Thursday, November 10, 2022

Review of The Lost Melody by Joanna Davidson Politano

About the Book ~

When concert pianist Vivienne Mourdant's father dies, he leaves to her the care of a patient at Hurstwell Asylum. Vivienne had no idea the woman existed, and yet her portrait is shockingly familiar. When the asylum claims she was never a patient there, Vivienne is compelled to discover what happened to the figure she remembers from childhood dreams.

The longer she lingers in the deep shadows and forgotten towers at Hurstwell, the fuzzier the line between sanity and madness becomes. She hears music no one else does, receives strange missives with rose petals between the pages, and untangles far more than is safe for her to know.

But can she uncover the truth about the mysterious woman she seeks? And is there anyone at Hurstwell she can trust with her suspicions?

Joanna Davidson Politano casts a delightful spell with this lyrical look into the nature of women's independence and artistic expression during the Victorian era--and now.

For more information about Joanna Davidson Politano and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

The Lost Melody by Joanna Davidson Politano is a hauntingly beautiful symphony of literary genius!

The Lost Melody struck many chords in my heart! As someone who has struggled with mental health and has been an advocate for individuals with various disabilities, the need for books that highlight similar life experiences are desperately needed in the market. I love that The Lost Melody is one such book that represents so many individuals! Additionally, I loved how music was woven into the story, moving and breathing like its own character. The evocative writing, eerie circumstances, and vivid setting only continued to make an already glorious melody all the sweeter. For all those reasons, The Lost Melody will permanently sit on the bookshelf of my heart.

The spiritual theme of The Lost Melody ebbed and flowed, pulsing as the primary rhythm of this beautiful story! The worthwhile, nay, Godly calling of bringing the light into the darkness as well as being the light was thoughtfully redefined in Vivienne's life. Through each twist and jaw-clenching injustice, this truth echoed on every page as a challenge, conviction, and encouragement to all who share in Vivienne's story! 

Five Stars ~ The Lost Melody by Joanna Davidson Politano is an atmospheric masterpiece! The Lost Melody is a standalone, but the author has other titles in her backlist for readers to enjoy.

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 loves to write romantic and comedic stories that proclaim God’s deep love for us. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an avid blogger. In her spare time, Joy loves to sing (especially Disney songs), drink large quantities of coffee, and take flowery photos for Bookstagram. When Joy isn’t fighting with fictional people, she’s hanging out with her husband and their adorable little girls. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Review of Honor Bound by Hallee Bridgeman


About the Book ~

You can't override the heart

It may seem odd to seek peace by moving to a war-torn African country, but for medical missionary Dr. Cynthia Myers, it provided a way to escape a shallow life of unearned wealth, a philandering fiancé, and a father now square in the public eye as vice president of the United States. At least here she knows her work and life have meaning. But all that is thrown into chaos when she fails to save the life of a local warlord's mortally wounded son.

As part of the Army Special Forces A-Team on a mission to capture and subdue the warlord, Captain Rick Norton is compelled to use deadly force to save Cynthia's life. Enraged at the violence she witnessed and riddled with guilt that men died because of her, Cynthia doesn't want to like anything about Rick and his team--but an unexpected attraction is taking hold.

With two members of his team badly injured and rebels in hot pursuit, Rick will have to draw upon all his strength and cunning to get her out alive . . . because he's beginning to think that, despite their differences, they just may be able to make a life together.

For more information about Hallee Bridgeman and her books, check out her website here!

About the Book ~

If you're looking for a story that's equal parts romance and suspense, then add Honor Bound by Hallee Bridgeman to that mountainous TBR!

Military life and special ops had a big focus in Honor Bound! The author portrayed the ins and outs of military life and its procedures very well, and I didn't feel bogged down by those details. The setting in the first half of the book was very vivid -- so vivid that my fear of snakes has multiplied threefold! There was also a lot of action in the first half of the book, and the focus shifted mainly to Rick and Cynthia's relationship in the second half. I liked the idea of this style of pacing; however, I didn't connect to Rick and Cynthia the way I'd hoped.

Rick and Cynthia's faith played a big role in Honor Bound! I appreciated how the author showed that they could have different convictions regarding violence and differing callings about how to approach that, but that it didn't make either of them wrong. I also greatly appreciated how the author highlighted the need to see a professional who is trained in PTSD. However, I struggled with some abusive actions that were painted as honorable. Ultimately, you'll find a heartfelt message about loving people the way God has made them in Rick and Cynthia's journey.

Three Stars ~ Honor Bound by Hallee Bridgeman was a solid addition to the romantic suspense genre with a military focus to boot! Honor Bound is the first book in the author's Love and Honor series, but it could be read as a standalone. The author also has other books in her backlist for readers to enjoy.

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 loves to write romantic and comedic stories that proclaim God’s deep love for us. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an avid blogger. In her spare time, Joy loves to sing (especially Disney songs), drink large quantities of coffee, and take flowery photos for Bookstagram. When Joy isn’t fighting with fictional people, she’s hanging out with her husband and their adorable little girls. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!

Friday, October 7, 2022

Review of To Win a Prince by Toni Shiloh


About the Book ~

Can she stop herself from falling before she's too far gone?

As a fashion aficionado and best friend of the queen of the African island country Ọlọrọ Ilé, Iris Blakely dreams of using her talent to start a sustainable clothing line to help citizens in impoverished areas and honor the country's resources. But when she discovers that Ekon Diallo--the man who betrayed her best friend--will be her business consultant, the battle between her desires and reality begins.

Ekon Diallo has lost everything: his princely title, his material possessions, his friends, and the respect of his fellow Ọlọrans. To pay for his actions against Ọlọrọ Ilé, he's forced to assist the charismatic Iris Blakely--but he can't allow his heart to distract him from regaining his status.

Though they come from vastly different worlds, Iris and Ekon are both determined to reach their goals, and the only way to do that is to work together--if they can just keep their hearts from getting in the way . . .

For more information about Toni Shiloh and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

If you're looking for a royal romance with a few unique twists, then check out To Win a Prince by Toni Shiloh!

To Win a Prince was utterly delightful! I loved returning to the beautiful kingdom of Oloro Ile. It's one of those bookish worlds where it feels like coming home. I adored how To Win a Prince had a Project Runway meets Shark Tank vibe! Throw in a heaping dose of romantic tension of the forced proximity variety, and you get a story that's so. much. fun! Additionally, a twist in the second half completely caught me off guard and added a really beautiful dimension to the story.

Iris and Ekon had an interesting spiritual journey together and individually! Iris truly wanted to grow in all the big, little, and in-between ways in her relationship with God, and her struggles were realistic and heartfelt. However, my favorite aspect was found along the road of Ekon's salvation as the author dove deep into what it means to be royal without a title, royal because you're a child of the King. Ekon's prodigal son story -- with a twist! -- was a stunningly beautiful and fresh way to portray this eternal truth! 

Four Stars ~ To Win a Prince by Toni Shiloh is a royally delightful story! To Win a Prince is a sequel to In Search of a Prince, but it can be read as a standalone. I'm hoping for more royal romances in this beautiful kingdom from the author!

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 loves to write romantic and comedic stories that proclaim God’s deep love for us. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an avid blogger. In her spare time, Joy loves to sing (especially Disney songs), drink large quantities of coffee, and take flowery photos for Bookstagram. When Joy isn’t fighting with fictional people, she’s hanging out with her husband and their adorable little girls. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Review of By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser

 


About the Book ~

Two courageous young women, tied together by blood and shared passion, will risk everything to save what they love most.

For as long as she can remember, Allie Massey, a gifted physical therapist, has dreamed of making her grandparents' ten-acre estate into a trauma recovery center using equine therapy--a dream her grandmother, Nana Dale, embraced wholeheartedly. But when her grandmother's will is read, Allie is shocked to learn the property has been sold to a developer.

Decades earlier, headstrong Dale Butler's driving passion is to bring home the prized filly her family lost to the Great Depression, but with World War II looming, she's called upon in ways she never could have imagined. And while her world expands to include new friends and new love, tragedy strikes close to home one fateful night during the Battle of the Atlantic, changing her life forever.

As Nana Dale's past comes to light in Allie's search for answers, Dale's courage and persistence may be just what Allie needs to carry on her grandmother's legacy and keep her own dreams alive.

For more information about Elizabeth Musser and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

If your sixth sense has anything to do with horses, then By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser is an evocative read for the horse lover in you!

By Way of the Moonlight was an interesting story! I really loved the Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken vibes that it gave me! Additionally, the various roles equine therapy played in the story deeply moved me. However, the characters weren't soulmate characters for me, and I did feel that the pacing was a little slow. 

The spiritual plot revolves around Dale and Allie's struggle with obsession. I really liked this angle because it's something I don't normally see in Christian fiction. I appreciated their struggles and victories as they let go of obsession and chose contentment. However, while the author very beautifully portrayed how God can bring life and joy out of heartbreaking situations, I have a hard time seeing past a premise that sets up keeping secrets as a good thing. 

Three Stars ~ By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser definitely grabs the heart! By Way of the Moonlight is a standalone, but the author has other titles in her backlist for readers to peruse. 

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 loves to write romantic and comedic stories that proclaim God’s deep love for us. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an avid blogger. In her spare time, Joy loves to sing (especially Disney songs), drink large quantities of coffee, and take flowery photos for Bookstagram. When Joy isn’t fighting with fictional people, she’s hanging out with her husband and their adorable little girls. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Review of Love and the Dream Come True by Tammy L. Gray

 


About the Book ~

Their faith will face its toughest test yet.

Four years after getting the biggest break of his life, Cameron Lee's music career has taken a nosedive, leaving him two options: become a sellout or give up on his lifelong dream. He reluctantly returns home for his sister's wedding, hoping to avoid his past and find his love for music again.

Single mom Lexie Walters has suffered her fair share of tragedies and setbacks, but she has finally scraped together the money to achieve her dream of going into business with her cousin as an interior designer. When Lexie's life is at an all-time high, she runs into her teenage crush, Cameron Lee.

Lost in the emotional turmoil of failure, Cameron is immediately drawn to Lexie and her infectious smile and optimistic spirit. Moreover, he adores her mouthy, no-holds-barred daughter. But fantasies only last so long, and soon Lexie and Cameron must face the real world, the one fraught with heartbreak, disappointment, and questions that sometimes can only be answered by a leap of faith.

For more information about Tammy L. Gray and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Here are my condensed feelings on Love and the Dream Come True by Tammy L. Gray: IT'S AMAZING! Get this book, bypass that teetering TBR tower, and settle into your favorite reading nook for a binge read!

Now come the rest of my gushing feelings about Love and the Dream Come True, LOL!

Love and the Dream Come True was so fun, so romantic, and so utterly, achingly relatable! One of my biggest pet peeves is perfect characters, and that was not an issue in this story! I loved Lexie and Morgan's relationship; they gave me all the Gilmore Girls vibes! While Lexie was sunshine, rainbows, and unicorn wishes with her unending optimism, I loved her imperfections. Furthermore, I have been waiting for Cameron's story, his voice, and -- most importantly -- his victory since I met him on the ink-stained pages. I have mourned for him, wanted to punch him, and cheered for him. Cameron's story was everything I had hoped for and more! Additionally, I loved how the author portrayed a realistic man, a man who not only has emotions but struggled with them as this is a universal struggle in humanity.

Lexie and Cameron's spiritual journey in Love and the Dream Come True was...ahem, timely. I enjoyed how the conflict was twisted and turned on its head, inviting Lexie to trust God and take a brave risk on love. However, Cameron's struggle with perfectionism was probably the most relatable part of the story for me. I cried not only with Cameron but also reading the author's note at the end because this message is one I'll come back to again and again when the struggle to be perfect suffocates the joy of co-creating with God. Read it and weep. Then be blessed.

Five Stars ~ Love and the Dream Come True by Tammy L. Gray was and is and will forever be AMAZING! Love and the Dream Come True is the third and final book in the author's State of Grace series. Love and the Dream Come True could be read as a standalone, but the events in the previous books directly contributed to the conflict in this instalment, so I recommend reading the series in order.

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 loves to write romantic and comedic stories that proclaim God’s deep love for us. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an avid blogger. In her spare time, Joy loves to sing (especially Disney songs), drink large quantities of coffee, and take flowery photos for Bookstagram. When Joy isn’t fighting with fictional people, she’s hanging out with her husband and their adorable little girl. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Review of The Deadly Shallows by Dani Pettrey

 


About the Book ~

A deadly attack.
A stolen weapon capable of immense destruction.
A painful secret that threatens to tear two hearts apart.

