Monday, January 30, 2017

Susan May Warren: Rescue Me

By Kelly Bridgewater

When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him--not just on the job as liaison between the Mercy Falls sheriff's department and PEAK Rescue, but in his private life. He's the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father's accidental death. And he's the one--perhaps the only one--who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she's nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on--namely, nabbing the job as youth pastor for her small-town church. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.

From Amazon

My Review:

Susan May Warren is my go-to writer for every genre. She has written historicals, cozy mysteries, romantic suspense, and contemporary romances. While I have enjoyed all her books, her first book in the Montana Rescue series, Wild Montana Skies, was not my favorite book by her, but I have given Warren another chance with the release of her second book, Rescue Me. With a daring rescue through the mountains and romance sparking all over the pages, I was drawn into the characters' lives.

Like always, Warren does a good job with her clear and concise writing. She does a great job at creating a setting that I have no problem visualizing as I'm reading. Warren does not head hop. Usually there is a page break or beginning of a new chapter to signal a point of view shift, which is especially important in this book because Warren has told the story from four different point of views.

The four point of views are Willow, Sam, Peter, and Jess. Willow is a brave woman who truly loves and lives for the Lord, but she has flaws, so she sees herself as imperfect and unfit for anyone. Whereas, Willow truly has a great grasp on the love of God in her life, Sam has a hard time believing God actually loves him after allowing his father to die. Sam is stuck in a relationship with Willow's sister, Sierra and has conflicting emotions toward Willow. Peter and Jess have issues that need to be resolve, maybe they'll get their own story later. As for now, I wanted to know what happened in New York for Jess, but Warren kept me guessing. Must return for another book, I hope.

While the story centered around finding Willow and the youth group that she takes up into the mountains, again, the plot does move at a nice pace, keeping me glued to the story. But . . . the downside to the story is the romance. It takes over the whole story. Every thought the characters have seems to be about whether this member of the opposite sex likes so and so. It was annoying. You're lost in forest with dropping temperatures and the threat of a huge snowstorm, so why are you worried about the feelings of another person? Yes, it can cross the characters mind now and then, but not every second there in this person's presence.

Willow shares the theme of the novel by stating, "we're supposed to be overwhelmed because if we can save ourselves, then why do we need God (243)?" There is some truth to that, but I don't like to think that since I follow God, then I'm supposed to be drowning in trials and troubles all the time. Why follow God then? Yes, I see the need to struggle, so we can reach out of her dilemma's and reach for God, but not all the time.

Overall, Rescue Me was much better than Wild Montana Skies, but I struggled with the overwhelming romance. It appeared to be a high school romance with too much drama. I enjoy the setting and the plot. This predictable and unoriginal story reminded me a lot of Hawk by Ronie Kendig. Hero's trying to save children through a snow storm. Fans of Warren's other stories should definitely pick this book up.

I received a complimentary copy of Susan May Warren's Rescue Me from Revell Publishing and the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

What does it take for you to give an author a second chance?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tamera Alexander: A Note Yet Unsung

By Kelly Bridgewater

A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the maestro at the newly-formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are "far too fragile and frail" for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah's hopes are swiftly dashed because the conductor--determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music--bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah's new employer, agrees with him.

Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville's new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse--and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head--he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city's new opera hall. But far more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music--his father, who is dying. As Tate's ailment worsens, he believes Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman's trust when you've robbed her of her dream?
From Amazon

My Review:

Wow! Do you have at least one day completely free that you can sit down and spend reading a book? Well, I did. Of course, it is Christmas time, and my boys are free from school, so I allowed them to play while I sat in the living room and devoured Tamera Alexander's A Note Yet Unsung. This is a really long book, but it is really well-written. With a historical novel, I enjoy learning certain things about the past that bring the characters and the setting to life. Alexander does a good job at this.

While I don't usually read books that take place in the nineteenth century because they don't have any appeal to me, but many friends have recommended Alexander's books, so I took a chance and checked out the first book in the Belmont Mansion series, A Lasting Impression and enjoyed it. I couldn't wait to read A Note Yet Unsung. The cover is beautiful, and I really wanted to read more of the story from the synopsis.

I'm glad that I did. The pace of the story moves at a nice clip and kept my attention.  Alexander does a great job at bringing the setting to life that I felt like I was sitting in Nashville, TN for the entire day. The Belmont Mansion sparkled in my imagination alongside the characters in the novel. The romance between Rebekah and Tate grew slowing, which was great in my humble opinion. I loved how when Rebekah confronted Tate on where he grew up, she started to fall in love with this kind hearted man. I loved that. Made me smile for them.

As for the characters of Rebekah and Tate, I really enjoyed spending time with them. I liked how Rebekah was motivated to perform in the orchestra and worked her way closer to Tate to get the recommendation she needed to succeed. I admire her musical talent and her desire to do the lower work to achieve her dreams. As for Tate, I enjoyed that he wanted to better himself with his musical talent and worked himself practically to death to achieve his dreams. Both characters were admirable and definitely wonderful characters.

The plot with the music is original and definitely a look into another part of America's past. There isn't much mention of God, but I could see the work of God in both Rebekah and Tate's lives as they grew closer together.  I recommend A Note Yet Unsung to fans of historical fiction of any age group. Even young girls could read this book and enjoy it.

I received a complimentary copy of Tamera Alexander's A Note Yet Unsung from Bethany House, and the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Have you ever read an author because of friends or reviews written? If so, who? If not, why not? 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Julianna Deering: Murder on the Moor

By Kelly Bridgewater

At the urgent request of an old school friend, Drew and Madeline Farthering come to Bloodworth Park Lodge in the midst of the Yorkshire moors, a place as moody and mysterious as a Brontë hero. There have been several worrisome incidents out on the moor--property destroyed, fires started, sheep and cattle scattered--and worst of all, the vicar has been found dead on the steps of the church.

Drew's friend is obviously smitten with his bride of eight months, though it's hard to imagine what she sees in the awkward man. Drew can't help wondering if her affections lie more with the man's money and estate, while her romantic interests focus on their fiery Welsh gamekeeper. As the danger grows ever closer, it's up to Drew to look past his own prejudices, determine what is really going on, and find the killer before it's too late.

From Amazon

My Review:

What is better than spending a couple of hours sitting reading a mystery? What about a novel written by the famous Arthur Conan Doyle or a novel that reads like a Doyle novel? I like nothing better than to spend my time lost in a good mystery.  I love the plot where the writer has me on the edge of my seat as I flip through the pages, begging for the next chapter not worrying about the time. Having repeating characters make me happy too. In Julianna Deering's fifth installment in her Drew Farthering Mysteries, I was excited to return o England and help Drew Farthering solve the latest crime.

The writing is concise and clear. I had no problem following Drew around the Bloodworth Park Lodge. Deering does a great job at inviting me into the massive home and allowing me to see the foggy moors and the elaborate home. I really enjoy how Deering invites me into Drew's train of thoughts and keeps me there for the complete novel. Like her previous installments, Deering writes the story in first point of view character, which can be hard for an author because he or she might want to write in the other character's perspective, but Deering keeps in Drew's perspective.

As for the characters and plot, I was glad to return to Drew and Madeline as they go about solving another mystery. This time around, Drew and Madeline are working on a number of murders while keeping their marriage spark alive. I liked seeing how well they fit together and work together. As for the plot, it reminded me a lot of Doyle's "The Hound of Baskervilles." I even figured out the dog prints arrived in the north wing. While the mystery does move along nicely, there were moments that I thought the plot moved along slowly and wished it would move faster.

While the story is not original, the villain was not someone I was expecting. Deering threw me for a loop. I didn't figure out the bad guy before the ending, which I usually do. I'm glad she got one past me. There really isn't anything too spiritual in the story. It is a good, clean mystery fit for fans of mysteries of any age. I highly recommend this series to fans of Deerings' other books or especially Rachel McMillan's Herrington and Watts Mysteries, which also is one of my favorite series.

True to the classic genre, Julianna Deering's Murder on the Moor pays homage to Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective, Sherlock Holmes with a hero who is likeable and a mystery with enough action to keep me glued to the page. Deering invites me to London with a story that is begging for the next installment.

I received a complimentary copy of Julianna Deering's Murder on the Moor from Bethany House Publishers, and the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I LOVE Historical Mysteries/ Suspense / Thrillers. Do you know of any more that I should try? Please list suggestions in the comments section so I can find some more. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Welcome to 2017 (Part I)

By Kelly Bridgewater

2017! Wow!

Every year in January for the first twenty-days of the year, our church does a fast. Not for fame or to have everyone pitting you because you can’t eat certain food, but to place our priorities in the right place as we begin this New Year. Our church follows the Daniel Fast. No red meat. No candy. No coffee. No caffeine. No dairy products. Just lots of fruits and veggies, grains, and fish.

For the twenty-one days, we read our Bibles and spend a lot of time in prayer, asking God for what he wants to accomplish in the New Year. It is hard when your stomach is growling, but you drink some juice and open the Bible. The first year our family participated, which was five years ago, it was really hard. I wanted to eat, but as I learned how to do this, my stomach still growls, but I feed it by eating some fruit and flipping open the Bible for some inspiration.
I designate certain days to pray for each of my boys: Elijah, Isaiah, and Obadiah. I pray for Michael and his leadership in our family. I pray for my church. I pray for our country. I pray for mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, mother-in-law, father-in-law, our neighbors.

Finally, I pray for God to guide my steps during the year. To be a better mother who treasures the moments with her children. To be a better wife who loves her husband like God loves the church. To improve my writing. I pray to be a better daughter of God who seeks after him with my whole heart. To spend more time in worshipping him. Worship isn’t just for church. I pray for a job that will meet our financial needs and my spiritual desire to write and create for God.

I set Bible reading goals to keep searching and discovering something new in the Bible every day. I know, personally, how hard it is to keep reading the same book day after day and skimming over the parts that I have read and heard my entire life. I ask God to give me the eyes of someone who has never heard that part of the Bible before. I want to hang on to something new and fresh from the Bible every day.

What do you do to set your heart in the right place at the beginning of the New Year? Have you ever fasted and given the New Year over to God to see what he wants to accomplish during 2017?

Come back next week, when I will discuss my writing goals for 2017. On February 3rd, I will show you my reading plan for 2017. Return and you’ll see how I read around 200 books a year.

******This exact blog appeared in January 2015, but my prayer and reading the Bible goals really don't change year to year, so I decided to use it again.**************
No comments:

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

*GIVEAWAY* Interview with Rachelle Dekker

By Kelly Bridgewater


Last Monday, on January 16, 2017, I have my review posted with my thoughts of Rachelle Dekker's final installment of her A Seer Novel series The Returning. Feel free to read my thoughts and then come back to this interview with Rachelle.

Rachelle Dekker
From Amazon
Author's Bio:

The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She writes full time from her home in Nashville, where she lives with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair.

Let's get this interview started!

   1. Set the scene for The Returning. What has happened since The Calling  ended?
Well,it’s been nearly 20 years, and the world has changed. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read the first two, so I’ll just say the world is very different and much more dangerous than it once was. But something is brewing under the surface. Change is coming, and people know it.
    2. What themes are explored in this book?
Identity is something I am always exploring, so that’s no different in The Returning. But in this novel I took a really hard look at forgiveness and how that relates to our journey of discovering who we really are.
     3. How have Carrington and Remko developed as characters throughout this series?
Well, we meet them as young adults, just out of their teen years, and we find them middle-aged in book three. So we’ve journeyed quite a bit of life with them. They have grown and changed, as people do, and even in this last novel they struggle with remembering their true identities. I believe life is always stretching us and showing us different ways to love, so their growth reflects that.
    4.The Returning focuses on Carrington and Remko’s daughter Elise. Tell us more about Elise’s character and her growth throughout the book.
Elise starts the book in a pretty dark place. She grew up without parents, believing she
was abandoned,only to discover there’s an entire world that has been kept from her. Her journey can be divided into two parts,in my opinion: first, learning who she really is; and second, learning how to live that out. It’s the same journey we all take, and I believe that makes her pretty relatable.
From Amazon
      5.You talk about the power of belief in the book. What is the purpose of faith,and what makes faith so powerful in people’s lives?
Belief and faith are everything. We form our own realities. We make judgments based on the past and what we think the future will bring; then we shape our idea of what we are capable of around those beliefs. Imagine if we truly believed we were infinite sons and daughters of the creator. How different would the world look then? When we believe and have faith in who the Father calls us, then the world looks pretty different.
    6. Aaron is a somewhat mysterious character throughout the series. What is he supposed to represent and what kind of spiritual leader is he?
I like to leave this one open, which I know isn’t really the answer you want. I want the reader to decide who he is to them. For me he’s a guiding light, an angel maybe, a representation of the spirit who communicates with us and leads us. He can be many things—mostly, though, he’s a great way to hear truth.
      7. The theme of identity is explored in all three Seer books. How does forgiveness relate to identity?
For me, forgiveness is more about the one who feels wronged than the one who committed the wrong. What if, for a moment, you believed that nothing could harm you? That you, as a believer, are seated at the Father’s table and standing with him? Can anything harm the Father? If you believe no, then can anything harm you—the true you, the true spirited self? So then, forgiveness becomes more about letting go of false belief and stepping into the true identity that the Father gave to you. I know it’s radical, but belief like that could change the world, don’t you think?
     8. How do you hope this book will resonate with your readers?
I hope,as with both of the other books, that the reader sees themselves in the characters and that the storycauses them to look inward. To ask hard questions like, Who am I? What am I capable of? Do I see myself the way the Father does? Can I? I hope it
challenges their idea of identity and then gives them hope to see themselves and others more clearly. Because that is how these stories have impacted me, and we are really just the same.

I have a final copy of The Returning and an ARC copy of The Calling to one person. Feel out the Rafflecopter below AND leave a blog post comment to be entered. (This contest is open to U.S. residents only. Sorry!!) This contest runs from today until Tuesday, January 24th at midnight. Come back on Wednesday, January 25th when I will announce the winner. Good Luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway