Book Review: Free Fall by Nancy Mehl (The Quantico Files #3)

Free Fall

About the Book-

The closer she comes to the truth, the deadlier her chase gets.

FBI behavioral analyst Alex Donovan and her colleague Logan Hart have been called upon to write a profile for a missing woman, but a little digging quickly turns up more disappearances in Virginia with the same physical description.

Alex is in a race against the clock to rescue the missing victims, so when the UNSUB makes demands of her in exchange for information, Alex takes the bait. But when her life is put in jeopardy, Logan must do whatever it takes to track them down before time runs out.

Alex works to think one step ahead of the suspect, but the more Logan and the BAU learn about the serial kidnapper, the more they fear Alex may not make it out alive.

My Review-

Similar reviews:

I’ve been looking forwards to reading the finale for this trilogy for so long, and I was so glad it was finally time to read this book! Unfortunately, it was a bit of a letdown, but overall I am glad I read it!

This book is primarily the finale between Alex Donovan (the female protagonist) and Logan Hart (the male protagonist) and their relationship that has been developing over the past few books. In my opinion, the romance in this book doesn’t really develop all that much–it’s just a bunch of physical attraction, and mostly Logan pining after Alex. In that regard, it was a bit . . much? It was a lot of romantic ~feelings~ and “ooh do they like me back” instead of any truly good chemistry, and honestly I wasn’t a huge fan of Alex and Logan together.

The setting for this book was really well done! There was some historical background set in an abandoned amusement park/circus, and part of the investigation was also set there, and I thought that was really creepy and unique. Haunted/old circuses have a particular flavor of spooky and I thought that the setting was a really good choice.

The main storyline was also really good: I think it progressed at a good pace, and the story itself was interesting and unique, and kept me hooked. It was different from the standard Christian fiction politics-motivated/drugs/terrorism that seems to be all anybody writes about anymore, which was really nice. I was a little bit skeptical of the realism of some of the plot points, but overall, it was the most interesting part of the story and I thought it was interesting.

The side stories were a little confusing to me, and in parts it felt more like the side story was there to fill space rather than contribute to the story. Several of the side storylines (Logan’s medical side story, Jeff’s whole conversion story, etc) were interesting, but I much preferred the main story to the side plots. Truth be told, a lot of this book seemed to be trying to fill space, and that was a bit annoying to slog through.

With that being said, I REALLY liked the perspective of the antagonists and their chapters: it was so suspenseful seeing their point of view, and those chapters were really well done.

Overall, this was a good book, if a little bit weak. I think the second book in the series was my favorite. I much prefer the Kaley Quinn Profiler series and the characters in that book over this one, and this entire set of books was mediocre (I think the author tried to imitate the Kaley Quinn Profiler series too closely but didn’t think through the plotline closely enough) but didn’t succeed.

My Rating-

3/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: The Catch by Lisa Harris (US Marshals #3)

The Catch

About this Book-

After a harrowing attempt on a judge’s life at the courthouse, Deputy US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are tasked with finding a missing woman and an endangered child in connection to the murder of the judge’s wife. What seems like a fairly straightforward case becomes hopelessly tangled when the marshals discover that the woman they are searching for is not who they think she is.

Madison and Jonas are forced into a race to find the woman and the child before the men who want her dead discover her location. And in a final showdown that could cost her everything, Madison will come face-to-face with the person who murdered her husband.

USA Today bestselling author Lisa Harris concludes her thrilling US Marshals series with this breathless tale of secrets kept, lies exposed, and ultimately, justice prevailing.

My Review-

Similar Reviews:

I was excited to finish reading Lisa Harris’ US Marshals series: the series so far has been building up to this book and I was looking forwards to seeing how the whole story resolved!

I liked the premise of this book a lot: it was different from a lot of the standard Christian fiction books, and that made it really interesting. There was a lot of fast paced action scenes: chases, manhunts, kidnapping, etc., and that kept me reading the book. I really liked the commentary about people who become indebted to others for their survival, and the ability for those in power to abuse that position easily. What looked like an infidel man in power and his money-fueled schemes turned into a kidnapped woman and child, a manhunt, and the lives of many at stake.

The storyline that’s been building throughout the series resolved with less fanfare than I would have liked: I thought that there would be a huge reveal of that thread but it seemed rushed and half-hearted, which was disappointing.

Honestly, at the end of the series, Madison and Jonas’ relationship is just . . . fine. They don’t have any particular chemistry (not the “lighting flared between their touch”) kind of chemistry, just . . . any sort of chemistry really that made me want to cheer for them as a couple.

One thing to note is that there are a lot more sexual references in this book than in the average Christian fiction book. Primarily, this is due to the fact that the premise of the main story is based off of a man having an affair with a woman other than his wife, and the consequences of that affair, so there are a lot of references to extramarital activities.

All in all, I think this book was good, if not particularly memorable. It was very fast paced, which made it easy for me to want to keep reading, but there was also not anything particularly memorable about this book I’ll remember about it in a year. I was disappointed by the resolution of the series-long arcs, but the story from this particular book was good.

My Rating-

3/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Malicious Intent by Lynn H. Blackburn (Defend and Protect #2)

Malicious Intent

About this Book-

Dr. Ivy Collins, founder and CEO of Hedera, Inc., is ready to begin clinical trials of her company’s cutting-edge prosthetic. Her work has been heralded by government, medical, and advocacy groups and everyone hopes the device will be a success. Well, almost everyone. Someone is trying to sabotage Hedera and the launch, but to what purpose–and how far will they go to get what they want?

Meanwhile, U.S. Secret Service Agent Gil Dixon can’t believe he’s finally been reunited with Ivy, his childhood best friend. Now that he’s found her again, Gil intends to spend the rest of his life with her. But it will take all his skill to uncover the truth in time to save Ivy’s life’s work, her own life, and the innocent lives caught in the crossfire.

Perfectly balancing chilling suspense and uplifting romance, award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn delivers a story of revenge, greed, and overcoming that you won’t want to put down no matter how late it gets.

My Review-

From this series: Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn (Defend and Protect #1)

This book was really fun! It was really fast paced and the story moved rapidly. I read through the whole book fairly quickly and really enjoyed it!

I had some issue with the believability of the plot points: even though suspension of disbelief comes with the territory of Christian suspense, there were aspects of this book that were difficult to believe even with a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. For instance, someone like Ivy, who had MILLIONS of dollars at her disposal, would be unlikely to work with law enforcement and more likely to work with a security team/private investigators of some sort. I’m not convinced that wills just . . . give you 20 million dollars directly into a bank account, and furthermore, if you HAD 20 million dollars, you would have them in investments and not just . . . loose in a bank account?

Further things I have issue with: ransomware/computer experts/servers/etc, how smart people work???, research conferences, hospitals/medical work/injuries/physical trauma and such. I think my academic background is strong enough that some of the points that the author assumed the audience would gloss over don’t do it for me, and that took away quite a bit of the overall believability of the story for me to a point where I could not properly ignore it.

With that being said, there were also several things that I really did like! I LOVED the reunion story between Gil and Ivy as childhood best friends falling into each other’s lives. I thought that was so sweet, and their gradual shift towards their previous interrupted romance was so cute. Gil’s relationship with his sister Emily (and Emily & Ivy’s relationship) and his mom and the way they all acted was just so sweet and I really liked that a lot.

Gil and Ivy’s characters were basically perfect, but that gave them a chance to focus on their romance from their childhood. I think the amount of ~angst~ in this book was well done, but they are a little too perfect as people in general. I also liked the small thread of working through historical problems and the unanswered questions from when they were young. It seemed really healing to Gil and Ivy and the forgiveness and understanding that they had for each other was really good to read.

There was SO much packed into this story, and it only took place over the course of several days, which was a little wild. There was the counterfeit event, the ransom/hostage attack, the ransomware, the ex, the conference, the bomb, the house attack, and more. It become a little difficult to keep track of after a while, but simultaneously, the fast pace made the story move quickly so it was understandable.

I really liked the teamwork between Gil and his Special Agent team: it was so clear that they had each other’s backs, even Morris, who seemed gruff at first, but still worked cohesively as a group. The group completely trusted each other and would go out of their way to support each other and that work environment seemed so lovely!

All in all, I really liked this book! I’ll definitely be picking up more of Lynn Blackburn’s books in the future, and other than the slight unbelievability, this story was really enjoyable!

My Rating-

8/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Beyond Her Calling by Kellyn Roth (Alice and Ivy #4)

Beyond Her Calling

About this Book-

Ivy Knight feels that her life may never start. Though her loving family assures her that her place in the world is close to home, she still feels a push to move out of her comfort zone. Hoping against hope, she travels to her old friends at McCale House, seeking a purpose.

Jordy McAllen has just returned to Scotland after his education in London. He fears that what everyone has always said about him may be true: he can’t be a good doctor, let alone a good man. Determined to prove himself, Jordy snatches up the opportunity to become the doctor in the village of Keefmore near his parents’ farm.

When an old friend decides to travel to Keefmore and visit a relative, Ivy follows. She soon finds herself drawn to Jordy, but as their attraction grows, they both face doubts. A relationship between the two of them feels improbable—and might just require a step of impossible faith.

Amazon ||  Goodreads

My Review-

Other reviews from this series:

I have been following Kellyn Roth’s Alice and Ivy series since it started being republished, and naturally, I had to read and review this one!

The main storyline in this book is following Ivy, the less accomplished twin, and her romance with Jordy McAllen, a doctor and Ivy’s friend. In book 2, Ivy Introspective, she develops a friendship with Jordy and they have grown together over the course of that book and this book, and in this one, they build their relationship and fall in love.

Ivy and Jordy have much more chemistry than Alice and her husband have, and I really liked reading their journey as they fell in love. Their discoveries about life, God, and each other are insightful and well done, and their development throughout the course of this book was really good to see.

Having read 2 books from each Alice and Ivy’s perspectives, I think now that I much prefer the books when they are written from Ivy’s perspective. They are more fun and have more interest as the story progresses. Maybe this will change in book 5, but Alice’s perspective seems more bland and uninteresting, whereas Ivy is still going through so much character development and growth that her books are inherently more interesting.

In addition to the story arc from just Ivy’s perspective, there is also a series-wide arc. In this book, there are some pretty big developments that are revealed and they were SO interesting! Due to spoilers, I can’t reveal what they are, but there were some big surprises that I hadn’t previously expected that changes the way I think about a lot of the characters, and I am so interested to see more! A lot of the information from the previous books were revealed, and it makes me more excited to see what that will mean for the characters in the future.

tw // child loss/miscarriage, alcohol use, gambling, depression/depressive episodes

As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews for this series, this is women’s fiction, which means that there is a lot of discussion of mature content that is not suitable for younger readers. In particular, the content includes (and is not limited to) drinking alcohol/getting drunk, premarital sex (with a heavy emphasis on purity), infant loss/miscarriage, depression, and consent (in regard to kisses). There is a heavy emphasis on Christian morals and change/sin/forgiveness, but there are a lot of heavier adult topics talked about, and sensitive readers should be aware of that.

One more thing to note is that Jordy has a Scottish accent, and all of his dialogue is written with a Scottish accent, which forced me to have to sound it out in my head while I was reading, so if that’s not how you read, it might be annoying/difficult.

Overall, I really liked this book, especially when compared to the previous book in the series, At Her Fingertips. If you are looking for a solid Christian adult novel with hearty dose of morals and teaching, this series would be a good one to pickup.

My Rating-

4/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: To Disguise the Truth by Jen Turano (The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency #3)

To Disguise the Truth

About this Book-

When a man arrives at the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, anxious to hire them to find a missing heiress, Eunice Holbrooke realizes her past has finally caught up with her . . . and that she may no longer be able to hide under the disguise that has kept her safe for so long.

Arthur Livingston’s goal in life is to make his mark on the world as a mining industrialist, but after the man who could help him achieve his goal is murdered, Arthur feels compelled to seek justice for the family–but he’s left with more questions than answers after the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency refuses to take on his case.

Desperate to conceal her real identity and avoid the irritatingly handsome Arthur, Eunice takes on a different case that requires her to go deep undercover and entangles her in one troublesome situation after another. When other secrets come to light, Eunice has no choice but to confront her past, hopeful that it will set her free but knowing it could very well place her life–and the lives of those she loves–in jeopardy.

My Review-

Similar reviews:

I’ve read a great many Jen Turano books in my time, and I’ve really quite enjoyed most of them. Her writing style and the ridiculous situations her characters put themselves in. While this one wasn’t my favorite out of all the ones I’ve read, I did enjoy some of the tropes from this book and I thought it was really fun overall!

My main complaint about this book is its length: it’s just under 350 pages, but it felt like it took forever to read. The storytelling seemed really slow and stilted, and jumped from one plot point to another without seeming to progress the plotline all that much. There  was also a LOT of background and a lot of characters (some of whom were from previous books, some of whom were not), so the first half of the book was a lot of information to take in. In that regard, I didn’t enjoy the book as much, just because there were sections that were so dense.

There were a lot of tropes in this book that I really enjoyed: hidden identity, familial secrets, and previous romance were all in this book, and they were really fun to read. I didn’t feel particularly connected to either of the main characters, but I don’t really think they were meant to be relatable characters, but rather, more caricatures of characters.

This book had more . . . sexual content than I’d seen in other Jen Turano books? There was a mention of a lady marrying a man 20 years her junior because he was “virile” despite her never having experienced him in bed, even upon their marriage, with the connotation being that he was sleeping with other women. Whether Eunice was a child out of wedlock was in question, and there was also a mention of a man with a woman secretary/assistant that he seemed to pay more than was appropriate. There was also a mention of a man having a serious accident whereupon he was no longer able to be intimate. I am really unsure as to why there was all this more sexual content, but in my mind it seemed quite unnecessary, at least to go into that level of detail.

All in all, I feel like this book could be significantly shorter than it was, which would have made it much more enjoyable. I liked seeing the end of the series wrap up and a lot of the previous characters come back into play and where they’ve ended up, and the story was interesting overall. The twists and turns of the story made it really fun to follow, and Eunice’s journey was super non-conventional and unique. All in all, if you are a fan of Jen Turano’s writing style, stories, and characters, this would be a great book for you!

My Rating-

5/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

My 2022 Bullet Journal Setup // bullet journalling.

Hello friends! Today I’m sharing my 2022 bullet journal set up! I think this is my 6th year bullet journaling, which is pretty crazy to think about. Setting up my new bullet journal is my favorite part of each year, and I’m excited to be sharing my set up with you this year!

Previous bullet journal blog posts!

All bullet journal blog posts: here


To start off, the supplies that I used this year basically the same as the ones that I’ve used previously. I’m once again using the Michaels Dot Grid Notebook, this year in tope, which I’m very excited about. I love the quality of these notebooks, especially at their price point. As usual, I’m also using the Pentel Energel 0.7 black pen, Zebra Mildliners, and the Neutral Portrait 10-Pack of Tombow Dual Brush Pens. I know there’s a Sharpie gel pen in these photos, but honestly I’m not a fan of them lol and would not recommend.

I used the first few pages for my bullet journal for the index, although the notebook came with a few pages of “index” that I didn’t like the style of.

Next up, I have a grid spacing chart (which I *finally* remembered to put on the left side instead of the right . . . on my seventh bullet journal), as well as my 2022 goals/resolutions. I really like dividing my goals into 5 categories, and using these boxes to denote that has worked really well for me (as in, it works better for me to visualize them, not necessarily achieve them . . . lol).

Instead of a future log, this year I’m doing a memories spread instead, which looks basically the same as the typical futurelog, but instead of using it to prepare for upcoming events, I’ll use it to write down memories from over the course of the month. This is a new spread for me, and I’m excited to see it working! I think it will be much more beneficial to me than a future log, which I don’t ever really use.

Next up, I have some social media and photo trackers. I’ve been taking a photo a day for multiple years in a row, and this tracker is always how I keep track of them! I also have some trackers for Instagram followers and YouTube subscribers (shameless plug: Instagram and YouTube!). On the right side of the spread, I have space to write in the blogposts I write and videos I make, so that I have a way to keep track of what I do over the course of the year.

Next up are my reading trackers. I always forget to fill in these bookshelves spread, so this year I only have one, to track my TBR (books that I want to read this year), as opposed to previous years, where I spent a long time making these bookshelves only to not use them. I also have few pages to write the titles of books that I read over the course of the year.

The spreads after that are for more overall life maintenance. First, I have a financial tracker, just because this is the year I’ll hopefully get a job and start having more money moving in and out. I’m not 100% sure if I’ll use this spread yet, but I’ll have it here so that I can use it if I need to.

Next is my letter/pen pal trackers: on the left side I have an “address book”, where I write in the addresses of my pen pals/people I send mail to the most, and on the right side, I have a tracker of when I have letters to respond to, as well as anything else that I need to remember for my pen pals.

I also have a spread for room renovations: I’ve been slowly redoing my bedroom at home, and this spread will be for all the little tasks that I need to do before my room is fully complete. I have the page split into three categories: decorations, things to buy, and tasks. Having all of the stuff I need to do in once place will really help me keep on top of what needs to be done!

Lastly, I have my first few January spreads. I like my monthly spreads to be functional, while still being cute, so this is the layout I have. There is a section for goals, important dates, habits, and books to read. On the back two pages, I am tracking my sleep and focus tasks, and for the first time, I also have a brain dump page, where I can just put notes and random tasks that I need to achieve over the course of the month.

The weekly spread is where I get the most mileage out of my bullet journal, so I usually keep it pretty basic. It’s basically just a to do list for each day, and what I want to get done over the course of the week. It’s easy but works well for me!

All in all, I’m really pleased with how it turned out and I’m excited to use it this year!


Are you bullet journaling in 2022? What areas are you tracking? Which spread do you use the month: yearly, monthly, weekly, or daily? Leave a comment and let me know!

Introducing: The 40 Day Reset Project || getting ready to start off 2022

I am fully aware that I haven’t posted anything on this page in MONTHS but here I am. If you’re anything like me, your 2021 has gone . . . well, it has gone. To be honest I haven’t recovered from 2020 OR 2021 yet, but 2022 is peeking over the horizon, daring me to make plans and prepare for graduation and apply for a job, and all sorts of stuff that I’m not ready to tackle yet. My 2021 goals have fallen by the wayside, to the point where it feels like I haven’t done anything productive with my year.

Which is where this challenge comes in. Before the start of the next year, I just want to get my things in order, and you’re invited to join!

The 40 Day Reset Project

The challenge starts next Monday, November 22, 2021, and will run until the end of the year. It’s split into three phases, one starting the first day (November 22), one starting the 15th day (December 6), and one starting a month in (December 22). All three last until the end of the year.

Altogether, you will be able to finish the year out strong, be prepared for the new year, and set goals for 2022! I really hope that it works, and I’m excited to push through to the end of the year!

Phase 1: Finishing Strong (Day 1-40)

  1. Look back at New Year’s Resolutions, if you set any
  2. Pick/set goals that will be feasible to achieve by the end of the year: nothing too ambitious!
  3. Figure out a plan to get them done! Make a calendar, a notion page, a trello board: whatever will allow you to get a good look at what you want to do

Phase 2: Preparing Early (Day 15-40)

  1. Set your New Year’s Resolutions! The earlier you start thinking about them, the more you can think about your goals ahead of time, the more you can think about the feasibility of the goals and mentally prepare!
  2. Start thinking about what habits you might want to build in the new year and in particular, think about if there are any preliminary steps you can take to get started on them now
    • I’m a huge fan of getting a head start on your habits before the time you plan to start: this gets you in the mindset of doing the habit. Unlike New Year’s Resolutions, if you miss a day, you can just start up again the next day without feeling like you’ve failed. || I’ve already spoken about this concept in my blog post How To Achieve All of Your 2020 New Years Resolutions, if you want to read more about my philosophy behind it
    • If you’re looking to improve on habits, I would highly recommend getting started with them before January 1st, so that you can incorporate it into your routine with lower stakes
    • Having a trial run would also be good to test out the feasibility of your goals and whether there are any modifications you need to make for the goals
  3. Learn any skills/attain any materials you might need for next year’s goals: if you want to learn how to paint, maybe you could ask for painting supplies for Christmas!

Phase 3: Starting Anew (Day 30-40)

  1. Set up any method you need to track your new goals for the next year: notion, a bullet journal, just a notebook, any and all of the above!
  2. Preplan for success: journal about your intents for 2022, make a vision board, think about what your life will look like when you succeed in your goals. Having a clear idea of what your life will be like, and holding that vision in your head, will give you motivation to work on your goals!
  3. I didn’t mean to announce it this early, but I’ll be hosting a read-along in January of Atomic Habits by James Clear. Buy a copy of it if you’re interested in joining: I’ve heard such good things about this book and I’m so excited to read it!

I’ve created a little worksheet to help you set up your goals, which you can print/download to use! It provides a visual overview of the challenge, without being too complicated, which I like a lot!

I’m super excited for this challenge, and I hope you are too! Feel free to talk about your progress and your goals on social media: tag me @hanneasinhannah and use the hashtag #40DayResetProject: I would love to see! Remember, it’s not about perfection, it’s about progress! Any progress is good progress, and that’s what we’re striving for.

Are you joining me on this challenge? What are some things you want to achieve before the end of the year? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Book Review: Dead Fall by Nancy Mehl (The Quantico Files #2)

About the Book-

He has a deadly endgame in mind–and he’s already chosen each victim . . . including her.

After putting to rest the most personal case of her career, Alex Donovan is ready to move on and focus on her future at the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit. When the BAU cofounder is discovered dead in his hotel room, the FBI is called in to work on the strangest case they’ve ever faced. How do you find a killer who murders his victims from a distance?

When it becomes clear that the killer is targeting agents in Alex’s unit, they are ordered into lockdown, sheltered in the dorms at Quantico. Alex bunks with controversial agent Kaely Quinn, and as they work together, Alex discovers in Kaely the role model she’s never had–despite being warned away.

As Alex questions the type of agent she wants to become, things get personal when the brilliant killer strikes close to home. Now Alex will do anything to find the killer–even at the risk of her own life.

My Review-

Similar Reviews-

Nancy Mehl writes my favorite Christian suspense novels that I’ve come across: they are fast paced and suspenseful, with just enough suspension of disbelief to be interesting without being absolutely improbable, like some other Christian suspense I read. Dead Fall wasn’t my favorite Nancy Mehl book, but overall it was really fun and very suspenseful.

Alex Donovan is the main profiler in this book, but Kaley Quinn from Mehl’s other series (Kaley Quinn Profiler) is also prominently featured in this book, which was really fun. I really enjoyed Kaley Quinn’s series so it was nice to read more about her. The relationship between Alex and Kaley was also really fun to read about, and there was some interesting discussion that was generated from the them working together that I enjoyed.

The mystery/suspense aspect of this book was more disbelievable than some of her previous books, and it took me a while to get into this book (whereas for some of her other books I’ve read, there is nothing but action from the first page). The conversation seemed a little more stilted than usual and the story seemed to flow a little less smoothly. Not to say there wasn’t action early on, which there was, but it took me a bit to get into the story. The suspension of disbelief was greater than the other Mehl books, and so it wasn’t quite what I was used to also.

This book was SUPER suspenseful when it picked up though, and I could not put it down: it was such a thrilling experience! Once I got into the story, it was nothing but action. The villain was incredibly masterful, and the suspense built very well until the conclusion.

Overall, this wasn’t my favorite book written by Nancy Mehl, but I did really enjoy reading it! The twists and turns of this story made it really fun to read about, and I also really enjoyed the interactions between Alex and Kaley and the discussion of the field of behavioral analysts and why they were in the field.

If you’re looking for a good Christian suspense author, Nancy Mehl is a good one to pick up.

My Rating-

3/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.