deserve a happy ending. Gabe struggles with guilt, wishing he was able to do the past differently. He's no stranger to loss, rejection, or the stigma that accompanies his past. What Hope Remembers is a story of second chances and new beginnings as Gabe and Amy experience God's redemptive grace.

On a romantic note - because I love the romantic notes - I love, love, love stories of first love and/or unrequited love! It was so sweet seeing Gabe and Amy find their way back to each other in this sweet romance. *happy sigh*

Four Stars - A wonderful story! What Hope Remembers is the last book in Johnnie Alexander's Misty Willow Series. Even though this is a separate story, it builds off of the first two books, Where She Belongs and When Love Arrives, and has an intricate backstory, so I highly recommend reading the series in order.

I received a copy of What Hope Remembers by Johnnie Alexander 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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review of The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber



Description ~

For fans of Ender's Game, The Hunger Games, and Blade Runner comes a story of video gaming, blood, and power.

Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.

Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel--Earth's charming young playboy--the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.

From the award-winning author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, step into a diverse cast of characters spanning from the electric metropolises of earth to the chilling alien planet above, in a story of re-finding yourself in the midst of losing the one thing you love. Before it all evaporates.

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

My Thoughts ~

Mind. Blown.

Everyone should stop what they are doing and preorder this book.

Right. Now.

If you've followed my excellent advice, or you're awesome and have already preordered this, then make sure that your schedule is free and clear. You will not want to set this book down. To be honest, I'm not sure it's physically possible to set it down.

This review is going to reveal a facet of my nerdy geekdom to you guys. I apologize in advance. ;)

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow is like The Hunger Games meets Ender's Game meets Firefly meets Falling Skies meets Stargate! But let me be clear, it has awesome aspects that remind me of these books and TV shows, but it is in no way a copy of them. This novel is unique and original and awesome sauce! My husband is tech savvy and a gamer, so I've picked up a lot of lingo. And I will admit that I have a thing for Nintendo and Metroid. I told you. Geekdom, my friends. Anyways. As soon as I read the premise, I was hooked.

Awesome premise aside, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow overflows with gripping writing and an intense message. Mary Weber attacks the issue of human trafficking in this novel, and I applaud her! This is also a novel about finding yourself. Sofi and Miguel are experiencing the evaporation of their beliefs - beliefs about everything they know. This proves to be terrifying, exhilarating, dangerous, and revitalizing for them. I can't wait to read the next installment!

Five Billion Stars!!! - The Evaporation of Sofi Snow is the first book in Mary Weber's new series, and yeah, read the series in order. The book ends with an extreme cliffhanger that makes me want to scream and rage into the wind. But that's just because I want to read more. NOW! ;) I also want to note for you guys that this is technically ABA (American Book Association), not CBA (Christian Book Association). This book is written for the general market, but it has soul and heart and a deep spiritual message that draws readers closer to Him. Amazing!!!

I received a copy of The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber published by Thomas Nelson from BookLook Bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own.

God bless you guys, and I'll see you next time!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Review of Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

 
 
Description ~
 
After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, Miss Permilia Griswold has finally figured out a way to pass the time at all the New York high-society events she attends. Under the pseudonym "Miss Quill," she is the author of society gossip columns filled with tidbits only an insider in society--albeit one on the fringes--would know.

When she overhears a threat against Mr. Asher Rutherford, the owner of one of the most up-and-coming department stores in the city, she's determined to warn him. But the irritatingly handsome man doesn't believe her, leaving her no choice but to take matters into her own hands. What she doesn't anticipate is that she'll end up putting herself at risk in the process--or that she and Mr. Rutherford, a man with secrets of his own, just might end up joining forces after all.
 
For more information about Jen Turano and her books, check out her website here!
 
My Thoughts ~
 
You had me at wallflower. ; ) Who doesn't love a good wallflower story? I think many readers will be able to relate to Miss Permilia Griswold, Mr. Asher Rutherford, and company!
 
I loved that the first third of the story took place at the Vanderbilt ball! It was enchanting, thrilling, and beautifully detailed. Amusing and quirky characters make this a light read despite the murder attempts. ; ) The final scenes brought happy tears to my eyes. What a wonderful resolution!
 
This struck me as a novel of acceptance. Asher learned to accept help from Permilla as well as accepting himself for who he really was. Permilla had to come to terms that her plan was not necessarily God's plan for her life. The poignant truths of this novel are sure to touch many hearts!
 
