Love Unfeigned

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Keels, Nadine. Love Unfeigned: When It’s Time Series- Book 1. Amazon Digital Services, LLC. 2013.

SUMMARY:
Lorraine Tyson and Isaiah James were childhood buddies who loved and trusted each other as only true young friends can. As the two grew up (and grew apart), though they found themselves back together, it was not with the same abandon as when younger. Maturity, honesty, forgiveness, understanding and healing come to have a part in their more adult relationship. With a mix of faith, love, adolescence and sweetness, accomplished author Nadine Keels shares the heartache and delight of growing up…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As one of my most true and trusted authors, Nadine Keels yet again pens a cleanly and reliably written story. Fully developing the characters as well as the storyline, emotions, and scenes, Love Unfeigned is also complete with exquisite, interesting and skilled language adding to the overall success. As one of those stories that is hard to see end, luckily, a sequel has already been written, Hope Unashamed. Absolutely a book I would not hesitate to recommend, I can only applaud the author and encourage her to keep writing!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love Unfeigned from the author for my honest review*

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Christmas at Carnton

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Alexander, Tamera. Christmas at Carnton. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Set in the mid 1800’s during the time of the Civil War, Christmas at Carnton deals with the casualties, harshness, bareness and heartache of that period. With a small child in tow and another one ready to be born, Mrs. Warren Prescott (Aletta) needs a way to support her growing family without her husband. Jake Winston, a wounded Captain in the battle, must serve the Women’s Relief Society in their upcoming event while his wounds heal. When Aletta and Jake both find themselves employed at Carnton Plantation at Christmas time, perhaps flurries will be predicted for more than just the weather outside…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a longer novella for the new series surrounding Carnton Plantation set to release in fall of 2018, author Tamera Alexander does an outstanding job of setting the scenery and storyline for the next three books. Loving the period in history as well as her writing, I thoroughly enjoyed this shorter novel, sad when it had to end. Absolutely an author I adore, there is no question I will read the full series. I definitely recommend this novella (with such a gorgeous cover)!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Christmas at Carnton from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

World of the Innocent

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Keels, Nadine. World of the Innocent. CreateSpace Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Becoming a young woman and realizing her own inward growth, Jhoi (pronounced JOY) has never considered Marcus more than just a friend. As a poetic artist, Jhoi has always been just friends with the somewhat-strange yet admired Marcus but something seems to be changing. As she explores her conflicting thoughts and feelings in this well-developed novella, Jhoi slowly, deeply and carefully makes the transition from childhood to young adult. Built on trust, morals and respect, the developing relationship between Jhoi and Marcus is endearing, heartening, and innocent.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a favorite author of mine, I know author Nadine Keels will deliver a well-written, character-deep, word-conscious piece. Her newest release, World of the Innocent, is no exception. Feeling the pull from the first few pages already, I enjoyed the style and voice with which this story was written. Though perhaps more a contemporary young adult book, I enjoyed it none-the-less. With a respectful message, a morally strong relationship and a durable faith, I wouldn’t hesitate to share nor recommend this sweet novella.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of World of the Innocent from the author for my honest review*

The Movement of Kings

Keels, Nadine C. The Movement of Kings: Movement of Crowns Series- Book 3. Smashwords. 2013.

*movementofkings

SUMMARY:
Losing both of his parents to an early death, King Alexander must assume the kingdom at a young adult age. With the joining of Munda and Diachona under his father, King Alexander must wade the turbulent waters of possible rebellion while battling an epidemic attacking the country. Though young, King Alexander effectively tackles these difficult issues while mourning the loss of his mother and pursuing an interest in a young woman. Through strength, growth, faith and ultimately confidence, King Alexander becomes the ruler he was meant to be…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With openings that grab, author Nadine Keels packs so much story into a novella, I can only marvel how she does it. Having read the previous two books in the Movement of Crowns series, this was a wonderful conclusion despite being a bit disappointing (that the series is ending). With full characters, an impressive storyline and well chosen words, The Movement of Kings was my favorite yet (and I really liked book 2)!  Might I suggest a continuation in a possible book 4?

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Movement of Kings from the author for my honest review*

Christmas Star Sapphire

Bridgeman, Hallee. Christmas Star Sapphire: A Novella Inspired by the Jewel Series. Winchester, KY: Olivia Kimbrell Press. 2015.

christmasstarsapphire

SUMMARY:
As kin to the powerful and successful Viscollis Enterprises, Madeline Viscolli is content to earn her graduate degree from a college in Alabama. Meeting a leader in the campus ministry, Joe Westcott, Madeline soon realizes that she and Joe have very different backgrounds, experiences and rules. Through the many trials, Madeline must come to accept that God’s timing may not match her own, especially in her relationship with Joe. With an appropriately titled novella, Christmas Star Sapphire shines brightly with faith, romance and hope…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though never having read any previous books in the Jewel Sapphire collection, I certainly did enjoy and appreciate this novella inspired by that series. Full of faith, misunderstandings, romance, forgiveness and a few surprises, Christmas Star Sapphire is perfect for the season (although I did read it a bit later than the Christmas season). Complete with a reader’s guide and suggested luncheon menu, some of the included recipes were absolutely delicious. Author, homemaker, blogger, chef and coffee lover, Hallee Bridgeman puts God first in her life and hopes to be a blessing to others…such an example!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Christmas Star Sapphire from BookCrash and the author for my honest review*

The Movement of Crowns

Keels, Nadine C. The Movement of Crowns. USA: Smashwords. 2012.

SUMMARY:
movementofcrownsAs a child born to a barren King and Queen for many years, the excitement of finally producing an heir was dimmed by the child being born a female. At the age of twenty, Princess Constance of Diachona is about to celebrate her birthday by becoming a Royal Junior. As only men have previously been allowed to hold such a position, this strong-willed and level-headed young woman has a lot on her shoulders to bear. Adored by her father the King, caring for her ill mother the Queen, and accepting the responsibility of her kingdom, Princess Constance must face many interested suitors, navigate the customs of neighboring kingdoms, and be true to her heart…all of which prove to not be easy tasks…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not a huge fan of fantasy, I am glad I did not shy away from this book due to my perceived notions on the genre. Actually a good story with vivid descriptions and plot twists, my favorite aspect was the word choices. Obviously a fellow word-geek, I found myself re-reading several passages to gain the true depth of the selections. Though only a novella, the story was well enough developed to not feel short in length.  A simple yet pure romance was spun throughout this tale suitable for all ages.  Glimpses of mystery, confidence, strength and faith weaved together to create an intriguing story.  As Book 1 in the Movement of Crown series, I look forward to reading more from Nadine Keels, especially in this series.

RATING:

4.5 (out of 5) pennies

I received a complimentary copy of The Movement of Crowns from the author for my honest review.

An Endless Christmas

Ruchti, Cynthia. An Endless Christmas. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
anendlesschristmas“She said NO!” Finding herself staying with her not-so-possible fiance for the Christmas week, Katie Vale doesn’t accept the marriage proposal from Micah Binder. Surrounded by his huge, loving family, Katie soon realizes there is more to this family than she originally thought. Forgiveness, heartache, faith, love, compassion, hope and the miracles of Christmas, all contribute to a deeper understanding of herself, family, mercy and Jesus…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Perfect for the Christmas season, I adore seasonal novels and novellas this time of year. A new author for me, Cynthia Ruchti will no longer be a stranger. Reminding me of Debbie Macomber, an author I read quite often, An Endless Christmas was full of many characters experiencing real-life, everyday situations. Though the responses to the situations were usually ideal, there was a life-like quality to the events and characters which warmed my heart. Complete with an adorably modern retelling of the Christmas story, this novella is suitable for hot chocolate, warm slippers, a cozy blanket, soft Christmas hymns, and perhaps even a few snowflakes!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of An Endless Christmas from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

All Is Bright

Coble, Colleen. All Is Bright: A Hope Beach Christmas Novella. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
allisbrightRun off the road and thrown into the ocean, Delilah Carter almost suffers the same fate her parents did years ago. In the midst of planning a wedding for her friends at Tidewater Inn, Delilah experiences another scare when she starts to receive threatening phone calls and is attacked again. Helped by the local sheriff, Tom Bourne, Delilah is faced with a difficult decision…does she continue with the wedding or save herself?  Mystery, previous Hope Beach characters, and romance all mingle together around the Christmas tree…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read previous works by Colleen Coble, though not any in the Hope Beach series, I was unable to connect characters from this novella yet enjoyed it perfectly as a stand-alone. Just in time for the season of Christmas-themed novels (a favorite of mine), I was happy to start the time with All Is Bright. A quick read which caused me to definitely consider this author’s other series, I will continue to seek works by her. Absolutely a novella to read this time of year!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of All Is Bright from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

A Beautiful Reflection

Maddox, Sarah O. A Beautiful Reflection. Winchester, KY: Olivia Kimbrell Press. 2014.

SUMMARY:
reflectionHaving recently turned down a marriage proposal from her current boyfriend, Susan Strasbourg finds herself attracted to Jim Hitchenson, an attractive, successful businessman. With very different pasts, conflicted morals, clashing beliefs and strong convictions, Jim and Susan must discover if their differences can be harmonized or will divide them…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With a morally strong potential for a story, I appreciated the message conveyed but was a bit disappointed in the actual style in which it was presented. With a more shallow storyline, the characters and activity were more limited (though it is considered a novella). Containing several errors within the book, I found my focus and attention would drift, although, the solid and healthy messages of waiting for marriage and not yoking with a non-believer were evident and steady. The quote with which the book opens,  “As the water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the person” (Proverbs 27:19), is right on target both in the book and for living life.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Beautiful Reflection from BookCrash and the author for my honest review*

A November Bride

Vogt, Beth. A November Bride: A Year of Weddings Novella. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2014.

SUMMARY:
novemberHaving just turned thirty and dumped by her boyfriend through a text message, Sadie McAllister begins to wonder if true love will ever find her. As a food-star hopeful, Sadie receives an invitation to move out west; however, she is beginning to wonder if perhaps her chances at love may be right under her nose at home with Erik Davis, her eighth-grade crush…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As the ending to A Year of Weddings series, this was a fun-filled novella perfect for this busy time of year. Light-hearted yet with a good message, this short contemporary romance is actually quite relevant today (text messages, Food Network). As a new author for me, Beth Vogt will definitely be an author I read again as I appreciated her sense of humor and developed characters in her writing. The entire Wedding series was a delight for me…fast paced, humorous at times, and faith-filled while introducing me to several new authors. Even some of the author’s friends/ co-writers are my favorites now too!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of November Bride from BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan for my honest review*