Friday, August 31, 2018

Labor Day

Kelly Bridgewater

Labor Day

I'm glad it is here. It means that summer is almost over. But in Indiana, it will still be in the seventies for another two months. Maybe get to the fifties by Thanksgiving. Then forty by Christmas.

I wish it would turner cooler by now.

Summer has been, and always does, drags by. Heat too long. Too many bugs. Too many weeds. Why bother planting flowers. Weeds overtake them pretty soon anyway. (Don't worry! I have lots of flower beds. But I think I spend more time pulling weeds then actually enjoying the flowers.)


Enjoy your "last" moment of summer. Even though for me, it really isn't.

Happy Labor Day!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Michelle Griep: A Tale of Two Hearts

By Kelly Bridgewater

London, 1853: Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life, for there’s nothing more mundane than serving customers day after day. Every minute she can, she reads and dreams of someday becoming a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.

William is a gentleman’s son, a charming but penniless rogue. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his scheming cousin. In an effort to secure the inheritance, William gives his uncle the impression he’s married, which works until he’s invited to bring his wife for a visit.

William asks Mina to be his pretend bride, only until his uncle names an heir on Christmas Day. Mina is flattered and frustrated by the offer, for she wants a true relationship with William. Yet, she agrees. . .then wishes she hadn’t. So does William. Deceiving the old man breaks both their hearts. When the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost.

Can two hearts survive such deception?

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Christmas. London. Victorian era. What could be the better makings for a novel? Maybe some suspense. But Michelle Griep creates a wonderful short story that fits in with the makings of a true Dicken's novel. I enjoyed the first book in the series entitled 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on A Tale of Two Heart too. Boy, am I glad I did. The story comes to life and brings the good feelings that Christmas brings only a couple of months earlier.

I really enjoy traveling to London during the Victorian age with Griep. She wove together a timeless love story filled with intrigue and romance. I loved how well-described Griep make London. I have never been there, but she did a wonderful job at bringing London from a long time ago to life. She dove into the characters personalities and allow me to see how the characters feel and perceive things.

The plot kept me spellbound. The top item on my bucket list is to visit London during the Christmas time. I loved how Griep created a story with a fake marriage to win an inheritance from an uncle. The competition between the two cousins captured my imagination. I couldn't wait to see how the story ended. I finished the novel in under a day. It didn't feel like a novella because Griep does a good job at diving into the characters and intermingling them with the plot.

The romance was not the typical Victorian romance. I mean, what girl allows herself to pretend to be someone marriage to help them earn an inheritance? What does she get out of it? Slowly, through all the conflicts and moments that could have blown their cover, the romance between Mina and William blossomed into true love.

The theme of second chances is created and fulfilled by the uncle and passed onto his nephews. What person does not need a second, or even a third or fourth chance from their past mistakes or encounters?

In conclusion, TheTale of Two Hearts is a wonderful, Christmas-type of feeling story. With a different type of plot, Griep captures my attention by creating another keeper for the shelf. I anxiously await the next installment in the story, which is teased at in the final pages of the book. Fans of Johanna Davidson Politano would enjoy this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Michelle Griep
From Amazon
 I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I've been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write--except for that graffiti phase I went through as teenager. (Taken from Amazon)

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Cost of Betrayal: Henderson, Pettrey, and Eason

By Kelly Bridgewater

In Dee Henderson's novella "Betrayed," Janelle Roberts is freed--thanks to people she doesn't know--after serving six years of a twenty-year sentence for a murder she did not commit. But a murderer is still at large, and Janelle needs to be somewhere safe with someone she can trust. She may not survive another betrayal.

In Dani Pettrey's "Deadly Isle," Tennyson Kent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer bent on betrayal before they become the next victims?

In Lynette Eason's "Code of Ethics," trauma surgeon Ruthie St. John saves the life of Detective Isaac Martinez. After a betrayal leads to him getting shot and then attacked while in recovery, Isaac is now a key witness determined to testify. But someone is intent on silencing him--and those around him--forever. Together, Ruthie and Isaac go on the run, desperate to escape the killers hunting him. 

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

I enjoy a good novella collection especially when it features three of my favorite romantic suspense authors: Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Eason. All of these authors have captured my attention in their full length novels, and I enjoyed their past novella collaboration Sins of the Past. I couldn't wait to get my hands on their new collection, The Cost of Betrayal. Even though all three novels have to do with Betrayal of some sort, each individual novel stands alone.

"Betrayed" by Dee Henderson

The novella starts with a familiar couple I was introduced to for the first time in Full Disclosure, Paul and Anna. So if you are familiar with that novel than you might find it enduring to have them come back and try to solve a mystery. This time the mystery centers around a jewelry box that Anna purchases at an auction with a pocket knife inside. With a number of research, Anna finds out the knife belongs to a young lady doing time for murdering her boyfriend. As the story progresses, I watch Anna as she explains her theories to Paul. The story moves pretty quickly and kept my attention. I enjoyed seeing familiar characters return. BUT . . . I felt cheated with the ending. Henderson left us with three different type of endings of how Alex could have died. She really didn't answer the question on who killed him. I read mysteries to see who did it. I didn't get it this time.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

"Deadly Isle" by Dani Pettrey

The people are completely new, but the setting, I believe, is the setting for Pettrey's new series, so I believe these characters might have a comeback. While the story does move at a quick pace, I think the story was too condensed to be a well-written story. The ending moved quickly, and I had a hard time buying who the bad guy is. The writing is clear, and the tension is top-notch, which proves why Pettrey is top in the romantic suspense genre. I can't wait for her next series.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

"Code of Ethics" by Lynette Eason

If you are familiar with her Blue Justice series, than the last name St. James should be familiar to the reader. This story is about Ruthie, the surgeon. The sister who didn't become a member of the police force. The tension started right from the beginning and grasped my attention. Eason definitely proves why she keeps writing wonderful suspense stories and keeps her audience's attention. I loved seeing familiar characters and can't wait t read the next book in the Blue Justice series with Code of Valor. The tension is top notch, and I figured out the bad guy before Eason showed me. I can't wait to read more by Eason.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of The Cost of Betrayal by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Eason from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Overall Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

About the Authors:

From Amazon
Dee Henderson

Dee Henderson is the author of 14 best-selling novels, including the acclaimed O'Malley series and the Uncommon Heroes series. As a leader in the inspirational romantic suspense category, her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, including the RWA's RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, the Holt Medallion, the National Readers' Choice Award, and the Golden Quill. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois and is active online. Visit her at (Taken from Amazon.)

Dani Pettrey

From Amazon
Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as "a name to look for in romantic suspense," Dani Pettrey has sold more than 400,000 copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance. Her novels stand out for their "wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters" (Publishers Weekly), "gripping storyline[s]," (RT Book Reviews), and "sizzling undercurrent of romance" (USA Today).

Her Alaskan Courage series and Chesapeake Valor series have received praise from readers and critics alike and spent multiple months topping the CBA bestseller lists. Dani has also been honored with multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award finalist, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award. (Taken from Amazon.)

Lynette Eason
From Amazon

Award-winning, best-selling author, Lynette Eason writes for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense line and for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Her books have hit the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won numerous awards such as the prestigious Carol Award, the Selah, the Daphne, the IRCC award and more. Lynette is married, has two children, and lives in Greenville, SC. (Taken from Amazon.)

Friday, August 24, 2018

Job 1: 8 -12

By Kelly Bridgewater

For the last two weeks, I have shared some passages from Job, and how I believe Satan must be working really hard to keep me busy since I refuse to give up my faith on God.

I honestly feel like everything that can go wrong always goes wrong with my life.

I can't find a job, even a FREE paying job, to do to use my degree.

I can't have enough money to go on nice vacations.

I can't have enough money to drive nice cars. All of our cars are at least twenty years old.

BUT . . .

even though, my life has been rough.

I still praise God. Whenever I feel depressed, which happens A LOT, I spend a lot of time listening to praise and worship music. It lifts my spirit and brings me back to commune with God.

How about you?

Do you ever feel like Satan is just sitting around thinking of ways to torture you?

Just because I believe in God and claim him as the Lord of my life, Satan thinks he can torture me.

But then again, I remember God is in charge. NOT Satan.

He really has no power over me.

I can tell him to leave.

Which I do A LOT.

God LOVES ME and wants what is best for me.

Even when I don't understand why everything has to break at once.

Feel free to leave some suggestions and prayers for me. I definitely need them.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Mario Escobar: Auschwitz Lullaby

By Kelly Bridgewater

Auschwitz Lullaby brings to life the story of Helene Hannemann—a woman who sacrificed everything for family and fought furiously for the children she hoped to save.

On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family—sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.

After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.

Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz—an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.

Based on a true story, Mario Escobar’s Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity—even when all hope seems lost.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

World War II fascinates me. I don't know why. Maybe it is because of the cause for the young men and women who weren't afraid to take up arms and defend our country and the less fortunate. That doesn't happen anymore. Most people whine and don't stand for nothing, but the wrong things. Off my soap box. Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar is an interesting take on a different part of Auschwitz. I for one did not know that there were two of them. I have heard about the horrible things that occurred at Auschwitz. There is even a survivor living in our town who owns a Holocaust museum.

Escobar's writing was vivid and scary. Not in a sick way.  But a way to show the truth. I could visualize all the horrible surroundings in Auschwitz II, and the horrible conditions made me sick to my stomach. I couldn't imagine trying to survive with my children in such deplorable conditions. He did a great job at sticking to Helene's perspective throughout the entire novel. He did not jump into the children's perspective or Dr. Mengele's.

The plot was interesting, yet sad. I have read a number of Holocaust stories, and it always makes me sick that anyone would be so cruel to others just because of the way they look or the religion they confess. Escobar's novel moved quite rapidly. I really wanted to see Helene and her five children survive. But I had a suspicion in the back of my mind that something would happen to her twins because of Dr. Mengele's widely known experiments.

Helene, as the heroine, faced a huge issue. She chose the least traveled road and stood up a number of times to Dr. Mengele in the face of adversity. I admired her courage. I feel like I would be meaner and stand up to the guards because it is wrong, but I probably would have been shot too. Helene was a brave and strong character. A true testament to the greatest generation. They were brave and stood up for what they believed while living in hell. I admire Helene for her bravery.

As a word of caution: This is a Holocaust novel that takes place at Auschwitz, so there are a number of graphic scenes that might make some readers uneasy.

Overall, Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar is a heart-wrenching look into how far a mother would go to protect her children. With true bravery, Escobar has written a tale in honor of the mountains of innocent lives lost to the Holocaust. I truly enjoyed this novel. Fans of Joel Roseberg's The Auschwitz Escape, Kate Breslin, and Kristy Cambron's World War II novels should pick up this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Mario Escobar
From Amazon
 Mario Escobar Golderos (Madrid, Spain) has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans. Books. (Taken from Amazon)