Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Review of Between the Wild Branches by Connilyn Cossette


About the Book ~ 

Finding a Way to Freedom Might Cost Them Everything.

Lukio has spent the past decade as a famous Philistine fighter, achieving every material goal with the help of his ruthless cousin. He's also spent the time burying painful memories of betrayal that he associates with the Levite family that guards the Ark of the Covenant and once adopted him. Now, just as the champion of Ashdod is set to claim the biggest prize of all--the daughter of the king--his past collides with his present.

After a heartbreaking end to her friendship with Lukio, Shoshana thought she'd never again see the boy with the dual-colored eyes and the troubled soul. But when she is captured in a Philistine raid and enslaved in Ashdod, she is surprised to recognize the brutal fighter known as Demon Eyes.

When their renewed connection threatens to expose Shoshana's dangerous secrets, Lukio must decide how far he'll go to face his past and keep her protected.

For more information about Connilyn Cossette and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Question: what should live between the shelves of a bookcase dedicated to tomes that will be cherished until the end of time? Answer: Between the Wild Branches by Connilyn Cossette!

Between the Wild Branches was everything I hoped to discover AND MORE! Lukio and Shoshana's harrowing, romantic, and breathtaking tale is one that could live through generations as a legend rather than a work of fiction! Yes, it was and is THAT good. The Philistine setting for the majority of the story was evocative, adding to the high stakes, as well as a really refreshing and intriguing change to the traditional settings found in Biblical fiction. I was utterly impressed at how well developed the characters were, from main characters to side characters and children. The intricacies of the plot and how divinely those plot points connected left me feeling like I was reading a faith account from the Bible. Additionally -- and definitely one of my favorite aspects of this story! -- the slow yet intense burn to this second-chance romance made Lukio and Shoshana's happy ending that much more satisfying!

I cried a lot while reading Between the Wild Branches...there were so many tears! Woven throughout this incredible story was a prominent and beautiful message about God's love for His children. Regardless of a rebellious past or a steadfast walk, Between the Wild Branches will grasp hearts with the its root truth that we are a child of God because we've been adopted into God's family. His Abba Father heart for family and adoption -- literally and spiritually -- will challenge, change, and convict readers.

Five Stars ~ Between the Wild Branches by Connilyn Cossette is a thrilling, breathtaking, romantic, and deeply moving adventure set in Biblical times! Between the Wild Branches is the second and final book of the Covenant House Series. While it could be read as a standalone, some plot points and the rich character development would be better appreciated if the first book is read prior to reading Between the Wild Branches.

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!


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Review of The Heart's Charge by Karen Witemeyer

 


About the Book ~

For Years They've Been Nomads for Justice, but a Final Mission May Just Lead Their Hearts Home.

Members of the legendary Hanger's Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they'd help deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he nearly married a decade ago.

After failing at love, Katherine Palmer has dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society's mold, being illegitimate and of mixed ancestry. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her by defying all her stereotypes of men, but there are secrets behind his eyes--ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.

When the Horsemen hear rumors of missing children, they stay to investigate, sticking close to Harmony House and its beautiful owners. As they work together to uncover the truth, love and danger grow hand in hand until a final sinister scheme threatens to destroy them all.

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

My Thoughts ~

If you're looking for a fast-paced, quick western with twice as much romance, then The Heart's Charge by Karen Witemeyer should be added to the wobbly TBR pile on your nightstand!

The Heart's Charge pulled me into its western world and gave me all the John Wayne vibes! I enjoyed how the story centered around the home for outcast children; it really tugged on my heartstrings! Additionally, Mark and Katherine get a second chance at love as sparks fly between Jonah and Eliza, so their romances were sweet and fun. While the villain didn't surprise me, I thought the author laid out those plot twists well. However, as much as I enjoyed Jonah and Mark's friendship and seeing their interactions while they wooed their respective ladies, their stories felt condensed within the single book. That said, I did enjoy the way their stories built upon each other.

The Heart's Charge is sprinkled with lots of spiritual truths as Jonah, Mark, Katherine, and Eliza healed from their respective wounds. However, the most striking and overarching message proved to be that you can't define a person by their worst mistake. The different ways the heroes and heroines grappled and surrendered to this truth painted a beautiful picture of the way God defines us -- covered in His love, grace, and mercy!

Three Stars ~  The Heart's Charge by Karen Witemeyer is a fun, romantic western! The Heart's Charge is the second book in the author's Hanger's Horsemen Series, but the story can be read without reading the previous book.

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!


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Review of Come Back to Me by Jody Hedlund

 


About the Book ~

The ultimate cure that could heal any disease? Crazy.

That's exactly what research scientist Marian Creighton has always believed about her father's quest, even if it does stem from a desire to save her sister from the genetic disease that stole their mother from them. But when her father falls into a coma after drinking a vial of holy water believed to contain traces of residue from the Tree of Life, Marian must question all of her assumptions. He's left behind tantalizing clues that suggest he's crossed back in time. Insane. Until Marian tests his theories and finds herself in the Middle Ages during a dangerous peasant uprising.

William Durham, a valiant knight, comes to Marian's rescue and offers her protection . . . as his wife. The longer Marian stays in the past, the more she cares about William. Can she ever find her father and make it back to the present to heal her sister? And when the time comes to leave, will she want to?

Bestselling author Jody Hedlund is your guide down the twisting waters of time to a volatile era of superstition, revolts, and chivalry in this suspenseful story.

For more information about Jody Hedlund and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Come Back to Me by Jody Hedlund is SO enthralling, riveting, and consuming that I am utterly distraught that I don't have the next book in the series RIGHT NOW! Excuse me while I weep bitterly for a moment...

Come Back to Me is a marvelous blend of time-traveling fantasy and romance! The author crafted a stunningly unique story with whispers of National Treasure meets the Bible meets a Christian version of Outlander. And while I've never been a fan of Outlander (we've all got our quirks, so please don't throw imaginary tomatoes at me!), I am going to be obsessed with the Waters of Time Series thanks to the awesome sauce that is Come Back to Me! Without giving away spoilers, I was very impressed and riveted by the author's ability to weave a Biblically-inspired, time-traveling tale with a high-stake modern suspense and a sweeping Medieval romance.

While some of Will and Marian's romance was tinged a touch of insta-love, I thought it worked for their story. Additionally, I appreciated how the author steered away from the physical side of their marriage and onto establishing love on a mind, body, and soul level. Will and Marian each bore scars and thus choose to bury their hearts into the routines of their respective lives before they met. Their love story is a beautifully imaginative look at how Godly love not only knows no bounds but also has the power to heal a broken heart. I also loved how the author was able to include a stirring message about living in the present -- achieved by a little trip to the past!  

Five Stars ~ Come Back to Me by Jody Hedlund is a romantic tale that will hold readers in rapt awe! Come Back to Me is the first book in the author's new Waters of Time Series, and I would highly recommend reading the books 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!


Friday, June 25, 2021

Review of A Lady in Attendance by Rachel Fordham

 


About the Book ~

Five years in a New York state reformatory have left a blemish on Hazel's real name. So when she takes a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts's lady in attendance in 1898, she does so under an alias. In the presence of her quiet and pious employer, Hazel finds more than an income. She finds a friend and a hope that if she can set her tarnished past in order, she might have a future after all.

As Gilbert becomes accustomed to the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, he can't help but sense something secretive about her. Perhaps there is more to this woman than meets the eye. Can the questions that loom between them ever be answered? Or will the deeds of days gone by forever rob the future of its possibilities?

Rachel Fordham pens a tender tale of a soft-spoken man and a hardened woman, as well the friends who stand by them, as they work toward a common purpose--to expunge the record of someone society deemed beyond saving--and perhaps find love along the way.

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

My Thoughts ~

If you're looking for a story that will warm your heart with a sweet romance and deep truths, then A Lady in Attendance by Rachel Fordham will give you all the cozy vibes!

The setting of A Lady in Attendance immediately charmed me, largely because I related to Gilbert and Hazel on a vocational level as I was a dental assistant for a time. Seeing a field in which I worked portrayed in a historical era was great fun, being both whimsical and nostalgic! Additionally, the author really kept my attention not only with the unfolding romance but also with mystery, murder, suspense, and a surprising plot twist. While I don't love the particular trope found there, I thought the author showed skill in both the initial shock and resolution surrounding that plot twist.

Gilbert was a sweet, steadfast hero who found himself becoming bolder and braver throughout the story, subtly showing how your God-given spouse can and should influence you for the better. Hazel's past sins, mistakes, and the injustices inflicted on her opened her eyes to forgiveness -- for everyone but herself! She truly struggled with forgiving herself, so her journey to accepting that the past didn't define her AND seeing the good that God wrought from her past brought tears to my eyes a time or two!

Four Stars ~ A Lady in Attendance by Rachel Fordham is a lovely romance with profound truths that will leave a warm feeling in your heart! A Lady in Attendance is a standalone, but the author has other novels 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!


Sunday, May 30, 2021

Review of Never Miss by Melissa Koslin


About the Book ~

She saved his life. Now they're in a race to stop a deadly attack.

Former CIA sniper Kadance Tolle possesses a special set of skills and a rare pedigree. She comes from a family of assassins, and by saving Lyndon Vaile's life she risks being found by them. Despite the danger, Kadance feels compelled to help Lyndon discover who is after him and his incendiary research, which indicates that the Ebola virus is man-made and about to be weaponized.

With shadowy figures pursuing them and a mastermind watching their every move, Kadance and Lyndon scramble to stop an impending bioattack at the State of the Union address. When their warnings fall on deaf ears, it becomes increasingly clear that there's no one they can trust--except perhaps each other.

Strap in for a breakneck story that will have you up all night, hurtling toward the last page as the clock ticks and time runs out.

For more information about Melissa Koslin and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

If you never want to miss an intriguing and mysterious story that's equal parts suspense and romance, then check out Never Miss by Melissa Koslin!

Intriguing, mysterious, and unique are the words that come to mind after reading Never Miss. The setting, the characters' pasts, the pacing, the conflict -- all of this fell just outside of the normal tropes found in romantic suspense, and these unique differences drew me into this fast paced story! Additionally, I found the plot centering around Ebola to be relatable to the recent struggles the world has faced, and I applaud the author's unique take on a relatable struggle.

While there was instant attraction and connection (due to their similar quirks and the ways their respective minds processed the world around them), Kadence and Lyndon didn't fall prey to the trope of being instantly in-love, and trust and love for one another built over the course of their journey. However, some of the lingering emphasis on the physical attraction was a little difficult. The spiritual storyline subtly worked through their respective trust issues, satisfyingly concluding with Kadence realizing the truth that God had been by her side all along. 

Three Stars ~ Never Miss by Melissa Koslin is a gripping romantic suspense! Never Miss is a standalone, but I'm interested to see what the author will write next!

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!


Friday, May 28, 2021

Review of Castle of Refuge by Melanie Dickerson

 


About the Book ~

Ever since she was a child, Audrey wanted her life to be extraordinary. But as the daughter of a viscount born in late fourteenth-century England, the only thing expected of her was to marry—until an act of malice by her sister, Maris, four years ago damaged her face and her prospects. Though Maris was sent away, twenty-year-old Audrey is still suffering the scars of her sister’s cruelty. When her father announces his plans to marry off his damaged daughter and bring Maris home, Audrey decides to flee in search of her true destiny.

However, life outside her home is dangerous, and she soon finds herself attacked, sick, and in desperate need of help. She is taken in at Dericott Castle to be nursed back to health. While there, she decides to keep her identity a secret and work as a servant in the castle. But she doesn’t count on falling in love with the young and handsome Lord Dericott, who lost his arm several months earlier and bears scars of his own.

Meanwhile, Edwin—Lord Dericott—is curious about the new, well-educated servant’s identity. All he knows is that he’s quickly becoming smitten with her. When the man Audrey’s father wanted her to marry comes looking for her, she and Edwin must make life-changing decisions about what to believe and whether or not love is truly worth trusting.

For more information about Melanie Dickerson and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Castle of Refuge by Melanie Dickerson is the Ugly Duckling retelling your bookish heart has been longing to discover! 

In Castle of Refuge, the author pulls you into the setting and era, writing about it with such ease that one has to wonder if the author travels to the Medieval Era on a regular basis... Alas and alack, the only way I can travel to the Medieval Era is through wonderful books such as Castle of Refuge. Additionally, the writing style is smooth, flowing without a plethora of unfamiliar phrases and words that have bemused my contemporary sensibilities from time to time.

Through Edwin and Audrey's scars -- both literally and figuratively -- the author explores themes like being "ugly" on the outside versus on the inside, living an unforgettable life of value, and what it means to love and be loved. While Edwin and Audrey certainly experience a number of harrowing experiences, the gentle exploration of these spiritual themes is like a soothing balm -- beautifully portraying exactly what God's love and truths do for a battered heart! 

Four Stars ~ Castle of Refuge by Melanie Dickerson is a lovely and romantic Ugly Duckling retelling that will soothe your heart! Castle of Refuge is the second book in the author's Dericott Tales, but it can be read as a standalone.

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!


Monday, April 26, 2021

Review of All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese

 

About the Book ~

Molly McKenzie's bright personality and on-trend fashion and beauty advice have made her a major social media influencer. When her manager-turned-boyfriend tells her of an upcoming audition to host a makeover show for America's underprivileged youth, all her dreams finally seem to be coming true. There's just one catch: she has little experience interacting with people in need.

To gain an edge on her competitors, she plans to volunteer for the summer at a transitional program for aged-out foster kids, but the program's director, Silas Whittaker, doesn't find her as charming as her followers do. Despite his ridiculous rules and terms, Molly dives into mentoring, surprising herself with the genuine connections and concern she quickly develops for the girls--and Silas. But just as everything seems perfectly aligned for her professional future, it starts to crumble under the pressure. And as her once-narrow focus opens to the deep needs of those she's come to know, she must face the ones she's neglected inside herself for so long.

For more information about Nicole Deese and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

All that really matters is whether or not All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese is on your immediate TBR. Why? Because if it's not, it NEEDS to be!

All That Really Matters included so many of my favorite things to find in a story! Romance, humor, a little bickering, first person narrative, second chances, God, and miracles. However, one of the most gripping characters featured in All That Really Matters is the beast we call social media! The ugly and fake life of social media was displayed in its train wreck glory, yet the beautiful and life-changing ways social media can transform an individual was still the star of the story. Also, the absolute need for balance and boundaries was shown in a way that wasn't preachy or aggressive, instead portrayed in a relatable story that so many of us are living.

Molly and Silas were absolutely wonderful -- as a couple AND as individual characters! I loved the way their relationship progressed from bickering to admiration to love. However, I especially loved the way their stories -- both personally and romantically -- portrayed such a beautiful message of hope, joy, and second chances. Theirs was and will always be a romance that sings of the heart of God!

Five Stars ~ All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese is a lovely romance filled with second chances and miracles! All That Really Matters is a standalone, and I'm looking forward to reading the author's next standalone, featuring characters introduced in All That Really Matters!

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!