Favorite Book Titles 2021

Favorite Book Titles Christmas Lights

Yes, I know— “a rose by any other name…” and sometimes different books’ names are the same. 😀 Even so, it’s something when the very sound of a book title makes a remarkable impression on me. Here are the books I read over the past year with titles that most stood out to me. They’re listed in the order I read them.

  

Flame of Resistance
Tracy Groot
Christian Historical Fiction

A prostitute in Nazi-occupied France takes up the Allied cause.

The Small Rain
Madeleine L’Engle
Literary Fiction

This young pianist cannot live a façade of a life.

White Nights, Red Morning
Judith Pella
Christian Historical Fiction

Two brothers are wedged apart as revolution erupts in Russia.

Pride and Pumpernickel
Aisha Ford
Christian Contemporary Romance

She’s less than excited about the gourmet chef stepping in to help save the bakery she manages.

When Twilight Breaks
Sarah Sundin
Christian Historical Romance

Two Americans strike up a scheme against the Nazi regime in 1938 Germany.

Holding Heaven
Jerry Jenkins
Biblical Fiction

A father/son conversation between a carpenter and a gift to the world…

Seal of the Sand Dweller
R. Rushing
Biblical Fiction

The Egyptian courtiers around him are waiting for his downfall.

Never Miss
Melissa Koslin
Christian Romantic Suspense

They’re on a race to prevent a worldwide bioattack.

Funny Meeting You Here: 6 Shorts
Holly Schindler
Humorous Fiction

When meeting someone for the first time isn’t so run-of-the-mill…

Jewel of the Nile
Tessa Afshar
Biblical Fiction

The journey to find her Cushite father becomes a dangerous one.

Never Play God
Bryan Jabouin
Christian Sci-Fi

Never Play God

There’s a risky chance he can bring his dead wife back to…life?

The Plums Hang High
Gertrude E. Finney
Biographical Novel

The Plums Hang High

They want to pluck down a plum of fortune over in America, but…

Mystery on Magnolia Circle
Kate Klise
Middle Grade Mystery

Mystery on Magnolia Circle

Two best friends. Two pet dogs. And a local crime wave.

So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix
Bethany C. Morrow
Young Adult Historical Fiction

So Many Beginnings

Four Black sisters are coming of age during the American Civil War.

The Divine Symphony: A Requiem for Love
and A Symphony in Sand

Calvin Miller
Biblical Allegory

The Divine Symphony 1

The Earthmaker’s plan for creation’s redemption—”sung” in verse.

Theft of the Magi
Miranda Atchley
Christian Historical Mystery

Theft of the Magi

December 1922. A lady private investigator. And missing Christmas gifts.

Giveaway

If you’re interested in this year’s Favorite Book Titles giveaway, comment on this post to be entered to win a paperback copy of The Divine Symphony by Calvin Miller. (Note: It’s a used copy of this out-of-print book, in very good condition). Be sure to mention you’d like to be entered to win this giveaway book. Comments that do not request entrance into the giveaway are more than welcome and will not be entered. Giveaway begins on Friday, December 3, 2021 at 4:00 AM (PST) and ends on Friday, December 10, 2021 at 11:59 PM (PST).

The Divine Symphony 1

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents and mailing addresses only in the contiguous U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older. One randomly determined winner will be notified by email on Saturday, December 11, 2021. If the winner does not respond by Sunday, December 12, 2021, a different entrant will be selected. Add p[dot]prospects[at]live[dot]com to your address book to ensure that a giveaway notification isn’t sent to your junk mail/spam box. For additional giveaway terms, see the Blog Giveaways and Giveaway Privacy information on my Policies page. Entering the giveaway indicates your agreement to the terms.

Author and Book Lover Nadine C. Keels

Royalty. Romance. War. Hope.
The book titles in the Movement of Crowns series were inspired by a line in one of my spoken word pieces, “His Order of Things.”
Pick up the Crowns series at Amazon, or click here to find links to more stores.

The Movement of Crowns Trio Wheel Castles

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Meet Nadine C. Keels

 

Favorite Reads 2021

Favorite Reads Christmas Lights

I received complimentary copies of some of these books for honest reviews, which you’ll find in the posts I’ve linked to.

I look forward to these awards all year! As my blog is all about hope and inspiration, these are the books that most fit that bill for me in 2021 and that I highly recommend to fellow readers. You’ll find them listed in the order I read them, except for some series books that I grouped together.

To the authors of the winning books, if you’d like a medal for making the list, see the bottom of this post.