CGIS Agent Noah Rowley is rocked to the core when several of his valued team members come under fire on his Coast Guard base. He and his remaining team race to the scene and end the attack, but not before innocent lives are lost. Furious and grief-stricken, he vows to do whatever is needed to bring the mastermind behind the attack to justice.

Stunned by the ambush, Coast Guard flight medic Brooke Kesler evacuates in a helicopter carrying the only surviving gunman. The gravely wounded man whispers mysterious information to Brooke that immediately paints a target on her back.

As Brooke and Noah race to uncover answers, emotions between them ignite. Noah struggles to protect Brooke at all costs and to conceal the secret that prevents him from becoming what he longs to be--the right man for her.

Everything is at stake as a horrifying truth emerges. . . .

The attack wasn't the end game. It was only the beginning.

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

My Thoughts ~

Having a craving for romantic suspense? Then check out The Deadly Shallows by Dani Pettrey!

The Deadly Shallows had an interesting premise and an almost nostalgic feel to it as it reminded me of an episode of NCIS or JAG -- and who doesn't enjoy a good episode punctuated with a race against the bad guys and the kind of character chemistry that's built through time and countless hours of binge watching? While the pacing felt slow from time to time, it did keep me asking questions. Also, there were two romances for the price of one!

The Deadly Shallows shows a faith journey that overcomes some of the worst offenses wrought by humanity. While not soulmate characters for me, I appreciated how the characters sought an authentic relationship with God. The way they each continued looking to God and His goodness in a world filled with such repugnant evil was and is always a compelling, gripping message.

Three Stars ~ The Deadly Shallows by Dani Pettrey is a solid addition to the romantic suspense genre! The Deadly Shallows is the third book in the author's Coastal Guardians series. I was able to read The Deadly Shallows as a standalone, but I think the character dynamics would be clearer if the series had been read in order. 

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 loves to write romantic and comedic stories that proclaim God’s deep love for us. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an avid blogger. In her spare time, Joy loves to sing (especially Disney songs), drink large quantities of coffee, and take flowery photos for Bookstagram. When Joy isn’t fighting with fictional people, she’s hanging out with her husband and their adorable little girl. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Review of Where the Road Bends by Rachel Fordham


About the Book ~

The strongest love is formed in the crucible of hardship.

As Norah King surveys her family land in Iowa in 1880, she is acutely aware that it is all she has left, and she will do everything in her power to save it--even if that means marrying a man she hardly knows. Days before her wedding, Norah discovers an injured man on her property. Her sense of duty compels her to take him in and nurse him back to health. Little does she realize just how much this act of kindness will complicate her life and threaten the future she's planned.

Norah's care does more than aid Quincy Barnes's recovery--it awakens his heart to possibilities. Penniless and homeless, he knows the most honorable thing he can do is head on down the road and leave Norah to marry her intended. But walking away from the first person to believe in him proves much harder than he imagined.

For more information about Rachel Fordham and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

If you're looking for a book that's the embodiment of a Hallmark romance meets a western, then Where the Road Bends by Rachel Fordham should be added to you TBR pile! 

Where the Road Bends was a sweet story! I could see the author's nod to the influence that Les Misérables played in inspiring the overall plot, but it was still its own unique tale. While not soulmate characters for me, I enjoyed the loyalty, love, and humor found in Norah and Quincy. I especially loved the way the author incorporated Jane Austen's Persuasion into their romance! I also enjoyed the references from the author's previous stories.

Norah and Quincy go on quite the spiritual journey in Where the Road Bends! Decisions and consequences propel both characters into highs and lows where they must fight for honor, freedom, peace, and -- at times -- their very lives. I liked watching Quincy become a man of honor who continued to display true, transformative repentance while also working to set others free. My heart ached for Norah, for the betrayal and trauma she'd experienced. However, my heart was warmed by the soul-healing love she experienced!

Three Stars ~ Where the Road Bends by Rachel Fordham is a sweet, romantic western! Where the Road Bends is a standalone novel, but the author has other books in her backlist for readers to enjoy.

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 loves to write romantic and comedic stories that proclaim God’s deep love for us. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an avid blogger. In her spare time, Joy loves to sing (especially Disney songs), drink large quantities of coffee, and take flowery photos for Bookstagram. When Joy isn’t fighting with fictional people, she’s hanging out with her husband and their adorable little girl. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!