Monday, September 27, 2021

Rachel Scott McDaniel: Undercurrent of Secrets

  By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book:  Undercurrent of Secrets

Author: Rachel Scott McDaniel

Genre: Christian Romance

Release date: September 2021

Two women, a century apart, are bound by a haunting secret aboard a legendary steamboat.

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

As wedding coordinator for the 100-year-old steamboat The Belle of Louisville, Devyn Asbury takes pride in seeing others’ dreams come true, even though her engagement had sunk like a diamond ring to the bottom of the Ohio River. When the Belle becomes a finalist in the Timeless Wedding Venue contest, Devyn endeavors to secure the prestigious title with hopes to reclaim some of her professional dreams. What she hadn’t planned on was Chase Jones showing up with a mysterious photo from the 1920s.

 A century earlier, Hattie Louis is as untamable as the rivers that raised her. As the adopted daughter of a steamboat captain, her duties range from the entertainment to cook. When strange incidents occur aboard the boat, Hattie’s determined to discover the truth. Even if that means getting under First Mate Jack Marshall’s handsome skin.


My Thoughts:

Undercurrent of Secrets by Rachel Scott McDaniel created a story that allowed the mystery of secret loves and secret lives to come to the readers’ attention. The time slip element of the two time periods really captured my attention. I have read a number of stories by other authors, like Rachel Hauck and Jaime Jo Wright who have crafted their stories in the same vein. This allows the readers to actually see the past mystery as it is unfolding and the present day story to work through the mystery at the same time. The plot, to begin, was a little dry and not enough action, but then the plot deepened and became more interesting as the story moved along. The romance in both time periods really had no beginning. Both couples jumped right into feeling emotions for each other and dived right into the romance. Overall, Undercurrent of Secrets has a deeply engrained mystery to it that was interesting to see unveil near the end of the novel. There was a reflection section near the end of the novel that was a nice way to tie both stories together. I believe this was a delightful novel to spend a couple of days with.

I received a complimentary copy of Undercurrent of Secrets by Rachel Scott McDaniel from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Undercurrent of Secrets

About the Author

Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. Rachel can be found online at and on all social media platforms. Her work is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency. Rachel resides in Ohio with her husband and two children.

More from Rachel

A Century on the River

In 1914, America hadn’t joined WWI yet. Airplanes, or flying machines as they were called, were still a phenomenon. Radios weren’t a thing. Hawaii and Alaska weren’t part of the United States. The world as a whole looked different than the one we walk today. But one thing remains true as it had 100 years ago—The Belle of Louisville graced the waters. In fact, the century-old steamboat is like a floating time capsule.

First named the Idlewild, this boat was built in Pittsburgh, PA and was launched in October 1914. It began its days as a packet boat, hauling freight and ferrying passengers. During the ‘Roaring 20s’ there wasn’t much documentation for her travels. But it’s believed the Idlewild spent the decade tramping—a steamboat term for going up and down the river, stopping at various towns and taking passengers for excursions. Which worked perfectly for Undercurrent of Secrets.

The boat was then sold to New Orleans where it continued to ferry passengers. In 1931, The Idlewildspent a season in Louisville running trips to Rose Island and Fontaine Ferry amusement parks. It then spent the next several years coursing the waterways from Canada to New Orleans, living upon the Mississippi and Ohio river systems until WWII. The second world war brought a lot of action to the Idlewild which was then outfitted with special equipment to push oil barges along the river. She also served as a floating USO nightclub for troops stationed at military bases along the Mississippi River.

In 1947, she was sold and renamed the Avalon. For the next two decades the legendary lady spent her days along the rivers, hosting excursions, bringing adventure to the hearts of many Americans. But all those years and miles eventually caught up to her and she fell in disrepair. In 1962, she was put up for auction in Cincinnati where she was purchased by Jefferson County Judge Executive Marlow Cook for $34,000. She then received her third name, The Belle of Louisville.

The restoration of the boat was supervised by marine architect Alan L. Bates (later Captain Bates). Capt. Bates’ books, Str. Belle of Louisville, and Moonlight at 8:30, were a huge help to me while researching the history of the boat and the crews who worked on her. The reno crew worked tirelessly rebuilding the Belle and on April 30th, she tested the waters again by racing against the Delta Queen in the first Great Steamboat Race. The Belle has been wharfed in Louisville ever since. This century-old steamboat has stood the test of time, surviving decades, sinkings, storms, weathering all the trials with grit and grace. If you ever find yourself in Louisville, you could book a cruise on the Belle and experience history.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 25

Rachael’s Inkwell, September 25

Texas Book-aholic, September 26

Christian Bookaholic, September 26

Where Faith and Books Meet, September 27

Inklings and notions, September 27

Genesis 5020, September 27

For Him and My Family, September 28

Life of Literature, September 28

deb’s Book Review, September 29

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 29

Remembrancy, September 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 30

She Lives to Read, October 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 1

Older & Smarter?, October 1

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 2

Mary Hake, October 2

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 3

Simple Harvest Reads, October 3 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Bizwings Blog, October 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 4

For the Love of Literature, October 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 5

Through the fire blogs, October 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 6

Pause for Tales, October 6

Artistic Nobody, October 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Just Your Average reviews, October 7

Splashes of Joy, October 8

Labor Not in Vain, October 8


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a 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.

Friday, September 24, 2021

ACFW Conference

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Usually in September, tons of Christian writers attack a city. 

We spend moments in prayer, worship, listening, and learning more about the writing craft. 

A great time to meet your favorite author, if they attend. 

A great time to be introduced to an agent, editor, or an author friend. 

What is this you ask?

It is the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writer's) Conference. 

I have been to three of them. 

The first time, my favorite writer who introduced me to Christian fiction, was the keynote speaker. Robin Jones Gunn. 

Next time was Laurine Snelling. 

My aunt, who is now deceased, enjoyed her writing. 

Third time, was Ted Dekker. 

I have pictures with them. 

I also met Ronie Kendig, Susan May Warren, Kate Breslin, Jen Turano, Becky Wade, Carrie Turansky, Susan Ann Mason, Karen Witemeyer, Carrie Stuart Parks, Dani Pettrey, Julie Klassen, Steven James, Rachel Hauck, Jamie Jo Wright, Natalie Walters (who was my roommate the last year that I attended!) among many others. 

But of course, the last two years have been virtual meetings. 
Not the same thing. 

I did not "attend" these virtual meetings. 

How about you? Any event that captures your attention that you look forward to going to?

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Lynn Austin: The Wish Book Christmas

 By Kelly Bridgewater

From the bestselling author of If I Were You comes a nostalgic and endearing holiday story that reminds us that sometimes the most meaningful gifts are the ones we least expect and don't deserve.

Best friends Audrey Barrett and Eve Dawson are looking forward to celebrating Christmas in postwar America, thrilled at the prospect of starting new traditions with their five-year-old sons. But when the 1951 Sears Christmas Wish Book arrives and the boys start obsessing over every toy in it, Audrey and Eve realize they must first teach them the true significance of the holiday. They begin by helping Bobby and Harry plan gifts of encouragement and service for those in their community, starting by walking an elderly neighbor's yellow Lab--since a dog topped the boys' wish list for Santa. In the charming tale that follows, Audrey and Eve are surprised to find their own hearts healing from the tragedies of war and opening to the possibility of forgiveness and new love.


My Thoughts:

The Wish Book Christmas by Lynn Austin welcomes readers back to the familiar characters of If I Were You. Even if you had not read that story, you will still enjoy this novel, but I think to understand and fully embrace the forgiveness story, you need to read If I Were You.  I love reading Christmas stories when it is 93 degrees outside. It makes me smile and bring a warmth to Christmas. Austin crafted a story that a lot of children need to read and understand. Our family does not spend a lot on our boys for Christmas. We plan a trip with each individual child during the year instead. Much better than gifts. I do like the idea of giving three gifts to help others like the Wise Men did to Jesus. I love the Happy Birthday Jesus Party too. We do that in our house too. I love the snow. It was everywhere. Something I want more of. I really enjoyed this story. It shares a wonderful Christmas and life lessons about gifts. Plus, it was a delight to spend time with. I definitely want a paperback copy of this novel to put on my shelf. I highly recommend this book to others.

I received a complimentary copy of The Wish Book Christmas by Lynn Austin from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Wish Book Christmas

Monday, September 20, 2021

DiAnn Mills: Trace of Doubt

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Bestselling and award-winning author DiAnn Mills delivers a heart-stopping story of dark secrets, desperate enemies, and dangerous lies.

Fifteen years ago, Shelby Pearce confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole and looking for a fresh start in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con.

FBI Special Agent Denton McClure was a rookie fresh out of Quantico when he was first assigned the Pearce case. He’s always believed Shelby embezzled five hundred thousand dollars from her brother-in-law’s account. So he’s going undercover to befriend Shelby, track down the missing money, and finally crack this case.

But as Denton gets closer to Shelby, he begins to have a trace of doubt about her guilt. Someone has Shelby in their crosshairs. It’s up to Denton to stop them before they silence Shelby—and the truth—forever.


My Thoughts:

Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills is a chase for what really happened. After Shelby Pearce was released from prison for killing her brother-in-law, readers are invited to watch her try to work her way back into society. Death threats and shots at her are the norm in suspense novels. The story does have a realistic look at the prejudice that is shown to ex-cons. While the story progressed, I had a good idea of what really occurred fifteen year ago. But then again, I am pretty good at figuring out most suspense novels even though the authors thinks they put enough red herrings in place to fool the reader. The suspense and the concept of the novel was well-written. There is a touch of romance to the plot too. Not too much. A little. A little creepy at times especially with the way that Mills described the hero when he first came onto the page. I couldn’t get the image of him and young 33 year old heroine out of my head. The climactic moment was nicely handled. I really liked how Mills crafted the last twenty percent of the novel. Overall, Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills is a story that reached a wonderful ending. If you enjoyed this novel, I suggest trying Center of Gravity and Sister Dear by Laura McNeil. Same type of story. Well handled.

I received a complimentary copy of  Trace of Doubt by  DiAnn Mills  from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Trace of Doubt

Friday, September 17, 2021

Welcome Fall

 By Kelly Bridgewater


 Fall is here!

Colored leaves. 


Cooler temperatures. 

Christmas will be here in about three months!


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Andrea Christiansen: Hangin' by a Moment

 By Kelly Bridgewater

He just wants to erase his past.

The day Jack—formerly Winston Stewart—walked out of jail, he vowed to keep his conviction a secret. After all, it wasn’t like he’d committed a murder. Just a terrible mistake, and he did his time. Now he wants a new life in a sleepy town where no one knows his name. Deep Haven is the perfect place to start over as a chef. The last thing the former pararescue jumper wants is to get involved. But when Boone Buckam—his friend and the one guy he owes for getting him out of the slammer—asks for help, how can Jack refuse?

She can’t seem to escape hers.

Colleen Decker has already escaped evil once—as a teenager, she was kidnapped by a murderer. But she’s put all that behind her as a trauma nurse in Minneapolis. Or maybe not, because a freak mistake in the ER sends her past crashing down on her. She needs a timeout in her hometown of Deep Haven. She doesn’t plan to stay—even when she’s roped into the job of flight nurse for the town’s Crisis Response Team chopper. Colleen’s not sure why she’s drawn to danger, but she’ll be safe enough. After all, she’ll need training, and her teacher is a handsome former pararescue jumper. What could go wrong?

But facing the past might put their future together in jeopardy.

When Jack said he didn’t want to get involved, he especially meant his heart—but being with Colleen feels like a fresh start. He’ll even climb aboard a chopper again, despite his vows. They’re headed for a happy ending…
But secrets never stay buried in a small town. And when disaster strikes one snowy night, they’ll both have to decide if the past will destroy them…or if it just might lead them home. 

Cozy up to this perfect Deep Haven drama about discovering a season of second chances


My Thoughts:

Hangin' By a Moment by Andrea Christiansen is a delightful contemporary romance story filled with heart and humor. I enjoy stories that show characters who are on a redemptive journey. Especially when they see themselves as one way and by the end of the story, they come to realize the way that God sees them or the way that they should have disproved the lies about themselves. Christiansen starts with an ex-con who has to overcome his dark fears and his past. His journey is quite memberable. With all the description of burgers in the story, I kept wanting to eat one after finishing this novel. Colleen, our heroine, has been featured in the Deep Haven stories. This time, she has grown up and is trying to overcome her own fears and worries from a stressful moment. The plot was well-written and kept my attention. I believe if fans enjoy contemporary romance, then Hangin' By a Moment will be right up their alley. I can't wait for another Deep Haven novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Hangin' by a Moment by Andrea Christiansen, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Hangin' by a Moment

Monday, September 13, 2021

Amy Lynn Green: The Lines Between Us

 By Kelly Bridgewater

A WWII novel of courage and conviction, based on the true experience of the men who fought fires as conscientious objectors and the women who fought prejudice to serve in the Women's Army Corps.

Since the attack on Pearl Harbor, Gordon Hooper and his buddy Jack Armitage have stuck to their values as conscientious objectors. Much to their families' and country's chagrin, they volunteer as smokejumpers rather than enlisting, parachuting into and extinguishing raging wildfires in Oregon. But the number of winter blazes they're called to seems suspiciously high, and when an accident leaves Jack badly injured, Gordon realizes the facts don't add up.

A member of the Women's Army Corps, Dorie Armitage has long been ashamed of her brother's pacifism, but she's shocked by news of his accident. Determined to find out why he was harmed, she arrives at the national forest under the guise of conducting an army report . . . and finds herself forced to work with Gordon. He believes it's wrong to lie; she's willing to do whatever it takes for justice to be done. As they search for clues, Gordon and Dorie must wrestle with their convictions about war and peace and decide what to do with the troubling secrets they discover.

My Thoughts:

The Lines Between Us by Amy Green starts like her previous novels with the letters. But much to my enjoyment, the entire novel is not a complete letter writing. It is actually a normal written novel with some letters thrown in. Green crafted a World War II novel set in the state of Oregon with smokejumpers and some army personal thrown in for good measure. While the story does not showcase the horrors that was happening in Europe during this time, the story does feature a softer side to the stateside war effort. The writing was vivid and descriptive. I did learn more about what was occurring in America versus the horror that most World War II novels focus on. It was a nice change in the plot idea. There really is no romance in the novel. If that is what you are looking for, then this is not part of the plot. As for the plot, it was different, unique, and unknown, which is a wonderful idea, BUT the plot tried to be a mystery. Yes, there was the hunting for clues. There was mysterious actions and people around. There was a big climactic moment near the end of the novel. The story ends with the framing of the letters. The novel was nicely delivered, but not enough action for me. Overall, The Lines Between Us by Amy Green is a unique and different story occurring during the World War II.

I received a complimentary copy of  The Lines Between Us  by Amy Lynn Green  from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Lines Between Us

Friday, September 10, 2021

Revelation 19: 11 - 21

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in[b] blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule[c] them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave,[d] both small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence[e] had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” (English Standard Version.

I can’t wait for the final moment when Christ defeats Satan and all his followers. I enjoy reading this passage. It makes me happy. I always get tingles down my spine as I read this Scripture passage.

How about you? Have you spent time studying Revelation? It is my favorite book of the Bible. Hope. Joy. Redemption. It is the greatest book of the Bible, in my humble opinion. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Morgan Busse: Secrets in the Mist

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book:  Secrets in the Mist

Author: Morgan L. Busse

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Release date: August 10, 2021

What’s lurking in the Mist is the least of their worries…

In a world where humanity lives in the sky to escape a deadly mist below, Cass’s only goal is survival. That is, until she finds a job on the airship Daedalus as a diver. Now she explores ruined cities, looking for treasure and people’s lost heirlooms until a young man hires her to find the impossible: a way to eradicate the Mist.

Theodore Winchester is a member of one of the Five Families that rule the skies. Following in his father’s footsteps, he searches for the source of the Mist and hopes to stop the purges used to control overpopulation. But what he finds are horrifying secrets and lethal ambition. If he continues his quest, it could mean his own death.

The Mist is rising and soon the world will be enveloped in its deadly embrace, turning what's left of humanity into the undead.


My Thoughts:

Secrets in the Mist by Morgan Busse is a captivating, original story with the heart of trying to find home. The characters of Cass and Theo have a difficult journey to overcome from where the readers meet them in the beginning of the story to where the cliff hanger leaves them stranded at the end of the first book. I flew through the pages of this  novel. The story was so well-told that I was captivated by the description and the action that I had a hard time putting it down to do things like feed my family or go to work. I really wanted to keep up with Cass and Theo and discover what they were hunting for. I wanted to know more about the Mist. How was it created? Describe more of the Plague Wars. I wanted more backstory, but the inklings that Busse dangled in front of readers kept me flipping the pages. Sure, she'll tell us soon, but she kept dropping those clues to tempt me. No romance. Lots of movement and action. Definetly a well-written original story built on pure imagination, but something that I could see happening. At least, maybe not in the same fashion, but something similar. I really can't wait for book two. I NEED the second or third, please be a third, novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Secrets in the Mist by Morgan Busse published by Enclave Publishing through the Celebrate Lit. Tours, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Secrets in the Mist

About the Author

Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series and the award-winning steampunk series, The Soul Chronicles. Her debut novel, Daughter of Light, was a Christy and Carol Award finalist. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel. 

More from Morgan

I’m afraid to fly. At first, I tried to ignore it. Then the panic attacks came. And the one time I accidentally grabbed my neighbor’s arm during turbulence, which was really embarrassing. But it was when I was waiting for my flight at the airport and felt like I was going to burst into tears right there at the gate that I knew I needed help.

I didn’t want to stop flying. I love traveling! But the fear of plummeting to the ground scared me, so I talked to my doctor and was given medicine to help me calm down. The problem is it made me really groggy. But hey, at least I could fly again.

Then I started writing Secrets in the Mist. Half of this book is about flying and one third is hang gliding. You know, flying with just a kite on your back. To write realistically about hang gliding, I started studying the sport. I read all the articles I could find, watched a lot of YouTube videos, and in the end spent over 10 hours immersing myself in the sky.

As I first imagined, then wrote each scene in Secrets in the Mist, something started to happen. I started to lose my fear of flying. It wasn’t the first time I tried to read the science behind flight to help me lose my fear of flying, but this time, I was doing it in my head. I was feeling the air and wind, tilting my glider, catching the air drafts, and not just understanding how to fly in my mind, but also with my heart. 

I realized a plane couldn’t fall out of the sky just like my character couldn’t fall out of the sky. That an experienced flyer understood what to do in storms and sudden gusts of wind. And should the plane actually lose its engines, the pilot would help it glide to the ground the same way my gliders eased their way to a landing. 

Not only that, by creating the exhilarating feelings my character felt when she was gliding began to seep into my psyche. I felt her joy and freedom, her lack of fear, and even more, how she felt more connected to God when it was just her, the wind, and the sky. I saw the beauty of flying through my character’s eyes. 

I can fly now. Without medication. I actually enjoy the takeoffs and the feeling of the plane gliding through the air. Will I try hang gliding someday? Probably not, I still hate heights. But I never dreamed that writing about flying would help me overcome my fear of it. This is the power of imagination, and the power of story.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 31

Texas Book-aholic, September 1

Wishful Endings, September 2

Inklings and notions, September 2

Remembrancy, September 3

For Him and My Family, September 3

deb’s Book Review, September 4

Blogging With Carol, September 4

The Christian Fiction Girl, September 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 5

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 6

Mia Reads, September 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 7

Rebecca Tews, September 7

Aryn The Libraryan 📚, September 8

Where Faith and Books Meet, September 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 9

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 11

Mary Hake, September 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 12

Simple Harvest Reads, September 12 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Through the fire blogs, September 13

Daysong Reflections, September 13


To celebrate her tour, Morgan is giving away the grand prize package of Steampunk themed basket that includes a signed book, coffee by barnies, a soy candle (so it should be safe for everyone), and a $20 B&N gift card!!

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