Friday, September 30, 2022

Time for Festivals

 By Kelly Bridgewater

I don’t know where you live, but in Western Central Indiana, the world comes to life with a number of different festivals. Cooler weather brings more people outside.

Little Italy Festival.

Blues at the Crossing.


Covered Bridge Festival.

Clayshire Medieval Festival.

Cory Apple Festival.

Wine on the River.

Music at the local Mills Venue.

Miles and Miles of Yard Sales. (Love those! Time to upgrade the boys’ clothes. I love purchasing name brand jeans and clothes for 50 cents apiece.)

What about where you live? Does it come more alive during the Fall? 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Erica Vetsch: Millstone of Doubt

By Kelly Bridgewater

Regency London's detective duo is back on a new case--and this one is going to be a killer

Caught in the explosion of the Hammersmith Mill in London, Bow Street Runner Daniel Swann rushes to help any survivors only to find the mill's owner dead of an apparent gunshot.

Even though the owner's daughter, Agatha Montgomery, mourns his death, it seems there are more than a few people with motive for murder. But Daniel can't take this investigation slow and steady. Instead, he must dig through all the suspects as quickly as he can, because the clock is ticking until his mysterious patronage--and his job as a runner--comes to an abrupt and painful end. It seems to Daniel that, like his earthly father, his heavenly Father has abandoned him to the fates.

Lady Juliette Thorndike is Agatha's bosom friend and has the inside knowledge of the wealthy London ton to be invaluable to Daniel. She should be in a perfect position to help with the case. Still, her instructor in the art of spy craft orders her to stay out of the investigation. But circumstances intervene, dropping her into the middle of the deadly pursuit.

When a dreadful accident ends in another death on the mill floor, Daniel discovers a connection to his murder case--and to his own secret past. Now he and Juliette are in a race to find the killer before his time runs out.


My Thoughts:

Millstone of Doubt by Erica Vetsch is a stunning historical mystery surrounding a dead body and a blown-up mill. From the first chapter, readers are thrown into the world of the mystery and the time period without hesitation. Vetsch does a wonderful job at capturing the time period and immersing her audience into the world. The interaction between Daniel Swann and Juliette Thorndike are necessary, and I love seeing how well-prepared they are to work together. They are fine tune machine. Even though the solving of the mystery is during the Regency era, and the detectives did not have all the equipment as current detectives do, they did a skillful job at capturing the villain and putting them away. The romance is a little more than the first one. Nothing really over the top. Novels where the romance builds over two to three novels are my favorite. It makes their romance a little more realistic and relatable. Overall, Milestone of Doubt by Erica Vetsch is a thrilling Regency murder mystery where the detectives have to actually solve the mystery with clues and initiation. I hope there is a third book because readers need to know what happens to Daniel and Juliette.

I received a complimentary copy of Millstone of Doubt by Erica Vetsch from Kregel Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  out of 5 stars

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Lawhon, McMorris, and Meissner: When We Had Wings

By Kelly Bridgewater

From three bestselling authors comes an interwoven tale of a trio of World War II nurses in the Pacific who wage their own battle for freedom and survival.

The Philippines, 1941. When US Navy nurse Eleanor Lindstrom, US Army nurse Penny Franklin, and Filipina nurse Lita Capel forge a friendship at the Army Navy Club in Manila, they believe they’re living a paradise assignment. All three are seeking a way to escape their pasts, but soon the beauty and promise of their surroundings give way to the heavy mantle of war.

Caught in the crosshairs of a fight between the US military and the Japanese Imperial Army for control of the Philippine islands, the nurses are forced to serve under combat conditions and, ultimately, endure captivity as the first female prisoners of the Second World War. As their resiliency is tested in the face of squalid living arrangements, food shortages, and the enemy’s blatant disregard for the articles of the Geneva Convention, they strive to keep their hope—and their fellow inmates—alive, though not without great cost.

In this sweeping story based on the true experiences of nurses dubbed “the Angels of Bataan,” three women shift in and out of each other’s lives through the darkest days of the war, buoyed by their unwavering friendship and distant dreams of liberation.


My Thoughts:

When We Had Wings by Ariel Lawhon, Kristian McMoriss, and Susan Meissner is a unique story set in the Pacific War during World War II. The story is told from three friends who are nurses as they face the military might of the Japanese army. Most World War II stories are set in Europe, so it was a nice change to see the war from a different perspective. The realistic elements of the war waging all around the characters rang true and horrific to the story. The heroines were wanting a little adventure when the story began, but as the story progressed, much more adventure awaited each individual woman. The writing is realistic, gritty, and horrifying. I had no issues with seeing what was happening. It was nice to put the characters in a realistic situation and show their real emotions as they deal with the horrors of what was happening around them. As for any romance, there was a slight thread, but nothing that took away from the horrors of the war and bombs flying everywhere. While the story is different and unique, the plot read like a documentary. Kind of dry with facts after facts listed. I had a really hard time staying focused as I read the plot. Wanted more personal fictionalized storyline to the story. Overall, When We Had Wings by Lawhon, McMorris, and Meisnner pictured a Pacific World War II story with plenty of realistic images, but I found majority of the story dry and did not capture my attention.

I received a complimentary copy of When We Had Wings by Ariel Lawhon, Kristina McMoriss, and Susan Meissner from Harper Muse Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:   4 out of 5 stars

Purchase When We Had Wings

Friday, September 23, 2022

Apple Vs. Pumpkins

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Big Debate.

Which one is more fall? Apples or Pumpkins.

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.

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!

Cooler weather.

Windows open.

Leaves changing colors, probably in about another month.




Corn Mazes.


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.

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.


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

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Friday, September 2, 2022

Labor Day

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Good-bye Summer.

Come on cooler weather.

Fall is on its way!

Do you enjoy fall?