What's your favorite kind of romance novel? Here are two excellent selections for your fall line-up. #falllineup #whoneedsmovieswhenyouhavebooks #amreading #romancenovels #sweetromance #cleanromance #thriller #bookreview

What’s your favorite kind of romance novel? Here are two excellent selections for your fall line-up.

I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.

What's your favorite kind of romance novel? Here are two excellent selections for your fall line-up. #falllineup #whoneedsmovieswhenyouhavebooks #amreading #romancenovels #sweetromance #cleanromance #thriller #bookreview

What’s Your Favorite Genre of Romance Novels?

Ok, that’s probably like asking about your favorite child, parent, or ice cream flavor. An impossible-to-answer question. I would answer it differently each time, depending on my mood. I’m filling my fall line-up with romance novels set in one of the upcoming seasons. All’s Fair in Love and Christmas put me in the mood for more Christmas titles, and Just Don’t Fall made me want to walk through crunchy leaves sipping a pumpkin-spice latte.

But I also enjoy other kinds of romance novels. Ones that feel like a Hallmark movie and ones with danger, intrigue, and a love-conquers-all vibe. This week’s book reviews include two romance novels from completely different genres. A light, feel-good romance and the second installment of an action-packed romance series.

What is your favorite genre of romance novels?

You Make it Feel Like Christmas

By Toni Shilo, Bethany House Publishers, September 2023, 208 pages.

As the holiday season approaches, Starr Lewis joins the streams of people traveling home. Only Starr will need to stay there. Not something she ever imagined having to do once she finished college and moved to New York City to start her career in marketing. After working diligently for two years, she’s the easiest to lay off when the company faces a downturn.

Starr has no idea how she’ll break the news to her driven, math-genius family. Everyone loves math and has a successful career to prove it. Starr, the baby of the family, loves words and creativity. She doesn’t even want to think about her family’s reaction when they discover her job has evaporated.

And so, Starr comes home for Thanksgiving and plans on staying through the New Year—or longer if she can’t find a job. She’ll suffer through her sister’s Christmas Eve Wedding (to Starr’s ex-boyfriend). But she decides to keep her job situation to herself. Things will turn a corner soon. She hopes. Nothing can make the situation better.

When her brother’s best friend shows up on her parent’s doorstep for Thanksgiving Dinner, Starr decides Waylon might prove the antidote she needs for an otherwise awful holiday season.

In theory, Waylon Emmerson knows best-friend’s-little-sisters grow up. But he wasn’t prepared to see the grown-up Starr Lewis. His instant attraction ties his tongue in knots and leaves him feeling like an awkward teen. Waylon needs to focus on restoring his mother’s Christmas Shop to its former glory, not the beautiful Starr.

When she offers to help him market the store, Waylon knows it’s a win-win situation. Because the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes he’s losing his heart.

What I Loved About This Book

If you love sweet romances with a strong faith element, you’ll love this book. And if Hallmark Christmas stories make you swoon, you’ll really love You Make it Feel Like Christmas. Readers will relate to Starr and Waylon as they work through dreams deferred and discover who God created them to be.

@ToniShiloWrite has a sweet Christmas romance novel out! You won't want to miss it! #YouMakeitFeelLikeChristmas #amreading @bethany_house #sweetromance #inspy Click To Tweet

To Free the Stars

By J’Nell Ciesielski, Thomas Nelson, August 8, 2023, 400 pages.

Ten years after her beloved husband and fellow Talon agent dies in Europe while rescuing their friend Philip, Ivy still struggles with depression and sadness. While assisting in a covert operation in London, Ivy comes face to face with Jack.

Instead of falling to his death that fateful day, Jack fell into the hands of the Order of the Rising Moon, a fiendish cult bent on world domination. Drugged, deprived, and manipulated, Jack has gone from Ivy’s closest friend and husband to a lethal automaton in the hands of evil. He is a Riser.

Ivy knows the old Jack remains somewhere inside the shell of the man, and her new goal in life is to find him. But first, she must capture him—the world’s deadliest assassin. With the help of Philip (who also suffered at the hands of the Order) and other Talon agents, Ivy just might accomplish her rescue.

Can Ivy and Jack regain the years the Order has stolen? How will they navigate the terrors locked inside, the betrayal of their dearest friend, and the unspeakable horrors of their separation?

What I Loved About This Book

Two important notes about this book. Readers will only understand this book if they read the first one, The Brilliance of Stars. This book does not provide a light, beach-read experience. While the first book hints at the darkness, the characters will plumb the depths of darkness in the sequel.

Readers will hear the echoes of the salvation story. They’ll see how the evil one wants to ensnare and enslave us. Readers will also see God’s relentless pursuit of us, no matter how small or vast the chasm between us seems. Ultimately, it is the grace story of hope and redemption for the worst of the worst.

I often had to put the book aside for a day or two and struggled with the big emotions it brought up. Read the two books together. While they might not provide an easy week of entertainment, they will provide a fast-paced thriller filled with profound theology and analogies to ponder for weeks after closing their covers.

Two books best read together are always worth the wait. #ToFreetheStars @JnellCiesielski @ThomasNelson #amreading #bookreivew Click To Tweet
What's your favorite kind of romance novel? Here are two excellent selections for your fall line-up. #falllineup #whoneedsmovieswhenyouhavebooks #amreading #romancenovels #sweetromance #cleanromance #thriller #bookreview

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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