Friday, April 30, 2021

Creative Places to Craft Stories

 By Kelly Bridgewater


Like I mentioned last week, it would be nice to have somewhere to go to force me to write my stories.


Doesn’t have to be somewhere fancy.


Just somewhere that doesn’t have my three boys, two dogs, and my husband begging for my attention. Like my house does.


Somewhere I am not tempted to clean the kitchen or fold laundry.

Somewhere where my boys are asking me to help them with their homework. Not that I don’t like helping them, but sometimes it drains a person physically and emotionally to always be helping someone else all the time.


While I live out in the middle of nowhere, it takes about 30 minutes to get anywhere, so I really can’t plan to drive to a local coffee shop and hang out for hours writing. Not when I get home from work at 5:30, then have to be up at 5:45 the next morning.


We do own some land. Partially wooded. Partially flat land for our garden. A creek that runs through the middle of the property. I have decided to sit on the top of the hill that overlooks the creek and faces the back of our house.


It is quiet. I usually take our two-year-old golden retriever and almost nine-year-old Beagle with me as I sit there. Most of the time, it is just enjoying my time without any distractions, and I don’t write much, but it is nicer than being in the house at times.


Especially in the fall, I love being surrounded by the cold air and the beautiful colors. In the winter, it is colder, but I love sitting near the snow and listening to the snow fall through the trees. Snow actually makes noise. Don’t believe me. Then sit outside when it is snowing and listen. It is a nice little whisper.


I love the smell of the cold air too, so it is nice to sit there and pet my dogs. Not much writing gets done though.


What about you? Do you have a unique place to sit and allow the creative juices to flow? Where is it?

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Terri Blackstock: Aftermath

By Kelly Bridgewater

A devastating explosion.

Three best friends are at the venue just to hear their favorite band . . . but only one of them makes it out alive.

A trunk full of planted evidence.

When police stop Dustin with a warrant to search his trunk, he knows it’s just a mistake. He’s former military and owns a security firm. But he’s horrified when they find explosives, and he can’t fathom how they got there.

An attorney who will risk it all for a friend.

Criminal attorney Jamie Powell was Dustin’s best friend growing up. They haven’t spoken since he left for basic training, but she’s the first one he thinks of when he’s arrested. Jamie knows she’s putting her career on the line by defending an accused terrorist, but she’d never abandon him. Someone is framing Dustin to take the fall for shocking acts of violence . . . but why?


My Thoughts:

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock is not reader’s typical romantic suspense novel. There really is not a suspenseful element that drives the story along and has the reader grasping for justice. Right away, there is an element of tension that affects the outcome of the characters. The hero is thrown for a loop and trying to stay out of jail with the help of the heroine. While there is a hunt to figure out who created the bomb and wanted it to destroy the politician, the story really centers around the characters emotions and feelings as they try to solve who set up the hero. As I was reading the story, the plot reminded me a lot of Life After by Katie Ganshert. Not a real suspense novel. Just a contemporary novel with a little bit of the uneasiness of knowing who did the damage. The person who actually set the bomb in motion had a clear motive that I could have gotten behind, but I still do not agree with how he did it. Overall, if readers enjoyed this story, then I suggest picking up Ganshert’s novel too. It is along the same storyline.

I received a complimentary copy of Aftermath by Terri Blackstock by Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Aftermath 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Irene Hannon: Blackberry Beach

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted--fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn't she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she'll be able to calm the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss--and he has no plans to change the life he's created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. He's had enough drama to last a lifetime. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. And as their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites you to come home to Hope Harbor--where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.



My Thoughts:

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon is a quintessential contemporary romance. Two characters, Katherine and Zach, must interact and fight the growing emotions inside themselves against all the external dilemma forcing them apart. In this next installment of Hope Harbor, readers familiar with Hannon’s Hope Harbor’s series are brought back to the sandy beaches with Charlie’s taco truck lining the way. The romance is obviously the reader’s draw to this series. It sparks, pops, and blossoms into something beautiful by the end of the story. Of course, if readers enjoy predictable, yet the happy ending moment between the two characters, then Hannon hit it right on the nose. I believe fans of Hannon’s other contemporary romances would love this novel too. It is nice to return to a familiar town with familiar characters. Fans of Becky Wade, Johnnie Alexander and other contemporary romances would love Blackberry Beach.

I received a complimentary copy of Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Purchase Blackberry Beach

Friday, April 23, 2021

She-Sheds: Are They Real?

 By Kelly Bridgewater


You know those State Farm commercials with the She-Shed’s on fire. Of course, we have all seen them.


But . . . do women actually own them.


When you watch all those home hunter shows, the husbands need their man caves or they need offices or guest bedrooms. But I never hear them mention a room for the woman to get away from all the chores in the house or the constant demand on mom’s time. The mother, in my cases, including mine, is the most busiest person in the house. We have to work outside the home. I do know a lot of mothers that their husbands make enough money that they don’t have to do that. Unfortunately, my husband makes more than the average income in our area, but not enough money for me to stay at home. I did while the boys were younger, but now they are all in school, I have earned a job outside of the home. We cook dinner when we come home. We help with homework. We make sure the chores and baths are done. We make sure all the animals are feed, watered, and restroom breaks.


I have heard a number of husbands say that the whole house belongs to the wife.




That isn’t true.


All these other people keep roaming around my space. It isn’t my dirty dishes all over the kitchen counter and table. It isn’t my dirty laundry all over the floor in the bedrooms. It isn’t my dirty bathroom.


Where is my space where no one else can invade? Husbands need their own rooms, but the wife gets to claim the house with everything else included. How is that fair?


Yep, sounds like a two year old complaining about his toys.


But I know of a couple of writers that have she-sheds in their own backyards that they go outside and write in.


I know writers that have husbands that will watch the kids while the wife goes to the local coffee shop and writes her stories a couple of times a week.

I know writers who actually attend writing groups every week. Women who actually go to the salon to work on their hair.


Not that I’m high maintenance, but I would love some time away from all the worries that affect my daily life.


What about you? Do you have a place that you go to when you need to work on drafting a story?


Come back next week where I’m going to talk about creative places to craft your stories.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Erica Marie Hogan: The Good German Girl

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book:  The Good German Girl

Author: Erica Marie Hogan

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: April 15, 2021

Omaha Beach
June 6, 1944

When battle-hardened Private Bernie Russell witnesses a fellow soldier shoot a young German boy with his hands up, he’s shaken to his very core. Then, as that same boy is dying, he presses a packet of photographs and letters into Bernie’s hand and utters three words in English.

It must end.

After having the letters translated, he discovers they were written by the soldier’s twin sister and the photographs within the packet reveal evidence of Hitler’s plan to wipe out the Jews.

Berlin, Germany

Margot Raskopf is a young art teacher, forced to conform to the education Hitler has designed. Then, when one of her sources with the underground resistance receives a letter for her from an American soldier, she’s shocked and filled with renewed hope. But Margot has been harboring a secret. In her house she hides a young Jewish woman she’s known since childhood, risking being discovered by the gestapo with each passing day.

As they begin a dangerous correspondence, both Margot and Bernie embark on treacherous journeys. One taking Bernie across Europe and right into Germany. Another taking Margot through the gates of Auschwitz … and under the scrutiny of Josef Mengele.


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

The Good German Girl by Erica Marie Hogan showcases the horrors of the concentration camps during World War II alongside the heart of this brave generation in her individual characters who populate the story. The plot centers around Auschwitz II; the camp where Dr. Mengle resided and conducted all his horrific experiments on twins and other innocent subjects. Margot, the heroine, is thrown into the concentration camp because she refused to allow her best friend, Isle, to be taken away from her. The plot is a little different. I really enjoyed how the story started at D-Day at Omaha beach with an American soldier’s perspective, then it moved to the present day story for Margot in the 1944’s. Readers are allowed to see Margot’s heart and her perspective as she moves along before the concentration camp. The ending was a little different than expected, but it tied the story up nicely. On the other hand, Hogan’s writing is nicely handled. She does a wonderful job at balancing the viewpoints and keeping close to the characters. The setting was described well. I had no problem imagining the horrors she wrote about. Overall, The Good German Girl by Hogan is delightful story for fans of World War II historical novel. I would recommend picking up this novel if readers enjoy Sarah Sundin or Melanie Dobson.

I received a complimentary copy of The Good German Girl by Erica Marie Hogan through Celebrate Lit tours, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the Author

From as far back as she can remember, Erica Marie Hogan loved to write. When she was a little girl she adored make believe, but gradually her imagination became too big to restrict it to playtime and so, she wrote.
Erica was born and raised for nine years on Orient Point, Long Island, New York. After that she moved with her family to Virginia and, finally, to Texas where she now lives. She was homeschooled, is an avid reader, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives to plot new stories, enjoys a good tear-jerker, and chocolate is her cure for any ailment.
Erica’s wish is to continue to write stories that not only drop her readers into the middle of historical time periods, but also to show the ability to rise up out of adversity and tragedy in hope, faith, love, and strength. When it comes to genre, she has no limits.

Along with The Winter Queen Series Erica’s World War I standalone novel, The Lost Generation, is also available now from Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.

More from Erica

There are two things I love in a good story. History and Romance. And when the two come together? Well, I’m sold.

Hi, I’m Erica Marie Hogan, the author of The Good German Girl, book one in a Historical Fiction series called A League of Extraordinary Women. When I set out to write a novel based during World War II, I never imagined The Good German Girl would be the end result. I started with an idea about a young German woman living in Berlin who wants to fight back against Hitler’s rule. This mustard seed of an idea took me on a journey through the battles at Omaha Beach, Aachen, Germany & the Battle of the Bulge. It took me through the gates of Auschwitz and right into Josef Mengele’s lab.

This little idea took me on a quest for love in the most horrible of circumstances. Where war and death divided two people who should be enemies but, through a miraculous correspondence, found each other and knew in their hearts they were meant to save each other. The Good German Girl is a Historical Fiction novel about the tragedy of World War II with the gentle beginnings of an epic love woven through the pages. I hope you enjoy the story of Margot Raskopf and Bernie Russell as much as I enjoyed writing about them!

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, April 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 19

Genesis 5020, April 19

Connie’s History Classroom, April 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 21

Where Faith and Books Meet, April 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 22

Texas Book-aholic, April 23

Christian Bookaholic , April 23

Betti Mace, April 24

For Him and My Family, April 25

Maidens for Modesty, April 25

deb’s Book Review, April 26

Inklings and notions, April 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 28

Mary Hake, April 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 30

Maureen Timerman, April 30


To celebrate her tour, Erica is giving away the grand prize package of $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!

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

Monday, April 19, 2021

Elizabeth Goddard: Present Danger

 By Kelly Bridgewater 

Former FBI Special Agent Jack Tanner is working as a detective in Montana when he comes across a body in the national forest during a search and rescue mission. He's committed to finding the killer, even if it means working alongside his old flame, US Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors.

When Terra discovers that the murder victim had ties to a powerful and dangerous trafficker of archaeological artifacts, the investigation takes a deadly turn--one that hits too close to home. As Terra fears she lacks the courage to face what comes next, Jack is more determined than ever to protect her. But he's failed her before. And if he fails this time, it will cost them far more than just their hearts.

Join bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth Goddard as she plunges you into a web of deceit made of hidden crimes, open threats, and long-buried family secrets in this gripping first book of an explosive new series.



My Thoughts: 

Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard hits all the marks of a romantic suspense novel. From the beginning, the heroine and hero lives are put in danger. Sparks fly all over the pages as they decide whether to trust their past relationship’s feelings or ignore each other all together. While the plotline does check off what readers of a romantic suspense want in their novel, I wish there was more about the hidden artifacts. Goddard gave a view of them in the cabin and some backstory, but I wish there was more information about the importance of these items. Why were important? Where they reported missing? Did the cops or another agency try to hunt these items down before now? It is like they went missing, and no one really cared, or at least, Goddard did not show us the importance of these missing items. On the other hand, the characters behaved in predictable ways. Nothing out of the ordinary. They chased the clues and the romance. Goddard’s writing is good. She wrote a story that fans of romantic suspense would enjoy. I believe fans of Lynn Blackburn, Irene Hannon, Colleen Coble, and DiAnn Mills would also enjoy this novel. 

I received a complimentary copy of Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

 Purchase Present Danger

Friday, April 16, 2021

Refund for My Student Loans

 By Kelly Bridgewater

In a couple of months, I will talk about why I do not believe that Loan Forgiveness is a good thing for Americans.

Now that stupid Biden and Harris are doing everything in their power to destroy our country, why not try harder?

Loan forgiveness.

Sounds good . . . to the people that are not responsible enough to pay their loans off.

BUT . . .

What about the students who were responsible and actually have worked hard, saved, and sacrificed to actually pay off their student loan debts?

My husband took out $10,000 in student loan debts when he attended UTI in Chicago. We worked for years and finally paid this debt off with barely any income. We only made $12000 a year when we worked hard to pay this debt off. We had no credit cards. We had a little mortgage. We had no car payments. We did not go out to eat. I purchased all my boys clothes from yard sales and church sales. It was tough. No vacations. No latest electronics. Even today, my nineteen year old, sixteen year old, and twelve year old do not have phones. My phone is from 2012.

But we did it.

Now, if all these babies are getting their loan forgiven just because they are not responsible enough to budget and pay their bills that they took knowing the consequences completely, then I want a refund on my student loan debt that I paid back as a responsible adult.

You live within your means. Pay off the debt. Don’t make excuses and blame the government. YOU TOOK OUT THE LOANS. A college education is not a requirement to succeed in life. If you can’t pay for it without loans, then maybe you should not be attending a university.

Bottom Line:

No Loan Forgiveness for ANYONE!! That is the adult response! 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Colleen Coble: Three Missing Days

 By Kelly Bridgewater

A chilling murder.

Chief of Police Jane Hardy plunges into the investigation of a house fire that claimed the life of a local woman as well as one of the firefighters. It’s clear the woman was murdered. But why? The unraveling of Jane’s personal life only makes the answers in the case more difficult to find.

Her son’s arrest.

Then Jane’s fifteen-year-old son is accused of a horrific crime, and she has to decide whether or not she can trust her ex, Reid, in the attempt to prove Will’s innocence—and whether she can trust Reid with her heart.

Her stolen memories.

Three days of Jane’s past are missing from her memory, and that’s not all that has been stolen from her. As she works to find the woman’s murdered and clear her son’s name, finding out what happened in those three days could change everything.

It all started with one little lie. But the gripping truth is finally coming out.


My Thoughts:

Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble is a three-book series with each individual story having a mystery, but there is an overarching series mystery that comes to the ending in Three Missing Days. Jane, the heroine, finally has a mystery that reaches deep into her past and confronts her present. She is scrambling around with trying to remember the three missing days and what happened. What does this have to do with the current mystery? What does this have to do with her son? The suspense keeps building. The romance keeps building. One of my favorite aspects of the mystery is the romance has been building since the first book. It does not happen all in the third book. The suspense was tightly packed and had moments of angst with the Jane. Coble still crafts a story that captures the readers and has them flipping through the pages in a hurry. Overall, Three Missing Days was definitely what fans of romantic suspense are longing for when they open a Coble novel. Fans of her previous work or DiAnn Mills will enjoy this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble by Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Three Missing Days

Friday, April 9, 2021

He is Risen!!!!

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Last Friday was Good Friday. Sunday was Easter. So this second post dealing with the Scriptures and Jesus's crucificiation is a little late, but it is a WONDERFUL message, so I don't think anyone will mind.

"Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them came to the tomb bringing spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. An did happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, 'Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!' " Luke 24 : 1- 6

Praise Jesus!!!!

He conquered death and Satan has no power over Him anymore.

I couldn't imagine what those women went through. It was not the morning they were expecting.

I hope this message encourages you to keep trusting in God. What he did was for you and me. Something we can't ever earn. Just accept his gift of eternal life. 

Scripture came from the Journal the Word Bible NKJV.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

David James Warren: No Stone Unturned

 By Kelly Bridgewater

“The One Rule Is, Don’t Mess With The Past”

But he did, and now ex-detective Rembrandt Stone is reaping the devastation of ignoring those words when he traveled back in time to solve the one case that had haunted his dreams.

