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Monday, March 8, 2021

Melanie Dobson: The Curator's Daughter

 By Kelly Bridgewater

A young girl, kidnapped on the eve of World War II, changes the lives of a German archaeologist forced into the Nazi Party and--decades later--a researcher trying to overcome her own trauma.
1940. Hanna Tillich cherishes her work as an archaeologist for the Third Reich, searching for the Holy Grail and other artifacts to bolster evidence of a master Aryan race. But when she is reassigned to work as a museum curator in Nuremberg, then forced to marry an SS officer and adopt a young girl, Hanna begins to see behind the Nazi facade. A prayer labyrinth becomes a storehouse for Hanna's secrets, but as she comes to love Lilly as her own daughter, she fears that what she's hiding--and what she begins to uncover--could put them both in mortal danger.

Eighty years later, Ember Ellis is a Holocaust researcher intent on confronting hatred toward the Jewish people and other minorities. She reconnects with a former teacher on Martha's Vineyard after she learns that Mrs. Kiehl's mother once worked with the Nazi Ahnenerbe. And yet, Mrs. Kiehl describes her mother as "a friend to the Jewish people." Wondering how both could be true, Ember helps Mrs. Kiehl regain her fractured childhood memories of World War II while at the same time confronting the heartache of her own secret past--and the person who wants to silence Ember forever.


 

My Thoughts:

The Curator's Daughter by Melanie Dobson captured my attention from the first chapter. I'm always surprised when I read another World War II novel and learn something new. I do read a lot in this genre, so there is always something new to learn. The writing was wonderful. The characters were honorable and a delight to spend time with. I love the plot twists and the duel time slips. They work well together to tell a complete story. I can't wait to own a paperback copy to add to her growing bookshelf. I highly recommend this novel to any fans of Cathy Gohlke or Sarah Sundin. This is a fabulous book. Even after putting it down, I thought about the struggles the characters had to endure and even shared the book with a friend. She said that it sounded interesting too.

I received a complimentary copy of The Curator's Daughter by Melanie Dobson from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4. 5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Curator's Daughter

Friday, March 5, 2021

Are We Really Helping the Future Generations?

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Working at the University level, I see tons of students who can’t do the simple basic skill items that I was taught in High School.


Reading and comprehension has went out the window. Students don’t read instructions set clearly in an email. Students don’t pay attention to the alerts that are blinking in their face.


Simple multiplication and division that should be able to do with mental math is a thing of the past.

 

If the writing is not done in poor grammar or in emoji’s, this generation can not understand what is being asked. Are we really helping them by dumbing everything down for them?

 

I think not.

 

Read some writing of Charles Dickens.

Alexandre Dumas.

Or any other writer who wrote in the late 1900’s.

 

They use words in their stories that were common words of the day and today’s students would not understand at all.


www.istock.com


 

These are the same students that believe they have to have a college degree, but there education is not on-par with even what I was taught in high school 20 years ago. I’m surprised how many of them today don’t know how to study. Can’t write a simple 5 body paragraph. Can’t do math at all. Why are these students allowed to come to the university? They have the skills to barely pass high school, and they are here at the university level, trying to make it, but they can’t do the basics. So the high school education system has failed them, then the college professors have to go back and try to do remedial courses to try to teach them what they should already know from high school in order to pass a college class. So they flunk out of college because they can’t read thick textbooks and have passing grades. Then they cry foul and the school awards them their degree with barely a passing grade.

 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a doctor, mechanic, or lawyer to be working for me who could barely understand the course material and now has a job in that field.

 

I think we need to be more picky about who we allow in into our universities and allow those who can succeed and have those skills beforehand to actually be the ones who actually enter the hallowed halls of the university.

 

College is not for everyone.

 

I know plumbers, contractors, and mechanics who make more money than me, and I have a Master’s degree.

 

Because of this epidemic, my degree is really not seen as worth anything anymore.

 

Sad to say.

What about you? Where do you stand on this issue?

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Rick Barry: Methuselah Project S.O.S

 By Kelly Bridgwater


About the Book

Book:  Methuselah Project S.O.S.

Author: Rick Barry

Genre: Christian suspense

Release date: October 20, 2020



Born in the final days of Nazi Germany, an underground organization is alive, growing, and manipulating events in our world today …

The survivor of a secret German experiment in 1943, Roger Greene possesses a unique physiology. To this day, his body remains youthful and heals quickly. In exchange for information about the mysterious Heritage Organization that Roger once escaped, the CIA has given him a new identity and pulled strings to get him into the modern U.S. Air Force.

