Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Review of Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig


About the Book ~

Does an ancient book of prophecy hold the answers to saving the world...or predict its destruction?

Mentioned in the pages of the Old Testament but lost to history, the Book of the Wars has resurfaced, and its pages hold secrets -- and dangers -- never before seen on earth.

Tasked with capturing the ancient text, former Navy SEAL Leif Metcalfe is once more given command of his own team. But their best efforts are ruined when a notorious Bulgarian operative known as Viorica snatches the volume right out from under them.

Iskra "Viorica" Todorova is determined to use the book to secure the thing that matters most -- freedom. But a series of strange storms erupts around the globe, and the coming dangers foretold in the text threaten crops, lives, and entire nations. Though both are haunted by secrets of the past and neither trusts the other, Leif and Iskra must form an uneasy alliance to thwart impending disaster. However, the truth hidden in centuries-old words could unleash a storm of their own destruction.

For more information about Ronie Kendig and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Goodness, Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig was...AMAZING!!! Do yourself a favor and GET THIS BOOK!!!

It was so awesome to reconnect with some of the amazing characters that I met in The Tox Files, but even the new characters -- looking at you, Iskra! -- more than held their own! Each character was incredibly crafted with past demons, strengths, motivation, quirks, and shortcomings. The author also has an amazing ability at writing not only a realistic male character but also the kind of hero who doesn't let fears or evil stop him from doing what's right! I loved Leif. He might be my new favorite hero from this author -- and that's saying something! His past (specifically, a forgotten six months) is shrouded in mystery, and he's...special. But you'll have to read the story to find out why! I loved the sarcastic humor that Leif and Mercy (can't forget my favorite hacker, or she'll delete my internet presence!) interject throughout the story! And Iskra, well, I love a tough female character as much as the next gal, but Iskra is in a class all her own! Her dark past could contain triggers for anyone who's dealt with sexual abuse. That said, her story is a fight for hope. Hope that she finds.

I don't want to give a lot away about the storyline, but it is a thrilling and epic tale that will leave you feeling like you just pounded fifteen shots of espresso after running a marathon! I love the way the author takes these nuggets from the Bible and creates a National Treasure meets Revelation storyline! The spiritual thread consisted of a fight for freedom and hope as both Leif and Iskra wrestle with the ghosts of their past. I appreciated that the author didn't shy away from dark realities. However, that darkness does not stop the beautiful cry of hope from piercing the reader's heart!

Five Stars ~ Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig is a thrilling adrenaline rush from start to finish! Storm Rising is the first book in Ronie Kendig's new The Book of the Wars Series from Bethany House Publishers. I would definitely recommending reading this series in order. There are previous stories some of the characters appear in, but you don't need to read those to understand the storyline of Storm Rising -- but it's so much fun if you do!!!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. 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, June 22, 2019

Review of A Reluctant Belle by Beth White


About the Book ~

Joelle Daughtry has a secret.

By day, the impoverished Southern belle has been helping her sisters in their quest to turn the run-down family plantation into a resort hotel after the close of the Civil War. But by night and under a male pseudonym, she has been penning articles for the local paper in support of constructing a school for former slaves. With the Mississippi arm of the Ku Klux Klan gaining power and prestige, Joelle knows she is playing a dangerous game.

Loyalties shift when Schuyler Beaumont, childhood enemy and current investor in the Daughtry House renovation, takes over his assassinated father's candidacy for state office. Joelle finds that in order to protect her family and her home, she and Schuyler will have to put aside their longstanding personal conflict and develop a united public front. The trouble is, what do you do when animosity becomes respect -- and even love -- if you're already engaged to someone else?

For more information about Beth White and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

A Reluctant Belle by Beth White took me to all the places I expected to go and to all the places I did NOT expect to go!

First things first, Joelle and Schuyler! I knew from the first book in the series (A Rebel Heart) that I would adore these two! Their bickering had me living for the moments they were together, and I could not stop smiling! Joelle couldn't conform to the "ideal" standards of a woman if she wanted to, and Schuyler was a reformed man in his walk with God! The chemistry snapped between them as they each realized they had been in love with the other for a very long time. I really enjoyed how in the end it was the love for the other person that helped them choose to work through any remaining doubts, fears, and uncertainties!

From the back cover, you can see that this story is going to venture into some pretty shady places...and man, it did! The characters needed to lean on God's guidance as they navigated high tensions, mystery, mayhem, and murder. The injustices and heinousness will make your skin crawl! And for that, I applaud the author! Those parts could not have been easy (and from the Author's Note you can see that they weren't!), but this truthful narrative is more powerful and eyeopening because of it. There are so many insight and lessons to learn from this story which shines a light into some of the dark alcoves of humanity!

Four Stars ~ A Reluctant Belle by Beth White was filled with loads of laughs and insights! A Reluctant Belle is the second book in Beth White's Daughtry House Series. I think readers would get the most enjoyment by reading the series in order because the books do build on each other.

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. 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, June 18, 2019

Review of Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett


About the Book ~

It's 1933 and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal shines like a light against the dark despair of the Great Depression. The government gives unemployed young men an opportunity of a lifetime, but it will man leaving the cities to brave the untamed West.

Nate Webber takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Although he hides a shameful secret, Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious to see if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.

Elsie Brookes was proud to have grown up as a ranger's daughter but longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park's hotels, she still hasn't saved enough for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer. Elsie is drawn to the beautiful spark within Nate, but she knows the scars she carries are far too ugly for any man to love.

When tragedy strikes the park, threatening to undo all she's done to leave her past behind, can Nate and Elsie uncover the truth before all their dreams go up in smoke?

For more information about Karen Barnett and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett was fun, sweet, intriguing, a little mysterious, and altogether romantic! It was "ever faithful" in delivering a fantastic story!

One of the things I loved most about Ever Faithful was the setting! It was so much fun to visit Yellowstone National Park through the eyes of the 1930s, and I always love learning more about the Civilian Conservation Corps! The author did a wonderful job of bringing that time in history to life. And the lingo for not only that fascinating era but also the special language of the park employees was a hoot!

There's a lot of layers to Ever Faithful! Not in a complicated way, but in a real-life way. I was delighted to discover each new facet of this story, including learning disabilities, mental illness, and a little mystery! The story is so much more than the fun, sweet read that it appears!

Nate and Elsie's romance was adorable! While there were definitely some sparks when they met, it wasn't insta-love. Their personal wounds and scares brought out the subtle spiritual storyline because both Nate and Elsie had to overcome the lies they believed about themselves in addition to trusting that God had a plan for their future. I also loved how the author showed that the secret to a lasting love is found in Matthew 7:12!

Four Stars ~ Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett was such a fun and intriguing read! This is the third book in the Vintage National Parks Series by Karen Barnett, but you can definitely read it as a standalone!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. 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, June 13, 2019

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White Blog Tour, Character Spotlight, and Giveaway!


 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White with JustRead Publicity Tours! Follow along with the tour for a special inside peek at how The Number of Love is connected to the author's previous book from another series, A Song Unheard.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Number of Love  
Series: Codebreakers #1  
Author: Roseanna M. White  
Publisher: Bethany House  
Release Date: June 4, 2019  
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Intrigue

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.


Title: A Song Unheard
Series: Shadows Over England #2 
Author: Roseanna M. White  
Publisher: Bethany House  
Release Date: January 2, 2018  
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Intrigue

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which make her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is in meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books...to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.

CONNECT WITH ROSEANNA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

Grand Prize: Shadows Over England series, The Number of Love, and the Decrypto board game, plus "Mi Alma" necklace (Necklace is 24" chain with a 1" pendant that says "Mi Alma" Spanish for "My Soul". A term of endearment used throughout the book. Handmade by Bookworm Mama)

(3) additional winners of The Number of Love.

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight June 3, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm June 17, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
cropped-justread-logo.png

CHARACTER SPOTLIGHT
from
The Number of Love

Margot De Wilde ~

When I think of Margot De Wilde, I automatically think of Lily Collins. Okay, I actually thought "the actress that plays J. R. R. Tolkien's wife in the movie Tolkien!" I'm bad with celebrity names, LOL! But seriously, Lily Collins IS Margot De Wilde with her brown hair, impossibly dark eyes, and that all-assessing, too-still look on her face. You can almost see the numbers dancing through her mind's eye!

When I first met Margot in A Song Unheard, the snarky fourteen-year-old and her mother are trapped in occupied Belgium, trying to conceal their identities from the German's who are hunting their family for her late father's breakthrough work -- her. She hates knitting with a passion that is only exceeded by her passion for books, academia, and numbers. Her intuitive intellect leaves little to surprise her in life, and her genius logic revealed God to her at an early age. And God (like the loving Father that He is) speaks to Margot in her love language of numbers. For instance, when He was steering her away from something, an impossible, ugly proof filled her mind. And when He was guiding her towards something, beautifully ordered numbers filled her mind (such as the the square root of two was irrational, the Pythagorean Theorem, the proof of infinite prime numbers). Faulty reasoning makes her so itchy that it hurts. And she is fed up with being treated like she is incapable simply because she is too young and/or a girl. This great frustration will shape her more than she can realize.

When I reconnected with Margot in The Number of Love, almost four years after the end of A Song Unheard, she and her mother have settled into their life in London. The work Margot does in Room 40 -- such as deciphering intercepted messages -- gives her a sense of purpose. When she's working, her age and gender are not strikes against her because that all fades away as everyone works towards the greater good. Men don't turn her head, and she has a long list of scary threats for any man that tries. That is, until one man does turn her head. Until God places one man in particular on her heart.

But when tragedy strikes, it leaves Margot broken, confused, and angry. And her precious numbers -- God's voice -- goes silent. She's angry with God and looking for a reason that will bring justice to her tragedy. Margot didn't realize that she also felt with her language of numbers, and so in her grief, she shuts God out...

As Margot navigates loss and love, she opens her heart back up to God and to a future that she never imagined. I loved seeing Margot fall in love! She had to realize that God didn't give love to destroy her academic dreams, but to bless her with even more dreams! That her love for Drake was there for a purpose that didn't negate the other gifts God had given her! And that even after heartbreak, God could be trusted with all of these pieces! Margot is the kind of strong heroine that I absolutely adore!

The journey Margot takes is truly incredible, especially when you have the added bonus of knowing who Margot was before her world was turned upside down! The stretching, crushing, and pressing her heart endured transforms her into her optimal version of herself -- and she was pretty awesome to begin with!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of ONLY The Number of Love from the author/publisher. I personally purchased A Song Unheard for myself. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. 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, June 5, 2019

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White Blog Tour, Character Spotlight, and Giveaway!

 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White with JustRead Publicity Tours! Follow along with the tour for a special inside peek at how The Number of Love is connected to the author's previous book from another series, A Song Unheard.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Number of Love  
Series: Codebreakers #1  
Author: Roseanna M. White  
Publisher: Bethany House  
Release Date: June 4, 2019  
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Intrigue

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.


Title: A Song Unheard
Series: Shadows Over England #2 
Author: Roseanna M. White  
Publisher: Bethany House  
Release Date: January 2, 2018  
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Intrigue

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which make her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is in meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books...to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.

CONNECT WITH ROSEANNA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

Grand Prize: Shadows Over England series, The Number of Love, and the Decrypto board game, plus "Mi Alma" necklace (Necklace is 24" chain with a 1" pendant that says "Mi Alma" Spanish for "My Soul". A term of endearment used throughout the book. Handmade by Bookworm Mama)

(3) additional winners of The Number of Love.

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight June 3, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm June 17, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
cropped-justread-logo.png

CHARACTER SPOTLIGHTS
from
A Song Unheard

Willa Forsythe ~

I loved Willa! The determined, stubborn, and snarky twenty-three-year-old violin prodigy and thief tugged on my heart while making me laugh out loud! I picture her kind of like Lucy Hale with bluish-green eyes. And the way the secret melody of her soul was the background music to life made my heart smile. Music is like an extension of Willa's soul.

One of the first things I noticed about Willa is that she doesn't want a handout, and life is about only what she can accomplish by herself. Unconditional love -- love that stays by your side no matter what -- is something Willa has closed her heart to, a result of being abandoned by first her father and then her mother as a small child. She's definitely more than a little hesitant to risk letting anyone into that secret place! This locked door makes letting God into her heart a big obstacle, one that's made even more frustrating when everyone starts chattering about Him.

I loved the banter between Willa and Lukas because Willa "never claimed to be particularly kind." She doesn't want to like Lukas because she's determined to never be like her mother. She's there to do a job, and that's all. But if she can spend a little time pursing her musical passions, then she's not going to say no! (Even though she wishes she had a few times as she fights those poser-type feelings of inadequacy.) However, when the charming Lukas starts to change for the better, she is slowly forced to look at her own actions as good and evil collide in her life, threatening everyone she loves with far-reaching consequences. When Willa exposes her secret to Lukas, and...well, let's just say events transpire! LOL! Willa finds herself in a place where she knows she doesn't want to do life by herself. She wants a family, God's family. And in that low place, she finally lets God into her heart, experiencing for the first time what He has known all along -- that she is never alone! And that is when the music of her soul comes to life with its Creator! *happy dance*



Image result for joe jonas
Lukas De Wilde ~

I picture the twenty-eight-year-old violinist as a tall, dark, and handsome Joe Jonas.

Lukas is one of those men who knows he's drop-dead gorgeous, and he knows what he can get with that. Add in his hard-earned fame from his life as talented violinist, and you kind of want to flick the unabashed playboy right in the middle of his forehead. But when you get a glimpse into his heart, you see that he is unwaveringly loyal to those in his small circle of trust and love. That's when I started to fall for him. His quick wit only helped. ;-)

Lukas always looked at God and faith with a hefty dose of disdain, and he has some grand discussions with Margot, his genius sister, who proved how thick-headed he was being, LOL! While he couldn't win those arguments against Margot's incredible logic, he's still determined to focus on chasing the things that give him pleasure before he becomes boring. However, with his mother and sister missing in the aftermath of the German invasion of Belgium, Lukas painfully realizes that he needs to rely on a strength greater than his own, and God's gentle conviction draws Lukas into place where he is washed whiter than snow with God's love and forgiveness. This soul-level change not only increases Willa's unintended attraction to him but also draws her to the God she's been running from. Lukas' renewed faith is what helps him when Willa's secret is finally reveal and...well, no spoilers! You'll just have to read the book for that part! Suffice it to say that this redeemed playboy thoroughly won my heart!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of ONLY The Number of Love from the author/publisher. I personally purchased A Song Unheard for myself. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. 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, May 25, 2019

Review of Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes


About the Book ~

In the wake of WW11, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper:a rallying cry for hope, purpose...and rocks. Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss's humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the tiny, coastal Maine town, and he sets his calloused hands to work, but the building halts when tragedy strikes.

Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when she learns her Great-Uncle Robert, the man who became her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is now the one in need of help. What she didn't anticipate was finding a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Long-ago memories of stone ruins on a nearby island trigger her curiosity, igniting a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

She joins forces with the handsome and mysterious harbor postman, and all her hopes of mending the decades-old chasm in her family seem to point back to the ruins. But with Robert failing fast, her search for answers battles against time, a foe as relentless as the ever-crashing waves upon the sea.

For more information about Amanda Dykes and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

The theme of Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes is found in the beauty of breaking...and rebuilding in the way only God can!

The author has a lyrical, poetic way of storytelling that is unique and different than other authors with this writing style. The words flow and move... Truly, it's like the author's words move like ocean waves, through blessed calm and heart-wrenching tragedy, crashing against the shore of the reader's heart. The setting flourished under this writing style, but by itself, Ansel-by-the-Sea is one of the most charming fictional towns I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing via story!

We experience the story through Robert and Annie's perspectives -- and it is quite the story! It is the kind of story that while you know it's fictional, you also know these stories exist (and maybe even in your own family history). Tales of daring rescue, crushing loss, and fathomless love. Their story -- because it is as much one story as it is two -- will move you to weep and fall to your knees in respect and grief, but it will also build something life-giving in your soul. It is a story of light piercing the darkness in a miraculous way that can only be credited to God. It is a story of looking for the light because -- as Roy said -- "there's a whole lotta light."

Four Stars ~ Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes is a stunning story of hope and light in the darkness. Amanda Dykes is an author to watch! Whose Waves These Are is a standalone, but there is a prequel novella, Up from the Sea. However, it is not necessary to read it before reading Whose Waves These Are.

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. 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, May 21, 2019

Review of Wooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany Turner


About the Book ~

After four years with her boyfriend, Cadie McCaffrey is thinking of ending things.

Convinced Will doesn't love her in the "forever" way she loves him, Cadie believes it's time for her to let him go before life passes her by. When a misunderstanding leads to a mistake, leaving her hurt, disappointed, and full of regret, she finally sends him packing.

But for Will, the end of their relationship is only the beginning of his quest to figure out how to be the man Cadie wanted him to be. With the dubious guidance of his former pro-athlete work friends and tactics drawn from Cadie's favorite romantic comedies, Will attempts to win her back. It's a foolproof plan. What could possible go wrong?

For more information about Bethany Turner and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

I don't know if I'm crying because I loved Wooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany Turner sooo much, or if I am mourning the fact that this wonderful story is over! I adored each and every word, but I hated that each word I read brought me closer to the end! And that ending! AMAZING! Yeah, I'm gushing, but "you had me at hello" Wooing Cadie McCaffrey! That is, if books can say hello...

In addition to the attempted recreation of rom-com moments that make the heart happy, a deep spiritual plot, and an abundance of laugh-out-loud lines, Will and Cadie are one of my favorite literary couples! They are dorky, funny, a little clueless, and so very relatable! Their struggles with desire, miscommunication, regret, guilt, and forgiveness are so real to the average reader. (And I'm with Cadie when it comes to sports stuff, LOL!)

But what makes this novel especially realistic is how the author wasn't afraid to approach some topics that Christians tend to want to avoid. Will and Cadie make a mistake in the story...yes, that mistake. The mistake isn't glorified, but it DOES happen. Yes, even to Christians. And I love that there's a grace-filled book in Christian Fiction that shows the struggle of regret, guilt, and forgiveness with this particular topic! As Cadie's bestie Darby says to her, we all mess up in different ways and do things we swore we'd never do, but we need to figure out how to move forward after the mistake. At it's heart, Wooing Cadie McCaffrey looks at the commitment to love someone after mistakes have been made and how to move forward knowing you are securely wrapped in God's unfailing love.

Five Stars ~ Simply put, Wooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany Turner is one hundred percent amazing! This is a story filled with truth, grace, forgiveness, and perfectly-timed comedy interspersed with some of the most memorable rom-com moments in history! Wooing Cadie McCaffrey is a standalone, but I also highly recommend the author's debut novel, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own. I also purchased an additional copy, but I was not required to do this.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. 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, May 15, 2019

Review of The Heart of a King by Jill Eileen Smith


About the Book ~

King Solomon was wealthy and wise beyond measure. He could -- and did -- have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all his wisdom, did he or the women in his life ever find what they searched for all of their lives?

In this engrossing novel, you'll find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you'll meet Solomon and four of the women he loved: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and the eyes of these women, you'll ask yourself the ultimate question: Did Solomon's wisdom ultimately benefit him and those he loved...or did it betray them?

For more information about Jill Eileen Smith and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

I've read other takes on Solomon, and each of them has a lesson to learn. The Heart of a King by Jill Eileen Smith is no different! There's a profound message of truth within these pages -- if you're willing to see it!

I have always found Solomon's story to be rather tragic, but I want to be clear that this is NOT the author's fault! While we can't know all the events, thoughts, or feelings that led to his eventual despair, I greatly appreciated the author's perception and insight into the tortured King Solomon!

In The Heart of a King, Solomon was very much ruled by his passions and lusts. Instead of seeking God's wisdom for his kingdom, he relied on man's broken wisdom for a powerful, peaceful kingdom from the very beginning -- and even after receiving God's gift of wisdom! While he was not the first man to succumb to the lie of polygamy in Biblical days, you desperately wanted to see him heed what wisdom was telling him about this. My heart ached for the wives portrayed in the story, but the author did a wonderful job at taking the limited knowledge we have about King Solomon's heart and breathing life into a realistic story about him.

I like that the author didn't shy away from all the different facets of Solomon, from a wise king who longed to serve God to a playboy and even a mama's boy! The author showed us a broken man who worshiped his gift rather than the Giver of the gift, a man who thought his wisdom would surely stop him from making the same mistakes as those around him. This raw and real approach will confront readers to look at their own hearts, and the hopeful ending of Solomon's humble repentance will remind readers of God's unfailing love and mercy.

Three Stars ~ The Heart of a King: The Loves of Solomon by Jill Eileen Smith packs a powerful punch of truth! While it is inspired by the author's ebook series featuring the same characters, this story is written differently, contains some different content, and really develops Solomon as a character. Therefore, I think readers will still enjoy this novel even if they have read the original ebooks.

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. 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.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Review of The Seamstress by Allison Pittman


About the Book ~

France, 1788
It is the best of times...

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins -- Renee and Laurette -- have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Emile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renee now spend days tending Gagnon's sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.

It is the worst of times...

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon's table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.

It is the story that has never been told.

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renee's sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.

My Thoughts ~

The Seamstress by Allison Pittman is a tale of tragedy, love, and faith in the bleakness of the French Revolution.

In The Seamstress, the author not only captures broken, realistically-flawed characters but also the angst of the French Revolution. The amount of research the author must have done shown in the details of the story! Also, I greatly appreciated how the author told the story in a way that showed the revolution from each side, and through Renee, you see that the royal family may not have been the monsters the public believed them to be. This perspective will be especially powerful as it will probe readers to confront how false beliefs like this could be and are thriving in our everyday world!

Laurette's storyline held the most beautiful aspects of the spiritual storyline, showing the unmerited grace, forgiveness, and mercy of God in such a tender way, but Renee's stand of faith will resonate with readers long after the book is closed. However, I should note that if you're sensitive to gory details, then some aspects and tragedies of the story may be difficult for you. However, the author's lyrical writing style was a welcome distraction to the harsh realities of the French Revolution.

Three Stars ~ The Seamstress by Allison Pittman is sure to be an instant classic for fans of beautiful, thought-provoking tragedies. The Seamstress is a standalone inspired by a character (ahem, the seamstress) from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and written in such a way that it captures the heart of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. 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.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Review of To Best The Boys by Mary Weber


About the Book ~

The task is simple:
Don a disguise.
Survive the labyrinth.
Best the boys.
In a thrilling new fantasy from the bestselling author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, one girl makes a stand against society and enters a world made exclusively for boys.
Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port have received a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. The poorer residents look to see if their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.
In the province of Caldon, where women train in wifely duties and men pursue collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.
With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone is ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the deadly maze.
Welcome to the labyrinth.
For more information about Mary Weber and her books, check out her Goodreads' page here!

My Thoughts ~

OHMYGOODNESS, THIS WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!

I don't know where to start gushing...

Let's start with this fantasy world! The little village where Rhen lives is know for being green...and for all the different things that can kill you! The mythological creatures had the awesomeness of a Tolkien story, while still feeling fresh and new! And then there's a plague spreading and killing people, including Rhen's mother. On top of that, the deadly labyrinth had my heart racing from the moment they entered until the victor stepped out!

Despite all of this, I found myself laughing a lot at Rhen's dry wit and unique view of the world! I absolutely loved her character, and I'm going to pretend she's really real! I could emphasis with her because I've been there. Her heartache was genuine, and her anger at the broken system in her world is relevant. But I loved how the author didn't make this story a war on men or the family unit. It is truly a narrative that every woman knows and understands -- and it gives us a voice. I loved how the author made it clear that it's okay for a woman to have a career, it's okay for a woman to have a family, and it's okay to do both! That the choice of being a wife and mother is just as valid as being a scientist! While the hopes and dreams of one woman may not be the dreams of another woman, each path is beautiful because it. is. ours! Watching Rhen discover that it wasn't about fitting her life into a particular mold but rather staying true to who she was as a woman and a person was beautiful! The author portrayed this empowering truth so wonderfully!

The author wrapped the story up in a way that I had closure even though some things were not fully resolved. One thing that is resolved? Lute is also my new favorite sailor! And there's a twist that I did NOT see coming, but that is absolutely PERFECT!

Five Stars ~ Phenomenal! There should be more books like To Best The Boys, and I'm hoping Mary Weber will write them! To Best The Boys is a standalone YA fantasy written for the general market, but it holds subtle Biblical truths between its pages. It's like Lord of the Rings meets The Hunger Games!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. 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.