Monday, July 31, 2017

Todd Johnson: Fatal Trust

By Kelly Bridgewater

Ian Wells is a young criminal defense attorney struggling to build a Minneapolis law practice he inherited from his father while caring for a mother with Alzheimer's. Nearly at the breaking point, everything changes for Ian when a new client offers a simple case: determine whether three men qualify for over nine million dollars of trust funds. To qualify, none can have been involved in criminal activity for the past twenty years. Ian's fee for a week's work: the unbelievable sum of two hundred thousand dollars.

Ian warily accepts the job--but is quickly dragged deep into a mystery linking the trust with a decades-old criminal enterprise and the greatest unsolved art theft in Minnesota history. As stolen money from the art theft surfaces, Ian finds himself the target of a criminal investigation by Brook Daniels, a prosecutor who is also his closest law school friend. He realizes too late that this simple investigation has spun out of control and now threatens his career, his future, and his life.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

I love a good suspense story which threatens the characters' well-being whether it is death or hunting for a clue to some mystery that they find themselves in. I have never read anything by Todd M. Johnson, but the synopsis for his newest release Fatal Trust sounded right up my alley, so I gave it a try.

From the first chapter, I had a hard time getting into the concept of the novel because Johnson introduced so many characters and plot lines that I was confused for the first couple of chapters, but then Johnson started to focus on one character, Ian, and the story started to flow a lot better. The story does hop around from a number of perspectives, but luckily, he does switch chapters every time he does.

The writing is clear. I had no problem visualizing the numerous settings or the characters as they roamed around this world. Johnson did a good job at creating a story that kept my attention.
The characters Johnson created were invested in the issue and wanted to solve the task set before them. Ian is a determined lawyer who wants to leave his father's shadow and make a name for himself. This new case for me might just be the thing. Unfortunately, the case has twists and turn to make a good suspense that kept me on my toes. Ian doesn't change throughout the novel. He works on solving the case and loves his mother. At the end, he is the same character, maybe a little wiser with his experience, but nothing else.

The plot is completely different than anything I have ever seen with a suspense novel, which I enjoyed immensely. Johnson knew how to keep his characters guessing as much as the audience. The novel kept moving at a fast pace, and I finished it in one day. I did have a problem with the ending. The story had the fill of something huge coming at the end. Johnson led me there and started to show something big, but then he dropped it and had the characters at a hospital and summed up the conclusion. A little disappointing for me.

Overall, Fatal Trust by Todd M. Johnson starts and finishes not to my taste, but the middle was well-written and held onto my attention. Don't ignore the novel. It is completely different and worth your time if you like mellow suspense novels.

I received a complimentary copy of Fatal Trust by Todd M. Johnson from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, July 24, 2017

Roseanna M. White: A Name Unknown

By Kelly Bridgewater

Edwardian Romance and History Gains a Twist of Suspense

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family's history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family's German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors' scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he's more than his name?

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Roseanna M. White weaves together a tale with a thief and a novelist who wants to keep his families good name. Novels that are set in London capture my attention right away. The time period is also an important part of world history. The synopsis for this novel sounded very interesting, and I couldn't wait to dive in. While the majority of the novels was well-written, I had some issues with the plot.

The writing was clear and concise. As for the descriptive language making the setting, I had no problem visualizing the messy library with stacks and stacks of books and papers piled everywhere. White does a good job at allowing me to see the house and the property and getting lost in the chaos. 

As for the time period, the novel says it is written during World War I, but to me, it felt like a Regency era novel. Peter only owned a carriage and still lived on an estate in the outskirts of town. It didn't feel much like the World War I novels that I have read. This might be why the novel didn't feel right to me.

The plot is unique and different. I enjoy watching a thief try to figure out she was going to complete her job as she fell in love with her employer. The plot moved pretty normal for a historical romance. There is romance and the building of characters while the plot progresses to its climactic moment, which is usually the show down in the last ten percent of the novel. This is typical of this time of novel.

Rosemary is a brave woman who is willing to go into a house and do whatever it takes to support her family. She is an orphan who steals to support her fellow orphans, not for selfish gain, which makes her admirable in my book. On the other hand, Peter is hoping to clear his family name by searching for documents to his families' estate. He is scatterbrain man who needs to settle down in his life.

Overall, A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White is a luxury read for those who enjoy Regency novels, even though the novel is labeled World War I, which I disagree with. The plot is original and different with strong characters. A great addition to any historical fans bookshelf. 

I received a complimentary copy of A Name Unknown from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Great Debate: Pro versus Con (Part II)

By Kelly Bridgewater

Last week, I commented on the pros and cons of print books. Today, I want to discuss the pros and cons of e-books. Feel free to leave comments on the bottom. I would love to see what you think are the good and bad sides to e-readers.



