Nana’s Gift and The Red Geranium by Janette Oke

fiction-books-3 nadine keels

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.
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Five Gold Stars

Nana's GiftNana’s Gift and The Red Geranium by Janette Oke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

A husband spends years saving for a special gift for his wife, and a family legacy is birthed. A little boy must find a way to bring back his great-grandmother, who seems to have given up on life. Two families will realize how there are expensive gifts, and then there are priceless ones in Nana’s Gift and The Red Geranium, two tales by author Janette Oke.

This duo of novellas is worth checking out for Janette Oke fans. I’d even recommend these stories for reading with or aloud to someone. And the illustrations–oh! Love the charming drawings in this little hardback. They give you that warm and cozy Christmassy feeling, regardless of the fact that these aren’t holiday tales or anything. 🙂

The Red Geranium is my favorite story of the two.

The Blood Moons: Wrath of Elijah by Kachi Ugo

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. I received a free copy of this book from the author for an honest review.
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The Blood Moons: Wrath of Elijah by Kachi Ugo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

“I am Angelus Mikhail, servant of Elohim. Your life has been weighed with the Scales of Yeshua and you have been found worthy of the Wrath of Elijah. Follow me.”

Growing up in the slums of Ajegunle, twelve-year-old Johnny Akinwale has always been feverish on a frequent basis. Johnny’s doctors were never aware that his fevers are the effects of an ancient power he possesses as a descendant of the biblical prophet Elijah. Once Johnny learns of his power and true ancestry, he’s pulled into a mission with other young warriors to thwart an evil scheme of epic destruction in The Blood Moons: Wrath of Elijah by author Kachi Ugo.

While this is a middle grade fantasy with juvenile readability, I was very much drawn to this tale and remained engrossed as I read.

There’s a richness and balance to the story: a boy who finds it hard not to hate his impoverished life and his neglectful parents, even as he knows he’s destined for greatness. Coming into his supernatural power doesn’t release him of all natural rules, such as his having to get to school on time. And even with its dangerous, high-stakes adventure, the story makes room for humor that had me laughing out loud.

The illustrations toward the beginning of the book are a nice bonus! It would’ve been great if they’d continued throughout the story.

I found the development to be a tad awkward in places, particularly in an instance where foreshadowing might have helped. There are several grammar and technical errors in the book, along with one word choice I wouldn’t deem appropriate for a children’s book. However, my main disappointment was in finding that the story essentially ends with a cliffhanger. Even if the first book in a series may not tie up the loose ends of a subplot or two, I prefer a book to have a complete story where the main plot is resolved by the end.

I’d like to continue this series—but not because the cliffhanger left me hanging. I’m truly interested to know what will happen with Johnny and the other young Descendants of the Patriarchs.

The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp

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.
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The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta von Trapp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Countless people the world over are familiar with the collective singing sensation of Maria and Captain von Trapp and their several children from The Sound of Music, the Rodgers and Hammerstein film and the Broadway musical, which together garnered multiple Academy and Tony Awards. I wanted to read the real story behind it all, written by Maria herself, for a number of years before I finally did it–and it was quite the experience.

I was surprised at the amount of humor in the memoir, as the author relays the story of her family in such a personable voice, right from her opening line in “The Chapter Before the First” (since she’s worried that if she called it a Foreword or Introduction or something, we’d just skip over it, as she would.) And she and the Captain–well!

“I wish I could see your eyes when you read the announcement of my engagement,” the Captain writes in a letter to Fräulein Maria while she’s still only the governess of his children, referring to his possible betrothal to a certain Princess Yvonne.

All “flared up,” Maria immediately writes back, “My eyes are none of your business.” Heeheehee, now, Fräulein! Captain! You two.

It’s not all fun and games and a family in song, of course. The Nazi invasion into Austria makes things suddenly eerie. I mean, imagine your children coming home from school and reporting that the teachers are beginning to disappear, being replaced with new ones. Or you’re walking through town and see that the names of all the streets have been changed. It becomes illegal to greet your friends and neighbors with “hello” or any other salutations other than “Heil Hitler.” And speaking of the leader you’re supposed to hail, what do you do when you get a call declaring that your family has been chosen to sing for the Führer’s birthday? What happens if you say no to Adolf Hitler?

I was somewhat more engaged in the first half or so of the book than the second, and the account in Maria’s letter toward the end had a depressing effect on me. But overall, this is a rich and delightful memoir full of hope.

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Yeah, sure. Like I’d really be able to resist posting clips from the legendary and simply awesome Rodgers and Hammerstein film, here. Definitely one of my all-time favorite motion pictures. 🙂

No Time For Love by Tina Radcliffe

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.
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No Time For Love by Tina Radcliffe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Besides, she didn’t read romance novels. They were unrealistic…
The only endings she believed in came from signing on the dotted line and depositing a commission check in her bank account.

Nicki’s career (and her life, she asserts) depends on landing a piece of property for a coffee shop parking lot. But a handsome and annoying man–Steven, is it?–who knows his way around his kitchen is bent on standing in Nikki’s way in No Time For Love by author Tina Radcliffe.

This story opens with an engaging sense of mystery. Not the darker kind of mystery, like a suspense novel or something, but the kind of setup that makes you pleasantly curious to figure out what exactly is going on. Both Steve’s and Nicki’s points of view kept me entertained, especially Nicki’s dry outlook at her humorous mishaps.

I eventually felt like I’d missed something rather big, though. As the story glides from a certain point to another, it seems as though a connecting chunk of development is left out of the romance. Hence, it’s like the finale that shows up belongs to a different story. It doesn’t feel altogether “earned” here.

Nevertheless, this quick and sweet stop was a nice break to take, and other readers of ChristFic romance should enjoy it.