Friday, December 10, 2021

Review of Lights Out by Natalie Walters

 


About the Book ~

CIA analyst Brynn Taylor developed a new program to combat terrorism, and she invited members of foreign intelligence agencies to America to foster cooperation between countries. Now one of them, Egyptian spy Remon Riad, is missing.

Jack Hudson has been working for the Strategic Neutralization and Protection Agency (SNAP) for almost nine years and takes the lead in hunting down the missing spy. But he isn't at all pleased to find out Brynn is involved. It's hard to trust a woman who's already betrayed you.

Every lead they follow draws them dangerously deeper into an international plot. Kidnapping, murder, explosions, poisoning--the terrorists will do anything to accomplish their goal of causing a digital blackout that will blind a strategic US military communications center and throw the world into chaos.

Can Brynn surrender control to a man who doesn't trust her? And can Jack ever get over what she did to him? The fate of the world--and their hearts--hangs in the balance.

For more information about Natalie Walters and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

If you're looking for a romantic suspense that will have you huddled around a lamp as you read late into the night, then check out Lights Out by Natalie Walters!

Lights Out is a fun, fast-paced read!  I really liked how the author paced the action and information to keep you guessing. Additionally, I liked how the author included short chapters not only from the villains but also from the pawns in their nefarious scheme. While private agencies such as SNAP have been explored in the genre before this, I liked the author's unique spin and the comradery of the team. Additionally, this was a really interesting approach to cyber terrorism.

Brynn and Jack's complicated history left them with a lot of trust issues. While Jack had to work through the fear of trusting Brynn and opening himself up to pain again, Brynn's trust issues ran deeper. The way terrorism had devastated her family had resulted in a life poured into service without any relationships to fight for...a lonely life with root causes that she had to confront. Ultimately, Brynn's heart-tugging spiritual journey took her to a place of complete trust and surrender in God no matter the storm.  

Four Stars ~ Lights Out by Natalie Walters is a thrilling romantic suspense! Lights Out is the first book in the author's new SNAP Agency Series, and I'm looking forward to reading the next 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!

Monday, December 6, 2021

Review of After She Falls by Carmen Schober

About the Book ~

She's always had that fire in her. She just needs to find it again.

Strong-willed Adri Rivera nearly achieved her goal of being a professional mixed martial artist, but then she fell in love with a man who knocked all the fight out of her. When their abusive, tumultuous relationship finally comes to a head, Adri flees with their young daughter to her small hometown in the mountains of Pennsylvania. There, she must face the people she left behind and put her broken life back together again.

A hardened Max Lyons can't believe Adri is back in town after abruptly cutting him and everyone else off years ago. Despite the distance that grew between them, he feels compelled to help her regain her independence and offers her a job at his gym. But regaining each other's trust is another matter, made even more complicated by the lingering spark between them. As Adri dares to pursue her dream again, she trains for a big tournament with Max's help, but they'll both have to confront their own doubts in order to rise victorious.

For more information about Carmen Schober and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

After She Falls by Carmen Schober is a winner to add to your shelf!

I'm going to say this right off the bat...I have never been into the Rocky movies. However, I really enjoyed the MMA setting in After She Falls! You don't need to be a diehard fan or MMA expert to read and enjoy the story. Additionally, the author did a really great job writing the fight scenes; they weren't overly complicated, and I could see everything play out in my mind's eye. And as someone with Hispanic/Latino blood, I am always thrilled to see similar characters in fiction!

I appreciated the slow-and-steady spiritual journey Adri and Max took as they grappled with faith, forgiveness, making mistakes, and persevering. Readers will walk away with a sense of determination to apply to their own underdog fights, whether those are personal, spiritual, or professional.

I do want to note that there are triggers in After She Falls, especially pertaining to partying, abuse, sexual objectification, and lust. I applaud the author for writing an authentic story that doesn't shy away from these issues, nor would the overall message have packed the same punch if this had been watered down. However, these things could be very triggering, so readers should be aware of their mental state. While I wouldn't have been able to read this in the past, I'm very glad I got to experience Adri and Max's story now!

Four Stars ~ After She Falls by Carmen Schober is a unique and fresh addition to the Christian Fiction market! After She Falls is a standalone, but I'm looking forward to reading the author's next 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, November 30, 2021

Review of As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin



About the Book ~

Her daring bid for freedom could be her greatest undoing.

Amid the Great War in 1918 England, munitions worker Rosalind Graham is desperate to escape the arranged marriage being forced on her by her ruthless guardian and instead follow her own course. When the Chilwell factory explodes, killing hundreds of unidentified workers, Rose realizes the world believes she perished in the disaster. Seizing the chance to escape, she risks all and assumes a new identity, taking a supervisory position in Gretna, Scotland, as Miss Tilly Lockhart.

RAF Captain Alex Baird is returning home to Gretna on a secret mission to uncover the saboteur suspected in the Chilwell explosion, as Gretna's factory is likely next. Fearing for his family's safety, he's also haunted by guilt after failing to protect his brother. Alex is surprised to discover a young woman, Miss Lockhart, renting his boyhood room, but the two eventually bond over their mutual affection for his family--until Alex receives orders to surveil her.

Rose squirms beneath Alex's scrutiny while she struggles to gain her workers' respect. But when her deception turns to danger, she and Alex must find a way to put their painful pasts behind them and together try to safeguard the future.

For more information about Kate Breslin and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Beslin is as intricate, lovely, and intriguing as Scotland's thistle. Beautiful with a hint of looming danger -- that is, until you prick your thumb!

The setting of As Dawn Breaks was very interesting and deeply romantic with its Scottish charm. I love stories set in Scotland! Additionally, I really enjoyed learning about the munitions factories, how they functioned, and the changing tide for women everywhere. And that deadly intrigue -- WOW! While the munitions factory was set away from the main conflict, I found no shortage of mystery mingled with life-and-death situations. Instead, I found that this storyline and setting gave a unique look at the intricacies and layers of war.

I loved how the author produced a heroine who was wounded but determined to regain her courage as a child of God without trampling on the intrinsic value of other bearers of God's image. The various steps of Rose's quest to reclaim her courage was a beautiful testament of bravery, loving others, and standing up for not only yourself but also for what is just. Alex's realistic struggle in forgiving himself is something that many can relate to experiencing -- myself included! I also really enjoyed the conflict and struggle to forgive that Rose and Alex experienced in their relationship, adding to the unfolding faith and drama within the story.

Five Stars ~ As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin is a romantic, high stakes historical to add to your bookshelf! As Dawn Breaks is a standalone, 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!

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Review of A Deep Divide by Kimberley Woodhouse


About the Book ~

With her past behind her, she has nothing--and everything--to lose.

After being kidnapped as a child, heiress Emma Grace McMurray has seen firsthand the devastation that greed causes in the world, and she wants nothing to do with it. When she discovers her father has offered her up as a bargaining chip to expand his empire, she disappears into the night. Determined to stay hidden, even if it means always looking over her shoulder, she finds herself working as a Harvey Girl at the El Tovar Hotel.

When Ray Watkins arrives at the hotel on business, he is immediately captivated by the beauty of the Grand Canyon. Though his fame-seeking father aims to lure new investors to the Arizona Territory, Ray dreams of one day taking over the family business and doing good with the profits.

Ray immediately admires Emma Grace, and though an attraction begins to form, she can't let go of the deep-rooted fear that he's just like every other wealthy man she's known. When suspicious activity follows Emma Grace and Ray to the El Tovar, they are pulled into a mystery that stirs up their worst fears. And as shocking revelations come to light, they are left to question all they thought to be true.

For more information about Kimberley Woodhouse and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

A Deep Divide by Kimberley Woodhouse is an intriguing look at the Grand Canyon through the eyes of the grand El Tovar Hotel -- with some mystery and romance to boot!

The star of A Deep Divide is definitely the vivid setting! The author brought the Grand Canyon in 1905 to life, so much so that its majesty almost breathed across the pages. The El Tovar Hotel and the work of a Harvey Girl was equally fascinating to learn about in addition to the story. Speaking of the story...the mystery, murder, and mayhem proved to be very intriguing, and I enjoyed how everything connected in the end. Additionally, the romance was sweet to watch unfold.

While I didn't connect to the characters in a bookish soulmate way, I did appreciate and empathize with their character development. Emma Grace's past left her untrusting of men and very fearful. Through the gentle pursuit of God and Ray, Emma Grace began to trust and stop hiding, finally willing to look the pain and complications from the past in the eye. Emma Grace's journey is a lovely testament to how God WILL deliver His children from all fear.

Three Stars ~ A Deep Divide by Kimberley Woodhouse will capture historical romance fans! A Deep Divide is the first book in the author's new Secrets of the Canyon Series, and the author has many other books in her backlist for readers to peruse as well.

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, November 4, 2021

Review of Tacos for Two by Betsy St. Amant

 


About the Book ~

Two unlikely chefs. One life-changing contest. There can only be one winner . . . right?

Food truck owner Rory Perez may not be able to cook, but she's determined to keep the family business out of the red. An upcoming contest during a food truck festival seems like the best way to do it. The prize money could finally give her solid financial footing, freeing up her time to meet the man she's been talking to via an anonymous online dating site.

Jude Strong is tired of being a puppet at his manipulative father's law firm, and the food truck festival seems like the perfect opportunity to dive into his passion for cooking and finally call his life his own. If he loses the contest, he'll be back at the law firm for good, so failure is not an option.

But things are about to get . . . complicated. Rory's chef gets mono, forcing her to cook after all. And Jude discovers that his stiffest competition is the same woman he's been falling for online. Will they sacrifice the futures they've envisioned for the sake of love? Or will there only ever be tacos for one?

For more information on Betsy St. Amant and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

If you haven't added Tacos for Two by Betsy St. Amant to your TBR list, then you need to do that ASAP! This You've Got Mail inspired contemporary romance is loaded with humor and tacos -- and who doesn't love a combination like that??

Tacos for Two was such a fun story! I loved, loved, loved all the You've Got Mail references, plot points, and inspiration taken from this beloved movie. However, despite the similarities, Tacos for Two most definitely stands as its own story! The pacing and plot surprised me at points, and there were times where Jude and Rory frustrated me, which is always a win with me because I love characters with real flaws and issues. Additionally, the food service setting was amusing and relatable. I could sooo relate to Rory's lack of ability -- and desire! -- to cook as well as the stress of food service.

I really enjoyed the spiritual messages sprinkled throughout Jude and Rory's sweet romance. They both struggled with family loyalty on top of deep insecurities and wounds. I enjoyed seeing how they walked out the struggle of loving your enemies, realizing there's always more to the story, and moving past the hurts that come from someone's forced expectations. 

Five Stars ~ Tacos for Two by Betsy St. Amant is a winner! Tacos for Two is a standalone, but the author has many other stories 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!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Review of Since You've Been Gone by Tari Faris


About the Book ~

With her vision and his know-how, this thing just might work . . .

Leah Williams is back in the quaint town of Heritage, Michigan, and ready to try again to make her business a success. But blank slates are hard to come by, and a piece of her past is waiting for her there. Heir to the Heritage Fruits company, Jonathan Kensington is the guy who not only made Leah's past difficult, but he also seems determined to complicate her present as well.

In order to avoid forcing a buyout of Leah's building, Jon will have to strike a compromise. Can the two of them work together? Or will their troubled past set the tone for their future?

For more information about Tari Faris and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

Since You've Been Gone by Tari Faris is the kind of book I love to curl up with, disappear in, and make into my fictional home!

The Restoring Heritage Series comes full circle in Since You've Been Gone, and I loved every minute of it! Leah returns to Heritage to battle Jon for the WIFI, but Madison also returns! And WOW! The way the author brought the story back to the beginning but also brought love and redemption to these ladies was deeply moving to me. Leah and Jon's romance was touched with some unrequited love AND some love-to-hate vibes, which made it great fun. Colby and Madison's romance brought an incredible redemption arch to Madison's character as well as making my heart happy with their music-laced romance. Additionally, the town of Heritage is just one I want to move to and call my own.

I loved the spiritual themes in Since You've Been Gone! Powerful themes like not compromising on the dreams and direction God has given to you, breaking down the walls we build around our hearts, and not letting the fear of failure hold us back while still recognizing that we will fail and love knows that and continues to love in spite of that. These themes were so beautifully woven into Jon, Leah, Colby, and Madison's stories, and I cheered for their victories until the sweet end!

Five Stars ~ Since You've Been Gone by Tari Faris is a wonderful conclusion to an equally wonderful series! Since You've Been Gone is the final book in the author's Restoring Heritage Series. While it can be read by itself, I recommend reading the series in order for the character development.

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, October 7, 2021

Review of The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox

 


About the Book ~

Present Day. Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home, determined to finally follow her dream of running the family business alongside her mother and grandmother. So when her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that Old Depot Grocery is closing, Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a plan to save the store. But Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons--but she'll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965. Glory Ann confesses to her family that she's pregnant with her deceased fiancĂ©'s baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve her family's reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.

This dual-time story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of the mother-daughter relationship, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth.

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

My Thoughts ~

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox will sweep readers into a family drama that is layered with intricate secrets!

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery will charm readers with its small, quaint town as simpler days beckon! Truly, even the steadfast Old Depot Grocery proves to be its own character in this story. Even though the characters were not at a soulmate level for me, I did appreciate how the author dug into family dynamics that often influence many, particularly siblings. While I did not connect with some of the plot points and twists, this is definitely a story that should be high on the TBR list for those who love complex family drama!

It's a good guess that the spiritual thread of The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery revolves around secrets with a title like that. However, that's only the beginning! The cost of secrets, the long-term effects of secrets, and assumptions heavily influenced by secrets are all examined very thoughtfully by the author. This thoughtful exploration paves the way for the freeing and healing power of truth to shine in the lives of the characters.

Three Stars ~ The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox is an intriguing look into family dynamics. The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery is a standalone, but this is the author's second novel.

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!