Five Fall Favorites // Top 5 Fantasy Finds

Five Fall Favorites // Top 5 Fantasy Finds

Happy Day 2 of Five Fall Favorites, and one of my absolute favorite genres…

Today we’re talking about Fantasy! I love how weird, and wild, and various this genre can get. Everything from fairies to semi-medieval settings, parallel universes to extra special powers… There’s something for everyone, and often a world far removed from our own can end up feeling even more like home and cause us to examine themes in a whole new light. 🧡

Today we’re all sharing our top 5 fantasy books… (Just a heads up, some of our bloggers may have chosen to use one of our genre alternates, so don’t be surprised. 😉 )

Go forth on an adventure!

Katja 🍁 // Abigail 📚 // Kelsey ☕️ // Lillian 🍂

Sarah🧣// Bella 🥧 // Jana ☕️ // Ryana Lynn🧣// Mac 📚

Sophia Ellen 🍁 // Heaven 📚 // Hannah 🥧 // Mikayla 🍂

My Top 5 Favorite Fantasy Finds

1. Song of the Sword by Hope Ann

Absolutely beautiful, full of strong allegorical elements, and wistfully mysterious, this book is the one that got me into the Legends of Light series. Definitely recommend. 😉 (Read my review.)

2. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

One of the most wholesome, beautifully written books, and I’m forever in love with the mountain, Peder, and the strong supportive friendships between the main characters. ❤ I also really enjoyed book two. 😉 (Read my review.)

3. Shallows by Denver Evans (a.k.a. Perry Kirkpatrick)

This book is just VIBESSSS. I honestly love it so much. A hauntingly gorgeous fantasy world with adorably shippable main characters, this trilogy starts out as fluff and gets deeper and deeper as it goes, handling themes of mental health, chronic illness, and identity. (Read my review.)

4. The Warden and the Wolf King by Andrew Peterson

This is actually the forth book in the Wingfeather Saga, so beware of spoilers if you look it up. 😉 It does a beautiful job tying up the entire series with humor and heart, but some of the last few scenes gave me absolute chills and strengthened my faith. ❤ (I won’t share my review here, because #spoilers, but check out the whole series, please. 😉 )

5. The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

This is a criminally underrated trilogy so I’ll never stop recommending it. It has some of the most unique worldbuilding ever, and the characters are really lovable and easy to root for. 😉 I especially loved how nerdy it got with all the fantasy forms of cartography. (Read my review.)

Grand Prize giveaway!

Most books are contributions by participating authors. Ships to contiguous US only. Winner will have 48 hours to respond after being contacted.


Grab on Amazon!

Tell me, what is your favorite fantasy novel or series?

The Stealthmaster’s Shadow Cover Reveal!

The Stealthmaster’s Shadow Cover Reveal!

Do you hear me screaming happily all the way from here??!! I mean, if you live all the way in Antarctica and you can hear me, either I’m really loud or penguins are really quiet. #deepthoughts

Back to why I was screaming… Today I get to share the cover of Hope Ann’s upcoming book, The Stealthmaster’s Shadow, fourth in the Legends of Light series. 😀 😀 I’ve loved all the previous books I’ve read, so I’m super excited to read the next installment.

Here are three reasons why…

1. The Blurb

It’s ten confounded years since the war ended.

Ten years since the Prince won the war and pardoned the rebels.

And left.

The Prince left, but lasting peace never had a chance to begin.

As a Stealthmaster, Verus is determined to complete the task the Prince left, whatever the cost. Traitors, needlessly vague governors, and threatening rumors are all part of a standard mission. Verus will bring peace to what is left of the world, one city and village at a time. According to the governor’s daughter, the war was never about a physical peace in the first place, but what does she or any of the other Followers know? They weren’t there during the war.

They didn’t see the horrors Tauscher spread over the land or the scars that will never fade.

Commandeering the task of a former soldier, Verus presents himself to the governor of Nerva. Eventually he’ll need to undermine the man, but even Stealthmasters need money, and a mission to discover the owner of a misshapen slipper shouldn’t be difficult.

Until the ambassador from Zahavia appears.

Suddenly face to face with nightmares from the past, Verus struggles to help those plunged into danger, from the governor’s newest prisoner to a serving lad to an infuriating woman he’s taken to calling princess. Fleeing will only make the enemy stronger. But staying…

Staying could doom them all.

2. Some Quotes

I haven’t read this book yet, but I can already tell from the quotes that this is going to be a hilarious and heartfelt read.

TSS quote 1

What a rogue! XD

TSS quote 2

Ominous and snarky. 😀

TSS quote 3

Oh, dear!! 😉

3. The Cover 😉

Lights, camera, gorgeousness!


(This fantastic cover was designed by Kate Flournoy.)

So now all we have left to do is stare at this lovely cover until June 1st when the book releases. *sighs happily* (Apparently, you can preorder it HERE.)

About the Author


Hope Ann uses chocolate to bribe a wide ring of spies, from the realm leapers of Aslaria to the double agents of Elkbend, for their stories. Based in Indiana, she is the self-published author of the Legends of Light series, personal writing coach, and the Communications Coordinator for Story Embers. You can find out more about her at




Bookish Blessings: October Book Haul

Bookish Blessings: October Book Haul

I can’t believe I’m actually doing a book haul post!! This month has been big on book blessings. 😀


Aaaaaaaaahhhh!!!! It’s seriously a dream come true to be holding this book in my hands. ❤ I have loved all of the books contained in this volume in their ebook form. When Hope Ann announced it was available in paperback, I jumped at the chance. My gorgeous copy arrived only days later. I can’t wait to re-read these lovely books. 😀 (You can’t see in this picture, but that book spine is THICK!)


I picked up this little book at a library book sale. My mom enjoyed reading it years ago, so I’m looking forward to seeing how I like it. 😉 It looks like a sweet one! (And my little pumpkin just had to make it into the picture…)


Oooo, look! A review copy! I love Kelsey Bryant’s writing, so I’m excited to read this book in the next few days.


Yeah, I’ve read this before, and I have a first edition e-copy, but I kinda needed the shiny new version. (Also, it’s free. 😀 )


This is what you do with $0.99 left on an Amazon giftcard. 😀 I can’t wait to sample this author’s writing. 😉

My bookshelf is getting tired of new arrivals being crammed onto the shelves, but I’m not–that’s for sure. 😉 I’m so grateful for the beautiful reads I’ve been blessed with, and I can’t wait to give the new books a try!

What amazing books have you bought (or borrowed) this month?

(Thanks to my sister, Anna, for taking the higher quality pictures! 🙂 )
Book Review: Rose of the Oath!

Book Review: Rose of the Oath!

35211470“They were coming. They never stopped coming.

A wolf howled, the call rising to an eerie pitch before dropping, hurtling downward. The echo barely faded when another howl replied. Always… Always, forever, and yet again, they would come.

His breath slipped between his teeth and he finally lifted his gaze from the crimson rose as the wind hurtled off, whistling through the narrow pass that led outward. Out into the forest. Out into Aslaria.

And so he waited.

Meanwhile, war clouds the horizon and rebels gather under a mysterious leader. Alone, with her two younger sisters, Elissa watches the mountain road desperately for her brother’s return. Instead, she receives news of his capture by a strange figure covered in scars and cloaked in wolf skins.
With rebels drawing nearer, she sets off to find her brother. To save him. There is no one else who can.

Yet she soon finds the rose that granted her warning now holds her captive in safety. Outside the valley, war threatens those she loves most. Though her strange host claims the ancient promises of the Prince’s return and victory over the rebels, Elissa knows the blood-drenched truth. She is on her own. Elissa will do anything to keep her family safe, but more than one kind of wolf stalks the Blackwood and danger lurks closer than she could ever imagine.” (from Goodreads)

A darling Beast who has to communicate through writing and just got himself a new fighting buddy? All. The. Cuteness. ❤ I had half-decided not to like this book for the sole reason it is replacing Rose of Prophecy. After reading it and the prequel leading into it, my mind is very much changed. I LOVE them. They start the series off so much better, setting the tone and filling us in on the Separation, the Stieg Der, and the King’s Oath. And they told me again the beautiful message of redemption and true love and never letting go of hope even when we can’t see how God is good during such an evil time. The part that really struck me though was how the Prince took the very people who had caused so much pain and gave them new purpose in Him to spread new hope. SPOILER ALERT! (I also nearly cry about the matching scars.) End of Spoiler! This book definitely wasn’t all serious–the cuteness between Elissa and the Beast was in there–and the library did make it in. 😉 Just a note that there are some very intense scenes including children in danger from wolf attacks and one very descriptive fight with a wolf.

Best quotes: Dust motes floated through the air, dancing along golden beams sliced between the books–rows of books, arching upward. Rolling ladders leaned against several shelves. I traced my fingers along the spines of ancient tomes as I wound my way inward.

