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Friday, July 20, 2018

God's Call (Part 3)

Kelly Bridgewater

Two weeks ago, I talked about what believed the call on my life was.

Last week, I talked about how God and I had worked to take the steps to lead me toward what I believe what was the calling on my life.

I even left you with a cliff-hanger last week: What if writing isn't the call on my life?

What if God isn't calling me to write? What do I do now?

I'm not going back to school to pursue another career path. The first time around, I did it with no debt. I really don't want to do it again and rack up tons of debt.

But writing and reading is ALL I have ever enjoyed to do. 

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But when I have sat down to write in the past three years, I don't feel the words flow. My characters don't talk to me anymore. My writing appears very boring and not good enough.

I still have ideas pop in my head, but when I go to compose the scene, my fear of writing something horrible freezes me up, and I put the computer away. I write down the ideas in my notebook with my research notes and move about my day.

I have pleaded, begged, and prayed to God to come alongside me and compose these stories for his glory, but I don't hear anything or feel the comfort of his presence when I sit down to write.

Lately, I feel like God is telling me NOT NOW!!!

Which makes me really sad.

So what am I suppose to do with my life now?

Work five in the evening until one in the morning at the local grocery chain. Never make enough money to see the light of day. Work with NO PASSION until I die.

Did you catch those words? Those important words. NO PASSION.

Apparently, that is what I have now. NO PASSION. No passion for writing. No passion for reading. No passion for doing what I thought God designed me to do.

Come back next week where I will share what I have been working on since I discovered writing isn't for me at this stage in my life.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Susan Anne Mason: The Best of Intentions

By Kelly Bridgewater

In the aftermath of WWI, Grace Abernathy is determined to reunite with her family, crossing an ocean to convince her widowed sister to return home to England. Yet Toronto holds more tragedy and her nephew Christian is now in the custody of his paternal relatives, the formidable Easton family, who rejected Grace's sister because of her low social status.

Unconvinced the Eastons can be fitting caretakers, Grace jumps at the chance to be Christian's nanny and observe the family up close under an assumed name. In the course of her new position, she is shocked to discover herself falling for Andrew Easton, the boy's guardian. Unfortunately, Andrew is promised to a spoiled socialite who will make a terrible stepmother for Christian. Will Grace be able to protect her nephew . . . and her heart?

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Historical Romance is much different than contemporary romance. Yes, both genres are completely predictable, such as most romance stories are, but I enjoy traveling to a different time period and watching people live in their different worlds. Seeing things we don't have around anymore. Living in houses with customs we don't hold dear anymore. Susan Anne Mason has created a new story The Best of Intentions taking place at the end of World War I, and I loved watching the characters interact in this world.

Mason does a wonderful job at inviting me into the Eason's massive house with all their finery and money. She shows me what I need to see when I need to see it and invites me to travel through the property with Grace. Mason stays in Grace or Andrew's point of view. She really doesn't head hop, but she allows me to understand and empathize with their emotions.

Grace is a strong character who lives with a lot of guilt and wants to discover forgiveness from her mother. From things in her past to her sister and brother. Mason doesn't show us if the return to England brings the forgiveness she is looking for, but I do know that Grace has accepted God's forgiveness and hopefully, she can move on with her life now.

Andrew is a sweetheart of a man who only wants to do what is expected of him since his brother Frank disappointed his parents. But at what cost? His future and his happiness. Changes bloom and change at the Eason home for a number of important characters.

The plot has been seen before, but I enjoy that Mason does throw a couple of surprises near the end. The story captured my attention, allowing me to rush through the pages, begging for more of the story and budding romance between Grace and Andrew. The ending made me smile, and I was grateful for their predictable happily ever after.

One issue I had with the story is the world surrounding the Easons and Grace. It is right after World War I. Everything around them appeared to be happy and go-lucky, but I wish there was more of the aftermath of World War I mentioned in the story. Like for instance, did Canada take any hits? Was the world different for the people? How did the war affect Mr. Eason's job and money? What about the visitors to the hotel? The world changed after World War I, but in the plot, it didn't really affect the characters expect they lost family members, which is horrible in itself I understand, but I wanted more to make the time period stand out. This story could have been written during the Regency period, and I don't believe anything would have changed.

Overall, The Best of Intentions by Susan Anne Mason is a delightful read with strong characters and a wonderful story. The time period fell a little short for me, but I still enjoyed spending time with Grace and Andrew. Fans of Mason's other stories, Rachel McMillan, or Jen Turano would, I believe, enjoy The Best of Intentions.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, July 16, 2018

Dani Pettrey: Dead Drift

By Kelly Bridgewater

Burning debris littering the ground . . . smoke pluming in the acrid air . . . this is just the beginning if he fails.

Seven years ago, operative Luke Gallagher vanished to become part of an elite team set on capturing a deadly terrorist. When Luke returns to face those he left behind, their help becomes his only hope of stopping his target's latest threat of an attack that would shake America to its core.

Private investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving or looking for Luke after he disappeared. But she also never imagined he left her or his life by choice. Now he's back, and together they must unravel a twisting thread of secrets, lies, and betrayal, all while on the brink of a biological disaster.

Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist's next mark?

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

I love suspense in any form. I discovered Dani Pettrey when I read the first book in her Alaskan Courage series Submerged. I love the idea of Alaska and a family that works in the outdoors solving mysteries was a unique and wonderful idea. I have fallen in love with each consecutive Pettrey's stories.  So of course, I want to read Dead Drift, the final book in her Chesapeake Valor series. I couldn't wait to see how she concluded the series.

First, there is two parallel stories running the length of the novel. Luke and Kate who are running away from someone who wants to bring harm to them and allow Luke to seek solace in capturing a guy he has been chasing for seven years. The second storyline features Griffin and Finley. If you have read the first book in the series, Cold Shot, then their names should be familiar. They were the main characters. They are working together to hunt for a serial killer who killed Griffin's sister. I actually liked Griffin and Finley's story line better because they were actually hunting for a serial killer, whereas, Luke and Kate's story was focused a lot on their personal romance.

The romance between Luke and Kate is front and center in their storyline. I don't remember, and I might have to return and read the first three books to verify, much about Luke. I remember Kate working alongside the other members, but I don't think she said anything about Luke. Their romance was a little over the top for me. Who has time to apologize when someone is chasing you?

I enjoy stories with serial killers. They are interesting to me. I like seeing how the author will create a plot that captures my attention and doesn't let go. Pettrey did a good job with the serial killer storyline. I wish the story focused more on their story than the other one. I had a hard time putting the novel down. I finished it in one day.

In conclusion, Dead Drift is riddled with non-stop action, and Pettrey does a good job at bringing back familiar characters and creating a story that races against time. I anxiously await her next series Coastal Guardian series. I believe fans of Lynette Eason, DiAnn Mills, Irene Hannon, and Carrie Stuart Parks would love to read this series.

I received a complimentary copy of Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Friday, July 13, 2018

God's Call (Part 2)

Kelly Bridgewater

Last week, I talked about what I believed is God's calling on my life. The signs are all there. I LOVE to read and write. Nothing makes me more excited than plotting a story or discovering a new author or a new book by a favorite author. I LOVE recommending books to friends who ask for suggestions on what to read next. (And trust me, it happens A LOT!!)

So naturally, the thing that brings the most joy to my life is the tool I believed God wanted me to use to witness to others.

Jesus used stories to make a point, so if I loved stories, why couldn't I use stories to make a point?

BUT . . . 

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for the past twelve years, I have lined my life and college goals up with that choice. I worked on the newspaper in high school, I choose English as my major with Creative Writing as my minor for my Bachelor's degree, and I even went on to choose Writing for my Master's Degree. I believed I was on the correct path for a job in writing or publishing.

I wrote for the church newspaper. I helped students with their writing. I have helped friends with their stories and their writings.

I applied for jobs in the publishing industry. I applied for jobs to be a Writing Teacher in college or high school. I applied for jobs to be literary agents assistance with NO PAY.

I have spent years sitting at home, researching, plotting, and planning these novels.

I have written three complete novels. Even the synopsis.

BUT . . . (Yes, another "Y" in the road.)

Why have I studied the Bible and asked God to come alongside me in the journey to publication or a position with a publishing company? I have worshipped God even through the trials (and boy, have there been a lot of them.)

The question I'm asking now is:

What if writing isn't the call on my life?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Nadine Brandes: Fawkes

By Kelly Bridgewater

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th-century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

I haven't read anything by Nadine Brandes, even though I have wanted to read her previous series. I just don't own them yet. But when I heard about Fawkes, I LOVED the cover, so I couldn't wait to jump into the story. I'm really glad that I did. Brandes captivated me, and I have already recommended that my sixteen year old read this novel too.

The writing was well-done. I loved how well Brandes dives into the character's personalities and thoughts. I loved being able to see what Thomas and Emma thought and felt. Since London is my dream place to visit, I loved seeing Brandes bring the seventeenth century to life for me. Even though it is a fantasy novel mixed with a historical element, I loved how Brandes mixed the historical with her imagination. It filled the story and made a wonderful story.

The plot kept moving quite well and quickly. There were many moments I kept glued to the story and couldn't wait to see what happened next. Brandes wrote a wonderful story. It is different than everything I have every read, and I loved it. I loved the idea of power color masks that use the elements according to the colors. The idea of the White power fascinated me, and I understood the metaphors, enjoying the story. I anxiously sped through the plot. I really couldn't wait to see how the story would unfold before my eyes.

The romance isn't really there. It is a teenager crush, developed during the trials and troubles claiming their personalities and talents. It isn't overly done, yet I know Brandes wrote this novel to capture they young adult crowd.

Overall, Fawkes by Nadine Brandes is a unique story with a mixture of historical and pure imagination. Brandes' story captured me and kept me spellbound as I flew through the story. I really loved this story and can't wait to tell everyone about it. Pick it up. It is wonderful!

I received a complimentary copy of Fawkes by Nadine Brandes from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars