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Monday, December 17, 2018

Lynette Eason: Code of Valor


By Kelly Bridgewater

What Detective Brady St. John really needs is a relaxing vacation. Unfortunately, just as the sun is setting on his second day at a friend's cabin on Lake Henley, he hears a scream and races to rescue a woman from her would-be killer. When the killer escapes only to return to finish the job, Brady vows to utilize all of his many resources to keep her safe--and catch those who would see her dead.
Financial crimes investigator Emily Chastain doesn't trust many people. And even though she let the detective who saved her life in on a few pertinent facts about why she was being attacked, there are some things you just don't share with a stranger. Little does she suspect that the secret she is keeping just might get them both killed.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason sends readers on a race for the truth in this heart-stopping story of risk, regret, and redemption.

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From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Lynette Eason does it again. She reaches into the world of suspense and wraps me into a story filled with non-stop tension and loveable characters. Some new and some returning from the previous two books in the series. My favorite part of the novel was the last twenty percent when Eason hiked up the tension and captured my attention even more. Fans of high action suspense should pick Code of Valor up. Eason created another keeper for fans of suspense novels. I anxiously await for the fourth book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of Code of Valor by Lynette Eason from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author:
Lynette Eason
From Amazon
Award-winning, best-selling author, Lynette Eason writes for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense line and for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Her books have hit the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won numerous awards such as the prestigious Carol Award, the Selah, the Daphne, the IRCC award and more. Lynette is married, has two children, and lives in Greenville, SC. (Taken from Amazon.)

Friday, December 14, 2018

Why Did You Have To Leave Me?


By Kelly Bridgewater

Nothing is better than reading a series that you love and watching it end. I love picking up a book and noticing that is the first book in a series, but it has to be well-written and capturing my attention from the first book.

There are plenty of books that capture my attention and don't keep my interest the whole time. There are some hit and miss books in a series when you are reading it.

BUT . . .

there are a couple of series that capture my attention the whole time. I get lost in the characters and the setting. I anxiously await the next book in the series. I feel sad when I close the book and know the author is done.

Here are the series I hated to see end:

Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn (I'm glad she keeps writing books in this series with familiar characters.)

From Amazon


Christiansen family by Susan May Warren

From Amazon


The Tox Files by Ronie Kendig

From Amazon


The Patrick Bowers series by Steven James

From Amazon


Courage to Dreams series by Susan Anne Mason

From Amazon


All of Sarah Sundin's writings

From Amazon


What about you? Why not list any books or series that you have enjoyed so much that you hated to see it end?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Nancy Mehl: Mind Games


By Kelly Bridgewater

Kaely Quinn's talents as an FBI behavior analyst are impossible to ignore, no matter how unorthodox her methods. But when a reporter outs her as the daughter of an infamous serial killer, she's demoted to field agent and transferred to St. Louis.

When the same reporter who ruined her career claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely's, the reporter's ulterior motives bring his claim into question. But when a body is found that fits the poem's predictions, the threat is undeniable, and the FBI sends Special Agent Noah Hunter to St. Louis.

Initially resentful of the assignment, Noah is surprised at how quickly his respect for Kaely grows, despite her oddities. But with a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else--including Kaely herself--is killed.

From Amazon


My Thoughts:

Nancy Mehl's Mind Games welcomed me to a world of intrigue and suspense. With the introduction of her latest heroine, Kaely Quinn, readers come head to head with a daughter of a serial killer. In Mind Games, Mehl places the readers in a police procedural novel where they follow Quinn and her new accomplice Noah for a hunt for a serial killer who is out to seek revenge on Quinn. The plot definitely showed the inner workings of a police case with evidence and some moments for down time to understand and round out the characters. But majority of the plot showed their process to solve the case. I did like Kaely Quinn as a character. She is like nothing I have ever seen. She is strong, brave, and has a unique way of solving crimes. I really liked her. Overall, Mind Games had a unique heroine with a strong plot even though I did figure out who the bad guy was early on. I believe fans of Dee Henderson's latest works and Janice Cantore might enjoy this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Mind Games by Nancy Mehl from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Nancy Mehl
From Amazon
Nancy Mehl lives in Missouri, with her husband Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She's authored thirty books and is currently at work on a new FBI suspense series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy's novels have an added touch - something for your spirit as well as your soul. "I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing," Nancy says. "It's a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn't be writing at all if I didn't believe that this is what He's called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can't overcome with His help."

You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at: www.nancymehl.com. She also is active on the Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com and on FaceBook! (Taken from Amazon.)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Family Game Night




By Kelly Bridgewater

It is December, and I love how much free time the winter opens up for our family.

Band practice still happens for my eighth grader, but I love how much he enjoys it. Church is decorated for Christmas. We are singing Christmas Hymns. I love watching Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music, and admiring the Christmas lights shining on my tree and on houses surrounding the town.

I wish there was snow. Especially on Christmas morning. We haven't had a white Christmas since 2004.

From Amazon
Another fun thing our family does is have Family Game Night. I make homemade caramel popcorn and make hot cocoa.

We love playing Ticket to Ride America and Europe edition. 


Life is another family favorite.

Monolopy is a wonderful game for the family, but as soon as my husband starts buying house and hotels, I drop out. I have no way to win. Our ten-year-old son actually gave my husband a run for his money last year and almost lost. I was so proud of him.

When my mother comes over, she enjoys playing games with our family too.

Is there any other board games that you would suggest that our family should try? We are always looking out for a new fun way to spend cold, winter evenings.

How about you? Does your family still play board games?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Gifts for Life

By Kelly Bridgewater

When I think of Christmas memories, they have changed recently. As a mother, Christmas has taken on a different meaning for me.

After a month plus of shopping, baking, decorating, and cleaning, Christmas morning has finally arrived. The alarm did not wake up the parents, instead the thundering beat of footsteps as they hurry down the stairs did. Then the silent and dark early morning hours rip open with squeals of delight. Lying in bed, I rolled over and nudged my husband.

“The kids are awake. It’s time to join them.”



 My husband grunts, pulling up the blanket over his head. The red numbers of 3:55 shined like a siren across the bed. It was really too early, but I knew that if we did not join the children, we would miss the most important morning of the year. Excitement coursed through my veins. I had been waiting for Christmas to arrive too but for different reasons than my boys.

After wrapping my robe around myself, I stomped downstairs where the children had already dumped their Christmas supplies of candy, toothbrush, and toothpaste from their individually hand cross-stitched stockings, which I made when I carried each boy, preparing for their arrival. The floor littered with evidence of Hershey Kisses and Reese’s Cups, as the boys leaned over, comparing their stashes with each other.

I turned on the coffee pot and poured two mugs after the pot brimmed with ebony liquid. I crept into the living room, turned on the Christmas lights, and double-checked the camera battery, blinking green across the room, which would capture the shredding of the wrapped and decorated presents spilling out from the under the tree.

This was it! This was what the children were waiting for all December. Wanting to know what they received for Christmas.

One by one, the boys broke into their packages, wrapping paper flying through the air as each child is overcome with delight at the equally thought out presents are revealed.

The oldest boy enjoys building from Legos and Kinex’s, so I picked out Lego Ninjago kits and Kinex treasure chests teeming with straight and curved pieces to advance his building creativity. He wants a top hat and loves Vanilla Bean Noel lotion, body wash, and body spray from Bath and Body Works.

The middle boy benefits from anything Star Wars. He is a huge fan and loves to collect anything with Star Wars or music. He is a huge fan of classic Rock n' Roll and Motown from the 50's and 60's. 


The youngest boy really doesn't play or read anything. He just adores annoying his brothers. Being fascinated with the latest electronics, we purchased a Nintendo DS to advance his learning skills while playing games to advance his reading and math skills. 


As the next couple of days go by, I spied on the oldest, as he built a lawn mower that actually moved with a flick of a lever. The middle child banged away at the drums, drowning out the quiet in the house. The youngest sits for hours, playing with his tablet, learning with laughter ringing through the air. “I won, Mom.” He says, as he rushes over to show me his latest high score.

My heart jumps with excitement as I observe my children using their gifts for the intended purpose, improving their creative and learning abilities.

This year as I examined my children, it gave me a thought about our spirititual gifts. Our past pastor, Ric May, completed a three-week lesson on “The Calling.” He posed the question to our congregation, “are we doing what God has called us to do or are we allowing our gift to collect dust?’

Does God feel like me when I spend a whole month scrutinizing my boys for the perfect gift to bring out the most joy and their natural God-given talents? He has endowed every person with a gift to bring him glory, but how many of us walk around and ignore the gift that God wants us to use?

How would I feel as a mother if I spent the whole month of December hunting for the perfect present and the boys open the wrapped gift only to toss it in the closet, knowing it's there, but not actually doing anything with it? Maybe the boys do not want to break it. Maybe they do not want to be made fun of it if they bring the gift out into the opening for others to notice.

When God created each of us, he bestowed a gift on everyone to bring Him glory. Whether it is writing, teaching, serving, worshiping, helping, giving, or whatever God has given to you.

Even Paul knew how important the gift of God was to the church. He wrote in 1 Timothy 4:14, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you” and in 2 Timothy 1:6, he repeats, “Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you.” The urging from God provides us a deep satisfaction and longing as long as we use it to further God’s kingdom and do not hide the gift in the closet.

I imagine, like me, God smiles when we use His gift that He knew would be perfect for us and has planned to further His kingdom.



This post first appeared on "Thinking Thoughts" at eahendryx.blogspot.com on December 22, 2013 where I was a guest on Emilie Hendryx's blog. But I liked the message, so I borrowed my words again for this Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Deborah Raney: Reason to Breathe


By Kelly Bridgewater

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 We are excited to introduce Deborah Raney's new series with a blog tour and giveaway for book #1-Reason to Breathe-hosted by JustRead Tours.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

From Amazon
Title: Reason to Breathe
Series: Chandler Sisters #1
Author: Deborah Raney
Publisher: Gilead Publishing
Release: October 23, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction / Romance


Phylicia thought life was passing her by, but maybe this was love's plan all along. . .About

At twenty-nine, Phylicia Chandler put her life on hold to care for her dying mother with her sisters, Joanna and Britt. Now Mom is gone and their father stuns them all by running off with a woman young enough to be their sister. Life is moving forward all around her, but Phylicia feels stuck--until her father's protégé, Quinn Mitchell, presents the sisters with an intriguing business opportunity to purchase a trio of cottages just outside of Langhorne, Missouri. Joanna and Britt are convinced the three of them should launch a vacation rental venture, but Phylicia remains skeptical.

To complicate matters, Quinn soon finds himself falling hard for Phylicia. But how can he pursue this beautiful, talented woman twelve years his junior when she's still reeling over her father's hasty engagement to a younger woman? Quinn is determined to give Phylicia her happily-ever-after. But first, he must help her come to terms with her discovery of long-held family secrets and persuade her that true love can transcend their differences.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads   Amazon   B&N  Christianbook   Book Depository

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My Thoughts:

Deborah Raney is a popular author of contemporary women's fiction. She has been around writing for a while and pretty well-known in the Christian fiction community. I can honestly say I haven't read that many of her books, but I do have a ton of them downloaded to my Kindle. Sometime I will get around to reading them. As for her first book in A Chandler Sister Novel series, Reason to Breathe, I enjoyed spending time with the three sisters and start learning more about them.

I enjoy a writer who has a good grasp on the basics when it comes to writing. A good writer should be able to dive into the character's perspective without jumping into other character's perspective. They should also be able to jump into the setting without overwhelming the reader but allow them to experience the setting as a compliment to the story. Raney does a wonderful job at both of these aspects.

Characters make or break a novel. Having a younger sister myself, I love the idea of a series told from each sister's point of view. I'm not that close to my sister, but I have always wanted a closer relationship. It was nice to see the three sisters and have them work together on the house. I enjoyed learning about the sister's from Phee's viewpoint as she traveled through the death of her mother. I really can't wait to see how the other two sisters' stories will develop.

The plot. After losing my daddy three years ago, I understand what it feels like to lose a parent. The only issue I have with the plot is the three sisters ability to carry on without really focusing on their deceased mother or their grief at all. Why didn't it come up at all? I know when I gathered with my brother and sister even now conversations always end back to our Daddy and something he had done. He didn't disappear from our lives. I wanted to see more of the realistic hurt of the grief. On the other hand, the twist with Phee's parentage was an interesting side story, and I wondered if Raney will return to that storyline.

Overall, Reason to Breathe by Deborah Raney is a wonderful tale of three sisters as they move on after the loss of their mother who died with cancer and how to handle a father who doesn't want to face the truth. I enjoyed the story. It reminded me a lot of a version of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, which I enjoyed. I believe fans of Beth K. Vogt and Catherine West might enjoy this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Reason to Breathe by Deborah Raney from Gilead Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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About the Author:

Deborah Raney
From Amazon

DEBORAH RANEY's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched Deb's writing career. Twenty-plus years, thirty-plus books, and numerous awards later, she's still creating stories that touch hearts and lives. Her awards include RWA's RITA® Award, ACFW's Carol Award, the National Readers Choice Award, and the HOLT Medallion. Deborah is also a three-time Christy Award finalist. She and husband, Ken Raney, traded small-town life in Kansas for life in the friendly city of Wichita. They love traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Find out more about Deb's newest releases at www.deborahraney.com.

FROM THE AUTHOR: I went from full-time stay-at-home mom for 20 years to full-time author. My passion is my family--my husband and I have four kids and eight darling grandkids...and counting! But since, if a mom does her job right, she eventually puts herself OUT of a job, I'm delighted to have discovered my next career.

I have written more than thirty books, have two non-fiction books published, and contributed to several anthologies. But my first love is fiction. The fifth and final book in my Chicory Inn Novels series for Abingdon Press released last year, and much of my backlist is being re-released via Raney Day Press. The first book in my new Chandler Sisters Novels series from Gilead Publishing will release in October 2018.

A typical writing day for me begins early--usually before 6 a.m.--with the business side of things: answering e-mail and reader mail, updating my website, writing blog posts, reading for research. Our routine is much quieter now than when we had four kids at home! When my writing time begins mid-morning, I have a routine that sets the stage: lighting scented candles, choosing music to write by, and brewing a perfect cup of coffee. I have a cozy office that looks out over our front yard, but I often take my laptop out to the back deck where the birds, squirrels, ducks, geese, bunnies, and an occasional egret (or even a rare coywolf or deer!) provide entertainment.

My husband and I enjoy movies, but believe it or not, my first choice of entertainment is READING! As much as I enjoy the actual process of writing, I am an extrovert by nature, and doubt I'd have lasted long in this business were it not for the company of several wonderful online writers' groups, connecting with other authors at retreats and conventions, and meeting aspiring writers when my husband and I teach at conferences around the country.

Probably the most exciting event in my writing life so far was having my first novel made into a movie by World Wide Pictures. Certainly a dream come true for any author, and I feel blessed beyond words to still get to be doing what I love as my day job. (Taken from Amazon.)

CONNECT WITH DEB:  Website   Facebook  Twitter   Pinterest  Instagram

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TOUR GIVEAWAY

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(1) winner will receive (US only):

  • a print copy of Reason to Breathe 
  • $15 Amazon gift card
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

Giveaway will begin at midnight December 3, 2018 and last through 11:59pm December 10, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!