Thursday, October 27, 2016

Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations - My Review







V. Joy Palmer's book Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations is the perfect book to read on a rainy day with a cup of tea in hand.  Alongside its colorful characters, there are quick and quirky modern references to TV shows, films, and books that most readers would be familiar with--my favorites would have to include those referring to Gilmore Girls and all things coffee.  The story is set in New Hampshire, and the author mentions a few tourist spots that are located within this state, yet many of the towns and other details are inspired from Palmer's own personal experiences growing up in this region, which I think is fabulous.  Writing is all about the perspective one gains from life and its adventures. 

The main character, Isabel "Izze" Vez, who is a coffee addict, frequents her cousin's cafe, Whipped Cream, practically on a daily basis.  Thankfully for Izze, this establishment is located within walking distance to her own place of work, Ever After Bridal Boutique, where she holds a position as a bridal consultant.  The job may appear fluffy; however, Izze deals with emotional brides, nervous brides and their mothers, including bridezillas all day everyday.  Therefore, she must not only conquer the imperative assignment--find the perfect wedding gown--but she must also learn patience and self-control when it comes to working with brides and their emotional and sometimes bothersome friends and family.  Is she up to the task?

James Miles Clayton once worked at a successful company, but after gaining more insight regarding his chosen profession, he decides to take on the task of starting his own business.  Ironically, his first job is to manage the books for Ever After.  As he tries to untangle the financial mess of various accounts, in the hopes of making the store more profitable, change will be required.  Yet when Miles meets the staff at Ever After, he realizes one of the bridal consultants never takes her eyes off him.  He soon learns this curiosity stems from her own resentment toward him and not from any admiration on her part.  He never considered how much his suggestions in relation to running a bridal shop would upset her.  Will she ever learn to trust his judgment?    

As more and more changes are made, Izze continues to give into her feelings of contempt concerning Miles.  And Miles wonders if he will ever be able to convince Izze that these changes are for the best and that he only wants to look out for her welfare.  While Izze's feelings fluctuate throughout the text, she starts to learn to put her faith in God and not in man.  Only then will she be able to let go and let God take over the problems in her life.  He is the only One who can make beauty out of her mess.

The characters in this text are feisty and somewhat unpredictable, yet readers will be able to connect with them because they are so true to life.  Sometimes the storyline seems a bit over the top and a bit unbelievable--could a person like Izze really make so much out of nothing?  However, there are moments in life when someone does react instead of stopping to listen to another person's explanation.  As a reader, you are hoping each character will make better choices, but you eventually come to the conclusion that certain characters are immature--they need time to grow.  I love how Palmer includes the stories of their struggles, because ultimately she shows the reader that no matter who you are--with the Lord's help you can change and be the person He wants you to be.  As several characters move through a range of dilemmas, these difficulties take them back to the place they need to be--back into the presence and arms of a graceful Creator. 

I really enjoyed seeing characters grow in this manner, and I appreciated the Bible verses and references used to explain a person's struggles and victories.  In turn, the reader will be able to understand why particular Bible verses were so helpful to Izze, Miles, Cassandra, and Lily.  This manner of writing further solidifies the connection between the reader and the character--both creatures are flawed and in need of a Savior. 

If you want a book with a wonderful message and delightful characters, this is the book for you.  Each turn of the page will keep you guessing as you watch Izze wrestle with her own thoughts as she tries to make the best decisions each and every day regarding her work, her clients, her co-workers and roommates, and even dealing with Miles.  This charming story reminds the reader that despite the errors of mankind, grace and forgiveness are just around the corner.    

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Singing Librarian Books for my copy.
 






Genre: Christian, Contemporary, Romantic Comedy
Publisher: WhiteFire Publishing
Publication date: June 15, 2016
Number of pages: 300

Isabel “Izze” Vez, bridal consultant extraordinaire, has been helping brides find The Dress for years. She loves nothing more than helping make wedding dreams come true…but sometimes the happy endings grate on her. How many times can a girl discover someone else’s gown without dreaming of the day it’ll be her turn to wear one?

When James Miles Clayton walks into her life, he represents everything Izze can’t handle: change. He’s determined to bring the Ever After Bridal Boutique into the black…and to prove to Izze that she should give him a chance.

But if there’s anything Izze handles worse than change, it’s trust. She may have a few issues—fine, she knows she does. But will they keep getting in the way of any chance of her own Happily Ever After? She wants to trust God to give her those dreams of love and lace, but that’s going to require some…minor alterations.








V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and is co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their two socially awkward cats. This is her debut novel.







1. What do you want readers to take away from Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations?
I really hope readers know all the way to the core of their souls that they can trust God. Life, drama, and fear can make it so hard for us to fully trust Him, but God has beautiful plans for us. I love it when readers tell me how God used truth nuggets to touch their hearts. So I really, really just want God to touch your heart. That’s what makes me happiest. :)

2. What inspired the idea for Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations?
I’ve always been obsessed with weddings, and at the time, I was single and frustrated with the man who is now my husband. I started venting writing, and all of a sudden I just heard Izze in my head. The idea of a single woman in the wedding business who wanted to get married and was fed up with the leading man fascinated me.

3. What authors do you enjoy?  Are some of these that inspired your own writing?
I love SO MANY authors! And I will read pretty much any genre if there’s a romance in the story. However, some of my favorites who also inspired my writing would be Robin Jones Gunn, Erynn Mangum, Janice Thompson, Jenny B. Jones, and Lori Wick.

4. What is your current WIP (work in progress)?  What details from this project can you share with us?
All I can tell you about my current WIP is that while I love these character, I kind of want to shake them while sobbing hysterically. ;) Your worth in God and the things that define you are big themes.

