Kiss and ’Telle? by Nadine C. Keels

*NEW RELEASE!*

Kiss and ’Telle?
A Novella
(Contemporary Romance)

“This book has so many uplifting and funny moments!” ~The Adventures of a Traveler’s Wife
“…a fun and enchanting read focused on the theme of longtime friendship and love.” ~RAIN’N’BOOKS

If only this type of thing were as easy as it looks in chick flicks.

Ever since her college days, Chantelle has had growing feelings for Dennis, a swaggering and smart geek-at-heart who’s got romance coming out of his ears. At least, he talks as if he’s mastered the art of dating, but how would Chantelle know if it’s true? She’s never gotten to experience Dennis as anything more than a close friend.

But wait! A huge opportunity comes along that could impact both their personal and professional lives. This may lead to the perfect time for Chantelle to tell Dennis what he means to her.

It may also be time for some of Chantelle’s own words about love to come back to bite her.

Oops.

This contemporary romance features characters who first appeared in Hope Unashamed, the sequel to Love Unfeigned. Enjoy a bonus excerpt at the end of the story.

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The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide

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.

The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

After World War II, writer and war widow Eliza Saunderson lands a job helping a former silver screen sensation, Johnny Devine, write his memoir. Despite John’s claim that he’s a changed man of faith, Eliza has qualms about his history as a womanizer. But that issue pales in comparison to the threat they face when Eliza’s articles about social oppression and John’s Hollywood connections land them both on Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Communist hit list in The Memoir of Johnny Devine by author Camille Eide.

Ever interrupt your regularly scheduled reading for a book you’ve gotta try, like, right now? Yeah. I put my schedule on hold when I found this novel. And taking nothing away from the muted and intriguing silhouette approach of the newer cover, it’s the older cover with the bright marquee, the vintage typewriter, and the rose that got me in the mood for this historical fiction read.

I’ll admit that the story’s pacing and the timing of events didn’t always work for me, and sometimes the style felt more basic than what I was expecting. Also, I never fully got into the romance. Though I appreciate serious characters, a romance in particular isn’t so compelling to me if one or both parties seem down or sorry much of the time without more to balance them out. Whether it’s by way of humor or wit, or seeing how they liven right up while engrossed in their talent, purpose, pleasure, or what have you, I just like to see a little more from romantic characters to keep their downbeats from becoming redundant.

However, the overall setting and themes kept me interested, especially the Red Scare elements. And a heroine who writes to combat racial and gender-based injustices—while wearing glasses, no less? Count me in as a fan of that.

I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

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Taking nothing away from the muted and intriguing silhouette approach of the newer cover…

 

True: A Contemporary Retelling of Rahab by S.E. Clancy

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.

True: A Contemporary Retelling of Rahab by S.E. Clancy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

An enemy army is set to attack True’s city, but because she harbors two of the enemy’s spies, there may be a way for True to save herself and her family when destruction comes in True: A Contemporary Retelling of Rahab by author S.E. Clancy.

Indeed, I think it’s best to be familiar with the biblical story of the prostitute Rahab and the city of Jericho when you read this novella. I skipped the book blurb beforehand but was pulled right in by the cover, stunning in its clear and simple understatement of emotion. A calm, a peace, before a coming storm.

The heroine herself is an effectively understated one in this story of dreams, pain, family, and war. It’s real and raw without being showy about it, and it has moments of atmospheric beauty and characters who are imperfect and natural.

Now, I would have liked to see more to the explanation about the enemy army. They’ve been going around doing a lot of killing, apparently with the sanction of their God, and now they’re about to kill off the people in True’s city. Is that just how it is, and it’s okay? Why or why not? The “why” would be a crucial something to wrestle with in a contemporary war story.

No, this isn’t a fairy tale with a carefree wrap-up. The ending leaves plenty to the imagination while still giving enough of a conclusion to satisfy. A novella that’s worth the read.

 

A House Divided by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella

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.

A House Divided by Michael R. Phillips and Judith Pella

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Prince Sergei returns from war in the Balkans to St. Petersburg, jaded, restless, and perplexed about life and his place in it. He can make no immediate plans about a possible future with Anna, the peasant woman he loves. And Anna’s disillusioned and grieved brother, Paul, is heading down the precarious path of an angry revolutionary in A House Divided by authors Michael Phillips and Judith Pella.

In my review of the first book in this series, I mentioned that the landscape is ripe for revolution. This second book agrees with me.

It wasn’t long before I became thoroughly absorbed in the novel. The politics, the intrigue, the corruption, the forging of relationships and alliances, the heightening rumble of unrest and the blasts of violence—so much happening for this longtime lover of historical fiction to take in.

Yet, as with the previous book, there were many places where this novel’s style got to me. The narrator sometimes spells out too much, leaving no room for nuance or trust in the reader’s perception. The overabundance of italics and exclamation points makes for narration that seems to be shouting when there’s no need, and it gives the dialogue an overdramatic feel, making the characters harder to take seriously.

Katrina and Anna (among other characters, though not all of them) usually feel more like stereotypical caricatures than real people. On account of the awkward and sometimes rushed romantic development, I couldn’t find any of the romance satisfying. At this point in the series, I’m more interested in the events than I’m really into most of the characters those events involve.

Maybe someone present or yet to appear in the series will eventually grow on me though, as I do plan to read at least one more of these novels. The up-close unfolding of the historical side of it all has me hooked.

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Here’s my review of the next book in The Russians series, Travail and Triumph.