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Monday, November 12, 2018

Denise Hunter: On Magnolia Lane


By Kelly Bridgewater

Pastor Jack McReady has secretly carried a torch for Daisy for two long years. She’s a member of his congregation, after all, and she’ll never see him as more than a trusted counselor. Jack’s best friend Noah has taken every opportunity to encourage his lovesick friend, but when Noah catches wind that Daisy has joined an online dating site, he takes matters into his own hands and orchestrates a meet-cute of the most unconventional kind.

Owner of the local flower shop, Daisy Pendleton is content with her small-town life, but she’d sure like someone to share it with. After several disastrous first dates, she’s about to give up—and then she finds a seemingly wonderful man online. Daisy gets to know TJ through a series of messages but finds herself spending more time with Pastor Jack outside of the church at the same time. What she doesn’t know is that her online prospect and Jack are one and the same. 

Just as Daisy’s love life starts to look promising, a mysterious woman appears in town. Daisy is faced with a revelation about her family that turns her world upside down, and she looks to both TJ and Jack for help.

Jack must find a way to reveal himself as her online suitor without breaking her heart and losing her trust. As Daisy faces Jack’s betrayal, she’ll have to learn to extend grace to herself, her family, and the man she’s grown to love.

ON MAGNOLIA LANE
https://www.denisehunterbooks.com/book-magnolia-lane.html


My Thoughts:

Denise Hunter is fabulous at putting two individuals, a male and a female, into sticky situations and watch them work through their growing emotions. With her latest series, it really hasn't worked for me. The final book, On Magnolia Lane, has a pastor for a hero and a flower shop worker for the heroine. While the story centers around searching for their dreams and looking for love through the facade of a on-line dating service. While the story moves slowly along, I had a really hard time staying focused on the plot. I really couldn't wait for it to be over. Of course being a contemporary romance, the ending is completely predictable, leaving nothing for me to guess. It was nice to see a different type of hero, such as being a pastor. Most people probably don't think of pastors in the realm that Hunter created Jack, but they have emotions and the desired to be loved by members of the opposite sex too. As for Daisy, the heroine, I really saw no redeeming quality about her. She doesn't stick out to me as anything special. She's a pretty cardboard character to me.

Overall, On Magnolia Lane is a bland, yet predictable contemporary romance. I had a hard time diving into the character's lives and the story didn't wow me. Fans of Melissa Tagg, Becky Wade, and Hunter's previous' writings might still love this book, this is just my humble opinion.

I received a complimentary copy of On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

About the Author:
Denise Hunter
From Amazon

 Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 30 novels, including "The Convenient Groom" and "A December Bride" which have been made into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on the The 700 club and won awards such as The Holt Medallion Award, The Carol Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.


In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

When Denise isn't orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking good coffee, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband raised three boys and are currently enjoying an empty nest.

You can learn more about Denise through her website www.DeniseHunterBooks.com or by visiting her FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/authordenisehunter. (Taken from Amazon)

 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Book Blogs Equal White Noise


By Kelly Bridgewater

Does the title make you think?

It sure does for me.

I have been wondering if Book blogs are going away. If you're not one of the popular book blogs who have tons of comments every time they post something, then are you really reaching anyone?

When I attended my first ACFW conference in 2013, a fellow multi-published author answer my question "How do I get started in getting my name out there?" with "Start a blog. Review books. Follow agents and editors blogs. Comment on them. Join your local ACFW chapter and blog there. Find other blogs and see if you can join by writing for them."

I took her advice to heart and started blogging here. I joined my Indiana chapter ACFW and started blogging there. I found a blog where I had to blog once every six weeks entitled Sleuth and Suspects and started blogging there. I became part of Christian Manifesto and Book Talk on Fiction 411. But all of them have closed since then.

I know a number of book review blogs that are doing fabulous. I honestly don't get that much traffic here, only about 1700 to 2000 views a month, but no one comments. I can't more feedback on Goodreads then I do here.

I don't know how to bring more people to my blog. I blog three times a week. I really can't do more than that. I homeschool my son and help my other two with Awana, Youth Group, Band Practices and competitions, and theatre. Plus, spend time with my husband and work on our farm. It takes up a lot of my time.

I do thank the authors and readers who do support my blog when they have a chance. So thank you!











Most people who I know who have blogged when I started have stopped. Only the successful ones keep going. How do I become one of the successful ones?

I don't know.

If you have an idea, please share it with me.

Maybe I should stop blogging too.  Shrugs my shoulders. Maybe I'm talking to no one again.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Lynn Austin: Legacy of Mercy


By Kelly Bridgewater

Having returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can't seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she's learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her find the truth. But as she meets people who once knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden.

At the same time, unflattering stories about Anna are leaked by someone who would love to see her disgraced and her engagement broken. And as Anna tries to share her faith with her society friends, she understands that her choice to seek God's purpose for her life isn't as simple as she had hoped.

When things are at their darkest, Anna knows she can turn to her grandmother, Geesje de Jonge, back in Holland, Michigan. Geesje's been helping new Dutch immigrants, including a teen with a haunted past, adjust to America. She only hopes that her wisdom can help all these young people through the turmoil they face.

From Amazon


My Thoughts:

I'm not that familiar with Lynn Austin's writing, but I know a couple of writer friends who believe Austin is the greatest writer out there. The synopsis and the cover for Legacy of Mercy grabbed my attention, and I decided to give her a try. Being a historical romance, I had a pretty good idea what I was in for. A story set in the past filled with characters who tried to solve a conflict and learn to fall in love with a member of the opposite sex. The story kept my attention.

Austin does a wonderful job at inviting me into the world of the late nineteenth century in Chicago, Illinois. The society and the social clubs sprang from the page as well as my imagination. I enjoyed spending time here and loved following Anneke as she traveled to find out about her real birth parents. I love a story with a good treasure hunt, either from the present or the past. Legacy of Mercy does exactly that.

The hunt for Anneke's biological's parents kept me riveted to the page. I wanted to find out who her parents were and if her mother was actually married when she gave birth to Anneke. I flew through the pages and couldn't wait to see the end result. The story was nicely woven together, and Austin really tells a wonderful story. The story is told from Anneke's perspective and her grandmother in Holland, Michigan. Austin tells the story but doesn't confuse me. She puts subheadings, which helps makes it easier for me to follow whose perspective I'm in.

I liked how Anneke wanted more out of her life than attending society clubs and parties to be seen. She wanted to do what God suggested and help the poor, orphaned, and widowed. I liked her character the most. She was a woman after God's own heart. Something we should all strive to be.

Overall, Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin is an enduring tale of God's love and is populated with interesting characters who are on a treasure hunt for what is true. I believe fans of historical romance like Jen Turano, Judith Miller, and Lorena Seilstad would enjoy this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the Author:
From Amazon

For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother, and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published 27 novels. Eight of her historical novels have won Christy Awards for excellence in Christian Fiction: Hidden Places (2001), Candle in the Darkness (2002), Fire by Night (2003), A Proper Pursuit (2007), Until We Reach Home (2008), Though Waters Roar (2009) While We're Far Apart (2010), and Wonderland Creek (2011). Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film. (Taken from Amazon.)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Susan May Warren: Wait for Me


By Kelly Bridgewater

Pete Brooks can't believe he's waited an entire year for Jess Tagg to return to Montana, only to have her break his heart by getting engaged to her ex-fiancé. Worse, a series of mistakes on the job have cost lives, and Pete isn't sure he wants to continue to work in Search and Rescue. Maybe if he can just get over Jess, he can figure out how to move forward.
EMT Jess Tagg has returned to Montana to finally give her heart to Pete, but it seems he's no longer interested. When a terrible fight between them sparks an impulsive decision, she finds herself crashed on the side of a highway along with Esme Shaw. And just when she thinks things couldn't get any worse, she and Esme are taken captive and into the untamed Montana wilderness--with murderous intent.

Now Pete and the other PEAK Rescue Team members are in a race against time, the elements, and the actions of a vengeful man. Pete will have to use everything he's learned to find Jess and Esme--and pray that his past mistakes don't cost him the life of the woman he can't stop loving.

From Amazon


My Thoughts:

Susan May Warren has been an author I have recommended to many people. She knows how to create such tragic characters who are hurting, and she does a wonderful job at allowing the setting to jump from the page. Her final installment in her Montana Rescue, Waitfor Me, finally allows me to learn the back-story and watch the hurt and growth of Pete Brooks. I was happy to watch the final installment unfold before my eyes.

The setting always grabs me in Warren's writing. From the first page, she does a wonderful job at inviting me into the Montana wilderness and allowing me to travel with the characters as they run for their lives. I enjoy how Warren allows the emotions between Jess and Pete to jump off the pages.

Speaking of the romance, it jumped off the pages. Warren really jumps into the emotions of Jess and Pete. Sometimes it was even too much for me. I skimmed through the pages, hoping not to see so much sappy feelings. It felt like a hallmark movie to me. Pete has been pining for Jess since the beginning, so it was no surprise to see his emotions, but they were really heightened in Wait for Me.

The plot captured my attention. I had a hard time putting the novel down. The plot moved quickly and had a lot of tension, begging me to flip through the story at a rapid pace. I loved how the emotions mirrored the drama in the action. When one rose, the other one did in its intensity.

One of Warren's strengths is her ability to create deeply wounded characters who are running from their love or a potential love and then running from God. I'm amazed at how Warren actually can come up with different elements to create such a diverse cast of humbled characters.

Overall, Wait for Me by Susan May Warren is a unique and tension-filled conclusion to her Montana Rescue series. While I loved the plot and the character, sometimes the romantic thoughts between Pete and Jess felt over the top for me. Since I admire Warren's stories and writings, I anxiously await Warren's next series.

I received a complimentary copy of Wait for Me by Susan May Warren from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

From Amazon
Growing up in Minneapolis and attending the U of MN, I learned to love city life, although I'm a woodsy girl at heart. Or maybe I'm an adventurer -- having lived and traveled all over the world, including Siberia Russia as a missionary for eight years. Probably that's why my characters can't sit still, and seem to get into one scrape after another -- they're too much like me! I love God, my family, my country, my church, and feel (Taken from Amazon.)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Birthday Month

By Kelly Bridgewater

November is my Birthday Month!!

Some day this month is my birthday!!

Not much to say here, but I'm glad there is time to celebrate me.

As a mother of three boys, and one I homeschool, I do spend a lot of time thinking of my boys, my husband, our seventeen animals, our house, and our property before I think of myself.

So it is nice to have others honor me.

(I'm not trying to sound selfish. I just enjoy some cake and ice cream to my taste too!)

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