Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Candice Sue Patterson: The Keys to Gramercy Park

 By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: The Keys to Gramercy Park

Author: Candice Sue Patterson

Genre: Christian / Historical / Romance

Release date: April, 2023

Secrets Sealed Within a Wall Come to Light in Lower Manhattan

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

Investigative historical journalist Andrea Andrews is tired of waiting tables to make ends meet. If she could find and write the next breakout story, she could secure a promotion with Smithsonian Magazine as their writer-at-large. But not much happens in lower Manhattan out of the ordinary until she discovers post-Civil War counterfeit bills hidden in the wall of her historic district apartment.

Politics have always been Beau Davidson-Quincy’s passion, despite his family’s real estate empire. His clean image and single status make him a target in the media as he prepares to build his campaign for New York governor. He has nothing to hide until a cute waitress unravels a mystery that could destroy his family’s reputation.

Two centuries earlier, wounded Civil War veteran Franklin Davidson lost everything—his house, his wife, his standing in society. In his darkest moment, he’s awarded a position with the newly formed Secret Service to combat the spread of counterfeit U.S. currency. His life and new home in Gramercy Park are the envy of his peers, but nothing is as it seems. Secrets are meant to be kept, and Franklin will take his to his grave.


My Thoughts:

The Keys to Gramercy Park by Candice Sue Patterson gave me thrills of a good novel. A good novel should capture my imagination and allow it to soar with the characters and the setting on the page. The Keys to Gramercy Park dived right into a historical mystery, which I love. I loved the idea of some element in the past tying to the present day. I love watching the heroine of the present try to solve the mystery while watching the story take place in the past. Patterson did a wonderful job at bringing Post Civil-War New York and the Gramercy Park to life. I never knew this place actually existed. After reading this story, I want to stand outside the gates and peer inside. I loved the Gilded Age Mansion and stories. Patterson’s story took me for a treasure hunt and a little bit of romance on the side. The ending has a twist with the historical element that surprised me but in a good way. The plot moved at a rapid pace, and I stayed up way too late and finished this novel in less than a day. Now I need to purchase it to put it on my bookshelf. A wonderful novel. If readers are fans of treasure hunts filled with history, romance, and a little mystery, I highly recommend readers purchasing this novel. This is one of my first 5 star reviews for the year.

I received a complimentary copy of The Keys to Gramercy Park by Candice Sue Patterson from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Keys to Gramercy Park

About the Author

Candice Sue Patterson studied at the Institute of Children’s Literature and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons in a restored farmhouse overtaken by books. When she’s not tending to her chickens, splitting wood, or decorating cakes, she’s working on a new story. Candice writes Modern Vintage Romance—where the past and present collide with faith. Her debut novel How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart was a 2012 ACFW First Impressions finalist and made INSPYs Longlist for 2016.


More from Candice

A locked secret garden in Manhattan with historical significance and the only ones privileged to step inside are the wealthy residents who purchase a key—count me in! The plot for The Keys to Gramercy Park was born at our dining room table when my husband looked up from the book he was reading and asked if I knew about Gramercy Park. I hadn’t, so we started Googling and discovered it was a real garden in Manhattan built in 1841 for the cream of society. The fact that it’s been off-limits to the public for one hundred and eight-two years instantly brought all kinds of story ideas to my mind.

Not long after, I discovered that Barbour Publishing Inc. was looking for dual-time stories to fill their Doors to the Past series. I love reading dual-time novels but I’d never written one. I love a good challenge, so I began plotting and before I knew it, I had another first—creating a villain.

I’ve only ever seen the New York City skyline from the New Jersey ferry that travels to and from the Statue of Liberty, so after the story was contracted, I spent several weeks researching Manhattan and Gramercy Park. New York is full of rich history and it was so fun to stumble across the historical details of The Player’s, Edwin Booth, and the stories behind each home along Gramercy Square.

One of my favorite things about writing this story was the juxtaposition of the timelines. We don’t have the present without the past, and what happens in the past affects the future, but the future can also determine how we view, feel, and learn about the past. That’s essentially what The Keys to Gramercy Park is about—the butterfly effect of past events reaching ahead two centuries with dire consequences. I love how in one scene the characters are sending telegraphs and in the next scene, they’re sending text messages.

What’s your favorite thing about dual-time novels? Make sure to check out the other books in the Doors to the Past series!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 26

lakesidelivingsite, May 26

Melissa’s Bookshelf, May 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 28

Blogging With Carol, May 28

Book Looks by Lisa, May 29

Connie’s History Classroom, May 29

Texas Book-aholic, May 30

For Him and My Family, May 30

Cover Lover Book Review, May 31

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 2

Blossoms and Blessings, June 2

Remembrancy, June 3

Holly’s Book Corner, June 3

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 4

Pause for Tales, June 4

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

Mary Hake, June 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 6

Inklings and Notions, June 6

Simple Harvest Reads, June 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Labor Not in Vain, June 7

She Lives To Read, June 8

Books I’ve Read, June 8


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

Monday, May 29, 2023

Runyan, Ciesieskli, and McMillan: The Castle Keepers

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Leedswick Castle has housed the Alnwick family in the English countryside for generations, despite a family curse determined to destroy their legacy and erase them from history.

1870. After a disastrous dinner at the Astor mansion forces her to flee New York in disgrace, socialite Beatrice Holbrook knows her performance in London must be a triumph. When she catches the eye of Charles Alnwick, one of the town’s most enviably-titled bachelors, she prepares to attempt a social coup and become the future Marchioness of Northridge. When tragedy and scandal strike the Alnwick family, Beatrice must assume the role of a lifetime: that of her true, brave self.

1917. Artist Elena Hamilton arrives in Northumberland determined to transform a soldier’s wounds into something beautiful. Tobias Alnwick’s parents have commissioned a lifelike mask to help their son return to his former self after battle wounds partially destroyed his face. But Elena doesn’t see a man who needs fixing—she sees a man who needn’t hide. Yet secrets from their past threaten to chase away the peace they’ve found in each other and destroy the future they’re creating.

1945. Alec Alnwick returns home from the war haunted but determined to leave death and destruction behind. With the help of Brigitta Mayr, the brilliant young psychoanalyst whose correspondence was a lifeline during his time on the Western Front, he reconstructs his family’s large estate into a rehabilitation center for similarly wounded soldiers. Now Alec’s efforts may be the only chance to redeem his family legacy—and break the curse on the Alnwick name—once and for all.


My Thoughts:

The 1870 era novella by Aimie K. Runyan starts after some of the curse has already been placed on the house. With a hasty wedding and a family that does not really like Beatrice, the plot has is guaranteed to be a conflict of interest from the first meeting. Charles and Beatrice knows the wedding is the perfect recipe for a loving marriage, but they learn to trust each other no matter what Charles’ family believes. The characters are nicely handled and crafted. Readers will root for Beatrice as she tries to make her way as the Marchioness of Northridge. Runyan’s description of the forgotten castle does spark my imagination and will make readers want to wander the hallways of the castle. A nicely handled story, but the ending came as a rush to the current curse.

The 1917 era novella by J’nell Ciesieskli features a wounded hero who wanders how to make a place in the world with his physical deformities. Enter Elena Hamilton, an artist, who wants to make her mark on this beautiful world. This novella is a kind of like a Beauty and the Beast type story. Again, readers are wandering the halls of the Leedswick Castle as the events unfold. Ciesieskli crafts a nicely handled plot with the limited amount of space that novellas allow. Readers will enjoy the connection to Leedswick Castle and the 1870’s characters. 

The 1945 novella by Rachel McMillan uses psychology to contact the hero and the heroine. Again, readers are taken to Leedswick Castle to help recover and learn more about the curse on the house. The characters were a little different this time. A little more freedom as the clock is ticked away. Readers will see the change in women’s freedom through the course of this book. McMillan characters come together after World War II, which is one of my favorite eras to read. The plot features dreams and how to make sense of the nightmares that plague the soldiers.

Overall, some of the novellas seemed rush to the ending that help cure the curse for each generation. The novellas started out with an exciting incident, then moved forward to the development of the characters while introducing the climactic moment. But then the novella progresses, and it is time to wrap up, so the authors rush to the conclusion. While I believe each story could be made into a complete novel instead of just a novella, maybe then the ending would not feel so rushed.

I received a complimentary copy of The Castle Keepers by Aimie K. Runyan, J’nell Ciesieskli, and Rachel McMillan from Harper Muse Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Castle Keepers

Friday, May 26, 2023

Memorial Day Weekend

 By Kelly Bridgewater

 The official start of summer has begun!

Pools are opening. A good cookout with good food, family, and friends.

Weather is usually not to be bad by this time of the year. It will get tons worst though.

 How about you? How do you spend the Memorial Day weekend?


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

L. G. Nixon: The Ghost of Darwin Stewart

By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: The Ghost of Darwin Stewart

Author:LG Nixon

Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Religious/Christian Fantasy/Mysteries & Detective Stories

Release date: October 15, 2021 

Summer vacation may never be the same.
It's all fun and games until a smelly ghost, and a terrifying shape shifting entity follow Lucy home from the flea market. When a malevolent spirit learns Lucy is the keeper of an artifact he has been searching for millennia to find, everyone she loves is placed in danger. With several other magical artifacts which were in the trunk she purchased from the vendor at the flea market, Lucy finds she has access to powers she never knew existed.
The Spectrescope has shown her a beguiling other world reality filled with magic, spirits, wizards, and daemons. The artifact is the key to unlocking many secrets. Secrets, that if not kept, would mean destruction for the world beyond the portal, and possibly her own. Whether she likes it or not, she must decide. Will she protect the artifact? Or will she give it up to protect herself?
Lucy has been chosen, but evil is strong.
And the night has secrets of its own.


My Thoughts:

Ghosts. Spiritual Warfare. Shining hand-held mirror with ancient symbols. Sounds like an interesting, yet unique story. That is exactly what The Ghost of Darwin Stewart by L.G. Nixon delivers. Nixon created a story for 12 – 17 years old, which is a great young adult genre to be writing for. Young boys and girls need to understand heroes for spiritual battles can be young too. Especially now days, our society needs them. As for the plot, there is plenty of action and movement between the heroine, Lucy, and her best friend, Schuyler, as they try to figure out what these magical items mean for them. As for the writing, I found it kind of simplistic for an adult to read. Since the novel is geared for younger readers, they may enjoy it, but I wanted it to be a little deeper. However, would I recommend this novel to my fourteen-year-old son? If he read, maybe.

I received a complimentary copy of The Ghost of Darwin Stewart by L.G. Nixon from Fitting Words Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Ghost of Darwin Stewart

About the Author

Meet LG Nixon, author, coffee connoisseur, motorcycle enthusiast, and collector of strange artifacts. With her zany imagination, she fuses a page-turning fantasy with a haunting theme and turns it into a spirit filled adventure with quirky and likable characters. After a long career, she left the workplace behind and turned to writing. Her stories are lighthearted but carry an underlying message of the importance of a Biblical worldview. She researches and writes full-time from her home in Michigan where she prowls the night star gazing and watching for a supernatural event. LG loves to ski, ride motorcycles, travel, and fly small planes; but no bungee jumping, thank you very much.


More from LG Nixon

I’ve always had zany and quirky imagination. Growing up in a creaky old house with a grandmother who told stories of ghostly visitations, I was curious. As a child, I filled journals with mystery and detective stories.


These days I write about ghosts and spirits to entertain, and use scripture as dialogue to portray God’s love and forgiveness, our hope of redemption, and the reality of a supernatural dimension just beyond our perception.


Why would a Christian author write about ghosts? Because scripture is filled with ghosts and spirits, angels, and demons along with some amazing creatures. God uses incredible imagery to capture our imagination and draw us deeper into His word. I love to study scripture because I always find new truths that go beyond the scope of imagination.


My writing has grown from my love for Jesus and a desire to share my faith with hope and encouragement. The Issachar Gatekeeper series is designed to show young adults in a fun, adventurous way the impact Christian principles can have on their lives and to deepen their understanding of the world around them.


Our heroine, Lucy, has a wonderful neighbor, Mrs. McGoo, who always comes through to save the day with her delicious chocolate chip cookies. Lucy’s best friend, Schuyler Williams, says, “A really good chocolate chip cookie is nearly a spiritual experience, don’t you think?” So, we are sharing this recipe with you so you can sit, relax, and share some with a friend. Enjoy!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, May 20

Simple Harvest Reads, May 21 (Author Interview)

Christina’s Corner, May 21

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, May 22

An Author’s Take, May 23

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 24

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 26

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, May 27

A Reader’s Brain, May 28

Blogging With Carol, May 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 30

Girls in White Dresses, May 31

Artistic Nobody, June 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, June 2

Holly’s Book Corner, June 2


To celebrate her tour, L.G. is giving away the grand prize package of a custom printed canvas tote bag including a signed copy of the book, mug and coaster, book light, bookmarks, and other goodies!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse: The Heart's Choice

By Kelly Bridgewater

They must uncover the truth before it's buried forever.

After witnessing a wrongful conviction as a young girl, Rebecca Whitman--the first female court reporter in Montana--is now determined to defend the innocent. During a murder trial, something doesn't sit well with her about the case, but no one except the handsome new Carnegie librarian will listen to her.

Librarian Mark Andrews's father sent him to college hoping he would take over the business side of the family ranch, but Mark would rather wrangle books than cows. When a patron seeks help with research in hopes of proving a man's innocence, Mark is immediately drawn to her and her cause.

In a race against time, will Rebecca and Mark find the evidence they need--and open their hearts to love--before it's too late?


My Thoughts:

The Heart’s Choice by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse is a delightful historical novel set in Montana at one of their Carnegie libraries. Peterson and Woodhouse are a dynamic duo who crafts a stirring story that allows readers to escape to the world of a court reporter and a librarian who find and grow their love of books and eventually each other. The plot does have a mystery element to it. I really like how Peterson and Woodhouse allowed the heroine to use her knowledge of mysteries to help uncover the mystery of an innocent man. I do like how Peterson and Woodhouse mirrored the past event in the heroine’s life and allowed it to guide her to solve the current mystery. The romance was not over the top. A little budding romance as they spent more time together. The setting was nicely described and displayed for the reader’s imagination. Overall, The Heart’s Choice by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse was a good escape novel to spend a little bit of time with. I am glad that this is a first book in a series. I will definitely want to see what else happens.

I received a complimentary copy of The Heart’s Choice by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Heart’s Choice 

Friday, May 19, 2023

Most Anticipated Suspense or Romantic Suspense

 By Kelly Bridgewater

This is my edition of the Most Anticipated Suspense or Romantic Suspense novels that are going to be released from May 1, 2023 through August 31, 2023. 

All images come from Amazon!

One issue I have with this list is that I NEED LOTS more in this category. This is my FAVORITE genre!

Counter Attack by Patricia Bradley

Break of Day by Colleen Coble

Cold Pursuit by Nancy Mehl

Countdown by Lynette Eason

What about you? Know of any other suspense authors that I should try. This list seems really bleak to me!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Pattricia Bradley: Counter Attack

By Kelly Bridgewater

A brand new heart-stopping series from a USA Today bestselling author

No sooner has Alexis Stone been sworn in as the interim sheriff for Russell County, Tennessee, when a serial killer dubbed the Queen's Gambit Killer strikes again--this time in her hometown. Pearl Springs is just supposed to be a temporary stop along the way to Alex's real dream: becoming the first female police chief of Chattanooga. But the killer's calling card--a white pawn and a note with a chess move printed on it--cannot be ignored.

Pearl Springs chief of police Nathan Landry can't believe that his high school sweetheart Alexis (he refuses to call her Alex) is back in town, and he can't help wanting to protect the woman he never stopped loving. But as the danger mounts and the killer closes in, can Nathan come through on the promises he makes to himself to bring a killer to justice before it's too late.


My Thoughts:

Counter Attack by Patricia Bradley starts a new series in Pearl River. From the first chapter, I was interested in a story that featured a serial killer that was killing and leaving white chess pieces. However, as the plot moved along, Bradley had a secondary suspense plot line dealing with drug dealing. Not really what I wanted. The chess pieces' murder did not seem to be the most important aspect of the novel. However, the villain showed their card in the first introduction. I knew who it was pretty early on. Of course, I kept reading because I wanted to see if Bradley would allow the murders to take over the plot. of course, this is a romantic suspense novel, so there is romance between Alexis and Nathan. They have a past and need to deal with the past and their budding feelings toward each other. Since the series takes place in this small town, I believe they will be making another appearance. I just hope their romance does not take over the plot. I would like a long courtship back to the familiar. I would like to see more of the suspense element in the next story. Overall, Counter Attack by Patricia Bradley has the making of a wonderful suspense novel, and I know Bradley can do it, but this one needed a little more serial killer focus for my taste.

I received a complimentary copy of Counter Attack by Patricia Bradley from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Counter Attack

Friday, May 12, 2023

Most Anticipated Historical Romance

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Most Anticipated Historical Romance that is published from May 1, 2023 through August 31st, 2023. 

All images come from Amazon. 


In This Moment by Gabrielle Meyer

The Long March Home by Marcus Brotherton and Tosca Lee

Fairest of Heart by Karen Witemeyer

Man of Shadow and Mist by Michelle Griep

Ladies of the Lake by Cathy Gohlke

To Free the Stars by J'nell Ciesielski

In the Shelter of the Hollythorne House by Sarah E. Ladd

Voice of the Ancients by Connilyn Cossette

The Scarlet Spy by Rachel Scott McDaniel

What about you? Any to add!

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Tabitha Bouldin: Lost in Wonderland

By Kelly Bridgewater


 About the Book

Book: Lost in Wonderland

Author: Tabitha Bouldin

Genre: FantasySteampunk, Christian

Release date: March 14, 2023

If you make a deal with evil, be prepared for the consequences.

When a metal dragon kidnaps Alice, Hatter gathers the troops and charges off to rescue her. If only things were so uncomplicated. In the Ivory Kingdom, they find upheaval of the worst kind and all heading to civil war spearheaded by a man known as the Bandersnatch.

Turmoil and the terror of fighting against a giant wolf, the Bandersnatch is bad enough, but when the Ivory Queen’s secrets are exposed, Hatter and Alice face off in a battle of wills and points of view. How can Alice trust a woman who deceived them? Why can’t Hatter see the bigger picture? If they don’t reconcile their differences, more could be at risk than the Ivory Kingdom.

More questions than answers bombard them in their quest for truth and freedom for all. Who is stealing children? What dark secret overshadows the Ivory Kingdom? Can they avoid the Bandersnatch’s clutches? And most important of all, who can they trust?

Join forces with Alice, Hatter, old friends and new, and be prepared to discover that trust and risk are often two sides of the same coin in this next Beyond Wonderland novel.


 My Thoughts:

Lost in Wonderland by Tabitha Bouldin continues the story of Alice, Hatter, and a new slew of characters from the Ivory kingdom. Bouldin does a wonderful job at creating a fantasy that is completely different than Lewis’s masterpiece but with plenty of action and realistic drama to keep readers actively involved with the story. When reading this installment, I went back and re-read Madness in Wonderland again. Both stories flowed one into the other quite nicely. The plot captured my imagination. I loved this story and these characters. I love the braveness of Alice. I love the smugness of Hatter, but who is willing to do anything to make sure that Alice is safe. I love how Chess appears time and time again as an important character to the plot. One of my favorite aspects is Bouldin’s descriptions of the automation characters. These are mechanical characters that are used for bad purposes. They were featured in the first novel and make a bigger presence in this installment. Overall, Lost in Wonderland by Tabitha Bouldin is a wonderful story. I hope that there is another book coming. There were some cliff-hangers at the end of this novel, so I hope they are answered in another book.

I received a complimentary copy of Lost in Wonderland by Tabitha Bouldin from Celebrate Lit. Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Lost in Wonderland

About the Author

Tabitha Bouldin is a student at Southern New Hampshire University, where she is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she works with critique groups and provides endorsements for other authors. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart. Tabitha spent ten years working as a Medical Assistant before God opened the door which allowed her to become a stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom and author.


More from Tabitha

Writing Lost in Wonderland was such a wonderful creative outlet for my imagination. After writing Madness in Wonderland, I knew I wasn’t ready to let these characters go. They were anxious for new challenges and new adventures that allowed them to explore more of the world they’d just freed.

Of course, new characters were a must, and Scarlett stepped right up to have her story told.

While Madness in Wonderland is an Alice in Wonderland and Frankenstein mashup, for Lost in Wonderland, I went with a Through the Looking Glass and Red Riding Hood mashup that gave a deeper well of storytelling for Wonderland and brought all sorts of new creatures into the mix.

Alice and Hatter face new obstacles in their journey, and Scarlett is not one to be left behind. Especially when he has her loyal guard Faolan by her side.

Prepare to set sail across a new Wonderland.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 30

Holly’s Book Corner, May 1

Library Lady, May 2

Back Porch Reads, May 2

Texas Book-aholic, May 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 4

By the Book , May 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 7

Sylvan Musings, May 7

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 8

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, May 8

Simple Harvest Reads, May 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 10

For Him and My Family, May 11

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 12


To celebrate her tour, Tabitha 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.