Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mary Connealy: Aiming for Love

By Kelly Bridgewater

Josephine Nordegren is one of three sisters who grew up nearly wild in southwestern Colorado. She has the archery skills of Robin Hood and the curiosity of the Little Mermaid, fascinated by but locked away from the forbidden outside world--a world she's been raised to believe killed her parents. When David Warden, a rancher, brings in a herd much too close to the girls' secret home, her older sister especially is frightened, but Jo is too interested to stay away.

David's parents follow soon on his heels, escaping bandits at their ranch. David's father is wounded and needs shelter. Josephine and her sisters have the only cabin on the mountain. Do they risk stepping into the world to help those in need? Or do they remain separated but safe in the peaks of Hope Mountain?

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From Amazon

My Thoughts:

The cover of Aiming for Love by Mary Connealy captured my attention, and I couldn't wait to read the story inside. I'm really glad I did. Connealy created conflict between three sisters who don't know any better and the Warden's. The external and internal conflict was different than anything I have ever seen before. And that says a lot because I read a lot. The conflict was driven majority by the characters who have never learned the proper way to interact with other humans. They were completely cut off from everyone else. I was fascinated with  Jo 's story, and I'm really curious about Ursula's story. She has major issues to work through. The romance between Jo and David was going on nicely and believable, but than Connealy wrote that they had their perfect happily-ever-after ending. Since this is a three-book series, I would have liked to see their relationship stretch a little more. Maybe be married in the second book or even the third book. Overall, Aiming for Love is a wonderful story on helping others when they need if even if you don't honestly know them. A delight to spend a couple of hours with.

I received a complimentary copy of Aiming Love by Mary Connealy from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Aiming for Love

About the Author:

Mary Connealy
From Amazon
Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is independently publishing a contemporary romantic suspense series called Garrison's Law, book one is Loving the Texas Lawman. Her new historical series, High Sierra Sweethearts begins with The Accidental Guardian. She is also the author of these series: Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Wild at Heart, Cimarron Legacy, Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages and Sophie's daughters, and has man other books.
She is a two-time Carol Award winner and has been a finalist for the Rita and Christy Awards. She's a lifelong Nebraskan and lives with her very own romantic cowboy hero. She's got four grown daughters and four spectacular grandchildren.
Find Mary online at:
Her website:
Her blog for aspiring writers: Seekerville
Her blog for lovers of western romance: Petticoats & Pistols
Sign up for her newsletter at
Mary is on Facebook at
And Twitter at
(Taken from Amazon.)

Monday, October 28, 2019

Steven James: Synapse

By  Kelly Bridgewater

From the critically-acclaimed author whom Publishers Weekly has called a “master storyteller” comes a taut new thriller where things are not always as they appear to be.

Thirty years in the future, when AI is so advanced that humans live side by side with cognizant robots called Artificials, Kestrel Hathaway must come to terms not just with what machines know, but what they believe. Is hope real for them, or merely an illusion?

Soon after experiencing a personal tragedy, Kestrel witnesses a terrorist attack and is drawn into a world of conspiracies and lies that she and Jordan, her Artificial, have to untangle. With a second, more brutal attack looming on the horizon, their best chance of stopping it is teaming up with federal counterterrorism agent Nick Vernon.

But the clock is ticking—and all the while, Jordan is asking questions that Artificials were never meant to ask.

Deftly weaving suspense and intrigue into a rich, resonant tale that explores faith and what it really means to be human, Steven James offers us a glimpse into the future and into our own hearts.

Synapse is an unforgettable, gripping story of dreams shattered, truth revealed, and hope reborn.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Steven James is my go-to writer when it comes to Psychological Thrillers. He captures my attention and throws in so many twists and turns that I usually don't figure out who the villain is before the end of the novel. James has written a new novel entitled Synapse. This tale is a little dystopian meets I, Robot. Can a machine worship God? That seems to be an important question that the robot in the story asks. As for the plot, I felt quite bored. There really wasn't that much action until the last ten percent of the novel. The main character lost a baby in the opening chapters, and it changes her and sticks with her throughout the novel. But instead of that, she really doesn't change that much. The idea of a minister having a kid without being married is a little odd even though she does talk about God and doubting her faith at times. It just didn't sit with me too well. Overall, Synapse by Steven James is a complete 180 from what he normally writes, and I wasn't that thrilled with the novel.  Fans of science fiction and dystopian novels might devour this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Synapse by Steven James from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Purchase Synapse

About the Author:
Steven James
From Amazon

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven's book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he "sets the new standard in suspense writing." Publishers Weekly calls him a "master storyteller at the peak of his game." And RT Book Reviews promises, "the nail-biting suspense will rivet you."

Equipped with a unique Master's Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven's groundbreaking book on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE, won a Storytelling World award. Widely-recognized for his storycrafting expertise, he has twice served as a Master CraftFest instructor at ThrillerFest, North America's premier training event for suspense writers.

Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, "Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart."

After consulting with a former undercover FBI agent and doing extensive research on cybercrimes, Steven wrote his latest thriller, EVERY WICKED MAN--a taut, twist-filled page turner that is available now wherever books are sold. Suspense Magazine selected it as one of their "Best of 2018" books in the thriller/suspense category. (Taken from Amazon.)

