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Friday, December 30, 2016

EXCITING NEWS . . .



By Kelly Bridgewater

Hello . . .

Anyone out there . . .

I have some really exciting news that I want to share . . . but I'm not sure if anyone actually reads my reviews and writing advice.

Currently, I share my book reviews every Tuesday and give some Writerly or some type of Advice that I have felt God lays on my heart every Friday. I rarely get anyone to comment on my blog posts. 
I do have about 100 plus people look at my blog every time I post something, but rarely do any of you ever comment on my posts. Even though I do leave open ended questions on the end of 99 percent of my posts. 

www.merrychristmaswishes2u.com


Are you one of them that stops by and reads the post, but don't leave anything?

Don't worry! I do it on some blog posts too.

I rarely comment unless there is a giveaway for something that I want to win!

I bet you're the same way.

I understand. Trust me, I truly do.

SO . . .

I have decided to do something new for the new year.

I want more interaction on my blog. I need to make this platform work better for me. I know I don't have a book published . . .yet. Still working on that. It has been really hard for me to work on my personal writing in the past year with the passing of my Daddy. I pray that I have the desire to write again soon. I'll never reach my goal of being a published writer if I don't sit down and actually write.

Well . . .  here is the good news.

I HAVE DECIDED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH:

Book Reviews on MONDAY with an open ended question. More reviews on Wednesday to fill in when I can't get an author to do an interview.

An interview, and hopefully, a giveaway once a month or more ON WEDNESDAYS with the author of the book that I reviewed on Monday.

On FRIDAY, I will lay my heart on the line with some form of encouragement, either from the Bible, some writerly advice, or anything else that I feel needs to be written. Since I want to connect with more readers and writers here, I hope this honesty captures more people's attention.

In addition, on the LAST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH, I will give an update on my personal writing and research for my World War II thriller, so I will have some form of accountability to YOU. Yes, you. I hope you will keep me in check on my personal writing. Or it will never get done.
Plus, this last Friday of the month, I will have a GIVEAWAY of one book or a number of books. Depends on how many I have acquired that I would like to unload.

Also, I am starting a Facebook page for Where Faith and Books Meet. I will be sharing my posts every time I post them. This is another way that you guys can interact with me and my writing. I will also do random GIVEAWAYS on there, so you can win even more stuff that has to do with my writing or books in general that is totally separate from the giveaways on this blog. I will work on this upcoming week getting that started. As soon as it is ready, I will announce it here with a GIVEAWAY. So be listening! Thanks!

countrysoldier.org


Are you ready to take this journey with me? This won't work if I don't have more participation on your end. Then I am just white noise in the world of tons of writing blogs out there.

Leave a comment to show that you are on board to help me out! Please sign up at the top by sharing your email address. That way you don't miss out on a single post that I share.

There will be a GIVEAWAY for everyone who leaves both a comment on this blog post and signs up with their email address. But you have to do BOTH to be entered. I have some nice prizes to start this new jump into the new format of my blog. (All of my giveaways are open to U.S. Residents only! I love for you to comment if you are from another country, but the cost to ship a book to you is extremely HIGH for this one income family. )

Again, are you ready to take this journey with me?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Samuel Parker: Purgatory Road



By Kelly Bridgewater

When a day trip out of Las Vegas with his wife takes a turn for the worse, Jack is sure that he has the ability to get them home. But he drove into something far beyond reason.

Rescue comes in the form of a desert hermit, but hope fades as the couple comes to realize that the nomad has no intention of letting them leave. A chance encounter with a kidnapped runaway and her crazed abductor leads them all farther into the wilderness--and closer to the cold brutality that isolation brings.

At the edge of his sanity, Jack begins to learn that playing by another's rules may be the only way to survive.

From Amazon


My Thoughts:

I love a good suspense or mystery that takes me away for a couple of hours. When I first read the synopsis for debut author Samuel Parker's book Purgatory Road, I really couldn't wait to read the book. When reading a mystery, I liked the suspense to be high with me wanting to flip the pages because I can't wait to see what happens next. I want to yearn for the victims to come out unharmed on the other end. But, unfortunately, with Parker's book, I didn't feel this way.

While his writing is okay, I did have a hard time with the suspense element of the novel. It was the most disturbing part of the story. First, when Jack and his wife wander in the desert, they get stranded and have to wait until almost death to be rescued. Then the story just stalled for a long time. They were stuck at this elder man's trailer with nowhere to go. Why they didn't leave when they got better is beyond me? Yes, I know they were in the middle of the desert, but they didn't even attempt to leave at all. On the other hand, the suspense element with Colten felt a little odd. It seemed more for shock value than anything else. I believe, and I could be wrong, that Parker wanted to Colten to seem horrible, so he made him taunt Molly, not allowing me to see what was really going on. It just read like a slow-moving, yet moments of horror stuck in gross out the reader. I really didn't like it.

The story moved at a slow pace, and only sped up when Parker was coming to the end of the novel. As for the characters of Jack and Laura, they were one-dimensional with really no personality at all. Their marriage even seemed fake to me. Why would Laura put up with a man like Jake? He only became a hero at the climactic moment. Not before. There really was no romance between Jake and Laura. They really showed no affection to each other or had secret meetings on how they were going to escape, except that one time, and it failed.

With the unpredictable ending and original storyline, I really didn't enjoy this book. Because of the violent nature of some of the scenes, I would not recommend giving Purgatory Road to younger readers. As a fan of suspense novels, I would not recommend this book to others. Pass on this one and spend your time with something more gripping. These are my opinions and other have a right to completely disagree with me.

I received a complimentary copy of Purgatory Road from Revell Publishing and the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

What makes you give a book a bad review? Would you sample something else by that author? Why or Why not?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Gifts for Life

By Kelly Bridgewater
When I think of Christmas memories, they have changed recently. As a mother, Christmas has taken on a different meaning for me.

After a month plus of shopping, baking, decorating, and cleaning, Christmas morning has finally arrived. The alarm did not wake up the parents, instead the thundering beat of footsteps as they hurry down the stairs did. Then the silent and dark early morning hours rip open with squeals of delight. Lying in bed, I rolled over and nudged my husband.

“The kids are awake. It’s time to join them.” 

www.lakewoodbaptistsbc.com


My husband grunts, pulling up the blanket over his head. The red numbers of 3:55 shined like a siren across the bed. It was really too early, but I knew that if we did not join the children, we would miss the most important morning of the year. Excitement coursed through my veins. I had been waiting for Christmas to arrive too but for different reasons than my boys.

After wrapping my robe around myself, I stomped downstairs where the children had already dumped their Christmas supplies of candy, toothbrush, and toothpaste from their individually hand cross-stitched stockings, which I made when I carried each boy, preparing for their arrival. The floor littered with evidence of Hershey Kisses and Reese’s Cups, as the boys leaned over, comparing their stashes with each other.

I turned on the coffee pot and poured two mugs after the pot brimmed with ebony liquid. I crept into the living room, turned on the Christmas lights, and double-checked the camera battery, blinking green across the room, which would capture the shredding of the wrapped and decorated presents spilling out from the under the tree.

This was it! This was what the children were waiting for all December. Wanting to know what they received for Christmas.

One by one, the boys broke into their packages, wrapping paper flying through the air as each child is overcome with delight at the equally thought out presents are revealed.

The oldest boy enjoys building from Legos and Kinex’s, so I picked out Lego Ninjago kits and Kinex treasure chests teeming with straight and curved pieces to advance his building creativity.

The middle boy benefits from anything musical, so we purchased him a drum set because he’s been hinting at wanting to learn a musical instrument, which happened to be a drum. There goes the quiet in the house.

The youngest boy steals my smartphone whenever he can and beats Angry Birds all the time. Being fascinated with the latest electronics, we purchased a Nabi tablet to advance his learning skills while playing games to advance his reading and math skills. 


www.inspiringinterns.com


As the next couple of days go by, I spied on the oldest, as he built a lawn mower that actually moved with a flick of a lever. The middle child banged away at the drums, drowning out the quiet in the house. The youngest sits for hours, playing with his tablet, learning with laughter ringing through the air. “I won, Mom.” He says, as he rushes over to show me his latest high score.

My heart jumps with excitement as I observe my children using their gifts for the intended purpose, improving their creative and learning abilities.

This year as I examined my children, it gave me a thought about our spirititual gifts. Our pastor, Ric May, just completed a three-week lesson on “The Calling.” He posed the question to our congregation, “are we doing what God has called us to do or are we allowing our gift to collect dust?’

Does God feel like me when I spend a whole month scrutinizing my boys for the perfect gift to bring out the most joy and their natural God-given talents? He has endowed every person with a gift to bring him glory, but how many of us walk around and ignore the gift that God wants us to use?

How would I feel as a mother if I spent the whole month of December hunting for the perfect present and the boys open the wrapped gift only to toss it in the closet, knowing it's there, but not actually doing anything with it? Maybe the boys do not want to break it. Maybe they do not want to be made fun of it if they bring the gift out into the opening for others to notice.

When God created each of us, he bestowed a gift on everyone to bring Him glory. Whether it is writing, teaching, serving, worshiping, helping, giving, or whatever God has given to you.

Even Paul knew how important the gift of God was to the church. He wrote in 1 Timothy 4:14, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you” and in 2 Timothy 1:6, he repeats, “Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you.” The urging from God provides us a deep satisfaction and longing as long as we use it to further God’s kingdom and do not hide the gift in the closet.

I imagine, like me, God smiles when we use His gift that He knew would be perfect for us and has planned to further His kingdom.



This post first appeared on "Thinking Thoughts" at eahendryx.blogspot.com on December 22, 2013 where I was a guest on Emilie Hendryx's blog. But I liked the message, so I borrowed my words again for this Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Patricia Bradley: Justice Delayed

By Kelly Bridgewater



It's been eighteen years since TV crime reporter Andi Hollister's sister was murdered. The confessed killer is behind bars, and the execution date is looming. But when a letter surfaces stating that the condemned killer didn't actually do it, Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis Cold Case Unit will stop at nothing to help Andi get to the bottom of it. After all, this case is personal: the person who confessed to the crime is Will's cousin. They have less than a week to find the real killer before the wrong person is executed. But much can be accomplished in that week--including uncovering police corruption, running for your life, and falling in love.

From Amazon

My Review:

Besides Robin Jones Gunn's Christy Miller series, romantic suspense was my introduction to Christian fiction. Thanks to Dee Henderson's O'Malley series. Before then, I devoured every single Nancy Drew novel and looked forward to reading mysteries and solving the crime before the author draws her characters to the conclusion. So of course, when Bradley threw her hat into the Romantic Suspense genre with her Logan Point series, I couldn't wait to read them. Stories with cold case are incredible because of the police officers chance to serve justice after a long time. With Bradley's new Memphis Cold Case series, I became introduced to new characters, saw justice served, and met some interesting characters.

The writing was concise and clear. Bradley did not head hop or switch point of views. She did a good job at creating a setting that I have only driven through. I had no problem visualizing the surroundings as the characters moved around. The research Bradley had to do to make Will and Brad as officers for a cold case unit seemed realistic to me. I had no doubts that Will and Brad were doing exactly what they should be doing as officers.

In a romantic suspense, the romance is just as important as the suspense. But in Justice Delayed, Bradley allowed romance between Andi and Will, but it didn't overwhelm the story. It was more just internal feelings between two people who grew up together, even though Will was Andi's older brother's best friend. As for the suspense, it was an original story that I haven't seen done before, and I really enjoyed how Bradley incorporated the diamond smuggling. It was an unique and timely suspense element. I was glued to the fast pace of the novel.

I really liked spending time with Andi. I enjoyed her love and honor of her dead sister, Stephanie. She still had a torch for her older sister, even though there were many years in between them. Bradley gave Andi a flaw with her pain pills, and I really believed this is becoming a sad reality in our culture today, so Bradley brought it to life in Andi. While I enjoyed Andi's character, I really didn't see anything remarkable about Will. He is an officer who still works with his best friend and has a crush on his best friend's little sister. I wished he was someone that I liked more, but I don't.

Justice Delayed had an ending that I saw coming pretty early. I figured out who the bad guy was. Not that it ruined the story, I stayed with the story, wanting to prove that I was right, which makes for a good mystery in my humble opinion.

I recommend this book for fans of Bradley, Lynette Eason, Colleen Coble, Irene Hannon, and other fans of Romantic Suspense fans. There really is nothing that only mature audiences can read. Fans of a good mystery would enjoy this novel.