“The Legends do not tell the half of what the King did for us. They are true, Beauty. True and much more besides. Don’t you ever doubt them.”

Altogether–time to reread the whole series. And then read it again. 😉

Book Review: Rose of the Night

Book Review: Rose of the Night

35180534“Behind every beast, there is a curse.
Behind every curse, there is a promise.
Behind every promise, there is a sacrifice.

Over two hundred years before the one he’d know as Beauty was born, Adrian risks all in an attempt to win the heart of the one he loves. Instead, he dooms himself and the rest of Aslaria. Blood and tears weave a legend of hope and sorrow, love and betrayal. Alive only because of the mercy granted by the King, Adrian dedicates himself to the only task that now matters. A mission to undo the night he has caused.

A prequel to Rose of the Oath, this is a timeless tale of a forbidden rose and the smooth voice of a masked stranger. A story of rebellion and despair and love. A story of a promise given and of a hope received.

The story of the Oathkeeper.” (from Goodreads)

Good news–I officially have another favorite author! 😉 This is Hope Ann’s best book yet. (Which I usually think about the most recent one, because they seem to just get better and better.) This allegorical novelette is about the rebellion of mankind and the promise of the King. Somehow despite the very sad theme, it was still so full of hope and light, causing me to love and wonder at the mercy of God. With the rich allegory and lush descriptions characteristic to this series, it was such a beautiful book to read. 😉 Just a note that there are a couple scenes including death by wolf attacks and stabbing that get a little descriptive.

Best quotes: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! “Adrian.” The King shook His head. His fingers lifted my chin, forcing me to stare into His eyes. “I love you yet, My son.” END OF SPOILER!

Altogether, I loved this so much, but my poor dear Adrian deserves more story. I’m very happy that this leads directly into Rose of the Oath. Excuse me while I go read… 😀

Book Review: Shadows of the Hersweald

Book Review: Shadows of the Hersweald

34206334“They would have to come that afternoon. Haydn glared at the rutted road twisted away from the gate beneath him, slithering into the shadows of the Hersweald. And what was the flaming idea behind leaving him in charge? Nerthach in the hands of a criminal… that would put them all in the good graces of the province governor, no questions asked. A battered soldier from a defeated army, Haydn knows there is only one end to the arrival of the Prince’s governor. Except he hasn’t counted on the Prince himself. Or the pardon which his recent foe has declared to acquit all those who fought against him. A pardon Haydn detests. A pardon that refuses to punish the rebels now threatening his own village. And his sister. Guilt-ridden from his own actions during the war, Haydn knows there are others who have no conscience at all. Others who are using the freedom of the pardon to forward their own desperate schemes.

With enemies closing in on all sides, a pardon that refuses punishment, and nightmares of murder and fire haunting his every thought, will Haydn recognize the truth or will his fear condemn everything he loves to destruction?” (from Goodreads)

I was more than excited to revisit the world of Aslaria in what has become one of my all time favorite series. This book is gorgeous inside and out! Best. poetic. prose. ever. Haydn’s struggles were a perfect example of how things go when we try to gain peace on our own. Even though he was a confident veteran with a deadly reputation, good intentions, and a fierce loyalty to family and village, the medallion was proof that he couldn’t conquer everything. Gorawen and Traveon were neat side characters, and I alternated between hating Mathias’ guts and wondering if I misunderstood him. SPOILER ALERT! I misunderstood him. One thing (besides the world’s best prose) I always appreciate about this allegorical series is the respectful portrayal of God, and I was very blessed by the featuring of a Holy Spirit character in this one. There were also some pretty great plot twists (though that last one was horrible in its ramifications!), and all the sneaking around was awesome. SPOILER ALERT! Just make sure you have those moonstones! END OF SPOILER! Just a note that this book is slightly darker than the first two, and one character frequently uses fake curse words. There are also violent memories of war, mention of SPOILER ALERT! murder in the past END OF SPOILER, and theoretical danger SPOILER ALERT! to a woman from a very evil man END OF SPOILER.

Best quote: “I tore it up, but not because I rejected the Prince. I tore it up because men such as you and I ought not to walk free.”

Altogether, I’m pretty happy with this book. I need another. 😀 (And is anyone else off the walls happy they are coming out in paperback??!!)

I beta-read this book and received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Shadows of the Hersweald Cover Reveal!

Shadows of the Hersweald Cover Reveal!

I can’t believe it y’all!!!! I got to beta-read the third Legends of Light novella, and now I get to help show you the cover!


Shadows of the Hersweald is a retelling of the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel, and out of this world awesome. 😀

This quote right here, it just one of the many reasons I love this book… *sniffs*


A battered soldier from a defeated army, Haydn knows the only end to the arrival of the Prince’s governor is chains, followed by punishment and possible execution. Except he hasn’t counted on the Prince himself. Or the pardon which his recent foe has declared to acquit all those who fought against him.

A pardon Haydn detests.

A pardon that refuses to punish the rebels now threatening his own village. And his sister.

Guilt-ridden from his own actions during the war, Haydn knows there are others who have no conscience at all. Others who are using the freedom of the pardon to forward their own desperate schemes.

With enemies closing in on all sides, a pardon that refuses punishment for the rebellion, and nightmares of murder and fire hovering in the back of Haydn’s every thought, can he save the only ones left he cares about before it is too late?

Find out in Shadows of the Hersweald!

Sounds extremely fantastic, eh? And now for the cover, since that’s probably why you are here in the first place. 😀


Isn’t it beautiful?!!! This gorgeous cover was designed by a talented artist who just started a blog you can find here.

And in case you aren’t excited enough yet, here’s the book trailer for Shadows of the Hersweald!.


Hope Ann is a Christian wordsmith, avid reader, and dedicated authoress. Her time is taken up with writing, reading, archery, knife throwing, creating writing prompts, helping care for the house and eight younger siblings, and generally enjoying the adventures of life on a small farm at the crossroads of America. She has self-published fairy tale retellings on Amazon and is currently working on several projects including a fantasy novel and futuristic trilogy. You can find out more about Hope and her work at

And we love her books and hope she keeps ’em coming. 😉

Top 5 Fantasy Finds

Top 5 Fantasy Finds


I read “fantasy” as one of my absolute favorite genres probably because it is so close to medieval; but it’s often hard to find anything in it because it usually includes quite a bit of magic. (Read my thoughts on the issue here.) It’s very special for me to be able to recommend five non-magical (or at least very light) books from this genre.

41egzxvm-5l-_sx311_bo1204203200_Song of the Sword by Hope Ann

This was a nice new surprise this year. Not magical in the least, well-written, and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ly inspiring. (Like over-highlighting on the Kindle inspiring.) For more reasons to read it and a small content advisory, read my review. (And the first book in the series is super good too!) 😉




23754884The Green Ember by S.D. Smith

Rabbits with swords? Wouldn’t that be kind of little kiddie or something? Nope. Also non-magical (bonus!), this book is really amazing, and the characters being rabbits adds a neat twist to the action scenes. For excessive fangirling, read my review here. And yours truly is hopping up and down (like a rabbit, of course) in anticipation for the sequel. I can’t wait to read it!



25618438The Black Star of Kingston by S.D. Smith

This is something of a prequel to The Green Ember, but could just as easily stand-alone as it’s own story. It was fantastic to read the history behind the pledge they are always saying to each other, and Fleck Blackstar was FABULOUS! (For a rabbit.) 😉 Read my review.




16166626Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland

If this portal-medieval fantasy classifies as magical at all, it’s very light. That said, the book is AMAZING!!! Jumping back and forth between this world and the dream one, Lael; sword-fighting; cool elf-like people (with huge ears); and even some sweet romance… It was definitely a cliche breaker because it went against the you-accidentally-found-another-world-and-now-you-are-automatically-it’s-savior story line. Nope, the MC’s coming is a world-ending problem. Two worlds ending. For a content advisory and some more incomprehensible screeching, read my review.

DSC09964 (1)

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

What would a post on fantasy be without the pinnacle of the whole genre? That’s a picture of our family treasury (complete with color illustrations and maps) along with my Hobbit door necklace. With very light magic, amazing characters, some good British wit, and amazing spiritual themes–well, you get why I love the series. 😉

fff-bonfiresWarm your hands in the glow of an autumn bonfire and let your imagination take you to another world.

For links to the other blogs participating in this party and entries for the grand prize, visit our hostess blog. 😉



Book Review: Rose of Prophecy!!

Book Review: Rose of Prophecy!!

