Monday, December 28, 2020

Rachel Scott McDaniel: The Red Canary

 By Kelly Bridgewater

In 1928, soot from the local mills and music from speakeasies linger in the Pittsburgh air. When the manager of The Kelly Club is found dead, nightclub singer Vera Pembroke is thrust into peril. As the only witness to the crime, she’s sentenced to hide away in the Allegheny Forest with a stuffy police sergeant as her guardian.

Sergeant Mick Dinelo harbors a burning hatred for Pittsburgh’s underworld after the devastation it left on his life—and heart. He should be out exposing the culpable gangsters rather than tending to the impetuous woman who defies his every effort to keep her safe.

Mick and Vera must set aside their differences to solve the murder that someone wants to keep buried beneath the soot of Steel City.


From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I read Rachel Scott McDaniel's first novel, Above the Fold, and really enjoyed it. Naturally, I was interested in another novel that she had written, so I was so excited to see that she wrote another historical cozy mystery. This time, The Red Canary, takes place in a speakeasy and a cabin out in the middle of nowhere. The story starts out with the dilemma, which a good story should, and allows the heroine and hero to run from the incident and try to figure out what happened. The romance built quick quickly, but realistically in the situation that McDaniels allowed them to find themselves in. The plot, centering around the setting at the speakeasy, was my favorite part because this is where all the action happened. While the hero and the heroine were hanging out somewhere else, it was more about them falling in love with each other, then worrying about what was happening back in town. I wanted to see more of the hunt for what went wrong. Instead McDaniels had the heroine hide and fall in love. I wanted more focus on the mystery. The heroine captures the sass of a 1920's red head with all the voice to capture readers. McDaniels does a terrific job at inviting her readers into 1920's. I felt like I was really traveling through the early twentieth century, and this is McDaniels strength. Overall, Rachel Scott McDaniels does a delightful job at bringing the 1920's to life. There is no doubt about her ability to craft a story to enthrall her readers, but I wanted a little more focus on the mystery.

I received a complimentary copy of The Red Canary by Rachel Scott McDaniel through the JustRead Tours, but the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Red Canary

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Covers

 By Kelly Bridgewater


Jesus is born!!!!

I love this season. 

I love the lights, decorations, and investing time in my family. Overall, I love the snow!!!

BUT . . .

We haven't had a white Christmas since 2004, so maybe this year is different. I pray so!!

I would love to go sledding on Christmas morning. Build a Snowman with my teenage boys. 

Anyways  . . .

another delight of Christmas for me is watching certain Christmas movies, like Home Alone, Christmas with the Kranks, The Family Stone, White Christmas, Holiday Inn, etc . . .

And reading books.

So I thought I would share some of my favorite Christmas Covers, so in particular order, here are some of my favorite Christmas covers. (All covers come from Goodreads.)

An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen

A Dream Fulfilled by Julie Lessman

The Best Gift of All by Julie Lessman (There are many more in the O'Connor Novellas. These two are my favorite covers. Don't forget to check them all out!)

Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn

Kissing Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn

It Came Upon a Midnight Crime by Christy Barritt

What about you? Do you have any favorite Christmas covers? You know those covers that just scream Christmas spirit? Please share some!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Ashley Clark: The Dress Shop on King Street

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Harper Albright has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her to sew. As she rethinks her own future, secrets long hidden about Millie's past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston and the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they've both dreamed of. But it's not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams.


From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark is a unique and timely story about how race can affect a person. This story reminded me a lot of The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck and The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton. This is a split-time story with present time and flashbacks to 1946 and jumping around into the two timelines meet. While race relations and issues may be present in the news, in the fifties and sixties, it was definitely an issue. Today, not as realistic as it was then. While the characters did shine in their glory, the plot felt like I have read it before. While I did enjoy it, it just felt like a repeat story. So it was not that unique or original. As for the romance between Peter and Harper, I didn't buy their relationship at all. When Millie had to announce to Peter that they liked each other, I was like they do. When did that happen? I wanted more to show their emotions blooming on the pages of the story. The writing was well-written. Clark did a wonderful job at showing the storyline, but I had a hard time with not feeling like it was deja-vu. Overall, The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark reads like a repeat story about race with a little twist to the plot. Fans of Rachel's Hauck's The Wedding Shop or Southern Fiction may find delight in the novel.

I received a complimentary copy of The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Dress Shop on King Street

About the Author:


From Amazon

Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses as an adjunct. She's an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. (Taken from Amazon.)

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Most Anticipated Historical Romance

By Kelly Bridgewater

 It is the time of year again!!!

Time to show the covers and stories that I can't wait to read for the upcoming season. These stories come out in January 2021 through May 2021. 

Last week, I shared my most anticipated Suspense novels. This week, I am sharing my most anticipated Historical Romance novels.

(All covers come from Goodreads unless noted.)

The Vanishing at Loxby Manor by Abigail Wilson

Beauty among Ruins by J'nell Ciesielski

Prince of Spies by Elizabeth Camden

The Curator's Daughter by Melanie Dobson

Shadows of the White City by Jocelyn Green

The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron

My Dear Miss Dupre by Grace Hitchcock

The Lady in the Residence by Allison Pittman

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

Some of these covers are so beautiful!!! Sarah Sundin's is my favorite!!! I need to print off the cover and put it in a frame in my library!! How about you? Is there any book on here that you can't wait to read?

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Ronie Kendig: Dawn of Vengeance

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: Dawn of Vengeance

Author: Ronie Kendig

Genre: FICTION / Science Fiction / Space Opera

Release Date: December 8, 2020

A haunting prophecy upended his identity. Now it demands his life.

Once a formidable bounty hunter, Marco Dusan is plagued by insecurity as he tours the realm he now rules. This quiet, backwater planet is not as untouched as he’d once thought. Evidence of collusion between Droseran factions and the powerful Symmachians with their forbidden technology litters his encounters. Worse, all signs indicate Xisya, the alien who tortured him, is still snatching Kynigos Brethren—but to what end?

Lance Corporal Eija Zacdari works hard to win a coveted place on the Symmachian hyperjump program, but instinct tells her their intel is flawed. Despite nearly failing the tests, she is assigned to the team-and lands in the middle of a bewildering conspiracy.

Haunted by a prophecy that promises pain and war, Marco forges alliances to protect the primitive world against Symmachia’s devastating influence. But one truth becomes painfully clear: the biggest threat to their world may be much, much closer to home.

My Thoughts:

Dawn of Vengeance  by Ronie Kendig is a thrill ride through a completely different world. With different rules and a different culture, Kendig's novel invites readers back to the world of Drosero. Marco has come to face the reality of his discussions and his life path, but he also tries to run away from Kersei, who has been attached to another character. The plot moves in a fast motion, but at times, the story does drag, and I want to move forward in the plot. If readers are familiar with the characters from Brand of Light, then they don't have to worry about being introduced to the characters or their back-story again. It plays out right before their eyes. It definitely is a story that should be read in order. While it appears a third one is in order because of the questions left answered at the end of Dawn, I still have read them as they have been released, but I can't wait to own all three of them, and then sit down and read them all in order. Overall, Dawn of Vengeance by Ronie Kendig is a unique story with a unique setting. Fans of science fiction should pick this novel up.

I received a complimentary copy of Dawn of Vengeance by Ronie Kendig through Celebrate Lit. but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Dawn of Vengeance

About the Author

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of over twenty titles. An Army brat, Ronie lives a short train ride from New York City with her husband, twin sons, and two fur-sons, VVolt N629, a retired military working dog, and Benning the Stealth Golden. Described as an empath by her literary agent, Ronie has used her degree in psychology to write books that have won the coveted Christy Award, RomanticTimes Reviewers’ Choice Award, The Realm Award, HOLT Medallion Award, and more. Her books have also hit the CBA Bestseller List multiple times.

More from Ronie

Throughout the Droseran Saga, Marco Dusan—our much-loved hero—enjoys his favorite drink, warmed Cordi. The inspiration for his citrusy-spiced drink came from a favorite family holiday tradition—“Christmas punch.” My mother-in-law received this recipe while they were stationed in Germany from a colonel’s wife. We make this every Christmas (okay, I make it a lot starting in about late October because it’s so delish). The piquant scent of cranberry, cloves, and orange fills our home every fall and holiday.

The scent of this is apropos for Marco, who tracks by scent. And, interestingly, our noses and smells are connected to memories, which just seemed to demand I come up with some way to create “Marco’s Cordi” for readers. So, this year, I used Adagio Tea’s custom-blend feature to craft a more citrusy blend of Marco’s drink. Now, that’s tea—something Marco doesn’t really enjoy—but add a quarter cup of warmed orange juice, and you’re starting to hit the sweet spot. Marco would be proud!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 12

April Hayman, Author, December 12

Texas Book-aholic, December 13

Book Love, December 13 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Worthy2Read, December 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 14

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 15

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 16

Wishful Endings, December 17

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 17

deb’s Book Review, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 18 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Artistic Nobody, December 19 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 19

For Him and My Family, December 20

Mia Reads, December 20

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 21

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 21

Through the Fire Blogs, December 22

Rachael’s Inkwell, December 22

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 23

Inklings and notions, December 23

Inside the Wong Mind, December 24

Blogging With Carol, December 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 25

Mary Hake, December 25


To celebrate her tour, Ronie is giving away the grand prize package of an “Isaura” themed candle, “Marco’s Cordi” Custom Blend Tea from Adagio, a signed Hardcover of Dawn of Vengeance, and Isaura’s amulet!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Liz Tolsma: The Gold Digger

 By Kelly Bridgewater

In 1907, shy but loyal Ingrid Storset travels from Norway to support her grieving sister, Belle Gunness, who owns a farm in LaPorte, Indiana. Well-to-do widow Belle, who has lost two husbands and several children, provides Ingrid with enough money to start a small business. But Ingrid is confused by the string of men Belle claims to be interviewing for her next husband. When Nils Lindherud comes to town looking for his missing brother, who said he was going to marry Belle, Ingrid has a sinking feeling her sister is up to no good.


My Thoughts:

The Golden Digger by Liz Tolsma was a creepy story. I read this story about two weeks before Halloween, and I really dove into the story. I knew who did it way before Tolsma showed us. I believe most fans of suspense novels would have figured this out too. But this in no way stopped me from finishing the novel. I wanted to see how the heroine and hero would come across the obvious clues and uncover what was happening to these poor bachelors. The story was well-written, and I totally became engrossed in the story. This is definitely a book for the keeper shelf. I can't wait to see what other books need to be read to make this series better. I have really enjoyed reading these hidden mysteries from our history. Some have captured my attention, while others left me wanting more. But The Golden Digger was definitely one of my favorite stories in this series along with The Green Dress.

I received a complimentary copy of The Golden Digger by Liz Tolsma from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Golden Digger

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Most Anticipated Suspense Novels

 By Kelly Bridgewater

It is the time of year again!!!

Time to show the covers and stories that I can't wait to read for the upcoming season. These stories come out in January 2021 through May 2021. 

(All covers come from Goodreads unless noted.)

Lethal Intent by Cara Putnam

Night Fall by Nancy Mehl

Active Defense by Lynette Eason

Obsession by Patricia Bradley

Hours to Kill by Susan Sleeman

Network of Deceit by Tom Threadgill

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock

How about you? Any of the these suspense novels look good to you? Are you going to read any of them or like me, all of them?

Monday, December 7, 2020

Regina Jennings: Courting Misfortune

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Calista York needs one more successful case as a Pinkerton operative to secure her job. When she's assigned to find the kidnapped daughter of a mob boss, she's sent to the rowdy mining town of Joplin, Missouri, despite having extended family in the area. Will their meddling expose her mission and keep Lila Seaton from being recovered?

When Matthew Cook decided to be a missionary, he never expected to be sent only a short train ride away. While fighting against corruption of all sorts, Matthew hears of a baby raffle being held to raise funds for a children's home. He'll do what he can to stop it, but he also wants to stop the reckless Miss York, whose bad judgment consistently seems to be putting her in harm's way.

