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)


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.

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?

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?

Monday, August 8, 2022

Pepper Basham: The Heart of the Mountains

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: The Heart of the Mountains

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance

Release date: July 1, 2022

Can True Love Weather a World of Differences?

To escape marriage, Cora Taylor runs away from her home in England to join her brother in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, but not even her time as a nurse in the Great War prepares her for the hard landscape and even harder lives of the mountain people. With the help of Jeb McAdams, a quiet woodcarver, who carries his own battle scars, she fashions a place for herself among these unique people. But the past refuses to let go, and with dangers from within and without, can hearts bruised by war find healing within the wilds of the mountains?


My Thoughts:

The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham is a historical journey through the wilderness of the Appalachian Mountains with the struggles of living completely independent of the modern conveniences of England of the 1910 world. The setting is beautiful, wild, and adventurous just like the heroine and her love of medicine and this wild adventure that she is traveling to in this new world. Basham is a wonderful writer at diving deep into character’s hurts. This is a huge strength that makes her characters strong and jump off the pages of the story. Cora runs away from England, seeking a life of purpose; whereas, in comparison, Jeb wants a life that frees him from the horrors that he encounters while serving in a previous war. Overall, each individual character’s journey is deep and transformative. While I love Basham’s characters, the plot this time around, really did not capture my attention. I have loved a number of Basham’s stories, so I know she is a fabulous writer, but this story really did not hold my attention. I anxiously await some of her novels that have already been teased to be released next year.

I received a complimentary copy of The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham  from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:   3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Heart of the Mountains

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

You can learn more about Pepper at her website or connect with her on FB, IG, or Twitter.

More from Pepper

It’s so interesting how one idea can influence an entire series, or…how one person’s story can.

The idea for The Heart of the Mountains started in Laurel’s Dream with a hint of a family history story about a girl named Kizzie. (Someday, I hope to bring Kizzie’s story to the pages of a book). From there, the idea began to grow out of a love for my Appalachian culture into a series of books which highlighted (and fictionalized) stories from my family history.

The main story in The Heart of the Mountains is about Jeb and Cora, two different people with similar servant hearts, but the secondary story that touched me so much was the one based on my great grandfather’s life. I write about it in the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, so I won’t go into detail about it. However, what I loved getting to do is bring the truth of God’s redemption in my great grandfather’s life…to life again. 

I never knew “Papa Rat”. I only knew the stories handed down to me by my granny and my mama, but in writing this story, I feel as though I had a tiny opportunity to “meet” him in these pages. He was a gruff mountain man with a broken past which led him to make a whole lot of broken choices, but his story is incredibly encouraging, because it points to the God of broken people. My great grandpa wasn’t left in his brokenness, but, after years of running away from God, he would later recount that God pursued him. The beauty of Sam McAdams’ journey in The Heart of the Mountains is only a little glimpse into what I imagine my great grandpa’s redemption story looked like. 

Because my great grandpa was forever changed when Jesus saved him (as any of us should be).

I think that’s what my granny and her siblings (and even “Papa Rat” himself) would want most -that his story would point to Jesus. I hope that’s what you see when you read about Sam McAdams in The Heart of the Mountains.

Have you ever read a book based on family history? One of my favorites is Catherine Marshall’s Christy.

Blog Stops

Bizwings Blog, July 28

Rachael’s Inkwell, July 28

Bigreadersite, July 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 29

Inklings and notions, July 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 30

Boondock Ramblings, July 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 31

Reading With Emily, July 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 31 (Author Interview)

lakesidelivingsite, August 1

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 1

Daysong Reflections, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Live. Love. Read., August 2

Betti Mace, August 3

Book Looks by Lisa, August 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 3

Remembrancy, August 4

For Him and My Family, August 4

Blossoms and Blessings, August 4

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5

By the Book, August 5

Wishful Endings, August 5

For the Love of Literature, August 6

Books, Books and More Books, August 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 6

Connie’s History Classroom, August 7

SodbusterLiving, August 7

Splashes of Joy, August 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 8

Back Porch Reads, August 9

Through the Fire Blogs, August 9

Pause for Tales, August 9

Labor Not in Vain, August 10

Miriam Jacob, August 10

To Everything There Is A Season, August 10


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