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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Pepper Basham: Hope Between the Pages

 By Kelly Bridgewater


About the Book

Book:  Hope Between the Pages

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: April, 2021

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.


My Thoughts:

Hope Between the Pages by Pepper Basham took my breath away. I loved the descriptions of the Biltmore Estate in the past and the present day. I loved the descriptions when the present day heroine, went to England and visited the Camden estates. I loved the book lover's personalities that came out on the pages of the story. It kindled a common interest in my heart. What is better than a good book! Probably a good mystery. Which is exactly what Basham did. She put together two different heroines and their love of a good story on a hunt for the truth and romance. I kept flipping pages, wanting to know what happened to Sadie. What was going to happen to Clara? While the past story and the present story was interesting. I find the romance between  Clara  and Max in the present a little out of place. They meet and fall head over heals in a matter of days. I didn't buy it. But the past romance, some reason rang a lot more realistic to me. Overall, Hope Between the Pages was a wonderful story to read. I enjoyed spending time with the characters and the beautiful settings.

I received a complimentary copy of Hope Between the Pages by Pepper Basham, but the opinions stated are my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Hope Between the Pages

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.


More from Pepper

Books are a uniquely portable magic – Stephen King

Appalachia is known for having a high illiteracy rate. A place of beautiful scenery and rugged landscapes, the people of the mountains developed stories through oral storytelling much more than “book learning”.  As a young girl growing up in this world, I loved hearing my granny share tales from up to five generations ago, filling in the narrative gaps between a birth date and a death date on a tombstone – giving flesh and breath to the stone-etched names.

It’s no surprise then, with a heart cultivated from rich oral stories, I fell in love with reading. Books became that “portable magic” that took me places my little Appalachian community couldn’t provide. I fell in love with the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. Wept through the end of Bridge to Terabithia and Old Yeller. Traveled to the plains with Sarah Plain and Tall and fell in love with horses with The Black Stallion. But when I was in seventh grade, I read my very first “British” novel, The Secret Garden. In that one introduction, my world expanded into mysterious English manor houses and British classics. Before long, I’d consumed Jane Eyre, Austen’s classics, some Dickens, Dracula, Frankenstein…and the list goes on! And then…I found Tolkien and Lewis – and the ‘real’ world swelled into OTHER worlds.

I’m grateful for true stories of book-loving pioneers traveling into the world of Appalachia to provide books and literacy training to “my people”, because I know some of those books made their way to my tiny elementary school library…and not only brought me the chance to discover stories, but to write them too!

Isn’t it amazing how books can do that?

In Hope Between the Pages, I wanted to bring the same awe and discovery I felt as a child (and continue to feel as an adult reader) to the story of two people whose words had seemed small. Stories stretched their worlds, but the stories also gave them wonderful imaginations and positive perspectives. It’s still amazing to me that ink-and-paper words can make such a lasting impact on hearts and minds. They can lead us to dream, teach us new things, encourage our hearts, help us to think outside the box, swell our imaginations, broaden our horizons, and encourage our hope.

Books are not a replacement for real adventures and relationships, but they certainly provide a beautiful “door” into other lives and worlds that we may never have a chance to experience in real life. Sadie, my historical heroine, and Clara, my contemporary heroine, both have kept close to home but traveled greatly through books…and BOTH are given the opportunity to reach beyond the bindings to discover real-life adventures. I’d like to think that their love for stories helped them have the courage to step away from the page and into their own tales even more prepared than they would have been without stories.

What are some of your favorite books you read as a child? Did any of them influence you to become a more avid reader?

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 24

Worthy2Read, April 24

Texas Book-aholic, April 25

Reviewingbooksplusmore, April 25

Christian Bookaholic, April 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 25

She Lives To Read, April 26

Books and Everyday Life, April 26

For the Love of Literature, April 26

For Him and My Family, April 26

Wishful Endings, April 27

Bigreadersite, April 27

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 27

deb’s Book Review, April 27

Inklings and notions, April 28

Connect in Fiction, April 28

Writing from the Heart Land, April 28

Blogging With Carol, April 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 29

Life of Literature, April 29

Pick a good book, April 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 30

Betti Mace, April 30

Kathleen’s Blog, April 30

lakesidelivingsite, May 1

Connie’s History Classroom, May 1

Fiction Book Lover, May 1

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 2

Godly Book Reviews, May 2

Mary Hake, May 2

Older & Smarter?, May 3

Genesis 5020, May 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 4

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads , May 4

Blossoms and Blessings, May 4

sodbusterLiving, May 4

Splashes of Joy, May 5

Where Faith and Books Meet , May 5

Simple Harvest Reads, May 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Through the Fire Blogs, May 5

Pause for Tales, May 6

To Everything There Is A Season, May 6

Remembrancy, May 6

Lights in a Dark World, May 6

Live.Love.Read., May 7

Karen Sue Hadley, May 7

Amanda Tero, blog, May 7

The Write Escape, May 7


To celebrate her tour, Pepper 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.

Monday, May 3, 2021

James R. Hannibal: The Paris Betrayal

 By Kelly Bridgewater

After a rough mission in Rome involving the discovery of a devastating bioweapon, Company spy Ben Calix returns to Paris to find his perfectly ordered world has collapsed. A sniper attack. An ambush. A call for help that brings French SWAT forces down on his head. Ben is out. This is a severance--reserved for incompetents and traitors.

Searching for answers and anticipating a coming attack, Ben and a woman swept up in his misfortunes must travel across Europe to find the sniper who tried to kill him, the medic who saved his life, the schoolmaster who trained him, and an upstart hacker from his former team. More than that, Ben must come to grips with his own insignificance as the Company's plan to stop Leviathan from unleashing the bioweapon at any cost moves forward without him--and he struggles against the infection that is swiftly claiming territory within his own body.

Award-winning author James R. Hannibal rachets up the tension on every page of this suspenseful new thriller.


My Thoughts:

I really wanted to like this book. Thrillers, suspense, and mysteries are some of my favorite genres to read. A good book to me will have the suspense with moments of doubting myself as I try to figure out who the bad person who is and the motive is. Usually I can figure out the person and watch the clues pile up before the end of the story. But in The Paris Betrayal by James R. Hannibal, the novel does start with an exciting mission and incident, which I really liked. A good thriller novel should capture my attention within the first moments, or my attention can wander away. But from this moment, the main hero, Ben, is on the run. Bullets are flying. People dying. Which normally, I would praise and be happy to see. BUT I had a hard time staying focused. Ben was always on the run. Not that many moments to breathe. Too many other characters to account for. What were they there for? Why were they there? Are they important to the solution to the story? In those moments, I read the story and followed what happened, but I needed more depth. I do not feel like I grew a connection with Ben. I didn’t really care what happened to him. What was the issue that Ben was running from? This was not shown until almost the end of the novel. The scenery was nice since I have never traveled to Europe, but I can’t wait to visit. Hopefully, sometime. Overall, The Paris Betrayal did not really capture my attention like I wanted it to. The story needs more personal connection to the reader.

I received a complimentary copy of  The Paris Betrayal by James R. Hannibal from Revell Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Paris Betrayal

Friday, April 30, 2021

Creative Places to Craft Stories

 By Kelly Bridgewater


Like I mentioned last week, it would be nice to have somewhere to go to force me to write my stories.


Doesn’t have to be somewhere fancy.


Just somewhere that doesn’t have my three boys, two dogs, and my husband begging for my attention. Like my house does.


Somewhere I am not tempted to clean the kitchen or fold laundry.

Somewhere where my boys are asking me to help them with their homework. Not that I don’t like helping them, but sometimes it drains a person physically and emotionally to always be helping someone else all the time.


While I live out in the middle of nowhere, it takes about 30 minutes to get anywhere, so I really can’t plan to drive to a local coffee shop and hang out for hours writing. Not when I get home from work at 5:30, then have to be up at 5:45 the next morning.


We do own some land. Partially wooded. Partially flat land for our garden. A creek that runs through the middle of the property. I have decided to sit on the top of the hill that overlooks the creek and faces the back of our house.


It is quiet. I usually take our two-year-old golden retriever and almost nine-year-old Beagle with me as I sit there. Most of the time, it is just enjoying my time without any distractions, and I don’t write much, but it is nicer than being in the house at times.


Especially in the fall, I love being surrounded by the cold air and the beautiful colors. In the winter, it is colder, but I love sitting near the snow and listening to the snow fall through the trees. Snow actually makes noise. Don’t believe me. Then sit outside when it is snowing and listen. It is a nice little whisper.


I love the smell of the cold air too, so it is nice to sit there and pet my dogs. Not much writing gets done though.


What about you? Do you have a unique place to sit and allow the creative juices to flow? Where is it?

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Terri Blackstock: Aftermath

By Kelly Bridgewater

A devastating explosion.

Three best friends are at the venue just to hear their favorite band . . . but only one of them makes it out alive.

A trunk full of planted evidence.

When police stop Dustin with a warrant to search his trunk, he knows it’s just a mistake. He’s former military and owns a security firm. But he’s horrified when they find explosives, and he can’t fathom how they got there.

An attorney who will risk it all for a friend.

Criminal attorney Jamie Powell was Dustin’s best friend growing up. They haven’t spoken since he left for basic training, but she’s the first one he thinks of when he’s arrested. Jamie knows she’s putting her career on the line by defending an accused terrorist, but she’d never abandon him. Someone is framing Dustin to take the fall for shocking acts of violence . . . but why?


My Thoughts:

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock is not reader’s typical romantic suspense novel. There really is not a suspenseful element that drives the story along and has the reader grasping for justice. Right away, there is an element of tension that affects the outcome of the characters. The hero is thrown for a loop and trying to stay out of jail with the help of the heroine. While there is a hunt to figure out who created the bomb and wanted it to destroy the politician, the story really centers around the characters emotions and feelings as they try to solve who set up the hero. As I was reading the story, the plot reminded me a lot of Life After by Katie Ganshert. Not a real suspense novel. Just a contemporary novel with a little bit of the uneasiness of knowing who did the damage. The person who actually set the bomb in motion had a clear motive that I could have gotten behind, but I still do not agree with how he did it. Overall, if readers enjoyed this story, then I suggest picking up Ganshert’s novel too. It is along the same storyline.

I received a complimentary copy of Aftermath by Terri Blackstock by Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Aftermath 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Irene Hannon: Blackberry Beach

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted--fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn't she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she'll be able to calm the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss--and he has no plans to change the life he's created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. He's had enough drama to last a lifetime. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. And as their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites you to come home to Hope Harbor--where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.



My Thoughts:

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon is a quintessential contemporary romance. Two characters, Katherine and Zach, must interact and fight the growing emotions inside themselves against all the external dilemma forcing them apart. In this next installment of Hope Harbor, readers familiar with Hannon’s Hope Harbor’s series are brought back to the sandy beaches with Charlie’s taco truck lining the way. The romance is obviously the reader’s draw to this series. It sparks, pops, and blossoms into something beautiful by the end of the story. Of course, if readers enjoy predictable, yet the happy ending moment between the two characters, then Hannon hit it right on the nose. I believe fans of Hannon’s other contemporary romances would love this novel too. It is nice to return to a familiar town with familiar characters. Fans of Becky Wade, Johnnie Alexander and other contemporary romances would love Blackberry Beach.

I received a complimentary copy of Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Purchase Blackberry Beach

Friday, April 23, 2021

She-Sheds: Are They Real?

 By Kelly Bridgewater


You know those State Farm commercials with the She-Shed’s on fire. Of course, we have all seen them.


But . . . do women actually own them.


When you watch all those home hunter shows, the husbands need their man caves or they need offices or guest bedrooms. But I never hear them mention a room for the woman to get away from all the chores in the house or the constant demand on mom’s time. The mother, in my cases, including mine, is the most busiest person in the house. We have to work outside the home. I do know a lot of mothers that their husbands make enough money that they don’t have to do that. Unfortunately, my husband makes more than the average income in our area, but not enough money for me to stay at home. I did while the boys were younger, but now they are all in school, I have earned a job outside of the home. We cook dinner when we come home. We help with homework. We make sure the chores and baths are done. We make sure all the animals are feed, watered, and restroom breaks.


I have heard a number of husbands say that the whole house belongs to the wife.




That isn’t true.


All these other people keep roaming around my space. It isn’t my dirty dishes all over the kitchen counter and table. It isn’t my dirty laundry all over the floor in the bedrooms. It isn’t my dirty bathroom.


Where is my space where no one else can invade? Husbands need their own rooms, but the wife gets to claim the house with everything else included. How is that fair?


Yep, sounds like a two year old complaining about his toys.


But I know of a couple of writers that have she-sheds in their own backyards that they go outside and write in.


I know writers that have husbands that will watch the kids while the wife goes to the local coffee shop and writes her stories a couple of times a week.

I know writers who actually attend writing groups every week. Women who actually go to the salon to work on their hair.


Not that I’m high maintenance, but I would love some time away from all the worries that affect my daily life.


What about you? Do you have a place that you go to when you need to work on drafting a story?


Come back next week where I’m going to talk about creative places to craft your stories.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Erica Marie Hogan: The Good German Girl

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book:  The Good German Girl

Author: Erica Marie Hogan

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: April 15, 2021

Omaha Beach
June 6, 1944

When battle-hardened Private Bernie Russell witnesses a fellow soldier shoot a young German boy with his hands up, he’s shaken to his very core. Then, as that same boy is dying, he presses a packet of photographs and letters into Bernie’s hand and utters three words in English.

It must end.

After having the letters translated, he discovers they were written by the soldier’s twin sister and the photographs within the packet reveal evidence of Hitler’s plan to wipe out the Jews.

Berlin, Germany

Margot Raskopf is a young art teacher, forced to conform to the education Hitler has designed. Then, when one of her sources with the underground resistance receives a letter for her from an American soldier, she’s shocked and filled with renewed hope. But Margot has been harboring a secret. In her house she hides a young Jewish woman she’s known since childhood, risking being discovered by the gestapo with each passing day.

As they begin a dangerous correspondence, both Margot and Bernie embark on treacherous journeys. One taking Bernie across Europe and right into Germany. Another taking Margot through the gates of Auschwitz … and under the scrutiny of Josef Mengele.


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

The Good German Girl by Erica Marie Hogan showcases the horrors of the concentration camps during World War II alongside the heart of this brave generation in her individual characters who populate the story. The plot centers around Auschwitz II; the camp where Dr. Mengle resided and conducted all his horrific experiments on twins and other innocent subjects. Margot, the heroine, is thrown into the concentration camp because she refused to allow her best friend, Isle, to be taken away from her. The plot is a little different. I really enjoyed how the story started at D-Day at Omaha beach with an American soldier’s perspective, then it moved to the present day story for Margot in the 1944’s. Readers are allowed to see Margot’s heart and her perspective as she moves along before the concentration camp. The ending was a little different than expected, but it tied the story up nicely. On the other hand, Hogan’s writing is nicely handled. She does a wonderful job at balancing the viewpoints and keeping close to the characters. The setting was described well. I had no problem imagining the horrors she wrote about. Overall, The Good German Girl by Hogan is delightful story for fans of World War II historical novel. I would recommend picking up this novel if readers enjoy Sarah Sundin or Melanie Dobson.

I received a complimentary copy of The Good German Girl by Erica Marie Hogan through Celebrate Lit tours, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the Author

From as far back as she can remember, Erica Marie Hogan loved to write. When she was a little girl she adored make believe, but gradually her imagination became too big to restrict it to playtime and so, she wrote.
Erica was born and raised for nine years on Orient Point, Long Island, New York. After that she moved with her family to Virginia and, finally, to Texas where she now lives. She was homeschooled, is an avid reader, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives to plot new stories, enjoys a good tear-jerker, and chocolate is her cure for any ailment.
Erica’s wish is to continue to write stories that not only drop her readers into the middle of historical time periods, but also to show the ability to rise up out of adversity and tragedy in hope, faith, love, and strength. When it comes to genre, she has no limits.

Along with The Winter Queen Series Erica’s World War I standalone novel, The Lost Generation, is also available now from Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.

More from Erica

There are two things I love in a good story. History and Romance. And when the two come together? Well, I’m sold.

Hi, I’m Erica Marie Hogan, the author of The Good German Girl, book one in a Historical Fiction series called A League of Extraordinary Women. When I set out to write a novel based during World War II, I never imagined The Good German Girl would be the end result. I started with an idea about a young German woman living in Berlin who wants to fight back against Hitler’s rule. This mustard seed of an idea took me on a journey through the battles at Omaha Beach, Aachen, Germany & the Battle of the Bulge. It took me through the gates of Auschwitz and right into Josef Mengele’s lab.

This little idea took me on a quest for love in the most horrible of circumstances. Where war and death divided two people who should be enemies but, through a miraculous correspondence, found each other and knew in their hearts they were meant to save each other. The Good German Girl is a Historical Fiction novel about the tragedy of World War II with the gentle beginnings of an epic love woven through the pages. I hope you enjoy the story of Margot Raskopf and Bernie Russell as much as I enjoyed writing about them!

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, April 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 19

Genesis 5020, April 19

Connie’s History Classroom, April 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 21

Where Faith and Books Meet, April 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 22

Texas Book-aholic, April 23

Christian Bookaholic , April 23

Betti Mace, April 24

For Him and My Family, April 25

Maidens for Modesty, April 25

deb’s Book Review, April 26

Inklings and notions, April 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 28

Mary Hake, April 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 30

Maureen Timerman, April 30


To celebrate her tour, Erica is giving away the grand prize package of $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback 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.