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Friday, August 18, 2017

Lunch with a Character

By Kelly Bridgewater

Two weeks ago, my blog post discussed having lunch with a deceased character.

This week, I want to share my thoughts on two different literary characters I would love to have lunch with.

Since I adore both of these characters, it was hard for me to pick one, so you get to read two.

First, I would love to hang out with Sherlock Holmes.

Yes, Holmes.  Not Benedict Cumberbatch. But Doyle's character Holmes.

 I would love to sit down with him while he is in the middle of a troubling case. It would be nice to see how his mind works and maybe offer some suggestions on how to solve the case. When reading novels, I have a pretty good idea of where the author is going and how they should solve the case. I usually can figure out the bad guy too. I might not be as good as Holmes, but I handle myself pretty well. Maybe even go on a case with him. Watch how he observes the scenes and can solve the cases using clues that most people don't notice.

Second, I would love to hang out with Harry Potter.

Harry Potter as a young kid. The one that has to fight Voldermort. I would love to see how he dealt with all that stress while growing up. Being a teenager is hard enough, but to have some ultimate evil wanting to kill you since before you were born. That is pretty hard to swallow. But he had the guts to stand up against him and not allow him to hurt him or his friends. I don't know if I would have the guts to do that. I love his ability to use magic. What a wonderful world to live in. I don't know how the conversation would go, but I would just allow the ideas to flow.

What literary characters would you love to have lunch with?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Christy Barritt: Clean Getaway

By Kelly Bridgewater

Gabby St. Claire Thomas has been given the opportunity of a lifetime: heading up a privately funded Cold Case Squad and handpicking the team members. Persnickety Evie Manson and nerdy Sherman Gilbert join forces with Gabby to bring justice and solace to families who still want answers. On their first case, the Squad discovers that the murders of Ron and Margie Simmons are more than cold—they’re frozen solid. The couple’s anniversary celebration ended as a double homicide, and ten years later their daughter still longs for answers. But who would kill the loving couple? What kind of secrets hid beneath their cheery, All-American exteriors? With every new lead, someone tries to sabotage their investigation . . . but the team might just end up being their own worst enemies. As a deadline presses in, can Gabby and her Squad bring the heat? Or will this cold-case killer make a clean getaway?

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

The Squeaky Clean Mysteries were my first introduction to Christy Barritt's writing, and the series has a special place in my heart. I enjoy and get excited when I hear that Barritt is writing another book in this series. Currently, there are thirteen plus books in this series with a couple of spin-off series or books. So there are plenty of stories out there to wet anyone's appetite for more. With her newest release of the Squeaky Clean Mysteries, Clean Getaway, I really enjoyed the hunt for justice. Gabby is once again on the hunt to solve a mystery, but this time, Barritt places Gabby in a hunt for  a Cold Case that happened ten years. With her many chances at someone trying to kill her and her team, Gabby learns to keep trusting in God and trying to accept Evie as a friend. The mystery keeps getting deeper and deeper as I traveled through the story with Gabby. I really enjoyed this addition to the series, and as always, look forward to what Barritt comes up with next.

I received a complimentary copy of Clean Getaway by Christy Barritt from Christy Barritt, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Monday, August 14, 2017

Lynette Eason: Chasing Secrets

By Kelly Bridgewater

Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Lynette Eason knows exactly what the readers of romantic suspense want. If they are anything like me, then they want non-stop action with someone's life in danger. I have devoured Always Watching, Without Warning, and Moving Target, so I can't wait to see what Eason had in store for me in Chasing Secrets. I recommend Eason's books all the time to fellow readers who claim to want tons of suspense with a hint of romance. Eason has not disappointed me yet.

As an accomplished writer, I'm sure that Eason will know how to write into deep point of view without distracting me from the story. The setting comes to life and keeps me anchored in the story without any question or pulling out to watch Eason explain things for me. I empathized with the characters as they struggled with their identity and moving on from the past. The character of Haley is a dynamic character who places children first in her life. She loves them and wants to help improve their lives, which is shown in the center she runs and how much time she invests in their individual lives. I enjoyed watching Haley's transformation story as she went through the story. As for Steven, he is a wonderful parallel to Haley and compliments her and her need to overcome the mysteries of her past. Steven also changes by learning to forgive and letting go of some of his past anger issues.

The plot is original and unpredictable. Eason is a master at allowing me to not to figure out who the villain is before the end of the novel. When she introduced the bad guy, I was shocked. It was not who I thought it was. Good job, Eason! I loved being proven wrong  . . . or right when reading a suspense.

The spiritual element of forgiveness and letting go off the past affected by main characters, and I'm glad that Eason allowed this change to happen naturally, not force it on the characters. I don't believe some readers will be turned off by the spiritually of the story; it was not the driving force of the plot, just there to deepened the characters.

Overall, Lynette Eason's Chasing Secrets is a fabulous conclusion to her Elite Guardians' series, and I enjoyed spending time with all four heroines and loved watching them change and mature as the series deepened. I highly recommend Chasing Secrets for fans of Lynette Eason's other books or romantic suspense in general. A great read!

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

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, August 11, 2017

Lunch with an Author (Part II)

By Kelly Bridgewater

Last week, I wrote part one blog post about having lunchwith a deceased author. Today, I want to share the living author I would love to have a lunch with.

This author has been featured on this blog with four of her books, and I have interviewed her once. I know she has her own writing to do, and I am extremely happy she does, because I love her writing, but I think it would be neat to sit down and share a lunch one day.

The author I am talking about is Sarah Sundin.

She has written nine novels, and one novella while working on her next series about Normandy with three brothers.

As a young girl, I loved spending time with my grandfather as he talked about his experience in World War II, and I even took the time to record his memories and life in a notebook for future generations. There is something about the bravery of World War II that captures my love of their generation. I love how they didn't hesitate to stand up for our country. Sad to say I don't think the young people now days would do that. They would hide and make protests like the wimps they are. ( Not all of them. I do have second cousins who are serving our country, but so many of them seem to stand for nothing. They just blow in the wind.)

If I had lunch with Sundin, I would love to talk about my writing. Maybe we would discuss different aspects of World War II. Right now, I working on a World War II spy novel with London as my setting. Maybe she could talk about research. How much should I do? Any suggestions on things to make this story more realistic. Maybe give me some suggestions on how to incorporate the research into my story without the readers knowing.

Sundin and I don't have to talk about research and writing the whole time. Maybe we could talk about her son being in the navy, and how hard it was to let go of him. Since my son is now a sophomore in high school, I'll have to be letting go of him pretty soon. How do I do that? Maybe Sundin and I will pray and offer encouragement for any stress we have in our lives. I want to be a blessing to her just as she could be a blessing to my life and writing career.

I don't know if this blog post is a little weird, but it is my imagination at play. I don't know if I'll ever have a lunch with Sundin, but it's okay to play out a conversation in my head.

How about you? Do you have a living author that you would love to pick their brain for an hour or two? If so, who?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Tamera Alexander: To Wager Her Heart

By Kelly Bridgewater

Seeking justice . . . 
Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father's name. One man holds the key to Sy's success--General William Giles Harding of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. 
Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville's society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he's found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison's fiancĂ©--and has shattered her world. 
Struggling to restore honor . . . 
Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen's university in the United States. But family--and Nashville society--do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.
Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy's roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor? 
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn't count on is having to wager her heart to do it. 

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Tamera Alexander is a new-to-me author. I have read First Impressions and A Note Yet Unsung and enjoy them. I haven't read the first two books in the Belle Meade Plantation Novel, but this seemed like a good book to read. Being a historical novel, I expected the story to have something to do with history. I knew it would have bold characters and a romance to round out the plot. I wasn't disappointed.

The writing was clear and concise. Alexander does a wonderful job at bringing the historical south to life for me. I could see the community, the houses, the wide open spaces, and the train cars. In this novel, I could see the injustice and the justice done with Frisk University. I enjoyed hanging out in the south for a certain amount of time.

As for the plot, I viewed it as different. While the novel focuses on Alexandra and her quest to find meaning and move on from the tragic train wreck that derailed her life. The novel really had no conflict expect internal. Alexandra had to deal with her personal demons while allowing her past life with her parents to move to the wayside. The story moved at a nice pace, but I wanted a little more dilemma to affect the characters. The historical element was deeply admired. I enjoyed watching the Jubilee Singers as they tried to make something more for their lives.

The romance is there between Alexandra and Sy, but it is not the focus of the story. Alexander allows the story to slowly develop. The romance blossomed with longing for each other and gifts to make Alexandra's life better. It wasn't a hasty romance by any means.

The characters of Alexandra and Sy are brave people who want to make a better world around them. They want to see justice served with the Frisk University and with the train wreck that changed Sy and Alexandra's life. I enjoyed how both characters didn't care if they were seen with the underbelly of the city. They stood by their convictions and didn't allow public opinion to change their perspective. Neither character really change. The same characters I met in the beginning of the novel are the same characters at the end.

Overall, Tamera Alexander's To Wager Her Heart is an enjoyable read with barely any conflict. The romance moves along steadily, developing as the story goes along. The plot is different with characters who stand by their beliefs. A good novel to spend a couple of hours with.

I received a complimentary copy of To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander from Zondervan Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars