It's Memorial Day!! What better way to honor those who gave it all on a book blog then to share about a book with the same goal in mind? This is probably one of my top books of the year so far, so without further ado, let's get into it!
Oh, the Fallen
Abigail Kay Harris
May 31st, 2021
Military Romance (Mild)
Recommended 12+ for Understanding
About the Book ||
In the cause of freedom, some will give their all.
When Matt Renicker joins the Army, he's determined to give his best for his country and his Lord, even if it means risking everything he loves most. But when tragedy strikes on a routine patrol, more than one heart is left shattered and lamenting.
In the wake of a terrible loss, will those left behind find the strength to go on? Or will the faith, family, and freedom Matt fought to preserve be broken beyond repair?
Goodreads || Amazon
About the Author ||
Abigail Kay Harris is a daughter of the King with a personal degree in book-nerdiness. A sister to seven, her passionate love of the written word and deeper meanings hidden in normal things leads her to spend her time reading, writing, using sarcasm, and defining obscure words. When she’s not chasing words, she enjoys watching shows, classic romance movies, tea, sunrises, and the outdoors, especially mountains, beaches, and forests.
Guest Post || The Story Behind Oh, the Fallen
Oh, The Fallen is my first finished story over 10,000 words that made it to a final draft. I had nearly given up on ever finishing another story after dealing with writers’ block for a long time.
Oh, The Fallen came from a fun little (and yes, sad) flash fiction I wrote last summer based on the song I Drive Your Truck, it was super short, between 200-500 words and I set it aside after sharing it with some friends.
Well, my family was on a road trip and on road trips I got lots of time to read and write, I had already read like five books and we weren’t even halfway to where we were going. I was chatting with a friend who I wouldn’t be able to chat with again for a long time and I got new ideas for a short story.
The main idea was similar to the short flash fiction I had written so I dug that up from whatever lost doc it had been in, I cleaned it up, broke up the story into parts for a longer story, found a song to listen to on loop (Fallen Soldier by Nathan Fair) and wrote the first draft.
I was thinking I may share it on my blog, write another draft, and by that time I was thinking it may be a little longer than a short story.
Then, at the end of the month, I had a nearly finished short story, ideas to finish it off the story, and talking with a friend about publishing it.
Well, another draft or two and I had more ideas, some characters were taking over the story in ways I didn’t expect, and I had the idea for three other books.
Fast forward a bit more to right before release, I have the first draft of the next book finished and like five more ideas for short stories, flash fiction, a novelette, and a few novellas.
And, that’s the story of Oh, The Fallen.
Except for the flash fiction that started it all, there are about 150 days between starting Oh, The Fallen and release day with the millions of ideas that came into play as I went along. I'm not sure where this will end but I’m trusting God on that one.
My Review ||
A more thorough review is in the works, using my system, but since this post is already long, I'll just cut to the chase. (I read a pre-edited copy of the book as a beta-reader. I received a copy of the book from the author for promotional purposes. All thoughts are my own.)
This book is amazing y'all. At the point in which I was reading it, it was in the process of being edited, so of course I caught a few things here and there and even offered a few suggestions, but honestly, the story blew me away! The author's voice is unique and homey and steeped in patriotic passion for God and Country. I cried through the entire thing and debuts rarely do that for me. Abigail Kay Harris has been added to my list of auto-buy authors!
There is some mild violence and romance, but nothing gory or PG-13. I would recommend a family read it together for Memorial Day. It's the perfect tribute <3
Grab the links above for more release day fun!
God Bless America and God Bless our Gold Star Families...
PS. What are your favorite Memorial Day reads? How do you honor those who have given their lives for us? Tell me in the comments below!
I am so excited to share my review of this book with you! I had wanted to read this book ever since I first saw it, and on a whim, I picked it up at our local BJ’s! And I am not sorry at all!
By Pete Hegseth
(November 24th, 2020)
Content: 3 Stars || Quality: 10 Stars || Personal Enjoyment: 10 Stars || Overall: 8 Stars
(Click here to see How I Rate Books)
|| Amazon ||
About the Author ||
Pete Hegseth is a FOX News contributor who regularly appears on FOX & Friends, The Kelly File, and Outnumbered. An infantry officer in the Army National Guard, he is a veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay who holds two Bronze Stars and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge for his time overseas. He is the former CEO of the veterans advocacy organization Concerned Veterans for America and former Chairman of the pro-victory organization Vets for Freedom. He is also a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He writes regularly for National Review and FOXNews.com and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
*From Amazon Page*
About the Book ||
After three Army deployments—earning two Bronze Stars and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge—Pete Hegseth knows what it takes to be a modern warrior. In Modern Warriors he presents candid, unfiltered conversations with fellow modern warriors and digs for real answers to key questions like: What inspired them to serve? What is their legacy? What does sacrifice really mean to them? How do they handle loss? And what can civilians learn from this latest generation of veterans?
From the skies over Afghanistan to the seas of the Mediterranean to the treacherous streets of Iraq, these brave men and women take you inside the firefight, sharing the harrowing realities of war. Hegseth uses their experiences to facilitate conversations about the raw truths of combat, including the difficulties of transitioning back home, while also celebrating these soldiers’ contributions to preserving our nation’s most precious gift—freedom.
In addition to the oral history, Modern Warriors presents dozens of personal, rarely shared photos from the battlefield and the home front. Together these stories and images provide an unvarnished representation of battlefield leadership, military morale, and the strain of war. This book is the perfect keepsake and gift for anyone who wants to know what it means, and what it truly takes, to be a patriot.
My Review ||
This book! Where do I start? This book is one I’m sure will be appearing on my 2021 Top 10 Books list next year! I’ve never read a military biography that made me feel like I was sitting down talking with a veteran! Mr. Hegseth took their interviews and just printed them mostly verbatim, only adjusting things or adding notes as needed for context. So, in essence, these veterans are sitting down and telling you what they wish they could say to your face if you gave them half the chance.
Themes like PTSD, finding your mission, helping the next guy, adjusting from military to civilian life, and prejudice was dealt with on a level that tugs at your heartstrings. But at the same time, it challenges you to make an effort to better yourself and lend a hand to those around you!
While this won’t make sense in some ways, I felt like I could understand exactly what they had/were going through. I’ve not been in their shoes; I’m a civilian. But when you really stop to listen, to actually try and understand what they have been through, you’ll find we have a lot more in common than we realize.
Among my favorite interviews were SGT1C John Wayne Walding, SSGT Jeremiah Workman, LT Morgan Luttrell (Brother to Marcus Luttrell, the Lone Survivor), Capt. Sean Parnell, and Rep. Dan Crenshaw. Though to be honest, there wasn’t one that I didn’t enjoy!
I did have to censor some language out of this book. It was less than I anticipated, but still a fair amount. So I would recommend a mature adult going through this book with a fine-toothed comb. It will be worth it, I assure you!
Recommended for Ages 21+, 16+ if censored.
Have you read this book? Have you ever gotten to speak with a Veteran and hear their stories? What books have you enjoyed so far this year?
Have a Blessed Day!
*Stares at the title of this blog post*
Hey, y’all! So…writing updates! *Innocent smile* So, I suppose you do deserve an update. After all, I haven’t really talked about my work in progress (WIP) since…September? Yeah, it’s been a while!
The Battlefield is Silent (TBIS) ||
I’m currently working on book 5 in The Battle for Heritage Series (for those who don’t know) set during the War Between the States.
If you are subscribed to my blog, you know from your bonus email that I set a goal to read everything I’d written so far. And then, my goal was to finish the rewrites by January 16th. Hopefully, I would have written some new chapters.
I’m still rereading as of January 15th, 2021, when I’m writing this post. I had some unexpected stuff come up, including just not feeling well. Thankfully, it’s not the virus-that-shall-not-be-named. But no fun all the same.
Was some of it a lack of motivation? Getting settled into a new normal? Being a little homesick? Distracted? Wanting to work on a different story?
Yes, to all the above.
But it’s okay.
It’s not the end of the world if everything doesn’t go the way I wanted it to go. It’s okay if I’m running a little behind or if I just need to take a step away from the story. I’m not going to do well if I’m not motivated.
But I do need to get motivated.
So what am I gonna do?
Glad you asked!
Remember that other story I said was taking my attention? I’ve set a goal for myself. Read through two chapters of TBIS before I allow myself to work on…
Secret Project ||
This is something I’ve literally been working on for almost 10 years. I’ve plotted it in my head. I’ve developed the characters with friends. I’ve written and scrapped several rough drafts of the first book. But now? I know where it’s supposed to go. I know what it’s supposed to be. I know what message I want to send with this story. I know the people I want to reach with this story.
Will it be coming out this year? Probably not. Next year? I hope so. Bear with me. I have a few other projects ahead of this one for this year. So let’s just sit back and see what God’s plans are. For now, I’m working on a thorough outline of the first book for this project. I don’t know how many books will be in this project. I don’t know how often they will publish; I can’t make concrete plans like that. It might go fast. It might drag. But however it goes, it will go in God’s timing.
All I will say about this story is that it was inspired by 9/11. That’s all you need to know right now 😉
I have a couple other projects I’m working on, but I’ll be sharing about them closer to time for them to get released. With how uncertain my schedule is at this point, I can’t pin down dates. But yeah, I’ve got four total projects I hope to work on this year! Full plate, but it’s fun! They are all so different from each other, it’s easy to move from book to book.
And now, I need to cut this short, so I can actually work on my stories! Thanks for stopping by! I know this post was a little different in tone, but I hope you enjoyed it!
Writing Prompt: Are you a writer? What are you working on this year? What are your goals for 2021? Readers, what book are you looking forward to the most in 2021?
Have a lovely day in the Lord, and God Bless America!
I am thrilled to be able to share about this truly amazing book! People. This is my #1 read of 2020, I'm not even kidding. Well, actually, it's tied with Tattered Wings, but we won't talk about that, will we Kass??
Stop the Rain
By Kassie Angle
(November 11th, 2020)
|| Kindle || Paperback || Goodreads || Soldier Girl Stories ||
About the Book ||
He left his entire world in Iraq. So why did the war follow him home?
Harley Keane and his best friend Nigel were just kids when 9/11 rocked their world and changed their lives forever. When they're finally old enough to join the Army, all their childhood dreams seem about to come true. But war wasn't supposed to be like this. A kid's dream isn't supposed to become a living nightmare. Fellow soldiers aren't supposed to bleed out in front of your eyes.
Back home, safe and unwounded, Harley feels anything but. Why would God spare him when so many others were taken? Why won't the nightmares stop, even when he's awake? And how long can he hide the truth that threatens everything he has left? When Harley's invisible scars refuse to stay hidden, will he let anyone close enough to help? And how do you go on with life when "okay" isn't okay at all?
About the Author ||
My Review ||
I cried. Through the entire thing. I barely got into it and I was an emotional mess in the best possible way. I don't talk about this much, but PTSD awareness is one of my heart causes, because so many people with invisible injuries are over looked. Or you have people with fake conditions stealing the spotlight. Kassie put the attention back where it belongs.
I love Harley. Har is my baby. If you don't like him, then oh well, we just won't talk about it... cause I would not take people criticizing him well at all. *halo emoji*
That being said, there is a soldier in this book that I do not hate. Kassie, you know who I'm talking about so that's that. *again, halo emoji*
And my Nigel and Levi. All my soldiers in this book. All of them. Ack! Did I ever mention I love our military???
I have? Oh...Well, I just told you again!
The writing was so deep, realistic and heart-wrenching. I feel like I traveled to the Middle East with them, learned about what it means to be a soldier with them, relived my personal 9/11 trauma with them and suffered with the wounded mind with Harley. This is real people. Step back from Hollywood. Let go of preconceived ideas of what PTSD is and let Harley show you. If this book doesn't affect you deeply, it's not the book's fault. My life has been deeply changed by this book.
Recommended for ages 16+
Buy. This. Book.
|| I was honored to be asked to Alpha read this book by my friend Kassie, but she did not require me to write a positive review. All thoughts a opinions are my own. ||
That's all I have for you today! Have a Blessed Day and Visit Kassie's site for more release day fun!
Have a Blessed Day!
Nineteen years ago, one of the most vicious crimes of the 21st Century was committed against the United States. Four planes, hijacked by Muslim Terrorists, were flown into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the last crashed into the ground at Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
This year, Kassie Angle and I brainstormed and decided to get together 11 bloggers who would post about this tragedy in American History.
We Haven’t Forgotten.
I was five years old when 9/11 happened. It traumatized me in a way I still haven’t gotten over. In 2011, I became enamored with researching the topic. I still don’t know all that I want to know, but then again, you can never exhaust a topic. But today, I’m not going to give you a history post. I want to share a story that I wrote in 2016 back about the Pentagon. Is it realistic? No, not really. At the time, I was just getting a story on paper and trying to express patriotism the only way I knew how. I’ve made a couple changes to the story, such as the amount of time that has passed in the story, but it is largely unedited. I hope younger me isn’t too embarrassed 😉
Why I Don’t Drive a Mustang
I’m Taking His Place
By Ryana Lynn
“We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.”
President George W. Bush
It was all a mistake. And a big one at that. I should never have gone to D.C. Everything in my life was just right. Everything. Life was perfect, and I had endless possibilities at my fingertips. After all, wasn’t I an honor roll student? Didn’t I have an academic scholarship to Chapel Hill Medical? But I just had to go to D.C. on that senior trip. And I just had to tour the Pentagon that day.
I had a black 1998 Mustang that I had bought and paid for. It was mine, and I cared for it and filled it with gas. I loved driving it. It was my baby. But on that trip, I realized there are far more important things in life. Of course, I knew living for God was the most important thing. I was a Christian and faithful church worker. I was the junior captain on my church bus route. I worked for our radio station on Saturdays as a volunteer. So I at least had that priority right.
Anyway, back to my Mustang.
I drove it to D.C. myself. Seems the bus had room for all but one person, so I volunteered to drive.
On our third day in D.C., we had to vote on where we wanted to go, the Pentagon, or the White House. Knowing President Bush was out of town, I voted for the Pentagon. That was the tie-breaking vote—mistake number 2. I drove behind the bus and parked in the visitor’s parking area. We got out and entered the building and toured the center of military operations. It was terrific, and I got to talk to serval servicemen while we were there.
We had just walked out the door. I reached into my pocket for my keys. I heard a motor blaring in my ear, and the next thing I knew, I was struggling to pick myself up off of the hood of a Dodge Ram Pickup Truck. My friend Ray was on the ground, screaming. I jumped down and knelt next to him. He was bleeding from his head, and his leg was broken. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, so my pre-college study came in handy.
When I finished with Ray, I turned around and saw that the Pentagon was on fire, and there were many people with injuries. I did not know at the time that a terrorist had purposely flown a plane into the building. The teachers were doing their best to round up all the students, and I went from person to person doing what I could. An injured soldier was brought to my attention, and I began to work on him. He was in bad shape, and to be honest, I knew as soon as they brought me to him, he wouldn’t make it.
He knew it too. He looked up at me, and my throat went dry. He wasn’t much older than me. “Take my place,” he whispered. “The World Trade Centers were attacked today by Terrorists. I’m pretty sure they did this too. Either way, we’re heading for war. Please, take my place.”
“Alright,” I said, “I will if you let me tell you about Someone else who wants to take your place in another way.” I proceeded to tell him about Jesus Christ taking his place and wanting to forgive him of his sins. I was privileged to hear him ask the Lord to save him.
“Remember,” he coughed. “You promised to take my place.” Mistake 3.
We didn’t get to leave the parking lot until late that evening. It was then I saw what had happened to my Mustang. It had been smashed by flying debris. I was perturbed, but the thought hit me: I had almost gotten into my car before being blown across the parking lot. I would have been killed. God had spared my life. Students were admitted to the hospital, and I was checked over for injuries. All things considered, we were blessed. A police officer deemed me a hero. I just shook my head.
Our bus was in good shape, but there was no way I could fit in there. We had too much stuff, plus crutches and wheelchairs. We weren’t sure how I was to get home. A Lieutenant in the Army found us discussing the problem. “You’re the boy who helped out the day of the trauma,” he said matter-of-factly. When it was confirmed, he said, “My aide and I will drive him home. We’re heading back to Ft. Bragg this afternoon.”
On the way home, we talked about the incident and expressed our outrage. The aide was a Corporal, not too much older than me. Of course, they talked about recruitment with me. I listened intently, remembering my promise to the dead soldier. Cpl. Bean talked up the army big. Out of the clear blue sky, the Lieutenant said, “You should be a combat medic. You’ve got guts. I saw you go into the danger zone twice to rescue people.”
I shrugged. “I couldn’t just stand there.”
“Yes, you could have, but you didn’t,” Lt. Michaels reminded me.
Upon reaching home, every Marine in the vicinity tried to recruit me. I steadfastly refused to join them. I’d made a promise. As soon as I graduated that April (I challenged the exams to get out early), I left for basic training. I was the youngest guy there. And who should be my junior drill instructor but Cpl. Bean. He didn’t take it easy on me. Instead, he pushed me harder. By June, I was deployed to Afghanistan.
That was nineteen years ago, and I’m still serving. I have a wonderful Christian wife, five kids, and twins on the way. I’ve been able to make a difference in more ways than one. I’ve been able to save physical lives and see spiritual lives saved by my Savior, Jesus Christ. I’ve even led a few locals to the One Who can give true peace and Joy. At the present time, I have no intention of stopping…I think I’ll be here until this war ends or they kick me out.
I drive a medically equipped convoy through the deserts.
I’m keeping my promise.
I’m taking his place.
I’m serving my country and my Savior.
Looks like those “mistakes” weren’t mistakes after all…
So that’s why I don’t drive a Mustang.
“Duty. Honor. Country.”
But the attack on September 11th, 2001, wasn’t the only historical event that took place on that day in history. 11 years later, on September 12th, 2012, another heinous crime occurred.
The Benghazi Massacre.
I’m not going to go into great detail on this. It hurts too much, knowing we had options at our disposal that would have given this event a vastly different outcome…and they were not used. (We need to pray more for our leaders to make Godly decisions!)
On September 11th – 12th, 2012, The U.S. Embassy in Libya was attacked by Muslim Terrorists. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and Diplomat Sean Smith were killed in the attack. Ret. Navy S.E.A.L.s Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods gave their lives, the only ones who stepped forward to defend them.
War was not declared on Libya or on the Islamic group that attacked them. Instead, our then president apologized to the terrorist for a film that offended them, triggering the attack (or so they claim). No action taken. Just an apology from the man currently representing the victims’ country. Another person responsible for sending them help (and didn’t) has thus far been let off the hook.
Justice has not been done in the murder of these innocent men. For the most part, they have been forgotten. We all have heard of Benghazi…but did you know the names of the victims?
I’ll confess that before I wrote this, I only knew one: Glen Doherty. In May 2018 at the NCHE Homeschool Book Fair, I met a man selling multiple history/military books. (Anyone surprised?) I bought three from him (for research purposes 😊) and one was a suggestion from the seller: Navy SEAL Sniper (not a recommendation. I haven’t read the whole thing yet.) This was the 2nd, and very special, edition. It hit the press in 2013. One of the co-authors was Glen Doherty. It was through reading the intro pages that I learned about his sacrifice on September 12th, 2012. I encourage you to read up on Benghazi. We must not forget the 2nd 9/11…and we must not forget the men who gave their lives. I haven’t forgotten.
I’d like to thank all the girls who pitched in to help with this tour! Please stop by their blogs today for more great tributes to the heroes and victims of both 9/11 tragedies.
Have a blessed day… And Never Forget…
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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