Sunday, June 30, 2024

Tricia and Nathan Goyer: Breath of Bones

By Kelly Bridgewater

About the Book

Book: Breath of Bones

Authors: Tricia Goyer & Nathan Goyer

Genre: Adult Historical Fantasy

Release date: June 18, 2024

When darkness falls, a new guardian emerges.

řina Dubová has always aspired to walk in her father's footsteps as a respected journalist, and the Second World War presents a unique opportunity for her to prove her worth to the world. A tip about an assassination attempt on a high-ranking Nazi official, Reinhard Heydrich, the "Butcher of Prague" leads Kateřina into the shadows of the Nazi occupation. Soon she discovers things are not as they seem.

As intrigue unfurls, Kate
řina joins forces with Josef Loew, a descendant of the famous Rabbi Loew, renowned for creating a mystical guardian in the form of a golem to protect the souls of 16th-century Jews in Prague. In the chaos of war, some believe a new golem can once again bring help to those in need.

Like flickering candles in the abyss, Kate
řina and Josef work to protect the innocent and end the evil that plagues their world. Yet, in their quest to save the Jewish people, have they inadvertently created a new danger? Could the very entity they had forged to protect become their greatest enemy?


My Thoughts:

Breath of Bones by Tricia and Nathan Goyer is a World War II novel. Is it any different than other published World War II novels? Not really. There is a robot called a Golem, which I kept seeing Lord of the Rings every time I read the word. As I was reading the book, I kept wondering why the story was published under Enclave Publishing, which does highly fantasy novels. This novel was not at all. It could have been published by Bethany House and marketed as a Historical story. I really wanted a little more on the fantasy side during World War II, but I believe it fell short. If readers are coming to expect that, like me, they may be disappointed. If readers want to read it as a historical fiction story that takes place during World War II, then it was fine. Plot idea was done before. Characters were a little flat. They really didn’t stand out to me. Little people walk across the pages, but nothing special about them. A little hurt from the past, but nothing that stopped them from doing what they needed to accomplish. Brave. Yes. Some spiritually in the characters. Overall, Breath of Bones by Tricia and Nathan Goyer led me to believe that there would be a fantasy element tied to the plot, but it read just like a normal World War II historical novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Breath of Bones by Tricia and Nathan Goyer from Enclave Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Purchase Breath of Bones

About the Authors

Tricia Goyer is a celebrated writer, speaker, and co-host of the Daily Bible Podcast. Author of 80 books, Tricia has won four Golden Scrolls, two Carols, and a Christian Book Award. In addition to Christy and Gold Medallion nominations, her book sales exceed 4 million copies. Tricia is a highly sought-after conference speaker, sharing on writing, parenting, and purposeful living. Tricia’s most recent work, Breath of Bones, is a historical steampunk fantasy co-authored with her son Nathan Goyer.
Nathan Goyer is an upstart designer and science fiction author, who has been writing since he was young. He has written the novel Bask: City of Shadows and solo-developed the mobile RPG game Heedless, which has surpassed 30,000 downloads. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Arkansas Little Rock, he is now pushing forward with new endeavors, starting with his newest novel, Breath of Bones, which he wrote alongside his fellow author and mother, Tricia Goyer.

More from Tricia and Nathan

He Said/She Said: Behind the Scenes with Breath of Bones

By Tricia and Nathan Goyer

Writing Breath of Bones turned out to be one of the most surprising and rewarding adventures I’ve ever embarked on. Let me take you behind the scenes of how this all came to be.

It all started when I decided to treat myself to something special for my 50th birthday: attending the Realm Maker’s Conference with my son Nathan. I’ve been writing books for years, over 90 of them actually, but I’ve always stuck to what I knew best. Speculative fiction? That was Nathan’s thing, not mine. But, there we were, surrounded by an incredible community of sci-fi and fantasy writers and fans. It was inspiring..

Reconnecting with my old buddy Steve Laube at the conference was a highlight. “Come to the dark side,” he joked when I marveled at how amazing everyone was. I laughed it off, but little did I know how prophetic his words would be.

After that second conference, something strange started happening. Ideas began bubbling up in my mind, and they were far out of my usual writing lane. The trigger? Believe it or not, I was doing something as mundane as sweeping near my bookshelf, filled with my favorite books about Prague, when I got an idea. That’s when it hit me—blending the Jewish legend of the Golem with my love for WWII stories. When I shared the idea with Nathan, his eyes lit up. “I love it,” he said, and that was all the encouragement I needed.

The idea really took shape when I ran into Steve Laube again at another conference. I pitched it to him during my keynote, and his enthusiasm confirmed my need.

The most surreal part of this whole journey? I first met Steve when I was pregnant with Nathan. When Nathan and Steve were introduced, Nathan joked, “No wonder your voice sounds familiar.” I thought that was perfect!

It felt like things were coming full circle. I was writing a book in a genre I never thought I’d explore for an editor I’ve admired for decades, alongside my son, who, in a way, met Steve alongside me all those years ago.

Breath of Bones is more than just a book to me. It represents stepping out of my comfort zone, embracing a new genre with the help of an incredible community, and the unique joy of collaborating with my son. It’s a reminder that it’s never too late to try something new. Also, the support of friends and loved ones can turn even the most daunting challenges into rewarding journeys. I hope this story inspires others as much as it inspired me during its creation.

He Said:

Writing Breath of Bones was certainly something I never expected to do. I had been trying to get my mother Tricia to write speculative fiction for a while, but I never thought she’d do it! It’s been very interesting to see her come to embrace the more fantastical side of writing.

When she asked me to write the novel with her, I was excited to do so. Writing something like this was right up my alley, of course, but co-authoring was a brand new experience that comes with its challenges and plenty of rewards. I really think it pulled out the best of both of us. What emerged is a story neither of us would have ever written on our own.

I may be revealing some of our secrets here, but when we first started writing, the only fantastical element in the whole book was going to be the Golem itself! I was proud of Tricia when partway through writing, she said, “This feels like another historical fiction book, we need to do more.” From then on, we dug in and got creative. There is so much to discover, and I can confidently tell you there is plenty more excitement to come as the Clockwork Chronicles continues.

I will also say Tricia isn’t the only one stepping out of their comfort zone. It’s been a learning experience for me to write within the bounds of actual history! Sure, there are spider tanks and giant machinations, but much of the story comes from people’s real experiences at that time and our carefully crafted characters who needed to take on these challenges. I loved both learning and writing about the true history. In fact, my favorite scene I wrote had no Steampunk at all. (But I’ll keep which scene a secret. No spoilers here!)

Writing Breath of Bones has been a fantastic learning experience for me. I’ve absorbed a lot of information writing alongside such an experienced author and have loved seeing the characters and storylines I created come to life in such interesting ways. Above all else, I hope all our readers can get lost in the world of Breath of Bones and go on an adventure they won’t forget anytime soon.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 29

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 30

Through the Fire Blogs, July 1 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, July 1

Life on Chickadee Lane, July 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 4

Lily’s Corner, July 5

Inklings and Notions, July 6

Blogging With Carol, July 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 8

Exploring The Written Word, July 9

Blossoms and Blessings, July 10 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, July 10

Simple Harvest Reads, July 11 (Guest Review from Mindy)

The Lofty Pages, July 12


To celebrate their tour, Tricia nd Nathan are giving away the grand prize package of a $50 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.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

TBR Pile

By Kelly Bridgewater

At the beginning of 2024, I decided to read a book for review, then read a book on my To-Be- Read Pile. I had 50 of them on Goodreads that were published a while ago. I deleted some that I did not have in paperback or on my Kindle. Someday, when I purchase those, then I’ll read them.

I noticed as I read them, it was nice to see my “Want to Read” books in my Goodreads account actually go down. Many of them I had as physical books on my bookshelf, and some were on my Kindle.

I worked through the ones on my Kindle first since I carry that everywhere with me.

Then I worked through the paperback copies, but those were in the evening since it is harder to carry those books to work to read during my lunch time.

Some of the books were on the list since 2015 when I started on Goodreads. It was nice to read them and actually not to have write a review for them.

I enjoy reading and reviewing books, but it was nice to read them and then move to the next one without sharing my thoughts on the book.

Next I plan to read the physical books that I own that I have not read yet. I think I have about 50 books there too that have not been read yet.

Plus, this will be a good way to decide once I am finished reading them, if this is something that I will keep or donate to our church library.

Selfishly, this way I can make more room for additional books.

What about you? As a book dragon, I am sure it is easy to purchase books, but then forget to read them. Ever tried something where you prioritize reading those books that were lonely sat on the shelf and forgotten because you were going to get to them some day. 

Monday, June 24, 2024

Connie Mann: The Crown Conspiracy

By Kelly Bridgewater

She’s a master at spotting a forgery . . . and knowing how to create one. But can she solve a decades-old mystery?

The media spotlight is the last thing art thief and forger Sophie Williams needs. But when one of three long-missing royal portraits turns up in Germany at her best friend’s art gallery, the spotlight is exactly what she gets. Since the tragic deaths of Princess Johanna of Neuhansberg and her two children forty years ago, the whereabouts of these portraits have been unknown . . . and the timing of their reappearance—just days before a new prince’s coronation—reignites questions surrounding the infamous accident.

Then Sophie’s best friend vanishes, and a rumor about hidden treasure connected to the paintings’ surfaces, seemingly confirmed by a cryptic message on the back of the first canvas. Convinced that finding the other two portraits will lead to her friend, Sophie begins a twisty investigation that pits her against other ruthless treasure hunters, a handsome who seems to dog her trail at every turn, and a mysterious group that offers help, wearing an emblem identical to one on the painting.

From Germany’s grand castles and soaring cathedrals through the Alps to the canals of Venice, Sophie must choose her allies carefully if she hopes to find the portraits, rescue her best friend—and perhaps save a throne—before time runs out.


My Thoughts:

The Crown Conspiracy by Connie Mann thrills a non-stop chase with a number of paintings through Europe. This is the first book by Mann that I have ever read, and I was delighted to read all the non-stop action without any romance. I enjoyed how the story kept having the characters run from one place to another. I do enjoy the mystery clues written on the back of the pictures. Suspenseful novels are a great way to pass time as readers flip through the pages. Mann does a wonderful job at having a handful of villains chasing the women who are the heroes of the novels. I enjoy how Mann takes a group of women, some who are nuns, and have them helping chasing and fighting the bad guys. I love the scenery of being in Europe. Since I have never been, it was nice to have the characters running through churches and canals in Venice as they run for their lives. If readers love stories that feature characters that will return in upcoming novels and love plenty of non-stop action, then this is a good book to enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy of The Crown Conspiracy by Connie Mann from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Crown Conspiracy

Friday, June 21, 2024

Welcome Summer

 By Kelly Bridgewater

Welcome Summer!

I know some people thrive on the heat, humidity, bugs, flowers, and weeds. 

I enjoy planting flowers, but they are pretty for about a week, then the weeds overtake them and about every three weeks, you need to reserve a weekend to getting your garden back under control because of all the weeds. 

I spend more time during the summer pulling weeds and mowing my big yard instead of actually enjoying the flowers that come from them. 

It is easier to plant a flower garden than it is to take care of it. 

How about you? What season do you drown in? What season do you thrive in?

Monday, June 17, 2024

Patricia Raybon: Truth Be Told

By Kelly Bridgewater

Denver's newest detective. A garden's deadly secrets.

On a lovely June night in 1924, amateur detective Annalee Spain is mingling bravely at a high-class political fundraiser in the lush backyard garden of famed political fixer Cooper Coates, one of the wealthiest men in Denver's Black neighborhood of Five Points. When Coates’s young daughter discovers a pretty stranger dead in her father’s garden shed, Annalee is thrust onto the baffling new case just as she’s reeling from another recent discovery
a handwritten letter, found buried in her own garden, that reveals the identity of her mother.

Not ready to face the truth about her hidden past, Annalee throws herself into solving the mystery of the young woman’s demise. With the help of her pastor boyfriend Jack Blake, her orphaned buddy Eddie, and her trustworthy church friends, Annalee follows the clues to three seemingly disconnected settings
a traveling carnival set up downtown, a Black civic club, and a prestigious white seminary on the outskirts of Denver. Intriguing advice also comes from a famous, real-life Denver visitor. But is Annalee on the right track or just running in circles, fleeing from conflicts racing in her heart?

In a taut, heart-gripping narrative driven by secrets, romance, and lies, Annalee must unravel a case with higher stakes than she imagined
one where answers about a lovely woman's death point to truths and tensions still throbbing today.


My Thoughts:

Truth Be Told by Patricia Raybon may take place in Denver, Colorado in 1924, but I believe the story could be ripped from the headlines today. I loved how she does take a murder mystery, which is one of my favorite genres, and wraps it in a timely historical element. I love the chapter openings with Sherlock Holmes’ quotes. Conan Doyle’s character is one of my favorite literary characters. I love the character of Annalee Spain. She is proud, determined, and does not let little things get her down. Especially in this book, Raybon has put her to the test a number of times, and Annalee keeps on trudging toward justice for the dead young black woman. I love how kind she is to everyone no matter their skin color or race. The plot is nicely handled with plenty of moments of watching Annalee as she tries to question others and solve the case. One of my favorite aspects is the budding romance between Annalee and Jake Drake. It has developed nicely over the three books. Overall, Truth Be Told by Patricia Raybon is a delightful mystery that I will own on my bookshelf.

I received a complimentary copy of Truth Be Told by Patricia Raybon from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:   4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Truth Be Told 

Friday, June 14, 2024

Psalm 39


For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.


I said, “I will watch my ways
    and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
    while in the presence of the wicked.”
So I remained utterly silent,
    not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
    my heart grew hot within me.
While I meditated, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.[b]

“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
    in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you.
Save me from all my transgressions;
    do not make me the scorn of fools.
I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
    for you are the one who has done this.
10 Remove your scourge from me;
    I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
11 When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
    you consume their wealth like a moth—
    surely everyone is but a breath.

12 “Hear my prayer, Lord,
    listen to my cry for help;
    do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
    a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
    before I depart and am no more.”

Monday, June 10, 2024

Jocelyn Green: The Hudson Collection

By Kelly Bridgewater

Step into the beguiling world of 1926 New York and discover the power of resilience, friendship, and love from award-winning author Jocelyn Green.

Elsa Reisner's lifelong dream of working as an ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History is fading as the job begins to drain her passion. But fate takes an unexpected turn when she is assigned to catalog the bequest of a recently deceased patron whose Gothic country mansion holds secrets and treasures waiting to be discovered.

As Elsa delves into her task, she forms an unlikely bond with the estate's delightful gardener and her daughter, as well as an architectural salvage dealer who still bears scars from the Great War. Together, they embark on a thrilling treasure hunt for a missing relic intended to safeguard the servants' futures before the estate is sold. At the same time, Elsa's body seems to betray her with new symptoms from a childhood disease that isn't through with her yet.

With the brooding veteran and her handsome colleague joining the search, Elsa must navigate the tangled web of secrets and hidden motives along with the changing state of her health. As her deadline looms ever closer, will she be able to secure a new life for her friends before the estate slips from their grasp?


My Thoughts:

The Hudson Collection by Jocelyn Green features a bird-watcher or an ornithologist for the American Museum of Natural History. I can’t imagine all the research that Green had to go through to have the names and the sounds of the correct birds to ring true in her novel. But then again, if they are wrong, is not like I would know the difference. I know nothing about birds except they fly, look different, and sing songs. The plot has a mystery element to it as the heroine Elsa tries to catalog all the birds in the mansion that she was assigned to bring back to the museum. Green crafted a character that had a flaw that she acquired when she had polio as a child that affected her today. But she is a strong character who knows her limitations, but there are moments when it does rear its ugly head, but she keeps moving. Similarly, there is a romance aspect between Elsa and a male character that has some surprising twist to it, but Green does a wonderful job at showing a relationship that can see past faults and learn to trust in God and grow together. Overall, The Hudson Collection by Jocelyn Green brought some lights to the world of birds and the work of the American Museum of Natural History, so fans of historical fiction with a hint of romance and mystery might love this book.

I received a complimentary copy of The Hudson Collection by Jocelyn Green from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating:   out of 5 stars

Purchase The Hudson Collection

Friday, June 7, 2024

Reasons for My Blog

By Kelly Bridgewater

In September 2013, I attended my first ACFW Conference in Indianapolis, IN with Robin Jones Gunn as the Keynote speaker. Gunn was my introduction to the world of Christian fiction writing with the Christy Miller series.

A piece of advice I received at this writing conference was to make an active blog.

Review books.

Write blog posts.

Follow editors and publishing companies on Facebook and their blogs.

Comment on their posts.

Tag them in posts.

Become known to the writers, so they can have you read and review their books.

Join street teams.

The main point was to get my name out there.

People need to see that I can meet a deadline, and I know the aspects of a good book.

My Masters in Writing helps that knowledge too.

So as someone who wants to have her writing published, in June 2014, I started my personal blog. I have done a number of reviews one or more a week, depending on the week.

I enjoy spreading the word about authors I have met and formed an alliance with.

I loved talking about books that have captured my attention.

I loved sharing about verses in Scripture that have spoken to me.

I loved sharing about writing or life choices that have affected me in the past year.

However, where do I go from here?

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Amanda Dykes: Born of Gilded Mountains

By Kelly Bridgewater

When newcomer Mercy Windsor arrives in Mercy Peak in 1948 after a scandal shatters her gilded world as Hollywood's beloved leading lady, she is determined to forge a new life in obscurity in this time-forgotten Colorado haven. She purchases Wildwood--an abandoned estate with a haunting history--and begins to restore it to its former glory.

But as she does, her every move tugs at the threads of that mountain's lore, unearthing what became of her long-lost pen pal, Rusty Bright, and the whereabouts of the infamous Galloping Goose Engine No. 8, which vanished years ago, along with the mailbag it carried, whose contents could change the course of countless lives. Not to mention another fabled treasure that--if found--could right so many wrongs.

Among the towering mountains that stand as silent witnesses, the ghosts of the past entangle with the courage of the present to find a place where healing, friendship, and hope can abide amid a world forever changed.


My Thoughts:

Born of Gilded Mountains by Amanda Dykes is a lyrical story of best friends, a missing train, and opening your heart. As I read this tale, I was captivated by Dykes descriptions of the Gilman mansion and the small town of Mercy Park. I felt like I was transported to this small mountain town, and I honestly, did not want to leave. The characters were a delightful bunch of actors that I have ever read. They hurt and loved together. The story held hidden clues which brought healing to this small town. I loved it. I did not see that aspect of the plot coming. It takes a lot for a story not to have plenty of suspense and action that will capture my attention, but Dykes has done it again. I loved this story. Plus, the cover is fabulous. I really can't wait to own the physical copy of this book. If readers have not read Dykes stories, this is a good one to start with, then I would recommend all of her other stories too.

I received a complimentary copy of Born of Gilded Mountains by Amanda Dykes from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Born of Gilded Mountains

Monday, June 3, 2024

Mario Escobar: The Forgotten Names

By Kelly Bridgewater

In August 1942, French parents were faced with a horrible choice: watch their children die, or abandon them forever. Fifty years later, it becomes one woman’s mission to match the abandoned names with the people they belong to.

Five years after the highly publicized trial of Klaus Barbie, the “Butcher of Lyon,” law student Valérie Portheret began her doctoral research into the 108 children who disappeared from Vénissieux fifty years earlier, children who somehow managed to escape deportation and certain death in the German concentration camps. She soon discovers that their rescue was no unexplainable miracle. It was the result of a coordinated effort by clergy, civilians, the French Resistance, and members of other humanitarian organizations who risked their lives as part of a committee dedicated to saving those most vulnerable innocents.

Theirs was a heroic act without precedent in Nazi-occupied Europe, made possible due to a loophole in the Nazi agenda to deport all Jewish immigrants from the country: a legally recognized exemption for unaccompanied minors. Therefore, to save their children, the Jewish mothers of Vénissieux were asked to make the ultimate sacrifice of abandoning them forever.

Told in dual timelines, The Forgotten Names is a reimagined account of the true stories of the French men and women who have since been named Righteous Among the Nations, the children they rescued, the stifled cries of shattered mothers, and a law student, whose twenty-five-year journey allowed those children to reclaim their heritage and remember their forgotten names.


My Thoughts:

The Forgotten Names by Mario Escobar is an appalling, yet redemptive story about children during World War II. I have read tons of books on World War II, and every story appears to be a little different. Showing the good and horrors of humanity. As the story is written, there are a number of viewpoints from a good chunk of the rescuers to the children to a priest to a Nazi solder. For a while, it was hard to follow the story. But then I didn’t worry about whose point of view the section was in, I just focused on the time period. Made it so much easier to follow the plot. Again, as someone who reads about these dreadful events, I would hope that if I was put in the same situation that I would stand up for the Jewish people no matter the cost. Escobar does a wonderful job at creating empathy for the characters as he shares their plight with the Nazi’s. Even though the creation of the characters are not really that three-dimensional by learning their backgrounds or what makes them tick, readers can still feel horrified with the terrors that does occur to another human by the hand of another who believes he is superior. There are a number of cuss words. A couple of scenes that allude to horrible situations, so be careful when allowing less mature younger children to read this novel. Overall, The Forgotten Names by Mario Escobar brings to light the saving grace of 108 children who were saved from having to go to the concentration camps even though they had to take on new identities. A wonderful story to read.

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

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Purchase The Forgotten Names