Friday, September 22, 2017

Review of The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix



About the Book ~

"There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned."

When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn’t left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they’d planned before the tragedy.

“The pages found you,” Patrick whispered. “Now you need to figure out what they’re trying to say.”

During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before—her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.

“I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival.”

Determined to learn the Baillard family’s fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn’t understand.

Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica’s survival?

For more information about Michele Phoenix and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Read this enticing, eye-opening tale. Seriously. You won't regret it.

It took awhile for me to process The Space Between Words. Even now I'm not sure I will be able to do this book, this review due justice. Bear with me, my friends.

Jessica is a survivor of the Paris attacks. The author masterfully layers the character's remembrance of the attacks and the following trauma throughout the novel. And about a fourth of the way through the story there is a dramatic twist. A twist so dramatic that - to be honest - I'm not sure how I didn't spend the next week raging and mourning! The author pulled such an intense response out of me for these wounded, dear characters.

Most of the story is told through Jessica's perspective. However, we get to read the journal entries of Adeline Baillard and follow the harrowing journey of her family's faith during the Huguenot persecution. What about romance, you say? Yes, there is a faint, slow burning romance, but it is not the focus of the novel. However, it was enough to please this romantic girl's heart! This is a tale of survival and healing after experiencing the worst in mankind, and we see the struggle - and reward - to walking in faith, persevering, and believing in God's goodness.

Four Stars ~ This story is an intense kind of beautiful! The Space Between Words is a standalone novel. I think fans of Rachel Hauck's dual timeline stories, Katie Ganshert's Life After, Becky Wade's True to You, and Heidi Chiavaroli's Freedom's Ring will enjoy The Space Between Words.

I received a copy of The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix published by Thomas Nelson from BookLook Bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. Joy is a youth mentor because she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Author Interview and GIVEAWAY with Chenise A. Miller!!!

Hi, guys!

One of my favorite things to do is talk with my friends, family, the teens I mentor, and everyone else at coffee shops/bookstores. Books and yummy drinks are the perfect combination, after all. So, consider this our virtual coffee shop. I'll wait a second for you to get your warm drink and a fuzzy blanket before we chat with today's guest.

Today, I am very excited for you to meet Chenise A. Miller! I *met* Chenise on Instagram, and she's just such a nice person!


Chenise A. Miller grew up in Metro Detroit playing basketball throughout her adolescent years. After reading Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper, she began weaving her own stories together, while playing the sport she loved. It wasn't until years later—after wrapping up her professional career in Spain—that Chenise sat her basketball down and published her first novel. She plans to continue creating stories that are real, filled with friendship, and sprinkled with God's saving grace. When she's not writing and drinking coffee out of her favorite mug, she enjoys reading, traveling, and tasting new cuisine. She's a fan of classic romance comedies like Overboard, Pretty Woman, Baby Boom, and Sleepless in Seattle.

Connect with Chenise on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

INTERVIEW ~

First things first, would you order coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in our virtual coffee shop? Something else altogether? This is possibly the most important question…
 
Definitely coffee.

*nods approvingly* On to our second most important question, if you could order anything in the world to eat, what would it be?
 
This is so tough because I'm a foodie. If I could order anything, I guess it would be a quintessential Italian meal—in Italy, of course. I know that's kind of vague, but my mom lived in Como for almost a decade, and I've always loved hearing her amazing stories over the years. I guess, in my mind, food is always associated with a cool place.

I get that! An Itailan meal – with lots of cheese – sounds delicious! Where is your favorite place to write? And why is that your favorite place?

I'm pretty traditional when it comes to writing. All I need is a desk with lots of legroom because I'm tall. Most times I work in silence, but sometimes I can write with music playing softly. Usually, I play songs my current main character would like.

There’s something poetic about a writer at their desk. <3 Do you have an odd habit that is only explained by your bookish, writer tendencies?

Hmmm...I can't really think of an odd habit, outside of the crazy amount of coffee I consume when I'm writing. I think most writers eat or drink an unhealthy amount of something during the writing process. For me, it's coffee. So it's not extremely odd as an author, but outsiders would probably cringed at the amount of coffee I drink and reheat.

This completely supports what you said, but I tend to binge coffee and chocolate while I’m writing. Haha! What inspired you to write Where I Belong?

I can't really pinpoint a particular thing that led me to write Where I Belong—because that's how it usually happens for me—but I remember thinking how fun it would be to write a novel set in a small southern town with loveable characters and all things sweet! Along the way, I definitely found inspiration from a few books: Becky Wade's A Love Like Ours, and Secrets of the Heart by Lee Tobin McClain. Both novels were set in small towns. I also found myself binge watching Heartland on Netflix around the time I finished Where I Belong, so that show was inspiration also.

Small southern towns are so much fun, and those are great books! However, I have yet to watch Heartland. *hangs head* What led you to write in this genre?

Well, I have four novels that I classify as Christian Romance. I've always been into romance, because I'm a hopeless romantic. When I decided to take writing seriously, it was around the time that I truly decided to believe and live for God. Though things weren't always perfect, I found I knew first hand the highs and lows of someone striving to follow Christ. So I made a decision to write Christian Fiction. Now I have to be honest, it wasn't a decision I made right away. I toyed with writing contemporary romance because I didn't really think anyone would read a Christian Fiction novel, but that's when I discovered the talented authors that paved the way for newbies like me. I wanted to be the young author who wrote stories that other young adults could instantly relate to. And I always felt like not writing Christian Fiction, would be like running from something God told me to do. So here I am!

Wow, Chenise! I love your writing testimony. It’s so powerful! <3 What message do you hope to convey to your readers?

I hope to convey messages of forgiveness, hope, friendship, and, of course, love. Not just romance, but the love of God. I believe readers can relate with the authenticity of each character—because none of them are perfect. Just like you and I, they go through real problems, real pain, and real redemption.

Romance and the love of God equals the perfect combo. <3 Can you tell us a little about your next project?

I'm working on the second book in the Southern Belles series. This novel is making me a better storyteller and it's fun catching up with some of the characters from Where I Belong. Readers will be able to see the progress of some characters from book one.

Book two is about Parker and someone I think readers will least expect. It pushes the envelope for me, as readers learn that the main character has a wayward past that she's trying her best to outrun. Since it's set in Belle City, it's no surprise that everyone knows everything. I think readers will like this one.

As an avid reader, I love it when I get to catch up with old friends, err, characters. ; ) What is your favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?

My favorite scripture is Romans 8:28, "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to his purpose." 

When I think about my life, I think about the faithfulness of God and the perfect way He worked things out—the good and the bad.

 

Great verse!! He is so faithful, isn’t He? <3 What are you currently reading?

I usually read a few books at once, though I don't recommend it to anyone lol. Currently, I've been reading Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations, by V. Joy Palmer :), False Start by Christine Kersey, and Finding Love by Toni Shiloh. All are good so far! I'm sure I'll have a hard time choosing which to finish first.

Aww, shucks! *grins* I’ve read more than one book at a time before. It can be a lot of fun…and very confusing. ; )

Thank you so much for answering all my prying questions, Chenise! I had a lot of fun talking to you today! : )

GIVEAWAY ~
Chenise has generously offered to giveaway 1 copy of her newest novel, Where I belong, and a $25.00 gift card!



Nothing could be worse than moving home, the place Miranda Phillips rand from 10 years ago. She had good reason to leave, too—including her rocky relationship with her mother. But when her mother's bakery is in jeopardy of closing, Miranda reluctantly leaves New York to help her family. She puts her dreams on hold, because that's what her father would've wanted. However, since he's been gone things haven't been the same. Sure she grew up in Belle City, but she doesn't know what to expect after so many years away. It sure isn't rainbows and butterflies...and definitely not falling for Owen Bailey, a handsome contractor and new face in the small Georgia town.
 
As Miranda lets her guard down, she experiences an overwhelming comfort that she didn't expect to find in Belle City. Still, not void of hurt, apprehension, and loose ends, Miranda must figure out if happiness is worth risking something safe for the thrill of the unknown. She must decide if faith is enough to show her where she belongs.

Rules, Info, and Such ~

Chenise has generously offered to giveaway 1 signed copy of her newest novel, Where I Belong, and a $25.00 Amazon gift card! This giveaway is only open to US mailing address - so sorry for any chocolate binge eating this may cause! The giveaway will be open until 12 A.M. on September 20th, 2017. If the winner does not respond to our e-mails in one week (by September 27th), I will have to draw a new winner.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Enter using the handy Rafflecopter here ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for stopping by my writerly, bookish friends! See you next time, and God bless you guys!

Hugs!

P.S. You may know that I contribute to several blogs, one of which is The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction - a lovely group blog where myself and several other awesome authors take turns every week interviewing other awesome authors. Hope to see you there, too!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. Joy is a youth leader because she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Review of Freedom's Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli



About the Book ~

Boston, 2015

Two years after nearly losing her life in the Boston Marathon bombing, Annie David is still far from “Boston strong.” Instead she remains isolated and defeated―plagued by guilt over her niece, crippled in the blast, and by an antique ring alongside a hazy hero’s face. But when she learns the identity of her rescuer, will he be the hero she’s imagined? And can the long-past history of the woman behind the ring set her free from the guilt and fears of the present?

Boston, 1770

As a woman alone in a rebellious town, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in a dangerous predicament. When a British lieutenant, Alexander Smythe, comes to her rescue and offers her employment, Liberty accepts. As months go by, Alexander not only begins to share his love of poetry with her, but protects Liberty from the advances of a lecherous captain living in the officers’ house where she works.

Mounting tensions explode in the Boston Massacre, and Liberty’s world is shattered as her brother, with whom she has just reunited, is killed in the fray. Desperate and alone, she returns home, only to be assaulted by the captain. Afraid and furious toward redcoats, Liberty leaves the officers’ home, taking with her a ring that belonged to Alexander.

Two women, separated by centuries, must learn to face their fears. And when they feel they must be strong, they learn that sometimes true strength is found in surrender.

For more information about Heidi Chiavaroli and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

If Freedom's Ring is not on your radar, buy a new radar, invest in binoculars, or just get thee to a bookstore! This is not a story to be missed!

In Freedom's Ring, half of the story is set after the Boston Bombing, while the other half is set spanning the American Revolutionary War. I really enjoyed all the history and research, and I felt like it wasn't overdone or drawn out. Heidi Chiavaroli intertwines these two unique stories so beautifully.

Liberty and Annie have both been traumatized by horrendous actions. Having seen the worse in mankind, they must choose to forgive and ask for forgiveness when their fear dictates their actions. The author gracefully shows readers how we must sometimes rely on a strength that is greater, more supernatural than we can comprehend - God's strength. The romantic threads were so sweet, and while the How I Met Your Mother twist made my heart ache, you can't help but feel overwhelmed by the way the author wove God's love and grace into the story of such dearly loved characters.

Four Stars ~ This story will capture your heart! Freedom's Ring is Heidi Chiavaroli's debut novel, and it is an extraordinary standalone story that you won't want to miss! Fans of Rachel Hauck's dual timeline stories, Katie Ganshert's Life After, and Becky Wade's True to You will especially enjoy Freedom's Ring, as will anyone who enjoys reading about the American Revolutionary War.

I received a copy of Freedom's Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli 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


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. Joy is a youth leader because she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Review of The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin



About the Book ~

After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she's focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who's pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia's plans.

Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He's poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who's asked him to be his best man at his wedding.

Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake. And Jake, who can't help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he'll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake's courage and Mia's caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .

For more information about Victoria Bylin and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

If you're looking for a sweet, faith filled romance, then check out The Two of Us!

The Two of Us provides the point of view for three characters. Jake is a disable, retired cop desperate to honor the memory of his fallen partner and reach troubled teens. Mia went through two broken engagements before deciding to dedicate her life to serving on the medical mission field. Then you have Lucy, Mia's younger sister, who is new to God, marriage, and is unexpectedly pregnant. On top of that, you follow present-day Frank and Claire, Jake's parents, and their journey through Alzheimer's Disease. Even though there is such a wide cast with such varied backgrounds and difficulties, the story did not feel cluttered. Rather, each subplot ebbed and flowed perfectly with the main story like they were one body of water.

While both Jake and Mia have big, noble, good dreams, sometimes God has different plans for our lives. I also loved how the author was able to show readers through several characters that trying to be perfect and do everything right wouldn't necessarily stop the bad times and how that attitude ultimately shows a lack of trust in God. I could wholeheartedly relate to that message! It touched my must-be-perfect heart.

Four Stars ~ A beautiful, classic romance! The Two of Us is a standalone story, but by the time you finish, the characters will feel like family. <3

I received a copy of The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. Joy is a youth leader because she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review of Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason





About the Book ~

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

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

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

My Thoughts ~

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

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

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

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

I received a copy of Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. Joy is a youth leader because she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Review of the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible, Large Print



About this Bible ~

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

My Thoughts ~

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

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

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

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

I received a copy of the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible, Large Print, published by Zondervan from BookLook Bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Review of Egypt's Sister by Angela Hunt



About the Book ~

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts ~

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

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

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

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

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

I received a copy of Egypt's Sister by Angela Hunt from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Review of Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess



About the Book ~

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts ~

WOW!

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

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

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

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

I received a copy of Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess published by Blink from the Solo Launch Team. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review of A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren



About the Book ~

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

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts ~

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

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

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

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

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

I received a copy of A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Memory of You Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway!!!

 

About the Book



Title: The Memory of You

Author: Catherine West

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction
 
Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?

When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.

And Natalie never says no to her father.

Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.
 
But finding freedom from the past means facing it.

My Thoughts

This was my first Catherine West book, and I am happy to report that it lived up to all my expectations and hopes!!!

So what makes this formerly-estranged-but-returning-home story different? Well, let me break down this sweet story for you.

First of all, the setting! The setting is so rich and vivid; I felt like I was walking through the fields, fingering the plump grapes, tasting the wine. The cover is the perfect visual representation of the stunning, imaginary scenery.

Second, the characters! The characters are wonderfully complex and perfectly flawed. Catherine West brings each character to life with intricate backstories, heartache, and triumphs. Each character has made good and bad choices, choices they've had to live with, choices they are working - with God - to rectify and overcome. It is always refreshing to see such well-rounded characters!

Third, the message! Thanks to the diverse characters, we see a wide array of battles, however, the message remains the same. No matter who you are, no matter what you've done, no matter the guilt you carry, God can carry it. Let go of the past. Give it to Him. Then you are free to walk towards a beautiful future with Him. <3

Four Stars - A heartwarming story! Much like the feeling of drinking hot chocolate on a frigid day, this story is sure to warm the hearts of all who read it. Also, this is a good story for those who are new to Christian Fiction, for someone who needs the Christian message to be more subtle, or as a crossover into the General Market.

I received a copy of The Memory of You by Catherine West from the publisher, Thomas Nelson. All opinions expressed are my own.

To Purchase a Copy:


 About the Author
 

Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Her first novel, Yesterday's Tomorrow, released in 2011 and won the INSPY for Romance, a Silver Medal in the Reader's Favorite Awards, and was a finalist in the Grace Awards. Catherine's second novel, Hidden in the Heart, released in September 2012, was long listed in the 2012 INSPY's and was a finalist in the 2013 Grace Awards.

When she's not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine[at]catherinejwest.com.

CONNECT WITH CATHERINE: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


 Tour Schedule

Many thanks to the publisher, Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction 

for providing review copies to our bloggers.





7/20 - Joy's Blog





7/25 - By The Book







 Giveaway


Rules, Info, and Such ~

(1) Winner will win a gourmet gift basket + a signed copy of The Memory of You, 
courtesy of the author, Catherine West.
(US mailing addresses only for the gift basket & print book prize. 
International winners will win a digital copy of the book.)



Enter here ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for hanging out with me today! I hope you enjoyed all the awesomeness. Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour!

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Review of High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin



About the Book ~

In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle's café. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She's a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.

For more information about Kate Breslin and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Guys. Just. Seriously. Read this book!

First of all, this cover! It's gorgeously vintage! I love how the cover model fades into the sky and the planes. Absolutely stunning!

Thankfully, the story is as equally as stunning. I think this is my favorite Kate Breslin story - at least for now. ;-)  High as the Heavens is a World War 1 romance. This story contains everything I could want. A hero and heroine separated by war, mystery, subterfuge, treason, hope, redemption, and a swoony romance!

Eve was such an amazing heroine! She was brave. The author note tells readers that Eve was based on three different women from World War 1. How cool is that?? Eve proved to be realistic, too. Her pain, heartache, and guilt over her mistakes in the war showcased God's amazing, redemptive love, forgiveness, and mercy. Simon reminded me of a Scottish version of Westley from The Princess Bride. He was tender, steadfast in his love, and had this dreamy "Death cannot stop true love," vibe. Yeah, I know!

Five Stars - Beautiful! Honestly, anyone who enjoys a war romance needs to pick up this book! You will be swept away! The story grabs you, refusing to release you until the last page.

I received a copy of High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Review of Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh


 

About the Book ~

After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home―a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work―something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along―if only she’d just look up.

For more information about Courtney Walsh and her books, connect with her on Facebook!

My Thoughts ~

What a lovely, lovely story! *insert a ridiculous amount of exclamation points here*

Just Look Up flowed so smoothly and the people, er, characters utterly captured my heart with their hopes and heartaches. In the idyllic town of Harbor Point, Courtney Walsh weaves together many simple, yet poignant truths, pointing readers back to God in such a loving manner.

My heart seriously went out to Lane. Seriously. She's built a hundred foot wall around her heart because of severe bullying as a child, a horrid betrayal, and a loving yet flawed family. I really loved how the Kelly family loved each other, but they were so NOT perfect. They felt like a real-life family. And Ryan, he was so patient and loving! What a wonderful portrayal of how the husband (or in this case, the guy who will one day be the husband) is supposed to reflect God!

Four Stars ~  A lovely, heartfelt story! This is a standalone story, but by the time you finish, you really feel like you know these people, er, characters. ;-)

I received a copy of Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh 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


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Review of Unraveling by Sara Ella



About the Book ~

What happens when happily ever after starts to unravel?

Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about—like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua’s finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something—or someone—is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections—and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

For more information about Sara Ella and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Oh. My. Gosh.

I'll say it again. Oh. My. Gosh.

Utterly amazing can't begin to describe Unraveling, Book Two in the Unblemished Trilogy! From swoony romance to horrendous betrayals to unicorn jousts to mythological places, this story literally has it all. READ IT!!!

Okay, I need to get this out in the open. When it comes to who El should be with, I'm #teamky all the way. But I love Joshua. Joshua. So in a way, I'm #teamjoshua, or rather #happyendingforjoshua. I'm hoping my sneaking suspicion about his Happily Ever After is right. I love to be right. ;-)

Speaking of sneaking suspicions! Once again,  Sara Ella taunts us with wonderfully delicious twists and turns. Although, I was very proud of myself for deciphering a few hidden clues. 'Twas not easy! Unraveling contains the superb world building we were introduced to in Unblemished - a world that never ceases to amaze me!

In the midst of this enchanting world, Sara Ella touches on topics like redemption, determining true love, and the power of good versus evil. The result leaves readers breathless since this incredible story is just a beautiful reflection (Like what I did there?) of the True Story.

Five Stars ~ Utterly, brilliantly amazing! Since Unraveling is the second book in an intricately complex series, you totally need to read the first book, Unblemished, before you slink between the pages of Unraveling. The third book, Unbreakable, releases May 1st, 2018!!! *wails* *makes tea from her own tears* *gags* *eats brownie instead*

I received a copy of Unraveling by Sara Ella published by Thomas Nelson from BookLook Bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Review of The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce



About the Book ~

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara's longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara's forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends' relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

For more information about Brandy Bruce and her books, check out her website/blog here!

My Thoughts ~

SO MUCH LOVE for The Last Summer!!! Oh, guys, I seriously LOVED this sweet story! *crushes book to chest in an alarmingly enthusiastic hug*

Twenty-something's ~ This is a book you NEED to read! It is so relatable. I understood all the heartache and strain and forgiveness and grace because that was my journey to the alter.

Everybody else ~ You all need to read this book because once again, it is so relatable! Who among us hasn't experienced these emotions and trials? Even now, we have good chapters and bad chapters in our story.

Married's ~ You will enjoy this story, too. It's a beautiful reminder that even after Happily Ever After, our spouses are not perfect. Forgiveness is so important in any relationship.

I love how flawed Sara and the gang are. Real life, real love, real people are messy, and not just in the my-husband-won't-pick-up-his-socks way. I'm pretty convinced Sara, Sam, Lilly, Luke, Addison, Jason, and Debra are real people who've made real mistakes and have experienced God's real, unending grace. Don't look at me like that. They're real.

Anyways. While reading The Last Summer and remembering the details of my journey from single to married to mother over the last seven years, I was just so overcome by the ocean of grace God has given us. This is a story of love and grace, and I was so blessed by the heartfelt truths Brandy Bruce seamlessly wove into the story.

As someone once said, praise the Lord!  ;-)

Five Stars ~ A beautiful story that I demand recommend everyone reads immediately!

I purchased a copy of The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.