Monday, May 31, 2021

Melanie Dickerson: Castle of Refuge

 By Kelly Bridgewater

To live an unforgettable life, she would defy all expectations—including her own.

Ever since she was a child, Audrey wanted her life to be extraordinary. But as the daughter of a viscount born in late fourteenth-century England, the only thing expected of her was to marry—until an act of malice by her sister, Maris, four years ago damaged her prospects even further. Though Maris was sent away, twenty-year-old Audrey is still suffering the scars of her sister’s cruelty. So when her father announces his plans to marry off his damaged daughter and bring Maris back home, Audrey decides to flee in search of her true destiny.

However, life outside her home is dangerous, and she soon finds herself attacked, sick, and in dire straits. She is taken in at Dericott Castle to be nursed back to health. While there, she decides to keep her identity a secret and work as a servant in the castle. But she doesn’t count on falling in love with the young and handsome Lord Dericott, who lost his arm several months earlier and bears scars of his own.

Meanwhile, Edwin—Lord Dericott—is curious about the new, well-educated servant’s identity. When the man Audrey’s father wanted her to marry comes looking for her, each must make a life-changing decision about what to believe and whether or not love is truly worth trusting.

In this Ugly Duckling retelling, New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson brilliantly crafts a highstakes, encouraging tale about the power of love.



My Thoughts:

Castle of Refuge by Melanie Dickerson is exactly what the title suggests. The heroine, Audrey, runs away from home afraid for her life and ends up at the Dericott's castle. I loved Dickerson's fairy tale remakes, and this story is no different. I love the fourteenth-century England setting. I love the castle. I love the way majority of Dickerson's heroes show their love for the heroine. They are slow at showcasing their love and willing to do things they normally would not do to please the heroine. Edwin, the hero, in this story, is no different. He even seeks out the advice of one of his staff members on how to capture Audrey's interest. Then later, readers are invited to watch them interact this way. While the plot has some conflict, it felt right in the story. Overall, Castle of Refuge is a masterfully, written story for fans of medieval literature and romance stories.

I received a complimentary copy of Castle of Refuge by Melanie Dickerson from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Castle of Refuge

Friday, May 28, 2021

Memorial Day

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Happy Memorial Day!!!!

Onto weeds, bugs, and warmer weather. 

What a drag!!

Come on fall!

Anyways, Have a great start to your summer!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Roseanna M. White: The Nature of a Lady

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Lady Elizabeth "Libby" Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn't favored in society. She flees to the beautiful Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left behind by her holiday cottage's former occupant, also named Elizabeth, who mysteriously vanished. 

Oliver Tremayne--gentleman and clergyman--is determined to discover what happened to his sister, and he's happy to accept the help of the girl now living in what should have been Beth's summer cottage . . . especially when he realizes it's the curious young lady he met briefly two years ago, who shares his love of botany and biology. But the hunt for his sister involves far more than nature walks, and he can't quite believe all the secrets Beth had been keeping from him.

As Libby and Oliver work together, they find ancient legends, pirate wrecks, betrayal, and the most mysterious phenomenon of all: love.


My Thoughts:

The Nature of a Lady by Roseanna M. White captures the world through the eyeglass of a scientist. While the writing is fabulous, I had a hard time staying focused. The story is a lot of exposition, not moving parts of the characters. I did want to see what happens to contact the prologue section with the rest of the present story. I did want to see what really was supposed to happen between the characters. But again, it just really didn't capture my attention. There were moments that did, and then it would run away to something I did not like. While I know White is a fabulous writer who can craft an amazing, yet unique story, The Nature of a Lady did not really keep me turning pages. I wanted more to the plot.

I received a complimentary copy of The Nature of a Lady by Roseanna M. White from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Nature of a Lady

Monday, May 24, 2021

Liz Tolsma: The Silver Shadow

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Fiction Based on Strange, But True, History

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through a unique stories of historical romantic suspense. Collect them all and be inspired by the hope that always finds its way even in the darkest of times.

Denver of 1900 is still a dangerous place to be following the silver crash of 1893. And of out of the dark comes a shadow intent on harming women. Ambitious young Denver newspaper reporter Polly Blythe is searching for the big story that’s going to launch her career. On Friday evening, August 24, 1900, she gets her break when two women are cracked over the head within a two-minute walk of each other. But policeman Edwin Timmer thwarts Polly’s ideas of a serial criminal. . .until the shadowy figure strikes again. Will the reporter and the policeman team up to find the culprit before he strikes too close for comfort?



My Thoughts:

Silver Shadow by Liz Tolsma has a Jack the Ripper vive to it. The plot is about a mysterious man who attacks women who are found walking through the streets after dark. They are not home where they belong in the evening, so the killer, whose perspective we do see, wants to teach the town a lesson. This story reeks of originality in the True Colors of Historical series because readers actually see the killer’s perspective. Which personally, I actually like. If an author can make me empathic with the killer, then they crafted a wonderful story. With Silver Shadow, I really did not empathize with the killer. He was shunned by his wife, so he decided to treat other women horribly because of her choices. Not a good reason. As for the heroine, she is a brave woman who wants to be a reporter for a newspaper, and even went so far as to put her own life on the line as she researched and tried to write the story about the killer that she did not have the approval to do from the paper’s boss. Overall, Silver Shadow by Tolsma was a nice addition to the series. It fit right in with series’ goals and made for an interesting read. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading mysteries or the rest of this series.

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

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Silver Shadow

Friday, May 21, 2021

Most Anticipated Suspense Summer 2021

 By Kelly Bridgewater

It's that time of the year again!

Where I get to show the covers of the books that I can't wait to get my hands on. 

Last December was the first time that I actually made two lists because there are getting too many good books for me to include in one list. 

Today is all the Suspense novels that I can't wait to read that come out between May 1, 2021 until August 31, 2021. (All covers come from Goodreads.)

Here they are:

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock

The Paris Betrayal By James Hannibal

Breach of Honor by Janice Cantore

The Chase by Lisa Harris

Hostile Intent by Lynette Eason

What about you? I think the Suspense lists keeps getting smaller and smaller. I would love it to get bigger and bigger. This is my true passion in stories!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Michelle Sass Aleckson: Crazy for You

 By Kelly Bridgewater

She’s doesn’t want any trouble…

Former soldier Veronica “Ronnie” Morales isn’t going to let her kid brother, Tiago, get pulled into the gangs of Minneapolis, so, seeking safety and a fresh start, she heads to sleepy Deep Haven on the north shore of Minnesota. She’s hoping to put down roots as the paramedic for the new Crisis Response Team, but it’s not easy to be the outsider.

He can’t seem to escape it…

It’s also not easy being the guy related to everyone in town. Especially when you’re the holdout vote for a landmark project. Fire Chief Peter Dahlquist might be the loneliest guy in town when both sides of his massive family—the Hatfields and McCoys of Deep Haven—demand that he pick sides. The only one who seems to understand is the newcomer in town…his new, albeit street-tough paramedic. 

Can trouble bring them together?

When Tiago finds himself caught up in small town shenanigans and the town blames Ronnie for tragedy, Peter is forced to pick sides. But this choice just might cost him the home—and the woman—he loves. 


My Thoughts:

Boy, do I love returning to Deep Haven! The Christiansen is one of my favorite literary families, so I love when I can see how they are doing. With Crazy for You by Michelle Sass Aleckson, she has definitely written in the same vein of Susan May Warren and said true to the world. The tension between Peter and Ronnie were set on fire. First, emotionally. One of my pet peeves, which also sometimes turns me away from contemporary romance is the fast emotions and love that occurs really rapidly in the beginning of this genre. Crazy for you is no exception. After the first argument and pushing of Ronnie and Peter's limits, they start to fall in love with each other. I enjoy seeing Ronnie and all her struggles, Aleckson did a fabulous job at crafting a character with a realistic background that allowed those walls to come up and stop her from allowing Peter to enter her heart. The conflict with Peter versus the two families jump off the page, allowing the readers to wonder what side will Peter actually align with. This story fits well in with all the other continuing characters of Deep Haven. I honestly can't wait to see what others stories come out about the widely popular Deep Haven characters.

I received a complimentary copy of Crazy for You by Michelle Sass Aleckson through Sunrise Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Crazy for You

About the Author:

After growing up on both the east and west coasts, Michelle now loves living the country life in central Minnesota with her own hero and four children. She rocks out to 80's music on a Saturday night, enjoys playing board games, and is a hopeless romantic. And if you're wondering, yes, Sass is her maiden name.

She writes contemporary romance with a dash of sass and suspense. Connect with her on her website: (Image and bio taken from Amazon.)

Monday, May 17, 2021

Rachel Hauck: To Save a King

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book:  To Save A King

Author: Rachel Hauck

Genre: Christian Royal Romance

Release date: May 8, 2021

A modern-day fairytale of rescue and hope from NYT bestselling author Rachel Hauck

Growing up in small town Hearts Bend, Tennessee, Gemma Stone had big dreams. So she headed to Hollywood to make her mark in the world.

But dreams have a way of becoming nightmares. When she returns home twelve years later, she’s limping through life and harboring a dark secret.

Running a rescue ranch and raising her friends’ orphaned daughter is her sole mission now. All the while she’s well aware these defenseless ones are also rescuing her.

HRH Crown Prince John has learned a royal title cannot shield him from heartbreak. He had the perfect life as heir to the revered House of Blue, the royal dynasty of Lauchtenland, and married the love of his life. Then tragedy changed everything. Is there any way to be saved from a life of grief?

When he finds himself in Hearts Bend on a mission for his mother, Queen Catherine, he catches up with a good friend–country music great Buck Mathews. He has no intention of joining the 4th of July fun until he’s cajoled into a three-legged race with the beautiful Gemma Stone.

The disastrous race leads to a quick friendship. They are easy and comfortable around one another because love is absolutely not an option.

John desperately wants to hold onto the memories of his wife while Gemma refuses to trust her heart to any man. Even a prince.

When trouble in Lauchtenland calls the prince home, he realizes how much Gemma has rescued him. Saved him and restored his hope for his role as future king.

For Gemma, falling in love with the prince must be quenched. If it weren’t for her past, she’d give him her heart in a second. How could she risk bringing her shame to the House of Blue and the world stage?

However, she’s not the only one who can rescue and heal the wound. If she saved Prince John, why can’t he save her? And when he tries, will she have the courage to say yes to the best role of her life?

“Another compelling royal story by the master of princely tales!”  Susan May Warren, USA Todaybestselling, RITA award-winning novelist


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

To Save a King by Rachel Hauck continues the Blue Family Dynasty. This time around readers are introduced to John, the heir to the throne. With all the doubts of wanting to be a married king, John blooms on the pages of the story as reader watch him wrangle the guilt of the past versus the love of the future. Hauck is a wonderful storyteller. I love reading her stories. There is a bit of mystical healing for the characters, yet plenty of romance and action for the readers. I am not a big fan of contemporary romances, but I gravitate toward Hauck's love stories from God that are woven into every characters' journey. Overall, the romantic journey in To Save a King by Rachel Hauck is soul capturing, yet a delightful story. I definitely recommend this story to all fans of royal stories or romance in general.

I received a complimentary copy of To Save a King by Rachel Hauck through Celebrate Lit Tours, but the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner. Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie. Three more of her titles are under film contract.

Rachel was awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A retired member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Executive Board, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

In the real world, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.


More from Rachel

One of the biggest challenges in a series is keeping the reader interested. Even more of a challenge is writing in a trope like royals.

I never set out to write a second royal series. With five stories in the Royal Wedding Series, I thought I’d explored the topic to my satisfactions.

Yet when readers asked for more, and when I found myself in a season to produce my own stories, another royal series seemed like the perfect fit.

But can I be honest? Really honest? Come close. I’ll tell you a secret. Closer…

Royals can be a bit boring. At least to write. You laugh but I’m serious.

What do we really know of their day to day lives? They attend national functions, patron charities, represent the nation on walkabouts around the world. They are ambassadors with no real political agenda. They champion causes.

But what exactly do they do with their days? What are the inner workings of palace life? What are the real expectations? Do they call the queen “her majesty” when talking among themselves? When talking to her? Are they as formal as it seems on television?

Yet royals are the most documented people in history. So there is a lot to glean from when I make up my worlds.

But at the end of it all, they key for me in writing royal characters is to make them real, everyday people. The prince is the kind of chap you want to chat with over tea. The heroine is the sort of girl you’d love to see become a princess. Maybe even see a bit of yourself in her.

In To Save A King, Crown Prince John is trying to emerge for a year of grief. Gemma Stone is desperate to escape her past.

Gemma’s story has some what of an edge to it. In her attempt to achieve her goals, she walked a path she never thought she’d walk when she was a girl growing up in Hearts Bend, Tennessee. And it proved her undoing.

While we may have never faced a past like Gemma’s, we can all relate to personal betrayal of our values from gossip to immorality. I hope Gemma’s story reminds us the nearness of love and forgiveness.

On a lighter side, I recently learned British society has moved away from chap and bloke, replacing it with the American term “guy.” Isn’t that funny. Louise Lee, my narrator, said it was funny to read those words in To Love A Prince since there were more her parents’ generation. Ah, the signs of a more global society.

Well, I didn’t care if they have gone out of style for young people. I used them anyway. I like them. Maybe we should adopt “chap” and “bloke” over here. What do you say, guys?

I hope you enjoy To Save A King, book two in the True Blue Royal series and find your heart cheering on broken, wounded characters to a happily ever after worthy of a prince and princess.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 8

Godly Book Reviews, May 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 8

Britt Reads Fiction, May 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 9

Blogging With Carol, May 9

Worthy2Read, May 9

For Him and My Family, May 10

Genesis 5020, May 10

The Book Chic Blog, May 10

CarpeDiem, May 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 11

Hebrews 12 Endurance, May 11

Splashes of Joy, May 11

Cultivating Us, May 11

Texas Book-aholic, May 12

Just Writing, May 12

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 12

Kayem Reads, May 12

Blossoms and Blessings, May 13

Betti Mace, May 13

Inklings and notions, May 13

deb’s Book Review, May 14

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, May 14

Inside the Wong Mind, May 14

Moments, May 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 15

Rachael’s Inkwell, May 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 15

Connect in Fiction, May 15

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 16

Kathleen’s Blog, May 16

Remembrancy, May 16

Mary Hake, May 16

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 17

She Lives To Read, May 17

Wishful Endings, May 17

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 18

Back Porch Reads, May 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 18

Livin’ Lit, May 18

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 19

Simple Harvest Reads, May 19 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Bizwings Blog, May 19

Mamma Loves Books, May 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 20

By The Book, May 20

The Sacred Line, May 20

Daysong Reflections, May 20

Through the fire blogs, May 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 21

Artistic Nobody, May 21 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire!!
*May be different than one pictured.

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

Friday, May 14, 2021

Most Anticipated Historical Romance Summer 2021

 By Kelly Bridgewater

It's that time of the year again!

Where I get to show the covers of the books that I can't wait to get my hands on. 

Last December was the first time that I actually made two lists because there are getting too many good books for me to include in one list. 

Today is all the Historical Romance novels that I can't wait to read that come out between May 1, 2021 until August 31, 2021. (All covers come from Goodreads.)

Here they are:

In a Far-Off Land by Stephanie Landsem

The Mozart Code by Rachel McMillan

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright

To Find Her Place by Susan Anne Mason

Chasing Shadows by Lynn Austin

The Ice Swan by J'nell Ciesieskli

To Write a Wrong by Jen Turano

The Barrister and the Letter of the Margue by Todd Johnson

What about you? Any other books that you would add?