I love the ability to be able to carry around 600 books at once. Yes, I know I won't be able to read them all, but it is like the physical library in my house. It is nice sometimes to scan what titles I have and take inventory. Plus, when I go on vacation, I have plenty of books to read, so if I certain book doesn't capture my attention for that moment, then I can jump to another book without any added weight in my bag.


I know authors work really hard on their stories. Trust me, as a budding writer. I know how many hours a week I spent on research and writing. Then rewriting. Deleting. Editing. But I'm always on the lookout for a good price on a Kindle e-book. Every morning I check Vessel Project and see what she has listed as the latest books for sale.


There are millions of Kindle covers. Some look like actual books. Some are just slip over covers. They come in every shape and size to fit anyone's taste or budget. What a better way to show another aspect of our personalities.



Yes, you can scan through your books and see what you have, but does anyone else really want to scan your black and white photos of book covers. No. I don't. Just my own. No one has ever approached me and asked me about the books on my Kindle. It seems more of a private affair. Communication has been shut down.


Even though I do read a lot on my Kindle, it still isn't the same as reading a physical book. I always tell my husband that if all the power went down in the world, at least, I'll still have my physical copies to keep my brain moving.

I like both my Kindle and physical copy, but I tend to lean more toward my physical copy when sitting at home. When I go somewhere, even grocery shopping, I take my Kindle with me. Never know when I might need it.

How about you? When do you use your Kindle? Do you even have a Kindle? What about physical copies?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vanetta Chapman: Light of Dawn

By Kelly Bridgewater

Before Dawn, What Dangers Lurk in the Darkness?
For nine months, since a devastating solar flare caused a complete failure of the electrical grid, Shelby Sparks and her diabetic son, Carter, have been living at the ranch of Shelby's high school sweetheart, Max Berkman.

Mostly insulated from the chaos surrounding them, Shelby and Max discover that the Texas government has fled the capitol and is barely maintaining control of the state. The governor needs volunteers to search for the new federal government, but no one knows exactly where it might be located—if it even still exists—or what perils await those brave enough to take on the mission.

Compelled by Carter's desperate need for insulin and their God-given sense of duty, Shelby and Max answer the governor's call and set out on a treacherous 600-mile journey, where they will experience the terrifying effects of unrestrained anarchy. If they have the faith and fortitude necessary to reach their destination, what will they find when they get there?

In this thrilling conclusion to the Remnant trilogy, America is left teetering between total collapse and the dawn of a new and vastly different reality.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

I haven't read anything by Vanetta Chapman, but the idea of what would happen when the power went out intrigued me. Plus, I have heard rave reviews about this series. The writing was top notch with enough details for me to visualize the setting and the emotions of the characters. As for Shelby and Max, it was nice to see how much faith they had in each other and the strength they had to try to find the Remnant again. The romance between the two came to a head near the end of the novel, and will make, I believe, every romance reader happy. The plot is a totally different thing. While I believe with the power going out and the confusion and death that will occur that Chapman portrayed, I struggled with staying involved with the plot. Not that the world really couldn't turn this harmful. It just didn't capture my attention like I wanted it to. Every moment Shelby and Max were running into someone who could potentially harm them. There really weren't that much down time for the characters to do anything but be on the hunt for something or someone. If you enjoyed this series by Chapman, I highly recommend Terri Blackstock's A Restoration Novel series, with Last Light, Night Light, True Light, and Dawn's Light or Amanda G. Steven's Haven Seeker's Series with Seek and Hide, Found and Lost, Take and Give, and Far and Near. Now these stories captured my attention more.

I received a complimentary copy of Light of Dawn by Vanetta Chapman from Harvest House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, July 17, 2017

Rachel Hauck: The Writing Desk

By Kelly Bridgewater

Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?
With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.
Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck reminded me a lot of her previous series with The Wedding Chapel, The Wedding Dress, and The Wedding Shop. This story is a time slip novel from 1903 - 1960's with a present timeline. The present time line features Tenley, a writer, who is on a deadline to finish her second book, but she has a major writing block stopping her from writing her story. Like her previous stories, the present story mixes with the past, but you have to read the complete novel to find out how they mix and depend on each other. As for the romance between Tenley and her "fiancĂ©" Holt, I figured out pretty early on what was happening with him while Tenley helped her mother with her chemo treatments in Florida. But the romance with Jonas was sweet and showed Tenley what it was like to be in a loving family who cared and cherished her. On the other hand, the pace of the novel moved a long at a nice clip. I didn't feel that it dragged at all.  I hated having to put it down to make dinner for my family. I enjoyed the story idea. I can totally relate to an author who has a number of doubts and cannot come up with a story idea to put down on the paper. Tenley does transform and understand the significance of God in her life by the end. Fans of Hauck's previous novels will enjoy this novel like I did. I recommend it and can't wait to see what else Hauck comes up with.

I received a complimentary copy of The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck from Zondervan Publishing, and the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars