Friday, February 28, 2020

Winter Leaving

By Kelly Bridgewater

I can't believe it is already February 28th. Didn't we just celebrate Halloween? Thanksgiving and my birthday flew by. Christmas was a blur of packages. Thanks to my job at the United States Postal Service.

Now we are moving unto warmer temperatures. Well, at least, in Indiana. We only suffer through winter for January. We still have fall like temperatures up to the new year. Then January acts like winter. Then spring tries to pop its head out in February. Winter might come back for  a day or two in March. Then it becomes full fledge summer on April 1st.  No real cool weather here.

When I was little, (I know. Grandma stop whining.) I remember the winters being longer with more snow and colder temperatures. Not anymore.

We're lucky if we see one snow fall that is more than an inch. And I'm talking getting to three inches. Nothing big. I really want a foot of snow, so I can play in it.

Yes, it would make my job at the USPS a lot harder. I do rural routes, so the roads would not be cleared, and remember when you plow the road, clear the path to your mailbox. If we can't reach it without getting out of the car, I don't have to DELIVER it. That includes your Amazon orders too. 
(Off my soap box.)

I do enjoy seeing the flowers bloom in spring, but other than that, I really don't look forward to warmer temperatures.

How about you? Do you lean more toward colder temperatures or warmer temperatures? Why do you think that is?

Monday, February 24, 2020

Mario Escobar: Children of the Stars

By Kelly Bridgewater

From international bestselling author Mario Escobar comes a story of escape, sacrifice, and hope amid the perils of the second World War.

August 1942. Jacob and Moses Stein, two young Jewish brothers, are staying with their aunt in Paris amid the Nazi occupation. The boys’ parents, well-known German playwrights, have left the brothers in their aunt’s care until they can find safe harbor for their family. But before the Steins can reunite, a great and terrifying roundup occurs. The French gendarmes, under Nazi order, arrest the boys and take them to the VĂ©lodrome d’Hiver—a massive, bleak structure in Paris where thousands of France’s Jews are being forcibly detained.

Jacob and Moses know they must flee in order to survive, but they only have a set of letters sent from the south of France to guide them to their parents. Danger lurks around every corner as the boys, with nothing but each other, trek across the occupied country. Along their remarkable journey, they meet strangers and brave souls who put themselves at risk to protect the children—some of whom pay the ultimate price for helping these young refugees of war.

This inspiring novel, now available for the first time in English, demonstrates the power of family and the endurance of the human spirit—even through the darkest moments of human history.

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From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

 I love World War II stories. From the heroes who populate the pages to the horrific standards of mistreatment to the characters.I can't imagine trying to survive in those times. I can't imagine standing up for what is right like that generation did. I admire them so much. I read Mario Escobar's first English published novel, The Aushcitz Lullaby, and enjoyed it, but I can't really say that for Children of the Stars. On the cover, there is two boys running away from something. Well that sums up the whole plot. They run for point A to B, C, D . . . and all the way to the last two percent in the novel. Yes, it was horrible some of the conditios they faced. Yes, brave people risked their lives for their safety, but when I finished the novel, I sighed in happiness that the novel was over. It wasn't what I usually want in a World War II novel. It was kind of dry. Didn't really thrill me. The characters are young boys, so they don't transform by the end of the novel. Maybe later in life, they will change because of all the horrible things that occurred to them because of the Nazi's, but not in their young mind frame. If readers enjoy World War II, they might completely enjoy this novel, but it didn't hit the spot for me.

I received a complimetary copy of Children of the Stars by Mario Escobar from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Click here to purchase Children of the Stars

Friday, February 21, 2020

18? Are you Sure?

By Kelly Bridgewater

Yesterday was my oldest son's eighteenth birthday.


How did that happen?

I feel like I just graduated high school a couple of years ago. How is he graduating in a little over three months. I don't feel old enough to have a kid that old. But then again, I did have him when I was twenty years old, so that is probably why I feel a little on the young side personally.

This year, I have observed him as he has done things.

He has matured a lot in the last couple of years.

He really doesn't argue when we remind him of his chores. He just does them and moves on. He notices when the trash is overflowing and has taken it out a number of times. He has been the peacemaker between the younger two boys. Even though sometimes he fights with them too. He's not perfect.

He is driving and has a part-time job where he earns money to pay for his own car insurance. We have paid for his class ring, announcements, senior pictures, and cap and gown.

He has paid for his college applications. Submitted them and been accepted to two really great colleges.

I can't believe he will be moving out soon to go to college.

He won't be here every day.

The routine will be different.

Our house will be different.

I remember when my older brother moved out. It felt like part of the family had disappeared. So I wonder as the mother, how will this affect me.

Luckily, he has really claimed and sticks to his faith in God, so I'm extremely thankful for that. I'm not worried about that.

How has any of you gotten through the first, or even the second, child leaving the nest?

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Tom Threadgill: Collision of Lies

By Kelly Bridgewater

Three years ago, a collision between a fast-moving freight train and a school bus full of kids led to devastation and grief on an unimaginable scale. But a fresh clue leads San Antonio police detective Amara Alvarez to the unlikely conclusion that one of the children may still be alive. If she's correct, everything law enforcement believes about the accident is a lie.

With time running out, Amara must convince others--and herself--that despite all evidence to the contrary, the boy lives. And she will do everything in her power to bring him home.

A fresh voice in suspense, Tom Threadgill will have you questioning everything as you fly through the pages of this enthralling story.

From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill is a new author for me. Before Revell agreed to publish this story, I have never heard of him, but apparently, he has a number of other published books out there. I enjoy how the story follows a female heroine written by a male. This was an unexpected twist. The writing is fabulous. Threadgill really knows how to write a police policedural and make it interesting. I liked how he didn't give Amara the Homicide position just yet. She was a procedural detective, so she did what suspense lovers would call the boring job at the police department. I enjoyed the authentic Spanish phrases thrown in to show the heroines background and community. The mystery was different, and I actually couldn't wait to see how it ended. There lies my problem. The ending. I kept reading to see this climactic moment occur and the explanation for why, but it never came. Amara stands to the side and someone comes back to tell her the threat is over. Readers don't see it or hear it. It happens off-side. I was majorly disappointed in this. Didn't feel right to me. I read a suspense story to see justice served, not hear about it and see the aftermath. I also didn't like that the explanation was guessed at by the officers in the police station, but readers never know for certain this is why this happened. Being an author who has been published in the secular market, I was curious if there were moments that were going to touch the line, but Threadgill never did. It is a clean read with no language or sexual scenes. There is a teaser at the end of the this novel for the next novel, so I'm curious about that story and probably will pick it up too. Overall, Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill was a timely and touching hunt for justice, but the ending fell completely flat for me. If readers are a fan of Janice Cantore or Susan Sleeman, I would recommend picking this novel up.

I received a complimentary copy of Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Tom Threadgill
From Goodreads
Tom Threadgill turned his love of a good tale into a full-time profession. His books have a distinct focus on clean, suspenseful action with strong character development. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). In his downtime, Tom enjoys woodworking, riding his Harley, and chasing the elusive Yard of the Month award. He currently resides with his wife in rural western Tennessee and can be reached through his website at (Taken from Goodreads.)

Monday, February 17, 2020

Amanda G. Stevens: From Sky to Sky

By Kelly Bridgewater

Daredevil Zac Wilson isn’t the first celebrity to keep a secret from the world, but his might be the most marvelous in history: Zac doesn’t age and injuries can’t kill him. What’s more, he’s part of a close-knit group of others just like him.

Holed up in Harbor Vale, Michigan, Zac meets two more of his kind who claim others in their circle have died. Are their lifetimes finally ending naturally, or is someone targeting them—a predator who knows what they are?

The answers Zac unearths present impossible dilemmas: whom to protect, how to seek justice, how to bring peace to turmoil. His next action could fracture forever the family he longs to unite. Now might be the time to ask for help. . .from God Himself. But Zac’s greatest fear is facing the God he has run from for more than a century.

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From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

There is something about Amanda G. Stevens ability to capture my attention. Her stories don't usually have a lot of high octane suspense that I graviate toward, but she has the ability to capture my attention and beg me to keep flipping pages. Her stories have deep theological questions that majority of humanity wrestle with and allows the characters to deal with them in a realistic way. I really enjoyed the plot in From Sky to Sky. I couldn't wait to keep reading, so I finished the story in one day.I honestly stayed up way to late reading this story. It begged to be devoured. I really can't wait to see what Stevens does with the next installment. Overall, From Sky to Sky is a unique, well-written, and woven story filled with remarkale characters who have heart and are looking for the meaning to their long lives. I believe fans of James Rubart should pick up this series and enjoy them. I sure do.

I received a complimentary copy of From Sky to Sky by Amanda G. Stevens from Barbor Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

Click here to purchase From Sky to Sky

Friday, February 14, 2020

Most Memorable Couples

By Kelly Bridgewater

Lucky for me, this year this post actually falls on Valentine's Day.

Have you ever read a book where you think the couple belongs together and really stands out to you as a wonderful literary couple?

I have.

Last year, I even shared a post with couples from a book where I don't think they should be together.

This year, I want to share some of my favorite literary couples.

(All images come from Goodreads.)

It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren


A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

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The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin


 Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin


 A Time to Cherish by Robin Jones Gunn


 Gunn created my first literary crush in Todd Spencer and still today, I adore seeing Christy and Todd Spencer as they have grown together. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Jocelyn Green: Veiled in Smoke

By Kelly Bridgewater

Meg and Sylvie Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their father, Stephen, a veteran still suffering in mind and spirit from his time as a POW during the Civil War. But when the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago's business district, they lose much more than just their store.

The sisters become separated from their father, and after Meg burns her hands in an attempt to save a family heirloom, they make a harrowing escape from the flames with the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce. Once the smoke clears away, they reunite with Stephen, only to learn soon after that their family friend not only died during the fire--he was murdered. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum.

Though homeless, injured, and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life, but prove her father's innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.

From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

What a sensory treat for the readers! From the opening chapter, Jocelyn Green took her readers into the smoke and flames and allowed them to emerge from the ashes by the end of the story. Green does a fabulous job at allowing readers to grasp the horror of the Great Chicago Fire on a personal level. I really enjoy the mystery aspect that intermingled with the rebuilding of each individual character's lives. From forgiveness and PTSD, Green sprinkles in elements that are even popular today to empathize with a number of different readers. Romance occurs between two sets of characters, but it really wasn't overwhelming. I didn't feel like it was the guiding force for the story Green needed to tell. Instead, it was the reconstruction of lives and hearts. I really enjoyed spending time with this story, and I can't wait to see what book number two in this sage entails. Fans of Elizabeth Camden or Green's other works should pick up this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Click here to purchase Veiled in Smoke

Monday, February 10, 2020

Susan Anne Mason: The Brightest of Dreams

By Kelly Bridgewater

Quinten Aspinall is determined to fulfill a promise he made to his deceased father to keep his family together. To do so, he must travel to Canada to find his younger siblings, who were sent there as indentured workers while Quinn was away at war. He is also solicited by his employer to look for the man's niece who ran off with a Canadian soldier. If Quinn can bring Julia back, he will receive his own tenant farm, enabling him to provide a home for his ailing mother and siblings.

Julia Holloway's decision to come to Toronto has been met with disaster. When her uncle's employee rescues her from a bad situation, she fears she can never repay Quinn's kindness. So when he asks her to help find his sister, she agrees. Soon after, however, Julia receives some devastating news that changes everything.

Torn between reuniting his family and protecting Julia, will Quinn have to sacrifice his chance at happiness to finally keep his promise?

From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I really enjoy how Bethany House actually put the hero on the cover of Susan Anne Mason's latest novel, The Brightest of Dreams. So many books in the Christian fiction market always has the heroine on the novel. It was nice to see a different perspective for the cover. I have read the first two books in Mason's Canadian Crossing series, and I couldn't wait to read Quinn's story. It does have a ring of familiarity to it, but I felt engrossed in the plot, and I couldn't wait to see if Quinn actually kept his promise to his father, so I stayed glued to the story. The romance was sweet and organic. I enjoyed seeing hints of the main characters in another book in this series.  loved how the story ended. It made me smile. Overall, The Brightest of Dreams is a delightful read filled with heartfelt characters who captured my imagination. I can't wait to see what Mason comes up with next.

I received a complimentary copy of The Brightest of Dreams by Susan Anne Mason from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Click here to purchase The Brightest of Dreams

Friday, February 7, 2020

Writing Goals

By Kelly Bridgewater
A year and a half ago, I decided to give up writing. Actually, it seemed like the right decision for me at the time. I have been mourning and suffering with the death of my Daddy, and I couldn't put the story together. I cried about it. I prayed about it. It seemed to not be the season for me to write.

But . . .

it seemed like God still wanted me to tell my story.

What is the story?

I don't honestly know.

I have had ideas for a three-part series taking place at Bletchley Park in London during World War II.

Luckily, for me the two published Christian Historical Romance authors that have written about this same place did not write the story I wanted to write. I have notes and research. Maybe I'll finish the three book series someday.

I also have an idea for a historical mystery series featuring a prominent family in Indiana. There would be money, mafia involvement, murder, bootlegging, reporters, war, family betrayal, and a hint of romance all tied up in one family.

It would occur during the 1928 - 1940 something.

I really feel like this should be the story I should focus on. I have started some research at the local library where my fictional town will be placed. I really enjoy glancing at images of this town back when I plan to set my story. It is really fueling my story.

I have the dark moment and wound of the first character. I think I have his plot of transformation worked out. I just need the mystery element plotted a little more. I really hope I can write this novel. I would love to see how the story comes out.

Plus, the preceding characters and stories I think will really capture the audience. I hope. I have been spending time praying and focusing on God's Word too. I really feel like these are the stories I should be focusing on right now.

Any advice for someone who hasn't written in a while but still needs to stay focused and not allow Satan to tempt me to stop. I would LOVE to hear it.