Monday, July 30, 2018

Jen Turano: Caught by Surprise

By Kelly Bridgewater

Miss Temperance Flowerdew is on her way to work when a stranger suddenly grabs her off the street and sends her on a Chicago-bound train before she can figure out what happened.

When Mr. Gilbert Cavendish is called upon to rescue a missing woman, he follows the trail to Chicago only to discover that the woman is his good friend Temperance. Before they can discover who was behind the abduction, they're seen alone together by a New York society matron, putting their reputations at risk.

Gilbert is willing to propose marriage--except Temperance will have none of it. She's finally stepped out of the shadow of her relations and won't give up her independence. But when it becomes clear the misunderstanding in Chicago has escalated into a threat on her life and followed her to New York, accepting Gilbert's help in solving the mystery may lead to more than she ever could have dreamed.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Jen Turano does a fabulous job at creating hilarious tales of woe during the Gilded Age. I have loved and looked forward to all her writings. Her latest creating, Caught by Surprise, is really no surprise. It is a fabulous conclusion to the series. I have enjoyed this book and can't wait to see what the next series includes.

Turano creates a cast of characters worthy of any sitcom. They are unique, boastful, and proud to right the wrong in their lives. While in most romances, it is the girl who falls in love first and then has to practically drag the man to fall in love with her, Turano flips the story on its head and allows the women to be the ones that can't imagine following in love with these men who are interested in them. A number of times, she had me laughing at why the women weren't impressed by the men who obviously did outlandish things to try to impress them. It was nice to see the previous two wallflowers, who tell their stories in Behind the Scenes and Out of the Ordinary come back to support Temperance in her story.

It was nice to finally get to know and understand Temperance, the last girl of the wallflowers. She blossomed on the page, even though she was determined not to fall in love with her childhood friend, Gilbert Cavendish. Opposite Temperance is Gilbert, the hero who could have someone wanting him dead too. He protected Temperance like a true hero does and keeps begging for her to marry him.

The plot is funny and moves at a rapid pace. I wish I could spend more time with Turano's characters. The novel is comforting and a great way to spend a couple of hours. I truly enjoyed this whole series. I think I might return and re-read them from the start again.

Overall, Jen Turano's Caught by Surprise is a fabulous, yet surprising story filled with guns, knife fights, paint, and romance all set during the Gilded Age. I couldn't read through the novel fast enough. I anxiously await her next series to see what new characters and what trouble Turano allows them to get into.

I received a complimentary copy of Caught by Surprise by Jen Turano from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Jen Turano
From Amazon
 Jen Turano is a USA Today Bestselling author, known for her quirky characters and amusing story lines. Her novel, After a Fashion, was a Reviewer's Choice finalist with RT, as well as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist. Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013, and Booklist has called her "One of the funniest voices in the inspirational genre." When she’s not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver, CO. She can be found on Facebook at or visit her on the web at She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

Friday, July 27, 2018

God's Calling (Part 4)

Kelly Bridgewater

Three weeks ago, I talked about discovering my calling for my life.

Two weeks ago, I talked about the steps I took to achieve this calling.

Last week, I talked about the changing of this passion.

This week, I want to talk about what I have been doing since I feel like writing isn't my passion anymore.

First, I started homeschooling my nine-year-old son who struggled in second grade. He read books better than any kid in his class, but when he closed the book, he couldn't answer questions about the plot. He would come home from school and have to do three to four more hours of school work every day. Math was a struggle. Memorizing his spelling words, vocabulary, and reading his stories were easy.

My husband and I, with many moments of joint prayer, agreed  to leave him home for third grade, and I give him the one-on-one attention he needs to make sure he succeeds in school.

Some days, he understands, and we fly through his lessons.

Other days, I want to strangle him and send him back to public school. If he doesn't care, why should I?

Image result for happy faces

My reward: He is now reading things and answering reading comprehension questions without fail. He understands what he is reading and gets tests and quizzes correct. His math skills have drastically improved. He knows ALL his multiplication facts, tells time, counts money, and can do division. I'm proud I have taken the year to invest in my son's education.

Plus, I think he really enjoys spending alone time with mom.

Second, I have been working on my book reviewing and a couple of cross-stitch pictures as gifts for this Christmas. It is nice to not be overwhelmed with writing that has to be done by a certain date.

Don't get me wrong. Plot ideas still pop into my head all the time. I'll write them down in my notebooks and put them back on the shelf. I find a research book at a yard sale, knowing I might need it later, so I buy it and stick it on the shelf. Not to be read yet.

One day, I pray God actually gives me the skills and comes alongside me to continue my heart's desire for writing. Some days, I still cry when I think about not writing, but I don't think it's something I should be doing right now.

Overall, my conclusion, if writing was really God's calling on my life, then why is it so hard for me to compose HIS story?

What about you? Have you ever felt this way?
I don't want to be a downer. I just felt like this was something I should be sharing from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Ronie Kendig: Thirst of Steel

By Kelly Bridgewater

Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies' blood. Cole "Tox" Russell only wants to begin his life with Haven Cortes, but he must first complete a final mission: retrieve that sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order.

The AFO, however, is determined to claim the sword. Wielding their father's life over Tzivia and Ram Khalon, they threaten to expose Ram's long-held and dangerous secret while demanding Tzivia locate the sword. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things only worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the sword is tied to both Ram's secret and a string of unsolved serial murders.

Tox, Ram, and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to focus only on the enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must stop or take the enemy down with them.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

I have read both books in Ronie Kendig's The Tox Files series: Conspiracy of Silence and the Crown of Souls and loved them, so of course, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Thirst for Steel. I have heard about this book since I finished the Crown of Souls, and I have been patiently waiting for this book like a little kid trying to behave on the way to Disney World for the first time. Finally, I got the book in my hand, and Kendig did not disappoint.

As always, Kendig's writing is top notch. I love how she draws me into every little detail of the setting that I need to know. I love how she describes the fight scenes, which are more detailed in male writings in my opinion, but not for Kendig, she rivals any male writer. I love her attention to detail and her ability to bring me into unfamiliar settings and make them familiar for me.

The plot. Of course, my favorite thing about a book. Does it hold my attention? Does my mind wander? As a word of caution when Thirst for Steel starts, there are many different viewpoints. I think, and I could be wrong, there are five present day viewpoints and a past viewpoint. So some readers might find it confusing for a while and wonder how they all are connected. BUT . . .  if you have read Kendig before, then the miracle is how she does tie them all together in a pretty bow at the end of the novel. I knew she would, so I stuck though the novel trusting her to do what she promises. I really loved the action in this novel. It is fast paced, and I really had a hard time putting it down. I was running on the treadmill with the book in my hand. I didn't want to stop.

The characters. Kendig throws a couple of surprises toward the end of the novel. She made me gasp, but I understood and completely empathize with her reasonings for doing what she did. I loved seeing more of the lives of familiar characters as they struggle to achieve their desire for a normal life. I am sad to see the series end and say good-bye to these characters. But now that I have all three books, I think I will return to them and read them again in order, one right after another.

Overall, Thirst for Steel by Ronie Kendig is a wonderful ending to her Tox Files series. It is filled with surprises, actions, and characters I have grown to struggle and empathize with. I am sad to see the series end, but I can't wait to see what else Kendig has up her sleeve. Onto her next series.

I received a complimentary copy of Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About the Author
 Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of over twenty titles. She grew up an Army brat, and now she and her Army-veteran husband live a short train ride from New York City with their children and retired military working dog. Ronie's degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters. Visit Ronie online at:
Ronie Kendig
From Amazon

FB: RapidFireFiction
Twitter: @RonieKendig
Instagram: @kendigronie

Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and Rapid-Fire Fiction novels have hit bestseller lists and garnered awards and critical acclaim, including:

2017 RT Reviewers' Choice Award Finalist - Crown of Souls (Inspirational Suspense)
2016 RT Reviewers' Choice Award Winner - Conspiracy of Silence (Inspirational Suspense)
2016 Carol Award Finalist - The Warrior's Seal (Novella)
2016 INSPY Shortlist - Falcon (Suspense/Mystery/Thriller)
2016 INSPY Shortlist - Embers (Speculative Fiction)
2015 RT Reviewer's Choice Award Finalist - Falcon
2015 FamilyFiction 15 Top Books of 2015 - Falcon
2015 Lime Award Winner - Falcon (Suspense)
2014 INSPY Award Finalist - Talon: Combat Tracking Team Dog
2013 HOLT Medallion Winner - Trinity: Military War Dog (Best Book by a Virginia Author)
2013 Selah Award Winner - Firethorn (Fiction - Suspense)
2013 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award Winner - Trinity: Military War Dog (Romantic Suspense)
2012 Christy Award Winner - Wolfsbane (Contemporary Romance)
2012 Lime Award Winner - Firethorn (Suspense)
2012 Carol Award Finalist - Wolfsbane (Romantic Suspense)
Christian Retailing's 2011 Readers' Choice Awards Finalist - Nightshade
2011 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award Finalist - Nightshade (Romantic Suspense)
Named one of the Top 25 Christian Fiction Suspense, Mystery, and Thriller Writers by FamilyFiction (Sept 2011)
2011 FamilyFiction Readers' Choice Awards - 3rd place as New Favorite Author, 8th place with Nightshade for Novel of the Year.
INSPY Award Shortlist final in Mystery/Thriller (Dead Reckoning)
The Christian Manifesto's 2010 Lime Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Nightshade)

