Monday, January 30, 2023

Liz Tolsma: What I Would Tell You

By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book:What I Would Tell You

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance / Historical Fiction

Release date: January 1, 2023

DNA Test Unlocks a Family Mystery
Sephardic Jew Mathilda Nissim watches in horror as the Germans invade her beloved city of Salonika, Greece. What angers her most is the lack of resistance her people put up to their captors. In secret and at great risk to her life, she continues to publish her newspaper, calling her people to action. She doesn’t trust God to help them. When she and her husband find out they are expecting a child, Mathilda may have to resort to desperate measures to ensure her daughter’s survival.
Three generations later, college student Riley Payson and her cousin take a popular DNA test only to discover they don’t share any common ancestors. In fact, the test shows Riley is a Sephardic Jew from Greece. This revelation shakes Riley’s tenuous faith and sends her on a journey to discover what happened to her great-grandmother and how all this relates to her faith and her life today.


My Thoughts:

What I Would Tell You by Liz Tolsma features a dual time storyline. I love a good World War II novel that features a different element of the war. This time around the story in the past takes place in Greece, which I did not know Hitler's terror reached that far. It was nice to see the strong heroine, Mathilda as she worked really hard to resist and fight back against the German soldiers with her words. While she fought, it really does bring more harm than good. She does make the ultimate sacrifice in order to ensure the safety of her legacy. While the past heroine is brave, the present day heroine, Riley Payson, just wants to discover her heritage. Once she discovers this, it brings more questions to her mother. While the setting was told that it was in Greece, since I have read a number of World War II stories that take place all over Europe, this story could have taken place in any other place. Nothing unique about the setting jumped out to me. As for the plot, it was nicely handled as a dual time storyline, so as Riley is discovered the past as we read about the past. It was not really that original. I have seen this setting and story before. That was the only downfall I found to the novel. Overall, What I Would Tell You by Liz Tolsma is an interesting and well-written story that fans of World War II should read.

I received a complimentary copy of What I Would Tell You by Liz Tolsma through Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase What I Would Tell You 

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.


More from Liz

Take a Trip to Greece with Me

I was privileged to travel to Greece last year to research my upcoming WWII novel, What I Would Tell You. God orchestrated it so beautifully. Because of Covid, we weren’t sure my daughter would be able to travel there for the summer internship she had applied for. Eight weeks before her scheduled departure, Greece reopened to foreign visitors. Around that same time, I sold What I Would Tell You, which is set in Thessaloniki, Greece, to Barbour Publishing. I had to go and visit! 

Greece is a beautiful country. The pictures you see don’t do it justice. And to someone like me, the history is one of the best parts. My daughter and I explored the old city wall, built in the 1400s, many churches that predated the Ottoman Empire, and many excavated Roman ruins that have been dug up in the city’s process of putting in a subway system. 

Because this is a WWII book, we also spent a great deal of time learning about the history of the Jews in the city. The Kapani Market, just down the street from our apartment, was a vibrant mix of colorful fruits, fragrant spices, and a cacophony of languages. I could well imagine what this old Jewish market was like prior to the war with people hawking olives, fish, and oregano. 

We wasted no time in visiting the Jewish museum. I was shocked by the heavy security presence with armed guards outside of the building. Once inside, we had to show our IDs and were required to turn in our phones. Antisemitism is alive and well in Greece. But what a place. There were displays after displays tracing the history of the Jewish people in Thessaloniki from 1492 until WWII. The most breathtaking was the room with stone-covered walls, the names of all 48,000 Salonikan Jews killed in the Holocaust carved into the marble. There’s an entire scene in the book that deals with this room. 

What saddened me most was what we saw when we visited the trainyard where the Jews were herded into cattle cars and shipped to Auschwitz. Before we got to where the station once stood, there was a wall on which someone had pained a mural covered with black-and-white figures in their striped uniforms, their eyes and mouths wide in horror. As if that weren’t difficult enough to view, what sickened me was the blue swastikas someone had painted over them. 

