Friday, May 29, 2020

Most Anticipated for Summer 2020

By Kelly Bridgewater

It is that time again.

Another edition of where I show you the books I can't wait to read in the coming months.

This time the books cover from May 1 to August 31, 2020.


(All Covers come from Goodreads, unless noted!)

Stay With Me by Becky Wade


 Storing Up Trouble by Jen Turano


The Heart of a Hero by Susan May Warren

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A Gilded Lady by Elizabeth Camden


The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks

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The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan

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Acceptable Risk by Lynette Eason

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Are any of these books going to be read by you this coming summer? Summer is when I hibernate and read tons of books, so I plan to knock out some of these books in no time. Can't wait!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

J'nell Ciesielski: The Socialite

By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book:

Title: The Socialite
Author: J'Nell Ciesielski
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication Date: April 14, 2020

Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.

As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?

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From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

The cover is the most wonderful aspect of this novel that attracted me to the story. I have read J'nell Ciesielski's previous two novels, so I am knowledgeable about her writing style. She does a fabulous job at crafting a deep dimensional characters that carry around their share of burdens. Kate is a complex character who will do anything, literally, to rescue her sister, Ellie, from the hands of the Nazi's. While Barrett, the hero, sacrifices himself and rescues Kate and Ellie too many times to count. The plot gave me mixed feelings. It has been done before. Who didn't try to escape the Nazi's during World War II? But it had the feeling of being a slight different with the sister coming to rescue her sister who was in a current relationship with a high ranking Nazi officer. The romance between Kate and Barrett at times seemed a little out of place. I didn't really buy that they liked each other as much as Ciesielski lead on. Yes, there is the happily-ever-after moment for fans who have to have those moments in every story. Overall, J'nell Ciesielski has captured an essence of World War II played out by deeply wounded characters who wants their families whole again. Fans of Melanie Dobson or Sarah Sundin might enjoy this novel. I did.

I received a complimentary copy of The Socialite by J'nell Ciesielski from Thomas Nelson Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Socialite

About the Author

From Celebrate Lit.
With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at

More from J’Nell

I blame Pinterest. Too many hours are spent chasing rabbit holes of glorious pictures of fashion from eras gone by, Highlanders in kilts, WWI ambulances, and fairytale castles. One day I was browsing something super important (or possibly escaping from the actual work I was supposed to be doing, er, we’ll never know) and stumbled across a black and white picture of six beautiful girls. Who are these lovely ladies? I wondered. A quick search brought up the Mitford sisters. Six gorgeous daughters born into an aristocratic English family, each girl with a different passion: Diana the fascist, Jessica the communist, Unity the Hitler lover, Nancy the novelist, Deborah the duchess, and Pamela the poultry connoisseur. Whoa. You know dinner time around their family table was interesting. How could such different personalities belong in the same family? What would you do if your sister got moon-eyed over Hitler??
Bam. An idea was born.
In the beginning, my little rebel Ellie was going to be a full-fledged Nazi ideology lover, but she quickly informed me that it wasn’t so much the Nazis or their crazy ideas she loved, but one man in particular. One twisted Nazi who had fallen completely under her spell, and she under his. The ideas of love can often be more difficult to break as Kat finds out when she tries to rescue her naïve sister. Luckily, she has a hunky Sottish bartender to help her while providing a few romantic intentions of his own. With everyone hiding past hurts and true identities, how will they ever hope to find the love they each long for when war rages under the bright lights of Paris? Guess you’ll have to read to find out 😉

Blog Stops

Emily Yager, May 22
Simple Harvest Reads, May 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Livin’ Lit, May 26
Betti Mace, May 27
Genesis 5020, May 28
Remembrancy, May 28
Mia Reads, May 29
Rebecca Tews, May 30
Moments, June 2
Andrea Carmen, June 3
Hallie Reads, June 4


To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a book and a book sleeve!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Abigail Wilson: Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey

By Kelly Bridgewater

Award-winning author Abigail Wilson returns to Regency England with another tale of murder, mystery, and romance.

When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity, as well as his dangerous mission.

Trapped by not only the duty to her country but her limited options, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her illegitimate son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son’s absent father. She is met by Torrington’s beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murderer, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France. Afraid of what Lord Torrington might do if he learns of her son’s true identity, Elizabeth must remain one step ahead of her fragile heart, her uncertain future, and the relentless mystery person bent on her new family’s ruin.

From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

All these book publishers gave me creating some really awesome covers lately. Some totally missed the mark, but others, like Abigail Wilson's latest Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey, hit it right out of the park. I love these covers. Wilson's new novel is a wonderful Regency romance that reads well as a mystery. Wilson definitely knows how to sew words together to capture a scene and the emotions of the characters. While the marriage of convenience has been done A LOT, Wilson still uses the mystery to entice the readers to come along. Sometimes when I read Regency novels, the romance seems a little over the top and unbelievable, but in this novel, Wilson actually allowed Elizabeth and Lord Torrington to hunt for clues while slowly falling in love. The climactic ending was exciting. Wilson is showing why she will be around for a while on the writing circuit. Fans will eagerly await to see what mystery she comes up with next. 

I received a complimentary copy of Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson from Thomas Nelson Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey

Friday, May 22, 2020


By Kelly Bridgewater

This weekend, my oldest son graduates from high school.


How is that even possible?

Didn't I just graduate from high school a couple of years ago?

I know it has been twenty years, but it doesn't feel that long ago.

I can't believe my family is about to change.


I pray for my son as he embarks on this new quest for his life. Keep him close. Allow him to keep you as the most important in his life. Allow him to grow closer and closer to you. Guide him as he ventures out into this big, scary, and faithless world. I want him to keep clinging to you as he discovers all you made him to be.

Son, I know you can do this. It may seem scary now, but eventually, it won't, and I know you are strong enough to do this. Your father and I have shown you all you need to know, but we are just a phone call away if you need us.

Love you so much!

I'm proud of the man you have become!


Your mother


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Amanda Barratt: The White Rose Resists

By Kelly Bridgewater

Inspired by the incredible true story of a group of ordinary men and women who dared to stand against evil The ideal of a new Germany swept up Sophie Scholl in a maelstrom of patriotic fervor--that is, until she realized the truth behind Hitler's machinations for the fatherland. Now she and other students in Munich, the cradle of the Nazi government, have banded together to form a group to fight for the truth: the White Rose. Risking everything to print and distribute leaflets calling for Germans to rise up against the evil permeating their country, the White Rose treads a knife's edge of discovery by the gestapo.

Annalise Brandt came to the University of Munich to study art, not get involved with conspiracy. The daughter of an SS officer, she's been brought up to believe in the f�hrer's divinely appointed leadership. But the more she comes to know Sophie and her friends, the more she questions the Nazi propaganda.

Soon Annalise joins their double life--students by day, resisters by night. And as the stakes increase, they're all forced to confront the deadly consequences meted out to any who dare to oppose the Reich.

A gripping testament to courage, The White Rose Resists illuminates the sacrifice and conviction of an unlikely group of revolutionaries who refused to remain silent-no matter the cost.

From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I have read A LOT of World War II stories. One of my two favorite genres to devour. I have read plenty of stories which show the plight and hurt of the Jewish people. I have read the plight of the soldiers who have done the hurting. But I have always wondered why no one actually stood up to the soldiers and Hitler. Anyone could see the harm he was causing to people. I heard a lot of good news about Amanda Barratt's first novel, My Dearest Dietrich
but I haven't read it YET. When I read the synopsis for The White Rose Resists, I knew it was the missing piece in my World War II information. I really couldn't wait to see what some Aryan college students who do to defy Hitler. Barratt's writing is a delight. The words flow easily from the page to my imagination. I love how she allowed the characters to be normal people who didn't set out to do something extraordinary; they saw an injustice and wanted to fix it. Admirable. There is some romance. There is some moments of breath catching. There is moments of sighing in relief because they didn't get caught. I can't wait to add this story to my physical shelf with all my other World War II novels. Definitely original and unpredictable. I can't wait to see what else Barratt researches and allows to come alive for readers. Something to keep an eye out for. 

I received a complimentary copy of The White Rose Resists by Amanda Barratt from Kregel Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The White Rose Resists

About the Author:

Amanda Barratt
From Amazon
ECPA best-selling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story--a spin-off of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes romantic, historical fiction, penning stories of beauty and brokenness set against the backdrop of bygone eras not so very different from our own. She's the author of over a dozen novels and novellas, including The White Rose Resists: A Novel of the German Students Who Defied Hitler and My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love.

Amanda lives in the woods of Michigan with her fabulous family, where she can be found reading way too many books, plotting her next novel, and jotting down imaginary travel itineraries for her dream vacation to Europe.

Connect with her on Facebook and visit her online at (Taken from Amazon.)

Monday, May 18, 2020

Patricia Bradley: Standoff

By Kelly Bridgewater

The Natchez Trace National Parkway stretches 444 miles from Nashville to Natchez, the oldest town on the Mississippi River. It's the perfect road for a relaxed pleasure drive. Unfortunately for park ranger Luke Fereday, lately it's being used to move drugs. Sent to Natchez to infiltrate the organization at the center of the drug ring, Luke arrives too late to a stakeout and discovers the body of his friend, park ranger John Danvers.

John's daughter Brooke is determined to investigate her father's murder, but things are more complicated than they first appear, and Brooke soon finds herself the target of a killer who will do anything to silence her. Luke will have his hands full keeping her safe. But who's going to keep him safe when he realizes he's falling--hard--for the daughter of the man he failed to save?

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley introduces you to a new series set in the sultry South that will have you wiping your brow and looking over your shoulder.

From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

A drug deal gone bad is the basis for Patricia Bradley's newest novel Standoff. With plenty of action and a budding romance, Bradley grasps readers by the first chapter and doesn't let go until the climactic ending. The suspense is just right for fans of romantic suspense. The tension keeps escalating as the story progresses. The romance kept flittering between two main male characters until it reached its predictable ending. The story concept wasn't that original, but it didn't take away from me wanting to finish the story. Overall, Standoff by Patricia Bradley was an enjoyment for fans of romantic suspense. I think fans of her previous novels, Colleen Coble, or DiAnn Mills would enjoy this story. 

I received a complimentary copy of Standoff by Patricia Bradley from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Standoff

Friday, May 15, 2020

Memorial Day

By Kelly Bridgewater

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend.

Don't forget to honor and bring memory to those soldiers who have passed on before.

That is what this holiday is truly about.

Yes, it is time for bar-b-ques and swimming pools to open.

It is also time for overbearing temperatures.





And did I mention, Bugs!!

As you can tell, I can't stand summer. It is no fun for me. I usually hibernate and read books. We'll see how that goes this summer.

Anyways, have a wonderful summer and make memories with your family.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Robin Caroll: Dead Silence

By Kelly Bridgewater

Political games can be deadly…
Elise Carmichael is a court sign language interpreter who reads lips all the time. As a widow with a young son who is deaf, lip reading is simply second nature, until the day she reads the lips of someone on the phone discussing an attempt to be made on a senator’s life—a senator who just happens to be her mother-in-law. Before she can decide what she needs to do, she receives the information that her son is rushed to the ER and she must leave. Then she later sees the news report that her mother-in-law has been shot and killed. But when she comes forward, her life, as well as her son’s life, may now be in the crosshairs of the assassin.

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From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Cozy mysteries are fun and exiting way to spend a couple of hours. Robin Caroll has written a number of them. The plot starts out with an inciting incident, which throws the heroine on a loop through the rest of the novel. While the plot keeps moving, just the way I like them, it does seem like a lot for a six day period. I wish the final moments and the reasoning behind the whole thing was a little deeper than it was. It seemed pretty simplistic of a reason. Once the heroine figures it out, I shook my head in disbelief. Really. That was what all the fuss was about. Definitely not a top notch cozy mystery in my book. The writing is wonderful. Caroll definitely knows how to capture the readers with her attention to detail and unique characters. I enjoyed seeing a deaf child make an appearance. Overall, I wish for more to the mystery elements to fully immerse me into the story line. But this is my opinion, this could be your favorite mystery story. 

I received a complimentary copy of Dead Silence by Robin Caroll through Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Purchase Dead Silence

Monday, May 11, 2020

Beth K. Vogt: The Best We've Been

By Kelly Bridgewater

How can you choose what is right for you when your decision will break the heart of someone you love?

Having abandoned her childhood dream years ago, Johanna Thatcher knows what she wants from life. Discovering that her fiancé was cheating on her only convinces Johanna it’s best to maintain control and protect her heart.