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot

Christian Historical Fiction

5 Stars

A prostitute in Nazi-occupied France takes up the Allied cause. After I dove into this retelling of a well-known biblical figure’s story, it wasn’t too long before I got a feel for the author’s skilled hand and the poignancy of the different characters’ stories. By two-thirds of the way through, I was riveted, feeling on edge through the (sometimes merciless) turns in the plot. I’m going to remember the characters as well as the flashes of brilliance in this grave but redemptive wartime novel.

The Hadassah Covenant by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen

Biblical Fiction/Split-Timeline Thriller

5 Stars

Centuries after a queen saves her people, mortal danger arises again in this sequel to Hadassah: One Night With the King. The story further illustrates how what happened with Esther and Xerxes was no romantic fairy tale, and the queen’s legendary, heroic acts didn’t mean smooth sailing from then on. The novel has a rich plot, affecting imagery, a sharp sense of atmosphere, and such depth of emotion. The characters’ collective journey makes a compelling case for purpose that outlives the limelight and premature conclusions. So powerful.

The Borrowers by Mary Norton, illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush

Classic Children’s Fantasy

5 Stars

Change is coming to a family of little people who live under the kitchen floor… My, what a cozy and delightful adventure this is! Even as much as I loved the story as a kid, it resonates with me on an even deeper level now, especially the differences between the two generations under the floor and the impending need for greater change. The climax is poignant and incredible, and goodness—now I wish I could remember just how well I understood the book’s last line, decades ago. Its irony and mystery hit me soundly this time around.

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

Christian Historical Romance

5 Stars

Two Americans strike up a scheme against the Nazi regime in 1938 Germany. Wow. It’s rare for me to enjoy the “romance” as much as the “historical” in historical romance, but both aspects are strong here. The hero and heroine are natural, engaging characters that come alive on the page, and their chemistry is evident from the start. (And no, I don’t mean “just so attracted to each other’s perfect physical looks” kind of chemistry.) The novel is full of suspense that leads to gut-wrenching action and a series of frightening twists. There’s nuance at the heart of this story, and its messages are compelling and relevant. An excellent piece of work.

Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem and Franklin Endicott and the Third Key by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Stella Endicott Franklin Endicott and the Third Key

Children’s Fiction/Chapter Books

5 Stars

Stella’s know-it-all classmate says her poem is full of lies, and her worrier brother Frank comes across a mystery! These two books from the Tales from Deckawoo Drive series amazed me. They’re delightful, laugh-out-loud stories with excellent caricatural illustrations that positively burst with personality. And the wise and valuable lesson Frank learns is far more than a kiddie lesson—even as it’s simple enough for kids to grasp, of course. I’m not exaggerating when I say Frank’s story is one of the best children’s books I’ve ever read.

The Great Lab Escape and The Case of the Tabloid Tattler by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick

Middle Grade Mysteries

5 Stars

Mia can read. Mia becomes a sleuth. And Mia is a cat. The literate feline heroine in The Kitten Files mystery series is so blunt and no-nonsense that it’s pretty hilarious at times. I found these quick reads to be clever, exciting, a little heart-tugging, and even pretty adorable. (And that’s saying something coming from a dog lover!) While they’re technically children’s reads, these entertaining tales can appeal to a general audience of folks who’ve got a taste for wholesome, imaginative adventure.

Lost and FoundLost and Found by Jessica Marie Holt

Contemporary Fiction, Short Story

5 Stars

Grief. Compassion. Changes of heart. And hope. Yes, this story is only about thirty pages long. But by no means is it a light, thin, or simplistic tale. It’s at once powerful and understated, contemplative and lovely, with a depth of emotion and understanding. The few characters feel like real, ordinary people, experiencing the painful and beautiful wonder that is life. Life that goes on. I’ve said before that this author is one of the best short story writers I’ve found. And maybe one of these days I’ll get through one of her quick reads without crying. Just maybe.

A Common LifeA Common Life: The Wedding Story by Jan Karon

Christian Fiction

5 Stars

Sixty-two-year-old Father Timothy Kavanagh announces his upcoming nuptials in Book Six of the Mitford Years series. The betrothed couple here has one of the most natural, believable, and intensely romantic relationships I’ve encountered in fiction. As it also takes a significant glimpse into the layered lives of several other Mitford townsfolk, this story brings laugh-out-loud humor, folksy quirks, a little matrimonial chaos, and different perspectives and emotions that come so effortlessly yet profoundly off the page. You’ll want to read at least Books One and Two first to fully appreciate this substantive and beautiful tale.

Giveaway

If you’re interested in this year’s Favorite Reads giveaway, comment on this post to be entered to win a paperback copy of Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot (list price $13.99 USD; be advised that the book arrived from the publisher with a bend in the front cover, but it’s otherwise in very good condition), and/or a paperback copy of When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin (list price $15.99 USD). Be sure to clearly mention which giveaway book(s) you’d like to be entered to win. Comments that do not request entrance into the giveaway are more than welcome and will not be entered. Giveaway begins on Thursday, December 2, 2021 at 4:00 AM (PST) and ends on Friday, December 10, 2021 at 11:59 PM (PST).

Flame of Resistance When Twilight Breaks

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents and mailing addresses only in the contiguous U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older. Two randomly determined winners, one for each book, will be notified by email on Saturday, December 11, 2021. If a winner does not respond by Sunday, December 12, 2021, a different entrant will be selected. Add p[dot]prospects[at]live[dot]com to your address book to ensure that a giveaway notification isn’t sent to your junk mail/spam box. For additional giveaway terms, see the Blog Giveaways and Giveaway Privacy information on my Policies page. Entering the giveaway indicates your agreement to the terms.

Free Reads

You can get your reading started by picking up free copies of The Great Lab Escape and The Movement of Crowns (one of my books). Be sure to check the prices before downloading!

The Great Lab Escape The Movement of Crowns

Author and Book Lover Nadine C. Keels

Friendship. Laughter and pain. And the miracle of second chances.
Now is a great time to pick up a romance collection that has some of my personal favorites,
For Every Love: Three Romantic Reads.
It’s available at Amazon, or click here for links to more stores.

Go to Official Book Page

Congratulations, authors, and thank you for writing your books! If I’ve selected yours as a Favorite Read this year, you’re welcome to a complimentary medal to display on your website, blog, social media—wherever you wish. Click the image below and contact me to receive a full size PNG medal. (The lined watermark will be removed, and the medal will include the year on it, 2021.) Thanks again!

Go to Contact Page

 

Favorite Covers 2021

Favorite Covers Christmas Lights

I received complimentary copies of some of these books for honest reviews of their content, which is separate from my personal assessment of their covers here.

I’m not strictly a “judge a book by its cover” kind of reader. Still, I have an appreciation for cover art as a part of the overall reading experience. Here are covers that particularly stood out to me from books I read this calendar year. The books are listed in the order I read them, except for some series books that I grouped together. 🙂

To the authors of these books, if you’d like a medal (one for you and/or for your cover artist) for being on this list, see the bottom of this post.

Eden Hill by Bill Higgs

Christian Historical Fiction

Eden Hill

Two competing service stations may upset the easy order of this 1960s town.
Okay, so it’s actually been a few years since I read this novel, but the cover has grown on me more and more. The classic car, the cover’s overall tone and texture, the retro feel to the typography, and the little illustration of the throwback gas pump above the title—it’s all spot-on for nostalgic small-town fiction. And what a “novel” license plate!

Arcade and the Dazzling Truth Detector by Rashad Jennings

Christian Children’s Fantasy

Arcade and the Dazzling Truth Detector

Answers about the Triple T Token are finally revealed!
And this cover of the fourth and last book in The Coin Slot Chronicles is indeed dazzling, what with the shining Token around Arcade’s neck and the cover’s golden rays of light bursting down and around from the top. Arcade’s and his sister Zoe’s poses rightly promise action and mysterious adventure as this series closes with a bang.

Nicole by Sarah Monzon

Christian Romantic Comedy

Nicole

She’s raising a child and saving the planet. No time for dating!
The expressive and vibrant illustrated cover on this rom-com, with a bespectacled and stylish heroine I heard is a plus-size gal, convinced me right away to pick up this third book in the Sewing in SoCal series. I especially love the bursts of red on Nicole’s diamond-printed top and the second tier of her earrings, plus her nail polish and glossy lip color to match. Such thoroughly fun and girly artwork!

The Samurai’s Honor by Walt Mussell

Christian Historical Fiction

The Samurai's Honor

Sen’s curiosity could lead to her death.
Even if I hadn’t already been into The Heart of the Samurai series, my “fascinated with samurai-related Japanese history” self would have had trouble resisting this novella’s book cover. The suggestion of artistry, honor, and danger presented by the sword, juxtaposed with delicate cherry blossoms, set against the faint background of Japanese architecture. Gorgeous.