28942618“She is afraid. Not because she is alone. Not because thick roiling clouds obscure the moon. Not because the wind rushes through the forest like a wild dragon. She is afraid because she is late. And to be late means death. Her life had been happy once. Despite the destruction wreaked by Tauscher, traitor to the King. Despite the distant war led by the Prince and fought with the help of her three brothers. Despite her own poorly-chosen nickname of Beauty, she’d enjoyed life. Of course, that was also before her father left home on a hopeful errand but returned weary and ill, bearing a velvety scarlet rose which he claimed would never wither. But even life in the ancient hall, tucked away in the center of Mosswood, surrounded by roses of every description, overshadowed with mystery and home to a scarred figure who was more beast than man, wasn’t too bad after a time. But now…now, in a flash of light, Beauty finally glimpses the truth. And the cost. The price which must be paid, or the sacrifice which must be made. It is a curse which even love alone may not be able to break.” (from Goodreads)

I read this series by Hope Ann out of order, so it was super special to hear a bit of the backstory for the second book (although they both stand alone pretty well). From the first line, this story was so good! I enjoyed revisiting the classic story of Beauty and the Beast with an absolutely new twist and some great surprises SPOILER ALERT! like Jetur–I knew he was bad, but not that bad! The romance was so sweet (and something I wouldn’t hesitate to have my younger sisters read) especially since SPOILER ALERT! the Beast’s curse could only be broken by sacrifical love. That was just too good. The Beast was portrayed so well that you find yourself “falling” for him right along with Beauty. Just a note that this book has some slightly magical elements including a very special ring and an “enchantment” on the castle.

Best quote(s): “You are rather hideous…at least on the outside. I haven’t decided what you are on the inside yet.”

“Finally outside, Beauty?” he inquired. “You spend too much time in that stuffy library.”

Altogether I found this to be a sweet read with surprising depth perfect for anyone who loves light fantasy! Can’t wait for the third book… 😉

Book Review: Song of the Sword!!!

Book Review: Song of the Sword!!!

Hey, everyone. *drops voice to a whisper* You know that review I’ve been promising you? Here it is…finally.

41egzxvm-5l-_sx311_bo1204203200_“A glittering sword. An ancient oath. A blackened rose. And a melody which ties it all together.

When Evrard and Roinette, twins separated at birth, are overtaken by events swirling from centuries past, they are forced into a battle beyond their own limited powers. With their ability to walk in the melody realm, catching glimpses of the light and darkness underlying Aslaria, comes even more danger.

Deadly mistbenders. Writhing walls of blankness. Hateful drumbeats. As a warrior in the Melody, Evrard has seen it all. But his own ability in the melody realm pales in comparison to the Prince’s melody, the legendary prowess of past Wingmasters, and even the depth of his sister’s song.

To rescue Roinette and evade the trap almost certainly set for him by those who want his power, Evrard knows he’ll have to be careful. But even if he can find the Wingmaster’s sword, there’s no assurance he’ll be able to defeat a mistbender on his own. And, in the end, will his and Roinette’s efforts matter if the Prince brings an ancient oath to fulfillment, shaking the very foundation of Aslaria?” (from Goodreads)

This novella drew me in with its writing style then kept me guessing and surprised by its depth. (I was highlighting quotes on my Kindle like mad at some points!) I loved Evrard’s struggles in his own strength, and he and Roinette working together was a beautiful picture of Christian community. I appreciated that this book portrayed the characters’ “powers” as given by God and useless without Him. The battle between joy and despair was so beautiful, and I loved the outcome! Just a note that there are intense nemeses and a shapeshifter included.

Best quote(s): “You know the truth. And you have the melody. You are not alone, and you are not defenseless.”

“Never again. It had lurked on the edges of her consciousness long enough. She knew what the light held, and she wanted it back.”

“‘We’re going along that?’ Evrard questioned, stepping forward and peering up the narrow path winding away into whiteness. ‘Not a chance,’ Grivina shook her head, chuckling. ‘You’re going along that. I’m heading home.'”

Altogether, I found this to be an amazing, beautiful read for anyone who enjoys light fantasy. Looking forward to reading more from this author!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

IMG_0420AAbout the Author

Hope Ann is a Christian authoress who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She was homeschooled and now helps teach several of her eight younger siblings. She has been writing for over five years, and has so many story ideas that she doubts she will ever stop. Her favorite genre to write is high fantasy with a touch of the allegorical. A close second is futuristic suspense. Her goal is to not only entertain with her stories, but to provide inspirational fiction for young adults. Predictably, she loves reading fantasy, fairy tales, mythology, and futuristic suspense. Her favorite authors include J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, Frank Peretti, Mark Twain, and Serena Chase. Her hobbies include photography, movie making, knitting, tree climbing, writing e-mails to friends, listening to Celtic music, and collecting shiny trinkets for story inspiration. You can visit Hope’s blog at, or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.


Go get yourself a copy and don’t come back until you’re ready to fangirl with me! 😉