Monday, December 5, 2022

Julie Klassen: The Sisters of Sea View

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Some guests have come for a holiday, others for hidden reasons of their own . . .

When their father's death leaves them impoverished, Sarah Summers and her genteel sisters fear they will be forced to sell the house and separate to earn livelihoods as governesses or companions. Determined to stay together, Sarah convinces them to open their seaside home to guests to make ends meet and provide for their ailing mother. Instead of the elderly invalids they expect to receive, however, they find themselves hosting eligible gentlemen. Sarah is soon torn between a growing attraction to a mysterious Scottish widower and duty to her family.

Viola Summers wears a veil to cover her scar. When forced to choose between helping in her family's new guest house and earning money to hire a maid to do her share, she chooses the latter. She reluctantly agrees to read to some of Sidmouth's many invalids, preferring the company of a few elders with failing eyesight to the fashionable guests staying in their home. But when her first client turns out to be a wounded officer in his thirties, Viola soon wishes she had chosen differently. Her new situation exposes her scars--both visible and those hidden deep within--and her cloistered heart will never be the same.

Join the Summers sisters on the Devonshire coast, where they discover the power of friendship, loyalty, love, and new beginnings.


 

My Thoughts:

The Sisters of Sea View by Julie Klassen has a Little Women by Louisa May Alcott feel to it. Four sisters close yet have to work together to bring in more income to their home. Sarah, the oldest sister is vibrant and authoritative. She takes charge and works really hard to balance the books and even taken on the opportunity to learn to bake, which she loves. Emily and Viola, twin sisters, are different, but vibrant characters. Emily is headstrong but wounded from a previous relationship. She wants to be married and have children. Whereas Viola was born with a birthmark that she likes to hide from the world. She has a kind soul and has learned to reach out to others who can’t see and help them to read and write. Finally, Georgie, the youngest sister, makes appearances now and then, but she is not a main character in the story. The plot does show the everyday struggle of these women trying to cope with strangers living in their house and how to cope with making extra funds outside the house. A touch of romance between the three older sisters and their guests. Overall, The Sisters of Sea View by Julie Klassen is a delightful story with four sisters and how they are going to survive and all the struggles they encounter to save their home.

I received a complimentary copy of The Sisters of Sea View by Julie Klassen from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Sisters of Sea View

Friday, December 2, 2022

Is Life Moving Too Fast?

 By Kelly Bridgewater

It is Christmas time again.

I love this time of year.

I start to listen to the Christmas music in July.

I wish for a wintery, cold, snowy morning when I wake up on Christmas.

Probably not going to happen.

We have not had a White Christmas in Central Indiana since 2004. My oldest was two and the other two boys have never seen a White Christmas.

I believe we are due for one.

But this got me thinking.

Is Life Moving Too Fast?

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During the year, I mark off the days until a three day weekend.

I count down until the first day of fall.

I look forward to the fall festivals.

I can’t wait until the weekend.

But by doing this, it got me thinking of how much of my life I am wasting because I am doing this.

What am I actually accomplishing with my life?

Yes, I am homeschooling my youngest when I leave work.

Yes, I am using all of my paycheck toward the mortgage. (2.5 years left. We will have paid it off 21.5 years early. Yeah!!!!)

But what about the novel that I want to write?

What about the places I want to visit?

If I keep hurrying through life, then I will be dead before I know it, and I accomplished nothing.

Do you find yourself rushing through life to the next fun event? What can we do to keep our perspective and enjoy every day that the Lord have given us?

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Hannah Linder: Beneath His Silence

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: Beneath His Silence

Author: Hannah Linder

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Release date: November, 2022

Gothic-Style Regency Romance from a Promising Young Author

Second daughter of a baron—and a little on the mischievous side—Ella Pemberton is no governess. But the pretense is a necessity if she ever wishes to get inside of Wyckhorn Manor and attain the truth. Exposing the man who killed her sister is all that matters.

Lord Sedgewick knows there’s blood on his hands. Lies have been conceived, then more lies, but the price of truth would be too great. All he has left now is his son—and his hatred. Yet as the charming governess invades his home, his safe cocoon of bitterness begins to tear away.

Could Ella, despite the lingering questions of his guilt, fall in love with such a man? Or is she falling prey to him—just as her dead sister?

 


My Thoughts:

Beneath His Silence by Hannah Linder combines a Jane Eyre type story with a mystery. When readers start the story, they will notice a number of similarities to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. An old house with a Lord who has rumors spread throughout the countryside about him. Even though the story is not a mirror image of the Jane Eyre plot, it does have some similarities, so the story does ring as not original. The plot does feature a mystery, and the story does move through the daily lives of each characters. While the plot does ring familiar, I wanted more explanation near the end of the mystery. What actually happened to Ella’s sister? Was the reasoning behind the person upstairs realistic? It was truly never explained either. I wanted more backstory on his story. As for the romance, it was awkward and weird at times. When Ella and Lord Sedgewick started to feel emotions toward each other, I, personally, did not buy it. The snide remarks that they have been sharing the whole story kind of kept their emotions at a distance. Overall, Beneath His Silence by Hannah Linder was a nice try for a debut author, but I needed more backstory and information to make the story realistic and believable.

I received a complimentary copy of Beneath His Silence by Hannah Linder from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Purchase Beneath His Silence

About the Author:


Hannah Linder resides in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. Represented by Books & Such, she writes Regency romantic suspense novels. She is a double 2021 Selah Award winner, a 2022 Selah Award winner, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). In way of career, Hannah is a Graphic Design Associates Degree graduate who specializes in professional book cover design. She designs for both traditional publishing houses and individual authors, including New York Times, USA Today, National, and International bestsellers. She is also a local photographer and self-portrait photographer. When Hannah is not writing, she enjoys playing her instruments—piano, guitar, and ukulele—songwriting, painting still life, walking in the rain, and sitting on the front porch of her 1800s farmhouse. To follow her journey, visit hannahlinderbooks.com.

More from Hannah

People always ask me what inspired a story. Where did I get the idea? Who was my inspiration? What true-life event motivated these characters into existence? 

And the truth is, I don’t know. I’ve never known. When I was younger, I’d look clueless and shrug my shoulders. A few years ago, I would have probably answered “people”—and maybe there’s truth in that. People do inspire me. The way they walk, the places they go, the things they do, the way they dress. 

But lately…well, I think it’s more than that. I don’t think it’s people so much as feelings. The nitty-gritty. The raw emotions, caught deep in someone’s chest, at the most pivotal points in their life.

Like the old man seated at a booth, alone in a restaurant, with his veiny hands cupping a mug of coffee. It’s not his shabby fedora that inspires me. Or the knotty cane leaned against his seat. Or the envelope stuffed into the pocket of his woolen overcoat. 

It’s the look on his face. The slow blinking, the red nose, the flash of moisture as he takes another sip of coffee. Why does he sit alone? Who left him? Who caused the tears? What emotions render that lost, helpless, longing expression—and how will he cope? 

If you would ask me what inspired Beneath His Silence, I probably wouldn’t have much of an answer. No concrete idea or moment would rush to remembrance. If anything, inspiration for Beneath His Silence was nothing more than a small thought. A feeling. 

I wanted to write about a girl who learned to love someone she hated. I wanted to explore every aspect. The poison of her hate. The weight it pressed into her heart. The process—slow, startling, and healing—that sucked out that poison and replaced it with something unexpected. Love.  

I guess that’s what I love about writing. Not the people. The characters. Not even the storylines and the plot twists and the fun settings.  

I love the emotion. That’s what inspires me. 

And if you find yourself in the pages of Beneath His Silence, I hope it will inspire you too.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 28

Genesis 5020, November 28

Texas Book-aholic, November 29

To Everything There Is A Season, November 29

Where Faith And Books Meet, November 30

Inklings and notions, November 30

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 30

Book Looks by Lisa, December 1

deb’s Book Review, December 1

Betti Mace, December 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 2

Remembrancy, December 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 4

Connie’s History Classroom, December 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 5

Rebecca Tews, December 6

Simple Harvest Reads, December 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Blogging With Carol, December 7

For Him and My Family, December 7

Through the Fire Blogs, December 8

Holly’s Book Corner, December 8

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 9 (Author Interview)

Bizwings Blog, December 9

Melissa’s Bookshelf, December 9

Pause for Tales, December 10

Cover Lover Book Review, December 10

Mary Hake, December 10

Labor Not in Vain, December 11

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 11

Giveaway




To celebrate her tour, Hannah is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a print copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/22ccf/beneath-his-silence-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, November 28, 2022

Amy Lynn Green: The Blackout Book Club

 

By Kelly Bridgewater

In 1942, an impulsive promise to her brother before he goes off to the European front puts Avis Montgomery in the unlikely position of head librarian in small-town Maine. Though she has never been much of a reader, when wartime needs threaten to close the library, she invents a book club to keep its doors open. The women she convinces to attend the first meeting couldn't be more different--a wealthy spinster determined to aid the war effort, an exhausted mother looking for a fresh start, and a determined young war worker.

At first, the struggles of the home front are all the club members have in common, but over time, the books they choose become more than an escape from the hardships of life and the fear of the U-boat battles that rage just past their shores. As the women face personal challenges and band together in the face of danger, they find they have more in common than they think. But when their growing friendships are tested by secrets of the past and present, they must decide whether depending on each other is worth the cost.


 

My Thoughts:

The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green is an exciting viewpoint of a book club that meets during World War II. Green does a wonderful job at crafting a novel that takes readers through the normal life of the women and certain men who are left behind as they run the American factories and wives of the soldiers. It was nice to see her attention to detail as the story showed a different side to the warfront. The characters were handled nicely with many hurts as they adjusted to life during this time with Blackout curtains and not allowed to be out after a certain time. Even raising kids during this time was difficult. The plot is told through the eyes of the characters and the pages of the “minutes” of the Blackout Book Club as they form a bond that comes to the rescue near the climactic moment near the end of the novel. Overall, The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green is definitely a different World War II story than what I am used to reading because it takes place stateside, which I liked a lot. A nice book to add to any World War II fans’ collection.

I received a complimentary copy of The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Blackout Book Club

Friday, November 25, 2022

Dream Jobs

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Do you work at your dream Job? What is your dream job?

When I was a little girl, I used to teach all the kids in the neighborhood during the summer. I enjoyed it. I loved seeing their eyes light up. I loved assigning homework, which they never completed and returned.

My mom was for sure that I was going to be a teacher. Nope. I did not.

I did teach College Level Writing classes when I attended Graduate school. Even won an award because I was nominated by one of my students because she loved me as a teacher.

But I did not pursue this career.

When I hit fifth grade, I wanted to be an astronaut.

Our school took a field trip to a planetarium, and we learned all the stories behind the constellations, and I was hooked. I wanted to spend more time in the stars.

I remember my Daddy taking a telescope and sitting outside with me at night and looking at the stars. Good memory.

I went to a Magnet middle school for Math and Science, so I could pursue this dream.

Once I hit my junior year, I knew that Science was not for me.

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I enjoyed reading and writing my whole life, so I thought a journalist. I could write stories. I was on the newspaper my junior and senior year in high school.

But I did not like focusing on non-fiction stories.

I enjoyed fiction.

In college, I started to pursue the steps to becoming an Acquisitions Editor for a publishing company. I have the BS in English with a Minor in Creative Writing. I have a MA in Writing.

But no experience.

I would love to sit and read books all day. Yes, we should publish this one. No, we should not publish this one.

OR I would love to get my tail end into gear and actually compose tons of novels that I have written outlines for.

Are you working at your dream job? What is your dream job?

Monday, November 21, 2022

Brian Andrews and Jeff Wilson: Dark Fall

By Kelly Bridgewater

When a remote Peruvian village is reduced to ash in seconds, the Shepherds face a horrific question: Is this the work of a man-made weapon of unthinkable power, or is God raining down judgment from above, as some believe?

As the recently installed leader of the Joshua Bravo team, Jedidiah Johnson shifts into covert operation mode to follow rumors of a new energy-based weapon able to incinerate a target—even a human target—with no warning. With the assistance of the CIA, Jed’s team deploys to Hong Kong to extract the Chinese scientist who helped develop the weapon.

What the Shepherds learn from Dr. Zhao confirms their worst fears: The weapon is real and has disappeared from the testing facility where it was held. With help from the Watchers, Jed discovers that Victor, the leader of the Dark Ones, has the weapon and intends to use it to wreak untold damage and destabilize the faith of millions. But as Jed and his team race the clock to find and disable the weapon, Victor begins to unfold secret plans for another attack . . .

And this target is much closer to home.


 

My Thoughts:

Dark Fall by Brian Andrew and Jeff Wilson follows the harrowing tale of the Shepherds who see the interaction with the demon world. While on a life saving mission, they are trying to find out what the weapon is and how to stop it before it destroys much of mankind. The action is definitely a moving target as the story progresses. My favorite part is the last thirty percent of the novel where the main climactic moment of the whole series come to a head. With plenty of action and movement, Wilson and Andrews will take readers on a ride through the demonic world and understand the overarching power of God and how he can defeat all of them. THe storyline was different, yet familiar to readers of spiritual darkness like Frank Peretti, but they allow soldiers who are trained in armed forces to deal with this type of evil. Overall, Dark Fall by Andrews and Wilson had enough action to keep this suspense loving reader actively involved, but it also forces me to wonder how deep my faith is. A great question to ponder.

I received a complimentary copy of Dark Fall by Brian Andrews and Jeff Wilson through Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Dark Fall

Friday, November 18, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

 By Kelly Bridgewater

I pray you have a day filled with family, good food, and maybe some crazy board games, which is what our family does after eating and cleaning up.

 

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If you do not have the family to spend time with because of family strife or you live too far away. I pray you find some friendly friends that will allow to crash their day and have a wonderful time.

Plenty of moments to make memories.

Plenty of good food!

Happy Thanksgiving!