Monday, July 15, 2024

Jen Turano: Meeting Her Match

By Kelly Bridgewater

Miss Camilla Pierpont, a renowned matchmaker and influential member of the New York Four Hundred, has vowed never to marry after suffering a devastating heartbreak during her debut years ago. However, when she is nearly abducted along the Hudson River, she finds herself rescued by an annoyingly outspoken, albeit fascinating, gentleman who challenges her in a manner she wasn't expecting.

After learning that Camilla Pierpont has enjoyed success with taking wayward young ladies in hand, Mr. Owen Chesterfield travels to the Hudson River Valley determined to convince Camilla to sponsor his sister, who is in desperate need of social rehabilitation.

Knowing her life is in danger, Camilla agrees to Owen's proposition and travels with him to West Virginia, finding herself charmed by the less-than-formal attitude of his small hometown, as well as by Owen himself. But danger waits in the shadows, disrupting what she knows would be the most spectacular match she's ever made--her own.

 


My Thoughts:

I love Jen Turano’s stories. I have read all of them and enjoyed majority of them. However, Meeting Her Match was different than her previous series. It does fit well into her Matchmaking series. A lot of dialogue explaining the feelings and what has occurred in the past to convince Camila to help Owen’s sister become proper enough to enter society and be presented into the Four Hundred Society. There were funny moments with a pig, a dog, and a cat. There were funny moments with whitewashing a fence. I did enjoy the cast of characters in Owen's families. With their help, Camilia learned that what others think of you is not that important as what you think of yourself. Near the end of the novel, the action did pick up, and became more of what I expected from Turano’s stories. Speaking of the romance, Owen and Camila did not like each other and pretended to be betrothed to help his sister, but then of course, sparks began to fly, and the romance was off to the races. Overall, Meeting Her Match by Jen Turano captured the wild wealthy world of West Virginia and brought into falling literally into the world for the Four Hundred in New York City. I can’t wait to read her next series.

I received a complimentary copy of Meeting Her Match by Jen Turano from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Meeting Her Match

Friday, July 12, 2024

Too Hot

By Kelly Bridgewater

Summer is miserable. I know I have talked about this a million times.

But it is so true.

Is it climate change? Is it a cycle for the seasons?

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Who knows except God.

I, personally, feel like it is a cycle and eventually, the Earth will go back to normal. Plenty of data to back that up.

Can we be more responsible and grow plants, vegetables, and recycle?

Of course.

It is our duty to help keep the environment clean and better for future generations.

However, my complaint is about winter. Where I live in Central Indiana, it is not really winter anymore.

From December 1st, 2023, through March 21st 2024, I kept track of the highs for each day. Only 10 days were below 32 for the high.

10 DAYS!!!!

That is all the winter that we had. We had two days of dusting snows and one day of 4.5 inches of snow.

Most days were in the fifties. Even had seventies in February.

Not good!

Yes, it is good for my paycheck because I do not have to fill up the propane tank as much, but I like to spend time in-doors, all cozy and comfy.

With it being seventy in February, then I have to mow grass sooner.

I have to pull weeds sooner.

I have to spend time with bugs and be miserable.

I hibernate more in the summer, then the winter.

Summer means more chores outside.

What about you? Do you like Summer? If so, WHY??????

Monday, July 8, 2024

Rachel Hauck: Meet Me at Starlight

By Kelly Bridgewater

"I was fully invested in these memorable characters who are as colorful as the iconic Starlight's neon sign."--Nancy Naigle, author of The Shell Collector

"A charming story set across three generations. . . . Themes of forgiveness, trust, second chances, acceptance, and love will leave you grinning at the last page."--Katherine Reay, bestselling author of Dear Mr. Knightley and The Printed Letter Bookshop

1987. Supermodel Harlow Hayes seeks solace in a quaint Florida beach town to heal from a heartbreak that shattered her entire world. To her surprise, she encounters Matt Knight--a Hollywood A-lister with a bad-boy reputation--who has returned to his hometown to help his plucky grandmother, Tuesday, save her century-old skating rink, the Starlight.

The Starlight holds a special place in the hearts of the community, once acting as a refuge for Depression-era families and bringing the town together with gatherings and celebrations. Tuesday's determination even protected her beloved rink from her husband's shady business dealings. Yet when the Starlight is threatened with demolition, Tuesday begins to wonder if an era has come to an end.

As Matt and Harlow strategize to save the rink, they find themselves on a journey of surprises, self-discovery, and the kind of healing that leads to love.

 


My Thoughts:

Meet Me at Starlight by Rachel Hauck brought back many memories of spending tons of time as a young child and a teenager at my local skating rink. Our parents would drop a van full of us teenagers off when they opened and picked us up when they closed. They gave us pocket money, and we would spend all day with our friends. A free baby-sitter and all the kids were tired when they arrived at home. Anyways, Meet Me at Starlight is a timeslip novel, but they bounce off each other pretty well. Readers will see the story in the past as it moves forward to present day. The characters had deep stories that needed to be told. Hauck has brought back some familiar characters and a familiar setting if readers are familiar with her previous stories. Of course, there is romance in the later time period, but nothing too distracting from the plot. The plot kept me interested, but there were moments when the story was a little light on the action, but overall, the plot did capture my interest. I would recommend this story to others who enjoy a good feel good story with a spiritual truth to the plot.

I received a complimentary copy of Meet Me at Starlight by Rachel Hauck from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Meet Me at Starlight

Friday, July 5, 2024

4th of July

 

By Kelly Bridgewater

A great holiday to celebrate our freedom.

Sadly though, I have been raised by a military father, and I know tons of people in my family or friends who have served in our military.

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They fought for our freedom.

With the culture today, most Millennials and Generation Z do not have any American pride. They go with the flow. They are not taught our American history and learn to be proud of why they live here.

Migrants are flowing through our borders, and they are living better than American citizens are.

We are giving money to Ukraine over and over again when we should NOT be giving them any money.

I keep learning history and remembering how hard the founder fathers worked to help us become a country of dreams and freedom. Within 250 years, we are watching this slip away.

If you are a young American, learn your history. Yes, American has made mistakes. BUT be proud of what you are and work hard to stand up against the crowd that is ignorant and has no understanding of what a great country they live in.

Monday, July 1, 2024

Collen Coble and Rick Acker: What We Hide

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Family secrets. Historical wrongs. And the truths that refuse to stay buried.

Savannah Webster is trying to find her way forward. She and her husband, Hez, have been separated since tragedy tore them apart and he began numbing his grief and guilt with alcohol. She returned to Tupelo Grove University, which her family helped found over a century ago, to teach history.

When Hez turns up in her classroom asking for a second chance, she rejects the idea immediately. But twenty-four hours later she’s under suspicion for murder, and since Hez is the best attorney she knows, she reluctantly asks him for help. They suspect the murder is tied to someone selling off the university’s pre-Columbia artifacts, but the secrets go much deeper than they realize.

The only hope they’ve got is each other, and they’re going to have to put their past behind them if they’re going to stay alive long enough to uncover all that’s hidden.


 

My Thoughts:

What We Hide by Colleen Coble and Rick Acker is a legal drama with family drama thrown in to carry the plot along. The story is categorized as Christian Mystery and Suspense Romance, but I do not agree with this assessment. The story features Savannah and Hez, who used to be married. Tragedy happened and their marriage fell apart. Now they are back in each other’s lives, they are trying to figure out if they can make this work or not. It reads more like a women’s fiction novel than a suspense novel. Yes, there were missing artifacts, and readers will see the person who is taking them and their point of view, but it does not seem to be a main suspense factor. Yes, the story features a dead body after a couple of chapters, but it really does not have that suspense atmosphere that mystery readers want when reading this type of story. Most of the story features Hez and Savannah arguing and thinking of the tragedy moment that happened three years ago. I was actually bored reading the story. I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

I received a complimentary copy of What We Hide by Colleen Coble and Rick Acker from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions are all my own.

My Rating:  2 out of 5 stars

Purchase What We Hide

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Tricia and Nathan Goyer: Breath of Bones

By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: Breath of Bones

Authors: Tricia Goyer & Nathan Goyer

Genre: Adult Historical Fantasy

Release date: June 18, 2024

When darkness falls, a new guardian emerges.