The Butterscotch Bride by Parker J. Cole

Christian Historical Fiction

The Butterscotch Bride

What if escaping to freedom means leaving love behind?
Oh, how this soft, bright, buttery book cover immediately drew my eye. Granted, there are serious reasons why I don’t often gravitate toward historical fiction with lovely plantation land pictured on the front, but a main character in this story sees what many others like him would see when looking up at that big house: “the beautiful façade of [a] two-storied prison.” There’s much behind an eye-catching image like this, and it matters.

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep

Christian Historical Romantic Mystery

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

He’s a constable under fire. She’s a savvy swindler. And they need to find a cabby gone missing.
Besides the great blend of cloudy and grainy texture and dashes of soft light in the pelting rain here, this cover is all about showcasing the hands-on-hips interplay of the couple. The confident stance (and scheming look?) of the heroine especially says so much. And, of course, the iconic clock tower that houses the iconic Big Ben stands tall in the background of this glimpse of Victorian London. It all works!

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

Christian Historical Romance

When Twilight Breaks

Two Americans strike up a scheme against the Nazi regime in 1938 Germany.
This novel’s cover has a relative stillness to it, with a single airplane and a woman’s slow walk on an empty street—creating a sense of foreboding without needing to make the cover too dark. Stars are spread through the twilit sky, blending seamlessly into the faint, handwritten script running through the background. Vintage, suspenseful, beautiful.

The Comeback by E. L. Shen

Middle Grade Fiction

The Comeback

Being a figure skater and a middle schooler is hard—especially when you’re bullied because of your heritage.
Now, if this sparkling cover doesn’t reflect the quintessential, graceful artistry and magic that is figure skating, I don’t know what does. Color, warmth, and the essence of ice and light are captured in this image that all but twirls on its own. Oh! And the illustrations of the young heroine continue on the inside of the novel too, in black and white.

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor

Africanfuturistic Science Fiction

Remote Control

Sankofa never asked for this fearsome, deadly power.
Such bold and fitting imagery here. (I won’t give away all the reasons why, plot-wise, but still.) Because this headshot of the heroine with a shaved head and hoop earrings and a doleful expression depicts a tree glowing green in her neck and flourishing in her face, the image coupled with the style of the title’s text positively screams, “SCI-FI.”

Rain by Dana McNeely

Biblical Fiction

Rain

The son of a high priestess. A prophetic curse. And a notorious queen bent on revenge.
Just look at this. The emotive image of pouring rain, the sun breaking over the horizon of the landscape of hills and valleys, and the soaring raven effectively set a mystical tone for this story inspired by legendary events in Scripture. Can a cover get any closer to palpable drama?

Seal of the Sand Dweller by R. Rushing

Biblical Fiction

Seal of the Sand Dweller

The Egyptian courtiers around him are waiting for his downfall.
The deep teal of the background above and below this cover’s panoramic image has a jewel-toned effect, and the Egyptian hieroglyphs are a striking complement to the theme. The image itself has a bold, dramatic feel, and what most gripped my attention here: the image’s unambiguous conveyance that the people here are people of color. A fitting, refreshing way to represent the period and place where this biblical story unfolds.

Simulated by Nova McBee

Young Adult Suspense

Simulated

A (former?) mathematics genius goes after a sims hacker who may be an ally—or an enemy.
I’m quite a fan of blue when it comes to suspense, and the dark blue tones on this suspenseful cover are effective. The yellow accents cracking through the top and bottom add gritty texture and intrigue, and what I like most about this cover is the vertical cityscape with cultural architecture running down the side and the dark sky holding numerous stars.

Never Miss by Melissa Koslin

Christian Romantic Suspense

Never Miss

They’re on a race to prevent a worldwide bioattack.
This novel pulled me in with its multicolored but ominous cover with typography both atmospheric and sharp. The atmosphere compounds with escaping smoke near the bottom and the wind breathing through the bronzy heroine’s hair as she stares intrigue straight into her audience’s eyes.

A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams

Sweet Contemporary Romance

A Lowcountry Bride

Returning to Charleston presents her with business—and romantic—prospects she may not be ready for.
Well, this lovely cover with its minimal collection of soft colors falls right in line with the story’s message of authenticity, from the palmettos in the background and the cobblestones under the Blasian heroine’s feet, to the heroine’s natural curls and the touch of pattern and color around the waist of her flowing white dress. A fitting representation of grace and culture.

Jewel of the Nile by Tessa Afshar

Biblical Fiction

Jewel of the Nile

The journey to find her Cushite father becomes a dangerous one.
The power of the image on this biblical fiction cover is in the angle of the shot and the poetic pose of the woman representing the novel’s biracial heroine. We see that curly hair of hers, and the red and brown of the cover’s earth-toned theme fits wonderfully with the story’s connection to roses and cinnamon. Ahhhh, yes.

The Christmas Miracle of Maria Potter by Charles Adkins, illustrated by Alina Besanidou

Christian Children’s Historical Fiction

The Christmas Miracle of Maria Potter

A sad loss after war. New neighbors in town. And a special Christmastime request.
This book is a special pick, not only because of the book cover…

Maria Potter Collage

…but because I adore the illustrations inside the book, from the soft and cold feel of the snow outdoors to the warm firelight indoors. What’s more, the thoughtful detail the artist uses to convey emotion in closer images of the characters’ faces—especially Maria Potter’s—adds such dimension to this heartwarming tale of friendship.

Lost and Found by Jessica Marie Holt

Contemporary Fiction

Lost and Found

Grief. Compassion. Changes of heart. And hope.
This cover matches its short story in a contemplative and understated way, with the lonely but peaceful image of a single boat near the shore and the soft sweep of blending colors in the sky. The title adds gentle texture and emotion, enhanced with a hint of shadow and the word “lost” slightly off center, as it isn’t too lost to be found.

Giveaway

If you’re interested in this year’s Favorite Covers giveaway, comment on this post to be entered to win a paperback copy of Eden Hill by Bill Higgs (list price $14.99 USD), and/or a paperback copy of The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep (list price $15.99 USD). Be sure to clearly mention which giveaway book(s) you’d like to be entered to win. Comments that do not request entrance into the giveaway are more than welcome and will not be entered. Giveaway begins on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 4:00 AM (PST) and ends on Friday, December 10, 2021 at 11:59 PM (PST).

Eden Hill The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents and mailing addresses only in the contiguous U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older. Two randomly determined winners, one for each book, will be notified by email on Saturday, December 11, 2021. If a winner does not respond by Sunday, December 12, 2021, a different entrant will be selected. Add p[dot]prospects[at]live[dot]com to your address book to ensure that a giveaway notification isn’t sent to your junk mail/spam box. For additional giveaway terms, see the Blog Giveaways and Giveaway Privacy information on my Policies page. Entering the giveaway indicates your agreement to the terms.

Author and Book Lover Nadine C. Keels

A fictional world. An era for historic change. And the people who bring it.
More of my favorite book covers are from my Eubeltic Realm series. I’ve been envisioning the main characters for years! You can pick up copies of the books at Amazon, or read them with Kindle Unlimited.

Eubeltic Realm Trio

Congratulations, authors, and thank you for writing your books! If yours has one of my favorite covers this year, you’re welcome to a complimentary medal to display on your website, blog, social media—wherever you wish. If you know the artist who designed your cover, feel free to pass on the word about the award. The artists are welcome to display the medal as well. Click the image below and contact me to receive a full size PNG medal. (The lined watermark will be removed, and the medal will include the year on it, 2021.) Thanks again!

Go to Contact Page

Eubeltic Realm Series by Nadine C. Keels

Eubeltic Realm Trio

Eubeltic Realm Series
Three Books So Far
Best to Read in Order
(Historical Fiction • Historical Fantasy)

An era for historic change. And the people who bring it.

Gemstone Gold

Book One: Eubeltic Descent

Eubeltic Descent 3D 2

Book Two: Eubeltic Quest

Eubeltic Quest 3D 2

Book Three: Eubeltic Virtue

Eubeltic Virtue 3D.

Gemstone Gold

Pick and click a store below to get the Eubeltic Realm books

Amazon Kindle for purchase, or read with Kindle Unlimited
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Gemstone Gold

Five Stars from Indies Today
Eubeltic Descent

Eubeltic Descent 5 Stars Indies

Gemstone Gold

Eubeltic Realm: A Spin-Off Series
The Crowns Legacy series picks up about a year after the Movement of Crowns series, and the Eubeltic Realm series picks up more than a century after the Movement of Crowns series.
While it isn’t necessary to read the different series in the order of their chronological histories, it is best to read the books within each series in their numbered order.

Movement of Crown Series

The Movement of Crowns Trio Wheel Castles

Gemstone Gold

A Fictional World:
The Mythic Veil Lifts

Faces of Eubeltic characters

Flower Gem Teal

There are a few ways you can stay updated on Nadine’s books. Find them here!

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Meet Nadine C. Keels