My July Book Haul | 2021

Hello, fellow campaigners of the writing world! A. F. Kopp is back for a long-overdue Book Haul! I haven’t really read any book since February until this last month, so I finally have enough content for a haul! Yay! Well, let’s get started!

#1. Promise’s Prayer (Truth from Taerna, Book 1) | Erika Mathews

He promised to save the land. She received a divine calling.
But how can mere prayer quench his restlessness and her fears?

Walking behind a plow day in and day out gets boring for a nineteen-year-old who longs for nothing more than adventure. In the midst of the rampant lawlessness and love of pleasure that drive their country, Kaelan Ellith yearns to make a difference. When a promise at his mother’s deathbed gives him the impetus to do just that, he’s off to the capital city to bring back the knowledge of Adon Olam. Despite his natural leadership skills, his schemes keep going awry, and lost people keep passing into eternity without hope. How can he ever keep such an impossible promise?

Shy Carita Kostan knows the voice of Adon Olam, and she desires nothing more than to follow His calling: “Love. Serve. Pray. Persevere.” Yet how can she minister His love to her neighbors when her soul is tormented by their unmet needs and handicapped by her own paralyzing fears?

When the true nature of his promise and her call begin to surface, Kaelan and Carita just might discover how saving the world is entirely different than they imagined . . . if they have the humility and the courage to receive it.

A clean, family-friendly Christian kingdom adventure fiction novel for all ages.

4.5 stars (9/10)

I rather enjoyed the book because of the unique world and setting and interesting characters. Reading about Christians struggling in prayer is relatable and found myself being in the shoes of both characters, but mostly in Carita’s.

The writing style was pretty good and it progressed throughout the story. The plot starts pretty quickly, though I will say the reason I didn’t give it full stars is because the middle lagged a bit. Other than that, I recommend this series so far if you like fantasy worlds with no magic, no violence, and little-to-no romance and Christian themes.

#2. What Lies Above (What Lies Above, Book 1) | Caitlin Lambert

Her city is her prison. His pain is his price.

Eva’s world is buried in secrets. No one talks about the Surface – the mysterious world above. But after Eva follows a dead man into the crypts, she finds more than a body. She finds the truth. The Surface isn’t a place of blue skies and star-lit nights like she always imagined. It’s a place of destruction and death. In her city, she is safe. But as more lies entangle her and as the people she loves begin slipping away, she discovers that life inside her city might be more dangerous than what lies above it.

Eli’s world is stained in blood. Traitors of a 40-year-long war are sent to a distant, frozen planet to die. Eli’s mother was one of the condemned. To avenge her death, he enlists in the Regime that killed her, vowing to destroy them from the inside. If he is discovered, his family will pay for it with their lives. But when he is tasked with punishing the very defiance he stands for, he must decide if avenging his mother is worth the blood on his hands.

When their worlds collide, Eva and Eli discover that they are both caught in the same trap. All they want is to save their families and escape their prisons.
But freedom is never free. 

5/5 stars (10/10)

I had to use a lot of willpower to put this down because I didn’t want to! I found the characters, plot, and setting very riveting and creative. Though we always see the dystopian setting with an upcoming rebellion, I feel that Lambert does a great job to make it her own by twists and turns one wouldn’t expect. The world reminded me of a mix of Divergent, Ender’s Game, and the Hunger Games. Though there was violence, it wasn’t to par with what the Hunger Games is.

I really enjoyed the redemptive theme that drove through the story, and I feel that though there was violence, it was done to pave way for the redemption of a character.

#3. Ignite (Ignite Duology, Book 1) | Jenna Terese

What if superhumans weren’t considered heroes?

When Scarlett Marley is attacked by an illegal super with fire powers, she doesn’t get burned, but now she has a fire-like glow flickering in her eyes.
With superpowers criminalized, she has no choice but to turn herself over to the Superhuman Containment Facility, or risk hurting everyone she loves.
Her normal life seems lost forever, until she is selected to be one of the first to receive the experimental cure to destroy her powers. In exchange, she must first complete one mission:
Infiltrate and capture one of the largest gangs of supers in the remains of once-great Rapid City.
With the cure and all her future at stake, Scarlett is prepared to do whatever it takes to bring these criminals to justice so she can return to her family. But this gang and their leader, Rez, aren’t what everyone says, and Scarlett begins to question everything she was ever told about the SCF and the fire flowing in her veins.

The cure is her only hope for returning her life to what it was before, but is that life worth returning to after all?

5/5 stars (10/10)

I loved this book! It was very interesting with the mix of different characters who were all flawed and made mistakes, yet were lovable. Terese took some turns with the writing that I had not expected which made the characters face more consequences due to their decisions, and I thought that it was inventive!

The only thing I will say is that I pictured the main character, Scarlett, to be completely different than how she is portrayed in the book. Later, I found she was blonde and Caucasian, when I imagined her to be African American. Did I change my view on her? No, lol. I liked the version I had originally seen.

Otherwise, the book was fantastic and if you like Marvel, but like more redemptive themes with a dash of Christianity, this is for you! Though, the Christianity seemed a bit out of the blue at the end, I am excited to see how Jenna Terese takes it in the sequel!

#4. The Strange Proposal (Wainwright Duology, Book 2) | Grace Livingston Hill

Mary Elizabeth Wainwright, carefree daughter of a famous family, had expected to have fun at her cousin’s wedding. What she hadn’t expected, however, was to end up being the maid of honor–or to have John Saxon, the handsome best man she met just before the ceremony, proclaim his love for her during the wedding recessional!

Now many forces threaten to pull Mary Elizabeth and John apart: distance, social standing, finances, a lost lava letter, belief in God, and a wealthy man who is determined that nothing–and no one–will stop him from claiming Mary Elizabeth as his own . . . 

4.5/5 stars. (9/10)

I will say, I read this book in a single book that had three different books in it, so it didn’t tell me that it was a sequel, though it can act as a standalone. I was a bit confused by how the author thrust a bunch of characters in without explanation, but I was able to follow along pretty well. Well, I found that the characters and their character arcs were really interesting, the only thing worth scratching my head about was how soon they fell in love. I mean, if it’s God’s will, then I guess it will happen fairly quickly.

I did like how there was growth in the main characters in faith as well as some characters planting seeds of Faith and the Gospel. Since it was a bit cheesy and unrealistic on the romance side, I won’t give it full marks.

#5. Surrender’s Strength (Truth from Taerna, Book 3) | Erika Mathews

Her only ambition is keeping her old familiar identity.
But she isn’t given that choice.

Ever since her mother’s death, all Laelara wants is to keep doing what she’s good at: managing the household. She definitely isn’t interested in higher education. When she’s sent to the city to further her schooling, Laelara finds herself caught up in a case of mistaken identity that seems like the perfect opportunity to avoid the despised Academy. Amid the whirlwind of new friends, new jobs, and the glitzy social life of the Palace District—particularly the trivia contests—her double life becomes more and more precarious. For the first time in her twenty years, everything spirals out of her careful control: her family’s security, her job, her friendships, and her very identity. With her lifelong purpose and identity stripped away, to what will Laelara surrender, and where will she find the strength to persevere?

5/5 stars. (10/10)

(This is copied from my “Surrender’s Strength Full Review and Excerpt” post)

I extremely enjoyed this book because it really hit home. This biblical theme that Mathews chose for the book, surrendering to the Lord, is super relatable for me at the moment. I’ve had to do that so much lately.

The tension that was built up was excellently done in order to make Laelara not be able to do things in her own strength, and it was crafted very well. Usually I feel frustrated and annoyed at mistaken identity stories, but I found this one interesting and not bad at all. It was thoughtfully done.

Laelara’s mind and her thoughts were relatable and developed her character very well, which I rather enjoyed and liked how she shifted her focus when she reached rock bottom. It shifted off of herself and onto the Lord.

Lastly, I love the small and subtle romance going on in the end and how her views on marriage progressed through prayer and guidance from God. What I love about Erika Mathews’ writing is that it deals with real things and shows what NOT to do and how to actually shift focus onto God through her characters and world.

#6. Heartmender (Heartmender, Book 1) | V. Romas Burton

In the land of Barracks, the economy thrives on the barter of their citizens’ most precious commodity—a human heart. Each year, the Heart Reign festival is thrown for those who have become of age to trade their hearts for their deepest desires.

And this year is Adelaide Tye’s year to trade.

After despising Heart Reign for years, Addie endures her Extraction and discovers that her heart isn’t gray and dying, like all other hearts in Barracks, but bright red, alive, and teeming with power.

With a warning from the extractor of hearts, Addie rushes through Heart Reign to make her choice—trade her heart to Schism, the monster who took her brother years before, or go in search of the Mender—a mythical man said to purify hearts and save her own heart. Either decision will rip her away from the one man who has always been by her side.

Knowing there is only one real choice to make, Addie jumps through Schism’s red door and is thrust into a dark and dangerous realm where she is faced with making a trade she may not survive.

5/5 stars. (10/10)

I couldn’t put it down. The struggles and temptations that Addie faced were relatable and extremely climactic each time she faced them.

It is set in a fantasy world where people have to give up their hearts so it took a bit of getting used to the setting, but the character’s were deep, and I fell in love with them instantly. Out of all the books I’ve read this month, this one was the hardest to put down so I finished it in a couple of hours. I love it and recommend it to many people.

This book is like a mix of ABC’s Once Upon a Time and Dante’s Inferno. I thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait for the next book (I ordered it last night and should get here in a few days). Also, it’s been compared to Caraval as well.

After reading all of these books by mid-July, I am now trying to look back at see which ones stuck the most with me. I think that the one that I am most excited for the sequel is V. Romas Burton’s novel. I just ordered her next book and can’t wait to follow Addie on her next journey! It’s a book that I’ve recommended to a few different people because it got me so excited. The close runner-up is Jenna Terese’s Ignite. Love the superhero plot with Christian themes. Made me giddy!

Thank you so much for reading! Comment your favorite book you’ve read in the past month or two or DM me on Instagram/Twitter via the handle @ afkoppauthor and I’d love to chat there!

Salutations, fellow adventurers!

A. F. Kopp

8 thoughts on “My July Book Haul | 2021”

  1. Love the pics and movement in them! And I love the books too! 😀 I’ve read Surrender’s Strength and loved it, and I’m looking forward to reading Promise’s Prayer and Ignite soon as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All three are spectacular books, and thank you! Even though a lot more time and effort was put into it, I rather enjoy the outcome of how it turned out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure! That’s how graphic design usually works, lots more work than you’d think. 😉 But I’m glad you’re happy with it, you should be!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you! And yes, that’s what I’ve learned that it is better to take longer on it (as well as adding motion can capture attention better).

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s