About the Book
Book: Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations
Author: V. Joy Palmer
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Release Date: February 14, 2019
Seventeen years after being orphaned, Apryl Burns and her twin sister Courtney have their own expectations for life. While Courtney continues to shine at everything, Apryl holds fast to the mantra that as long as her potato chip stash remains intact, then she’ll be fine.
But when their beloved grandmother ends up injured and unable to manage her struggling antique store, Courtney makes it their mission to revamp the business and save what’s left of their family’s legacy. Despite rampant doubts in her abilities, Apryl finds herself trapped under the weight of family loyalty as they transition to a wedding venue decorating service. Soon shes forced to ask (translation: blackmail) their grandmother’s renter/handyman, Chance McFarland, for help, an arrangement that is made even worse by the fact that Chance is her former (ahem, and current) crush.
Chance knows a few dozen things about family loyalty, which is why he begrudgingly agrees to Apryl’s insane plan. While Apryl claims they’re archenemies, the girl Chance only glimpsed in their teens starts to emerge, stealing what remains of his heart.
But expectations are a powerful thing. Amidst the glamorous weddings and swaying willows, can those old expectations be revised into something new?
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About the Author
Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterationsand a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. 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 socially awkward pets.
I’ll confess something to you guys.
For about a year, I hated these characters. Like I vehemently hated them. For their refusal to bow to my will, I counted the ways I could take revenge against them for my own sadistic pleasure, and I seriously considered printing the manuscript just so I could burn it in an oil drum while I laughed like a Disney villain. I’m told my “Ursula laugh” is uncanny.
Some of you may be laughing. Some of you may be rolling your eyes. Some of you may be gasping in horror at the thought of an author killing her beloved characters. Or some of you may smirk and say, “I’ve been there, only I did kill my characters.”
I dove into the story with a wide-eyed innocence that came from thinking I was in charge of the story. My characters slapped that doe-eyed look off my face, letting me know I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, I knew the basics… They start off arguing, then fall in love… I had a couple great kiss scenes planned… Worth in God would be explored… Jokes would be made… But I could not get these stubborn characters to cooperate, and I was pulling my hair out by the roots trying to force them to get on board with my excellent program! I didn’t understand them, and their actions didn’t make any sense. Then my computer crashed…and died…taking over twelve thousand words with it. (A part of me thinks Apryl was behind it.) Suddenly, I was at square one, but I was actually a little relieved. Now I could start over.
Cue muffled sobs here.
After the untimely demise of my computer, I went to the 2016 American Christian Fiction Writers conference. At that conference, Ted Dekker said something in one of his keynote sessions that changed everything for me.
“Write to discover yourself.”
I still get chills when I think about this, and it has nothing to do with the below zero temperatures in my neck of the woods.
My writing changed after that. I made myself vulnerable, pouring my heart into Apryl and Chance’s journey like it was my personal journey. And as my literary world started to blossom, my literal world felt like it was being scorched by an exploding sun of heartache. And when that nasally (or does it only sound that way in my head?) voice whispered that I was worthless, God’s declaration of love was a big, bold font across the pages.
Through Apryl and Chance, I rediscovered my own worth to my Father.
And I hope you can, too.
I hope you laugh (the seagull scene is a favorite of mine). I hope you swoon (Apryl and Chance Forever!!). I would be especially pleased if you had to look up one or two pop culture references because I’ll just feel cool. But more than anything I hope you can rediscover your worth in our Father’s eyes, whether it’s for the first time or the seven hundred and eleventh time.
Our worth isn’t defined by our jobs, our mistakes, our families, or the plans we have. Our worth is in a loving God who calls each of His children by name. Our worth is in our Father.
Set to the tune of a romantic comedy, there are a lot of little truths sprinkled throughout Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, but our worth in God is the glue that holds it all together – at least for me! This was the truth I wanted to convey in Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations all along. But until I started to understand this (I definitely haven’t mastered it!) in my own heart, how could I write about it?
I hope you guys enjoy Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations. I hope this truth touches your heart in some way.
And I hope you laugh. A lot.
I have mixed feelings about Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed the story line. I found it to be highly engaging and super fast paced. I enjoyed watching Apryl create her amazing themed weddings. Her talent at taking old, eclectic things and transforming spaces so that each bride had the wedding of her dreams was masterful. I wish that I had had an Apryl when I was getting married. My space was typical. Apryl would have made it magical. And, I appreciated the various themes discussed throughout the novel, especially the discussion on not listening to the whispered lies of the devil. Boy, does that lesson resonate with me!
But, I struggled hard with Apryl’s personality. I am not a fan of people who hide behind caustic sarcasm as a way to justify the mean things they say. To me, Apryl came off as an exceptionally unhinged, violently angry person. Most of the time her words are awful and hurtful and loud. She’s an in-your-face kind of girl. I genuinely felt badly for every other character who had to come up against Apryl because they never know if they are getting a kind word, a snarky word, or violent and sarcastic meanness. Most of the novel, I found myself cringing when Apryl spoke, not laughing. Sarcasm — good, well-timed sarcasm — is for drawing out a point, not for use as a weapon. Too many times, Apryl’s words were weapons … sharp weapons that hurt even me.
I’m bummed about Apryl’s intense and angry use of words because aside from this one quirk I really relate to her. I understand her pain. When Apryl was 7, her parents were killed in a car accident. When she was 15, a really mean and selfish adult said harsh words to her that ripped Apryl’s soul in half. The combo of the loss of her parents, plus the awful words spoken by a cruel adult, cause Apryl to become the caustic person she is. I fully appreciate this fact, and get how easy it is to become the hurt, angry loner. That level of pain causes a void in one’s soul. If that pain is not dealt with properly, with God close by, the void can easily be filled by the devil’s manipulative lies. This is Apryl’s biggest battle in her life, one I fully understand and have gone through myself. This is a battle we all must contend with at some point in our lives. It’s not easy, but with God it’s defeatable. In this soul-level battle, Apryl is one of the most realistic female characters I’ve ever read. So I really am sad about her overuse of angry and mean sarcasm.
Overall, I do recommend Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations. The story is good, the writing is strong, and the themes are timely. I appreciate V. Joy Palmer’s fresh and authentic voice. I just wish Apryl’s sarcasm had been toned down by half. My heart would have gone out to her more if it had.
I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
To celebrate her tour, Joy is giving away a grand prize package that includes a signed copy of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations, a signed copy of Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, a hand-carved Reading Willow Tree Figurine, a character-inspired locket, a custom Roaring Twenties Book Sleeve from The Cozy Life Etsy Shop, an Anne of Green Gables Mug Rug from Bookish Star Designs Etsy Shop, and a Chai Latte Soy Candle in a Vintage Mug from Joplin House Cafe!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!
Click the link below to enter.
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