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.