Friday, December 8, 2023

Top 5 Books to Give as Gifts

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Usually for Christmas, I hunt sales at Thriftbooks, Amazon, or Christianbook and then gift myself the books that I want to read. There is usually a stack under that tree that I tie a bow around, but I don’t spend the time wrapping since I already know what the books are, and they are for me.

Today, I want to share 5 favorite books that I love. (Images and Synopsis come from Goodreads.)

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

Heiress by Susan May Warren

The Knight by Steven James

The Souls of Lost Lake by Jaime Jo Wright


Don't forget to read and purchase books just in time for Christmas! 

Monday, December 4, 2023

Julie Klassen: A Winter by the Sea

By Kelly Bridgewater

Royalty comes to Sidmouth, bringing unexpected danger and the sweet possibility of romance. . . .

When the Duke and Duchess of Kent and their daughter--the future Queen Victoria--rent neighboring Woolbrook Cottage for the winter, the Summers sisters are called upon to host three of the royal family's male staff in their seaside house. But they soon realize they've invited secrets and intrigue into their home.

Meanwhile, Emily Summers longs to become an author. A local publisher offers to consider her novel if she will first write a Sidmouth guidebook for him. Emily agrees and begins researching the area with help from the Duke of Kent's handsome private secretary. But a surprise visitor from her past shows up at Sea View, leaving Emily torn between the desires she's long held dear and her budding dreams for the future.

Return to the Devonshire coast with the Summers sisters, where loyalties are tested, secrets come to light, and new love emerges.


My Thoughts:

A Winter by the Sea by Julie Klassen features Emily and Sara. I really enjoyed the beginning of the story when it showed the Christmas celebration at Seaview. It was sweet, reminding me a lot of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. As a budding writer, I can empathize with Emily as she wants to make her name known through her writings, but it takes a little bit of practice and time. As for her, it would definitely be harder to be recognized because she is a woman. As for the character of Emily, she is sweet, caring, and looking for love. If the first novel, she wanted Charles Parker to come back, but this time when he does come back, she has grown and matured. Having the Duke and Duchess of Kent and their daughter stay next door created a little intrigue and eccentric characters who were lower staff stay at Seaview. Of course, what Regency novel does not feature romance between the characters. Klassen slowly introduced the trail of emotions as the characters dived into each individual life and learn to love each other slowly. Overall, A Winter by the Sea continues a nicely crafted family saga; however, there were moments in reading that I could not wait to come across some further action.

I received a complimentary copy of A Winter by the Sea by Julie Klassen from Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:   3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase A Winter by the Sea

Friday, December 1, 2023

Best Christmas Gift Ideas for Bookworms

 By Kelly Bridgewater

At least for me.

I love receiving gifts that nurture my writing and reading soul. The only way I receive them though is to buy them for myself.

But  . . . I do enjoy receiving them.

Here is a lists of some of my favorite gift ideas:

Pilot G-2 gel pens: These write so smooth and crisp. I enjoy writing in my planner or in my notebook ideas with these pens. Do you have a favorite pen that you gravitate toward?

College Ruled Journals or Legal pads: All of my journals and writing paper need to be college ruled. It is hard to find because most companies want to print their novels in wide-ruled, which I hate. I become excited when I see a college rule legal pad or journal. This is why I purchase about 20 college ruled spiral bound notebooks when the school year starts because I can use those for my writing. Plus, they are about 10 cents apiece.

If able to, a gift to a reading retreat. Baker Book House has one in May and ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) has one in September.  A nice three day weekend with other readers and the authors you enjoy spending time in one place. It is nice to get away and hang with other like-minded readers.

Free time: This is hard for mothers and possibly fathers who have little children still at home, but if the other spouse can allow the writer or reader some alone time to read or write their novels. Free time to think creatively is a HUGE bonus.

Gift cards: I LOVE this one. Give me an Amazon gift card. As an avid reader, I love to download free books to my Kindle Paperwhite, so I am excited when I can store e-giftcards to my Amazon account, so when a book I want goes on sale, I can purchase it without remorse. Starbucks giftcard. Some people live on Starbucks coffee. I, personally, can’t stand their coffee. $6 for a coffee that is nasty. That is highway robbery in the modern era. Not even a status symbol. Shows you have no brains.

What about you? What do you wish was under the tree for Christmas?


Monday, November 27, 2023

Susie Finkbeiner: The All-American

By Kelly Bridgewater

Two sisters discover how much good there is in the world--even in the hardest of circumstances

It is 1952, and nearly all the girls 16-year-old Bertha Harding knows dream of getting married, keeping house, and raising children in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. Bertha dreams of baseball. She reads every story in the sports section, she plays ball with the neighborhood boys--she even writes letters to the pitcher for the Workington Sweet Peas, part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

When Bertha's father is accused of being part of the Communist Party by the House Un-American Activities Committee, life comes crashing down on them. Disgraced and shunned, the Hardings move to a small town to start over where the only one who knows them is shy Uncle Matthew. But dreams are hard to kill, and when Bertha gets a chance to try out for the Workington Sweet Peas, she packs her bags for an adventure she'll never forget.

Join award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner for a summer of chasing down your dreams and discovering the place you truly belong.


My Thoughts:

The All- American by Susie Finkbeiner captured all the feels of a 1950’s family with two little women who are working toward their dreams and their family life. As a reader, I enjoyed how realistic the young girls are. Finkbeiner did a wonderful job at creating the fear from the threat of Communism and how it affected both girls. The plot brought back memories of being the tomboy who wanted to play hockey since I was eleven years old. Of course, I live in a place where hockey is not played, so no luck. Whereas Bertha works really hard to see her dreams of playing for the Sweet Peas become a reality. On the other hand, I empathized with Flossie who has her nose in a book all the time. I was that little girl too. Touch of a teenage romance. Not swoony or takes over the whole story. Finkbeiner did a wonderful job at showing the budding feelings but keeping it low key. Overall, The All-American is a wonderful coming of age novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. A good novel to recommend for young ladies in today’s culture.

I received a complimentary copy of The All-American by Susie Finkbeiner from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase The All-American

Friday, November 24, 2023


By Kelly Bridgewater

Hopefully, every company in America has decided to remove the request for weekly testing or the requirement for the Covid “vaccine”.

It is not legal or constitutional.

My medical history has nothing to do with what my skills are needed to do a job.

My son has been tortured by his employer since he refuses to take the vaccine. He only works two days a week, and they do not want to do the testing on the days that he works.

I have to do it every week. Always has been negative.

BUT . . .

Many people that I work with who took the jab have been sick a number of times with Covid. Why are they not being tested every week?

Does not make sense at all.

The shot does NOT work, and you have no science to prove it does.

There are 14 know pages of side effects for the shot. That is 13.5 pages more than any other shot aka vaccine that has ever been created.

But the government wants to treat everyone like they are lab rats and force them to take the shot. Even though it does not work.

Companies should not be able to force any perspective employee from earning the position because they refuse to take the shot.

Schools can not refuse to admit students because they were more educated than the higher ups.

Our countries priorities have fallen drastically.

What about you? Do you believe it is right for the government to mandate this? Why or why not? 

Monday, November 20, 2023

Rachel Fordham: The Letter Tree

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Mere words can’t end their families’ feud, but the Campbell heir and the Bradshaw heiress plan to write a future together.

Buffalo, NY, 1924

Laura Bradshaw adores stories with happily ever afters. But since her mother died seven years ago, the Bradshaw Shoe Company heiress has been as good as locked away in a tower. Her overbearing father cares little for her dreams, throwing himself instead into his tireless takedown of his competitor, the Campbell Shoe Company. However, Laura has been gifted with a reprieve: a mysterious friend with whom she’s been exchanging letters.

As heir to the Campbell Shoe Company, Isaac Campbell is a sought-after bachelor who has never felt an inkling of desire for the women who constantly bat their eyes at him. His thoughts are consumed by an oak tree in the Buffalo Zoo—or rather, the mystery woman he exchanges letters with courtesy of the tree. She’s been one of Isaac’s only joys in a life consumed by his father’s tireless hatred of Bradshaw. A hatred that, Isaac is coming to realize, may affect him more personally than he ever imagined.

When Laura’s father orchestrates a match between her and an important business owner, she resolves to pursue her only chance at freedom. But Isaac believes their story isn’t bound for a tragic ending. He’s certain there’s more to the Bradshaw-Campbell feud than meets the eye. And he won’t stop digging until he uncovers the truth that might bridge the divide between him and the woman whose words have captured his heart.


My Thoughts:

The Letter Tree by Rachel Fordham begins at a tree in the Brooklyn Zoo. At first, the story seems a little intriguing with the concept of a blind person that Laura Bradshaw crafts letters to and sticks into the trunk of a tree. I love the idea of Laura missing her mother and clinging to her books, which remind her of her mother. My father taught me my love of reading, and he passed away eight years ago. There are some books that I look at, and they remind me of him. Laura was a nicely developed character with hurts and a deep longing for love, animals, and her happy-ever-after. Isaac, on the other hand, is a man who, at the beginning of the story, really did not have any goals and dreams. As the story progresses, he changes and matures. The plot flowed well. I enjoyed the twist to the Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet type story. Now don’t think this is a Romeo and Juliet story because it is not. Just some similar ideas in the plot. The writing is fantastic and kept my attention throughout the entire story. Overall, The Letter Tree by Rachel Fordham may start to read like a familiar story, but it moves delightfully through the imagination, capturing those moments of innocent love while trying to seek justice at the same time.

I received a complimentary copy of The Letter Tree by Rachel Fordham from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Letter Tree

Friday, November 17, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

 By Kelly Bridgewater


As we come to the close of another year and move into a season of Thanksgiving, remind us to be thankful for what we have.

A roof over our head, food in our belly, and the grace of your love.

Allow us to share what you have provided to us with others who might not have as much. Be thankful for what we do possess.

Learn to love and keep on loving others around us.

Shelter the poor. Keep them fed. Feed them physically and spiritually.


Enjoy your time with your family.

Happy Thanksgiving!