Kate
řina Dubová has always aspired to walk in her father's footsteps as a respected journalist, and the Second World War presents a unique opportunity for her to prove her worth to the world. A tip about an assassination attempt on a high-ranking Nazi official, Reinhard Heydrich, the "Butcher of Prague" leads Kateřina into the shadows of the Nazi occupation. Soon she discovers things are not as they seem.

As intrigue unfurls, Kate
řina joins forces with Josef Loew, a descendant of the famous Rabbi Loew, renowned for creating a mystical guardian in the form of a golem to protect the souls of 16th-century Jews in Prague. In the chaos of war, some believe a new golem can once again bring help to those in need.

Like flickering candles in the abyss, Kate
řina and Josef work to protect the innocent and end the evil that plagues their world. Yet, in their quest to save the Jewish people, have they inadvertently created a new danger? Could the very entity they had forged to protect become their greatest enemy?

 


My Thoughts:

Breath of Bones by Tricia and Nathan Goyer is a World War II novel. Is it any different than other published World War II novels? Not really. There is a robot called a Golem, which I kept seeing Lord of the Rings every time I read the word. As I was reading the book, I kept wondering why the story was published under Enclave Publishing, which does highly fantasy novels. This novel was not at all. It could have been published by Bethany House and marketed as a Historical story. I really wanted a little more on the fantasy side during World War II, but I believe it fell short. If readers are coming to expect that, like me, they may be disappointed. If readers want to read it as a historical fiction story that takes place during World War II, then it was fine. Plot idea was done before. Characters were a little flat. They really didn’t stand out to me. Little people walk across the pages, but nothing special about them. A little hurt from the past, but nothing that stopped them from doing what they needed to accomplish. Brave. Yes. Some spiritually in the characters. Overall, Breath of Bones by Tricia and Nathan Goyer led me to believe that there would be a fantasy element tied to the plot, but it read just like a normal World War II historical novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Breath of Bones by Tricia and Nathan Goyer from Enclave Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Purchase Breath of Bones


About the Authors

Tricia Goyer is a celebrated writer, speaker, and co-host of the Daily Bible Podcast. Author of 80 books, Tricia has won four Golden Scrolls, two Carols, and a Christian Book Award. In addition to Christy and Gold Medallion nominations, her book sales exceed 4 million copies. Tricia is a highly sought-after conference speaker, sharing on writing, parenting, and purposeful living. Tricia’s most recent work, Breath of Bones, is a historical steampunk fantasy co-authored with her son Nathan Goyer.
Nathan Goyer is an upstart designer and science fiction author, who has been writing since he was young. He has written the novel Bask: City of Shadows and solo-developed the mobile RPG game Heedless, which has surpassed 30,000 downloads. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Arkansas Little Rock, he is now pushing forward with new endeavors, starting with his newest novel, Breath of Bones, which he wrote alongside his fellow author and mother, Tricia Goyer.

More from Tricia and Nathan

He Said/She Said: Behind the Scenes with Breath of Bones

By Tricia and Nathan Goyer

Writing Breath of Bones turned out to be one of the most surprising and rewarding adventures I’ve ever embarked on. Let me take you behind the scenes of how this all came to be.

It all started when I decided to treat myself to something special for my 50th birthday: attending the Realm Maker’s Conference with my son Nathan. I’ve been writing books for years, over 90 of them actually, but I’ve always stuck to what I knew best. Speculative fiction? That was Nathan’s thing, not mine. But, there we were, surrounded by an incredible community of sci-fi and fantasy writers and fans. It was inspiring..

Reconnecting with my old buddy Steve Laube at the conference was a highlight. “Come to the dark side,” he joked when I marveled at how amazing everyone was. I laughed it off, but little did I know how prophetic his words would be.

After that second conference, something strange started happening. Ideas began bubbling up in my mind, and they were far out of my usual writing lane. The trigger? Believe it or not, I was doing something as mundane as sweeping near my bookshelf, filled with my favorite books about Prague, when I got an idea. That’s when it hit me—blending the Jewish legend of the Golem with my love for WWII stories. When I shared the idea with Nathan, his eyes lit up. “I love it,” he said, and that was all the encouragement I needed.

The idea really took shape when I ran into Steve Laube again at another conference. I pitched it to him during my keynote, and his enthusiasm confirmed my need.

The most surreal part of this whole journey? I first met Steve when I was pregnant with Nathan. When Nathan and Steve were introduced, Nathan joked, “No wonder your voice sounds familiar.” I thought that was perfect!

It felt like things were coming full circle. I was writing a book in a genre I never thought I’d explore for an editor I’ve admired for decades, alongside my son, who, in a way, met Steve alongside me all those years ago.

Breath of Bones is more than just a book to me. It represents stepping out of my comfort zone, embracing a new genre with the help of an incredible community, and the unique joy of collaborating with my son. It’s a reminder that it’s never too late to try something new. Also, the support of friends and loved ones can turn even the most daunting challenges into rewarding journeys. I hope this story inspires others as much as it inspired me during its creation.

He Said:

Writing Breath of Bones was certainly something I never expected to do. I had been trying to get my mother Tricia to write speculative fiction for a while, but I never thought she’d do it! It’s been very interesting to see her come to embrace the more fantastical side of writing.

When she asked me to write the novel with her, I was excited to do so. Writing something like this was right up my alley, of course, but co-authoring was a brand new experience that comes with its challenges and plenty of rewards. I really think it pulled out the best of both of us. What emerged is a story neither of us would have ever written on our own.

I may be revealing some of our secrets here, but when we first started writing, the only fantastical element in the whole book was going to be the Golem itself! I was proud of Tricia when partway through writing, she said, “This feels like another historical fiction book, we need to do more.” From then on, we dug in and got creative. There is so much to discover, and I can confidently tell you there is plenty more excitement to come as the Clockwork Chronicles continues.

I will also say Tricia isn’t the only one stepping out of their comfort zone. It’s been a learning experience for me to write within the bounds of actual history! Sure, there are spider tanks and giant machinations, but much of the story comes from people’s real experiences at that time and our carefully crafted characters who needed to take on these challenges. I loved both learning and writing about the true history. In fact, my favorite scene I wrote had no Steampunk at all. (But I’ll keep which scene a secret. No spoilers here!)

Writing Breath of Bones has been a fantastic learning experience for me. I’ve absorbed a lot of information writing alongside such an experienced author and have loved seeing the characters and storylines I created come to life in such interesting ways. Above all else, I hope all our readers can get lost in the world of Breath of Bones and go on an adventure they won’t forget anytime soon.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 29

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 30

Through the Fire Blogs, July 1 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, July 1

Life on Chickadee Lane, July 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 4

Lily’s Corner, July 5

Inklings and Notions, July 6

Blogging With Carol, July 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 8

Exploring The Written Word, July 9

Blossoms and Blessings, July 10 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, July 10

Simple Harvest Reads, July 11 (Guest Review from Mindy)

The Lofty Pages, July 12

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Tricia nd Nathan are giving away the grand prize package of a $50 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/2c562/breath-of-bones-celebration-tour-giveaway


Thursday, June 27, 2024

TBR Pile

By Kelly Bridgewater

At the beginning of 2024, I decided to read a book for review, then read a book on my To-Be- Read Pile. I had 50 of them on Goodreads that were published a while ago. I deleted some that I did not have in paperback or on my Kindle. Someday, when I purchase those, then I’ll read them.

I noticed as I read them, it was nice to see my “Want to Read” books in my Goodreads account actually go down. Many of them I had as physical books on my bookshelf, and some were on my Kindle.

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I worked through the ones on my Kindle first since I carry that everywhere with me.

Then I worked through the paperback copies, but those were in the evening since it is harder to carry those books to work to read during my lunch time.

Some of the books were on the list since 2015 when I started on Goodreads. It was nice to read them and actually not to have write a review for them.

I enjoy reading and reviewing books, but it was nice to read them and then move to the next one without sharing my thoughts on the book.

Next I plan to read the physical books that I own that I have not read yet. I think I have about 50 books there too that have not been read yet.

Plus, this will be a good way to decide once I am finished reading them, if this is something that I will keep or donate to our church library.

Selfishly, this way I can make more room for additional books.

What about you? As a book dragon, I am sure it is easy to purchase books, but then forget to read them. Ever tried something where you prioritize reading those books that were lonely sat on the shelf and forgotten because you were going to get to them some day.