Love Unfeigned by Nadine C. Keels

Love Unfeigned
A Novella
First in the When It’s Time series
(Coming-of-Age Romance)

“The wordplay and language are expressive and rich…a beautiful love story that slowly evolves and matures into an intense romance.” ~Readers’ Favorite
“A beautiful story that will bring you to tears. It really leaves you with a feeling of hope…” ~NerdGirl Official Review

Love to the chords of a classic jazz band, spanned over more than a decade…

Lorraine: plucky and competitive.
Isaiah: impish, with a smile that gleams in more ways than one.
From the time the two first square off for a wall ball battle as children, Lorraine and Isaiah can’t help knowing each other. But neither can they avoid passions and misfortunes lining their path to young adulthood. After Isaiah’s family breakup disrupts the haven he’s shared with Lorraine, their relationship is threatened by jealousy, abandonment, and a life-altering trauma too grave to…forget.

As one year follows another, what might it take to reunite this divided man and woman in love: a love unbounded by time?
“Everything didn’t have to turn out perfect. I just wanted you there.”

~~~

Pick up a copy of Love Unfeigned

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Enjoy these Love Unfeigned extras.
And don’t miss the sequel, Hope Unashamed.

When It's Time Series

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

 

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

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.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

All ready to get deep into a historical mystery, I picked up Maisie Dobbs by author Jacqueline Winspear. And in a strange turn of events, after getting more than 200 pages through it, I can’t say I ever got a good grasp on it.

Maybe it’s because my expectations were indeed built up to read a mystery, but the book has relatively little of that. The book cover and the initial dive into the case and investigation are essentially a smoke screen, suggesting something that only takes up a few pages of the novel before the story goes in an altogether different direction. And that different direction, for maybe more than half the novel, is the (back)story of Maisie, a coming-of-age and wartime tale that doesn’t seem to have much to do with the mystery—whatever the mystery is, which must pick up somewhere in the final third of the book.

As for the coming-of-age and wartime tale, it gave me mild enjoyment and an emotional tug or two, but I often found it to be slow, cursory, and predictable, with nothing that really stood out to me. With only about 70 more pages to go (dense pages with rather tiny type), I just ran out of steam. Hence, whatever the real mystery is in this book, for me it shall remain a mystery.

But I do like Maisie: a smart, compassionate, discerning woman who maybe could use a compelling flaw or two to make her character more interesting, but at least she isn’t syrupy or hyper-angelic. So while I didn’t finish this book, I do plan on trying at least one more in the series. With the extended introduction of Maisie’s character and background taken care of in this first novel, perhaps a following one will be heavier on the mystery side.

___________

Maisie Dobbs Series

 

Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl by Laura A. Grace

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.

Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl by Laura A. Grace

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl by author Laura A. Grace—a simple little book with a simple task, to encourage. I read it in about a half-hour, and it accomplished its task well.

Yes, the book is plenty fangirly and gushy. Yet, it isn’t silly. Grin-worthy and humorous at times (including the humor in some of the cute illustrations by Hannah S.J. Williams), but not silly.

It can be frustrating, and even scary, when authors have to put writing or publishing on hold for a while to take care of life, and they may wonder if they’ll still have an audience after the delay. Dear Author… One day, you’ll publish this new story you’ve been working hard on, and I’ll be right there celebrating with you when you do. And in a world where there’s “nothing new under the sun” and so many books out there already, authors may wonder if their stories are worth telling at this point. Dear Author… There might be stories that have similar themes or messages, but the heart of the story will be your beautiful heart.

And not to mention the clean and clear but vibrant book cover!

I’d recommend this quick, inspirational read to any fellow authors (especially authors of fiction) in need of a pick-me-up.

 

Taking a Chance on New and Independent Authors

When I hear some fellow readers say they tend to stick to reading good authors they’ve already read before, or that they steer clear of independently published books, I get it. It may not be easy to risk your money and/or time on an author who isn’t proven to you, and the rise of independent publishing has put a lot of books out there that are poorly written, full of typos and technical errors, plastered with unprofessional book covers, or all of the above.

Many times, I like to stick to what’s familiar and comfortable to me. However, becoming a book blogger, the rise of independent publishing, and the availability of ebooks have all made this lifelong book lover more of a risk-taker when it comes to reading.

Since becoming a book blogger, I’ve started trying more genres.

When readers say they don’t really try out authors they haven’t read before, I think, “But what about the authors you do read? Weren’t they all new-to-you authors you had to try for the first time at some point? And will those authors supply you with enough books to last you the rest of your life?”

Then when it comes to the influx of books riding the wave of indie authorship, I figure that having to distinguish good from bad isn’t some new concept or practice. Shoddy work is oftentimes easy to spot from a blurb or a sample, and the presence of mediocre writing on the market didn’t begin with independent publishing.

Typos and technical errors in books aren’t anything new, either. I now know there’s a myth that says, “Traditionally published books are always error-free,” but I’ve been finding errors in traditionally published books ever since I was a little kid sounding out words in picture books. Even professional editors and proofreaders reading copy for established publishers are human. Books edited and proofread by humans are subject to human error.

I suspect that more readers don’t notice errors in traditionally published books because their minds assume no errors are there. And on enough occasions, I’ve found traditionally published books with bigger issues, like batches of entire chapters missing from their middles.

Publishing errors happen, even for the big guys.

On a different note in my case, years ago, as a reader who liked to buy new books for keeps but could only afford so many (I did a lot of rereading), I ran into a little crisis. The new books coming out from publishers I trusted started to seem too alike to me. Not enough diversity in styles, plots, characters, or authors. I didn’t want to feel like I was essentially buying more of the same whenever I went book shopping.

The desire to read stories that weren’t too much like what I’d already read is a big part of what motivated me to start writing my own books. And that, along with the fact that I became an independent author after my first traditional publishing contract ended, has made me more open to trying other indie authors.

Yes, I still read books from traditional publishers too, and I don’t discount the importance of what they do. But I also find that indie authors often have more freedom to work and to write outside of conventional boxes, and despite indies who do put out substandard work, many other independent authors are serious about their writing craft, about having their work professionally edited, and about getting quality book cover designs.

Plus, to state a practical bonus, indie authors can often price their ebooks lower than traditional publishers can, so I can afford to buy a greater number of books instead of rereading the same ones as much as I used to.

Why do I choose not to ignore or bypass too many new and new-to-me authors, independent or otherwise? Because I don’t subscribe to the misconceptions that only old authors can be good ones and that only bad writers independently publish. There are good and excellent writers also who become their own literary bosses and publish their work for themselves because now they can. Independent publishing is a much more efficient and viable option now than it was decades ago.

At the same time, even while I’m branching out, I’m careful about my choices. We don’t have to jump into book purchases blindly, folks. We can check out the book blurbs, read or skim a few book reviews, look inside the sample portions at retailers to get a feel for the writing style and quality before we buy (or don’t buy).

Sure, I run into indie book blurbs and samples that are poor or unprofessional. Yet, there have been plenty of traditionally published books I’ve gotten a hold of with storytelling that I wound up finding lackluster or too unoriginal, or with rushed endings or disappointing halves (“Did the author have to hurry through tying this together to meet the publisher’s deadline?”), or with chunks of content that drag out the plot or take it nowhere (“Are these unnecessary chapters here to stretch the story’s length because the publisher wanted a prescribed page count for sales?”), or stories that simply turned out not to be for me.

But does that mean all traditionally published books are bad, or that none of them are worth my time and consideration? Absolutely not.

There’s never any 100% guarantee that I’ll enjoy a book, no matter who wrote it or published it. Even authors I love usually have some books I don’t care for or that don’t wow me like their others. There’s always some level of risk involved when I pick up a book I haven’t read before.

So I go on and take some chances. I try to strike a balance between newer and older books, traditionally and independently published books, authors I hear everyone talk about and authors I discover on my own, etc.

I want to miss out on as few good books out there as possible. 😉

While they’re not at all the only good books I find all year, I’ve started sharing my favorites through my Annual Book Awards.

 

Fit to Be French Fried by Celia Kinsey

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.

Fit to Be French Fried by Celia Kinsey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Mrs. Dunn, a resident of a retirement community, isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite person, particularly on account of the loud, pesky parrot she keeps around. When Mrs. Dunn collapses one day after leaving Felicia’s food truck, most everyone assumes the older woman just had a stroke or something, but Felicia suspects there’s something shadier to it in Fit to Be French Fried by author Celia Kinsey.

I was specifically looking for short reads when I ran into this cozy mystery I’d guess is a novelette.

While liking the fun, clever title and the quirkiness suggested by the equally fun book cover (which could totally make me hungry!), I checked the blurb to see if it would mention Felicia stumbling upon a dead body. Nothing at all against readers who enjoy quirky cozies about murder, but it’s hard for me to fully enjoy the humor and quirkiness of a tale when it’s centered on human life having been snuffed out.

That’s just me, so I like finding murderless mysteries when I can. And yes, this one delivers on humor and an entertaining plot, but it’s also not utterly silly. Though I was taken aback by an image stuck in the middle of the story advertising an unrelated series by the author (an ad right there?), and I had some issues with the verb tense choices in one scene and a few other grammar and punctuation errors in the book, those weren’t enough to lessen my enjoyment of this quick and satisfying read.

I’m looking forward to reading this author again.

____________

Felicia’s Food Truck Mystery Series