Friday, June 29, 2018

July 4th

By Kelly Bridgewater

Happy Fourth of July!!!!

I hope you see fireworks and spend time making memories with your family around a bar-b-que.

See you next week!

Image result for 4th of july images free

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Melanie Dickerson: The Orphan's Wish

By Kelly Bridgewater

Orphaned and alone, Aladdin travels from the streets of his Arab homeland to a strange, faraway place. Growing up in an orphanage, he meets young Lady Kirstyn, whose father is the powerful Duke of Hagenheim. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion, and their childhood friendship grows into a bond that time and opposition cannot break.

Even as a child, Aladdin works hard, learning all he can from his teachers. Through his integrity, intelligence, and sheer tenacity, he earns a position serving as the duke’s steward. But that isn’t enough to erase the shame of being forced to steal as a small child—or the fact that he’s an orphan with no status. If he ever wants to feel equal to his beautiful and generous friend Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim and seek his fortune.

Yet once Aladdin departs, Lady Kirstyn becomes a pawn in a terrible plot. Now, Aladdin and Kirstyn must rely on their bond to save Kirstyn from unexpected danger. But will saving Kirstyn cost Aladdin his newfound status and everything he’s worked so hard to obtain?

An enchanting new version of the well-known fairy tale, The Orphan’s Wish tells a story of courage and loyalty, friendship and love, and reminds us what “family” really means.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Melanie Dickerson's fairy tale remakes usually capture my attention. I love her take on the stories. She sprinkles in a little bit of her Dickerson magic and tosses what I know of the popular tales and whips up a batch of a new perspective. With her latest installment of her Hagenheim series, The Orphan's Wish, I believe it wasn't as good as the others preceding it.

The only approach to Aladdin I had is the Disney version with the Genie and Jasmine, so I'm not that familiar with the true written story. Dickerson does a great job at inviting me into the Hagenheim kingdom and bringing back familiar characters that I'm familiar with. Clear and concise writing is what Dickerson does best. She really invites me into the character's mind and allows me to feel and think right alongside the characters.

But . . . I have some issues with The Orphan's Wish. First, the first forty percent of the book features a lot of flashback into Aladdin and Kirstyn's early relationship. I would be reading the story, and then be thrown into an aspect of importance to show how Aladdin and Kirstyn's past cemented their present world. Second, I believe, there were too many internal dialogue and thoughts from Aladdin and Kirstyn about the other person. Every decision Aladdin made was because of a "might" relationship with Lady Kirstyn. He couldn't really make any decision on his own. He thought about Lady Kirstyn ALL THE TIME.

The romance appeared a little childish. They met as young kids and became best friends. Then the romance grew, even though Aladdin and Kirstyn were not socially in the same station in life. Aladdin and Kirstyn's thoughts drove me nuts. They thought of each other all the time like a young couple in love. Plus, they were too afraid to admit to each other how they honestly felt.

I wish the bad guy was more. I don't know how to explain it without giving away the plot. He appears, kidnaps, and threatens. Not too much of a threat. Then he is captured, released, and captured / killed for the final time. The conflict wasn't deep enough for me. If felt too shallow.

Overall, I really looked forward to Melanie Dickerson's take on Aladdin with The Orphan's Wish, but it fell short for me. The romance and the plot didn't capture my attention and left me wanting more with the story. I believe I will still collect the book to complete my collection. Fans of Dickerson's other novels should read the novel and see if they enjoy it for themselves.

I received a complimentary copy of The Orphan's Wish by Melanie Dickerson from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Monday, June 25, 2018

Rachelle Dekker: When Through Waters Deep

By Kelly Bridgewater

Alicen McCaffrey finally has the life her mother always dreamed for her: beautiful home in Santa Monica, successful husband, adorable daughter. Then tragedy blows her carefully assembled fa├žade to pieces. Worse yet―Alicen feels solely responsible. At rock bottom, she decides to accompany a childhood friend back to Red Lodge, Montana, where they spent summers together as kids.

The peaceful mountain landscape, accented with lush forests and small-town charm, brings back happy memories of time spent with her beloved, eccentric Grandma Josephine. Alicen begins to hope that perhaps things could be different here. Perhaps the oppressive guilt will lift―if only for a moment.

But when Alicen starts hearing voices and seeing mysterious figures near the river in the woods, she begins to fear she’s completely lost her sanity, as it’s rumored her grandmother did. Or might there be more to Red Lodge than meets the eye? Could the voices and visions be real―and her only means of finding the healing she so desperately needs? Or will they prove to be her final undoing?

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

I have read the Seer series by Rachelle Dekker, and I really enjoyed the first two books, but the third one kind of fell flat for me. So when I heard Dekker wrote a new book, When Through Waters Deep, I read the synopsis and was interested to read the book. The story is lumped in the Psychological Thriller genre. Dekker does a wonderful job at diving deep into the emotions and delusions of Alicen. I believe this is the strongest part of the novel. As for the thriller aspect, I really didn't see that coming. I don't even lump this story into that genre until the end of the book suggested it. It started more like a speculative novel, than ended with a thriller ending. The first seventy-five percent of the book doesn't read like a thriller should. There should have been more external danger to Alicen, but the only danger occurs right about ninety percent into the book. So I don't think it is a suspense novel either.

