Monday, February 28, 2022

Jody Hedlund: Never Leave Me

 By Kelly Bridgewater

In the last stages of a genetic disease, Ellen Creighton has decided to live out her remaining days at the estate of her longtime friend Harrison Burlington. Harrison cares deeply for Ellen, but as a wheelchair-bound paraplegic, he's never allowed himself to get serious in a relationship. However, he's desperately trying to save her by finding the holy water that is believed to heal any disease.

When he locates two flasks, Ellen refuses to drink one of them because she believes the holy water killed her sister and father. In an effort to convince her to take it, Harrison ingests the contents first, and when Ellen witnesses the effects, she can no longer deny the power of the substance in the bottles. Dangerous criminals are also seeking the holy water, and Ellen soon learns they will go to any lengths to get the powerful drug--including sending her back into the past to find it for them.


My Thoughts:

Never Leave Me by Jody Hedlund is a unique time travel novel while hunting for Holy Water. I believe characters should read the first book Come Back to Me or much of this story would be hard to follow. While the story does continue the first story and feature the same main characters, the plot pretty much mirrors the first story. A forced marriage. Confused about deciding what time period to live in. While the first novel does feature more sexual tension than this novel, there is some of it, but not as much as in the first novel. While the story is a little farfetched of an idea, but then again, any fiction novel could do this, I wanted more of the suspense element. In the present day, Ellen is running from a certain character who wants her to chase down the holy water and bring it back to him, but it is really only one scene. Not that important to the story. I wanted more of this suspense. Hedlund left it in the air that he is still on the run, and it was the end of the story. The story seemed kind of shallow, even though the plot was interesting and different. I guessed I wanted more action in the present and more explanation of the how things work.

I received a complimentary copy of Never Leave Me by Jody Hedlund, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Never Leave Me

Friday, February 25, 2022

Odd Weather

 By Kelly Bridgewater

I am a HUGE fan of cold weather.

Overcast days with a threat of rain storms or snow showers make me happy.

A cool whisper of the wind through the brown, red, yellow, and orange leaves as it tingles up my spine fills me with a huge wave of joy.

I love listening to the roll of thunder as it crashes outside.

I love listening to the planking of the rain as it pounds on my metal roof.

I love the snow showers as it wraps the frozen earth in its cold fingers.

In Hocus Pocus where Bette Midler’s character, Winfred, says, as she is looking outside at a sunny day, “Another glorious morning. Makes me sick!” I completely agree with her.

Too many sunny days, which is almost every day from May 1st through Halloween, really drive me nuts.

I believe part of the issue is that I have migraines if I’m out in the sun too long. I feel weak and tired all the time in the sun.

Summer only brings weeds, bugs, and sun!

Not enough fun in my mind.

I plant pretty flowers, put mulch around them, and then it looks nice for about a week.

Then bam!

Weeds for the rest of the summer!

No more flowers.

Go outside even late at night to enjoy the 70 degree weather. Bug bites. Itch for weeks.

Too hot during the day with the sun.

I wish it would never get above 55 degrees.

Storms, snow, or overcast all the time.

How about you? What weather makes you happy?

Monday, February 21, 2022

Laura Frantz: A Heart Adrift

 By Kelly Bridgewater

 Virginia chocolatier and a privateering sea captain collide once more after a failed love affair a decade before. Will a war and a cache of regrets keep them apart? Or will a new shared vision reunite them?*****It is 1755, and the threat of war with France looms over colonial York, Virginia. Chocolatier Esmée Shaw is fighting her own battle of the heart. Having reached her twenty-eighth birthday, she is reconciled to life alone after a decade-old failed love affair from which she's never quite recovered. But she longs to find something worthwhile to do with her life.
Captain Henri Lennox has returned to port after a lengthy absence, intent on completing the lighthouse in the dangerous Chesapeake Bay, a dream he once shared with Esmée. But when the colonial government asks him to lead a secret naval expedition against the French, his future is plunged into uncertainty.

Will a war and a cache of regrets keep them apart, or can their shared vision and dedication to the colonial cause heal the wounds of the past? Bestselling and award-winning author Laura Frantz whisks you away to a time fraught with peril--on the sea and in the heart--in this redemptive, romantic story.


My Thoughts:

A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz will delight readers of historical American history with a hint of fiction to explain the story. I am not really a fan of stories in this time period because it is not around the major conveniences that we have today. I have a hard time staying focused on the story. With A Heart Adrift, it was no different than what I was expecting. The writing is top notch. Frantz is very familiar with the setting and the type of lifestyle of the shipping towns and the types of money that were involved in that era. This was wonderfully handled. As for the plot, I read the sixty-five percent, according to my Kindle, then the predictable moment occurred, and the story lost my attention. It was okay, but it really did not capture my attention. Nothing really happened. A lot of parties. People moving around, but nothing really happened. No chases. No hunt for buried treasure. Even the romance was a little wishy-washy. Not that this could not be a wonderful story for readers of early American history, but this is not the type of novel for me. I need more action in my plots.

I received a complimentary copy of A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Purchase A Heart Adrift

Friday, February 18, 2022

Failing Our Future

 By Kelly Bridgewater

America used to be the brightest, most educated country in the world. We could compete with other countries.

But . . . not anymore.

We are pretty dumb for a nation.

Students cannot write.

Students cannot do simple math in their heads.

Students cannot comprehend anything.

Even the simplest of instructions.

The schools send them through like cattle.

Here is our graduation rate. We have released all these students in to the wild, but the sad thing is most of them can’t do the basic.

Then the sad thing is that they move onto the universities. Then the universities have to play catch up with the basics that they should have learned in high school.

Even colleges today are not as tough as they used to be.

BUT all students and even some parents are buying the lie that they have to have a degree to be successful, so they go into debt for the undereducated degrees only to fail in the end.

No job prospects. Nothing in the field they studied for.

1000 students have the same degree. One position opened.

So the other 999 have to work minimum wage jobs to make ends meet, and pay back the loans they took, but they don’t make the paycheck they believed they would receive.

My brother did not graduate high school. He is a contractor and a licensed plumber. He will not settle for anything less than $45 an hour with a company vehicle that pays for his gas.

I have the Master’s degree and make barely above minimum wage.

What kind of future are we leaving for our children? Debt? With no way to ever pay it back? No job prospects? Education that has not truly trained them.

I see some nursing students who come in my job, and I would not want them working on me for nothing. They are not bright.

Graduate students who receive a Ph.D. in Physical Education. Really!!! What are you going to do with that? Gym teacher for $30,000 a year with $100,000+ in debt. Not logical.

Our future is really horrible in America. 

Monday, February 14, 2022

Jocelyn Green: Drawn by the Current

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Lives depend on the truth she uncovers.
She can't give up her search.

A birthday excursion turns deadly when the SS Eastland capsizes with Olive Pierce and her best friend on board. Hundreds perish during the accident, and it's only when Olive herself barely escapes that she discovers her friend is among the victims.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Olive returns to her work at a Chicago insurance agency and is immersed in the countless investigations related to the accident. But with so many missing, there are few open-and-shut cases, and she tries to balance her grief with the hard work of finding the truth.

While someone sabotages her progress, Olive accepts the help of newspaper photographer Erik Magnussen. As they unravel secrets, the truths they discover impact those closest to Olive. How long will the disaster haunt her--and how can she help the others find the peace they deserve?


My Thoughts:

Drawn by the Current by Jocelyn Green brings to life the Eastland boat disaster in Chicago. I have never heard of this disaster, but the way that Green crafted the story to life, I felt like I was one of the passengers on the boat when it tipped over. I love the two other elements that surround the heroine, Olive. A mystery at Metlife and her best friend's life was in danger. All of these plot points made for a strong and enticing story that I had a hard time putting down. I finished the novel in one day. Even the romance felt just right for the story. I have a hard time with hero's. Usually they are crafted a little wimpy, but the heroine's fall for them for some odd reason, but Erick, the hero, in this novel, was actually a strong heroine that I actually liked. He complimented Olive, not sidelined her. I felt his strength and his love for her as the story progressed. Overall, Drawn by the Current by Jocelyn Green is an intriguing story that fully captured my attention and allowed my imagination to run wild. I can't wait to own a physical copy and add it to my forever shelves.

I received a complimentary copy of Drawn by the Current by Jocelyn Green from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Drawn by the Current

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Graduate School

By Kelly Bridgewater

All through my high school career, high school counselors and teachers pushed college.

Must earn a Bachelor’s degree in order to have a high paying job.

Without this degree, you will not be able to afford anything.

So I went to school and earn my Bachelor’s Degree in English.

Masters and Ph.D. degrees were for the honor students who succeed and graduated with honors while working on the undergraduate degree.

I graduated with a 3.83 for my Bachelor’s Degree, so I thought I would work toward my Master’s in Writing.

Completed that.

Now I should be even more desirable for hiring and make even more money than the students who just have earned a Bachelor’s Degree.

Graduate school was for the “smart” kids.

BUT . . .

Working in the University (my current position only needed a high school diploma), I don’t believe that anymore.

Graduate schools allow anyone into their program.

Even though it is listed on their website that the student has to have a cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or higher to enter the Master’s Degree program, that is not the case anymore.

I have seen students enter the Master’s Degree program with a 2.10 GPA.


That does not make sense.

They have a D average, and the schools are accepting the students into their Master’s program. Ph.D.’ are accepting students who have earned a 2.85 GPA.

These classes are a lot more work and a lot tougher than undergraduate classes, which they should be.

It was nothing to compose three to four 25 page essays in a semester, depending on your course load. Plus, if the students are like me, I taught Freshman writing at the same time and raised three little boys at home.

My Master’s Thesis was 132 pages long.

Ph.D. dissertations have to be at least 300, if not more pages.

Plus, both degrees have you defending your paper in front of a committee.

Now, the schools allow students to take on more debt since you are not eligible for anything but loans, in order to work on these degrees.

Many students have to appeal their grades, because they do not make the grades, but they want those loans.

Even once the degree is awarded, Master’s degree students, even the smart ones, are working for less than the living wage.

No competitive jobs want them.

I, personally, have heard companies say with my Master’s Degree, I was too educated, and they would have to pay me more, so they would not hire me.

When applying for jobs, I removed the degrees I earned, if they were not required for the job position.


Graduate School is honestly not worth the investment!!!

What do you think? Is graduate school worth it?

Monday, February 7, 2022

Sarah Sundin: Until Leaves Fall in Paris

 By Kelly Bridgewater

As the Nazis march toward Paris in 1940, American ballerina Lucie Girard buys her favorite English-language bookstore to allow the Jewish owners to escape. Lucie struggles to run Green Leaf Books due to oppressive German laws and harsh conditions, but she finds a way to aid the resistance by passing secret messages between the pages of her books.

Widower Paul Aubrey wants nothing more than to return to the States with his little girl, but the US Army convinces him to keep his factory running and obtain military information from his German customers. As the war rages on, Paul offers his own resistance by sabotaging his product and hiding British airmen in his factory. After they meet in the bookstore, Paul and Lucie are drawn to each other, but she rejects him when she discovers he sells to the Germans. And for Paul to win her trust would mean betraying his mission.

Master of WWII-era fiction Sarah Sundin invites you onto the streets of occupied Paris to discover whether love or duty will prevail.


My Thoughts:

Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin features a brave hero and heroine who are stuck in France and are willing to sabatoge the Germans at every step. The story features the resistance and the inner workings of how they actually worked. Learning about what they actually did to threaten the Germans was a delight to read and learn about. The overall plot idea was interesting and held my attention, but at times, the story did move at a slow pace to move the story along. Of course, Sundin's research was well-handled since it brought the story to life. I enjoyed the historical elements of the story. The romance, on the other hand, developed at  a nice pace. Slow and steady won the hand of love. If readers enjoyed this novel, then they might enjoy reading The White Rose Resists by Amanda Barrett. The novels have the same resistance twist to the plot. Overall, Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin is an interesting novel on the importance of standing up for what a person believes in. I believe this is a great novel to invest time in.

I received a complimentary copy of Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Until Leaves Fall in Paris

Friday, February 4, 2022

What Motivates My Writing?

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Imagination inspired C.S. Lewis.

Languages and words inspired J.R. R. Tolkien.

But what about me?

If I ever write a novel again, what would they said motivated my writing?

I don’t really know.

I don’t live an important life.

I don’t have debt.

I married when I was 19 years old.

Attended college. Earned two degrees.

Worked at that university.

Raised my boys.

Loved my husband.

Loved my dogs.

I don’t know what they would say.

I have a hard time using my imagination since my Daddy died six years ago. I read stories of Lewis and Tolkien and how they slaved over their stories every day, but I do not do that anymore. I would love to. The ideas and desire is still there, but when it comes to actually sitting down and writing the story. Nothing.

Satan really haunts me.

Then I self-doubt myself and my writing abilities.

Even though, I have a Masters in Writing.

I think, sometimes, if I could get away somewhere where there is no distraction like housework, husband, boys, then maybe I would be able to allow my imagination to wander.

But I know writers that flourish in the hustle and bustle of normal life.

Not me.

I enjoy my solitary moments with no one around.

Allows me time to think.

What about you? What will be said about you? What motivates you to craft the next Great American Novel?