Ronie's titles include:
-->THE TOX FILES series: The Warrior's Seal (novella), Conspiracy of Silence, Crown of Souls, & Thirst of Steel
-->DISCARDED HEROES series: Nightshade, Digitalis, Wolfsbane, Firethorn, & Lygos (novella)
-->A BREED APART series: Trinity, Talon, Beowulf
-->THE QUIET PROFESSIONALS series: Raptor 6, Hawk, Falcon, Titanis (novella)
-->Operation Zulu: Redemption
--> Additional novellas in the Central Park Rendezvous and Denali Dreams anthologies

Ronie can be found at, on Facebook (, Twitter (@roniekendig), Instagram (@kendigronie) and GoodReads.(Taken from

Monday, July 23, 2018

Robin Caroll: Darkwater Secrets

By Kelly Bridgewater

A murder investigation uncovers sordid secrets and haunting mistakes

The Darkwater Inn stands tall and proud in the French Quarter, the hub of New Orleans. Bourbon Street is bustling, and general manager Adelaide Fountaine has her hands full with a hotel at capacity. But she is shocked when a body is found: a hotel guest stabbed with a kitchen knife.

Detective Beau Savoie, Adelaide's childhood friend, is on the case. As Beau digs into the victim's past, he unearths a shocking connection between Adelaide and the murdered guest. Beau is hurt that his friend--the woman he's quietly loved for years--kept the truth from him. To make matters worse, the stress of the investigation has sent Adelaide right into the comforting arms of her coworker Dimitri. But Beau can't press Adelaide too hard . . . because he's keeping secrets of his own.

Can Adelaide and Beau afford to hide from the truth with a killer on the loose?

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

A romantic suspense or suspense is a genre I have read quite widely in, so I have a good idea of what works and what doesn't. Some of my favorite suspense or thrillers writers are Steven James, Carrie Stuart Parks, and Lynette Eason. They know how to capture an audience with plenty of page-turning suspense and having me guess who the bad guy is from the beginning, chasing clues with every page. Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll is my first chance to read her book. I had a hard time calling this novel a suspense novel.

The setting in New Orleans came to life was one of Caroll's strongest suites when it comes to her writing. She brings the French Quarter to life and allows me to travel to a city that I have never or desired to visit. Caroll brought the history and the traditions of the city to life for me.

The plot was the problem I had with the novel. A mystery usually introduces the killing of the victim either in the prologue or in the first chapter, then the story moves forward, trying to follow the clues to solve the mystery. BUT . . . Caroll waited until Chapter three to show the murderer attacking and killing the dead person. The first two chapters introduce you to  Adelaide, Dimitri, and Beau and set the stage for the story. Another element that bothered me was that Caroll started to have the characters follow the trail of clues, leading us toward a justifiable reason to suspect a person. Then the next chapter, Caroll had the person claim he did the murder and turned themselves into the police. This was only around page 182 in the novel. For the next eighty pages, Carroll dragged me along to solve the issues mentioned in the first couple of chapters then ended the novel with the person appearing in court for his sentencing.

As for the characters, I found them not that interesting. None of them learned and changed from the beginning to the end. Static characters. Of all three main characters, Dimitri stood out the most because he wants to become a chef not the CEO of his father's hotel business. Never once was any of the character's lives in danger. They were never threatened by the murder or had any reason to be afraid.

Overall, Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll did not flow like a standard suspense novel. Caroll introduced the murdered body too late and showed her cards too early, making me want to close the novel and wandered why I should keep reading. I don't know how I feel about reading the next book in the series. If you are fans of Lynette Eason, Carrie Stuart Parks, or Steven James, like me, then this book might heavily disappoint you too. Fans of Colleen Coble, Brandilyn Collins, or Lorena McCourtney might enjoy this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll from Gilead Publishing through JustRead tours, but the opinion stated are all my own.

My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars