The “She” Stands Alone by Nadine C. Keels

The “She” Stands Alone
Sweet Romantic Comedy Novelette
5 Stars
“Laugh out loud as you read this book, and possibly end up with that sweet ‘awww’ smile on your face!” ~Wonderous Reviews
“If you like your love short, sweet, and clean, definitely pick up The “She” Stands Alone! 5/5–enjoyable!” ~Kelly Smith Reviews
4 Stars
“The depth of Keels’s writing is masterful.” ~Rabid Readers Reviews
“Humor, good advice and life-lessons all ravel together for a deeper but surely entertaining piece.” ~Savurbks

Pink book cover shows a walking woman's legs in high-heeled boots, and Christmas tree leaves with magenta bows and ornaments lining the bottomShe can’t seem to catch any guy’s notice for anything.

No, that pick-up pitch from a stranger gawking at her at the gas station doesn’t count. And one attractive salesman in town shouldn’t have been flirting with her in the first place. He was much too customer-friendly for a store known for its pathetic customer service.

Now, is this young woman’s dateless problem unfixable? Not in the least. New plan: Sheridan Jones is going to date herself.
Ahh. The romance.

This fall/winter rom-com is especially great to read during the holidays. Joy to the world!

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The “She” Stands Alone is also available in a sweet romance collection, Inspiring Love.

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Meet Nadine C. Keels

Voices of Christmas by Nikki Grimes

Christmas Book

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

4 Stars

Illustrated book cover shows a serious young woman holding a sleeping infant, and a group of villagers in the backgroundVoices of Christmas by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Eric Velásquez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a beautiful storybook. Rather than a play-by-play account of the Nativity, it’s a collection of images and voices: brief glimpses into several different people’s perspectives. The pages hold golden text and emotional artwork with the quality of sand, shadows, and light.

We see Mary’s wonder.
Joseph’s anxiety.
Zechariah’s contemplation.
Elizabeth’s blessed dignity.
And more.

It’s an ethereal book made for a thoughtful and joyful kind of story time.

This snapshot of a shepherd and his sheep doesn’t do justice to the golden gleam of the text, but trust me, every page is beautiful!


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The Popcorn Project by Cynthia Blair

Fiction

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

3 Stars

Yellowish book cover shows smiling twin teenage girls in their bedroom with buckets of movie popcorn and a movie clapperboardThe Popcorn Project by Cynthia Blair

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Teenaged twins Christine and Susan Pratt have agreed to visit and help out their aunt in Los Angeles during the last few weeks of summer vacation before the sisters must head off to New York to pursue higher learning. There’s plenty of fun to be had in sunny California, but when the girls meet a movie executive and his daughter who may be in trouble, it could lead to a dangerous caper for the Pratt twins in The Popcorn Project by author Cynthia Blair.

Ah! Yet another delightful dive into upbeat, old-fashioned, total comfort reading for me, pulled from the world of ’80s YA.

Yup, this jaunty tale of sisterly derring-do is stretched out here and there with light, unspectacular moments and events that the plot doesn’t really need, along with chunks of repetition. In this case, some of that repetition occurs while certain characters spend time telling each other a bunch of stuff they already know, obviously to spell out the story’s thread of mystery and its backstory to the reader.

And yup, the novel is thoroughly corny—in the same bright and fun way as every book I’ve read about the Pratt twins.

I’m still quite glad that in middle school, my adolescent self discovered the first novel about Chris and Sooz, The Banana Split Affair. I had no idea back then that it was the first book in a series: a series my adult self would get to read for nostalgic kicks.


Here’s my review of the first book in the series, The Banana Split Affair.

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The Mended Man by Becky Doughty

Fiction

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

3 Stars

Book cover shows three rows of stately front doors in different colorsThe Mended Man by Becky Doughty

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow—has it really been a little over five years since I started reading about the community of misfits at the Pemberton Manor apartments? I’ve been anticipating this fifth story, featuring the scarred recluse Pax Thayer, ever since I witnessed his supporting role in Book Two four years ago. Because I’d lost contact with Pemberton’s peeps for a while, I went back and brushed up on the previous books before diving into The Mended Man by author Becky Doughty.

Now, I think because other books in this contemporary fiction series focus in on short periods of time, I was a little thrown by the way this book skips over so many weeks and months at a time. For a few stretches, it felt like I was reading an overview of Pax’s story rather than the story itself. And as I’d spent years imagining how this leg of his journey would play out, there wasn’t much happening in the story that, by now, I didn’t know or wouldn’t have already guessed would happen.

Also, concerning the central relationship in this fifth book, I was a little frustrated seeing the two main characters being as unsure and hesitant around each other as they still seem to be after almost a year of their lives, even with what they’ve been through together and their warm and sweet words to each other.

On the other hand, it isn’t like people who’ve been through serious trauma necessarily have the easiest time getting comfortable in relationships, learning to love and trust. So the characters’ situation here isn’t unrealistic.

And seriously, though this installment of the series didn’t give me any surprises (outside of a certain enlightening aspect of Pax’s medical condition), the strength of the overall series and my growing care for the characters through all the books had me rooting for them just the same.

The magic of the Manor will do that to ya’.

If you’re into “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry” types of stories with deeply drawn characters, you’ll want to start the Pemberton Manor series from the beginning.


Here’s my review of the first book in the series, The Goodbye Girl.

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Fatal Code by Nataie Walters

Suspense Book

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Electric lavender-toned book cover shows a partial nighttime cityscape of Washington D.C., a metallic SNAP agency seal, and the profile of a serious young woman's faceFatal Code by Natalie Walters

Description: In 1964, a group of scientists called the Los Alamos Five came close to finishing a nuclear energy project for the United States government when they were abruptly disbanded. Now the granddaughter of one of those five scientists, aerospace engineer Elinor Mitchell, discovers that she has highly sensitive information on the project in her possession—and a target on her back.

SNAP agent and former Navy cryptologist Kekoa Young is tasked with monitoring Elinor. This is both convenient since she’s his neighbor in Washington, DC, and decidedly inconvenient because . . . well, he kind of likes her.

My thoughts: It was the excellent book cover that most drew me to this ChristFic romantic suspense novel: the tint, the glimpse of DC at night, the metallic SNAP seal, and the profile of the heroine’s serious face. I like to try a new-to-me author in this genre every once in a while, so I gave this one a go.

However, I prefer when suspense reads grip me right from the start, and I had trouble getting into this one. I think I would’ve needed more action to go with the establishment of the characters and their various guy/girl thoughts and connections. And for me, the story started off too preoccupied with the romantic tension between two supporting characters I guessed would be the lead couple in the next novel in the series. Also, Kekoa’s characterization and some of the dialogue felt somewhat overdone in places, like when Kekoa would keep saying “brah.” These days, I tend to give full-length novels about an hour to secure my interest before I set them aside.

Still, it’s likely I’ll cycle back around to this genre sometime when another great cover catches my eye.


The SNAP Agency Series

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