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Stephanie Landsem: In a Far Off Land

 By Kelly Bridgewater

A story about the price of fame, the truth sacrificed on its altar, and the love that brings a prodigal daughter home.
As the Great Depression hits the Midwest, Minerva Sinclaire runs away to Hollywood, determined to make it big and save the family farm. But beauty and moxie don’t pay the bills in Tinseltown, and she’s caught in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation, and compromise. Finally, she’s about to sign with a major studio and make up for it all. Instead, she wakes up next to a dead film star and is on the run for a murder she didn’t commit.

Only two unwilling men—Oscar, a Mexican gardener in danger of deportation, and Max, a too-handsome agent battling his own demons—can help Mina escape corrupt police on the take and the studio big shots trying to frame her. But even her quick thinking and grit can't protect her from herself. Alone, penniless, and carrying a shameful secret, Mina faces the consequences of the heartbreaking choices that brought her to ruin . . . and just might bring her back to where she belongs.


My Thoughts:

In a Far-Off Land by Stephanie Landsem  is a prodigal daughter and the trials she has to face while she roams to Hollywood during the 1930's. First a word of warning, there is hints of lots of drinking and intimate relationships between Minerva and many men, so I would be a little nervous at allowing a young lady reading this story. Not that Landsem actually shows what happens, but she does have moments that are close to the action and leading up to it that might be not suitable for younger ladies. Other than this, the story was realistic and haunting. Of course, it was not hard to draw the connections between this story and the Prodigal story in the Bible. The story was well-written and definitely captures my attention. I loved reading about this time period, and it was a unique twist on the Gilded age storyline. It was nicely done. Overall, In a Far-Off Land by Stephanie Landsem is a gritty, realistic view of the underbelly of the 1930's Hollywood.

I received a complimentary copy of In a Far-Off Land by Stephanie Landsem from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase In a Far-Off Land

Monday, May 10, 2021

Andrew Huff: Right Cross

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Heart-pounding action meets spiritual choices in this thrilling finale to John Cross's saga

First he left the CIA. Then he left pastoral ministry. Now John Cross has been imprisoned in one of Great Britain's most infamous prisons. Has he reached the end of his rope? Or is this another move in a dangerous spy game?

Christine Lewis, United News Network's rising star television anchor, is determined to find out. But in her pursuit of answers, Christine finds herself at the center of a cyberterrorist plot to alter the balance of power in the world. From the English coastline to the Rocky Mountains, John must partner with the CIA and MI6 in a race against the clock to stop the threat of nuclear war and save the lives of everyone he holds dear.

The concluding story in the Shepherd Suspense trilogy is a globe-trotting, action-packed adventure with threads of biblical truth woven in. Fans of high-octane thrillers will be on the edge of their seats with Right Cross.


My Thoughts:

Right Cross is a military guy with a straight shot who turned pastor as he chases bad guys and try to rescue the woman he slowly fell in love with. From the first chapter, readers are taken on a ride as John Cross rushes through and over danger. This time, the story starts in a prison and appears that John Cross has turned to the dark side. There is prison fights, riots, and an escape. This leads to Christine and John reuniting with each other and testing their budding relationship. I love the Lori character. She is a fabulous sounding board. She is the religious voice of reason and sarcastic too. Reminds me of my aunt who passed away in 2015. The rest of the story is a thriller with a threat to America’s National Security. Bullets flying. Bodies dropping. Helicopters through the mountains. The story definitely has the chase with tons of action feel. BUT it was an okay novel, not one of my favorite stories. I have read the first one but not had the opportunity to read Cross Shadow currently. I believe fans of James R. Hannibal might enjoy this novel too.

I received a complimentary copy of  Right Cross from Kregel Publishing , but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Right Cross

About the Author:

Andrew Huff is the author of the action-packed Shepherd Suspense Series from Kregel Publications. The first book in the series, A Cross to Kill, was a finalist in the Mystery/Thriller categories of both the 2020 Foreword INDIE awards as well as the 2020 ACFW Carol Awards. Huff is an accomplished novelist as well as screenwriter and has worked in the church media and entertainment industry after spending 10 years as a leader in local church ministry. He currently calls North Texas home where he and his beautiful wife Jae raise their two boys and rescue dog. (Taken from Amazon.)