Friday, September 23, 2022

Apple Vs. Pumpkins

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Big Debate.

Which one is more fall? Apples or Pumpkins.

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We grow both in our garden and woods, so we do not buy these items.

However, apples is the design and decoration in my kitchen.

Hot Apple Cider is wonderful in the fall.

I enjoy a good tart Granny Smith Apple.

I do not like cooked apples, so no apple pies or crisp. Even though, that is the only way that my husband will eat apples.

On the other hand, pumpkins have many uses.

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Carving Jack O’Lanterns. What fun!

I love a good pumpkin bread.

I’ll eat pumpkin pie as long as there is plenty of cool whip or whipping cream.

I enjoy using pumpkins as decorations with a bale of hay.

I love pumpkins on my dish towels.

I love pumpkins in a story.

What about you? Pumpkins or Apples for the Fall season.

How do you use them if you use them at all?

Monday, September 19, 2022

Hallee Bridgeman: Honor Bound

 By Kelly Bridgewater

It may seem odd to seek peace by moving to a war-torn African country, but for medical missionary Dr. Cynthia Myers, it provided a way to escape a shallow life of unearned wealth, a philandering fiancé, and a father now square in the public eye as vice president of the United States. At least here she knows her work and life have meaning. But all that is thrown into chaos when she fails to save the life of a local warlord's mortally wounded son.

As part of the Army Special Forces "A-Team" on a mission to capture and subdue the warlord, Captain Rick Norton is compelled to use deadly force to save Cynthia's life. Enraged at the violence she witnessed and riddled with guilt that men died because of her, Cynthia tries to hold on to her anger--but an unwanted attraction is taking hold.

With two members of his team badly injured and rebels in hot pursuit, Rick will have to draw upon all his strength and cunning to get her out alive . . . because he's beginning to think they just might overcome their differences and be able to make a life together.



My Thoughts:

Honor Bound by Hallee Bridgeman is a military story set in Africa between a doctor and the military unit. Romantic suspense is still part suspense, so I need tons of moments of worrying and bullets flying. Being in Africa, I know the bad guys are awful people, and it will create a lot of tension. I wanted to see more action throughout the entire novel. There was some suspense in the first couple of chapters, then the main characters moved out from the “rescue” area since they are going to be invaded by the African military men. Then a good chunk of the story was just a play-by-play of how they moved to the UN and then left the country. Did not really capture my attention. As for the romance, I really did not see enough between the two characters to find their love believable. I was disappointed in the romance. Also, I had no empathy for the characters. They just seem to be pointless people moving through the story. Yes, the heroine was a wealthy person with a different goal in mind, but I still did not see how this would transform her into a better person. The writing is wonderful. Bridgeman does know how to tell a story, but I wanted more tension and a little more believable romance woven throughout the entire story.

I received a complimentary copy of Honor Bound by Hallee Bridgeman from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Purchase Honor Bound

Friday, September 16, 2022

Welcome Fall!

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About time!

So glad that fall is finally here!

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Cooler weather.

Windows open.

Leaves changing colors, probably in about another month.

Halloween.

Pumpkins.

Hayrides.

Corn Mazes.

Bonfires.

Hot drinks.

Sweaters. (Boy, do I love wearing cozy, warm sweaters.)

What about you? What are you looking forward to in the fall?

Monday, September 12, 2022

Carrie Stuart Parks: Fallout

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Her carefully crafted life is about to be demolished.

After a difficult childhood, Samantha Williams craves simplicity: jigsaw puzzles, lectures at the library, and the students she adores in her role as an elementary art teacher in the dusty farming community of LaCrosse, Washington.

But when an SUV crashes into the school where she teaches, her entire world is upended. She manages to keep all of the children safe, but her car isn’t so lucky. Oddly, her purse—containing her driver’s license, credit cards, and other identification—is missing from the wreckage.

After authorities discover that the driver in the school accident was shot seconds before the crash, Samantha quickly becomes entangled in increasingly strange events that have her looking over her shoulder.

Samantha has long tried to forget the tragedy of her past, but the twisting maze she discovers between the murdered driver, a deadly secret government project, and an abandoned town can't be ignored. Those involved are determined to keep these secrets buried, and they’ll use any means necessary to stop Samantha’s search for truth.


 

My Thoughts:

Fallout by Carrie Stuart Parks is a trip through a past chemical warfare issue, which could be disastrous for the current day. The plot was interesting and captivating. I had a really hard time putting the novel down. The heroine, Samantha, has to learn more about her past and put the puzzle pieces together to figure out why someone wants to kill her. Similarly, Dutch, the hero, has to also come to reality about the weight of the pass that he keeps carrying around. Samantha is the deeper character who Parks dives into and allows readers to emphasize with. The plot focuses mostly on the suspense, which I highly favor. Near the end of the story, the heroine and hero have a romantic moment that I really did not like. Nothing in the story really led up to them having feelings for each other. The story would have been better to end the story with a spark of an emotion, not trying to develop a relationship. Even with this tiny issue, Fallout by Carrie Stuart Parks was a delightful suspense novel with a twist to the ending that kept me engrossed in the plot. Definitely will want a copy for my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of Fallout by Carrie Stuart Parks  from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Fallout

Friday, September 9, 2022

9/11 Remembrance

 By Kelly Bridgewater

I understand the horrors of what happened on 9/11/01.

It was a violation of America.

No different than the horrors of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.

Different generations.

Different effect.

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I was nineteen years old and about four months pregnant with our first son.

I was attending college at IUPUI in downtown Indianapolis.

We were sent home early because no one knew if there would be more attacks, and they wanted to clear out the downtown of Indy, just in case, Indy was on the targeted list.

I remember going home and watching the reruns over and over.

No one knew what was happening.

Everyone was glued to their televisions and waiting on news.

But

I remember how America came together.

We supported each other.

Color did not matter. Race did not matter. Gender did not matter.

We were Americans.

Today, America is so divided by the stupid things the government wants to divide us by.

I wish we could remember the feeling after 9/11 or even the feeling after Pearl Harbor when Americans felt violated and would do anything to defend the freedoms we have. 

Monday, September 5, 2022

Nadine Brandes: Wishtress

 By Kelly Bridgewater

She didn’t ask to be the Wishtress.

Myrthe was born with the ability to turn her tears into wishes. But when a granted wish goes wrong, she is cursed: the next tear she sheds will kill her. To break the curse she must travel to the Well before it claims her life—and before the king’s militairen find her. To survive the journey, Myrthe will have to harden her heart to keep herself from crying even a single tear.

He can stop time with a snap of his fingers.

Bastiaan’s powerful—and rare—Talent came in handy when he kidnapped the old king. Now the new king has a job for him: find the Wishtress and deliver her to the schloss. But Bastiaan needs a wish of his own. He gains Myrthe’s trust by promising to take her to the Well, but once he gets what he needs, he’ll turn her in. As long as his growing feelings for the girl with a stone heart don’t compromise his job.

Their quest can end only one way: with her death.

Everyone seems to need a wish—the king, Myrthe’s cousin, the boy she thinks she loves. And they’re ready to bully, beg, and betray her for it. No one knows that to grant even one wish, Myrthe would pay with her life. And if she tells them about the curse . . . they’ll just kill her anyway.


 

My Thoughts:

Wishtress by Nadine Brandes is a magical tale with a battle between Talents and Banes that creates a massive rift in a kingdom. While it takes a while for the story to get moving, once it does, it becomes a delightful masterpiece of a tale. The plot features different characters all trying to visit the well where they can obtain their talents or figure out how to save the kingdom with their talents. Many journeys, trials, and perils await each individual character as they travel to the well. The plot reminded me a lot of The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer. Each character on their own journey, and readers are introduced to their struggles either internally or externally. Whereas, each character is discovering themselves, Myrthe also has a little bit of struggle with learning to trust others and learning to discover what love is and how it will affect her future. Since this is a fantasy novel, the setting is different, but also, pretty familiar to readers of the Medieval time period. Story rings true with the setting and the actions that occur to the characters. Overall, Wishtress by Nadine Brandes is a talented book full of mystery and danger. The story ends in a cliffhanger, so I hope that means that their will be another books to join these characters on another journey.

I received a complimentary copy of Wishtress by Nadine Brandes from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Wishtress

Friday, September 2, 2022

Labor Day

 By Kelly Bridgewater

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Good-bye Summer.

Come on cooler weather.

Fall is on its way!

Do you enjoy fall?

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Morgan L. Busse: Blood Secrets

 By Kelly Bridgewater


About the Book

Book: Blood Secrets

Author: Morgan L. Busse

Genre: YA Steampunk Fantasy

Release date: August 9, 2022

Not everyone wants to see the world saved . . .

Time is running out. Cities are being engulfed in the Mist and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Theo believes he has found a way to stop mankind from Turning, but he doesn’t know how to alter Cass’s unique blood into a cure. Or if it can even be done.

Meanwhile, Cass struggles with the idea that she is possibly the savior of the world—a world she is not sure is worth saving.

From the Winchester manse to the steel city of Decadenn, there is something more chasing Cass than the House of Lords or the masked man who can walk in the Mist. Soon she must decide if she will use her blood to save mankind or let those who only care about themselves perish
.

 


My Thoughts:

Blood Secrets by Morgan Busse was a wonderful end to a duology. I enjoy returning to this steampunk world with flying ships, divers, money, and the strange things below the Mist. The characters are brave, daring, and wonderful to hang out with. I have heard that this is the last book in this two book series, which I wish it was not. About ninety percent into the novel, there was still a lot left in the plot that needed to be covered in order to make a happy ending. Busse rushed to the ending. I wanted more. A whole another book would not be a bad thing. Maybe some more danger with the actual ruling families. Not everything told to the readers that the story tied into a nice little bow. I wanted more for the ending of this series. There is a touch of romance. Nothing over the top. Thank goodness. The cover, again, was beautiful , and I will be purchasing a hardbound copy to have on my shelf next to the other one. I loved the world that Busse crafted and wanted to spend more time in it. I needed more of a conflict toward the end of this book. There is plenty of conflict up to that 90%. I believe there was plenty more to the story that could have been told in another installment. Overall, Blood Secrets by Morgan Busse should have had a third novel to complete the story. It felt rushed toward the end. I loved the characters and the plot and wanted to see more and stay in this story a lot longer.

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

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Blood Secrets

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, The Soul Chronicles, and The Ravenwood Saga. She is a three-time Christy Award finalist and winner of both the INSPY and the Carol Award for best in Christian speculative fiction. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel.

More from Morgan

A lot of stories involve the hero saving the world. But is that realistic if you consider what the hero has been through? What if saving the world means saving the villain? Or that bully who made the hero’s life terrible back in high school? Or the person who lied and it cost the hero his or her job, home, or even their first love? 

When I started writing Blood Secrets, it hit me (and therefore Cass as I was writing her story), that if she saved her world—all the people who were forced to live on mountaintops, airships, and sky islands because of the deadly Mist that covered everything else—she would be saving the people who saw her as lesser than. The people who forced everyone else off the mountains to die in the Mist, including her parents. The same people who would never think of saving someone like her. 

As I wrote her story, I felt Cass’s resentment and anger towards the “echelons”—those at the top of society and literally the world. She was fine with saving others like her. But the thought of saving the people who ordered the purges that killed so many made her feel sick. In her mind, they didn’t deserve her sacrifice.

 Honestly, I had never thought about it before. The hero saves the world. It’s what a hero does. But this was the first time I really thought about what that meant, and who it meant saving. It made me look at myself. Would I be willing to save everyone? Even those who have hurt me? Who have cost me so much in my life? Ugh. That’s a hard thought.

 People love heroes, and sometimes even want to be one themselves. But the reality is being a hero is really hard. It’s not just saving the world; it’s saving those who live in the world. The good and the bad. Those deserving and those not so much. That’s what a real hero does. 

I won’t share what decision Cass made because that is part of her story. But I am glad I was able to write her story because it made me think more about how I would react in her situation. And about God, who ultimately gave all to save a world that did not want Him.

Blog Stops

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 31

Remembrancy, August 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 1

Texas Book-aholic, September 2

Blogging With Carol, September 2

Inklings and notions, September 3

Christina’s Corner, September 3

The Christian Fiction Girl, September 4

For Him and My Family, September 5

Labor Not in Vain, September 5

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 6

Aryn the Libraryan, September 7

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 7

deb’s Book Review, September 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 9

Daysong Reflections, September 9

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 10

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

Rebecca Tews, September 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 12

Simple Harvest Reads, September 13 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Morgan is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon and signed book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/21361/blood-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, August 29, 2022

Elizabeth Musser: By Way of the Moonlight

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Two courageous young women, tied together by blood and shared passion, will risk everything to save what they love most.

For as long as she can remember, Allie Massey, a gifted physical therapist, has dreamed of making her grandparents' ten-acre estate into a trauma recovery center using equine therapy--a dream her grandmother, Nana Dale, embraced wholeheartedly. But when her grandmother's will is read, Allie is shocked to learn the property has been sold to a developer.

Decades earlier, headstrong Dale Butler's driving passion is to bring home the prized filly her family lost to the Great Depression, but with World War II looming, she's called upon in ways she never could have imagined. And while her world expands to include new friends and new love, tragedy strikes close to home one fateful night during the Battle of the Atlantic, changing her life forever.

As Nana Dale's past comes to light in Allie's search for answers, Dale's courage and persistence may be just what Allie needs to carry on her grandmother's legacy and keep her own dreams alive.

 


My Thoughts:

By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser is a time-slip novel featuring a horse ranch and broken dreams. The synopsis says some elements of the Great Depression and World War II, but the time period really was not that important to the story. The story does feature a modern day heroine, Allie, who is on a hunt for a cedar box among her grandmother’s things to see what was in it. The past is showing Dale, her grandmother’s, story and legacy with the horses. The writing was deep and could have been a lifechanging story for Allie and Dale, but the first third of the novel was really hard to get in to. The story does show Dale as she matures and starts to fall in love with Tommy. BUT in my personal opinion, there is no action. It appears to be a dynamic story, but I really need more action. Maybe have the heroine and hero react more to what happened to their family during the Great Depression. Show how it affected their riding life. Show how it affect their family dynamics and friendship. The Great Depression was such a horrible time for families and should have been a horrible time for Dale’s family, but Mussner glazed over it and focused on the horse training and young love. After a while, I prayed for the novel to end. I flipped through the story, praying to find some World War II action. Not much of that either. Overall, By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser really did not capture my attention. I had a really hard time with the plot, wanting more.

I received a complimentary copy of By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:   3 out of 5 stars

Purchase By Way of the Moonlight

Friday, August 26, 2022

Most Anticipated Suspense Fall 2022

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Here is another favorite post:

Most Anticipated Suspense Novels for Fall 2022

All covers come from Goodreads.

Fallout by Carrie Stuart Parks



The Premonition of Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright



Sundown by Susan May Warren



Targetted by Natalie Walters, Lynette Eason, and Lynn H. Blackburn



Dark Fall by Brian Andrews



How about you? I believe we need more stories in this genre!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 22, 2022

Patricia Bradley: Deception

 By Kelly Bridgewater

After being forced to kill an FBI agent gone rogue in self-defense while working in the violent crimes unit for the Investigative Services Branch, ranger Madison Thorn is comfortable with her move to the fraud and cyber division. At least numbers don't lie. So she's less than thrilled when a white-collar crime investigation in Natchez, Mississippi, turns violent. She could also do without being forced to work with former-childhood-enemy-turned-infuriatingly-handsome park ranger Clayton Bradshaw.

When a woman who looks just like Madison is attacked on the same night Madison's grandfather is shot, it becomes clear that there is something much bigger going on here and that Madison herself is in danger. Madison and Clayton will have to work together--and suppress their growing feelings for one another--if they are to discover the truth before it's too late.

 


My Thoughts:

Deception by Patricia Bradley does definitely what the title suggests. There are plenty of deceptive moments in the plot. Bullets flying, romance sparking, and mistaken identity all shine across the page of this romantic suspense novel. Readers will enjoy the hunt for what is the reality of what happened in the past. With a dead grandfather in the scene, it is up to Madison to uncover the realities of her past and what that means for her future. The suspense was wonderfully handled. There are a number of plot points that needed to be untwisted by the end of the story, which is a delight for readers who enjoy more mysteries the better. As for the romance, it is not over the top, but it does flirt with the edges of the plotline. Bradley’s does know how to capture the suspense genre and satisfy the appetite of the readers of this popular genre. Overall, Deception by Patricia Bradley was a delightful romantic suspense novel with plenty of action and romance for fans of the genre.

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

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Deception

Friday, August 19, 2022

Most Anticipated Historical Romance Fall 2022

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Another addition of my most anticipated Historical Romance novels published from September 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022. 

Here they are: (All images come from  unless noted!)

The Lost Melody by Joanna Davidson Politano


The Bridge of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep


Within These Gilded Halls by Abigail Wilson


The Secrets of Emberwild by Stephanie McGee


The Brilliance of Stars by J'nell Ciesieskli


The Sisters of Seaview by Julie Klassen


In Love's Time by Kate Breslin


What about you? Looking forward to any of these books. Would you add any more?

Monday, August 15, 2022

Allison Pittman: Laura's Shadow

 

By Kelly Bridgewater

Family Secrets Spill One Conversation at a Time 

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance. 

De Smet, South Dakota—1890

Young women growing up in DeSmet live by two rules: don’t go out in a snowstorm and don’t give your heart to Cap Garland. Young Mariah Patterson only managed to obey one. Orphaned and having devoted her youth to scrapping out a life with her brother Charles, Mariah finds herself with no interesting suitors or means of support. Throwing caution to the wind, she seizes an opportunity to lay her feelings at Cap’s feet, even though she knows Cap sees the world through the torch he carries for Laura Ingalls. Mariah is certain her love for Cap will be strong enough to break both bonds, and she’s willing to risk everything to prove it. 

De Smet, South Dakota—1974 

Trixie Gowan is the fourth generation of living Gowan women residing in the sprawling farmhouse on the outskirts of De Smet. Well, former resident. She’s recently moved to Minneapolis, where she writes ads for a neighborhood paper edited by Ron Tumble. She might live and work in the city, but her co-workers still call her Prairie Girl. Thus the inspiration for her comic strip—“Lost Laura”—in which a bespectacled girl in a calico dress tries to make her way in the city. The name is a quiet rebellion having grown up in a household where she’d been forbidden to mention the name, Laura Ingalls. But when her great-grandmother Mariah’s declining health brings Trixie home for a visit, two things might just keep her there: the bedside manner of Dr. Campbell Carter and the family secret that seems to be spilling from GG’s lips one conversation at a time.

 


My Thoughts:

Laura’s Shadow by Allison Pittman shares a different story about Laura Ingalls Wilder, the widely popular prairie writer. The two time periods were interesting and filled with a pending revelation that readers will eagerly flip the pages hoping to discover. The past story was the one that really captured my attention. Of course, it was the actual story that the present day story was alluding to. I kept waiting for GG to explain to Trixie what the big secret was. A little disappointing at the moment of the “revealing”, but I do not want to share any spoilers. This was a unique story, which put Wilder in a different light, but it won’t tarnish her reputation. On the other hand, the romance in both timelines were a little off-setting. The present one definitely more than the past one. I did not buy the romance in the current day story at all. It was a weird and left a bad taste in my mouth. As for the past romance, the idea of Mariah’s brother and how he treated her once he became married really rubbed me the wrong way. Not that it does not happen because it does all the time. I just did not like to read it that way. Did not go well for Mariah in the story. Overall, Laura’s Shadow by Allison Pittman does definitely introduce readers into a Door into the Past, but I wanted a better ending to the revelation of the big moment that tied the two time periods together.

I received a complimentary copy of Laura’s Shadow by Allison Pittman from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:   3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Laura’s Shadow

Friday, August 12, 2022

Welcome back to School

 By Kelly Bridgewater

How did the first week of school go?

Were the meals planned? Or forgotten?

How about school work?

Have your kids whined about the amount of homework yet?

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This year, I get to experience my second son as a senior in high school. Hopefully, he can hit all those milestones that was stolen from my first son because of COVID. Shame for the class of 2020. Trust me, he does not like me or anyone for that matter to mention prom or graduation because he had neither. The school did not even make it up later. He is still very bitter about this. And I completely agree with him.

My last year is an eighth grader. I have been homeschooling him on the weekends and evenings after work, so it is more time consuming with him, but I honestly think he does SO much better with the one-on-one instruction then the instruction with the 30 plus students in the classroom.

What about you? Anything different this year than the previous years?