Monday, February 27, 2023

Rachel Scott McDaniel: In Spotlight and Shadow

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: In Spotlight and Shadow

Author: Rachel Scott McDaniel

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical Fiction / Mystery / Romance

Release date: February 1, 2023

A Gem of a Mystery Takes Center Stage

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Elise Malvern has a habit of letting people down. Her former boyfriend who hoped she’d be his bride. Her grandfather who hoped she’d take over the family’s auction company. But mostly she’s disappointed herself. What’s the point of pursuing her passion as a violinist, if she is too scared to audition for a seat in the Pittsburgh Symphony? Her internship at the elegant Heinz Hall places her in the wings of the stage, but never on it. By accident, she discovers an old stage prop. Her instincts tell her there’s more to the paste necklace than meets the eye. Whether a good idea or not, she accepts help from a childhood friend, who happens to be country music megastar—Peirson Brooks. Peirson and Elise share a history; one she doesn’t care to repeat. The more involved they become in the mystery, the more things get tangled, including her heart.
A century earlier…
Sophie Walters longs for center stage, her name on the marquee, and all that jazz, but climbing her way into an acting career is more difficult than she imagined. Having spoiled all her chances in Hollywood, she returns to Pittsburgh, accepting an insignificant role in a popular production. She watches her dreams pass by from behind the curtain at the illustrious Loew’s Penn Theatre. She finally gets the coveted spotlight, but not for her talent. No, her surge to fame is all one terrible mistake. Somehow, she’s suspected to be a notorious jewel thief known around Pittsburgh as The Mirage. The man she pleads for help is none other than the man she jilted at the altar five years before, Sterling Monroe.

My Thoughts:

In Spotlight and Shadow by Rachel Scott McDaniel haunts the reader as they travel back to the past in an old abandoned theater. What happened? Why is it important? This is a dual timeline piece, which has become very popular with authors lately. The present day heroine wants to discover who her sent her a mysterious package with something important inside. She wants to discover who her father is. She is a little stage fright even though she really wants to perform. On the other hand, Sophie, a century earlier, is in the limelight, but mysterious things appear to be disappearing. She wants to discover who is stealing all the items. In both timelines, there is an element of romance that has been touched on before. Both characters know the person they are actively pursuing a relationship with.  One of my favorite aspects of this story is the historical setting. A theater with all the glamour, glitz, and betrayal. What is better than that? Overall, In Spotlight and Shadow by Rachel Scott McDaniel delivers a theater mystery from the 1920's that reaches into the future and affects the lives of Elise in the present. I really enjoyed this story.

I received a complimentary copy of In Spotlight and Shadow by Rachel Scott McDaniel from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase In Spotlight and Shadow

About the Author

Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. Rachel can be found online at and on all social media platforms. Her work is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency. Rachel resides in Ohio with her husband and two children.


More from Rachel


The Loew’s Penn theater in Pittsburgh opened its doors on September 6, 1927. Thousands of Pittsburghians crammed the streets hoping to enter. Those who were fortunate to claim a seat gasped at the grandeur of what that has been billed the ‘Temple of Cinema.’ The new hotspot in the Steel City was regarded as the most magnificent theater between New York and Chicago.

The Loew’s Penn was five stories high and could seat over 3,000 guests. The grand lobby had a 50-foot-high vaulted Venetian ceiling, gilded Corinthian columns, and two spectacular chandeliers. The crystal for the chandeliers was imported from Vienna. From silk drapes to artwork by Renaissance masters to Italian marble staircases the theater seemed more like a museum than a cinema palace. As for the entertainment, the night began with a live stage show followed by a silent film feature.

Attendance averaged around 60,000 theatergoers a week. And with an admission charge of $.50, the theater made around $30,000 a week. Which was a substantial fortune during the 1920s. The theater hosted live stage shows and they also brought in national acts including Paul Whiteman and the Rhtyhm Boys featuring Bing Crosby. Also Buster Keaton and Eddie Cantor graced the stage.

Over the years, the allure of the Loew’s Penn faded, and the theater fell into disrepair, finally shutting its doors in 1968. The Howard Heinz Endowment purchased the building, saving it from demolition. After a 16-month renovation that had cost over $11 million, the doors opened yet again under the new name of Heinz Hall. The plush red carpet is bold and beautiful, but also a subtle nod to … you guessed it … Heinz Ketchup. The grand lobby features the original marble flooring as well as the two 15-foot chandeliers. The main auditorium seats 2,661 guests. Heinz Hall is now the home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra it also hosts concerts and Broadway touring companies.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 25

Melissa’s Bookshelf, February 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 26

Just Your Average reviews, February 26

Rebecca Tews, February 26

Where Faith and Books Meet, February 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 27

deb’s Book Review, February 28

Simple Harvest Reads, February 28 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 1

Blogging With Carol, March 1

Remembrancy, March 2

Connie’s History Classroom, March 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 3

Betti Mace, March 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 4

Cover Lover Book Review, March 4

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 5 (Author Interview)

Christina’s Corner, March 5

Paula’s Pad of Inspiration, March 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

For Him and My Family, March 6

Through the Fire Blogs, March 7

Bigreadersite, March 7

lakesidelivingsite, March 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 8

For the Love of Literature, March 8

Blossoms and Blessings, March 9

Holly’s Book Corner, March 9

Labor Not in Vain, March 9

Book Looks by Lisa, March 10

Pause for Tales, March 10


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

Friday, February 24, 2023

Christian Fiction . . . Why?

 By Kelly Bridgewater 

I have been asked a number of times why I gravitate toward Christian Fiction. Majority of the novels that I read and review are from the Christian publishers and the Christian Authors.

I enjoy good, clean stories.

I love suspense stories without all the crime scene grossness.

I love reading a story that shows the steps to solve the crime.

I love watching the hunting of the serial killer.

I love reading the mindset of a killer.

BUT . . . 

I want it to be clean. Something that I do not mind if my sons picked up the story.

I love reading a historical story that has the characters seek and rely on God for their strength as they struggle through historical events.

I do not want a novel with sex scenes. I do not want a novel that features the same sex marriage since I disagree with this lifestyle.

I want to be entertained, but I also want to keep my faith intact as I read stories.

What about you? Why do you read Christian fiction and / or Christian authors/

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Susan May Warren: Fraser

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Fraser JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Fraser by Susan May Warren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

Title: Fraser

Series: The Minnesota Marshalls #1

Author: Susan May Warren

Publisher: SDG Publishing

Release Date: February 14, 2023

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Fraser Marshall is pretty sure his career as a Spec Ops fighter is over. Yes, he’s gone into private security, working for Jones, Inc, but his last gig ended with him wounded and taken captive. And those wounds just won’t heal. The last thing he wants to do is stick around his family’s winery pressing grapes. But what choices does he have?

The answer comes via a panicked phone call from his kid brother, Creed.

Help, Fraser. I’m in over my head…

Yeah he is, because he’s run away with a princess, with her bodyguard hot on the trail. And said bodyguard, Pippa Butler is going to hunt them down, no matter the cost.

Even if she has to join forces with a bossy, arrogant former American SEAL. But Pippa has her own set of lethal skills, and if Fraser gets in the way, she’ll leave him on the side of the road. Still, maybe he’s not a terrible side-kick. He is handsome, and he makes her laugh…

No, no, bad Pippa! She has no room for a man—an American—in her life. And Fraser hasn’t ever considered slowing down. Even if Pippa has him wondering if there is a different future ahead.

But there’s more to the story than a Romeo-and-Juliet runaway romance. Princess Imani has seen a murder, and the perpetrator isn’t going to let her get away. Will Fraser and Pippa find the couple first?

And if they do, can they work together to keep them safe?

It’ll be tough if their hearts get in the way…

Dive into book one of the epic, romantic, globe-trotting suspense of the Minnesota Marshalls!


My Thoughts:

Fraser by Susan May Warren jumps into the world of the Minnesota Marshalls. The story is populated with a number of characters who are familiar to readers of Susan May Warren's world. She keeps diving into characters that readers have seen their stories. It is a nice feeling. It is like returning to a family reunion.  I would like to see how the Montana Marshalls and the Minnesota Marshalls are related. Anyways, the plot in Fraser is full of adventure while the hero and heroine are trying to rescue their clients and run from danger while fully fighting the growing emotions toward one another. Being the first book in this new series, Warren has kept to her constinant style of suspense and romance plaguing her characters. Fraser is definitely a novel that Warren fans have come to expect and she does deliver. It will keep the readers up past their bedtime as they want to find out the resolution to the encounters between Fraser and Pippa. I can't wait to add this book to my Warren bookshelf, which is turning into a couple of bookshelves with the number of stories that she has written. Readers will not be disappointed.

I received a complimentary copy of Fraser by Susan May Warren through JustRead Tours, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase: PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Christianbook | IndieBound  | BookBub

Also Available

Knox Tate Ford Wyatt Ruby Jane

About the Author:

Growing up in Minneapolis and attending the U of MN, I learned to love city life, although I'm a woodsy girl at heart. Or maybe I'm an adventurer -- having lived and traveled all over the world, including Siberia Russia as a missionary for eight years. Probably that's why my characters can't sit still, and seem to get into one scrape after another -- they're too much like me! I love God, my family, my country, my church, and feel privileged every day to be able to write stories.

Here's my "Official" Bio.

With over 1 million books sold, critically acclaimed novelist Susan May Warren is the Christy, RITA and Carol award-winning author of over seventy-five novels with Revell, Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press. Known for her compelling plots and unforgettable characters, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic-suspense, thrillers, rom-com and Christmas novellas.

With books translated into eight languages, many of her novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award.

Of her books, Publisher’s Weekly has written, “Warren lays bare her characters’ human frailties, including fear, grief, and resentment, as openly as she details their virtues of love, devotion, and resiliency. She has crafted an engaging tale of romance, rivalry, and the power of forgiveness.”

And Library Journal adds, “Warren's characters are well-developed and she knows how to create a first rate contemporary romance…”

Susan is also a nationally acclaimed writing coach, teaching at conferences around the nation and winner of the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year award. She loves to help people launch their writing careers and is the founder of Novel.Academy and, a writing website that helps authors get published and stay published. She’s also the author of the popular writing method, The Story Equation.

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Fraser and a $10 Susan May Warren Store gift card!

Fraser JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight February 21, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on February 28, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Enter Giveaway

Monday, February 20, 2023

Jen Turano: A Match in the Making

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Miss Gwendolyn Brinley accepted a temporary paid companion position for the Newport summer season, believing it would be a lark to spend the summer in America's most exclusive town. She suddenly finds her summer turning anything but amusing when her employer expects her to take over responsibilities as an assistant matchmaker. Tasked with the daunting prospect of attaining advantageous matches for her clients, Gwendolyn soon finds herself in the employ of Mr. Walter Townsend, the catch of the Season, but a gentleman Gwendolyn finds beyond irritating.

Walter Townsend is reluctantly in search of a wife for the sake of his unruly motherless children who cannot keep a governess for long. What he wasn't expecting was Miss Brinley, an amateur matchmaker who turns his quest for a new wife into a complete and utter debacle. Constantly besieged by society ladies on a mission to win his affection, Walter must find a way to overcome their inundating attention--and his unexpected attraction toward Gwendolyn.

The more time they spend together throughout the Newport Season, the harder it is for Gwendolyn to find Walter a wife when she realizes his perfect match might be . . . her.


My Thoughts:

A Match in the Making by Jen Turano features the Matchmaking unit during the Season in Newport beach. At first, the story centers around Gwendolyn who is trying to make something of her life. Walter and Gwendolyn meet and of course, butt heads right away. Plenty of moments that make you laugh. A near drowning experience. A horse. A Rat in a church. Turano does feature many fabulous moments that make her stories's comedic. The romance is not the top priority of the plot since Gwendolyn is hired to be the matchmaker, but circumstances occur that change that. The plot is a little dry at times, which I have never found in a Turano novel. Usually her stories have me flipping through the story at a rapid pace because I am so engrossed in the lives of the characters and the plot. Her writing style is nicely described and detailed. I have never been to Newport Beach, but it sounded lovely. I would love to see the old homes and learn more about their history. Overall, A Match in the Making by Jen Turano was a little slow to enter into the story, but I still will want this novel to join Turano's library of all her books.

I received a complimentary copy of A Match in the Making by Jen Turano through Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase A Match in the Making

About the Author:

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO. She can be found on Facebook at or visit her on the web at She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Booklover Characters

 Booklover Characters 

By Kelly Bridgewater

Being the month of love, I thought I would share about stories that feature heroines or heroes who share my love of the written word. (All images come from Goodreads.)

 The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham


To Write a Wrong by Jen Turano


Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

Since I love to read, it is nice to share stories that have characters that love to read too. Do you know of any more that you would like to suggest that I enjoy?