Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Angela Bell: A Lady's Guide to Marvels and Misadventures

By Kelly Bridgewater

Miss Clara Marie Stanton's family may be eccentric, but they certainly aren't insane.

London, England, 1860
When Clara's ex-fiancé begins to spread rumors that her family suffers from hereditary insanity, it's all she can do to protect them from his desperate schemes, society's prejudice, and a lifetime in an asylum. Then Clara's Grandfather Drosselmeyer brings on an apprentice with a mechanical leg, and all pretense of normalcy takes wing.

Theodore Kingsley, a shame-chased vagabond haunted by the war, wants a fresh start far from Kingsley Court and the disappointed father who declared him dead. Upon returning to England, Theodore meets clockmaker Drosselmeyer, who hires him as an apprentice, much to Clara's dismay. When Drosselmeyer spontaneously disappears in his secret flying owl machine, he leaves behind a note for Clara, beseeching her to make her dreams of adventure a reality by joining him on a merry scavenger hunt across Europe. Together, Clara and Theodore set off to follow Drosselmeyer's trail of clues, but they will have to stay one step ahead of a villain who wants the flying machine for himself--at any cost.


My Thoughts:

A Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure by Angela Bell is a unique, exploring historical novel. I have read some steampunk novels, but not a lot, but I do not believe I have read a story with this plot before. Yes, there is a search for adventure through clues places in unique places around Europe, but the way the clues are realized is different, yet adorable. While on the surface, the family appears to be eccentric, Bell does a wonderful job at allowing the readers to see that an outsider’s perspective is not always true. This family is close knit and has a heart for others and God’s little creatures. The settings in the story are fascinating, and Bell does a wonderful job at allowing me to dive into the European settings even though I have never been there personally. The settings are a character by themselves. Full of life and adventure. As for the romance, Bell does have a change of heart for the heroine, but personally, I have an issue with characters who actually completing falling in love in a matter of days. Makes me doubt their feelings for each other. More lust than lifelong romance. Overall, A Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure by Angela Bell captured my adventure spirit as the heroine searches for the clues left by her Grand. A special story that will spark interest from the readers.

I received a complimentary copy of A Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure by Angela Bell from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase A Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure 

Monday, January 29, 2024

Lynn Austin: All My Secrets

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Bestselling author Lynn Austin returns with a luminous work of historical fiction set amid the opulence of Gilded Age New York, where three generations of women in one family must reckon with the choices they have made and their hopes for the future.

New York, 1898. The only thing more shocking than Arthur Stanhope III’s unexpected death is the revelation that his will bestows his company—and most of the vast fortune that goes with it—to the nearest male heir, leaving his mother, wife, and daughter nearly impoverished. His widow, Sylvia, quickly realizes she must set aside her grief to ensure their daughter, Adelaide, is launched into society as soon as the appropriate mourning period passes. If Sylvia can find a wealthy husband for Addy before anyone realizes they’re practically destitute, there will be little disruption to the lifestyle they’re accustomed to.

Sylvia’s mother-in-law, Junietta, believes their life could use a little disruption. She has watched Sylvia play her role as a society wife, as Junietta once did, despite what it cost them both. Junietta vows to give her granddaughter the power to choose a path beyond what society expects.

But for Addy to have that chance, both mother and grandmother must first confront painful truths about their own choices. Only in bringing their secrets to light can they hope to reshape their family inheritance into a legacy more fulfilling than they ever dared dream.


My Thoughts:

All My Secrets by Lynn Austin is a reminder of the bad results of holding grudges and allowing God’s forgiveness to come into a family and change each individual lives. Three different women joined together by blood, but three different life’s paths make them realize how close and important they are actually to one another. The plot was organized into three different perspectives from each individual woman. Current time of 1898 and back to the past to hear the older women’s stories. A little bit of romance. A little bit of learning about the harsh realities of life outside their cushy wealthy lives. The heroines were defined, unique, yet Austin did a wonderful job at allowing them to change from the characters at the beginning of the book to the end except for the matriarch of the family. She already had the transformation, but she wanted to share it with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter. The story was written well, and the plot captured my attention, and I couldn’t wait to see how the story ended. Overall, All My Secrets by Lynn Austin is a   story that will capture the reader’s attention and make them question any slight grudges they may be holding in their lives. I will own a copy of this novel to put in my library.

I received a complimentary copy of All My Secrets by Lynn Austin from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase All My Secrets

Friday, January 26, 2024

Verse for 2024 Explanation

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

For 2024, I think two verses will help me. If you will read the last post or even the prayer for 2024. I need some personal help.

I need to be a better Child of God.

I need to be a better wife.

I need to be a writer.

All of these goals have been seriously lacking, and I need to work on making them better.

Of course, they will all start with having a better relationship with God.

We’ll see.

Hopefully in a year or two, I will update this blog with some book answers and suggestions. Maybe I’ll even have a contract to be published. I need to stop reading other author’s stories and just moving through the day without any type of joy.

What about you? Need anything to help motivate you to become a better person.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Nancy Mehl: Cold Threat

By Kelly Bridgewater

Twenty years ago, several people were murdered in Des Moines, and the only evidence left behind was a snowman ornament hanging on a tree on their front lawns. With a suspect behind bars, the killings have come to an end--or so everyone thought. But now crimes with a similar MO are happening in a small Iowa town, and a local detective believes the killer is back and ready to strike again.

With little time on the clock before they have another murder on their hands, private investigators River Ryland and Tony St. Clair must work alongside Tony's father to find evidence that will uncover an evil that has survived for far too long.As the danger mounts and the suspect closes in, it will take all they have to catch a killer--before he catches one of them.

USA Today bestselling author Nancy Mehl continues her explosive new FBI profiler series with an intense story of revenge and redemption.


My Thoughts:

Cold Threat by Nancy Mehl has a spine-chilling synopsis that I could not wait to dive into. Yes, there are moments of high tension and full of suspense. But as the story progresses, River and Tony spend a lot of time at Tony’s parents’ house trying to help Tony’s father with a Cold Case that has bothered him for years. Of course, the clock is ticking until the next climactic moment. But the characters spend so much time trying to come to terms with what happened in the past and River wants to know Tony’s parents better, to me, the suspense element at times was shoved to the back of the stove. One thing I really did enjoy about Mehl’s story is that she starts to show feelings between Tony and River, but she is writing a three-book series, so they don’t jump into an engagement or marriage by the end of the first novel. Readers are actually seeing their romance blossom across the pages of the series. Plus, being the same hero and heroine in all three books make developing the characters a little more realistic. The first time, anyone meets somebody they don’t know everything about them right away. It takes some time. I like this idea. As for the setting, I do love that it is set around the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not actual Christmas novel, but in the cold part of the year. Overall, Cold Threat by Nancy Mehl does have a wonderful suspenseful storyline, but at times, the suspense element did not seem that important. I do love the development of the characters and the romance across the three-book series.

I received a complimentary copy of Cold Threat by Nancy Mehl from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Cold Threat

Friday, January 19, 2024

Word for 2024 Explanation

 By Kelly Bridgewater


Such a simple tiny word.

But what a punch.

I need to seek.




I have not been the same person since my Daddy passed away eight years ago.

I need to seek answers to why not?

Why do I have no joy in reading the Bible? Why do I not spend more time in prayer, except to whine about how unfair my life has been?

Why can’t I write?

Why am I always wanting to be at home?

Why do I not have any friends that want to hang out or pray with me?

Why am I invisible?

This year, starting in July, I will not being doing this blog anymore. Reviewing books for others have taken up so much of my time for the past 10 years. I NEED TO WRITE.

I need to write all these stories that I have ideas for. I’ll never be published or become a better fiction writer, if I do not spend time writing.

I need to visit a therapist who will help me move past the block to write better and become a better wife.


Help me to seek you for 2024.

I want to spend more time with you.

I need to understand that I need some help, and I need to seek out that help that I need. Bring the right people into my life who will help guide me back to a better person and hopefully, a better writer.


Monday, January 15, 2024

Lynette Eason: Double Take

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Detective James Cross has been honorably discharged from the Army Criminal Investigation Division due to wounds sustained when an IED blew up near him. Now with the Lake City Police Department, he's rooming with this good buddy and partner, Cole, while he figures out his family dynamics.

Physician Assistant Lainie Jackson is eighteen months out from an attempted murder perpetrated by her ex, which ended when she managed to grab the weapon and shoot him. When he appears to have survived and is back to finish the job he started, Lainie insists it's not possible. But someone keeps trying to kill her, and she keeps seeing his face.

Together, Lainie and James must work together to find out who, exactly, is after her and why he wants her dead. And failure is not an option.

USA Today bestselling author Lynette Eason will leave you breathless with this fast-paced first book in a brand-new series.


My Thoughts:

Double Take by Lynette Eason is an appropriate title for this story. Readers will understand why as they dive into the plot. The plot has many different woven parts that confuse Lainie and Adam’s family. Luckily, filled with determination and grit, Laine and James, the hero, worked really hard together to try to uncover the different threads and come up with a conclusion to solve the case. Eason does a wonderful job of keeping the readers guessing until the climactic moment at the end. As for the romance, Lainie and James grew up together, but Lainie was the sister’s best friend, so the sparks may have been one-sided at one time, but now, they might blossom into something else. Definitely something I hope will continue in the future stories in this series. Eason also includes the importance of family in the plot. Eason does a wonderful job at crafting memorable characters that readers will want to stick with and root for as the horrible occurrences rain down all around them. Overall, Double Take by Lynette Eason is a wonderful thrill ride with deep characters and a twist enough to the plot to make readers question the villain’s identity.

I received a complimentary copy of Double Take by Lynette Eason from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Double Take

Friday, January 12, 2024

Word and Verse for 2024


By Kelly Bridgewater



Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Colleen Coble: Fragile Designs

By Kelly Bridgewater

There’s only one thing more dangerous than family secrets.

Since her police-officer husband Eric’s mysterious murder, Carly Harris has been struggling to support herself and their infant son. Her career as an antique dealer isn’t sustainable, nor is her dream of becoming a novelist. So when her grandmother proposes she and her two sisters restore the family’s large Beaufort home and turn it into a bed-and-breakfast, she immediately gets to work clearing out the house. In the process, she uncovers a family secret that Eric kept hidden. And an heirloom that the wrong person wouldn’t hesitate to kill for.

Homicide detective Lucas Bennet isn’t his neighbor’s biggest fan, not since she broke his brother’s heart years ago. But when Carly turns to Lucas for help, believing she’s found a lost Fabergé egg that would be worth millions and that could put her family’s lives in danger, he can’t help but get involved. Soon, they’re entangled in a mystery with threads that lead all the way to the Russian mafia. Lucas has gotten in deep, and while he trusts his ability to keep Carly and her family safe, he begins to realize he’s vulnerable to an unexpected kind of danger. And he’s helpless to stop the freefall. As they continue working closely together, Carly and Lucas realize they may have found something more precious than gold. Yet it’s only a matter of time before Carly—or, worse, someone she loves—gets hurt.



My Thoughts:

Fragile Designs by Colleen Coble had in-depth characters with enough of a twist that kept me flipping through the pages. I love the backstory and how Coble tied all the ends together at the end of the novel. The plot was a treasure hunt to find her grandmother’s real family and if the egg was actually a Faberge egg. Plenty of action to keep readers flipping through the story. The romance between Carly and Lucas blooms through the novel, making readers want to know if they will have their happily-ever-after. As the story progresses, reality and hidden truths come to light to either bring life to a dying element or hurt to others. I love the idea of Faberge Eggs. If readers enjoy this concept, Kelli Stuart, has written a novel called The Master Craftsman that is a historical novel that deals with this concept. Overall, Fragile Designs by Collen Coble incorporated history into a modern mystery, which I really liked. If fans are ready for a treasure hunt, then this would be a wonderful book to pick up and spend a day with.

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

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Fragile Designs

Friday, January 5, 2024

Prayer for 2024

By Kelly Bridgewater


2024 will bring some big changes for me.

I want to spend more time actually reading my Bible and enjoy the time I spend with the Lord. I maybe read it about two times a week. Not steady at all! I want to dive deep into a relationship with you, but when I pray, I feel like I spend more time complaining about my life that I am not happy with, then actually looking for the good in my life. A totally pessimistic personality. I want church friends who will actually grow and pray with me. I do NOT have any of that. I want a Godly friend who will come alongside me, pray with me, and be there for. Someone who will listen when I gripe, and then pray with me as we present my issues to you.

I plan to spend less time reading and reviewing books (More about this later!) but more time on actually researching and writing my novels.

I have had the desire to be a published author since I was ten years old. I have many story ideas floating around in my head. I have even written three complete novels that were not written well. Still struggling with finding the confidence to write after the passing of my Daddy over eight years ago. If viewers have followed this blog or browse through my past posts, they will see the trail of unwritten words but the desire to write. Being depressed has not helped me to write either. I know I have issues that need dealt with, but I don’t know how to deal with them.

I need an accountability partner who is willing to meet with me and FORCE me to write. I need a person who understands the ins and outs of writing a novel. Maybe even someone who has been published and is willing to take some time to make me a better and more confident writer. Someone who is willing to meet at least once a month and is willing to be harsh with my writing. But someone who will pray with me and encourage me too. I know some writing friends who would fit the bill, but I am afraid to ask them to come alongside me and do this. Lord, I need the encouragement to ask them.

As for my family, we are maneuvering through the life of a college senior and an adult male who works full-time and a high school freshman / sophomore. He wants his brothers to move out since he has always shared a room with his older brother, who now works full-time. He wants his own privacy and space. Don’t blame him. I did not have my own room until my junior year in high school, then married two years later. Did not last long.

While we are working at paying off our house, twenty years early, we are debating if we should even stay in Indiana. We don’t belong in Indiana. We both want better for our lives and our futures. This will not happen in Indiana. If we should leave, which I am praying that will happen ALL THE TIME, where should we go and when. I want to move north where there is the possibility of snow and more outdoor activities to do. But the truth of the matter is, can we afford to move elsewhere? Where would we work?

I want to grow our marriage. Something is missing. Is it me? How do I become a better wife? How to I find that spark that used to be in our marriage. I feel like my husband’s mother, who is reminding him to clean up after himself all the time. Reminding him of chores that need to be done around the house and our property. Reminding him of “projects” that he wants to do, but he starts them and does not work on them at all. I feel like we are just roommates who sleep in the same bed when I can tolerate his snoring. Most nights I sleep on the couch because his snoring is SO LOUD. I don’t feel like I am in a marriage; I just have four grown boys to deal with. A single mother. Plus, I know that I, personal, have checked out a long time ago too. How do I better myself in my marriage? Can’t force all the blame on him. I know I am a horrible wife. No affection from me. All we do together is shop and eat out at Texas Roadhouse. Help!

Long prayer, but Lord, I need help with all of the items.


Monday, January 1, 2024

Pepper Basham: The Juliet Code

By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: The Juliet Code

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction

Release Date: December, 2023

Newlyweds Lord and Lady Astley Finally Reach Their Honeymoon Destination Only to Encounter a New Mystery in Need of Solving
Frederick and Grace Percy finally make it to Italy to enjoy a delayed honeymoon and explore the beauties of the historic city of Venice. To their surprise, their friend, Detective Jack Miracle, is also in the city, investigating a series of art heists starting at the house of eccentric millionaire, Laraby Covington. Drawn into a world of boat races, mysterious houses, and parties of the rich and unusual in Venice, Frederick and Grace learn of the existence of the Juliet paintings, (Renaissance paintings feature Shakespeare’s tragic heroine) rumored to hold a secret code to an underground vault of similarly treasured artwork assumed lost over the centuries. As Freddie and Grace are pulled deeper into the mystery and their beloved Detective Jack disappears, can they use their wits and work as a team to find the thieves and Jack before it’s too late. 
The Juliet Code
 is a Freddie and Grace Mystery, sequel to The Mistletoe Countess and The Cairo Curse.


My Thoughts:

The Juliet Code by Pepper Basham continues Freddie and Grace, a newlywed couple, on their hunt to solve a mystery. One of the favorite aspects of the series is the mention of previously published mystery novels that Grace keeps referencing to. Shows that she really likes the mystery elements and wonders what would this person do in this situation. The mysteries are cozy mysteries style mysteries, which are fine. I adore any type of mystery that keeps me guessing. Since they are a newlywed couple, Basham does show the sparks of a new couple that are learning to explore the deeper relationships of a married couple. With this mystery, there are clues in the Juliets' paintings, which make it more interesting as the people come across the paintings. Basham does a wonderful job at bringing the setting to life too. She describes what is needed when needed and not too much. Just enough to play with the readers imagination. Overall, The Juliet Code by Pepper Basham is a delightful mystery, but I wish it was not the end. I would love to see more of this type of story from her.

I received a complimentary copy of The Juliet Code by Pepper Basham by Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Juliet Code 

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.


More from Pepper

The Ever After

I’ve always loved fairytales.

Especially the romanticized version (#romancewriter).

The wonderful sense of a two people meeting, overcoming obstacles to be together, and then the happily-ever-after?

Well, those are some of my favorite reasons to read and write fiction. However, I didn’t realize the challenge I took on when I agreed to write a second and third book with the main characters staying the same!

You know what I mean?

In most series, the main characters from book one become secondary characters in the consecutive books so that the secondary characters in book one can become the main characters in book 2 (everybody still following along? 🙂)

One of my favorite book series that do this so well is the Amelia Peabody series. I fell in LOVE with Amelia and Emerson in book one, but just loved watching their continued dynamic as a couple grow with each new book. I felt as if I got to know them so much better in their “ever after” while they engaged in all sorts of adventures together.

So…that’s what I hoped to accomplish with Freddie and Grace.

Where The Mistletoe Countess ends with a happily-ever-after, The Cairo Curse and The Juliet Code take over to show us more of the…ever after – my attempt at showing how two main characters continue to grow beyond the end of book one.

I didn’t realize what a daunting feat it would be. Watching two characters meet, fall in love, and show some growth in book 1 was what I was used to doing. But how was I supposed to continue that character growth in consecutive books?

Well, I had to grow myself as a writer to understand how small changes can make lasting differences especially when writing about a beloved couple.

I think The Juliet Code shows a little of that growth – of our Freddie and Grace have not only matured spiritually and, in Grace’s case, experientially, but also as a couple.

Do you have a series that you love where the main characters stay the same?

Blog Stops

The Sacred Line, December 28

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 28

Bigreadersite, December 28

Texas Book-aholic, December 29

Devoted To Hope, December 29

Mary Hake, December 29

She Lives To Read, December 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 30

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, December 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 31

Blogging with Carol, December 31

For Him and My Family, December 31

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 1

Back Porch Reads, January 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 2

Life on Chickadee Lane, January 2

Connie’s History Classroom, January 2

Book Looks by Lisa, January 3

Aryn the Libraryan, January 3

Girls in White Dresses, January 3

Daysong Reflections, January 4

Holly’s Book Corner, January 4

Splashes of Joy, January 4

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

Wishful Endings, January 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 5

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, January 6

Blossoms and Blessings, January 6

Pause for Tales, January 6

Tell Tale Book reviews, January 7

Cover Lover Book Review, January 7

Live. Love. Read., January 7

Labor Not in Vain, January 8

Mornings at Character Cafe, January 8

Worthy2Read, January 8

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 9

The Lit Lady, January 9

Lily’s Corner, January 10

By The Book, January 10

To Everything There Is A Season, January 10


To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon eGift 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.