Overall, Through Waters Deep by Rachelle Dekker is a truly unique story with a wonderful crafted 
dive into the world of someone's mind, but to place this book in a psychological thriller genre seems way too wrong for the actual plot. I believe fans of James Rubart, Amanda Stevens, and Ted Dekker might enjoy this novel. 

I received a complimentary copy of When Through Waters Deep by Rachelle Dekker from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, June 22, 2018

Vacationing as Writing Moments

By Kelly Bridgewater

With summer in full swing, I am sure many of you are gearing up for a summer trip. A week away from the planned schedules. A week of no cleaning, hopefully. A week of doing nothing you normally do. A week to relax and make memories with your family.

But have you ever thought of vacations as prime spots for capturing inspiration for future or current writing projects.

Well . . . It can be.

How about people watching? Have you ever gone to a restaurant and just observed the people around you? Pay attention to how the mature adults eat and talk. Pay attention to families with teenagers. They ignore each other and play with their phones. (That's why my boys don't have cell phones. I make them talk to me during the meals. Gasp!) What about the young family with the baby in the high chair or booster seat? I remember those days. Some days were nice. Some were horrible. Screaming kid while trying to get them to eat. Everyone staring at you, judging you.

From our family trip to Walt Disney World in 2015

How about listening to your surroundings? Enter a new city. Listen to the sounds. Close your eyes. What do you hear? What do you smell? Touch odd things as you move with the flow of the city. Take everything in. If you're in a big city, then write down that feeling you have when you saw the big skyscrapers. Might be important to a character later.

What about a national park? Take pictures. Listen to the nature and quiet. Smell the dirt and surroundings. Stand in awe of God's beauty. Might be important to a character later.

I enjoy traveling, if though we don't really travel a lot, and I want to do more, but I love to take a notebook with me to record my thoughts and what I see, hear, smell, and feel. I even have my 16 year old son doing the same thing. He wants to remember everything on our trips.

What about you? Do you remember to capture the writing inspiration God has given to you when you are on vacation? Share one of the most neat "finds" from a vacation you went on. Did you use in a piece of writing?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Susan May Warren: Light My Fire

By Kelly Bridgewater

An elite Smokejumping team is all that stands between a small Alaska town and the massive forest fire that could destroy them all. 

When western Alaska erupts in a devastating fire, the elite firefighting crew of the Jude County Smokejumpers is called in to save the day. The fire threatens the small town of Copper, Alaska, but standing in the gap are seasoned smokejumpers Tucker Newman and Riley McCord, along with rookie Skye Doyle. They are ready to do anything to stop the fire, including fighting alongside a crew of prisoners from the Copper County Correctional Facility. 

The last thing they expect is for the prisoners to stage a break and disappear into the forest with one of their own. Now Tucker, Riley, and the rest of the Jude County Smokejumpers will have to fight not only the fire, but for the freedom of their friends . . .  during the Summer of the Burning Sky.


My Thoughts:

Susan May Warren enjoys creating stories filled with characters with heart. I have enjoyed most of the stories she has written. Her historical series, Heiress, Baroness, and Duchess, plus the Christenson family are some of my favorite series by Warren. I enjoy a good suspense story filled with hair raising moments and catching the bad guy. With the introduction to a new trio of novellas, Warren has captured that feeling again for me.

I always adore the way Warren writes. She dives deep into the characters flaws and allows me to really feel what they are feeling throughout the entire novel, or in this case, novella. She does a fabulous job at inviting me into the setting and allowing me to feel like I am right there with the characters. I admire how much work she does into research for the character's jobs. In this series, smokejumpers. I really know nothing about them, but Warren brought them to life for me.

The plot begins with a typical introduction to the characters and their careers, but then Warren throws me for a whirlwind of emotions as the characters collide and have to deal with an active prison break alongside of a fighting fire. The story moves rapidly, begging me to flip the pages and keeping me engrossed in the action. I thoroughly enjoyed the story. The novella ends with a cliff-hanger and then a sneak peak at the second book, leaving me gasping for the second novella already.

The romance feels a little out of place for me. Maybe because it is a novella, and I believe there isn't enough time for the sparks to fly yet. But she does create the beginning of some emotions between Tucker and Stevie.

Overall, "Light My Fire" by Susan May Warren is a thrilling ride into the world of smokejumpers that I had a hard time putting down. With the introduction of this new team, Warren creates characters with deep emotions and deep hurts that I can't wait to explore more. I think fans of Warren's other's works, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Eason would enjoy this series.

I received a complimentary copy of "Light My Fire" from Susan May Warren, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars