Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Book Review: Malicious Intent by Lynn H. Blackburn

Dr. Ivy Collins, founder and CEO of Hedera, Inc., is ready to begin clinical trials of her company's cutting-edge prosthetic. Her work has been heralded by government, medical, and advocacy groups and everyone hopes the device will be a success. Well, almost everyone. Someone is trying to sabotage Hedera and the launch, but to what purpose—and how far will they go to get what they want?

Meanwhile, U.S. Secret Service Agent Gil Dixon can't believe he's finally been reunited with Ivy, his childhood best friend. Now that he's found her again, Gil intends to spend the rest of his life with her. But it will take all his skill to uncover the truth in time to save Ivy's life's work, her own life, and the innocent lives caught in the crossfire.

Perfectly balancing chilling suspense and uplifting romance, award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn delivers a story of revenge, greed, and overcoming that you won't want to put down no matter how late it gets.

Series: Defend and Protect, Book #2 (could be read as a standalone)

My rating:

I loved book 1, so duh, of course I'm going to request the sequel to review! Unfortunately, I didn't love this book as much as the first, but it was still enjoyable and kept me on my toes.

First of all, I loved getting back into the lives of these characters. Zane, Gil, Luke, Faith, Tessa...I adore these folks. There didn't seem to be as much banter in this book, though, which was a huge disappointment after book 1. 

I enjoyed Gil's character, and his interactions with everyone, and the way he fiercely loved and protected both Ivy and his sister, but honestly, the only character growth I noticed was him reconciling with the past, and learning how to interact with Ivy. While this could be argued that this was the only character arc he needed, I personally believe that it just...fell flat.

And then let's talk about Ivy, shall we? Super intelligent, emotionally strong (but at her breaking point because who wouldn't be after being tortured with a curling iron), and very sweet. But again, there's no...depth to her character? Like Gil, she has to reconcile with the past and learn to know Gil again. The most inner conflict we see is stress because people are trying to kill her—which is definitely conflict, don't get me wrong, I just...I don't know how to put it into words, haha!

I guess the best way to say it is that it's definitely a plot-driven story...but not really a character driven story. Which is okay, as long as you still love the characters and the plot keeps you involved. But it just...fell very flat for me.

This is a short review (for me), buuuuut honestly, that pretty much sums it up. I enjoyed it, I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a clean romantic suspense novel (I didn't mind the romance, it was just pretty meh) with a good message (they trusted God, prayed, all that good stuff, and it was actually very good), I just personally didn't find myself super attached to the story, even during the suspenseful parts.

(And I think the name Daniel is absolutely epic. #iykyk)

*I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. (this has absolutely nothing to do with anything in this post, I just didn't know what to put here)

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Book Review: The Italian Ballerina by Kristy Cambron

A prima ballerina. Two American medics. And a young Jewish girl with no name . . . At the height of the Nazi occupation of Rome, an unlikely band of heroes comes together to save Italian Jews in this breathtaking World War II novel based on real historical events.

Rome, 1943. With the fall of Italy’s Fascist government and the Nazi regime occupying the streets of Rome, British ballerina Julia Bradbury is stranded and forced to take refuge at a hospital on Tiber Island. But when she learns of a deadly sickness that is sweeping through the quarantine wards—a fake disease known only as Syndrome K—she is drawn into one of the greatest cons in history. Alongside hospital staff, friars of the adjoining church, and two Allied medics, Julia risks everything to rescue Italian Jews from the deadly clutches of the Holocaust. But when one little girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina arrives at their door, Julia and the others are determined to reunite the young dancer with her family—if only she would reveal one crucial secret: her name.

Present Day. With the recent loss of her grandfather—a beloved small-town doctor and WWII veteran—Delaney Coleman returns home to help her aging parents, even as she struggles to pick up the pieces of her own life. When a mysterious Italian woman claims she owns one of the family’s precious heirlooms, Delaney is compelled to uncover what’s true of her grandfather’s hidden past. Together with the woman’s skeptical but charming grandson, Delaney learns of a Roman hospital that saved hundreds of Jewish people during the war. Soon, everything Delaney thought she knew about her grandfather comes into question as she wrestles with the possibility that the man she’d revered all her life had unknown ties to Rome and may have taken noble secrets to his grave.

Based on true accounts of the invented Syndrome K sickness, The Italian Ballerina journeys from the Allied storming of the beaches at Salerno to the London ballet stage and the war-torn streets of WWII Rome, exploring the sometimes heart-wrenching choices we must make to find faith and forgiveness, and how saving just one life can impact countless others.

My rating:

This book hooked me from page one—and I mean hooked me. As soon as I started reading, I knew that there was no turning back or giving in to reading slumps with this one. The writing style is amazing and I cannot wait to read more books by this author.

(also can we take a moment to appreciate that BEAUTY OF A COVER.)

I'll start by talking about the historical part.

I fell head over heels for Court. I just...yes. So much yes. His sense of duty, his perseverance, his stubbornness...and the fact that he got injured. *cough* Maybe it also had something to do with the fact that he was a seriously flawed character and had to do what it would take to become respectable. I don't know. All I know is that Court was amazing and that he was my favorite, if you hadn't figured it out by now. I also loved Julia. Love love loved Julia. Loved her dedication, her commitment, and her courage to do what was right even when her legs threatened to give out from shaking so badly. Calla was adorable and rightly had everyone wrapped around her little finger. And then there's AJ, the sweetest guy ever, and one that will hold nearly as large a place in my heart as Court.

The plot was amazing. I mean, really—Syndrome K, two combat medics, a little Jewish girl, and a ballerina determined to make a difference just...floored me. I genuinely cannot say enough good about this plot line.

The other plot lines, though, are what docked it a star for me. Yes, I said plot lines. Plural. If it would've just been a dual timeline plot, that would've been fine; I'm not crazy about it, but if it's done well, I enjoy a good dual-timeline story. But this book incorporated three or four timelines, plus at least four different points of view. Three of those timelines are in the past; one is in the present. Honestly, it was just very confusing at first, and took me a bit to keep them all separate in my mind.

(also, Anton is a jerk and I cannot stand him.)

My favorite timeline, if you haven't figured it out by now, is when the majority of our cast of characters (aka Court, AJ, Calla, and Julia) are all together. I just...yes. *chef's kiss*

Court's point of view from pre-war was epic and gave good insight and made me love Penn and get annoyed with—yet respect—his father.

Julia's point of view from pre-war (and at the beginning of their traveling), again, gave good insight, but at this point I got sick and tired of Anton, and I was getting weary of all of the backstory. (if all of this had been put in the book in chronological order, it would've been fine, but I got sooo tired of jumping back and forth.)

The present-day POV...well...I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, I loved Del, and Matteo, and Italy, and everything. On the other hand, I usually found myself disappointed when I turned the page and saw a chapter with the heading "present day." We all obviously have our favorite points of view and are eager to get back to them, but I just...this one had me hooked in some places, and had me rolling my eyes at others because while I really enjoyed the characters, I didn't love the romance; I felt like the story could've been done just as well without it. (Though all the history nerds will disagree with me because of Del and Matteo's ancestors, but I digress.) I liked reading about the characters peeling back each layer of the mystery, but I also felt a sense of disappointment the original characters weren't there to tell them the story.

One last thought, though, before I end this super disjointed review: there's a plot twist at the end of the book that had me s h o o k. Like, I was NOT expecting that and IT MADE ME NOT OKAY AND I'M STILL REELING. Like...just GO READ THE BOOK SO YOU CAN SCREAM ABOUT IT WITH ME because if I talk about it anymore I'm going to give away spoilers. So.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Have you read a Kristy Cambron book? Which one would you recommend I read next?

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Book Review: Mercy Undeserved by Kristina Hall

Lillian Rossi had it all—a devoted husband, a new baby, and all the riches she’d dreamed of. But one January day changed everything. Now, the consequences of her late husband’s sins extend to her and her son, and Matteo, though only a baby, is the rightful heir to the Rossi empire, making him a target. 

Alberto Moretti promised to protect Lillian and her son, but he well knows the cruelty and desperation of the Rossi family. He served them all too long—until God set him free.

As Lillian and Alberto are thrown together in a race to save her and Matteo’s lives, their own sins and Stefano Rossi’s plans threaten to destroy them. Will they fall prey to the danger so close behind, or will they find mercy they’ve done nothing to deserve?

Series: The Moretti Trilogy, book #2 (could be read as a standalone, but some character confusion would be easier to straighten out if you read book 1 first)

My rating: 

That was a wild ride!

From gunfights to high-stakes car chases, you don't have to look any further for a faith-filled, action-packed suspense novel! (It makes for a great read if you need to kill time on an airplane, too. Not that I know from experience or anything. *cough*)

I really liked Alberto. He was a Christian, but that did not by any means make him a perfect character, and while I really couldn't relate to his struggles exactly, I was here. for. it. His effort to do the right thing and the way he struggled to trust God with his issues was inspiring.

Lillian was honestly a kinda 'meh' character for me. I can't really put my finger on a specific reason...maybe that she just seemed shallow, and her character felt kinda flat? I don't know. I did learn to appreciate her later on in the book, but she still just wasn't my favorite, even after her character arc. (but her love for Matteo? Awwww. So sweet.)

(Also, Alberto's interaction with 'the kid' #iykyk made me smile)

I knew going into this book that the Christian message would be strong (overly strong, honestly), so I'm going to try to not let it influence my review too much. You just have to understand that if you read a Hall book, it's going to be kinda preachy, and that's okay. I did really appreciate the message; the book was full of truth.

I would like to insert here, though, that honestly, I feel like the ending could've been handled differently? I mean, I can't really complain about it since it's completely my personal opinion. But. I feel like the message could've been driven home a bit better if...certain things...had actually happened...and someone would've *whispers* died. (sorry, I know I'm butchering this, I'm just trying to avoid giving spoilers here. If that was a spoiler, I'M SORRY) Like I said, it's totally just personal opinion.

So while I'm sitting here wondering why I chose four stars instead of three...I remember the plot and Scranton. Aaaah, y'all, I loved the plot. Injuries (there were a lot of those in this one *smirks*). Car chases. Guns. Bullets flying. A baby's screams. Cold cement. Handcuffs. Sacrifice. And Scranton.

Let me just take a moment and tell you 'bout my good buddy Scranton. I like him.

That is all.

*I received an e-copy of this book from the author for promotional purposes. All thoughts are my own.

What has your favorite read of 2022 been so far??

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Book Review: Lights Out by Natalie Walters

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.

Series: The SNAP Agency, Book #1

My rating:

Mmkay. *deep breath* That was what I call a letdown.

I enjoyed Brynn! A lot! I loved her get-it-done attitude and the way she wasn't afraid to work at her goals. Though I may not be as driven as she is, I live around people that are, and I sooo understood her shock when everyone took a weekend break. (Was I a bit shocked too? Um, yes. Still not sure if I agreed with them, but Jack made a good point, so I couldn't exactly argue.)

I really liked Jack. His sense of responsibility. His struggle to overcome past feelings and move forward. I loved his happy-go-lucky attitude (though not nearly as happy-go-lucky as Kekoa) and the way he jumped into everything with a positive attitude.

The suspense was epiiiiic. Like, all of the bad dudes and how they tied in to the plot confused me a liiiiitle bit, but other than that, it kept me on my toes. (well...not literally. But ya get my drift.) I especially loved it when Brynn teamed up with Lyla; they made a formidable duo. And Lyla was one of those characters that amused me and annoyed me at the same time, but I adored her for it anyway.

And her + Garcia? Classic. Iconic. Poor dude got majorly friend zoned, but I loved his attitude. (Now that I think about it, there really wasn't anyone on the team that I didn't like.)

And shall I talk about the InjURiEs?? People got poisoned. Shot. Bones broke. Ended up in the hospital. It was great. (wow, Kate, love the priorities there)(also I feel like every time a book involves injuries, I have to make some sort of crack about my priorities)

So. What didn't I like? Um...well...y'all know I'm not a romance fan. If something is categorized as romantic suspense, I expect there to be romance, and I expect there to be suspense. I expect people to do their jobs, and then explore a relationship. What I don't expect is for people to be walking into a potential ambush, guns at the ready, unable to stop thinking about kissing the person next to them. And every moment in between. Really, y'all. It was just...too much. Sparks were flying every which way c o n s t a n t l y, and when one moment they refused to trust each other, the next moment it's "LeT mE KIsS YoU" (can you tell I'm not a fan of enemies to lovers?)

And then the spiritual aspect. Brynn and Jack are Christians. But, as often happens, they kinda walked out on God due to their jobs, past hurts, etc. and then realize that they need to fix that. Fine. I'm okay with that. But the fact that they just kinda mention it in passing and then there's never really any conclusion to that? Like...it would have been better not to mention it at all, I think, than to just gloss over it and give the impression that the mention of God and faith is only because the publisher is Christian.

Someone is going to love this book and learn from it and have it touch them. I just am not that person.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for promotional purposes. All thoughts are my own.

 What makes or breaks a book for you? If you've read Lights Out, what were your thoughts? Oh, and happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Book Review: Unknown by Vanessa Hall

He knew there was a cost. He just didn’t know how great it’d be.

Gabriel Kelly returned to Russia for one reason—to bury his parents. After ten years in the United States, he hadn’t expected to return to his childhood home in the face of tragedy. However, after short days in Moscow, he begins to consider if the same call that cost his parents’ lives is now upon him.

Sofia Rykova’s dreams finally came true when she became a principal soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet. One night, though, an old crush walks back into her life, making her wonder if there is more to life than ballet. Gabe Kelly is just as she remembered, just as she longed for—yet religion stands between them.

Unknown to Gabe and Sofia, danger lurks closer than either would have guessed. The deaths of Gabe’s parents grow more suspicious by the day, and Gabe and Sofia are drawn into the midst of a plot neither can escape. Will obedience to God’s call—in spite of their fears and desires—result in a price too steep to bear? 

Series: Grace Sufficient, book #1

My rating:

So, I have conflicted feelings over this one. On one hand, it's well-written and I enjoyed the narration, it has an excellent message, and is super, super clean. On the other hand...I'm waffling between 3 and 4 stars for various reasons (yes, it was well-written, but it also seemed to kinda drag on a bit). (I'll decide after, I write up the review, haha) Prepare for a long review, y'all. *sheepish grin* Let's dive in, shall we?

We start with Gabe Kelly, an American that grew up in Russia with his missionary parents, moved back to America for school and to start his career, but then has to go back to Russia after his parents' sudden and tragic deaths. He wasn't your typical lost-his-parents-and-blamed-God-so-he-walked-away-from-his-faith kinda guy; actually, he admirably stuck to his faith, despite the tears and the days that he felt like he couldn't handle the heartbreak. Gabe was really, really sweet, and I really liked his character. But, he was also...perfect. Perfect characters are kinda my pet peeve, y'all *hesitant smile* and while I did like Gabe, he was just...ever the gentlemen but never flawed. And that just kinda bugged me a bit.

Enter stage right: Sophia Rykov, ballerina (Get it? Stage right? Ballerina? *cackles*). Not a christian, But an old friend of Gabe's that never quite got over her childhood crush. Cute, right? (It was cute.) I've never personally had any experience with ballet, but I actually loved reading about it and the pointe shoes (you know those tiny elements in books that you like reading about because they're just sooooo satisfying for absolutely no apparent reason? Pointe shoes, y'all). And I could practically feel the sweat glistening on my forehead as she pirouetted her way through Romeo and Juliet with Evgeny (I actually really liked that dude). Her ankle injury also just really added to it, as it was well done and wasn't glossed over like so many injuries in fiction.

Speaking of injuries, I can't say too much without giving spoilers away, buuuut there was also another major injury in the book that I feel, though I'm definitely no medical expert, was also well-done. A gunshot wound that immobilized the victim's arm, caused nerve damage, and essentially rendered the arm useless. I really, really, really appreciated the fact that the author didn't suddenly have him back to full health within a week, or having him use the arm with superhuman-like strength when danger lurked. The dude was mortal and couldn't a whole lot without needing a break and I just...yes. The injuries were superb (wow, look, my priorities are incredible).

As far as characters go, I'd say that Daniil was my favorite. I loved his protective heart and his addiction to exercise (I'm not as committed as he is, but I could still relate and appreciate it). Such an epic dude. I also loved Sergei and Ana, and, of course, who could forget Gregor? The grumpy old codger is lovable, what can we say?

Sophia and Gabe together made a sweet couple, but obviously, it couldn't work because she wasn't a christian. This is a point brought up several times by Gabe and while I appreciated his struggle with his attraction toward her while holding back because he knew that they could never be together as long as she wasn't a christian...I also felt like it maybe should've been done a little be differently. I'm not just saying this because of personal preference; Gabe was strongly attracted to Sophie, but as he wasn't at first sure whether or not she shared his faith, he held back. And then when he found out for sure that she didn't, he first was disappointed, but then it was later stated that he didn't just want her to convert so he could have a relationship with her, but more importantly because she was a sinner that needed Jesus. And while I know that it wasn't intended to be an afterthought, it kinda seemed presented as one, honestly.

So, anyway, shall we talk about the message? I did like how clearly and concisely the salvation message was put...but (there's always a 'but', isn't there?) the book was...kinda preachy. This isn't generally something I'd dock points for (don't get me wrong—I'm all for a strong message), but honestly, it was hard for me to get through some of it because, even though I've grown up around and am used to all the lingo used (hello, baptist here), it was...a lot. And it kinda made me feel disconnected to the story and characters. I felt like the message could've been mixed in better, and I think it's partly because of this that it took me two months to read it. (granted, this was definitely not the only reason it took me that long—I just didn't do a whole lot of reading over the past couple of months—buuuut it partially contributed.)

And, lastly, I'll talk about the suspense. It wasn't a mystery; as a reader, you'll know very quickly who the villain is. But I thought it was extremely well done in how oblivious the characters were; they weren't just ignorant of what was in front of their noses—there was genuinely just nothing to point to the culprit. He was very careful in his methods, and while there were a couple of things that could've clued in our protagonists, since they had no reason to believe he was the bad guy, there was no reason for them to think anything of it. So tthat was done really well. And y'all already know that I loved all the injuries. (That climax toward the end? Superb. Slightly drawn-out, but still superb. Definitely had me hooked.)

So. After typing all of that up (and editing it to make it shorter...sorry, guys, didn't work very well *cough*), I'll land on three stars. This book is perfect for people that love a super clean Christian romance with a good dose of suspense and a very strong message, just not totally my thing. I'm definitely planning to try more from this author in the future, though!

*I received an e-copy of this book from the author for promotional purposes. All thoughts are my own.

Will I ever learn to write short reviews? Maybe. Probably not.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Book Release Time!

Announcement time! October is Respect Life month, and in celebration of that, I'm here to tell you all about two new releases—one that released last Thursday, and one that will be releasing in a couple of weeks! So, without further ado...

Sustainer’s Smile by Erika Mathews is here! I’m so excited to share this new novel with you because life is an issue near and dear to my heart, and it’s the heart of this book. This post includes snippets and a GIVEAWAY!

Learn the Basics

  • It’s Book Four of Truth from Taerna but it can easily be read as a standalone.

  • It’s a prolife novel.

  • It tells the story of Liliora Ellith, who makes peace with her past and discovers her future among the cradles of Taerna’s unwanted babies, born and unborn.

  • It’s a kingdom adventure fiction novel.

  • It’s clean and family-friendly, though it’s recommended for teens and up due to dealing with the issue of abortion. 

View or Buy Sustainer’s Smile on Amazon

Read the Snippets

Liliora shook her head. “If Adon Olam wants it, I will not listen to my fears.” Yet tears welled up even in the words, and she felt her heart failing her. 

“And then we played Hide and Find Me in the hay. And Kethin couldn’t find me forever! I hid in the very back corner, and Kelton helped pile hay on me so I looked like a haystack. And then Kethin laid down in the hay to hide, but I saw his boots peeking out.”

“That’s not fair, because I’m so much bigger than you.” Kethin’s grin flashed. “The hay doesn’t cover me as well. And it takes a good deal more to cover me.”

“You still have hay in your hair.” Liliora motioned to Kethin, then to Tae.

Kethin ran his hand through his hair. “Are you teasing me?”

“No! There’s some by your ear.” Liliora set down her spoon, not going to risk spilling a bite while shaking with laughter. 

Kethin’s fingers traveled up and down and at last landed on a miniscule fragment of straw behind his right ear. “Come now, that’s hardly hay. Not like Tae, at any rate.”

“My hair is a haystack,” Tae replied, rumpling it until it stood on end.“A very dark-colored one,” Liliora agreed

See the Blurb

Suffering suffocates her soul. 

How can she ever smile again?

A helpless newborn…that’s exactly how twenty-four-year-old Liliora Ellith feels in her efforts to speak up on behalf of the youngest members of Taerna’s pleasure-driven society. Her tender heart for the defenseless and deep aversion to conflict throw Liliora’s soul into turmoil when tragedy opens her eyes to the quiet yet heartrending war on Taerna’s babies—both born and unborn. Adon Olam’s Word coupled with a secret in her own past fuel her determination. All she wants is to make peace with her past and discover her future among the cradles of unwanted babies. However, the challenges ahead of her threaten to send her spiraling into hopeless depression time and again. Saving innocent lives from the crush of the destroyer and raising a generation in the ways of Adon Olam seem more impossible than ever. At the very end of herself, will the sufferings of her and her babies prove to be anything less than the catalyst for complete disaster?