5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?  Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?
Well, there was that brief period where I wanted to be a bus driver…

I always loved telling stories, writing songs, and reading. I started and stopped writing several stories while growing up, never showing them to anyone. I filled notebook after notebook with songs I had written. I wanted to be a singer/songwriter, but fear held me back. However, God is awesome because He took that dream and helped me fully realize another dream. In my senior year of high school, I realized I actually liked writing assignments. They made me downright giddy. Yeah, I’m a weirdo, but that’s when I knew I wanted to be an author.

6. When you are not writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
Um, does eating chocolate or watching Gilmore Girls count as a hobby?

I love hanging out with my husband, and our baby girl keeps me bouncing and laughing all day. I’m also a youth leader at my church. I read as much as I possibly can and even review some books on my blog. 






A note from the author:
Hey guys! This is a snippet from one of my favorite scenes in Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations. I had so much fun writing this scene! This is when Izze and Miles meet for the first time. At a bookstore. Because who doesn’t want to meet the love of their life at the bookstore?

Izze is just trying to buy some books, but this rude guy (AKA Miles) keeps staring at her. She’s reading in the coffee shop in the bookstore, and Miles reappears. Izze wants you to know that she seriously considered throwing her coffee at him. ;) 

Snippet

I take a sip of my drink and open the first book.
Suddenly, a shadow falls over me.
I look up, and who do I see?
That’s right. Rude Guy.
“You’re sitting in my spot.”
“I beg your pardon.” My mouth hangs open.
“It’s perfectly fine. I’d just like my seat back.”
“Uh, no, I think you misunderstood me.”
He raises his eyebrows at me, and I notice his striking blue eyes for the first time. “You’re not going to move?”
“Yes. I mean no. I mean yes.”
His eyebrows creep higher at my stuttering.
I take a breath. “I mean you misunderstood when I said, ‘I beg your pardon.’ I meant it like, ‘I don’t understand what you’re talking about.’ So, no, I am not giving you the seat back because you were not sitting here. To answer your last question.”

His eyebrows have taken a flying leap to the moon by the time I finish. Which makes his rather gorgeous eyes that much more obvious. Oh, I really hate that I notice this.
“Okay.” He sets his coffee down and takes the seat across the table from me.
Bad. Bad. Very bad.
This isn’t going to end well. I can feel it in my bones.
“What are you doing?” I snarl. Politeness gone. Out comes Snot Face.
“I’m sitting.”
“I can see that, but why? This is my table. Go get your own.” My sneer would make any middle-school kid proud.
“Well, I say it’s my table, but you clearly think it’s your table. So you’re not going to budge. Correct?” He holds my gaze and nods when I don’t answer. “That’s what I thought.” He sips his coffee, sets it down, and folds his hands all lawyer-style as he waits for me to refute his logic.
Oh, I’ll refute it all right.
“I don’t know you. And I’m not sharing a table with someone I don’t know.” Ha! Take that.
“I’m James Miles Clayton, but my friends call me Miles. And this is my spot.” His smug grin reveals an even row of teeth. “And your name is?”
“None of your beeswax.” Great, now I’m reverting back to myself at age five.
“That was a good, mature comeback.” He smirks. “You don’t have to tell me your name, but it would sure go a long way in getting to know you.” His expression is somewhat charming. And insanely aggravating.
“You could be a stalker.”
“I assure you I’m not.”
“I’m sure that’s what all stalkers say. Especially when the restraining order is placed.”
“I sit at this table every time I come to this bookstore.”
“I bet the other tables would like to make your acquaintance. Share the joy.”
“I’m a one-table-for-life kind of man,” he shoots back.
“Look, you weren’t sitting here when I sat down. It looked like James had left the building.” I purposely don’t call him Miles because I am not his friend. This man is crazy.
His eyes sparkle. Uh-oh. “Now, why did you think I had left?”
“Um, because I didn’t see you.”
“If you didn’t see me, I would think you would have said something like you didn’t see me. You said it looked like I had left. Meaning you saw me. Possibly even watched me.”
“Uh…” Sigh. I cannot tell a lie. “Uh, I wasn’t watching for you. I saw you and ducked.”
“Why is that?” He leans forward.
“Because you were staring at me earlier. And that bugs me.”
He doesn’t deny staring at me. He just doesn’t address it.
“Did your mother ever teach you that staring is rude?” I ask.
“My mother raised me to be quite the gentleman.”

I snort. Like a lady. “On the contrary. Gentlemen don’t stare.”
James the Rude Guy shrugs. “Think what you’d like, but let’s get back to you. You were watching me after you ducked. To see if it was safe to sit or run.”
I refuse to comment. Hey, if he can do it, I can too.
He chuckles. “Looks like between the two of us, you’re the stalker.”
“I am not!”
Heads turn our way and someone shushes me. Great.
“I am not,” I say again, this time just above a whisper.
“That’s what they all say.”


“Argh!” My head drops to the table. “Can I please just have my table?”Might as well try polite desperation.
“Nope.”
I raise my head. “Why? Why sit here and bug me? Why not get another table?”
He looks me square in the eyes, and it almost takes my breath away. “Because I like this spot. And the company intrigues me.” He stands up. “But I’m afraid I have to go pay for this book. I hate reading a book in a coffee shop that I haven’t purchased yet. Until next time.” He winks and walks away.
This time I make sure he walks out the door.  

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3 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book, and I'm so glad I was able to take part in your book tour. :) Congratulations on writing and publishing your first book!

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    2. :) Thank you, again! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I've loved "meeting" so many new friends during this blog tour!

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