Friday, October 25, 2019

Happy Halloween

By Kelly Bridgewater

Happy Halloween!!!

Even if you don't celebrate this holiday because of what you believe it stands for, I still hope you have a wonderful day.

I actually enjoy Halloween. 

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Nothing is more fun than getting dressed up and taking your kids trick-or-treating. Even though, my oldest two and almost my youngest are too old anymore.

I like the idea of hanging out after dark and roaming the streets, hunting for the greatest candy find.

On 2015, Halloween wasn't so fun.

At 8:45 in the morning, I received that dreaded phone call saying my Daddy wasn't breathing for the past forty-five minutes. With me being over two hours away, I really couldn't do anything, but I rushed to town after he already died. 

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So Halloween has a bit of a sting to it, but I try not to ruin the day for everyone else in my family.

Anyways, however you celebrate or not celebrate, have a good day!!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Elizabeth Byler Younts: The Bright Unknown

By Kelly Bridgewater

Two young friends embark upon an epic journey across 1940s middle America in search of answers, a family, and a place to call home.

The only kind of life Brighton Turner understands is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of a rural Pennsylvania asylum. A nurse has thoughtfully educated and raised Brighton, but she has also kept vital information from her in order to keep her close. Brighton befriends a boy whom she calls Angel—he doesn’t know his name—and as the two of them learn more about what lies beyond the walls they call home, they fight for their release and eventually escape.

However, the world outside the only place they’ve ever known is not what they expect. They have no real names, no money, and no help—and they must rely upon the kindness of strangers as they walk and hitchhike from Pennsylvania to Michigan to find their last hope of a home.

This heartbreaking journey, narrated in gorgeous prose, explores what it means to belong—and to scour the universe with fresh eyes for the brightness within.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

What a fascinating novel! The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts was a wonderful read. I honestly couldn't put it down. The story read like a time-slip novel. I believe there are three different time periods the readers will travel to, but Younts has labeled each section, so it was easy to follow along. On the other hand, the characters were unique. I really enjoyed seeing the world through Brighton's eyes as she lived and explored the only world she ever knew. The asylum. I couldn't imagine living somewhere and thinking it was normal to see all that, but if that is all you knew, then I guess you had no choice. The entire time I couldn't wait to see how Brighton escaped. It took a while to get there, but I think that worked in  Younts' favor; it kept me flipping through the story. I enjoyed how Younts  showed us that there is more to people with disabilities than what people see at first glance. Some of these people are the sweetest people you ever met. I have worked with a number of them over the years and have enjoyed talking with them. Some kept me laughing; while some made me think. The Bright Unknown made me think. This was a unique story, and I enjoyed spending time with it.  Younts is a talented writer, and now I need to seek out her first story. If you like the honesty of this story, you might enjoy The Curse Of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright, it also takes place at an asylum.

I received a complimentary copy of The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Elizabeth Byler Younts
From Amazon
Elizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl and is a RITA nominated writer. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, two daughters, and a cockapoo named Fable.

Go to to learn more. (Taken from Amazon.)

Monday, October 21, 2019

Elizabeth Goddard: Always Look Twice

By Kelly Bridgewater

At the advice of her therapist, homicide survivor Harper Reynolds has traded her job as a crime scene photographer for a more peaceful life taking photographs of the natural world. But her hopes for a life surrounded by the serenity of the outdoors are dashed when she inadvertently captures a murder being committed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She flees the scene in fear--and loses the camera.

Former Green Beret Heath McKade is a reserve deputy in an understaffed county who has been called in to protect Harper, a childhood friend he is surprised to see back in the area. When Harper learns that the sheriff's department can't find any evidence of the murder she witnessed, she is determined to do what she can to see that justice is done. What neither Harper nor Heath could know is how many explosive secrets from the past will be exposed--or how deeply they will fall for each other.

In this suspenseful page-turner, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard keeps you on the edge of your seat as you discover that uncommon justice lies just on the other side of fear.

From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Romantic suspense novels must have non-stop action with death knocking on the heroine and the heroes door with a budding romance between the two. With Always Look Twice by Elizabeth Goddard, her story does definitely that. From the first chapter, I was thrown into a hair raising situation with Harper and wanted to know how the man behind the shotgun was too. Throughout the entire novel, Goddard did a fabulous job at tightening the noose around Harper's neck. Even so far as to have the police suspect her for a moment. As for the romance, it grew from childhood friendship into something deeper, which is completely predictable for this genre. There wasn't much spiritual elements to the characters. It was a hit or miss moments. Not really that important to the characters or the plot. A little disappointing. I wanted them to have a deeper faith and transform by the end of the novel. As for character's transformation, there really wasn't any. When you meet Harper and Heath at the beginning of the novel, they stay the same by the end of the book. Overall, Elizabeth Goddard crafted a high tension, flowering romance , but the characters really didn't have that deep change moment from their dark moment. Fans of Irene Hannon, DiAnn Mills, and Colleen Coble might enjoy adding this novel to their forever shelves.

I received a complimentary copy of Always Look Twice by Elizabeth Goddard, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars