Thursday, February 8, 2024

Review of The Divine Proverb of Streusel by Sara Brunsvold

 


About the Book ~ 

Shaken by her parents' divorce and discouraged by the growing chasm between herself and her serious boyfriend, Nikki Werner seeks solace at her uncle's farm in a small Missouri hamlet. She'll spend the summer there, picking up the pieces of her shattered present so she can plan a better future. But what awaits her at the ancestral farm is the past--one she barely knows.

Among her late grandmother's belongings, Nikki finds an old notebook filled with handwritten German recipes and wise sayings pulled from the book of Proverbs. With each recipe she makes, she invites locals to the family table to hear their stories about the town's history, her ancestors, and her estranged father.

What started as a cathartic way to connect to her heritage soon becomes the means through which she learns how the women before her endured--with the help of their cooking prowess and a healthy dollop of faith.

For more information about Sara Brunsvold and her books, check out her website here

My Thoughts ~ 

If you're looking for a story with heartfelt family drama, deep cultural roots, and a love of butter, consider checking out The Divine Proverb of Streusel by Sara Brunsvold.

The premise of The Divine Proverb of Streusel grabbed my attention. The forgotten family heirlooms trope has a magic all its own, so the character's journey to discover her family history and cultural roots was interesting. The recipe-turned-reflections book was an intriguing medium to drive that, and the recipes sounded delicious with their hearty embrace of butter.

The Divine Proverb of Streusel was not my bookish soulmate, but there is a nurturing heart of hope within its pages. While it's impossible to navigate all the complexities, nuances, or caveats of similar situations within a single story, the author conveys the truth that there is always hope with God. 

Three Stars ~ The Divine Proverb of Streusel is a moving family drama! The Divine Proverb of Streusel is the author's sophomore standalone, but the author's debut is also available 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 reader. 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 children. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!


Any questions? Check out my Disclosures and Policies Page!

Friday, January 19, 2024

Review of All's Fair in Love and Christmas by Sarah Monzon



About the Book ~

Two workplace rivals. One festive competition. And a romance that upends it all.

Every December two things are guaranteed for graphic designer Mackenzie Graham--Christmas celebrations and the annual promotion at her workplace. Those two things are by no means mutually exclusive. In fact, the better an employee is at harnessing the Christmas spirit, the more likely they'll win the new job. With her social anxiety, Mackenzie never thought she'd be a contender in her company's holiday competition, so how exactly has she found herself dueling her workplace crush with wrapping paper tubes and using tinsel as her weapon of choice for a much-needed raise?

Jeremy Fletcher's life is meticulously planned out, including how to win this year's promotion at work. Not only will the new position fulfill some of his career goals, but as a single guardian to his twin niece and nephew, he needs the salary increase to support his family. Jeremy has barely noticed Mackenzie Graham around the office, but now that she's his rival, he can't stop thinking about her. Her quirkiness intrigues him, and he's afraid that if he can't get his head on straight, the promotion isn't the only thing he'll end up losing to Mackenzie.

For more information about Sarah Monzon and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

All's Fair in Love and Christmas by Sarah Monzon is every bit as heartwarming as the title suggests!

All's Fair in Love and Christmas had the same vibes as watching a Christmas episode of The Office -- perfect no matter the season! And I am here. for. it! I loved the office environment and all those coworker dynamics. From Mackenzie and Jeremy's POVs all the way to characters we don't get to spend a lot of time with, each character was uniquely quirky, flawed, and endearing. The festive competition was a fresh take on a beloved trope, and the heart behind the different aspects of the competition made it all the more engaging.  

I enjoyed the spiritual themes explored in Mackenzie and Jeremy's story! From not strangling your life with your own plans all the way to dismantling the religious stigma around mental health, these struggles are oh-so-relatable and so very needed in fiction. Even the thoughtful balance of weight and humor aided the impact of their healing truths. 

Five Stars ~ All's Fair in Love and Christmas by Sarah Monzon is a fun story to enjoy all year long! All's Fair in Love and Christmas 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 girls. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!

Friday, December 15, 2023

Review of Julia Monroe Begins Again by Rebekah Millet


About the Book ~

Samuel was back. It seemed unfair to be blindsided. And in church no less. Shouldn't there be a commandment about that? Thou shalt not step foot inside thy ex's place of worship.

Julia Monroe has just turned forty and has high hopes for a fresh start after the last decade of her life abruptly left her a young widow and a single mom. With both her boys off to college, she can finally focus on expanding her New Orleans-based cleaning business. Julia is ready for new beginnings--but God has other plans. Samuel Reed, the ruggedly handsome Green Beret who shattered her heart over twenty years ago, has returned to town and is the kind of distraction she never saw coming.

After their first interaction in years leaves her mind spinning and her emotions out of control, Julia knows she needs to avoid him if she wants any chance of preventing history from repeating itself, but her meddling best friend keeps throwing them together. And now it seems inevitable that the man who was hard to forget might just be 
impossible to resist.

For more information about Rebekah Millet and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~

I love me some romcoms with fun twists, and Julia Monroe Begins Again by Rebekah Millet did not disappoint in the delivery of this!

Julia Monroe Begins Again was such a fun, unique story! I loved that the author wrote to a need in Christian fiction, specifically older heroes and heroines! I loved Julia's relatability from the snarky internal monologue to the stretch marks -- I'm looking at you, my dear children. I also really enjoyed the New Orleans setting. The author's familiarity with New Orleans danced across the page, never once hinting at info dumping or superiority. As a result, the author's love for the area made me feel at home in this little corner of the world.

Most of all, I loved that the author separated out Julia's forgiveness from whether or not Julia could trust Samuel again. I find that these are often conflated as the same thing, so it was refreshing to see these topics actually handled as the separate entities that they are and were. Truthfully, this approach made Julia's conclusion not to make decisions from a place of fear all the more organic and resonating!

Five Stars ~ Julia Monroe Begins Again by Rebekah Millet is a fun and fresh debut! It's the first book in the author's series, Beignets for Two. I'm really 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 girls. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!

Friday, November 17, 2023

Review of The Legacy of Longdale Manor by Carrie Turansky


About the Book ~

Two women -- a century apart -- embark on a journey to healing, faith, forgiveness, and romance.

In 2012, art historian Gwen Morris travels to England's Lake District to appraise the paintings and antiques of an old family friend, hoping to prove herself to her prestigious grandfather. While at Longdale Manor, she meets David Bradford--the owner's handsome grandson--who is desperate to save the crumbling estate by turning it into a luxury hotel. When Gwen stumbles upon a one-hundred-year-old journal and an intricately carved shepherd's staff similar to one in a photo of her parents, she's left searching for answers.

In 1912, after her father's death, Charlotte Harper uncovers a painful family secret she can only confess to her journal. She and her family travel to the Lake District to stay on a sheep farm, hoping eventually to find a home with Charlotte's grandfather at Longdale Manor, but old wounds and bitter regrets make it a difficult challenge. As Charlotte grows closer to shepherd Ian Storey and rebuilds her shattered faith, she must decide whether she will ever trust in love again.

For more information about Carrie Turansky and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~ 

The Legacy of Longdale Manor by Carrie Turansky sweeps readers to the enchanting Lake District in this historical tale of love and faith!

My favorite aspect of The Legacy of Longdale Manor was the magical setting! I enjoyed learning about the rich history of England's Lake District and the deep faith of the region that has abided for more than a century! Additionally, the various joys and hardships of raising sheep grabbed my attention. Also, I discovered one of the best recipes I have ever found in a novel! How did I survive without Coronation chicken salad in my life? This juicy recipe is just one of the many different ways the author incorporated research and culture into the pages of The Legacy of Longdale Manor.

The Legacy of Longdale Manor has a fair number of heart-wrenching moments too. I appreciated how the author called out that forgiveness was not excusing sin and highlighted how our relationship with God can't be built on someone else through Gwen and Charlotte's intertwined journeys. However, there were missteps and triggers for those who have been abused and betrayed by their partner, parent, and/or the church.

Three Stars ~ The Legacy of Longdale Manor by Carrie Turansky is the author's first dual timeline 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 girls. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!

Friday, September 29, 2023

Review of A Royal Christmas by Melody Carlson

 


About the Book ~ 

Adelaide Smith is too busy for fairy tales. She's been working hard to put herself through law school, and she's determined to stay focused on her goals. Then she receives a letter notifying her that she is a direct descendant of King Maximillian Konig V, the ruler of a small European principality called Montovia.

What? No. That's the stuff of cheesy made-for-TV movies, not real life.

Still, curiosity gets the best of her, leading to a Christmas break trip chock-full of surprises, including a charming village, an opulent palace, family mysteries, royal jealousies, a handsome young member of Parliament, and the chance at a real-life fairy tale romance.

For more information about Melody Carlson and her books, check out her website here

My Thoughts ~ 

A Royal Christmas by Melody Carlson is a cozy, Hallmark-ish story to kick off your Christmas reading!

A Royal Christmas has one of the most heartwarming settings in fiction! Whether fiction or real life, Montovia is the place where we all want to live. I really enjoyed being told about Montovia with its charming traditions and fairytale vibes. I liked that Adelaide was a strong woman who didn't let others push her around and recognized discrimination, and King Max stole my heart from the moment he met his daughter. And who doesn't love a dash of Christmas romance added to a story? However, I did feel like the conflict and ending was a little rushed; I would have liked for those elements to be more fully fleshed out. Ultimately, it is a fun, light, quick read that doesn't get too heavy, which is great for the busy holiday season.

Adelaide and several other characters in A Royal Christmas have a strong faith. While the faith element is less overt throughout the novel, Adelaide's relationship with God is very much the guiding hand through the twists and turns.

Three Stars ~ A Royal Christmas by Melody Carlson is a festive addition to your holiday TBR! A Royal Christmas is a standalone story, but the author has other books in her backlist for readers to enjoy, including additional Christmas stories.

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 23, 2023

Review of Voice of the Ancient by Connilyn Cossette


About the Book ~ 

As the eldest son of a Levite and a Philistine, Avidan is torn between his duty to his family legacy and the desire for something more. After an enemy attack strikes close to home, he takes the opportunity to fight with his cousins for the newly crowned King Saul. But when one of the cousins goes missing during the battle, Avidan refuses to leave him behind.

Keziah is the daughter of one of the most powerful clan chiefs in the territory of Manasseh. On the brink of a forced marriage to a loathsome man decades older than her, she has no choice but to run, hoping to find sanctuary with her mother's family.

United during their journeys and battling to survive the dangers that surround them, Avidan and Keziah make a pact to travel together. As challenges pile up, they must not only rely on each other to stay alive but also learn to trust the true and eternal King of Israel to guide their every step.

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

My Thoughts ~

If you're looking for a story that brings the eras of the Bible to life, then Voice of the Ancient by Connilyn Cossette will grab you with high-stakes battles, tender romance, and governmental strife from the first page!

Voice of the Ancient captured me with a nuanced look as Israel embarked on becoming the nation they wanted to be, a nation divided with contentious opinions and a new, flawed king who didn't always seek God's will for the kingdom. It was good to see the good, bad, and messy middle portrayed. Also, I'm a huge sucker for any sort of on-the-run storyline! The teamwork and urgency driving Avidan and Keziah made for excellent pacing, but it also meant that I read the last page way too soon!

I loved Keziah and Avidan's spiritual journeys! Keziah's journey to God was so beautiful, layered with tenderness and gentle love as she discovered God's heart for her. I especially appreciated how she wasn't judged and confronted about her idols, but she got to see the character of God reflected around her and interceding directly on her behalf. It was soft and steady, and it felt so genuine. My favorite part of Avidan's journey was how he came to accept that God did not make him a warrior, and then his subsequent realization that God had made him a storyteller and that was an act of worship. This message was so special to watch unfold via the power of story! 

Five stars ~ Voice of the Ancient by Connilyn Cossette is an evocative journey into Biblical times! Voice of the Ancient is the first book in the author's new series, The King's Men. I can't wait to read the next book! In the meantime, 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 girls. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!

Friday, September 8, 2023

Review of Letters from My Sister by Valerie Fraser Luesse


About the Book ~

Two sisters. One mystery. A family changed forever.

At the turn of the twentieth century, sisters Emmy and Callie Bullock are living a privileged life when their well-ordered Alabama household gets turned upside down by the arrival of Lily McGee. Arrestingly beautiful, Lily quickly--and innocently--draws the wrong kind of attention.

After Lily has a baby, Callie witnesses something she was never meant to see--or did she? Her memory is a haze, just an image in her mind of Emmy standing on a darkened riverbank and cradling Lily's baby girl. Only when the sisters are separated does the truth slowly come to light--including a revelation that will shape the rest of Callie's life.

For more information about Valerie Fraser Luesse and her books, check out her website here!

My Thoughts ~ 

Bring your own sweet tea for this one because Letters from My Sister by Valerie Fraser Luesse is southern fiction at its finest!

I liked Callie from the moment I read her opening words in Letters from My Sister! Her humor and whimsy captured my bookish friendship. Plus, Callie and Solomon's romance deserves all the heart eyes! The setting and the author's ability to capture the era blossomed in my imagination, and the pacing was laced with intrigue, mystery, confusion, and swoons in all the right places.

Letters from My Sister delves into triggering subjects such as death, grief, racism, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and stalking from a sexual predator. Despite these challenging facets, I found that I could NOT stop reading this engrossing story! Furthermore, I loved the author's gentle exploration of privilege, showing how one can erase personhood and consent even with the best of intentions, and the bumpy road where trauma and trust collide. The cloudy effects of trauma as it waged war with what Callie knew to be truth will transcend the particulars of this heart-wrenching family saga and touch many hearts with an aching relatability. Through it all, the author continued to highlight that God works in mysterious and awesome ways that cannot be defined by human boxes of understanding. Very well done!

Four Stars ~ Letters from My Sister by Valerie Fraser Luesse was a captivating family drama! Letters from My Sister 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 girls. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!