Enter the Giveaway

Win a signed paperback of Promise’s Prayer (Truth from Taerna #1) and other fun prizes! Enter here.

Find the Rest

There’s a bookstagram/blog challenge, author interviews, character spotlights, and more!

Add to Goodreads

View or Buy Sustainer’s Smile on Amazon

See the Rest of the Prolife Tour

The second book that is releasing (it was supposed to release last week as well, but life happened and the author wasn't able to finish the book in time—because she's expecting a precious child of her own!) is To Save a Life, a pro-life novel whose cover I was honored to design!

Book 1 of Natty’s Warriors, this book tells the story of two young couples: one with big questions and one with the answers they need. When a baby is born alive after a botched abortion, the parents are faced with questions they have never considered. This story follows their journey to the Answers they need regarding Christ, the value of Life, and what they must do to turn their lives around.
Add on Goodreads

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Five Fall Favorites: Top 5 of 2021

It's the last day of the party! *cries* And here, I was having so much fun, too. I got allllll of this week's posts up and scheduled LAST WEEK (wow I'm actually on top of things for once), so all I've had on my to-do list has been to add to my mountainous TBR and reply to y'all's comments. I feel like I'm on vacation or something.

Aaaaanywayyyyy. Seeing as how I'm a farm girl myself, I think it's rather fitting that my room today is in the barn. Those of you who didn't return your blankets the other day can sit on them, and everyone else can make yourselves comfortable here in the hay. We've got quite a pile here, so if you're feeling extra energetic today, you can jump down into it from the loft—just sign this waiver real quick before you do, thank you. *cackles*

Today I'm talking about my five favorite books that I've read so far this year. I read a lot of good books, y'all, but these are just the ones that stood out extra bright. The ones that I couldn't stop thinking about for a long time afterward. So while you animal lovers go pet the horses, I'll entertain the rest of you by handing out the books I have. There's quite a few of us, so we'll have to share.

(NOTE: every link that you click will open a new tab in your browser. I know how annoying it can be to leave the original post.)

Whose Waves These Are - Amanda Dykes

I know I just talked about this one in Thursday's post but guyyyyys I can't flail about this one enough. If you're looking for a whimsical novel that will absolutely SHRED your heart (I mean, who really wants their heart to be broken? Not me. But this book is incredible nonetheless.), slowly piece it back together, and make you absolutely fall in LOVE with the characters, then this one is definitely for you.

The Final Hour - Andrew Klavan

In stark contrast to Whose Waves These Are, we have The Final Hour, the last book in the Homelanders series. Charlie is quite possibly the most patriotic book character I've ever met, and the way he stuck to what he knew was truth despite being surrounded by lies...not only is the book suspenseful and a real page-turner, but it's also inspiring. Read my quick, 5-sentence review of the whole series here.

The String - Caleb Breakey

This book is honestly kinda creepy and I wouldn't recommend it for slightly sensitive readers. But it's also inspiring, epic, and suspenseful at the same time. Fighting for right when wrong is so strong. Despite the odds. Despite the risks.

Under the Bayou Moon - Valerie Fraser Luesse

Honestly loved this one wayyyyy more than I thought I would. I'm not a fan of water and boating and such (I'm not a huge fan of swimming to begin with, but being on water that could potentially kill me? *shudders*), but in this case, it added to the authenticity of the story and I just really adored this one. Read my review here.

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery - Amanda Cox

Is this story as whimsical as it looks? Yes. Yes, it is. The dual timeline wasn't too hard to get used to, and the characters were all frustrating and relatable and endearing all at the same time. If you want see me go on and on about what is probably the best side character EVER because of how he sacrificed himself, read my review here.

Aaaaaand just like that, Five Fall Favorites 2021 comes to a close. It's been fun, y'all. Don't forget to visit the Literary Lodge to find everyone else's top 5 reads of the year, a downloadable list of all of the books mentioned this week, and to see if you won the giveaway! (or maybe they were just gonna notify the winner...not sure *rubs chin*)
BUT WAIT - THERE'S MORE! As a grand finale to this spectacular week, a bunch of authors collaborated to put together a HUGE ebook sale, running TODAY ONLY! You'll have to visit the Literary Lodge to find all the info on that as well.

A HUGE thank you to Rebekah Morris and Erika Mathews for organizing this party, even amidst their busy schedules!! Let's give them a hand! *queue applause and fanfare*

What was your favorite genre this year? What book looked the most interesting?