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.

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.

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.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Kelli Stuart: The Master Craftsman

 By Kelly Bridgewater

In 1917, Alma Pihl, a master craftsman in the House of Fabergé, was charged to protect one of the greatest secrets in Russian history--an unknown Fabergé Egg that Peter Karl Fabergé secretly created to honor his divided allegiance to both the people of Russia and the Imperial tsar's family. When Alma and her husband escaped Russia for their native Finland in 1921, she took the secret with her, guarding her past connection to the Romanov family. 

Three generations later, world-renowned treasure hunter Nick Laine is sick and fears the secret of the missing egg will die with him. With time running out, he entrusts the mission of retrieving the egg to his estranged daughter, Ava, who has little idea of the dangers she is about to face. As the stakes are raised, Ava is forced to declare her own allegiance--and the consequences are greater than she could have imagined.

This modern-day treasure hunt from award-winning author Kelli Stuart transports you into the opulent and treacherous world of the Russian Revolution to unearth mysteries long buried.


My Thoughts:

The Master Craftsman by Kelli Stuart is a treasure hunt race to hunt for the Russian Eggs. During the early 20th century, master craftsman would take jewelry and craft these outlandish Easter eggs that opened and had little secret gifts inside. I really do not know much about Russian history, so this was a fascinating concept. I loved how Stuart promised within the first chapter to deliver a treasure hunt in her story and delivered. The entire novel focused on the hunt for the missing egg. The story takes place in Petersburg, Russia to Finland and in America. The plot was well-crafted, and I could not wait to see what happened. Definetly a page turner. There is a twist at the end that I did not see coming, which was really nice. Overall, The Master Craftsman by Kelli Stuart is a unique exploration into the Russian eggs while showing the audience about Russian history. I recommend this novel for fans who enjoy history with a little mystery.

I received a complimentary copy of The Master Craftsman by Kelli Stuart from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Master Craftsman

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Happy Easter or Resurrection Day!

By Kelly Bridgewater

 Last Friday was Good Friday. Sunday was Easter. So this second post dealing with the Scriptures and Jesus's crucificiation is a little late, but it is a WONDERFUL message, so I don't think anyone will mind.

"Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them came to the tomb bringing spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. An did happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, 'Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!' " Luke 24 : 1- 6

Praise Jesus!!!!

He conquered death and Satan has no power over Him anymore.

I couldn't imagine what those women went through. It was not the morning they were expecting.

I hope this message encourages you to keep trusting in God. What he did was for you and me. Something we can't ever earn. Just accept his gift of eternal life. 

Scripture came from the Journal the Word Bible NKJV.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Lisa Harris: The Catch

 By Kelly Bridgewater

After a harrowing attempt on a judge's life at the courthouse, Deputy US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are tasked with finding a missing woman and an endangered child in connection to the murder of the judge's wife. What seems like a fairly straightforward case becomes hopelessly tangled when the marshals discover that the woman they are searching for is in witness protection and the Amber Alert put out for the missing child has put two lives in danger.

Madison and Jonas are forced into a race to find the woman and the child before the men who want her dead discover her location. And in a final showdown that could cost her everything, Madison will come face-to-face with the person who murdered her husband.


My Thoughts:

The Catch by Lisa Harris develops three mysteries in one novel. With a quick run for their lives, someone accused of murder, and someone else trying to figure out a crime that took her husband, there is plenty of action firing across the pages of the story. The heroine, Madison, has been the same heroine for all three novels in this series, which I really liked. It gave Harris plenty of time to dive deep into character and find what motivates her. Also, the romance between her and Jonas had plenty of time to spark and wonder if anything was going to develop. As for the plot, as I mentioned before, there was three mysteries to untangle. Harris crafted the novel where Madison would focus on one aspect of one of the novels, then the next one would rear its ugly head and take her away from the first mystery.  The moved along quickly, but did allow some downtime for the characters as they rushed from keeping their victims lives safe. Overall, The Catch featured a satisfying conclusion to the mystery in this page, and readers will be happy to see the overall mystery that featured Madison is finally brought to life. I can't wait to see what Harris will craft next.

I received a complimentary copy of The Catch by Lisa Harris from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Catch

Friday, April 8, 2022

Good Friday

By Kelly Bridgewater 

Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, 'Prophesy! Who is the one who struck you?' And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him." Luke 22: 63-65

"Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate." Luke 23: 9-11

"There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.  . . And they divided His garments and cast lost. And the people stood looking on. 

But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, 'He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.' The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine and saying, 'If you are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.'

And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.

THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." Luke 23: 32- 38

"Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, 'Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit.' Having said this, He breathed His last." Luke 23: 44-46

What a horrible scene! What a blessing this will turn into. I hope you remember all the pain and torture our Lord and Savior endured so we could be with him.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Tabitha Bouldin: Madness in Wonderland

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: Madness in Wonderland

Author: Tabitha Bouldin

Genre: FantasySteampunk, Christian

Release date: March 8, 2022

Wonderland is in trouble.

Under the rule of the Red Queen, Wonderland is under constant threat. In fear for her throne, children are taken into the queen’s army and only the strongest survive.

Alice is nothing but a pirate, but with the help of Hatter, they hatch a plan to sneak into the Red Queen’s palace to free Hatter’s sister. After all, Alice has always wanted to fly an airship.

Dr. Frank N. Stein has created an army of automatons to serve their queen. Of particular note: a prototype soldier. Part man. Part machine. The best of both worlds.

Doc’s monster is a threat to everything they know, but Alice sees something in the man that begs she look beyond what he’s done and search out the heart of the beast for the better of the realm.

He’s their only hope of survival, but how can a monster learn to love when all he’s known is hate?


My Thoughts:

Madness in Wonderland by Tabitha Bouldin is a mixture of steampunk, Alice in Wonderland, Frankenstein, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A lot of madness just like the title suggests. The familiar characters from Alice in Wonderland are present, but in a different situation. Bouldin does a wonderful job at crafting phrases and sentences that pay homage to this wonderful Lewis’ classic. The depth of the individual characters really captured my attention. I really felt invested in all of their lives, and I wanted nothing bad to happen to them. Another twist was the steampunk ships and clothing. It was a unique, yet tastefully done aspect of the plot. Speaking of the plot, it was definitely something that was different, yet in a good way. I had a really hard time putting the novel down. Betrayal, death, and romance sprinkled the plot, allowing for the ability to lose oneself in the pages of the story. Madness in Wonderland is the first book in a series, and I am looking forward to any other books that are in this series.

I received a complimentary copy Madness in Wonderland by Tabitha Bouldin  from Vellum Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Madness in Wonderland

About the Author

Tabitha Bouldin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has been writing since 2015. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, you’ll find her curled up with a book. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart.

 More from Tabitha

Madness in Wonderland is a story of found family, good versus evil, rambunctious heroines and strong heroes who are not afraid to leap across airships for their people.

Trust me when I say I’ve tested their loyalty.

I put the Wonder’s crew through so much I started feeling sorry for them. Then I had another airship shoot at them with their cannons. That’s when I knew this story was not only a source of entertainment for me, but it was also challenging me. Madness forced me to become a better writer. Each page demanded my full attention if I wanted to have any hope of catching the true vibes of the story and bringing them to the page.

When I first started writing Madness, I had a rough idea of what I wanted. Evil Queen. Check. Alice as a tough but loving heroine. Check. Frankenstein’s monster. Check. (What’s Wonderland without a little havoc?)

Then the characters took over the story.

Frankenstein’s monster didn’t want to be a monster.

Hatter wanted to be more than a mad side character.

Alice wanted everyone to get along without losing another crew member.

Meeting their demands was a challenge and the story shifted from a whimsical fairy tale to something more. It dove deeper than I planned and showed me that I can do hard things too.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, April 5

Where Faith and Books Meet, April 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 6

Inklings and notions, April 7

By the Book, April 8

For Him and My Family, April 8

deb’s Book Review, April 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 10

April Hayman, Author, April 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 12

Snark and Sensibility, April 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 13

Simple Harvest Reads, April 14 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, April 14

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 15

Christina’s Corner, April 15

cats in the cradle blog, April 16

Mary Hake, April 16

Sylvan Musings, April 17

Back Porch Reads, April 18


To celebrate her tour, Tabitha is giving away the grand prize package 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.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Jaime Jo Wright: The Souls of Lost Lake

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Wren Blythe has long enjoyed being among the Northwoods, helping her father with programming at a youth camp. But when a little girl in the area goes missing, an all-out search ensues, reviving the decades-old campfire story of Ava Coons, the murderess, who still roams the woods. Joining the search, Wren stumbles upon the Coons cabin ruins and a rotting porcelain doll. But even more terrifying is seeing her name etched on the doll's foot like a sinister omen.

In 1930, Ava Coons has spent the last ten years carrying the mantle of mystery since she emerged from the forest as an eight-year-old girl, spattered with blood, dragging a logger's axe. She has accepted she'll never remember what happened to her family. When a member of the town of Tempter's Creek is murdered, rumors spread that Ava's secret is more malicious than previously imagined.

Both women discover that to save the innocent, they must face an insidious evil.


My Thoughts:

The Souls of Lost Lake by Jaime Jo Wright is all the creep factor with the cleanliness of a good story. I love how she started the story like kids sitting around a campfire learning about Ava Coons. It was interesting. Right away, I wanted to know what happened to Ava’s family. Did she kill them? Did someone else kill them? I was intrigued and kept flipping through the pages. I could not put the story down. Of course, this story is a time-slip novel, so readers have two timelines to adjust to. I have heard that some readers have a hard time with keeping the two eras correct in the imagination as the story moves from chapter to chapter. With Wright’s stories, I do not, personally, have this problem. Most time-slip novels, I usually favor one time period over the other, but in The Souls of Lost Lake, I actually enjoyed both time periods. The past with Ava Coons ties nicely with Wren in the present. One of my favorite elements is Wright’s ability to craft a foggy lake with the possibly of dead bodies in the lake and a burnt-out cabin with a hidden cellar. The wording sets the tone. Nothing too graphic, but her word choices make goosebumps raise on the arms. If readers are interested in a good spooky story without all the blood and graphic details, then this is a book to pick up. I will definitely be owning this novel. I am glad that the world of Christian publishing is making a name for itself in the spooky genre, then the simple, play-it-safe romantic suspense novels. Not that there is anything wrong with them. I do read a lot of romantic suspense novels too. Anyways, I highly recommend readers who enjoy to be a little scared when reading but enjoy novels that must be read in one sitting to pick this book up.

I received a complimentary copy of The Souls of Lost Lake by Jaime Jo Wright  from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Souls of Lost Lake