Monday, November 27, 2023

Susie Finkbeiner: The All-American

By Kelly Bridgewater

Two sisters discover how much good there is in the world--even in the hardest of circumstances

It is 1952, and nearly all the girls 16-year-old Bertha Harding knows dream of getting married, keeping house, and raising children in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. Bertha dreams of baseball. She reads every story in the sports section, she plays ball with the neighborhood boys--she even writes letters to the pitcher for the Workington Sweet Peas, part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

When Bertha's father is accused of being part of the Communist Party by the House Un-American Activities Committee, life comes crashing down on them. Disgraced and shunned, the Hardings move to a small town to start over where the only one who knows them is shy Uncle Matthew. But dreams are hard to kill, and when Bertha gets a chance to try out for the Workington Sweet Peas, she packs her bags for an adventure she'll never forget.

Join award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner for a summer of chasing down your dreams and discovering the place you truly belong.


My Thoughts:

The All- American by Susie Finkbeiner captured all the feels of a 1950’s family with two little women who are working toward their dreams and their family life. As a reader, I enjoyed how realistic the young girls are. Finkbeiner did a wonderful job at creating the fear from the threat of Communism and how it affected both girls. The plot brought back memories of being the tomboy who wanted to play hockey since I was eleven years old. Of course, I live in a place where hockey is not played, so no luck. Whereas Bertha works really hard to see her dreams of playing for the Sweet Peas become a reality. On the other hand, I empathized with Flossie who has her nose in a book all the time. I was that little girl too. Touch of a teenage romance. Not swoony or takes over the whole story. Finkbeiner did a wonderful job at showing the budding feelings but keeping it low key. Overall, The All-American is a wonderful coming of age novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. A good novel to recommend for young ladies in today’s culture.

I received a complimentary copy of The All-American by Susie Finkbeiner from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase The All-American

Friday, November 24, 2023


By Kelly Bridgewater

Hopefully, every company in America has decided to remove the request for weekly testing or the requirement for the Covid “vaccine”.

It is not legal or constitutional.

My medical history has nothing to do with what my skills are needed to do a job.

My son has been tortured by his employer since he refuses to take the vaccine. He only works two days a week, and they do not want to do the testing on the days that he works.

I have to do it every week. Always has been negative.

BUT . . .

Many people that I work with who took the jab have been sick a number of times with Covid. Why are they not being tested every week?

Does not make sense at all.

The shot does NOT work, and you have no science to prove it does.

There are 14 know pages of side effects for the shot. That is 13.5 pages more than any other shot aka vaccine that has ever been created.

But the government wants to treat everyone like they are lab rats and force them to take the shot. Even though it does not work.

Companies should not be able to force any perspective employee from earning the position because they refuse to take the shot.

Schools can not refuse to admit students because they were more educated than the higher ups.

Our countries priorities have fallen drastically.

What about you? Do you believe it is right for the government to mandate this? Why or why not? 

Monday, November 20, 2023

Rachel Fordham: The Letter Tree

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Mere words can’t end their families’ feud, but the Campbell heir and the Bradshaw heiress plan to write a future together.

Buffalo, NY, 1924

Laura Bradshaw adores stories with happily ever afters. But since her mother died seven years ago, the Bradshaw Shoe Company heiress has been as good as locked away in a tower. Her overbearing father cares little for her dreams, throwing himself instead into his tireless takedown of his competitor, the Campbell Shoe Company. However, Laura has been gifted with a reprieve: a mysterious friend with whom she’s been exchanging letters.

As heir to the Campbell Shoe Company, Isaac Campbell is a sought-after bachelor who has never felt an inkling of desire for the women who constantly bat their eyes at him. His thoughts are consumed by an oak tree in the Buffalo Zoo—or rather, the mystery woman he exchanges letters with courtesy of the tree. She’s been one of Isaac’s only joys in a life consumed by his father’s tireless hatred of Bradshaw. A hatred that, Isaac is coming to realize, may affect him more personally than he ever imagined.

When Laura’s father orchestrates a match between her and an important business owner, she resolves to pursue her only chance at freedom. But Isaac believes their story isn’t bound for a tragic ending. He’s certain there’s more to the Bradshaw-Campbell feud than meets the eye. And he won’t stop digging until he uncovers the truth that might bridge the divide between him and the woman whose words have captured his heart.


My Thoughts:

The Letter Tree by Rachel Fordham begins at a tree in the Brooklyn Zoo. At first, the story seems a little intriguing with the concept of a blind person that Laura Bradshaw crafts letters to and sticks into the trunk of a tree. I love the idea of Laura missing her mother and clinging to her books, which remind her of her mother. My father taught me my love of reading, and he passed away eight years ago. There are some books that I look at, and they remind me of him. Laura was a nicely developed character with hurts and a deep longing for love, animals, and her happy-ever-after. Isaac, on the other hand, is a man who, at the beginning of the story, really did not have any goals and dreams. As the story progresses, he changes and matures. The plot flowed well. I enjoyed the twist to the Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet type story. Now don’t think this is a Romeo and Juliet story because it is not. Just some similar ideas in the plot. The writing is fantastic and kept my attention throughout the entire story. Overall, The Letter Tree by Rachel Fordham may start to read like a familiar story, but it moves delightfully through the imagination, capturing those moments of innocent love while trying to seek justice at the same time.

I received a complimentary copy of The Letter Tree by Rachel Fordham from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Letter Tree

Friday, November 17, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

 By Kelly Bridgewater


As we come to the close of another year and move into a season of Thanksgiving, remind us to be thankful for what we have.

A roof over our head, food in our belly, and the grace of your love.

Allow us to share what you have provided to us with others who might not have as much. Be thankful for what we do possess.

Learn to love and keep on loving others around us.

Shelter the poor. Keep them fed. Feed them physically and spiritually.


Enjoy your time with your family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 13, 2023

Jen Turano: To Spark a Match

 By Kelly Bridgewater

"Turano takes readers on a lighthearted romp through matchmaking season . . . . This is a delight."--Publishers Weekly on A Match in the Making

After five unsuccessful Seasons on the marriage mart, Miss Adelaide Duveen has resigned herself to the notion that she's destined to remain a spinster forever--a rather dismal prospect, but one that will allow her to concentrate on her darling cats and books. However, when she inadvertently stumbles upon Mr. Gideon Abbott engaged in a clandestine activity during a dinner party, Adelaide finds herself thrust into a world of intrigue that resembles the plots in the spy novels she devours.

Former intelligence agent Gideon Abbott feels responsible for Adelaide after society threatens to banish her because of the distraction she caused to save his investigation. Hoping to return the favor, he turns to a good friend--and one of high society's leaders--to take Adelaide in hand and turn her fashionable. When danger surrounds them and Adelaide finds herself a target of the criminals in Gideon's case, the spark of love between them threatens to be quenched for good--along with their lives.


My Thoughts:

To Spark a Match by Jen Turano carries a mystery wrapped in a matchmaking bow. The heroine, Adelaide, is a riot. She is always in a sticky situation especially when the hero, Gideon, is around. How so many odd situations happen to one person is beyond me. But Turano does a wonderful job at crafting a character with heart who honestly does not care what the Four Hundred think of her. Even when she is “accepted”, Adelaide does things like taking two wallflowers to sit at her table at a ball, that they usually frown upon. I love the idea of the bookstore and the trouble that it brings to the plot. Gideon, on the other hand, sparks with charm as he does not admit to himself that he actually finds Adelaide’s mishaps adorable. The setting is nicely handled. I would love to visit some of the remaining Four Hundred homes just to tour them and see them wrapped in nicely tuned history. Overall, Jen Turano crafted another novel in her romantic comedy style that features a funny heroine who always ends up in hilarious situations, but always the love of the two people always wins in the end. If readers are not familiar with Turano’s writing, then I highly suggest picking up any of her books.

I received a complimentary copy of To Spark by Match by Jen Turano from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase To Spark a Match

Friday, November 10, 2023

My Birthday Month

 By Kelly Bridgewater

I know a friend of mine that had a birthday on February 20th and her husband commented that they spend the whole week pampering her. No household chores. They cook the meals. Allow her “free” time without her seven kids bothering her.

I also have an aunt that says the whole month of November is all about her. She chooses where to go out to eat and where to visit.

These months or weeks are all about them.

Since my birthday usually falls during the week of Thanksgiving, I do not have that luxury. I make the Thanksgiving meal and clean the house since extended family is coming over. Most times, my husband and kids even forget my birthday with all the hustle during that week. If it is after Thanksgiving on Black Friday or that Saturday, we go shopping and decorate the house for Christmas, so my birthday is not that important.

With me working 45 hours a week and then going straight home to homeschool our youngest, I really do not have a lot of me and alone time.

I do not know what I would if I had time spent just focused on me.

What about you? Does birthday last longer than the day of your actual birthday? What do you do or request?

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Hannah Linder: Garden of the Midnights

By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: Garden of the Midnights

Author: Hannah Linder

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Release Date: October, 2023

She begged him once more to meet in the garden at midnight.
"If you love me," said the letter.
But if he loved her, he would not come at all.

Enjoy another Gothic Style Regency from Hannah Linder.

The accidents are not a matter of chance. They are deliberate. As English gentleman William Kensley becomes aware of the danger at Rosenleigh Manor, he pleads for the truth of his past from the only man he can trust--until that man is murdered.

As the secrets unfold into scandal, William's world is tipped into destitution, leaving him penniless and alone. His only comfort is in the constant friendship and love of Isabella Gresham. If he does not have their nonsense at the seashore, their laughter, their reckless adventures, has he anything at all?

He should have known that would be ripped from him too. When a hidden foe arises from their acquaintances and imperils Isabella's life, William may be the only one willing to risk his life to rescue her. But even if he frees Isabella from her captors, will he still have to forsake her heart?

Some sacrifice everything for love. Others sacrifice love for everything else. In this haunting tale of rigid social prejudices and heart-aching regrets, the greatest decision of their life will be determined in the garden of the midnights.


My Thoughts:

Garden of the Midnights by Hannah Linder is a unique, yet odd title. As I was reading the novel usually the title makes sense, but this time, I did see where Linder would reference the phrase in the story, but it still felt like it did not belong. As for the plot, it had many twists and turns and an odd suspenseful moment. Linder does a wonderful job at crafting the setting and the time period. They do ring true for a Regency time period novel. She did a wonderful job at crafting this. She does a wonderful job at creating suspense moments that will have the reader guessing how this novel would end. The heroine, Isabella, was a typical rich girl from the Regency period that wanted to marry for love, which I honestly do not blame her. She saw through Mr. Livingstone’s façade and wanted more for her life. On the other hand, William, the hero, had to come to some hard truths about his beginning to his life and how to deal with that. Overall, Garden of the Midnights by Hannah Linder is a predictable Regency romance with some elements of a modern suspense novel twisted into the overarching climactic moment.

I received a complimentary copy of Garden of the Midnights by Hannah Linder from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4out of 5 stars

Purchase Garden of the Midnights

About the Author

Hannah Linder resides in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. Represented by Books & Such, she writes Regency romantic suspense novels. She is a double 2021 Selah Award winner, a 2022 Selah Award finalist, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Hannah is a Graphic Design Associates Degree graduate who specializes in professional book cover design. She designs for both traditional publishing houses and individual authors, including New York Times, USA Today, and International bestsellers. She is also a local photographer and a self-portrait photographer. When Hannah is not writing, she enjoys playing her instruments—piano, guitar, and ukulele—songwriting, painting still life, walking in the rain, and sitting on the front porch of her 1800s farmhouse. To follow her journey, visit


More from Hannah

Sometimes, the things we say we’ll never do are exactly the things we find ourselves doing.

Back when I was still wearing two braids and walking around barefoot everywhere, I told myself I would never make a speech. Never. But by the time high school graduation came along, despite a thousand firm declarations that I wouldn’t, my mother shook her head. “I think you should do it,” she said—and because mothers are usually right, I did.

Granted, I read the speech off a folded sheet of copy paper because I was too nervous to face the crowd. And my knees were jelly. And I stood off-centered on the stage instead of behind the pulpit like anyone else.

But I did it.

For the rest of my life, I’ll look back and remember what it felt like. Standing on the stage, reading my heart, hearing the sniffles and glancing up to see tears glistening in the eyes of endless people I love.

That was special. Mother was right.

Want to know another thing I said I would never do? Re-write a novel. I’ve heard the stories all my life. The author second guesses their own ability and burns their manuscript. Then, years later, they rewrite the story that echoes through the ages as a classic. Or the novelist loses their entire document to a computer crash, so with a blank page and a blinking cursor, they start anew.

I never thought that was something I could do.

I never wanted to.

If I ever lost a novel or was prompted to start over, I would abandon ship and try for a different vessel. Anyway, that’s what I told myself.

Garden of the Midnights was the story I wrote many years ago when I was younger, when I knew less about manors and England and history. I made mistakes. I broke writing rules. I did too little research and too much overwriting…but it had my soul. Somehow, it was alive. The characters breathed. The tears in their pillow, the aches in their throat, became a part of who I was and what I felt.

This was the one. The story I loved most.

But the edits and the mistakes and the problems overwhelmed me. Like the fearful girl in braids who refused to make a speech, I wanted to throw in the towel and say with even more defiance, “I will never re-write a novel. Never.”

But Mother knew what was needed. She knew the story was too much a part of me to tuck away in some drawer, forgotten and dusty, unread by anyone. So she nodded her head and said, “I think you should do it.”

I didn’t want to.

I was afraid because it wasn’t easy.

But because mothers are usually right, I did. Now, Garden of the Midnights is ready. My heart is still tangled in all the words, all the twists, all the secrets—but this time more, because the book has yet another part of me. The part that was fearful. The part that was too close to quitting. The part that finished anyway.

For the rest of my life, I’ll look back and be thankful. When someone writes me a note that they enjoyed the book, or gets a whimsical tone to their voice when they talk about a scene, or looks up from the pages with tears shimmering in their eyes.

That will be special. Mother was right.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 28

Melissa’s Bookshelf, October 28

Texas Book-aholic, October 29

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, October 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 30

An Author’s Take, October 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 31

Mary Hake, October 31

Book Looks by Lisa, November 1

Alena Mentink, November 1

Connie’s History Classroom, November 2

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 3

Sylvan Musings, November 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 4 (Author Interview)

To Everything There Is A Season, November 4

Blogging With Carol, November 5

For Him and My Family, November 5

Betti Mace, November 6

Live.Love.Read., November 6

Wishful Endings, November 7

Cover Lover Book Review, November 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, November 8

Holly’s Book Corner, November 8

Splashes of Joy, November 9

Labor Not in Vain, November 9

Pause for Tales, November 10


To celebrate her tour, Hannah 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, November 6, 2023

Amanda Barratt: The Warsaw Sisters

By Kelly Bridgewater

On a golden August morning in 1939, sisters Antonina and Helena Dąbrowska send their father off to defend Poland against the looming threat of German invasion. The next day, the first bombs fall on Warsaw, decimating their beloved city and shattering the world of their youth.

When Antonina's beloved Marek is forced behind ghetto walls along with the rest of Warsaw's Jewish population, Antonina turns her worry into action and becomes a key figure in a daring network of women risking their lives to shelter Jewish children. Helena finds herself drawn into the ranks of Poland's secret army, joining the fight to free her homeland from occupation. But the secrets both are forced to keep threaten to tear the sisters apart--and the cost of resistance proves greater than either ever imagined.

Shining a light on the oft-forgotten history of Poland during WWII and inspired by true stories of ordinary individuals who fought to preserve freedom and humanity in the darkest of times, The Warsaw Sisters is a richly rendered portrait of courage, sacrifice, and the resilience of our deepest ties.


My Thoughts:

The Warsaw Sisters by Amanda Barratt is a heart wrenching taste of reality. Set during the occupation of Poland in 1939 through April 1945, Barratt follows the lives of twin sisters who fight individually against the Germans. Every time I read a World War II novel; I want to fight against the horrible Nazi’s. Makes me angry all that they had gotten away with. Reminds me slightly of what Biden tried to pull with his Covid vaccines in 2022. Not legal. I understand Hitler was worse, but if Americans did not stand up, I’m afraid the same thing will happen here one day. Anyways, as for the plot, Barratt did a good job of tugging at my heart a couple of times. I cringed. I wanted to cry. I was happy. The Teacher of Warsaw by Mario Escobar features inside the Ghetto that Barratt features in her story, but this time Barratt shows what the Polish people were doing to survive and fight on the outside. While the plot was nicely handled, Barratt has a skill at crafting characters that are three dimensional with pain, hurt, love, and strength. I wanted to see the girls succeed. Also, the setting was as much a character as the people moving through the story. Barratt showed the horror and destruction caused to the city and the buildings. Overall, The Warsaw Sisters by Amanda Barratt is a wonderful, yet haunting tale of Poland during World War II. I can’t wait to own this book in my library.

I received a complimentary copy of The Warsaw Sisters by Amanda Barratt from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:   4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Warsaw Sisters 

Friday, November 3, 2023

Bible Verse: James 3 : 13 - 18

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

Lord, allow me to have the wisdom to seek you and not harbor angry toward anyone. Amen.


Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Jennifer Graeser Dornbush: Last One Alive

By Kelly Bridgewater

Dr. Emily Hartford is back in Chicago, ready to move forward and leave the past behind, until an unexpected request for help sends her deep into an investigation -- and into the path of a killer.

Seventeen months after the Parkman case, Dr. Hartford has returned to Chicago to finish her surgical residency. But when she is contacted out of the blue by Solange McClelland, the only survivor of a decade-old triple homicide, Emily is compelled to dig deeper. She doesn’t know the details of the event but remembers it as one of the few cases her deceased father never solved.

On her thirtieth birthday, Solange opens a long-forgotten safe-deposit box and is entirely baffled by what she finds. Inside are not only painful reminders of a once-happy youth but almost four million dollars -- enough to pursue and finally solve the mystery of who brutally murdered her family. It’s been over ten years, and Solange has built a new life in Detroit with her husband, Joseph. But there are certain disturbing questions about her past that she is determined to answer. So she reaches out to the only one who might know something about her family’s deaths and their possibly erroneous death certificates -- Dr. Hartford, the daughter of Freeport’s former medical examiner.

Finding it impossible to believe that her scrupulous father made a mistake, Emily joins Solange’s pursuit of the truth, and as subzero temperatures blanket snow-covered Michigan, the two women pursue justice in two very different ways. But lurking nearby in the frigid cold is a crafty, unrepentant killer, determined to finish what he started long ago.


My Thoughts:

Last One Alive by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush has plenty of thrills and clue hunting for the biggest fans of suspense novels. As for the plot, the concept of being the last one alive when your whole family has been killed has been done before. Dornbush does a wonderful job at inviting the readers into Dr. Emily Hartford’s internal dialogue as she struggles with her career choices, relationships, and trying to solve the current mystery. Since this is the third novel with Dr. Hartford, readers will become more familiar with her personality, her work ethic, and her background. As a word of caution, there are a couple of cuss words in the story and Dornbush does have the characters have sex even though they are not married or even in a relationship. It is one sentence, so readers do not have to worry that they will see anything, but some readers might not want to follow a character that does that type of thing. As for the climactic moment, it felt like a little bit of a letdown. I wanted more. I wanted more explanation of some of the clues that were given. Overall, Last One Alive by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush is suspenseful enough to keep the readers trying to figure out who the villain is with a familiar character.

I received a complimentary copy of Last One Alive by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush from Blackstone Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:   4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Last One Alive