Jhoi: Blending Life With Story

Woman's hand writing in a notebook

Here’s a little about one of my love story collections, Jhoi

Illustration of a vintage stand-up microphone against a glassy blue background

World of the Innocent

The friendship between two real-life performing artists inspired me to write this contemporary love story, featuring a poetic young woman named Jhoi.

Illustration of a silvery Christmas star against a glassy blue background

World of Joy

Toward the end of 2022, I had the sudden desire to write a Christmas romance. Although it’d been about eleven years since I originally wrote World of the Innocent, Jhoi came back to me as the perfect candidate in need of a holiday getaway.

Two-book boxed set featuring a woman with long brown hair against a glassy blue background


Each of the two stories about Jhoi can stand alone. Still, readers may want to see what love looks like for her in very different seasons of her life.

Be sure to check out these love stories!

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Meet Nadine C. Keels

Jhoi by Nadine C. Keels

Sweet Contemporary Love Stories
5 Stars
“Just WOW. This book totally blew me away. It’s in my top five of ‘the most romantic books I’ve ever read.’” ~Valerie’s Musings on World of the Innocent
“Keels perfectly captures what it looks like to find true love. A love with substance…” ~Lights in a Dark World on World of the Innocent

Blue boxed set of two books, with a cover showing a woman with long brown hairFriendship. Belief. Love. And Jhoi.

World of the Innocent
A sweet contemporary love story, based on true events

“Are you ready to love this young man?”
Jhoi: She’s poetic. She’s guarded. And she couldn’t imagine having much to do with a guy like Marcas. Sure, Marcas is a brilliant fellow artist, admired by plenty of fans. But he’s so remarkably…strange.

Still, Marcas touches Jhoi’s soul. And through the counsel of a shrewd old neighbor, Jhoi will discover a link between intimate friendship and becoming a steward of an era.

World of Joy
A sweet small-town romance

’Tis her season to reclaim her name.
Jhoi: She’s a community youth advocate and also a poet-turned-novelist. For her latest writerly project, she and two fellow authors are releasing an assorted collection of romantic comedies. Romances set during the holidays.

When the project leads to a timely opportunity for Jhoi, she takes it—the kind of Christmas getaway that others would dream of.

Yet, Jhoi worries that this holiday experience may actually be too perfect for her. And if she doesn’t figure out her fear, she could wind up not only jarring herself out of this dream but hurting more than one heart in the process.

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Go to World of the Innocent page Go to World of Joy page

Notes on the Books’ Content

No profanity. If a character does curse, their specific words aren’t written out.
Kissing but no sex scenes.
Whenever there’s violence, it isn’t gratuitous.
Any substance use is mild or brief.

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Flippin’ the Script by Aisha Ford

Women's 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.

4 Stars

Illustrated book cover shows a woman smelling a rose, a man standing close behind her shoulder, and stage lights and film cameras in the backgroundFlippin’ the Script by Aisha Ford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description: Sabrina Bradley is the assistant to the assistant producer of one of America’s hottest daytime talk shows. As part of a deal for a future promotion, she agrees to sit on the panel of a series about ordinary people who struggle to keep their New Year’s Resolutions. But to become co-assistant producer of the show in a year, Sabrina must keep all of her own resolutions—including an ill-timed resolution that she will not fall in love!

My thoughts: I discovered this ChristFic author and first read four of her romance novels about twenty years ago. I recently reread ’em, and now I’ve finally gotten to what I think is the only other solo novel of hers, written around that early 2000s time.

I thought it’d be another contemporary romance, but I’d say this book is romantic contemporary fiction. It includes the perspectives of multiple characters and the different issues they’re dealing with, rather than just being a story about Sabrina and her love interest.

Now, some aspects of the plot I didn’t find the most convincing, including the fact that someone like Sabrina would agree to a workplace deal with unethical strings attached. I also didn’t find it believable that entertainment outlets and numerous fans across the country would have such major interest in Sabrina’s New Year’s goals and the details of her love life when she wasn’t already a celebrity—a music artist or movie star or someone whom wide audiences would already be primed for gossip about.

Yet, I still found the unfolding of it all quite entertaining and not too high on pettiness and “drama,” even considering the villain of the story. I grew to like Sabrina and her love interest more as I got deeper into the read, despite my frustration with some naïveté on his part and my wishing they’d both just say what’s on their minds at some key times. I’ll admit that in the end, I felt just a little shortchanged in the romance department, as the resolution isn’t a swoon-worthy one. But again, this isn’t exactly a romance novel.

I’m not sure how much the book’s salvation subplot was needed, but the whole aspect of it didn’t merely feel pasted in. And a part of it gave me a good and genuine laugh-out-loud moment.

In all, I found this read satisfying, and it seems to have turned out that I saved my favorite novel by this author for last.

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The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

Vintage 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 lush and colorful riviera view from up on a balconyThe Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description: Four very different women respond to an advertisement in the Times appealing to “those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine” to rent a small medieval castle in Italy for a month. The spring climate and the castle eventually start to have an effect on the four women as their perceptions shift and they wake up to the love in their lives.

My thoughts: I plan on watching the film sometime, so I wanted to read the book first.

It’s over a century old now, and yes, I like reading older novels sometimes for the language: when it’s different and clever and I can’t predict how the author will string all the phrases together. I was hoping for a read with characters engaging enough to hold my attention even if the story wouldn’t be in a rush to make “stuff” happen. I certainly got that here, being fully interested in the characters despite my not liking some of them some of the time.

But I didn’t know the novel would be so delightfully funny! The imagery is lovely, as I expected, and the characters evaluate their lives while they’re on their holiday, as I also expected. I expected the human transformations as well, though I couldn’t tell ahead of time what each transformation would be. (Possible that not all of those transformations would really last too far past April, but hey. I’m fine leaving practicality out of it for certain shimmering fiction.)

But the humor! How refreshing. Wonderful wit pointing out the unfortunate, the ridiculous, the curious, and the dear.

A tale a century old, yet holding enchantment.

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