Friday, September 24, 2021

ACFW Conference

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Usually in September, tons of Christian writers attack a city. 

We spend moments in prayer, worship, listening, and learning more about the writing craft. 

A great time to meet your favorite author, if they attend. 

A great time to be introduced to an agent, editor, or an author friend. 

What is this you ask?

It is the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writer's) Conference. 

I have been to three of them. 

The first time, my favorite writer who introduced me to Christian fiction, was the keynote speaker. Robin Jones Gunn. 

Next time was Laurine Snelling. 

My aunt, who is now deceased, enjoyed her writing. 

Third time, was Ted Dekker. 

I have pictures with them. 

I also met Ronie Kendig, Susan May Warren, Kate Breslin, Jen Turano, Becky Wade, Carrie Turansky, Susan Ann Mason, Karen Witemeyer, Carrie Stuart Parks, Dani Pettrey, Julie Klassen, Steven James, Rachel Hauck, Jamie Jo Wright, Natalie Walters (who was my roommate the last year that I attended!) among many others. 

But of course, the last two years have been virtual meetings. 
Not the same thing. 

I did not "attend" these virtual meetings. 

How about you? Any event that captures your attention that you look forward to going to?

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Lynn Austin: The Wish Book Christmas

 By Kelly Bridgewater

From the bestselling author of If I Were You comes a nostalgic and endearing holiday story that reminds us that sometimes the most meaningful gifts are the ones we least expect and don't deserve.

Best friends Audrey Barrett and Eve Dawson are looking forward to celebrating Christmas in postwar America, thrilled at the prospect of starting new traditions with their five-year-old sons. But when the 1951 Sears Christmas Wish Book arrives and the boys start obsessing over every toy in it, Audrey and Eve realize they must first teach them the true significance of the holiday. They begin by helping Bobby and Harry plan gifts of encouragement and service for those in their community, starting by walking an elderly neighbor's yellow Lab--since a dog topped the boys' wish list for Santa. In the charming tale that follows, Audrey and Eve are surprised to find their own hearts healing from the tragedies of war and opening to the possibility of forgiveness and new love.


My Thoughts:

The Wish Book Christmas by Lynn Austin welcomes readers back to the familiar characters of If I Were You. Even if you had not read that story, you will still enjoy this novel, but I think to understand and fully embrace the forgiveness story, you need to read If I Were You.  I love reading Christmas stories when it is 93 degrees outside. It makes me smile and bring a warmth to Christmas. Austin crafted a story that a lot of children need to read and understand. Our family does not spend a lot on our boys for Christmas. We plan a trip with each individual child during the year instead. Much better than gifts. I do like the idea of giving three gifts to help others like the Wise Men did to Jesus. I love the Happy Birthday Jesus Party too. We do that in our house too. I love the snow. It was everywhere. Something I want more of. I really enjoyed this story. It shares a wonderful Christmas and life lessons about gifts. Plus, it was a delight to spend time with. I definitely want a paperback copy of this novel to put on my shelf. I highly recommend this book to others.

I received a complimentary copy of The Wish Book Christmas by Lynn Austin from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Wish Book Christmas

Monday, September 20, 2021

DiAnn Mills: Trace of Doubt

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Bestselling and award-winning author DiAnn Mills delivers a heart-stopping story of dark secrets, desperate enemies, and dangerous lies.

Fifteen years ago, Shelby Pearce confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole and looking for a fresh start in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con.

FBI Special Agent Denton McClure was a rookie fresh out of Quantico when he was first assigned the Pearce case. He’s always believed Shelby embezzled five hundred thousand dollars from her brother-in-law’s account. So he’s going undercover to befriend Shelby, track down the missing money, and finally crack this case.

But as Denton gets closer to Shelby, he begins to have a trace of doubt about her guilt. Someone has Shelby in their crosshairs. It’s up to Denton to stop them before they silence Shelby—and the truth—forever.


My Thoughts:

Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills is a chase for what really happened. After Shelby Pearce was released from prison for killing her brother-in-law, readers are invited to watch her try to work her way back into society. Death threats and shots at her are the norm in suspense novels. The story does have a realistic look at the prejudice that is shown to ex-cons. While the story progressed, I had a good idea of what really occurred fifteen year ago. But then again, I am pretty good at figuring out most suspense novels even though the authors thinks they put enough red herrings in place to fool the reader. The suspense and the concept of the novel was well-written. There is a touch of romance to the plot too. Not too much. A little. A little creepy at times especially with the way that Mills described the hero when he first came onto the page. I couldn’t get the image of him and young 33 year old heroine out of my head. The climactic moment was nicely handled. I really liked how Mills crafted the last twenty percent of the novel. Overall, Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills is a story that reached a wonderful ending. If you enjoyed this novel, I suggest trying Center of Gravity and Sister Dear by Laura McNeil. Same type of story. Well handled.

I received a complimentary copy of  Trace of Doubt by  DiAnn Mills  from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Trace of Doubt

Friday, September 17, 2021

Welcome Fall

 By Kelly Bridgewater


 Fall is here!

Colored leaves. 


Cooler temperatures. 

Christmas will be here in about three months!


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Andrea Christiansen: Hangin' by a Moment

 By Kelly Bridgewater

He just wants to erase his past.

The day Jack—formerly Winston Stewart—walked out of jail, he vowed to keep his conviction a secret. After all, it wasn’t like he’d committed a murder. Just a terrible mistake, and he did his time. Now he wants a new life in a sleepy town where no one knows his name. Deep Haven is the perfect place to start over as a chef. The last thing the former pararescue jumper wants is to get involved. But when Boone Buckam—his friend and the one guy he owes for getting him out of the slammer—asks for help, how can Jack refuse?

She can’t seem to escape hers.

Colleen Decker has already escaped evil once—as a teenager, she was kidnapped by a murderer. But she’s put all that behind her as a trauma nurse in Minneapolis. Or maybe not, because a freak mistake in the ER sends her past crashing down on her. She needs a timeout in her hometown of Deep Haven. She doesn’t plan to stay—even when she’s roped into the job of flight nurse for the town’s Crisis Response Team chopper. Colleen’s not sure why she’s drawn to danger, but she’ll be safe enough. After all, she’ll need training, and her teacher is a handsome former pararescue jumper. What could go wrong?

But facing the past might put their future together in jeopardy.

When Jack said he didn’t want to get involved, he especially meant his heart—but being with Colleen feels like a fresh start. He’ll even climb aboard a chopper again, despite his vows. They’re headed for a happy ending…
But secrets never stay buried in a small town. And when disaster strikes one snowy night, they’ll both have to decide if the past will destroy them…or if it just might lead them home. 

Cozy up to this perfect Deep Haven drama about discovering a season of second chances


My Thoughts:

Hangin' By a Moment by Andrea Christiansen is a delightful contemporary romance story filled with heart and humor. I enjoy stories that show characters who are on a redemptive journey. Especially when they see themselves as one way and by the end of the story, they come to realize the way that God sees them or the way that they should have disproved the lies about themselves. Christiansen starts with an ex-con who has to overcome his dark fears and his past. His journey is quite memberable. With all the description of burgers in the story, I kept wanting to eat one after finishing this novel. Colleen, our heroine, has been featured in the Deep Haven stories. This time, she has grown up and is trying to overcome her own fears and worries from a stressful moment. The plot was well-written and kept my attention. I believe if fans enjoy contemporary romance, then Hangin' By a Moment will be right up their alley. I can't wait for another Deep Haven novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Hangin' by a Moment by Andrea Christiansen, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Hangin' by a Moment

Monday, September 13, 2021

Amy Lynn Green: The Lines Between Us

 By Kelly Bridgewater

A WWII novel of courage and conviction, based on the true experience of the men who fought fires as conscientious objectors and the women who fought prejudice to serve in the Women's Army Corps.

Since the attack on Pearl Harbor, Gordon Hooper and his buddy Jack Armitage have stuck to their values as conscientious objectors. Much to their families' and country's chagrin, they volunteer as smokejumpers rather than enlisting, parachuting into and extinguishing raging wildfires in Oregon. But the number of winter blazes they're called to seems suspiciously high, and when an accident leaves Jack badly injured, Gordon realizes the facts don't add up.

A member of the Women's Army Corps, Dorie Armitage has long been ashamed of her brother's pacifism, but she's shocked by news of his accident. Determined to find out why he was harmed, she arrives at the national forest under the guise of conducting an army report . . . and finds herself forced to work with Gordon. He believes it's wrong to lie; she's willing to do whatever it takes for justice to be done. As they search for clues, Gordon and Dorie must wrestle with their convictions about war and peace and decide what to do with the troubling secrets they discover.

My Thoughts:

The Lines Between Us by Amy Green starts like her previous novels with the letters. But much to my enjoyment, the entire novel is not a complete letter writing. It is actually a normal written novel with some letters thrown in. Green crafted a World War II novel set in the state of Oregon with smokejumpers and some army personal thrown in for good measure. While the story does not showcase the horrors that was happening in Europe during this time, the story does feature a softer side to the stateside war effort. The writing was vivid and descriptive. I did learn more about what was occurring in America versus the horror that most World War II novels focus on. It was a nice change in the plot idea. There really is no romance in the novel. If that is what you are looking for, then this is not part of the plot. As for the plot, it was different, unique, and unknown, which is a wonderful idea, BUT the plot tried to be a mystery. Yes, there was the hunting for clues. There was mysterious actions and people around. There was a big climactic moment near the end of the novel. The story ends with the framing of the letters. The novel was nicely delivered, but not enough action for me. Overall, The Lines Between Us by Amy Green is a unique and different story occurring during the World War II.

I received a complimentary copy of  The Lines Between Us  by Amy Lynn Green  from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Lines Between Us

Friday, September 10, 2021

Revelation 19: 11 - 21

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in[b] blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule[c] them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave,[d] both small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence[e] had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” (English Standard Version.

I can’t wait for the final moment when Christ defeats Satan and all his followers. I enjoy reading this passage. It makes me happy. I always get tingles down my spine as I read this Scripture passage.

How about you? Have you spent time studying Revelation? It is my favorite book of the Bible. Hope. Joy. Redemption. It is the greatest book of the Bible, in my humble opinion.