 Four Stars - A funny and charming story! Behind the Scenes is the first book in Jen Turano's new Apart from the Crowd Series. The next book, Out of the Ordinary, will release on November 7th, 2017. I'm looking forward to Miss Gertrude Cadwalader and Mr. Harrison Sinclair's story!
 

I received a copy of Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

God bless you guys! See you next time!

 Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Review of The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson

 
 
Description ~
 
She lost everything to the scheme of an evil servant. But she might just gain what she’s always wanted . . .if she makes it in time.
 
The impossible was happening. She, Magdalen of Mallin, was to marry the Duke of Wolfberg. Magdalen had dreamed about receiving a proposal ever since she met the duke two years ago. Such a marriage was the only way she could save her people from starvation. But why would a handsome, wealthy duke want to marry her, a poor baron’s daughter? It seemed too good to be true.

On the journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen’s servant forces her to trade places and become her servant, threatening not only Magdalen’s life, but the lives of those she holds dear. Stripped of her identity and title in Wolfberg, where no one knows her, Magdalen is sentenced to tend geese while she watches her former handmaiden gain all Magdalen had ever dreamed of.

When a handsome shepherd befriends her, Magdalen begins to suspect he carries secrets of his own. Together, Magdalen and the shepherd uncover a sinister plot against Wolfberg and the duke. But with no resources, will they be able to find the answers, the hiding places, and the forces they need in time to save both Mallin and Wolfberg?

New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson beautifully re-imagines The Goose Girl by the Brothers Grimm into a medieval tale of adventure, loss, and love.

For more information about Melanie Dickerson and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

I read this book in less than twenty-four hours! So did I like The Noble Servant? Yes. Yes, I did. ; )

From the opening scene, you are tossed into the middle of the action when Magadalen gets a mysterious letter. Who? What? Why? Then Steffan is ambushed when you turn the page. The writing flowed, and the story sucked you into its lovely pages. And it was just so charming watching their love bloom while they tended the animals!

I enjoyed the character development and spiritual plot. Steffan entered our world a bit selfish and entitled. He's been afraid to fall in love ever since he witnessed his father's broken heart - and eventual death - after his mother's tragic death. His struggle made his eventual triumph even sweeter. Magadalen struggled to give all the situations beyond her control to God. She would turn it over to Him, and then she would struggle with her anger towards those who had wronged her. I found her attitude refreshingly realistic! We all struggle with this.

Five Stars - I think this is one (Just one you guys, but really, how do you pick between them?) of Melanie Dickerson's best fairy tale retellings! The Noble Servant ties into The Beautiful Pretender, and we get to see Lord Reinhart and Lady Avelina Thornbeck again.

I received a copy of The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson published by Thomas Nelson from BookLook Bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own.

God bless you guys, and I'll see you next time!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Sound of Emeralds Birthday Blog Tour - and GIVEAWAY!!!

Hey guys!!! Welcome to The Sound of Emeralds Birthday Blog Tour! I’m  so excited to be posting today about Rachelle Rea Cobb’s third installment in the Steadfast Love Series, an inspirational historical romance set during the 16th century!

 
Rachelle is also the author of The Sound of Diamonds and The Sound of Silver, the first two book in the series. She has also written Write Well, a guide for writers! Last summer, she married a man with the same first name as the hero of the Steadfast Love Series! (Cue the happy sighs here.)Rachelle's Steadfast Love Series is published with WhiteFire Publishing. (Rachelle and I are the WhiteFire Babies.) I’m super excited to be joining in this blog tour, so I'm just going to gab and gab about The Sound of Emeralds and spread the news about the rocking giveaway Rachelle is hosting — make sure you enter using the Rafflecopter form to win signed copies of all three books!

About The Sound of Emeralds...

 

What once was blazing hatred has turned to lasting love, but could the union of a wild heart with that of a lady ever result in more than heartache?
 
With the help of an old friend with uncertain loyalties, Dirk inches ever closer to clearing his name. Gwyneth throws her faith into good tidings and the promise of a future as a family. But an old evil comes to call, just as tragedy rips apart a fledgling truce. Enemies from the past and grief for the future threaten to tear asunder what God had brought together...

Find The Sound of Emeralds on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Goodreads!

And if you want to learn about the other books in the Steadfast Love Series...

About the Steadfast Love Series ~

In 16th-century Europe, the Reformation rages between Protestants and Catholics. Gwyneth, half-Dutch, flees from England to Holland to escape the man who murdered her parents. When he follows her there and insists he came to rescue her, will she trust this man called Dirk? When tragedy strikes, will their steadfast love erode?

The Sound of Diamonds ~



Her only chance of getting home is trusting the man she hates.
 
With the protestant Elizabeth on the throne of England and her family in shambles, Catholic maiden Gwyneth seeks refuge in the Low Countries of Holland, hoping to soothe her aching soul. But when the Iconoclastic Fury descends and bloodshed overtakes her haven, she has no choice but to trust the rogue who arrives, promising to see her safely home to her uncle's castle. She doesn't dare to trust him...and yet doesn't dare to refuse her one chance to preserve her own life and those of the nuns she rescues from the burning convent.

Dirk Godfrey is determined to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk knows he has only one chance at redemption, and it lies with the lovely Gwyneth, who hates him for the crimes she thinks he committed. He must see her to safety, prove to the world that he is innocent, prove that her poor eyesight is not the only thing that has blinded her but what is he to do when those goals clash?

The home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, the saint and the sinner must either dare to hold to hope...or be overcome


The Sound of Silver ~



The stalwart saint, fighting for faith...the redeemed rebel, fighting for honor.
 
After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Now truly orphaned yet not alone, Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.

Dirk's quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth's searching hearts ever sing the same song?


I know you are all chomping at the bit, frantically logging onto Amazon, and clicking ORDER NOW after reading all that. And you should be. ; ) Now, lets get to know Rachelle a little better.
 
About the Author ~ 
 
 
Times gone by snatch Rachelle Rea Cobb close, so she reads and writes about years long ago -- her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. Rachelle wrote the Steadfast Love Series during college. Five months after she graduated, she signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. She's a homeschool grad, Oreo addict, and plots her novels while driving around her dream car, a pick-up truck. In June 2016, she married a man with the same name as her fictional hero, and they live happily ever after in Small Town, South. She is also the author of Write Well, a guide for writers, which released on March 4th!
 
INTERVIEW ~

1. When and where did you first get the idea for the Steadfast Love Series?

A song I was listening to on the radio inspired the title of the first book. So I wrote Diamonds, but when I finished it, I realized to my great frustration that the characters weren't done with their story, even though I had been quite adamant that I would write a stand-alone novel. But the story wasn't finished, so I kept writing.

That's amazing!!! I love how a song inspired this beautiful saga!  

2. Readers often pick out favorite quotes from a novel. Do you have a favorite of your own from The Sound of Silver?
 
Yes! In fact, my friend Mindy, a calligrapher, even created a beautiful piece of art from one of my favorite quotes: "Within the pages of books one's heart can be revealed."
 
That right there is going to be my new life motto. LOVE IT!

3. Can you tell us what first drew you to writing Inspiration Historical Romance?

My first exposure to the genre came when I read Heartsong Presents novels when I was twelve. Those small books introduced me to how much I believe in the power of story, especially love stories set in times gone by.

 I love hearing about the stories that shape the writers - and people - we become! It's amazing!

4. I saw on your website that you also write reviews, articles, and offer editing services. What's one of your favorite things beyond writing novels that you enjoy?

Editing is such fun! I daresay I enjoy editing a page full of my own (or others'!) words just as much as I enjoy splashing words onto a blank page. I recently released my first nonfiction book, Write Well, which is a short eBook designed as a guide for writers!

Everyone, Write Well is one of the best writing guides I have ever read! Instead of wanting to put my head through a wall, I chuckled while reading it. I definitely recommend Rachelle as a freelance editor. Not that I'm being pushy or anything. ; )

Thank you for talking with us, Rachelle! Now it's time for the GIVEAWAY!


GIVEAWAY INFO, RULES, AND SUCH ~


Enter using the Rafflecopter form below to win signed copies of ALL THREE of Rachelle's novels. The whole series, signed!!! Be still my nerd girl heart!
 
International friends, this giveaway is open to continental U.S. addresses only (sorry!). But do still enter, because one international winner will also be chosen to receive all three eBooks. YAY!
 
Enter using the handy Rafflecopter here ~



I hope you had as much fun as I did today! See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Review of With Love, Wherever You Are by Dandi Daley Mackall



From the Back Cover:

Everyone knows that war romances never last...

Nurse Helen Eberhart approaches everything in life with pure determination. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Helen decides to enlist as an Army nurse. There, her grit is put to the test when she's assigned to care for the broken bodies of some of the most severely wounded soldiers, many no older than her own beloved brothers.

Frank Daley wasn't trying to be a hero. He'd only enlisted to finish medical school, confident that the war would be over before his deferment ran out. Instead Lt. Frank R. Daley, MD, is sent straight from his graduation to boot camp, the last stop before a battlefield hospital in Europe. And none of his training prepares him for the chance encounter with a spirited nurse who steals his heart.

After a whirlwind romance and wedding, Helen and Frank are sent to the front lines of Europe with only letters to connect them for months at a time. Surrounded by danger and desperately wounded patients, they soon find that only the war seems real - and their marriage more and more like a distant dream.

For more information about Dandi Daley Mackall and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts:

If you only read one more book this year, make it With Love, Wherever You Are!!! And I don't say that lightly. Read this book!!! As soon as I read the first paragraph, I was hooked. I simply adore this story!

With Love, Wherever You Are is like reading a Cary Grant movie! Swoon! Some of my favorite movies are I Was a Male War Bride, Operation Petticoat, and Father Goose. This story has such a similar vibe. With Love, Wherever You Are, while fiction, is based on Dandi Daley Mackall's parents and their letters exchanged during World War II. I am honored and blessed to be able to read this story based on their story. I think the author has some mighty proud parents in Heaven.

I really loved the backstory that lead to Frank and Helen's decisions to enlist in the Army. We get to see them meet, fall in love, and get married. And a number of their letters were included in the story! This was a very well done "married" story. It portrays marriage so beautifully. Character development was also amazing. Frank went from just skating by with the least amount of work possible, to a dedicated soldier, while Helen learned that she didn't have to go through life helping herself, but that God was there for her.

Five Stars!!! If I could, I would give it a much higher rating!!! With Love, Wherever You Are is uplifting, crushing, and beautiful. I say it again, read this book!!! You do not want to miss it.

I received a copy of With Love, Wherever You Are by Dandi Daley Mackall 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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Review of Pursued by Lisa Harris



From the Back Cover:

Nikki Boyd's flight into Nashville was routine -- until the crash landing at the airport.

When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing--and no one will admit she was ever there. When she learns that Erika Hamilton had been
flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial, Nikki wonders if her disappearance from the crash site means she's running from trouble--or straight into it.
Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris has planted danger around every turn in this can't-put-it-down thrill ride that will leave you stunned.

For more information about Lisa Harris and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts:

Lisa Harris gives us a story with more twists than O. Henry! Don't bother trying to guess. Just allow yourself to be swept up in this thrilling ride!

I do just want to note that there are some hard deaths in this story. Nothing extremely graphic, but that doesn't make it any less difficult.

The story starts with an airplane crash that makes me seriously reconsider ever flying again! Once Nikki is pulled into the missing person case for her fellow passenger, her life is put on the line again and again. This case is personal is so many ways. Even though Nikki is a seasoned agent, she's a human being, so seeing her struggle with her near death and the hard-hitting angles of the case proved to be realistic. In the midst of Nikki's desperate search, she learns to let go of the plans she has for the future with Tyler...and trust God. In case I've worried anyone, Nikki and Tyler sitting in a tree... ; )

Four Stars! Action packed!! This might be my favorite book in the series. If you like a suspenseful story with a little romance, then you must read this story. Each story is its own separate mystery, however, since there are elements in the backstory and romance that build in each book, I recommend reading Vendetta and Missing first. To my knowledge, this is the last novel in The Nikki Boyd Files. HOWEVER, Vanishing Point: A Nikki Boyd Novel, releases November 7th, 2017. The story is told from a different perspective. Also, rumor has it that we will finally learn what happened to Nikki's sister, Sarah.

I. Can't. Wait.

I received a copy of Pursued by Lisa Harris 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

Monday, April 10, 2017

Review of Long Time Gone by Mary Connealy



From the Back Cover:

Someone will stop at nothing to claim the Boden homestead!

The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they truly uncovered the real plot to take their New Mexico ranch? Rancher Justin Boden is now in charge. He is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn't help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on.

With her and the doc's timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It's clear now that everything that's occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine?

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

My Thoughts:

I've become quite found of the crazy Boden family! They bicker and fight, but they love fiercely.

Justin is bit rough, arrogant, and he likes to be in control. Angie is a mild and meek, having come from an abusive background. While Justin learns to give God the things he can't control, she's trying to learn to stand on her own, thinking that's what God wants for her life. The title, Long Time Gone, proves to be a beautiful theme for this story since God loves to stop us on our life journeys and bless us with things we thought we had passed a long time ago.

And don't think I forgot the mystery surrounding the Cimarron Ranch! There's a B.I.G. reveal towards the end of the book that seemingly answers all our questions...or does it?  ; )

Four Stars - a fun story! If you like westerns, cowboys, spitfire characters, romance, and mystery, then you need to read this series! I would recommend you read the first book, No Way Up, due to the ongoing mystery. I can't wait to read Cole and Melanie's story in Too Far Down because #teamcole!!!

I received a copy of Long Time Gone by Mary Connealy from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

God bless you guys! See you next time!

 Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

Friday, April 7, 2017

Review of Life After by Katie Ganshert



From the Back Cover:

It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake. 

In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

For more information about Katie Ganshert and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts:

Life After, oh, Life After...

Life after having the pleasure of reading you is bittersweet. There were times I had to put you down and weep, so overcome with sorrow. Other times you gut punched me with such poignant truths. And other times my heart felt like it would burst from joy and smiles.

Autumn feels like she's drowning from guilt. Oh, so much guilt. But she's not afraid to ask questions. BUT once she's willing to listen, then God answers. They're just not the answers she's been expecting. And Paul, he's struggling with guilt, too. I really loved his resolution. I don't want to give away any spoilers... ; ) Suffice it to say that he experiences a dump of God's sacrificial love.

As you may have guessed, this is not a light read. This is one of those books that does not avoid the hard, the hurt, and the pain that life gives you. It tackles those questions head on, kind of like an angry bull attacking the man in red. What you're left with is a deeply moving, beautiful story with stellar writing.

Four and a Half Stars. A fabulous novel! I'm looking forward to whatever Katie writes next!

I received Life After by Katie Ganshert from WaterBrook & Multnomah. All opinions expressed are my own.

God bless you guys, and I'll see you next time!

Hugs!
~V. Joy Palmer

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Review of For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund



Description:

Lady Sabine is harboring a skin blemish, one, that if revealed, could cause her to be branded as a witch, put her life in danger, and damage her chances of making a good marriage. After all, what nobleman would want to marry a woman so flawed?

Sir Bennet is returning home to protect his family from an imminent attack by neighboring lords who seek repayment of debts. Without fortune or means to pay those debts, Sir Bennet realizes his only option is to make a marriage match with a wealthy noblewoman. As a man of honor, he loathes the idea of courting a woman for her money, but with time running out for his family’s safety, what other choice does he have?

As Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet are thrust together under dangerous circumstances, will they both be able to learn to trust each other enough to share their deepest secrets? Or will those secrets ultimately lead to their demise?

For more information about Jody Hedlund and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts:

I should inform you that Lady Sabine happens to be my long lost ancestor. Don't be intimidated. ; )

Ok, while I'm regretfully not really related to Lady Sabine, I found her to be a lot of fun! She's witty and has a bit of a smart mouth. Also, I found her to be genuine. Sabine has this terrible, purple birth mark on her arm, one that she has struggled with all her life. People have feared her, rejected her, and treated her with disdain - all for something God used to make her unique! I liked the back and forth battle Sabine endured as she learned to accept herself.

And Sir Bennet is such a knight. "Honor" is his middle name. (I mean, I assume it is. I don't think we actually learn his middle name, so it must be "Honor." That's logical.) However, this handsome knight still has a lot to learn when it comes to God, mercy, and yes, honor.

It still had its fluffy moments, but a bit of fluff never hurt anyone. It can be rather nice. All things considered, this was such an enjoyable story and an easy read! Anyone who loves knights and fairytales should definitely read this book. Right. Now. This may be my favorite story in the series!!

Five Stars. I very much enjoyed the conclusion to this sweet series! For Love and Honor is the third and final book in Jody Hedlund's young adult, medieval series. If you enjoyed An Uncertain Choice and A Daring Sacrifice, then you will want to meet Sir Bennet and Lady Sabine. Fans of Melanie Dickerson would probably enjoy these books, also!

I received For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund published by Zondervan from BookLook Bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own.

God bless you guys, and I'll see you next time!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


Friday, March 24, 2017

Review of When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin



From the Back Cover:

In a time of war, sometimes battles take place in the heart.

Tess Beaumont is tired of being thought of as just a pretty face. Eager to do her part for the war effort, she joins the Navy's newly established WAVES program for women. Perhaps there she can convince people that there is more to her than meets the eye.

Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills in the fight against German U-boats and hoping to make admiral. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. Convinced that romance will interfere with his goals, Dan is determined to stay the course, no matter how intriguing a distraction Tess is.

But love, like war, is unpredictable. When Dan is shipped out at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he finds himself torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help the beguiling Tess root out a possible spy on shore. Could this fun-loving glamour girl really be the one?

For more about Sarah Sundin and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts:

When the tides of your heart turn, where will they take you?

Lt. Dan Avery desperately wants to further his Naval career. He's determined to stay the course - no matter what. But God has different plans. (Doesn't He always? LOL!) Dan has to learn to allow color, rest, and the distractions God wants for him. Tess Beaumont decides she wants more out of life. She wants purpose and meaning, not beauty. Watching them overcome their struggles and personal lies, seeing them clash, reconciling, and falling in love proved to be rather enjoyable. Plus, there's a little mystery thrown in for good measure!

The author put a ton - and I mean a ton - of historic detail into this book! It left me quite impressed! The story closely follows with what was happening in World War 2. This blast from the past and seeing how life worked during the war was interesting and informative.

Please note that while you can read this book without reading the rest of the series, I think you'll find the story more enjoyable if you read the first two books, Through Waters Deep and Anchor in the Storm respectively.

Three and a Half Stars - an enjoyable story. When Tides Turn is the third and final book in Sarah Sundin's Waves of Freedom Series. If you're a fan of Sarah's novels and/or have read the first two books in the series, then you will really want to read this lovely conclusion to her latest series!

I received a copy of When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin 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


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Review of The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron



From the Back Cover:

Not all illusions happen on the stage.

Wren Lockhart, apprentice to master illusionist Harry Houdini, uses life on a vaudeville stage to
escape the pain of her past. She continues her career of illusion after her mentor’s death, intent on burying her true identity.

But when a rival performer’s act goes tragically wrong, the newly formed FBI calls on Wren to speak the truth—and reveal her real name to the world. She transfers her skills for misdirection from the stage to the back halls of vaudeville, as she finds herself the unlikely partner in the FBI’s investigation. All the while Houdini’s words echo in her mind: Whatever occurs, the crowd must believe it’s what you meant to happen. She knows that if anyone digs too deep, secrets long kept hidden may find their way to the surface—and shatter her carefully controlled world.

Set during one of the richest, most vibrant eras in American history, this Jazz Age novel of illusion, suspense, and forgotten pasts is perfect for fans of The Magician’s Lie, challenging all to find the underpinnings of faith on their own life’s stage.

For more information about Kristy Cambron and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts:

"Truth is the illusion we always chase." - Elliot Matthews, The Illusionist's Apprentice

I should say that I'm a sucker for anything vintage related. And I'm a fool for all 1920's Jazz Age things.

So. Yeah. *foolish grin*

Despite my love of all things vintage, I still found myself enjoying certain aspects of this novel more than I even thought I would. Stunning! Kristy Cambron paints such a vivid picture of vaudeville that I could almost feel the handcuffs and hear the applause of the crowd...

Sorry, got lost there for a moment. ; )

Wren Lockhart is an illusionist who longs to be free, but she lives her life behind illusions. I enjoyed seeing her break free from her chains to find real peace. While we see plenty from the loveable Elliot Matthews, the story revolves mostly around Wren. We don't tread the depths of Elliot's backstory very much, so the glimpses we receive are meaningful. I loved seeing him learn what a hero really was. Sometimes a hero rushes into battle. And sometimes he waits.

Four Stars. A beautiful, stunning portrayal with an equally stunning message. The suspenseful mystery proved to be complex, yet utterly fascinating.  The Illusionist's Apprentice is Kristy Cambron's fourth book, but it is a standalone novel.

I received a copy of The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron published by Thomas Nelson from BookLook Bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own.

God bless you guys, and I'll see you next time!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Review of Still Life by Dani Pettrey




From the Back Cover:

Someone is out there. Watching her. Waiting.

Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

For more about Dani Pettrey and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts:

If you like to watch Criminal Minds, Bones, NCIS, or even Psych, then you will LOVE Still Life by Dani Pettrey!

First things first, I would recommend that you read Cold Shot, the first book in the series, before reading Still Life. Otherwise the dynamics within the group might confuse you.

The first chapter immediately drew me into the story, but the first third of the novel moved at a slower pace. Then it took off like lightning again! Excellent pacing! A certain fellow was supremely creepy. *shudder* Twists and turns plague you on every page. Also, as some of my fellow bloggers have mentioned, this cover is seriously swoon worthy! I loved Parker (and his accent!) and Avery. I enjoyed seeing them grapple with trusting God in ways they hadn't been.

Between 3 1/2 and 4 Stars. A good, enjoyable read. Still Life is the second book in Dani Pettrey's Chesapeake Valor Series. Book three, Blind Spot, releases in October 2017! I found the set up for this upcoming book to be very well done.

I received a copy of Still Life by Dani Pettrey from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

God bless you guys! See you next time!

 Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Review of Redeeming Grace by Jill Eileen Smith

 

From the Back Cover:

One devoted woman is about to discover the power of love.

When famine visits Bethlehem, some hold out home for rain, while Naomi and her family make a long Journey to Moab in search of greener pastures. The harvest there is plentiful, and for a time it appears the Lord is blessing them. But when calamities strike, one after another, Naomi is left alone in a foreign land with only her widowed daughters-in-law for comfort.

Downhearted and destitute, Naomi is determined to return to Bethlehem alone. But her daughter-in-law Ruth refuses to leave her side. Despite the fact that she and Naomi will almost certainly live out their days in widowhood and poverty, Ruth holds out hope for a better future . . . and maybe even a second chance at love.

My Thoughts:

Oh, friends. Redeeming Grace is such a sweet story. The title so aptly portrays it. <3

Now, if you're looking for a book with a shocking plot twist where everybody dies, then you should know that this is not that kind of story. ; )

Not that there isn't death, loss, struggle, and heartache. There certainly is! But there is also triumph, love, redemption, mercy, beauty, and grace.

Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz are the points of view in the story. I thought they all had such excellent character development! I really understood them, their fears and joys. I knew what hurdles they needed to overcome. I knew what they were fighting for, and I cheered for them. (And maybe cried for them, too...ahem.)

It's always good to remember that Biblical Fiction is just that. It's fiction. It may be based off of real people, and the authors try to remain true to the Bible and historical research, but it's still fiction. Biblical Fiction is a wonderful way to glimpse the truth nuggets God has show other people. I love that. <3 I always recommend reading the Author's Note at the end of the book first.

Four Stars! Beautiful story! Redeeming Grace is the third book in Jill Eileen Smith's Daughter's of the Promised Land Series. The Crimson Cord and The Prophetess are the first two (amazing) books, but you can read them out of order without banging your head into a wall. ; )

I received a copy of Redeeming Grace by Jill Eileen Smith 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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Tenth Coin

Hey guys!

I posted on Snack Time Devotions today about what God's been whispering to me regarding The Parable of the Lost Coin. Check it out here!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Review of Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen



Description:

Jonah wishes he could get the girl, but he’s an outcast and she’s the most perfect girl he knows.

And their futures seemed destined to fork apart: Jonah’s physical condition is debilitating, and epileptic seizures fill his life with frustration. Whereas Stormi is seemingly carefree, and navigates life by sensing things before they happen. And her most recent premonition is urging her to leave town.

When Stormi begs Jonah for help, he finds himself swept into a dark mystery his small town has been keeping for years. And the answers Stormi needs about her own past could possibly destroy everything Jonah has ever known—including his growing relationship with Stormi herself.

My thoughts:

Wow. Just wow.

This book kept me up very, very late. And I have a baby. Staying up all night reading is not a luxury I can afford to take. However, I could not stop reading Unfolding!

Ok, so this is not a light, easy-breezy story. This is an intense, edge of your seat, flinching due to every small noise kind of story. But what do you expect with a small town riddled with secrets and a secret society and...I'd better not say that part. ;) The writing voice is different, yet so unique. And I absolutely adored Jonah! His perspective and voice would have been make or break it to the story. Jonah sounded like a real dude. ;) Also, speaking as someone who's had a lot of involvement with disable adults, I found his feelings regarding his disabilities to be realistic based on what I've seen. However, I am by no means an expert.

Fans of paranormal, mysterious, secret society YA and/or of Ted Dekker will love Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen. Seriously. You will want to buy this book immediately.

What are you waiting for?

I received a copy of Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen published by Blink from BookLook Bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own.

God bless you guys, and I'll see you next time!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

Friday, January 27, 2017

Review of An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter




From the Back Cover:

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn't be happier he is not the duke in the family. Free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, he has grand plans of someday wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he barely knows, his dream of a loving marriage like his parents' seems lost forever.

Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier when she hid in her older sister's shadow--which worked until her sister got married. But even with her socially ambitious mother's focus entirely on her, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience before she's been introduced to society.

With nothing going as expected, can Trent and Adelaide's marriage of obligation survive their own missteps and the pressures of London society to grow into a true meeting of hearts and minds?

My Thoughts:

This was such a sweet, delightful story!

 Kristi Ann Hunter has crafted a story set in the Regency period that remains true to the times, yet is delightfully quirky. This family is a riot!

Trent struck me as afraid of commitment, which was hysterical given that he suddenly found himself married. I loved seeing him ask and learn the answers to marital bliss. Adelaide proved to be sweet. She was very shy and had been neglected by her family to horrendous lengths, so it was great to see her finally stand up for herself!

The story definitely picked up for me once more of Trent's family got involved. There were times that I was frustrated with Trent and Adelaide, but let's be honest, when do we handle everything perfectly? So I really, really loved that the author wrote flawed characters. We are not always going to like every decision every character makes in every book. I consider it a mark of a good author when the characters make me feel real emotions.

This story fell somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars for me. I'm honestly not sure which! LOL. I will confess, this was my first book by Kristi Ann Hunter. However, it won't be my last book by her! An Uncommon Courtship is book three in the Hawthorne House Series. I'm very much looking forward to the next book in the series!

I received a copy of An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

God bless you guys! See you next time!

 Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review of Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig



From the Back Cover:

This Is the Way the World Ends.

Four years after a tragic mission decimated his team, Cole "Tox" Russell has been disavowed by the United States. And that's fine--he just wants to be left alone. But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.

Tox and his former Special Forces team regroup to work with FBI deception expert, Kasey Cortes, and fiery archaeologist, Tzivia Khalon, to search the globe for answers--and a cure. As the mission leads from one continent to another, it becomes clear they're not just fighting a plague but battling an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.

With time running out and the threat for a global pandemic rising, Tox and his team realize their sole chance might be to reach back through centuries of silence to find the only answer that can save them all.

My Thoughts:

Hold on guys! I have to duck and cover.

*glances over shoulder*

Okay, I'm good. ;)

This is one of the. best. suspense novels that I have read in a very long time! Oh, my gosh. I loved, loved, loved Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig! The action. The plot. The secrets. The romance. The faith. And I know I mentioned this already, but seriously, the action!

I've gotten kind of picky about suspense/thriller novels with threads of romance. Maybe that's what happens when you binge read Dee Henderson and Ted Dekker books. Usually the romance feels forced and underdeveloped, and there's usually not enough action for me. I am happy to report that Tox more than lived up to my expectations!

If you were to look up "soldier" in the dictionary, you would see a picture of Tox. No joke. He is the embodiment of patriotism, honor, regret, and loyalty starting at you with blue eyes. I loved Kasey, and the romance between Tox and Kasey is a long time coming so sweet. Tzivia was a spitfire; I can't wait to see what happens with her!

I loved how the author mixed in more secret societies than National Treasure and an ancient, Biblical plague. The action grabs you by the throat from the first page and doesn't die until the last page. Scratch that. We know there's more action to come since this is the first book in The Tox Files. AHH! I can't wait.

I received a copy of Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

God bless you guys! See you next time!

 Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My Imperfect New Year's Eve (And Why That's Okay)

Hi guys! I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! <3


So did you guys have any big New Year's Eve plans? I did. They were so huge. Like Reese's peanut butter cups huge.

This was my New Year's Eve -


I found myself putting together the doll house that parent's whisper about with dread and despair. Seriously, this thing had like a hundred parts. And somehow I was fool enough to buy it. (Ahem. Okay, so I didn't realize it wasn't put together... I know! I know! Please don't mock me!)

It's so cute and cool, though!

So I put together this insane princess castle, my husband got home from work, Gilmore Girls played in the background, and my husband stayed up just long enough to give me a New Year's Kiss.

That's it.

Okay, so maybe boring. It wasn't the perfect definition of New Year's Eve.

And you know what?

That's okay. Really okay. I'm actually pretty content with it.

Because here's the thing. Think about 2016. All the ups and downs. All the laughter. All the joy. All the heartache. All the trails. All the births. All the loss. Everything that made up 2016 for you. It's the past tucked into bed with a nice warm quilt.

Now think about all the things you're excited for, dreading, and expecting in 2017. The unknown wrapped in a pretty silver ribbon.

How does one take all the life from the previous year and all the anticipation for the coming year and combine them into a few perfect hours, minutes, or seconds?

It's kind of a let down because I usually fail.

Except for the years when I don't try. And I just live in the glorious moments. Some have been exciting. Some have been calm.

All have been lovely.

And it's in those moments, when I'm not chasing the elusive New Year's Eve, that I hear my Father whisper these words:

"Happy New Year."

And there's nothing boring about what He's made new.

Hugs!

V. Joy Palmer