Friday, April 28, 2023

Imagination is Wasted on the Young

 By Kelly Bridgewater 

When I was a child, I had a vivid imagination. I spent ALL the time outside playing in my best friend, Robin’s side yard or spending hours playing with my Barbies.

I could imagine the IceLand World that Robin and I created in my mind’s eye.

We rode on tree limbs as if they were our horses galloping across the open plains.

We swung on the swings high above the lava flowing under our feet.

We swam to the deepest oceans as mermaids in her five foot swimming pool.

Now as an adult, I really do not imagine much.

Which is probably why I have a hard time crafting my novels.

I can’t place myself in my character’s bodies anymore.

With this generation, I notice that imagination is not as important or vital as it was to much childhood. My youngest son does NOT have an imagination, which is why I believe it is hard for him to enjoy reading a novel. He does not make the pictures and images occur in his mind while he reads.

That is a problem.

Any suggestions on how to bring imagination to my youngest son so he can enjoy reading? Or any suggestions to me to help me bring my imagination back, so I can write the novels I know that God wants me to create?

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Marcus Brotherton and Tosca Lee: The Long March Home

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Jimmy Propfield joined the army for two reasons: to get out of Mobile, Alabama, with his best friends Hank and Billy and to forget his high school sweetheart, Claire.

Life in the Philippines seems like paradise--until the morning of December 8, 1941, when news comes from Manila: Imperial Japan has bombed Pearl Harbor. Within hours, the teenage friends are plunged into war as enemy warplanes attack Luzon, beginning a battle for control of the Pacific Theater that will culminate with a last stand on the Bataan Peninsula and end with the largest surrender of American troops in history.

What follows will become known as one of the worst atrocities in modern warfare: the Bataan Death March. With no hope of rescue, the three friends vow to make it back home together. But the ordeal is only the beginning of their nearly four-year fight to survive.

Inspired by true stories, The Long March Home is a gripping coming-of-age tale of friendship, sacrifice, and the power of unrelenting hope.


My Thoughts:

I have read a number of World War II stories. Most of them taking place in Europe. I have read a few of them that have taken place in the Pacific Theater, but not a lot. While The Long March Home does feature three friends that grew up together and show their struggles once they arrive in the Philippines with the Japanese, I had a hard time following the story. The story does have two timelines. The first one is in the past, which shows the friendship as the boys mature into young men. Then the second one shows them during World War II. The first part is interesting and shows the different sides of the boys and the coming-of-age lifestyle from Nebraska. The second plot line reads a lot like a history textbook. Japanese were bombing. Americans were running, fighting, and hiding in the foxholes. While I believe this helps show the historical aspect of the Bataan Death March, it just felt really dry to me. I wanted to have more of a story, not a textbook of the historical event. Of course, what young man in this time period did not miss a girl back home. Following one of the guys, readers will see him yearn for what happened in the past. The descriptions of the war and the setting were a play-by-play of what was happening. This is shown in an example with just a description “We held the line there for a week before being ordered to withdraw east” (Chapter 10). Overall, the World War II aspect felt more like a documentary feeling than a story feeling. Some readers this might be right up their alley, but for me, I wanted a story that I could follow and fall in love with. Not to be told what happens.

I received a complimentary copy of The Long March Home by Marcus Brotherton and Tosca Lee from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Long March Home

Monday, April 24, 2023

Mario Escobar: The Swiss Nurse

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Based on the true story of an astonishingly brave woman who saved hundreds of mothers and their children during the Spanish Civil War and World War II.

Elisabeth Eidenbenz left Switzerland in 1937 to aid children orphaned during the Spanish Civil War. Now, her work has led her to France, where she’s determined to provide expectant mothers and their unborn children a refuge amid one of the worst humanitarian crises of the twentieth century.

Desperate to escape the invasion of Franco’s Fascist troops, Isabel Dueñas becomes one of many Spanish patriots fleeing their country. She leaves behind her husband as he fights for democracy, and she seeks asylum in a refugee camp across the border in France. Without adequate shelter, clean drinking water, or medical care, Isabel’s future looks bleak—until she meets Elisabeth.

When Germany invades Poland, a new avalanche of humanity enters France. And soon, fate binds Elisabeth and Isabel together in the most important work of their lives.

Based on the true stories of refugees and the woman who risked everything to save them, The Swiss Nurse shares a message of love and strength amid one of the darkest moments in history.


My Thoughts:

The Swiss Nurse by Mario Escobar features three different viewpoints that tell a different, yet unique event that occurred during World War II. While time-slip novels are interesting and different viewpoints usually work really well, I had a hard time following the different viewpoints in this novel. I don’t know if when the story was translated that the smooth transition to show the perspectives got muddled. There was a lot of carnage and damage from bombs, but the characters seem pretty stiff and one-dimensional. I had a hard time keeping track of the characters and if there were relationships between the different characters. As a word of caution, there are many foul words in the story and that did not make me happy either. I do not believe they need to be in any story. No matter the genre. Overall, The Swiss Nurse by Mario Escobar did not deliver what was promised. It was pretty hard to follow the characters and the plot. It might because of the translation from one language to another.

I received a complimentary copy of The Swiss Nurse by Mario Escobar from Harper Muse Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Swiss Nurse

Friday, April 21, 2023

Duck out of Water

 By Kelly Bridgewater

 Do you ever feel like you do not belong where you currently are?


 I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. I moved to Terre Haute, IN when I married, but now we live in a small town, but own about 10 acres in the middle of nowhere, which I really like.

 However, I never really fit in with the women at church. I really do not have any friends. Yes, the women at church are nice and do talk to me, but I never seem to be the type of person they call to go do things with.

 My husband has guy friends that call him all the time. I do not. The only phone calls I receive are from my mother.

 I have always felt this way.

I’m not a girlie girl. Going to the spa or the beach is not my idea of a fun time. Sitting around and talking is not fun either.

I prefer to be on the move.

I love ice hockey. Go Colorado Avalanche!!!!

I love crime stories, which is becoming more popular.

I love reading thrillers especially ones that feature a serial killer.

I enjoy cars.

I love reading fiction. I do not want to discuss what I am currently reading until I am writing it down.

I feel like I do not belong anywhere. Such a lonely person.

What about you? Do you feel this way or is it just me?

Monday, April 17, 2023

Steven James: Broker of Lies

 By Kelly Bridgewater

The man who knows all our secrets has a secret of his own.

When Travis Brock, a high-level Pentagon redactor with an eidetic memory, finds a clue to solving the tragic arson that took his wife from him, he risks everything to find the truth—and chances losing himself in the process.

With a terror attack looming on the horizon and a pair of assassins on his tail, Brock drops off the grid and joins forces with a disavowed Homeland Security operative. Together they race to stop the attack before Brock is neutralized by the people he trusts the most.

From critically acclaimed, bestselling novelist Steven James comes a smart, wire-tight, and emotionally resonant thriller that asks just how far across the line we might go to see justice carried out.

My Thoughts:

With Broker of Lies, Steven James creates a terrorist threat story with unique characters. One of my favorite things of this story is that Travis Brock is not a detective or ex-military. He is an average Joe who steps up when the time comes. Nothing really special about him. But the skill that he does have is important to the solving of the terrorist plot. The heroine is a woman of many disguises. She has been trained to slip in and out of dangerous situations. She is brave and a little risky. For the plot, the first twenty percent of the novel is laying the groundwork for the character’s jobs and the background, so it is pretty boring. As a reader, I don’t think we needed all of that information. But once you reached past that part, then the action kicked into gear and the terrorist plot was woven through the story as the heroine and the hero tried to escape the ultimate destruction. Plot twist ends the story, so I wonder if there will be a second novel or not. Overall, Broker of Lies by Steven James is different than his widely-poplar Patrick Bowers series, but it does have plenty of action to keep readers flipping through the pages late into the night. I definitely want to see if there is a second book.

I received a complimentary copy of Broker of Lies by Steven James from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3.75 out of 5 stars

Purchase Broker of Lies

Friday, April 14, 2023

Spring Book Covers

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Spring has finally arrived! A little bit warmer, possibly even a lot warmer, depending on where you live. What better way than to share covers that have flowers all in bloom or green grass everywhere. Here are some covers that share the colors and joys of Spring. (All images comes from Goodreads.)

Beauty Among Ruins by J’nell Ciesieskli

Beauty so Rare by Tamera Alexander

Island Dreamer by Robin Jones Gunn

Seasons Under Heaven by Beverly LaHaye and Terri Blackstock

Times and Seasons by Beverly LaHaye and Terri Blackstock

What about you? Do you enjoy scenery on a book cover? 

Monday, April 10, 2023

Natalie Walters: Blind Trust

By Kelly Bridgewater

When Lyla Fox receives a threatening letter from a man she put in prison, she uncovers clues that lead to a deadly government conspiracy--making her a target that fellow SNAP Agent Nicolás Garcia will protect at all costs. But working with Lyla proves to be more dangerous than he expects--for the mission and for his heart.


My Thoughts:

Blind Trust by Natalie Walters is defined as a romantic suspense novel. With plenty of suspenseful moments and an overarching romance, Walters does deliver exactly what fans of the genre want. However, the plot does focus on the romance between Nic and Lyla way more than the suspense in the first half of the novel. With the constant reassurance that they were not in a relationship, Lyla and Nic's emotions ran across the pages of the story. Of course, there is a suspense element. Someone wants to take out Lyla and with Nic's overbearing emotions and feelings for Lyla, he does not want this to happen. The suspenseful plot was a little disappointing. I wanted a lot more. The ending was predictable and has been done a number of times before. While I love the idea of the SNAP group, it was not really that prominent in this story. Walters does handle the idea of a suspense novel but with her safe topics. I want suspense novels that keep me on the edge of my seat, flipping through the pages way past my bedtime. Sleep is for the weak. With Blind Trust, this was not the issue. Readers could put down the story and return at another time and completely remember what they had read before. Overall, Blind Trust by Natalie Walters delivers a romantic suspense novel, but it is a little heavy on the romance more than the suspense.

I received a complimentary copy of Blind Trust by Natalie Walters through Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3. 5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Blind Trust 

Friday, April 7, 2023


 Happy Easter!!!

Sunday is a very important day to me. I spend a while studying the cross and resurrection in the Bible from all four gospels and spend some time in prayer, thanking God for what he has done for me.

Without his death, I wouldn't be assured of my salvation. I'm glad I found God when I was a teenager. I couldn't living my life without him.

Now at my house, I have never done the whole Easter basket and hunting for eggs with my boys. My husband and I want them to focus on Christ and what he did for us. On Monday, when the candy goes on clearance is when I will give the boys a couple of dollars apiece, and they can pick out some candy.

I still can't wrap my mind around what a bunny delivering eggs has to do with the Lord's sacrifice.

Anyways, Happy Easter!!

Happy Resurrection Day!!!

Monday, April 3, 2023

Jaime Jo Wright: The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

By Kelly Bridgewater

A haunting legend. An ominous curse. A search for a secret buried deep within the castle walls.

In 1870, orphaned Daisy François takes a position as housemaid at a Wisconsin castle to escape the horrors of her past life. There she finds a reclusive and eccentric Gothic authoress who hides tales more harrowing than the ones in her novels. As women disappear from the area and the eerie circumstances seem to parallel a local legend, Daisy is thrust into a web that could ultimately steal her sanity, if not her life.

In the present day, Cleo Clemmons is hired by the grandson of an American aristocratic family to help his grandmother face her hoarding in the dilapidated Castle Moreau. But when Cleo uncovers more than just the woman's stash of collectibles, a century-old mystery and the dust of the old castle's curse threaten to rise again . . . this time to leave no one alive to tell the sordid tale.

Award-winning author Jaime Jo Wright seamlessly weaves a dual-time tale of two women who must do all they can to seek the light amid the darkness shrouding Castle Moreau.

My Thoughts:

The Vanishing of Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright is a thrilling, gothic style novel. I love spooky stories. With deeply atmospheric characters who were fully developed, Wright crafts characters that dug deep into a readers physic. From the first chapter, Wright dives right into the challenging setting and allows her readers to get lost in the mystery surrounding the castle. I love old castles. History. Especially when horrible things have happened there. Wright does a wonderful job at inviting readers into the cold, chilly setting of the castle. Her descriptions were wonderfully written. Readers will visualize the dark castle as readers follow Cleo and Daisy through the hollowed and dark hallways. I flipped through the pages of the story at a fast pace and finished the novel in one day. If readers enjoy historical houses with secret passages and abnormal characters, then this is the story for you. I have loved all of Wright's stories, and I hope she keeps writing for a long time. Great for a historical and suspense lover like me.

I received a complimentary copy of The Vanishing of Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Vanishing of Castle Moreau