Despite years of distance and friction, Johanna and her sisters, Jillian and Payton, have moved from a truce toward a fragile friendship. But then Johanna reveals she has the one thing Jillian wants most and may never have―and Johanna doesn’t want it. As Johanna wrestles with a choice that will change her life and her relationships with her sisters forever, the cracks in Jillian’s marriage and faith deepen. Through it all, the Thatcher sisters must decide once and for all what it means to be family.

From Goodreads
My Thoughts:

I have really enjoyed reading The Thatcher Sisters' series by Beth K. Vogt. It reads a lot like Lousia May Alcott's Little Women with the hurts, truths, and lies all laid on the table for everyone to see. Vogt does a wonderful job at not hiding the truths and making this family appear perfect. They have their faults, and I'm glad they work through them. This is the last story, so of course, there is going to be forgiveness and reconcilation. Even though I knew it was coming, I couldn't wait to see how it happened. The characters are brought to life with their internal and external struggles. Joanna, Payton, and Jillian are wonderful characters who survive a lot, but in the end, have a much closer relationship. I don't usually gravitate toward this genre, but I hope Vogt goes back in a couple of years and shares an update on this family novel. It would definitely be one I would pick up and read. Recommended!

I received a complimentary copy of The Best We've Been by Beth K. Vogt from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Best We've Been

Friday, May 8, 2020

Tribute to Mothers

By Kelly Bridgewater

I am lucky enough to have two mothers.

My mother who gave birth to me, and my mother through marriage.

My mother is a wonderful woman who uses God to guide all her decisions. She is the type of mother who has spent tons of hours praying for her children and a desire to learn more about God.

I learned a majority of my frugal tips from my mother. I watched her go to yard sales when I was younger so that could be where I earned my desire for a good sale.

My mother enjoys spending time with my boys and me. She values quality time not screen time. Definitely agree with that.

I also have clean freak gene from my mother. I like a clean house, and I live with four messy boys, which drive me nuts.

On the other hand . . .

my mother-in-law is actually someone I totally enjoy spending time with. I know most daughters can't stand their mother-in-laws or they just put up with them on the holidays, but I actually enjoy my mother-in-law.

We have gone Christmas shopping, book sale shopping, and deep discount shopping on Black Friday together. I don't mind going to her house and helping her with something. I don't mind her teaching me things too. I have learned how to sew things together from her. She has always cut my boys hair. I have never went to a barber for my boys.  

I know that I can reach out to her when I have a flat tire or feel sick, and she will rush right over and help me out.

She has been there for all my boys' birthdays, Christmas programs, and anything my boys has been in.

I'm grateful that God has given me these two women to pour into my  life. The Bible does mention that we should learn from the older generation, and I think I definitely learn a lot from these two wonderful women.

Thank you!

What about you? Do you have mothers or an elderly woman who pours into your life on a daily or weekly basis?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Becky Wade: Stay With Me

By Kelly Bridgewater

Loving her is a risk he can't afford . . . and can't resist.

When acclaimed Bible study author Genevieve Woodward receives an anonymous letter referencing her parents' past, she returns to her hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains to chase down her family's secret. However, it's Genevieve's own secret that catches up to her when Sam Turner, owner of a historic farm, uncovers the source of shame she's worked so hard to hide.

Sam has embraced his sorrow, his isolation, and his identity as an outsider. He's spent years carving out both career success and peace of mind. The last thing he wants is to rent the cottage on his property to a woman whose struggles stir his worst failure back to life. Yet can he bear to turn her away right when she needs him most?

From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Becky Wade crafts masterful characters who are truly hurting. In her latest novel, Stay With Me, which also happens to be the introduction to her new Misty River Series, Wade's heroine struggles with pain pill addiction throughout majority of the novel. Wade made her struggles realistic and haunting. As someone who has personally never seen someone go through withdrawal but read books and watched movies with this type of scene, I believe Wade did a good job at allowing Genevieve succeed but still crave the pills. The romance is enduring and  formulaic for the fans of contemporary romance. The plot was different and captured my attention from the first page. I really liked the side story that Natasha and the heroine worked on. I was curious what the messages meant to. Overall, Stay with Me by Becky Wade has hauntingly realistic hurt characters who work through their struggles to find purpose and love for their loves. A definite must-read for fans of Wade's other works and contemporary romance fans.

I received a complimentary copy of Stay With Me by Becky Wade from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Stay With Me