Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Lisa Phillips: Expired Return

By Kelly Bridgewater


Welcome to the Blog Tour for Expired Return by Lisa Phillips, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book


Title: Expired Return

Series: Last Chance Fire and Rescue #1

Author: Lisa Phillips

Publisher: Sunrise Publishing

Release Date: January 31, 2023

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

She’ll give everything to protect her family.

He always knew she was the one.

Veterinary tech Pepper Miller lives a quiet life in Last Chance County. She’s watching her niece until her sister shows up…if she ever does. When Victory’s father demands he take over her care, Pepper knows something has gone wrong. With a new drug in town, and her sister embroiled in a dangerous bargain, it’s up to Pepper to protect the people she loves.

Even if it costs every secret she’s ever kept.

Fire Department liaison Allen Frees lives with the injuries he sustained as a police officer in a raid gone wrong. He’s put his life back together but getting the truck crew and engine squad to succeed might be his toughest assignment yet. When Victory is nearly kidnapped at a community event, Allen steps in to help Pepper keep her niece safe. The one thing he couldn’t fix was the love he lost, but he isn’t going to let Pepper walk away this time.

No matter what walls he has to break down.


 

My Thoughts:

Expired Return by Lisa Phillips is my third book that I have read by Phillips. She does have the high-tension element of a suspense novel. Plenty of description. Nicely handled. One of the things that I have found that have irritated me when I read Phillips’s stories is when the heroine comes onto the page in the first chapter, they have all been very negative characters. She walks into a room and image that everyone hates her. Why? Phillips does not tell us. Of course, as the story moves along, readers are told why she feels this way. Is it justified? Personally, no. I know there are actual people that feel this way. My mother is one of them. But I really do not want to read a story where the heroine is a Debbie-downer. As the plot moves along, the heroine does show their strengths and makes them more tolerable. As for the romance, in Expired Return, the heroine and hero have to overcome issues from their pasts and their past relationship. In order for that to happen, they have to learn to trust each other by building down their separate walls. Overall, Expired Return by Lisa Phillips is a little hard to dive into, but after getting past the initial shock of the heroine’s attitude, the story moves into a romantic suspense pattern. I believe fans of Colleen Coble, DiAnn Mills, and Irene Hannon would enjoy this type of story.

I received a complimentary copy of Expired Return by Lisa Phillips from Sunrise Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

More Books in this Series

Expired Hope Expired Promise Expired Vows

About the Author


Lisa Phillips is a USA Today and top ten Publishers Weekly bestselling author of over 50 books that span Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line, independently published series romantic suspense, and thriller novels. She’s discovered a penchant for high-stakes stories of mayhem and disaster where you can find made-for-each-other love that always ends in happily ever after.

Lisa is a British ex-pat who grew up an hour outside of London and attended Calvary Chapel Bible College, where she met her husband. He’s from California, but nobody’s perfect. It wasn’t until her Bible College graduation that she figured out she was a writer (someone told her). As a worship leader for Calvary Chapel churches in her local area, Lisa has discovered a love for mentoring new ministry members and youth worship musicians.

Discover the world of Last Chance Fire and Rescue at https://lastchancecounty.com/lc-fire

Find out more at www.authorlisaphillips.com

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Expired Return, a $10 Amazon gift card, and sticker swag from Last Chance County!

Expired Return JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight January 31, 2023 and will last through

11:59 PM EST on February 7, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given

48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway


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

JustRead Publicity Tours


Monday, January 30, 2023

Liz Tolsma: What I Would Tell You

By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book:What I Would Tell You

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance / Historical Fiction

Release date: January 1, 2023

DNA Test Unlocks a Family Mystery
 
Sephardic Jew Mathilda Nissim watches in horror as the Germans invade her beloved city of Salonika, Greece. What angers her most is the lack of resistance her people put up to their captors. In secret and at great risk to her life, she continues to publish her newspaper, calling her people to action. She doesn’t trust God to help them. When she and her husband find out they are expecting a child, Mathilda may have to resort to desperate measures to ensure her daughter’s survival.
 
Three generations later, college student Riley Payson and her cousin take a popular DNA test only to discover they don’t share any common ancestors. In fact, the test shows Riley is a Sephardic Jew from Greece. This revelation shakes Riley’s tenuous faith and sends her on a journey to discover what happened to her great-grandmother and how all this relates to her faith and her life today.