Now, Roger’s main thrills are serving his country in an F-35 and spending time with Katherine, the love of his life. Suddenly, the CIA shows up and drops a bombshell—evidence that Sophie, the woman who Roger believed had died helping him escape, is alive. The Heritage Organization is holding her and others prisoner in an unknown location.

Honor-bound to rescue the woman who risked her life for him, Roger accepts temporary duties with the CIA. But just when the mission is already straining his relationship with Katherine, Roger becomes a murder suspect. A fugitive, he continues alone the mission to find Sophie. What he discovers lands this pilot deep inside a shadowy network intent on world domination.

Will Roger’s faith carry him through this quest—or will those tracking him succeed in snuffing out his long life once and for all?

A sensational standalone story, Rick Barry’s sequel to The Methuselah Project launches you into an unforgettable journey through danger, suspense, hope, and love—an experience that will keep you turning pages well into the night! 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 My Thoughts:

With fast action and unique characters, Rick Barry invites his readers back to the story of Roger Greene and the Methuselah Project that went wrong in World War II. If readers are familiar with the first story, Methuselah Project, they will be delighted to return to the horrors of the science of World War II that went on behind the scene. Today, even the science has gone a little crazy. I really enjoyed how fast the action is. It really takes your breathe away. I enjoyed how Barry had a little romance between Roger and Katherine, but it really did not take away from the constant action. I enjoyed these two novels and pray that God still gives Barry more ideas to craft unique stories with the action that I crave. 

I received a complimentary copy of Methuselah Project S.O.S. by Rick Barry through Celebrate Lit. Tours, but the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the Author



Rick Barry has authored 4 novels: The Methuselah Project, Methuselah Project S.O.S., Gunner’s Run, and a young adult fantasy called Kiriath’s Quest. In addition, he has hundreds of published articles and short stories to his credit. He speaks Russian and has visited Eastern Europe over 50 times. Experiences that have provided fuel for his fiction include skydiving, mountain climbing, rappelling, serving in Christian camping ministries in Russia, kayaking, wilderness hiking, white-water rafting, visiting World War II battlegrounds, and prowling deserted buildings in the evacuated Chernobyl zone in Ukraine.

 

More from Rick

More than once, I’ve told friends that if I could write only one novel in my life, The Methuselah Project is the one I’d choose. After all, that inspirational suspense story has equal appeal for men and women readers. Plus, its hero—Captain Roger Greene—is such a fun character. He’s patriotic, handsome, humble, conscientious, and he possesses a sense of humor that carries him through tough times. Sure, it’s a suspense story, but it also includes a satisfying touch of romance.

However, with the publication of its standalone follow-up, Methuselah Project S.O.S., I might have to revise my statement. In this second book I worked hard to raise the stakes, to increase the danger, and to ramp up the tension. Also, in this book we get much better acquainted with the main characters, and the romance deepens. (Sorry, no spoilers!) Even though Roger Greene and his girlfriend Katherine are my own inventions, I’ve really grown to love these two. Judging by reviews, readers have, too!

I confess that S.O.S. was harder to write than the first book. My brain insists on details and believability. For me to write it, the plot of S.O.S. compelled me to research a variety of subjects—the CIA, the Air Force, escape and evasion techniques, functional booby traps, and more. The resulting story is a roller coaster ride of action and emotions.

So, what gives me as author the most joy from these books? Probably the reviews where readers begin, “I don’t usually read this kind of book”—but then tell why they absolutely loved it. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next one to say so!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 3

Where Faith and Books Meet, March 3

Texas Book-aholic, March 4

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 6

Becka Jiménez, March 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 7

Inklings and notions, March 8

Betti Mace, March 9

Blogging With Carol, March 9

For Him and My Family, March 10

deb’s Book Review, March 11

Lights in a Darkness World, March 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 13

Pause for Tales, March 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 14

CarpeDiem, March 15

Mary Hake, March 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 16

Bizwings Blog, March 16

Giveaway



To celebrate his tour, Rick is giving away  the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paper copy of Methuselah Project S.O.S.!!

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/108cd/methuselah-project-s-o-s-celebration-tour-giveaway


Monday, March 1, 2021

Tom Threadgill: Network of Deceit

By Kelly Bridgewater

Amara Alvarez's first case as a homicide detective drags her into the murky world of computer hackers. When she finds herself under attack by cybercriminals, she has no choice but to use unconventional methods to expose the truth and find a killer.

 


My Thoughts:

I read Tom Threadgill's first novel, Collision of Lies, with Revell Publishing, and the conclusion disappointed me. The climactic moment happened around Amara, not to her, so I was okay with the novel, but not taken away. While Threadgill does a fabulous job at crafting timely suspense stories, Network of Deceit was much better. I believed that Amara's characters shone so much more in this novel. She was feisty, brave, and intuitive. She was a wonderful character to follow. I loved following her as she worked through what happened to Zach. There were moments that she spoke so fast, like in the police station to the suspects, that I had a hard time following the ping-pong dialogue. This was not a bad thing. I have seen cops do in real life. They ask so many questions, so fast that they are hoping to catch the suspect in a lie or frustrate them that they tell the truth. I like the plot, the hint of romance, and the real life that Amara had to struggle with at the same time. Realistic. Overall, Network of Deceit was more up to my speed. I honestly pray that there is more novels by Threadgill. He is getting better with this novel. I can't wait to see what he crafts next.

I received a complimentary copy of Network of Deceit by Tom Threadgill from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Network of Deceit 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Writing Historical fiction is hard. 

You have to make your readers join you as you explore and have characters interact with certain historical events and timelines. 

As an avid reader of Historical Romance fiction especially World War II fiction, I know what it is like to read a story that doesn't feel right either because the author did not do their research on the hairstyles, clothes, music, or even the movies of the time period, so then the rest of the story is off for me as the reader because then I don't know if I can trust the author. 

But luckily for us because of the internet, there is so many different ways to do research and make your stories authenticate for the readers. 

From Goodreads

I honestly admire authors who write Biblical fiction like Connilyn Cossette because I bet there is a lot of research, but they have more license to be creative in their stories because majority of readers are not familiar with this time period. 

Here are some of the suggestions I have heard for writing fiction well:

-Visit the Location. 

Well that sounds good in theory, but I don't make a lot of money, so I can't fly off to England or Germany where my stories take place and research it, but with the internet, I can take virtual tours of some of the places. Even though, it still is not the same thing. 

-If available, talk to someone who lived through the historical event or time period.

-Journal and Newspaper articles are a gold mine for finding story ideas and researching the time period. 

-Try to find experts in the field who can answer your questions. 

- Books. Of course. 

- Audit a class at a University. The University I work at has offered a class on World War II, so I have decided to audit the class. By auditing the class, you have to have permission from the professor and the school to allow you to attend class. If you have the wiggle room in your work budget, then this might be just the same thing for you. You don't actually have to do the assignments, but you can purchase the books and attend class. You'll learn a lot without all the pressures of completing the assignments. What a great idea!

What about you? What are some of your tips for budding writers of historical fiction? 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Allison Pittman: The Lady in Residence

 By Kelly Bridgewater


About the Book

Book:  The Lady in Residence

Author: Allison Pittman

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: February 2021

Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?
 
Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Pastseries. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.
 
In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

 


My Thoughts:

The Lady in Residence is a novel that evokes emotions of fear, yet curiosity. I love how original the stories was. The romance played out the edge of a little too much touchiness, but I was not disgusted by this show of affection by the hero and the heroine. The plot was interesting. I liked the ghost story. Most of the Christian fiction novels shy away from ghost stories, so this was a delightful change. This story is crafted in the current fad of a time slip novel, so there is two timelines to keep track of. While some stories it works, as I reading through the story, I wish the story was just the history elements. It would have been richer to see the story played out a lot more. Flipping to the present for the most part annoyed me. I read through those parts really fast and couldn't wait to get back to the historical parts. They were the story. They were the most interesting parts of the story. Overall, The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman was a unique story with lovely historical characters that I didn't mind spending time with. The present storyline could have not been in there at all. It would have made the story that much richer.

I received a complimentary copy of The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman by Barbour Publishing through Celebrate Lit. Tours, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Lady in Residence

About the Author



Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a four-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series, once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties and most recently for the critically acclaimed The Seamstress which takes a cameo character from the Dickens’ classic A Tale of Two Cities and flourishes her to life amidst the French Revolution. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

 More from Allison

From Haunting to Healing: How Stories Bring New Life to Old Ghosts

If you really think about it, every story is a ghost story. Not the floating spirits of the dearly departed kind, not bumps in the night or mysterious howling in the darkness—but the best stories come from examining a haunted heart. Memories that pursue the present.

A few years ago I took the walking tour of haunted San Antonio. It was a lark, a fun tourist-y thing to do with some visiting friends. I’m not a believer in ghosts, but I am a collector of stories. The tour opens at the Alamo—sacred ground of slain soldiers. The second stop is the Menger Hotel, listed as one of the most haunted hotels in the United States by those who measure and evaluate such things. And while the tour guide waxed on about the guests’ litany of haunted experiences (including Teddy Roosevelt raging through the lobby), my mind stuck with the story of Sallie White. Sallie White is the Menger Hotel’s most famous ghost—a chambermaid whose apparition is reported to be seen walking the halls, towels draped over her arm, or to be heard as an efficient two-rap knock on your door late at night. My mind, however, didn’t dwell on Sallie the ghost, but Sallie the woman—just a normal, hard-working, poor woman, murdered in the street by a man who claimed to love her. But for that, she would have passed into history unknown. Instead, her story is told every night as strangers gather on the very sidewalk where the crime took place.

Years after first hearing the story of Sallie white, I stayed in the Menger for a few days to gather details for The Lady in Residence. I booked what they call a “Petite” room—meaning it is a room that maintains its original structure. Read: tiny. Exposed pipes, creaky wooden floors, antique furniture—the only update, the bathroom fixtures. As it turned out, my room was directly above the place where Sallie White was murdered. One night I pressed my ear against the glass and listened to the ghost tour guide tell her story. The next morning, I stood in the exact spot with a fancy Starbucks drink, thinking about her. She lives on, not because people claim to see her walking and hear her knocking in the dead of night, but because she is a woman remembered.

So, is that beautiful? Is it ghoulish? Maybe it’s both, but when I was given the chance to write a story set in and around the Menger Hotel, I was determined to make Sallie White’s story a part of it. I didn’t want to write her story—that would have required embellishment beyond those few historic, factual tid-bits that such a woman left behind. Sallie White didn’t have correspondence to catalog or a journal to give us insight to her thoughts. Instead, I wanted to tell it to readers everywhere who might never make it to San Antonio to hear it for themselves. When you read The Lady in Residence, you are going to hear the true story of Sallie White, all of it taken from a newspaper account of the time. And then, I did what all historical writers do…I folded it into my own tale and folded that tale into another.

That’s really the joy of writing a split-time novel—being able to draw back and shoot a narrative-arrow straight through the hearts of two stories, threading them together, to bring a haunting to a place of healing.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 23

Artistic Nobody, February 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Fiction Aficionado, February 24

For the Love of Literature, February 24

Where Faith and Books Meet, February 24

Texas Book-aholic, February 25

Mia Reads Blog, February 25

Connie’s History Classroom, February 26

Inspiration Clothesline, February 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 27

Books I’ve Read, February 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 28

Remembrancy, March 1

Bigreadersite, March 1

For Him and My Family, March 2

Hallie Reads, March 2

deb’s Book Review, March 3

Blogging With Carol, March 3

By The Book, March 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 5

The Write Escape, March 5

Life of Literature, March 6

Inklings and notions, March 6

Godly Book Reviews, March 7

Vicky Sluiter, March 7

To Everything There is A Season, March 8

Pause for Tales, March 8

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Lady in Residence!!

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/1086e/the-lady-in-residence-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, February 22, 2021

Jocelyn Green: Shadows of the White City

 By Kelly Bridgewater

 The one thing Sylvie Townsend wants most is what she feared she was destined never to have--a family of her own. But taking in Polish immigrant Rose Dabrowski to raise and love quells those fears--until seventeen-year-old Rose goes missing at the World's Fair, and Sylvie's world unravels.

Brushed off by the authorities, Sylvie turns to her boarder, Kristof Bartok, for help. He is Rose's violin instructor and the concertmaster for the Columbian Exposition Orchestra, and his language skills are vital to helping Sylvie navigate the immigrant communities where their search leads.

From the glittering architecture of the fair to the dark houses of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods, they're taken on a search that points to Rose's long-lost family. Is Sylvie willing to let the girl go? And as Kristof and Sylvie grow closer, can she reconcile her craving for control with her yearning to belong?


 My Thoughts:

Shadows of the White City by Jocelyn Green is an interesting story of the Chicago World’s Fair. The characters are my favorite part. They were realistic and haunting as they worked through their struggles and the hunt to find Rose. I liked that there was hints of romance between Sophie and the guy upstairs, but it did not become the main focus of the story. It was well-written and a little sweet as they slowly fell in love with each other. The plot with the hunt for Rose and working with the musicians for the Chicago World’s fair was nicely handled. I loved seeing parts of this historical elements. One downfall to the novel: I wish there was more parts of showing what the World’s Fair did to the economy and the surrounding people. We were stuck in the little bubble of the fair and Sophie’s home. Was it good because it provided jobs? What about the people hired? There was a little bit of this included with Lottie’s family. I, personally, just wanted more. It is still a delightful novel to spend time with. I believe fans of historical fiction will enjoy this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Shadows of the White City by Jocelyn Green from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Shadows of the White City