• Madison Brown

Five Fall Favorites--Top 5 for 2021

Can you believe we’ve reached the LAST DAY of our Five Fall Favorites party?! I'm a little sad to see it end--I’ve loved sharing some of my favorite books with you and exploring the virtual Literary Lodge property!

Today I’m hanging out at the bushels, where I’ve been picking apples all day. I think later I'll bake some into apple pies and dip the rest in caramel!

Today’s FFF genre is Top 5 Reads of 2021, which means I’ll be sharing my five favorite books I’ve read this year.

I have to admit, I didn’t read as many books in 2021 as I did last year. That's mainly because I’ve been doing a lot more writing this year, and I find it difficult to read while I’m writing a lot. But on the bright side, I’ve made a lot of progress on my writing projects this year (the main one being the second draft of my YA dystopian novel)!

Though I didn't read as many books as I hoped to this year, I still discovered a few I loved. And here they are...:

Winter, White and Wicked by Shannon Dittemore

Twice-orphaned Sylvi has chipped out a niche for herself on Layce, an island cursed by eternal winter. Alone in her truck, she takes comfort in two things: the solitude of the roads and the favor of Winter, an icy spirit who has protected her since she was a child.
When her best friend, Lenore, runs off with the rebels, Sylvi must make a haul too late in the season for a smuggler she wouldn’t normally work with, the infamous Mars Dresden. Alongside his team—Hyla, a giant warrior woman, and Kyn, a boy with skin like stone—Sylvi will do whatever it takes to save her friend.

This book's gritty, frozen fantasy setting blew me away with its originality and moodiness. The plot was a great blend of adventure, mystery, and suspense. I can’t wait for its sequel to release in fall of 2022!

Find this book on Goodreads here.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

Complex characters, thought-provoking themes, and a fast-paced plot earned The Giver a spot in yesterday’s Sci-Fi list. The story is simultaneously haunting and hopeful, its short length in no way impeding its powerful effect.

Find it on Goodreads here.

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Chronic overachiever Prudence Barnett is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her. Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to mean gossips, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner. Quint is annoyingly cute and impressively noble, especially when it comes to his work with the rescue center for local sea animals.
When Pru resigns herself to working at the rescue center for extra credit, her newfound karmic insights reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed, love and hate . . . and fate.

I don’t usually read contemporary YA, but since I love Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles series so much I decided to give this book a try. I’m glad I did—this book had engaging characters, a cute plot, and the beach setting made me wish I lived on the coast! It's a perfect cozy read.

Find it on Goodreads here.

Stranger Planet by Nathan W. Pyle

In this eagerly awaited sequel, Nathan takes us back to his charming and instantly recognizable planet colored in bright pinks, blues, greens, and purples, providing more escapades, jokes, and p h r a s e s.
Nathan mixes his most popular Instagram comics with more than thirty original works created exclusively for this second volume to explore four major topics: traditions, nature, emotions, and knowledge. He inducts new and longtime fans into a strangely familiar world and its culture, from “cohesion” (marriage) to “mild poison” (alcohol) to the full lyrics to “The Small Eight-Legged Creature” (sung to the tune of The Itsy-Bitsy Spider).

Nathan Pyle’s Strange Planet comic series is one of my favorite comics of all time (second only to Peanuts). I loved the first Strange Planet book, and its sequel was just as charming!

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The Phantom of the Opera is a riveting story that revolves around the young Christine Daaé, who after a time at the opera house begins hearing a voice that eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine's childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine singing on the stage. The voice, who is the 'ghost' of the opera house, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears. The phantom is in love, but it can only spell disaster.

There were so many great elements to this book--it was eerie and mysterious, yet poignant and even humorous at points. I love well-done mysteries with deep emotional stakes, and this book definitely nails that description!

Find it on Goodreads here.

So there they are--the final five books I'm sharing for the Five Fall Favorites party. I hope some of the dozens of books recommended during the party have caught your interest and that maybe you've added a few to your TBR. If you’ve already read any of my top picks, please comment below and let me know! I love chatting about amazing books!

Before we conclude the party, I want to give a huge shout-out to Rebekah Morris, master organizer and Literary Lodge hostess! This was my first year participating in the FFF party, and Rebekah made it super easy and fun. Be sure to check out her blog via the button below! There are also links to all the other bloggers’ daily posts on her site (and be sure to keep an eye out for our giveaway winner announcement)!

Thank you so much for joining me during this party. I hope you have an incredible fall full of caramel apples, pumpkin spice, and cozy reading time!



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