In conclusion, Patricia Bradley's introduction to her Memphis Cold Case series Justice Delayed is a fast-paced story with a heroine worth rooting for and a hero that missed the mark for me. I really enjoyed seeing the Justice served by the end of the novel. I can't wait to see whose story she will write next.

I received a complimentary copy of Justice Delayed from Revell Publishing, and the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

When you read a genre that you are vastly familiar with, do you expect the author to keep the formula intact?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Writing Books that Encourage Me

By Kelly Bridgewater

From February until November in 2016, I took a writing book and showed how the book has improved my writing. If you missed any of the actual post, click on the name of the book, and it will link you right back to that page.



James’ is a huge supporter of writing without an outline or a plan. Too many writers create a story with an outline, and they don’t allow the story to take them where it needs to go. They are controlled by the outline that they made before they started writing.

       2.) On Writing by Stephen King

The first half of the book is an autobiography of Stephen King’s life or his CV as he fondly calls it. It includes how he started writing and showed the many times he wanted to even quit, but he kept at it. Secondly, the second half of the book talks about his writing advice.



As a budding writer, I have a hard time understanding how a scene goes together. Why internal dialogue? Why do you need to know the other character’s facial and body expressions to understand the story? When reading, I understand it completely. But as the writer, I have a hard time including that in my writing. I create the emotions from the main character’s perspective for each scene, but the Stimulus-Internalization-Response sequence confuses me. I have a really hard time with Deep POV too. I have read and studied Jill Elizabeth Nelson’s book on the subject. But once I sit down to include it in my writing, it doesn’t happen.



Swain also talks about a number of different areas that writers need help on. There is the “Beginning, Middle, and End”, “The People in Your Story”, and “Preparation, Planning, and Production.” Luckily, you don’t have to read Swain’s book straight from front to back. You can pick and choose what you want to read. If you don’t really want to sit down in a comfy chair and read for hours, you can pick up the book and read a chapter once a week or whatever makes you comfortable. It took me about a month to finish the book. Not that it wasn’t interesting, but I needed to read and digest what I had read to see how I could use it in my next book.



It is a great resource for any suspense writer who wants to make their stories ring true without having to actually go to an actual crime scene and figure out the answers to our questions. I don’t know about you, but approaching an EMT, firefighter, or police officer isn’t something I have done, but I really want people to believe what I have to write.

www.startuppremarketable.com


Plot and Structure uses tons of examples from many different contemporary pieces to draw the writer in. Bell will explain an idea to you like using Raw Emotion to start the novel, but then he will show you an example of raw emotion from The Quiet Game by Greg Iles. Even though I haven’t read the book or even heard of the author, it doesn’t stop me from understanding Bell’s example.



From the first page in the first paragraph, Stein grips my attention. He says, “This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions—how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place” (3). His book does exactly that. It teaches how to make the basic writer better and keep teaching those who have been published or who have been reading book after book for a while on how to be a better writer. The book doesn’t discriminate. There is something for everyone.



Writing for the Soul is a quick read that you could sit down and read straight through for a couple of hours. It really doesn’t throw anything at you that would require you to do exercises upon exercises. It grips your attention and comforts you. At the end of each chapter, there is a Q and A section where Jenkins answers questions.


The Killgallons take simple grammatical words like appositives, gerunds, infinitive, and noun clauses and shows how to expand the sentences using these grammatical devices. She starts each section defining what each term means with at least three different examples from classic literature. Then the review section is usually pretty big. First, you will exchange sentences by switching up the infinitive or gerund with something closely grammatically related. Then you will practice expanding by adding an infinitive phrase or gerund phrase to the bold face section. There is matching. Multiple choices. More practice.

             
Warren helps you with everything from writing the synopsis to defining the Dark             Moment in your character’s past. She explains it in an easy to understand format so that I    think she is sitting right next to me offering me advice to, hopefully, someday give me a    complete book that is ready for publication.
    

I really hoped you enjoy taking this journey with me. I truly enjoyed finding books that improve my writing. Is there any other books that you would add to this list? I'm always looking for other writing books to improve my craft. Thank you! God bless!