Monday, May 23, 2022

Liz Tolsma: A Promised Engraved

By Kelly Bridgewater

Can Promises Made in Times of Struggle Endure 200 Years?

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

Young, spirited Josie Wilkins life is about to take a turn when faced with political turmoil and forbidden love in San Antonio of 1836. John Gilbert has won her heart, despite being a Protestant preacher who is forbidden to practice his faith in Texas. Will either of them survive an epic battle for liberty to create a legacy of love?

Nearly 200 years later, Kayleigh Hernandez takes breaks from her demanding job as a refugee coordinator working with Mexican migrants to attend flea markets where she has found a uniquely engraved ring. Enlisting the help of appraiser Brandon Shuman, they piece together a love story long forgotten. But will dangers linked to Kayleigh’s work end her own hopes for leaving a legacy built on hope, faith, and love?

 


My Thoughts:

A Promise Engraved by Liz Tolsma invites readers into the story of the Battle of Alamo. With plenty of battle scenes and the rush through the Texan landscape, Tolsma invites her readers into a different world than the current Texan landscape. Josie Wilkins, the heroine from the past, is a brave woman who has a horrible past that she is trying to forget, yet cling onto certain aspects too. The present heroine, Kayleigh, also wants to know some truth about her biological parents. As both women seek to figure out the truth, they learn more about themselves and their past. Tolsma shows how understanding one’s legacy and ancestors is important to everyone. Similarly, the plot of the story was okay. As a reader, I had a hard time personally wanting to stay with the story. At times, it was boring and not a lot of movement on the page. I wanted, personally,  a bigger mystery to dive into. Overall, A Promise Engraved does fit well into the Doors into the Past series, and I believe readers will enjoy the novel as part of the complete series.

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

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase A Promise Engraved

Friday, May 20, 2022

Most Anticipated Suspense for Summer 2021

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Last week, I shared with my most excited novels for Historical Romance that I am most excited to read. 

This week, I am sharing the suspense novels that I can not wait to get my hands on. 

(All covers come from Goodreads!)

Code of Courage by Janice Cantore


Dark Angel by Andrews and Wilson


Sunburst by Susan May Warren


Fatal Code by Natalie Walters



The Deadly Shallows by Dani Pettrey


Free Fall by Nancy Mehl

Crossfire by Lynette Eason


Critical Alliance by Elizabeth Goddard



Deception by Patricia Bradley



Elysium Tide by James R. Hannibal




What about you? What would you add?




Monday, May 16, 2022

Becky Wade: Turn To Me

 By Kelly Bridgewater

His promise will cost him far more than he imagined.

Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey's life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke's release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he's hidden. Worried that she won't be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke's promise to protect her until the end of her search.

Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke's help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return--by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he's long denied himself.

As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He'll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who's going to shield him from losing his heart?


My Thoughts:

Fans of contemporary romance, rejoice. Fan favorite Becky Wade has crafted another contemporary romance novel for fans of the genre and Wade’s stories. The story has a hint of a mystery with the treasure hunt that Finley has to go on. A little bit of a risky adventure. But since this is a contemporary romance, the whole story centers around the romance between Finley and Luke. From their first encounter, Finley and Luke start having feelings for each other. They spend the rest of the story trapped together trying to solve the treasure hunt pieces and working together at the animal rescue place, so they are in constant contact, so of course, their attraction to each other becomes center stage. As for Finley, the heroine, she did seem a little flaky and pushy. What kind of person would demand her employees take home a brand-new puppy, even though they persisted that he did not want to take one? After a horrible week with the dog, he still had feelings for her. I found this hard to believe. I would not like someone that forced a snake or something on me. Puppies are hard to handle just like a new baby. While I found the plot a little too unbelievable, I believe that fans of contemporary romance might completely disagree with me and enjoy the hint of the romance with the “mystery” element. Overall, Turn to Me by Becky Wade does fit nicely into the contemporary romance genre, but it was not to my liking. Not my type of book.

I received a complimentary copy Turn to Me by Becky Wade from  Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Purchase Turn to Me


Friday, May 13, 2022

Most Anticipated Historical Romance Summer 2021

 By Kelly Bridgewater

It is that time of year again!

I love showing off all the covers of the stories that I look forward to in the next three months. 

Here are the Historical Romance that I am looking for to reading:

(All covers come from Goodreads!)

A Hundred Crickets Singing by Cathy Gohlke


Long Way Home by Lynn Austin


Written on the Wind by Elizabeth Camden



The Italian Ballerina by Kristy Cambron



A Feeling of Home by Susan Anne Mason



In Honor's Defense by Karen Witemeyer



A Promise Engraved by Liz Tolsma




Laura's Shadow by Allison Pittman




Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd




What about you? Any books to add?






Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Angela Couch: A Rose for the Resistance

 By Kelly Bridgewater


About the Book

Book: A Rose for the Resistance

Author: Angela K. Couch

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Christian

Release date: April, 2022

A French Woman and German Soldier Create a Truce. Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes;the heroines of WWII. With her father in a German POW camp and her home in Ste Mere Eglise, France, under Nazi occupation, Rosalie Barrieau will do anything to keep her younger brother safe. . .even from his desire to join the French resistance. Until she falls into the debt of a German solder; one who delivers a wounded British pilot to her door. Though not sure what to make of her German ally, Rosalie is thrust deep into the heart of the local underground. As tensions build toward the allied invasion of Normandy, she must decide how much she is willing to risk for freedom.

 


My Thoughts:

The Rose for the Resistance by Angela Crouch dives into the world of the French Resistance during World War II. The background and the research to bring this story to life is well-crafted and shows in the world of the story. I felt like I was walking the streets of France while the Nazi’s were standing ground and imitating the French people. On the other hand, the romance between Franz and the heroine seemed a little off for me. Not that Europeans did not fall in love with Nazi’s soldiers during World War II. It was more of having the heroine believe what he said right away and not doubting it. Even so far as she told him secrets of the French Resistance and kept him in the loop. Many Nazi soldiers were more worried about keeping themselves alive that I was not surprised he did not betray her a number of times to make himself look better. He was a forced soldier, for a logical reason, but I still did not buy that he would have helped her as much as he did. Whereas, the plot does feature French Resistance that has been shown in a number of other stories like The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron, so I believed the actions she made the characters go through. It was an interesting story and a delight to spend time with.

I received a complimentary copy of The Rose for the Resistance by Angela Crouch  from  Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Rose for the Resistance

About the Author


To keep from freezing in the great white north, Angela K Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the 2016 International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and toasty warm) by chasing after four munchkins.

 More from Angela

The story of A Rose for the Resistance has been in the making for a while. Rosalie and Franz came to life for me in the first novel I started writing as a teenager… (not even going to mention how long ago that was). Though much of that early work will never see the light of day, I am glad I can finally share them with you.

Every November 11th since I was a child, I would sit with my dad and watch WWII documentaries and movies like A Bridge too Far, or The Longest Day which featured Sainte-Mère-Église during the D-day landings. So many of those stories beg to be remembered and I tried to include as much as I could in this novel, even in passing. Stories such as John Steele of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment who dropped into the warzone of Sainte-Mère-Église that night and his chute caught on the spire of the church. He hung limply for hours, pretending to be dead, before the Germans took him prisoner. John later escaped and rejoined his division. Or, Henry Langrehr who landed five miles from his drop zone, crashing through a greenhouse on the way down. He was unharmed from the fall, but was later wounded and captured. He lived into his nineties to tell the tale.

Many of the events and deeds of The Resistance in the novel are also pulled from history. The French citizen’s willingness to risk their lives to transport weapons and information, and to staunchly resist the brutal German occupation. It is estimated that approximately 90,000 men women – and children – were killed, tortured, or deported by the Germans for their efforts.

Though many of the characters in this story are fictional, there are so many men and women who truly did live through the horrors of the War in Europe, and more importantly risked or sacrificed their all for the freedom and lives of others.

I pray we never forget.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 29

Books, Books, and More Books, April 29

The Write Escape, April 30

Remembrancy, April 30

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 1

Rachael’s Inkwell, May 1

Texas Book-aholic, May 1

Genesis 5020, May 2

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, May 2

Inklings and notions, May 2

She Lives To Read, May 3

lakesidelivingsite, May 3

Betti Mace, May 4

For Him and My Family, May 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 4

Sodbuster Living, May 5

deb’s Book Review, May 5

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, May 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 6

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 6

Vicarious Living, May 6

Older & Smarter?, May 7

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 7

Sylvan Musings, May 7

Connie’s History Classroom, May 8

Blossoms and Blessings, May 8

Mary Hake, May 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 9

Splashes of Joy, May 9

Through the Fire Blogs, May 9

Bizwings Blog, May 10

Pause for Tales, May 10

Labor Not in Vain, May 10

Bigreadersite, May 11

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 11

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, May 11

CarpeDiem, May 12

Lights in a Dark World, May 12

Giveaway



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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1d3bb/a-rose-for-the-resistance-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, May 9, 2022

Elizabeth Camden: Written on the Wind

 By Kelly Bridgewater

He carries a dangerous secret, but can he survive long enough to expose it?

Count Dimitri Sokolov has been charged with overseeing construction of the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway, but during this work, he witnesses an appalling crime, the truth of which threatens the Russian monarchy. In an effort to silence him, the czar has stripped Dimitri of his title, his lands, and his freedom . . . but Dimitri has one asset the czar knows nothing about: his deep and abiding friendship with Natalia Blackstone.

Natalia is the lead analyst for her father's New York banking empire and manages their investment in the Trans-Siberian Railway. Her bond with Dimitri has flourished despite the miles between them, but when Dimitri goes unexpectedly missing, she sets the wheels in motion to find him. Once they join forces, they embark on a dangerous quest in which one wrong move could destroy them both. 

From the steppes of Russia to the corridors of power in Washington, Dimitri and Natalia will fight against all odds to save the railroad while exposing the truth. Can their newfound love survive the ordeal?

 


My Thoughts:

Written on the Wind by Elizabeth Camden introduces readers to the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia in the later stages of the building. While the story does not actually focus on the building of the railway, it does involve the people who were active in a horrible situation that occurred because of the building of this massive structure. If readers are familiar with the first novel in the Blackstone Legacy, Carved in Stone, then the readers would be familiar with the name of Natalia, the heroine. This time around, it is her story that readers are allowed to follow. The romance between Natalia and Dimitri is what starts the story through telegrams from Russia to New York City. There are moments of survival through the Russian wilderness through the early winter. There are moments of high society in New York City. There are moments of life on a farm in Russia. Plenty of scenery to capture a readers’ attention. The plot tickled my interest, giving readers an interesting plot centered around the Blackstone Family. Overall, Written on the Wind by Elizabeth Camden is an interesting peek into the world of the banking system and Russian politics. A delightful novel.

I received a complimentary copy Written on the Wind by Elizabeth Camden from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Written on the Wind

Friday, May 6, 2022

College is Not the Answer

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Our college system is not working. (I do this does not apply to ALL universities.)

Our high school system is not working.

Majority of the students admitted to college cannot write an essay. They cannot do simple math in their heads. Then the colleges have to dumb down the education to re-teach these basics, before moving forward. Then by the time the students earn the Bachelor's Degree, they are where they should have been when they graduated high school.

College is such a joke anymore.

Not everyone HAS to attend college.

www.clipartix.com


Our students are not anymore educated when they arrive.

A lot of them are failing out the first semester. Then they beg and plead to stay. The school allows them to stay. They earned all F's, but go ahead and give them the degree.

I do not want a doctor to work on me who barely made the grades.

Then you make the college students like me who graduated with my undergraduate degree with a 3.85 out of 4 and my Masters with a 3.70 out of 4 look like an idiot because my degree is from the same place.  

NOT EVERYONE HAS TO ATTEND COLLEGE.

Blue collar jobs like working for the electronic or gas company. Plumbers and other skilled labors are making more than college graduates.

But nobody wants those jobs.

How about you? What do you think of our college system?

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Gabrielle Meyer: When the Day Comes

 By Kelly Bridgewater

How will she choose, knowing all she must sacrifice?

 

Libby has been given a powerful gift: to live one life in 1774 Colonial Williamsburg and the other in 1914 Gilded Age New York City. When she falls asleep in one life, she wakes up in the other. While she's the same person at her core in both times, she's leading two vastly different lives.

 

In Colonial Williamsburg, Libby is a public printer for the House of Burgesses and the Royal Governor, trying to provide for her family and support the Patriot cause. The man she loves, Henry Montgomery, has his own secrets. As the revolution draws near, both their lives--and any hope of love--are put in jeopardy.

 

Libby's life in 1914 New York is filled with wealth, drawing room conversations, and bachelors. But the only work she cares about--women's suffrage--is discouraged, and her mother is intent on marrying her off to an English marquess. The growing talk of war in Europe only complicates matters.

But Libby knows she's not destined to live two lives forever. On her twenty-first birthday, she must choose one path and forfeit the other--but how can she choose when she has so much to lose in each life?



My Thoughts:

When the Time Comes by Gabrielle Meyer is a trip through history. From the American Revolution to the start of World War I, readers are taken on a trip with Libby as she navigates her way through these time periods. The plot idea of being a time crosser appears to be a different take on a storyline. The Circle series by Ted Dekker started with the same idea where the character falls asleep and wakes up in a different world in his instance. Then both main characters had to choose where they wanted to stay. I enjoyed Dekker’s series, and I have enjoyed Meyer’s take on the concept too. Meyer does a wonderful job at diving deep into the character’s psyche and allowing the readers to empathize with her plight as she figures out what timeline she wants to call her home. Plenty of dilemma in the historical aspects too. Readers will see familiar names in history as they prepare for the American Revolution. Of course, what is a historical romance without the romance. While both time periods featured a romance story, the 1774 time series was more a romantic romance story and the 1914 time series was a force romance. Readers will be thrilled to learn about the twist at the end of the story that ties the story all together. Overall, When the Time Comes by Gabrielle Meyer is a captivating story filled with a deeply developed character with pain and conflict. After reading this story, I am curious of what book two in this series will be about.

I received a complimentary copy When the Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase When the Day Comes

Monday, May 2, 2022

Natalie Walters: Fatal Code

 By Kelly Bridgewater

In 1964, a group of scientists called the Los Alamos Five came close to finishing a nuclear energy project for the United States government when they were abruptly disbanded. Now the granddaughter of one of those five scientists, aerospace engineer Elinor Mitchell, discovers that she has highly sensitive information on the project in her possession--and a target on her back.

SNAP agent and former Navy cryptologist Kekoa Young is tasked with monitoring Elinor. This is both convenient since she's his neighbor in Washington, DC, and decidedly inconvenient because . . . well, he kind of likes her.

As Elinor follows the clues her grandfather left behind to a top-secret nuclear project, Kekoa has no choice but to step in. When Elinor learns he has been spying on her, she's crushed. But with danger closing in on all sides, she'll have to trust him to ensure her discoveries stay out of enemy hands.

Natalie Walters sucks you into the global race for space domination in this perfectly paced second installment of her SNAP Agency romantic suspense series.


 

My Thoughts:

Fatal Code by Natalie Walters is a nasty treat of a hunt for a cyber code that is left by the heroine’s now deceased grandfather. Because of this, Elinor, the heroine, is focused on her science project, Van Gogh, but someone keeps attacking her asking her to release the code. Of course, she has no idea what they are talking about. From then on, the story features numerous attempts on her life, but enters the handsome Kekoa, her neighbor, who jumps into her protect and see what the real threat is all about. The story is unpredictable and original while still carry moments of familiarity to readers of the romantic suspense genre. The romance is also pretty normal for this genre. Sparks and emotions start to fly as Kekoa has to observe Elinor. My favorite part is near the beginning when Walters has the SNAP team sitting in a conference room, and they are teasing one another. The familiarity and joyful talking between the team members is a nice touch. I enjoy seeing this side of these trained soldiers. Overall, Fatal Code by Natalie Walters is an enjoyable way to spend a day. I would highly recommend fans of romantic suspense to pick up this novel and any of her other books. You won’t be disappointed.

I received a complimentary copy Fatal Code by Natalie Walters from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Fatal Code

Friday, April 29, 2022

College is the New Welfare System

 By Kelly Bridgewater

I worked in the Financial Aid Office.

I hear all the time . . . Where's my refund?

Every semester when the bills and the Financial Aid is applied to their accounts, students and parents line up to call and ask where is my refund.

I'll take all my loans.

Take huge amounts of a Parent Plus or a Private Alternative Loan just so I can receive a refund.

Then they call.

How much is my refund?

$1000 a semester to pay for books and other supplies.

No. Not enough. I need at least $5000 a semester refund even though I live on campus.

www.pinterest.com


More debt.

These students and parents know this has to be paid back, right?
No, they are waiting on Joe Biden to enforce the Student Loan Forgiveness, and me and every tax payer will have to pay their insurmountable  debt.

College is a gateway to free money.

We approve them for more than most students need.

Then you have the students who can barely pay their bill, so they work really hard without taking loans.

But they still believe they have to attend college, so they go, go into debt, and end up with a job at Meijer as a shift manager who makes $14 an hour with no overtime. No retirement plans. No pension. They will have to work two to three jobs at that rate to pay off the debt.

College is a way to receive "FREE" money.

What about you? Have you seen this happen before?

Monday, April 25, 2022

Brian Andrews: Dark Angel

 

By Kelly Bridgewater

Former Navy SEAL Jedidiah Johnson returns to Nashville ready to begin his training with the elite warriors known as the Shepherds. He thinks he knows what to expect when he arrives on the sprawling, state-of-the-art facility but quickly realizes he’ll have to find his place as the rookie leader of a new team. Then he starts having visions of an imminent attack overseas, and with the clock ticking, Jed and his team are dispatched to neutralize the threat. All the while, Jed hears whispers of another threat . . . a name that raises unexplained fear and anger throughout the Shepherds organization.

Once a military man, Nicholas Woland betrayed the Shepherds and all they stood for when he joined their enemies. After years in prison, Woland is eager to get back in action spreading chaos and death. And he has been freed for a purpose: a sinister plot that will result in hundreds of casualties and incite worldwide religious warfare for years to come.

As Woland and the Shepherds race toward a collision, Jed must rely on his gifts, his training, and his untested team to make critical decisions on a global stage—never realizing that a secret servant of the enemy is growing closer and closer to him.

 


My Thoughts:

Dark Angel by Brian Andrews continues the story of the Shephards. All of the characters are ex-military that have been in service, but they serve the Lord and now want to fight the dark forces aka demons that are running rampant in the world. The plot was a little slow in the first part as the story takes place in the training world of the Shephards. It was interesting to see how they are trained to prepare to face the dark angels, but it did take a long part of the story. Once they were called up, the story started to take off and create a little more tension. The part of the story where the dark angel, who is creating the havoc, is allowed to show his past story and emotions is some of my favorite parts of the story. Part III is a nicely handled section full with a number of high-octane moments with plenty of action. Overall, Dark Angel by Brian Andrews is full of action, just like I enjoy my stories, in the second and third parts. If readers enjoy suspense books like Joel Rosenberg with a hint of hope from God, then this might be the book for them to read.

I received a complimentary copy of Dark Angel by Brian Andrews from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Dark Angel

Friday, April 22, 2022

Is College the Right Choice?

 By Kelly Bridgewater

During the late nineteenth century, only the elite males went to college. Some woman, but not many.

During the 1960's, more and more women went to the university. It was seen as a rite of passage still for the wealthy. By attending college, they were guaranteed a higher paying job and a better lifestyle.  Some of my uncles never attended college, but worked in factories their whole lives and now they are retired, and they are still living a better life with their pension, retirements, then I am working 40 + hours a week.

So during the 1970 and 1980's, it was pushed on everyone to attend college. Scholarships. Pell Grants. Take out the loans.

Everyone was brainwashed to believe that to be successful, you must have  a college degree.

When I graduated high school in 2000's, our parents and teachers preached the same old story, the same sad song.

Those who wanted to attend college, worked hard, and some attended their dream colleges. Some just attended ones that they could afford. Tons of my friends from my high school graduating class graduated with top degrees from big schools.

www.clipartpanda.com


Purdue University.

Notre Dame.

Wabash College.

Indiana University.

I graduated from Indiana State University, which was a nice school then.

Most of them took out student loans to make these dream become a reality.

Now the harsh reality, those jobs we were promised are not the ones that we are working at.

My friend who graduated from Purdue is a manager at a Restaurant.

Friend from Notre Dame works in real estate.

Friend from Wabash College is actually in politics. Different than everyone else.

Friend from Indiana University is a bank manager.

I work at a University, but I work in the Financial Aid office.

None of these jobs pay barely above minimum wage.

My brother, who dropped out of high school, is a license plumber, who will not take a job for less than $45 an hour with a company truck.

So is going into debt, so you can still the diploma on a shelf while you work at Meijer as a manager worth it?

Honestly, I don't agree so.

What about you? Are you actually using your degree on a daily basis? Are you being paid a six figure salary for your skills? I sure the heck am not.