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.