Yes, he solved the crime. Yes, he saved lives. But Rembrandt returns to find the unthinkable has happened and his life has shattered.

There’s only one answer: break the rule again. Go back in time once more, fix what went wrong, save what went right, and yeah, in his spare time solve another brutal crime.

But it’s not so easy to change time, especially when time turns you into a target. And of course there’s the strong possibility if he goes again, he’ll never get back.

My Thoughts:

No Stone Unturned by David James Warren was better written and a little more normal if readers had read the first story, Cast the First Stone. In this addition, Stone goes back in time to try to stop a serial killer because in the "normal" world this dilemma, once again, affects his future. I enjoy stories with serial killers because for the most part, there is going to be tons of bodies and intrigue and clues that keeps the plotting moving and guessing. But in No Stone Unturned that is not the case. The story does show the first victim, and Stone does solve the mystery of what happened to this person, but is this person the serial killer later? I'm not sure. Warren left it up in the air. Warren does share what happens to the killer later in the story, but what happens later? That is the true question. I wanted more attention focused on the mystery instead it was Stone trying to woo his wife over and over again and stopping things that would hurt her in the future. Not that I don't like this book. Trust  me. Warren's writing always captures my attention, and I have hard time putting the novels down. Overall, No Stone Unturned by David James Warren is filled with intrigue and a hint of suspense. An interesting way to spend the day and forget about the lockdown.

I received a complimentary copy of No Stone Unturned by David James Warren through JustRead Tours, but the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase No Stone Unturned

Monday, April 5, 2021

Nancy Mehl: Night Fall

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Now that Alexandra "Alex" Donovan is finally free of her troubled upbringing, she's able to live out her childhood dream of working for the FBI. But soon after she becomes a member of the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, authorities in Kansas and Missouri contact them about bodies found on freight trains traveling across the country--all killed in the same way.

Alex never expected to be forced to confront her past in this new job, but she immediately recognizes the graffiti messages the killer is leaving on the train cars. When the BAU sends her to gather information about the messages from her aunt in Wichita, Kansas, Alex is haunted by the struggles she thought she'd left behind forever.

In a race against time to solve the case while battling her own weaknesses, Alex must face how far she'll go--and what she's willing to risk--to put a stop to the Train Killer.



My Thoughts:

Night Fall by Nancy Mehl begins with a suspense moment, then readers are thrown in the action as the officer, Alex, a behavioral analyst has to find the serial killer before it is too late. The suspense centers around The Book, a book filled with lies stating that all humans are either angels or demons. The killer believes he is the one to set the final battle in place, but he has to make five sacrifices before coming to the final sacrifice before releasing the battle. The suspense was top notch. I love stories that feature a hunt for a serial killer. However, with the plot in this story, I had one issue. I did not like knowing who the killer was. His name and viewpoints were announced pretty early on in the book. I would have liked it to be a mystery. More pronouns instead of showing us who the person was. It would have made a little more of a mystery. Instead it was a hunt to find the person. I’m surprised they did not find him earlier. They knew who he was. Yes, Mehl does try to explain why they could not capture him before time, but it just felt like a cheap trick. On the other hand, my favorite part of the novel is the spiritual journey for Alex. I enjoy how Mehl made her doubt any faith, which is understandable as readers dive into the story. The spiritual journey reads true, and I can’t wait to see the end result. Overall, Night Fall by Nancy Mehl is hunt for a serial killer novel with plenty of suspense and hunting for justice. Fans of DiAnn Mills and Colleen Coble might enjoy this novel too.

I received a complimentary copy of Night Fall by Nancy Mehl from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Night Fall

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Crucification

 By Kelly Bridgewater

"Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, 'Prophesy! Who is the one who struck you?' And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him." Luke 22: 63-65

"Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate." Luke 23: 9-11

"There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.  . . And they divided His garments and cast lost. And the people stood looking on. 

But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, 'He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.' The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine and saying, 'If you are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.'

And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.

THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." Luke 23: 32- 38

"Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, 'Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit.' Having said this, He breathed His last." Luke 23: 44-46

What a horrible scene! What a blessing this will turn into. I hope you remember all the pain and torture our Lord and Savior endured so we could be with him.