 


My Thoughts:

What I Would Tell You by Liz Tolsma features a dual time storyline. I love a good World War II novel that features a different element of the war. This time around the story in the past takes place in Greece, which I did not know Hitler's terror reached that far. It was nice to see the strong heroine, Mathilda as she worked really hard to resist and fight back against the German soldiers with her words. While she fought, it really does bring more harm than good. She does make the ultimate sacrifice in order to ensure the safety of her legacy. While the past heroine is brave, the present day heroine, Riley Payson, just wants to discover her heritage. Once she discovers this, it brings more questions to her mother. While the setting was told that it was in Greece, since I have read a number of World War II stories that take place all over Europe, this story could have taken place in any other place. Nothing unique about the setting jumped out to me. As for the plot, it was nicely handled as a dual time storyline, so as Riley is discovered the past as we read about the past. It was not really that original. I have seen this setting and story before. That was the only downfall I found to the novel. Overall, What I Would Tell You by Liz Tolsma is an interesting and well-written story that fans of World War II should read.

I received a complimentary copy of What I Would Tell You by Liz Tolsma through Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase What I Would Tell You 

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

 

More from Liz

Take a Trip to Greece with Me

I was privileged to travel to Greece last year to research my upcoming WWII novel, What I Would Tell You. God orchestrated it so beautifully. Because of Covid, we weren’t sure my daughter would be able to travel there for the summer internship she had applied for. Eight weeks before her scheduled departure, Greece reopened to foreign visitors. Around that same time, I sold What I Would Tell You, which is set in Thessaloniki, Greece, to Barbour Publishing. I had to go and visit! 

Greece is a beautiful country. The pictures you see don’t do it justice. And to someone like me, the history is one of the best parts. My daughter and I explored the old city wall, built in the 1400s, many churches that predated the Ottoman Empire, and many excavated Roman ruins that have been dug up in the city’s process of putting in a subway system. 

Because this is a WWII book, we also spent a great deal of time learning about the history of the Jews in the city. The Kapani Market, just down the street from our apartment, was a vibrant mix of colorful fruits, fragrant spices, and a cacophony of languages. I could well imagine what this old Jewish market was like prior to the war with people hawking olives, fish, and oregano. 

We wasted no time in visiting the Jewish museum. I was shocked by the heavy security presence with armed guards outside of the building. Once inside, we had to show our IDs and were required to turn in our phones. Antisemitism is alive and well in Greece. But what a place. There were displays after displays tracing the history of the Jewish people in Thessaloniki from 1492 until WWII. The most breathtaking was the room with stone-covered walls, the names of all 48,000 Salonikan Jews killed in the Holocaust carved into the marble. There’s an entire scene in the book that deals with this room. 

What saddened me most was what we saw when we visited the trainyard where the Jews were herded into cattle cars and shipped to Auschwitz. Before we got to where the station once stood, there was a wall on which someone had pained a mural covered with black-and-white figures in their striped uniforms, their eyes and mouths wide in horror. As if that weren’t difficult enough to view, what sickened me was the blue swastikas someone had painted over them. 

We also trekked to the other side of the city to visit what had once been the Jewish cemetery, now the grounds of Aristotle University. All that remains to testify that half a million people were once buried here is a small, ill-kept memorial. There were two dead Christmas wreaths placed there. We visited in August.

In addition to a moving and thought-provoking story, I hope to also introduce you to the amazing city of Thessaloniki and give you a peek into the people and the culture of this amazing place. If you ever find yourself in Greece, plan some time in Thessaloniki. Many Americans miss this gem, but it’s packed with charm and history.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 29

Blogging With Carol, January 29

Genesis 5020, January 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 30

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 31

For Him and My Family, January 31

Cover Lover Book Review, February 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, February 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 2

deb’s Book Review, February 2

Betti Mace, February 3

Connie’s History Classroom, February 3

Paula’s Pad of Inspriation, February 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 5

Books You Can Feel Good About, February 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 6

Holly’s Book Corner, February 6

Bigreadersite, February 7

Blossoms and Blessings, February 7

Mary Hake, February 7

Labor Not in Vain, February 8

Pause for Tales, February 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, February 9

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 10

Southern Gal Loves to Read, February 10

Lights in a Dark World, February 10

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and 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/23ccb/what-i-would-tell-you-celebration-tour-giveaway

Friday, January 27, 2023

I Peter 5 : 8 - 9 : Verse for 2023

 By Kelly Bridgewater

1 Peter 5: 8 - 9: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."

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For 2023, I have chosen I Peter 5: 8 - 9 as my verse to lead this year since the devil is trying so hard to destroy American values. Particularly Christian values. 

Pride Month. 

Transgender studies. 

Allows kids as young as fiver years old to have gender reassignment surgery. 

Traditional Marriage is being attacked. 

Christian values are being attacked. 

I read the Left Behind Series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins in high school, and I never thought many of the things, mostly the sinful nature, of the world would come to reality in my life, but unfortunately it has. 

I feel bad for my boys. 

My middle son is a senior in high school, and he claims it is hard to find a girlfriend because so many of them think they are guys or a transgender. How sad! Where are the parents that are allowing their children to think this is okay. 

I need to keep my boys on the right track. 

We are in a battle. A spiritual battle for the souls of humanity. 

I need to spend more time in the Bible. 

I need to invest in time with the Bible as a family. 

We need to remember that the devil hates us and is working extremely hard to ruin America and anything that stands for God. We have to work extra hard to stand against him. 

Even death, if God calls for it. 

What about you? Do you feel the spiritual battle that we are under? What are you doing to prepare for the battle? 

Bible verse comes from the Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible New King James Version. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Roseanna M. White: Yesterday's Tides

By Kelly Bridgewater

In 1942, Evie Farrow is used to life on Ocracoke Island, where every day is the same--until the German U-boats haunting their waters begin to wreak havoc. And when special agent Sterling Bertrand is washed ashore at Evie's inn, her life is turned upside down. While Sterling's injuries keep him inn-bound for weeks, making him even more anxious about the man he's tracking, he becomes increasingly intrigued by Evie, who seems to be hiding secrets of her own.

Decades earlier, in 1914, Englishman Remington Culbreth arrives at the Ocracoke Inn for the summer, but he doesn't count on falling in love with Louisa Adair, the innkeeper's daughter. When war breaks out in Europe, and their relationship is put in jeopardy, will their love survive?

As Evie and Sterling work to track down an elusive German agent, they unravel mysteries that go back a generation. The ripples from the Great War are still rocking their lives, and it seems yesterday's tides may sweep them all into danger again today.

Bestselling and award-winning author Roseanna M. White whisks you away to two periods fraught with peril in this sweeping and romantic dual-time tale.

 


My Thoughts:

Yesterday’s Tides by Roseanna M. White was a hard story for me to follow. First, it features two different timelines: 1914 and 1941. Usually, I have no problem following these types of stories because I can follow with each individual characters and their different settings and interactions. But in White’s stories, both of the heroines and heroes did not stick out any differently to me. They were bland and boring. One of the glaring issues I had with the writing was that White would have a character look over the water, then the story went on with the thoughts of the characters for about a half a page. Descriptions of the characters took a long time and always had to relate to something. Way too much exposition in the story. Sometimes I would have to go back and see where the last important through, action, or movement was to see where the story was headed. As I kept reading, I wanted more of the “tracking down [of the] elusive German agent” that was mentioned in the synopsis. The German U-boats were an interesting concept. Something I definitely wanted to read more of, but the story does not really deliver this idea. Overall, Yesterday’s Tides by Roseanna M. White did not capture my attention. Way too much description for my taste. I needed more showing and action to the plot with characters that I could care about.

I received a complimentary copy of Yesterday’s Tides by Roseanna M. White from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  2 out of 5 stars

Purchase Yesterday’s Tides

Friday, January 20, 2023

Steadfast: Word for 2023

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Every year in December, I pray for the verse for the next year to guide me and also have another verse to add to my memory. 

This year, I have felt that my Christian Values are being attacked more than I have ever seen in my lifetime. 

I thought Strong because I need to help my boys, husband, and me to be strong as we face these obstacles. 

None of the verses with the word strong really stood out to me. 

What about warrior?

Not a lot of verses in the Bible with that word. Only 3 to be exact. 

I thought of the Armor of God in Ephesians 6 : 10 - 19. Yes, I need those things, but not to guide my thinking for the year. 

Then it hit me. 

STEADFAST. 

https://www.gracebc.org/sermons/steadfast-faith/


I need to be steadfast. 

Praying constantly. 

Spending more time in the Bible. 

Spending more time investing in a community of believers that feel the urgency like I do. 

America is falling to the devil's lies and schemes. 

We need to stand Steadfast and keep on faith in God on fire. 

What about you? Do you agree? 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Christina Suzann Nelson: What Happens Next

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Popular podcaster and ex-reporter Faith Byrne has made a name for herself telling stories of greatness after tragedy--but her real life does not mirror the stories she tells. While her daughters spend the summer in Hawaii with her ex-husband and his new wife, she must manage life on her own. But all that changes when she's asked to spotlight her childhood best friend's missing person case on her podcast.

Dora Crane has never accepted that her younger daughter could be dead, keeping her home looking the same as when her daughter disappeared. But when her husband leaves her, and her older daughter intervenes, she agrees to counseling and to pack up her missing daughter's belongings under one condition: Faith Byrne comes to Deep Valley and sheds light on the cold case.

As the investigation moves forward, the two women uncover desperate secrets, and Faith and Dora must face the long-hidden truth before they can begin to move forward.

Award-winning author Christina Suzann Nelson masterfully leads readers on a journey of discovery, healing, and friendship in this suspenseful and poignant tale.


 

My Thoughts:

What Happens Next by Christina Suzann Nelson is a Contemporary Women's fiction novel. I really do not read a lot in this said genre. Yes, the story will have truths for the readers to learn and grasp onto, but it really is not for me. The suspense element of the missing Heather from many years ago is what grabbed my attention. I grew up in the eighties and nineties. I loved my childhood. Many found memories playing with my best friend, Robin, and the neigborhood kids. Many hours spent outside. No electronics. Imagination was our friend and sometimes it got us into trouble. I feel bad for this generation because they do not do those things. The plot is told from three different perspectives. First, Faith, the friend for the missing girl from 1987 and the podcoster, Dora, the mother of Heather, and Heather, the missing girl. In the plot, readers will be interested in the movement forward and the healing process of Dora and her family. I could not wait to see what actually happen to Heather. Of course, this happens in the last ten percent of the novel, so readers will have to hang on for quite a while to see the climactic moment. The story is about justice and learning to forgive and move on. Overall, What Happens Next by Christina Suzann Nelson was not a bad story. It was told nicely and the characters were hurting because of the lost in their lives.

I received a complimentary copy of What Happens Next by Christina Suzann Nelson from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase: What Happens Next

About the Author:


Christina Suzann Nelson in an inspirational speaker and the award-winning author. Her first novel, If We Make It Home, was honored as one of Library Journal’s top five inspirational novels of 2017.

In 2017, Christina was named the OCW Cascade’s Writer of Promise and received a Cascade award for her novel, Swimming in the Deep End.

Her stories have been published in the Cup of Comfort for a Better World, Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families, as well as other publications.

Christina is over the top about her passions, including the stories created somewhere in the twists and turns of her less-than-focused brain. When she’s not writing, Christina serves on the board of the non-profit, Every Child Linn-Benton, where she has the opportunity to influence the lives of families and children in the foster care system.

On a typical day, she chases escaped farm animals, reads, hikes with her dog, and enjoys her husband and six kids.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Elizabeth Camden: Hearts of Steel

 By Kelly Bridgewater

His steel empire has catapulted him to the top of the world but loving her could cost him everything.

Maggie Molinaro survived a hardscrabble childhood in the downtrodden streets of Manhattan to become a successful businesswoman. After a decade of sacrifice, she now owns a celebrated ice cream company. But when she offends a corrupt banker, she unwittingly sets off a series of calamities that threaten to destroy her life's work.

Liam Blackstone is a charismatic steel magnate committed to overhauling factory conditions for the steelworkers of America. Standing in his way is the same villain determined to ruin Maggie. What begins as a practical alliance to defeat a common enemy soon evolves into a romance between two wounded people determined to beat the odds.

A spiraling circle of treachery grows increasingly dangerous as Liam and Maggie risk their lives and fortunes for the good of the city. It will require all their wit and ingenuity to protect everything--and everyone--they hold dear.


 

My Thoughts:

Hearts of Steel by Elizabeth Camden was a satisfying ending to this series. I loved the hero of Liam. He has been an active character in the whole series. From the first book, he has been screaming to do the right thing and learn to achieve what his father, Theodore Blackstone, wanted for his family. He works hard and is not afraid to stand up for the backbone of America’s workers. In his story, readers are allowed to see Liam up close and personal. He has a heart of gold, a temper, and know that money is not what makes people happy. Then enters this story. Maggie, the heroine. She owns the Molinaro Ice Cream and promises to never be poor again. She is headstrong, vibrant, and willing to push back. I enjoyed her spunk and head-strongness. I related with her on a personal level because I am not afraid to stand up for what is right. I should have been a lawyer; people tell me all the time. The plot vibrates with the wrongdoing of one corporate man who is out to ruin everyone who he can. I love how Maggie and Liam are not afraid of him and strike back against him. The setting jumps off the pages of the story. Sometimes I was so immersed in Camden’s story that I forgot I was reading a story. It played perfectly well across my imagination. Another great book by Camden. I anxiously can’t wait to see what she writes next. Definitely one of my favorite writers.

I received a complimentary copy of Hearts of Steel by Elizabeth Camden from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Hearts of Steel