We also trekked to the other side of the city to visit what had once been the Jewish cemetery, now the grounds of Aristotle University. All that remains to testify that half a million people were once buried here is a small, ill-kept memorial. There were two dead Christmas wreaths placed there. We visited in August.

In addition to a moving and thought-provoking story, I hope to also introduce you to the amazing city of Thessaloniki and give you a peek into the people and the culture of this amazing place. If you ever find yourself in Greece, plan some time in Thessaloniki. Many Americans miss this gem, but it’s packed with charm and history.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 29

Blogging With Carol, January 29

Genesis 5020, January 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 30

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 31

For Him and My Family, January 31

Cover Lover Book Review, February 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, February 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 2

deb’s Book Review, February 2

Betti Mace, February 3

Connie’s History Classroom, February 3

Paula’s Pad of Inspriation, February 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 5

Books You Can Feel Good About, February 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 6

Holly’s Book Corner, February 6

Bigreadersite, February 7

Blossoms and Blessings, February 7

Mary Hake, February 7

Labor Not in Vain, February 8

Pause for Tales, February 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, February 9

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 10

Southern Gal Loves to Read, February 10

Lights in a Dark World, February 10


To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-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.

Friday, January 27, 2023

I Peter 5 : 8 - 9 : Verse for 2023

 By Kelly Bridgewater

1 Peter 5: 8 - 9: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."

For 2023, I have chosen I Peter 5: 8 - 9 as my verse to lead this year since the devil is trying so hard to destroy American values. Particularly Christian values. 

Pride Month. 

Transgender studies. 

Allows kids as young as fiver years old to have gender reassignment surgery. 

Traditional Marriage is being attacked. 

Christian values are being attacked. 

I read the Left Behind Series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins in high school, and I never thought many of the things, mostly the sinful nature, of the world would come to reality in my life, but unfortunately it has. 

I feel bad for my boys. 

My middle son is a senior in high school, and he claims it is hard to find a girlfriend because so many of them think they are guys or a transgender. How sad! Where are the parents that are allowing their children to think this is okay. 

I need to keep my boys on the right track. 

We are in a battle. A spiritual battle for the souls of humanity. 

I need to spend more time in the Bible. 

I need to invest in time with the Bible as a family. 

We need to remember that the devil hates us and is working extremely hard to ruin America and anything that stands for God. We have to work extra hard to stand against him. 

Even death, if God calls for it. 

What about you? Do you feel the spiritual battle that we are under? What are you doing to prepare for the battle? 

Bible verse comes from the Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible New King James Version. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Roseanna M. White: Yesterday's Tides

By Kelly Bridgewater

In 1942, Evie Farrow is used to life on Ocracoke Island, where every day is the same--until the German U-boats haunting their waters begin to wreak havoc. And when special agent Sterling Bertrand is washed ashore at Evie's inn, her life is turned upside down. While Sterling's injuries keep him inn-bound for weeks, making him even more anxious about the man he's tracking, he becomes increasingly intrigued by Evie, who seems to be hiding secrets of her own.

Decades earlier, in 1914, Englishman Remington Culbreth arrives at the Ocracoke Inn for the summer, but he doesn't count on falling in love with Louisa Adair, the innkeeper's daughter. When war breaks out in Europe, and their relationship is put in jeopardy, will their love survive?

As Evie and Sterling work to track down an elusive German agent, they unravel mysteries that go back a generation. The ripples from the Great War are still rocking their lives, and it seems yesterday's tides may sweep them all into danger again today.

Bestselling and award-winning author Roseanna M. White whisks you away to two periods fraught with peril in this sweeping and romantic dual-time tale.


My Thoughts:

Yesterday’s Tides by Roseanna M. White was a hard story for me to follow. First, it features two different timelines: 1914 and 1941. Usually, I have no problem following these types of stories because I can follow with each individual characters and their different settings and interactions. But in White’s stories, both of the heroines and heroes did not stick out any differently to me. They were bland and boring. One of the glaring issues I had with the writing was that White would have a character look over the water, then the story went on with the thoughts of the characters for about a half a page. Descriptions of the characters took a long time and always had to relate to something. Way too much exposition in the story. Sometimes I would have to go back and see where the last important through, action, or movement was to see where the story was headed. As I kept reading, I wanted more of the “tracking down [of the] elusive German agent” that was mentioned in the synopsis. The German U-boats were an interesting concept. Something I definitely wanted to read more of, but the story does not really deliver this idea. Overall, Yesterday’s Tides by Roseanna M. White did not capture my attention. Way too much description for my taste. I needed more showing and action to the plot with characters that I could care about.

I received a complimentary copy of Yesterday’s Tides by Roseanna M. White from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  2 out of 5 stars

Purchase Yesterday’s Tides

Friday, January 20, 2023

Steadfast: Word for 2023

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Every year in December, I pray for the verse for the next year to guide me and also have another verse to add to my memory. 

This year, I have felt that my Christian Values are being attacked more than I have ever seen in my lifetime. 

I thought Strong because I need to help my boys, husband, and me to be strong as we face these obstacles. 

None of the verses with the word strong really stood out to me. 

What about warrior?

Not a lot of verses in the Bible with that word. Only 3 to be exact. 

I thought of the Armor of God in Ephesians 6 : 10 - 19. Yes, I need those things, but not to guide my thinking for the year. 

Then it hit me. 


I need to be steadfast. 

Praying constantly. 

Spending more time in the Bible. 

Spending more time investing in a community of believers that feel the urgency like I do. 

America is falling to the devil's lies and schemes. 

We need to stand Steadfast and keep on faith in God on fire. 

What about you? Do you agree? 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Christina Suzann Nelson: What Happens Next

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Popular podcaster and ex-reporter Faith Byrne has made a name for herself telling stories of greatness after tragedy--but her real life does not mirror the stories she tells. While her daughters spend the summer in Hawaii with her ex-husband and his new wife, she must manage life on her own. But all that changes when she's asked to spotlight her childhood best friend's missing person case on her podcast.

Dora Crane has never accepted that her younger daughter could be dead, keeping her home looking the same as when her daughter disappeared. But when her husband leaves her, and her older daughter intervenes, she agrees to counseling and to pack up her missing daughter's belongings under one condition: Faith Byrne comes to Deep Valley and sheds light on the cold case.

As the investigation moves forward, the two women uncover desperate secrets, and Faith and Dora must face the long-hidden truth before they can begin to move forward.

Award-winning author Christina Suzann Nelson masterfully leads readers on a journey of discovery, healing, and friendship in this suspenseful and poignant tale.


My Thoughts:

What Happens Next by Christina Suzann Nelson is a Contemporary Women's fiction novel. I really do not read a lot in this said genre. Yes, the story will have truths for the readers to learn and grasp onto, but it really is not for me. The suspense element of the missing Heather from many years ago is what grabbed my attention. I grew up in the eighties and nineties. I loved my childhood. Many found memories playing with my best friend, Robin, and the neigborhood kids. Many hours spent outside. No electronics. Imagination was our friend and sometimes it got us into trouble. I feel bad for this generation because they do not do those things. The plot is told from three different perspectives. First, Faith, the friend for the missing girl from 1987 and the podcoster, Dora, the mother of Heather, and Heather, the missing girl. In the plot, readers will be interested in the movement forward and the healing process of Dora and her family. I could not wait to see what actually happen to Heather. Of course, this happens in the last ten percent of the novel, so readers will have to hang on for quite a while to see the climactic moment. The story is about justice and learning to forgive and move on. Overall, What Happens Next by Christina Suzann Nelson was not a bad story. It was told nicely and the characters were hurting because of the lost in their lives.

I received a complimentary copy of What Happens Next by Christina Suzann Nelson from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase: What Happens Next

About the Author:

Christina Suzann Nelson in an inspirational speaker and the award-winning author. Her first novel, If We Make It Home, was honored as one of Library Journal’s top five inspirational novels of 2017.

In 2017, Christina was named the OCW Cascade’s Writer of Promise and received a Cascade award for her novel, Swimming in the Deep End.

Her stories have been published in the Cup of Comfort for a Better World, Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families, as well as other publications.

Christina is over the top about her passions, including the stories created somewhere in the twists and turns of her less-than-focused brain. When she’s not writing, Christina serves on the board of the non-profit, Every Child Linn-Benton, where she has the opportunity to influence the lives of families and children in the foster care system.

On a typical day, she chases escaped farm animals, reads, hikes with her dog, and enjoys her husband and six kids.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Elizabeth Camden: Hearts of Steel

 By Kelly Bridgewater

His steel empire has catapulted him to the top of the world but loving her could cost him everything.

Maggie Molinaro survived a hardscrabble childhood in the downtrodden streets of Manhattan to become a successful businesswoman. After a decade of sacrifice, she now owns a celebrated ice cream company. But when she offends a corrupt banker, she unwittingly sets off a series of calamities that threaten to destroy her life's work.

Liam Blackstone is a charismatic steel magnate committed to overhauling factory conditions for the steelworkers of America. Standing in his way is the same villain determined to ruin Maggie. What begins as a practical alliance to defeat a common enemy soon evolves into a romance between two wounded people determined to beat the odds.

A spiraling circle of treachery grows increasingly dangerous as Liam and Maggie risk their lives and fortunes for the good of the city. It will require all their wit and ingenuity to protect everything--and everyone--they hold dear.


My Thoughts:

Hearts of Steel by Elizabeth Camden was a satisfying ending to this series. I loved the hero of Liam. He has been an active character in the whole series. From the first book, he has been screaming to do the right thing and learn to achieve what his father, Theodore Blackstone, wanted for his family. He works hard and is not afraid to stand up for the backbone of America’s workers. In his story, readers are allowed to see Liam up close and personal. He has a heart of gold, a temper, and know that money is not what makes people happy. Then enters this story. Maggie, the heroine. She owns the Molinaro Ice Cream and promises to never be poor again. She is headstrong, vibrant, and willing to push back. I enjoyed her spunk and head-strongness. I related with her on a personal level because I am not afraid to stand up for what is right. I should have been a lawyer; people tell me all the time. The plot vibrates with the wrongdoing of one corporate man who is out to ruin everyone who he can. I love how Maggie and Liam are not afraid of him and strike back against him. The setting jumps off the pages of the story. Sometimes I was so immersed in Camden’s story that I forgot I was reading a story. It played perfectly well across my imagination. Another great book by Camden. I anxiously can’t wait to see what she writes next. Definitely one of my favorite writers.

I received a complimentary copy of Hearts of Steel by Elizabeth Camden from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Hearts of Steel

Friday, January 13, 2023

Word and Verse Preview for 2023

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Word for 2023:


Verse for 2023: 

1 Peter 5: 8 - 9: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."

Bible verse comes from the Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible New King James Version. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Patty Smith Hill: On My Honor

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: On My Honor

Author:Patty Smith Hall

Genre: Christian / Historical Fiction / Romance / Intrigue

Release date: January, 2023

Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.
Ginny Mathis had no intention of staying rooted in the Outer Banks—then war broke out. While working as a clerk for Oregon Inlet ferry, naval officers ask her to be watchful for German U-boats reportedly spotted in the area. To help occupy her younger sister, Ginny enlists the Girl Scout troop she leads to help watch for suspicious activity. Soon the girls are sneaking around, hiding a shipwreck survivor. Ginny must take charge, but is this man the enemy, or does he hold secrets that could turn the tide of the Battle of the Atlantic in the allies’ favor?


My Thoughts:

On My Honor by Patty Smith Hill is a unique perspective on a World War II novel. With the story set in America with the affects of the Battle of Atlantic on the coastline, I had not seen a Christian fiction novel that has taken place during this era. I wanted more of the history of the actual event than a side story that featured more of the romance between the heroine and hero. I do enjoy the idea of the Girl Scout and showing how important girls can be for the plot. On the other hand, the romance was totally unbelievable. I had a hard time believing that the heroine and hero actually had feelings for each other. They both really didn't do anything to attract the other person besides steal a kiss from each other once and a while. Overall, On My Honor by Patty Smith Hill had an interesting concept that I could get behind, but the plot and romance did not deliver.

I received a complimentary copy of On My Honor by Patty Smith Hill from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Purchase On My Honor

About the Author

Multi-published author Patty Smith Hall lives near the North Georgia Mountains with her husband, Danny. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family or working in her vegetable garden.


More from Patty

Did you know that the Girl Scouts (or Girl Guides) serviced as spies on HIs Majesty’s Secret Service during World War One? I didn’t either until I picked up a book on female spies at my local Barnes and Noble. There were only two paragraphs about how the girls worked with the MI5 for the duration of the war. It was enough to get my heart pumping!

Being a former Girl Scout myself, I was amazed at what these young girls did to help our country during the war. What activities did the Girl Scouts/Girl Guides do in World War II? Anything asked of them. They organized drives for anything from fat (to make bullets) to paper, stepped into positions left vacant by men serving on the front and worked Victory gardens to provide food for their community. They did so many things, I can’t begin to name them all here. By March 1944, the Girl Scouts had provided over 15 million volunteer hours toward the war effort.

Isn’t that amazing? No wonder I had to write a book about them!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 5

The Write Escape, January 5

lakesidelivingsite, January 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 7

Texas Book-aholic, January 8

Christina’s Corner, January 8

Inklings and notions, January 9

Cover Lover Book Review, January 10

Lily’s Book Reviews, January 10

Betti Mace, January 11

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 11

deb’s Book Review, January 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 13

For Him and My Family, January 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 14

Mary Hake, January 14

Connie’s History Classroom, January 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 16

Blossoms and Blessings, January 16

Splashes of Joy, January 17

Pause for Tales, January 17

Labor Not in Vain, January 18

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, January 18


To celebrate her tour, Patty is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a print 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, January 9, 2023

Colleen Coble: Dark of Night

By Kelly Bridgewater

The law is about justice—not grace. But perhaps ranger Annie Pederson can find a way to have both.

As if the last few months haven’t been hard enough—complete with threats on her life and the return of her first love, Jon—Annie has to figure out whether or not to believe a woman who claims to be her sister, Sarah, who was abducted twenty-four years ago at age five. Annie’s eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, has plenty of questions about what’s going on in her mother’s life—but there are some stories Annie doesn’t want uncovered.

As Annie grapples with how to heal the gulf between her and her would-be sister and make room in her daughter’s life for Jon, she’s professionally distracted by the case of yet another missing hiker in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A woman named Michelle Fraser has now been abducted, and though the woman’s estranged husband is at the top of their suspect list, Annie and her colleagues will need to dig deeper to determine whether these recent mysteries are truly as unrelated as they seem.

In this second novel of bestselling author Colleen Coble’s latest romantic-suspense series, Annie and Jon must fight for the future—and the family—that could once more be theirs.


My Thoughts:

Dark of Night by Colleen Coble is a hunt for the truth and how to reveal the truth. With plenty of twists and turns for mystery readers, Coble takes her readers for a ride. The plot is mysterious and different than previous novels I have seen from her. This time around the forest takes a place in the setting. Much happens in these dark woods in Michigan. It appears that the mystery of her sister and the missing lady are the biggest element, but there are a couple different twists thrown in for a surprise. The heroine, Annie, again still has to come to turns with a couple of major issues that could affect her and her daughter's lives.  With deep hurt and distrust, Annie still fights the urge to trust others when it comes to her future. The romance between her and Jon seems to be moving forward, but Annie stays a little distant because of what it would mean to her daughter. Overall, Dark of Night by Colleen Coble has enough suspense and action to keep readers who love their story always on the move, like me, interested, but just enough drama to focus on the changing characters and their lives.

I received a complimentary copy of Dark of Night by Colleen Coble from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Dark of Night