Calista doesn't need the handsome pastor interfering with her investigation, and she can't let her disguise slip. Her job and the life of a young lady depend on keeping Matthew in the dark. (Image comes from Goodreads.)



My Thoughts:

 Courting Misfortune by Regina Jennings is a novel about a female Pinkerton Agent in Kansas City, KS. The cover was beautiful. Hints of mystery. Hints of history. Eye-catching. The main issue that I had with the story is the romance. While a preacher and an agent can find love with each other, it bothered me that for the first 62% of the novel sparks didn’t blossom at all, but then all of a sudden, they were touching each other and feeling these growing emotions. I didn’t buy it. I know it is a historical romance, but it just didn’t ring true to me. As for the plot, the whole purpose of the heroine being in Kansas City was to hunt for a missing woman. But the heroine did mention her search a number of times, and she went to seedy places looking for her, BUT she got distracted a lot too. Joined a Baby Raffle. Found ways to bump into Matt, the preacher. Met with her Kansas City family. Helped a nearby family. The hunt didn’t seem to override or drive her actions. While the writing was wonderful, I believe the delivery of the story was not on point. Overall, Courting Misfortune by Regina Jennings has a beautiful cover, but the story fell flat for me.

I received a complimentary copy of Courting Misfortune by Regina Jennings from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Purchase Courting Misfortune

Friday, December 4, 2020

Cozy Reads

 By Kelly Bridgewater

It is December!!!

My favorite month of the year. 

Christmas lights, Christmas songs, Christmas shopping, Christmas baking, and spending more time with the family. 

I really love this time of the year. 

There are a number of stories that I usually read every Christmas.

I put away the reviewing and return to some of my favorite stories. 

Here are some of my favorite stories that I like to return to during Christmas: (All covers come from Goodreads!)

The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Complete Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (This year, I have the illustrated ones for the first four books, and I want to read these stories in these books!)

What about you? Do you have any favorite books that you put time away to just enjoy reading for reading sake? I think we all need the time to do this or we forget what we love reading!

Merry Christmas!!!!! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Julie Klassen: A Castaway in Cornwall

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Laura Callaway daily walks the windswept Cornwall coast, known for many shipwrecks but few survivors. She feels like a castaway, set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left wanting answers. Now living with her parson uncle and his parsimonious wife in North Cornwall, Laura is viewed as an outsider even as she yearns to belong somewhere again.

When ships sink, wreckers scour the shore for valuables, while Laura searches for clues to the lives lost. She has written letters to loved ones and returned keepsakes to rightful owners. She collects seashells and mementos, and when a man is washed ashore, she collects him too.

As Laura and a neighbor care for the castaway, the mystery surrounding him grows. He has abrasions and a deep cut that looks suspiciously like a knife wound, and he speaks in careful, educated English, yet his accent seems odd. Other clues wash ashore, and Laura soon realizes he is not who he seems to be. Their attraction grows, and while she longs to return the man to his rightful home, evidence against him mounts. With danger pursuing them from every side, will Laura ever find the answers and love she seeks?


My Thoughts:

Spies. Shipwrecks. Hunted Treasure. Romance. Castaways. What a thrilling story idea! Julie Klassen's latest Regency novel takes place on the shores of Cornwall. Her novel A Castaway in Cornwall is smashing, delightful story filled with elements of finding what makes a person who they are. The romance started a little quicker than I like in novels, but later as their romance blossomed, it was sweet, and I could buy it. As for the plot, it was well-written with plenty of action to keep me glued to the pages of the story. The description was well-versed enough to allow readers to imagine and disappear along the rocky shorelines of England. Personally, as someone who has never left the country, it was nice to travel to Cornwall with Klassen's stories. Probably, why I enjoy her stories so much. I have such a desire to visit England, and her stories always gives me a little peek of the countryside. When I go, there will definitely be places from her stories that I have added to my visit list. Overall, A Castaway in Cornwall was a unique hunt for identity and treasure all in one. I highly recommend this story to fans of Jane Austen and Jane Eyre. If this is your first Klassen novel, go pick up the rest. Wonderful story teller.

I received a complimentary copy of A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase A Castaway in Cornwall