Thursday, December 2, 2021

Christmas Baking

 By Kelly Bridgewater

One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season is bake Christmas goodies.

Sugar Cookies.

Oreos that look like Mickey and Minnie.

Pretzel Rods dipped in one chocolate, then sprinkled with sprinkles.

Chocolate chip cookies.

Ginger snaps.

Peanut Brittle.

English Toffee.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge.

 

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Not anything good for my waistline.

But I usually go around the neighborhood and share a care package with our neighbors and the local police officers to show our support.

There is even a tiny gas station down the street where I give the owner cookies too.

It is nice to see their expressions as they open the package full of homemade goodies.

Do you bake during Christmas? Do you pass the cookies around? I hope that you plan to do some baking with your family. Great memory making moments too.

 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Carrie Fancett Pagels: Behind Love's Wall

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: Behind Love’s Wall

Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels

Genre: FICTION/ Christian/Romance

Release date: November 1, 2021

The Grand Hotel Slowly Reveals Her Secrets

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Two successful women, a hundred-and-twenty-years apart, build walls to protect their hearts. Modern-day Willa, a successful interior decorator, is chosen to consult for the Grand Hotel’s possible redesign. She discovers a journal detailing the struggles of a young woman, Lily—which reveals dark secrets. The renowned singer wasn’t who she pretended to be. As Willa reaches out to Lily’s descendant, a charismatic and prominent landscape artist, she lets down her guard. Should she share the journal with him, or once again erect a wall as she struggles to redesign both the Grand and her life? 

 


My Thoughts:

Behind Love’s Wall by Carrie Fancett Pagels is a delightful time-slip novel with a mystery from 1895 and the present day story. The story is about family and what connects a family. The mystery intertwines nicely. The setting was well-written and described. I had a nice time scrolling through this island and all its little cottages. I enjoyed the mystery. There was some times where I wanted a little more information to be more specific about the mystery that was occurring. Sometimes I had a hard time following the story. The romance was a little on the shy side, which is the way I like my stories. I have really enjoyed these stories, and I can’t wait to see what the next ones will instill. Mysteries are one of my favorite genre. Overall, Behind Love’s Wall is a delightful historical mysteries with a time slip twist. I believe fans of history and mysteries would enjoy this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Behind Love’s Wall by Carrie Fancett Pagels  from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Behind Love’s Wall

About the Author


ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of over a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.

More from Carrie

Why I Wrote This Novel

 I got a chance to write another novel set on Mackinac Island!!!

 I’m the author of over twenty published stories. I have many books, both novel and novella length, set at the Straits of Mackinac including Maggie Award winner and Romantic Times Top Pick My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island. In the summer, I go up to the area and I’m blessed to sign books at the Island Bookstore—sometimes hundreds of books which is such an amazing thing I can’t tell you! Now that MHBoMI is out of print, Barbour has been helping by doing limited print runs for while I am up there.

 My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island was originally part of a full series that I pitched but it didn’t get picked up for all three stories. MHBoMI got picked up as part of the My Heart Belongs series that Barbour put out a few years ago. The second book in my original Brides of Mackinac series was heroine Sadie’s story, which was published as a novella “His Anchor” in First Love Forevercollection.  So I had two of my book babies delivered out into the world and Lily’s story sat there for a while. 

In the Covid summer of 2020, I arrived in my home state of Michigan and over dinner with a close friend I learned that the folks at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island were having legal trouble with their previous long-time designed Carlton Varney suing them. I’d been disappointed that the Mussers, who’d owned the Grand for generations, had sold the hotel but this new development really bugged me.  While I was in the Upper Peninsula, I finished an Indy book, Dogwood Plantation, which only figures since I often write my Michigan stories while I am in Virginia and vice versa! I knew the only other book I wanted to work on was to complete my Brides of Mackinac trilogy (not exactly since they aren’t all in one series!) with Lily’s story. I also had a manuscript about 70% done that was my very first contemporary Women’s Fiction novel. When my agent encouraged me to submit a Mackinac Island story set at the Grand Hotel to Barbour’s Doors to the Past series, I knew immediately that the only story for historical I wanted to write was Lily’s. That meant that I needed, for this dual-timeline series, a contemporary story. That wasn’t just a chance sharing at dinner—I believe the info about the lawsuit was meant to be passed on to me one of those God-incidences. My modern-day heroine then became an established resort designer who had a trunkful of issues just like Lily did. 

Was I ever glad that I had finally written my first contemporary Women’s Fiction (Butterfly Cottage) because that skill set came in very handy in writing the modern-day 2020 story of Willa in Behind Love’s Wall! This was the most difficult novel to write that I have done so far as I write in character and going back and forth between the 1895 and 2020 timelines could be draining. I tried to write each character and setting on separate days but that couldn’t always be managed. 

I pray that this story will touch readers’ hearts. I pray that someone, like the young waitress I meant on Mackinac Island who had been spiritually moved by My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island(she read her grandmother’s copy after her grandma passed away!), will read this book and feel that connection to our Maker. That’s what Christian Fiction is all about!

Blog Stops

Life of Literature, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 19

Cats in the Cradle Blog, November 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

Inklings and notions, November 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 20

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 21

For Him and My Family, November 21

Mary Hake, November 21

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 22

Texas Book-aholic, November 22

For the Love of Literature, November 22

deb’s Book Review, November 23

Betti Mace, November 23

Genesis 5020, November 23

Older & Smarter?, November 24

Remembrancy, November 24

Blossoms and Blessings, November 25

Stephanie’s life of determination, November 25

Connect in Fiction, November 25

Rebecca Tews, November 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 26

Through the fire blogs, November 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 27

Pause for Tales, November 27

Bigreadersite, November 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 28

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 28

Connie’s History Classroom, November 29

Bizwings Blog, November 29

Labor Not in Vain, November 29

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 30

To Everything There Is A Season, November 30

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 1

Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen, December 1

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 1

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a 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/137e9/behind-love-s-wall-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Elizabeth Goddard: Deadly Target

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Criminal psychologist Erin Larson's dreams of a successful career come to a screeching halt when she nearly loses her own life in a boating accident on Puget Sound and then learns that her mother tried to commit suicide. She leaves her job as a criminal psychologist to care for her mother in Montana. At least she is able to produce her podcast, which focuses on solving missing persons cold cases.

Nathan Campbell's father was investigating such a case when he was shot, and now Nathan needs to enlist Erin's help to solve the case. She's good at what she does. The only problem? She's his ex.

As the two dig deeper, it becomes clear that they, too, are being targeted--and that the answers to their questions are buried deep within the past Erin struggles to explain and longs to forget.

The race is on for the truth in this gripping and complex tale of suspense, intrigue, and murder from USA Today bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard.


 

My Thoughts:

Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard kept the action pumping with plenty of twists and turns that will keep readers guessing and flying through the story. The action was my favorite part. Goddard does a wonderful job at amping up the suspense for the heroine. She kept throwing her and the hero in tricking spots that readers will not see coming. Romance, of course, develops, but the story does focus more on the suspense than the romance, which is the way that romantic suspense should be written. The plot was unique and different. The moment of truth for the heroine was not something I have ever read before. It was thrown in, and I was a little shocked. Did not see that coming. If readers enjoy a good chase from the bad guys and want to know why, then this is a good story close to a cozy mystery with a little more edge to the plot. Overall, Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard was a delight to lose myself in. Romantic Suspense fans should pick up this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Deadly Target

Friday, November 26, 2021

Savor the Good Ones

 By Kelly Bridgewater

 Last year for Thanksgiving, I remember spending five hours in the kitchen with my mother helping prepare the meal for all 14 people that came over.

We had to get the turkey in the oven.

Bake pies. We made pumpkin, pecan, chocolate, and peanut butter struesal pie.

Mashed potatoes.

Sweet potatoes.

Homemade rolls that had to rise. Punch. Re-rise. Then separate. Then re-rise before putting them into the oven.

Green beans.

Salad.

Brown Gravy.

Then debone the turkey.

And the dreaded cleaning the dishes as you go.

Just to have the meal eaten in about 30 minutes. Then the whole family rushes away, and I was stuck with the clean-up. After preparing all the food.

By the evening, the boys want to play games, but my back hurts, and I want some quiet time.

This got me thinking about authors.

I want to be a published author.

I have read a good chunk of writing instruction books.

I have studied writers I admire, so I can figure out how to write.

But how long does it take an author to do their research and compose a complete novel?

I have tried to write a number of historical novels, and I love doing the research, but an author could spend days, weeks, or months trapped in a research black hole.

Then you have to spend time crafting the story.

Some authors only write one books a year. It takes them that long to craft a wonderful book. And it shows.

But then it takes me about a day, depending on what is going on to devour the book. Then I either pass the book along, delete it off my Kindle, or place it on my shelf.

All that work for what?

As a budding writer, I have heard that you have to find some other reason to write than the paycheck at the end of the day.

This definitely proves this.

This is why I review. I want others to be able to see the wonders of a good story. I want to tell others about a story that should not just have a couple of days for it to be eaten and then shoved away until “next year.” Like a Thanksgiving dinner.

How about you? Do you share a good book with others? Or do you hurry up and move onto the next one? Trust me. As someone who reviews A LOT, I feel like I do this a lot.

I need to spend more time savoring the good stories too. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Susan May Warren: Have Yourself a Christiansen Christmas

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Owen picked back up on the first ring. “Hey. Sorry. I’m in the middle of something here, so I couldn’t wait. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to make it, Ames. I have a small kerfuffle I’m into here, but, I’ll do my best.” 

“Please try. Not to be dramatic, but it might be the last Christmas we all spend together.”

 Please…come home for Christmas…

It's Christmas in the winter wonderland town of Deep Haven, and the Christiansen kids are all heading home for the holidays. But no one feels very merry.

Grace is worried about her husband's life-changing illness…

Eden is facing devastating news…

Casper is in over his head (of course!)…

Amelia is dodging a walk down the aisle…

Owen…well, Owen just nearly died, again…

But it's Darek who has news that just might destroy the family legacy.

The trip home for all is filled with secrets, memories and old dreams. But when they discover the real reason they've been asked home for the holidays, it will shake their world. It'll take a disaster for them to discover that home is the place for answers, hope and most of all…miracles. 

This year, spend Christmas with your favorite small town family.

 


 

My Thoughts:

Snow. Christmas. Family. Dilemma. Faith. Have Yourself a Christiansen Christmas by Susan May Warren has all the family feels for a wonderful Christmas novella. The Christiansen’s journey through their previous seven novels were one of my favorite Warren families. Obviously, Warren loves them too since she included them in a story again. This time around Christmas. I love seeing all the family members again. I love seeing them interact with one another. I love the elements of the Christmas traditions that Warren wove into the storyline. When authors craft realistic characters and have them face realistic dilemmas, I love seeing how they actually change and grow from these circumstances. The plot was woven so well. Each individual couple has doubts and fears that creep to the front of the story line, but I love how they work through them and rely on God for the answers. Even though I read this story as an e-book copy the first time around, I will purchase it as a physical edition to add to my bookshelf. If you enjoy Christmas movies, Warren’s stories, or realistic family situations, then this is the story for you to pick up and read. Maybe even every Christmas.

I received a complimentary copy of Have Yourself a Christiansen Christmas by Susan May Warren from Sunrise Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Have Yourself a Christiansen Christmas

Monday, November 22, 2021

Patricia Bradley: Crosshairs

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Investigative Services Branch (ISB) ranger Ainsley Beaumont arrives in her hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, to investigate the murder of a three-month-pregnant teenager. While she wishes the visit was under better circumstances, she never imagined that she would become the killer's next target--nor that she'd have to work alongside an old flame.

After he almost killed a child, former FBI sniper Lincoln Steele couldn't bring himself to fire a gun, which had deadly and unforeseen consequences for his best friend. Crushed beneath a load of guilt, Linc is working at Melrose Estate as an interpretive ranger. But as danger closes in on Ainsley during her murder investigation, Linc will have to find the courage to protect her. The only question is, will it be too little, too late?

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley continues her Natchez Trace Park Rangers series with a story about how good must prevail when evil just won't quit.

 


My Thoughts:

Crosshairs by Patricia Bradley features a chase through the park with bullets flying, a dead girl, and the burning flash of romance. The plot opened with a dead body on the scene, which definitely captured my suspense loving mind. While I wanted more focused on the forensics behind the element of who murdered the poor girl, the story focused more on chasing who did it without seeing the study of the clues on the body. Yes, the heroine does wander around the woods and goes into the church, but not much time spent on the scene. The heroine does focus on asking different people present at the campground and in the Natchez about the girl, so she does follow through later. The plot was interesting. I could not wait to see how it played out. As for the romance, the heroine and hero had been in a relationship together back in high school. Then life happened. The driven- down emotions were still just below the surface and wanting to break through the whole time of the story. The characters, especially the heroine, have a good backstory that I completely empathize with. She had spunk and determination. I like her personality. The hero fell a little flat to me. He was needy and helpful, but I really did not like him. Overall, Crosshairs by Patricia Bradley lives up to its name as a romantic suspense novel. Lots of action and romance to keep any reader interested.

I received a complimentary copy of Crosshairs by Patricia Bradley from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Crosshairs

Friday, November 19, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

By Kelly Bridgewater 


Happy Thanksgiving!

  

I hope you enjoy good food and spend time with family making memories.

 

I know I will!

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Enjoy your time, hopefully, off work!