Sunday, December 6, 2015

Rachel McCalla: Twin Threat Christmas

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

Separated twin sisters are reunited at Christmas in these two connected novellas  

One Silent Night 

Framed for murder and on the run from her kidnappers, Vanessa Jackson secretly hides her infant son in a safe place and flees for a wooded cabin. There she finds her childhood friend Eric Tomlin—a man she must trust with her life…and her family's future. 

The Danger in the Manger 

Alyssa Jackson is shocked to find a baby in her Christmas manger. But the message on the infant's T-shirt tells Alyssa the child must be her nephew. Alyssa believes her twin sister, presumed dead for years, is still alive. With the help of handsome police officer Chris Jensen, Alyssa goes on a dangerous search for the truth to reunite her family for Christmas.

My Review:

I really enjoyed how Rachel McCalla framed this book. It was different than most books. She wrote the two short stories to go hand in hand. To begin, I followed the story of Vanessa where they captured the villain. Then we are transported a little bit back in time to start Alyssa’s story. Both of the stories were handled well and the transition was smooth. I hope Rachel McCalla writes more stories like this.

As for the heroines of Vanessa and Alyssa, I liked both of them. I’m really glad they finally got their happy endings with Eric and Chris (Not get mad. It is a Love Inspired Suspense book, and the writers are required to have a happy ending, so there!) The strength in the twins is evident in every decision they make. The heroes allow the women to reach for the stars and help them along the way. Just the way a partner should be.

The setting was vaguely mentioned but that was okay; I never felt like I was floating around in space. There were enough details to draw you in with allowing your imagination to roam the wilderness.

The spiritual aspect of holding on to hope and trusting in God to see his promise through is amplified with each girls’ story. Something I struggle with on a daily basis. I have been waiting a long time for my writing to be acknowledged, so I understand the struggle of waiting on God.

In short, Rachel McCalla’s Twin Threat Christmas is a unique story written in the form of two shorter novellas. I really enjoyed the suspense and twist with human trafficking. I will be recommending this story to my friends.

Rachel McCalla’s Writing Bio:

Rachelle McCalla plays with words like some kids play with fire. When she's not writing, she can be found digging deep research holes, setting up ideas like lightning rods to catch the next big bolt to shoot from the sky. Please use caution when picking up her books, as some may emit dangerous sparks.

Where to connect with Rachel McCalla:
Author’s Personal Website

Where to purchase Twin Threat Christmas:

The idea of two short novels interlinked by twins was a unique and interesting twist to a full length novel. Does it entice you enough to go read the book? Why or Why not?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dog Tags Giveaway

Happy 240th Birthday, Marine Corps! 

For anyone interested in military-themed fiction, I'm giving away an e-copy of Dog Tags

Dog Tags Blurb

When disabled ex-Marine Mark Graham reconnects with his best friend’s sister, he finds himself falling in love. But Beth Martindale’s presence is a constant reminder of events he’d rather forget. Mark wants to move forward, but the secrets surrounding her brother’s death as well as his own confinement to a wheelchair threaten to tear them apart. When a psychopath who calls himself The Knight fixates on Beth, Mark is determined to give her the protection he failed to give her brother on the battlefield, yet he discovers that a wheelchair isn’t the only impediment he has to keeping Beth safe. Will terror win or can Mark find the strength of mind and body to rescue Beth and find his own redemption?

To enter to win an e-copy of Dog Tags:

Leave a comment and include your email address (you may spell it out, for example, bobatdotcom).

The giveaway ends on November 25, 2015.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Hope White: Covert Christmas

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:


A man has been shot and left for dead on Echo Mountain, and Search and Rescue K-9 handler Breanna McBride wants answers. With no memory, all the injured man can recall is that his first name is Scott, and that someone wants him silenced. Scott knows better than to depend on strangers, yet he finds himself falling for his captivating protector. And although Breanna won't rest until she helps him piece together the rest of his past, she vows to ignore the attraction between them. But as they close in on the truth, she becomes the killer's next target. Now the pursuers will stop at nothing to ensure the pair is six feet under by Christmas. 

My Review:

Covert Christmas has everything a good short romantic suspense should have. A loving hero, a thoughtful heroine, a great setting, and tons of mystery and adventure. Covert Christmas gripped me from the first scene where Scott ran through the woods and fell down with Breanna watching from a tree.

I truly enjoyed spending time at the Echo Mountain Resort. I love places in the middle of the nowhere with no neighbors. This story took place during Christmas, so it sparked an interest in me. Plus, I love the image of the lodge wrapped in Christmas lights on the cover with the ground covered in snow. It was inviting. While the image showed a cold winter scene, the story never felt like it was the middle of winter. Scott even gathered samples of the water in a stream nearby. If it was the middle of winter, wouldn’t the water be a little hard to find. Might have frozen over. None of the characters really complained about the cold as they traveled around in the outdoors.

Scott and Breanna had to learn the hard lesson of allowing others to help them in the hard challenges of life. Luckily, White created Scott and Breanna to fall in love and lean on each other during the struggles in the fight for their lives. The romance was slow going but that is the way I like my romantic suspense to be. It makes the ending where everything seems happy a lot more believable. If the couple starts feeling emotions for each other on their first encounter, I don’t trust the romantic journey through the story. Yes, emotions can be question, but I hate when characters start planning their futures together on page one.

Overall, Hope White’s Covert Christmas is an interesting adventure story set at a resort, filled with bullets and sparks flying across the page. I would recommend this short read to fans of Lynette Eason, Irene Hannon, Colleen Coble, and other writers of the romantic suspense genre.

Hope White’s Writing Bio:

Accused of being an eternal optimist, Hope began spinning tales of intrigue and adventure when she was in grade school. She wrote her first book when she was eleven -- a thriller that ended with a mysterious phone call the reader never heard!

Hope is an RT Reviewer's Choice nominee for Christmas Haven (2011), and she received the Cataromance Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Love Inspired Suspense two years in a row for Safe Harbor (2013) and Small Town Protector (2012).

When not dreaming up inspirational tales, she's usually hiking in the Cascade Mountains, enjoying a fine cup of tea with friends, or hiding out in a movie theatre

How to connect with Hope White:
Author’s Personal Webpage

Where to purchase Covert Christmas:

What is the ratio between romance and suspense do you like to see in a romantic suspense novel?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Interview with Shirley Raye Redmond

Recently, I interviewed Shirley Raye Redmond.

I have wanted to write ever since I was in 5th grade and read Little Women. I wanted to be like Jo March, scribbling stories in the attic. I was 16 when my first article was published in a newspaper and I’ve never looked back.

Too many to list! But C.S. Lewis, Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Grace Livingston Hill would definitely be in the top ten.

You’re never going to “find the time” to write. You have to make the time. Give up a night of television, computer games, etc. I know too many people who promised themselves they would start writing when their children were grown or when they retired, but they are, instead, raising their grandchildren or they didn’t live long enough to retire. Don’t wait!

Viper’s Nest (Harborlight/Pelican Book Group) is a romantic suspense novel set in Jacksonville, Illinois. Allan Partner, a handsome history professor and his widowed research assistant, Wren Bergschneider, find themselves in danger when they explore an old insane asylum slated for demolition, unearthing a scandal someone is willing to kill for to keep secret.

I actually had a private tour of the Jacksonville Insane Asylum many years ago. Mary Todd Lincoln was a patient there briefly following the death of President Lincoln. Built in the mid 1840s, the asylum was the product of humanitarian Dorothea Dix’s impassioned plea to the Illinois Legislature. Miss Dix was a stalwart advocate for mentally ill individuals mistreated by society. Some were locked away in cellars and attics. Others were put on display in county jails. No medical aid or social services were available at the time for those declared insane. Everyone was lumped into the same category—whether one was a cruel psychopathic killer or a melancholy young mother suffering from postpartum depression.  Dorothea Dix changed that.

Originally, I wrote about my tour of the asylum for a Writer’s Digest nonfiction contest. My submission won an Honorable Mention. People who read the piece urged me to “do something else” with all the historical information I’d collected.  After toying with the idea of for quite a while, I decided to write a suspense novel, using the abandoned asylum as the backdrop of the story.

I love to hear from readers! They can contact me through my website at or visit my author facebook page at

Viper's Nest - male and female shown on cover in front of an assylum

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sharon Dunn: Wilderness Target

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

Clarissa Jones is running for her life. Though she has no idea why her ex-boss wants her dead, the killers at her heels are very real. Deep in the Montana woods she finds what seems like the perfect hideout, in Ezra Jefferson's survival training school. The ex-military outdoorsman has the skills and training to keep her safe…but only if she'll lower her defenses enough to let him help. When her attackers close in, Ezra's protection and Clarissa's fierce determination are all that will keep her alive—while the growing bond between them gives her a reason to fight to survive.

My Review:

I enjoy Love Inspired Suspense books. They are short and sweet, yet pack a punch of mystery while not taking too much time to read. I refer to them as day books.

In Sharon’ Dunn’s book, Wilderness Target, Ezra and Clarissa make quite a pair. First, Ezra started out seeing Clarissa as a city girl who wouldn’t know her way around the great outdoors, but Clarissa surprises him. I really enjoyed getting to know and spend time with Clarissa. She is a strong, determined heroine who doesn’t want others to pay for the mistakes she has made in her life. As for hero’s, Ezra was really not one of my favorite. He seemed very underdeveloped. Ezra knew a lot about the outdoors, but as a wife of a survival fanatic, some of the survival tips seemed off to me.

Clarissa and Ezra moved through the pages of the book, trying to outrun the external conflict. While Dunn kept the reader on the run with their imagination, I would have liked to have been a little more surprised who the bad guy was. It appeared to be just a big chase scene through the mountains and woods, begging from one shelter to the next.

The romance between Clarissa and Ezra was not too my taste either. Way too fast and way too cheesy. Sorry!

Overall, Sharon Dunn’s Love Inspired Book, Wilderness Target, kept me rushing through the book with all the hurried action, but the villain was introduced in the first chapter. Even though Clarissa was a strong and determined heroine any woman could admire.

Sharon Dunn’s Writing Bio:

Sharon Dunn first fell in love with mystery and suspense about the time she read Nancy Drew mysteries in the fifth grade. Her country school library had a whole collection of them with pink covers. She began taking herself seriously as a writer when her oldest son was born. About twenty years and three babies later, she is an award winning author of not only humorous mysteries but romantic suspense novels. Her first book in the Ruby Taylor mysteries Romance Rustlers and Thunderbird Thieves was a finalist for the Romantic Times Inspirational Book of the Year. The second book in that series Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers. Her first book in the Bargain Hunters series garnered a second place award from ACFW for Book of the Year. Her education makes it look like she couldn’t decide what she wanted to be when she grew up. She had degrees in Film Production and History with lots of English and theater classes thrown in the mix. About everything she studied contributed to her becoming a better writer in one way or another.

Where to connect with Sharon Dunn:

Where to purchase Wilderness Target:

Do you enjoy Love Inspired Suspense books? Why or Why not?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Review of Organized Grime by Christy Barritt

Organized Grime is book three in Christy Barritt's Squeaky Clean Mysteries.

Back cover copy: 
Gabby St. Claire knows how to clean up scum. She can get blood out of carpet, pick shattered bones from plaster, and clean up other less-than-enticing fluids from nearly any surface. St. Claire also knows how to clean up another kind of scum— the scum of the earth. 

Crime scene cleaner and wannabe forensic investigator Gabby St. Claire knows her best friend, Sierra, isn’t guilty of killing three people in what appears to be an ecoterrorist attack. But Sierra has disappeared, her only contact a frantic phone call. 

Crime scene evidence Gabby discovers while cleaning ties seemingly random murders together—and points to Sierra as the guilty party. Just what has her animal-loving friend gotten herself into? 

If that’s not disturbing enough, who’s the person following Gabby? A federal agent who hopes Gabby will lead him to Sierra? Or someone with more sinister plans? 

To find Sierra and prove her innocence, Gabby will have to rely on all of her training and abilities, plus the help of a man she loves and the protection of a God she’s only recently begun to believe in. 

When, Gabby St. Claire's best friend,  Sierra Nakamura disappears and is implicated in ecoterrorism that resulted in multiple deaths, the crime scene cleaner is determined to clear her friend's name. No matter the cost.

A stalker follows her and crime scenes reveal evidence tying them to Sierra increasing the danger to Gabby's life as she continues to search for the truth.

While investigating the circumstances surrounding Sierra's disappearance, Gabby must also deal with her alcoholic father, an ex-boyfriend cop with a pregnant girlfriend, and her handsome neighbor, Riley Thomas.

Riley struggles to keep Gabby safe even to the extent of accompanying her to crime scenes. Gabby can't deny her growing feelings for Riley with him ever-present even though she knows their backgrounds are far too different for a relationship to work.

Organized Grime is a clean read with well-developed characters and an intriguing storyline. However, there were a few issues.

When the FBI has evidence that Sierra was involved in the terror attack, they don't obtain a search warrant and go through her apartment. I found this to be a little unrealistic. Then, Gabby, who is studying to be a forensic tech, sneaks into her friend's apartment, finds evidence that points toward Sierra and conceals it for a time.

The book had a few typos, but I've not read many that don't.

Also, I counted a form of "gaze" over fifty times. Sometimes the word was used multiple times on a single page. This is a trend I've noticed in Christian fiction as I've read books for contests and for pleasure, but it's a very distracting trend. When a word is repeated over and over, it throws me out of the book. The writer could have used any number of words to convey the same concept.

Here are just a few of the times that "gaze" dumped me right out of the story:

“His gaze began roaming again.”
“…his gaze flicked behind me to the kitchen…”
“His gaze ran up and down the length of me.”

“His gaze searched mine…”

I give Organized Grime three stars for the pacing, characters, and storyline. Had the author found other ways to communicate they were looking somewhere or at each other, I would have given the story four stars.

* * * 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Interview with Hope Callaghan

Image result for hope callaghan

Deb: Tell us a little about yourself.
Hope:  I was born and raised in a small town in West Michigan. I lived there until early 2003 when I finally grew weary of the long, dreary winters. A job transfer to Central Florida came up and I was the first in line to apply for the job and leave the Mitten State.

I still live in Central Florida with my husband, my daughter, step-son and step-daughter. (All of the kids are currently in college!) When I'm not writing books, I love to read books, travel and take day trips to the beach.

Deb:  Tell us about your most recent book.
Hope:  I recently started a new cozy mystery series, Cruise Ship Cozy Mysteries and just published book number two, Port Side Peril.

Deb:  Whey did you choose this particular genre?
Hope:  I love the mystery genre, especially cozy mysteries! The setting for my most popular series, the Garden Girls, is in a small town, quite like the one I grew up in so I write about my own personal experiences, although all of the characters in my book are purely fictitious.

Deb:  What was your journey to publication like?
Hope:  I started writing non-fiction (travel books) and published my first book in 2013. I wrote several more and then switched to fiction in 2014, and haven't looked back since.

Deb:  What are a couple of your favorite books and what are you reading now?
Hope:  One of my favorite authors is Cynthia Hickey. She cracks me up. Jogging is Bad for Your Health, is next on my list. I also like to read Amanda Tru's time travel series. The idea of time travel is fascinating.

Deb:  What are you working on now and can you give us a little peek inside?
Hope:  I'm working on book number seven in the Garden Girls Series, which should be published the first week in August.

Deb:  What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?
Hope:  Write fiction.  I waited two years to publish my first fiction piece and I regret not starting sooner. Start with a short story to "get your feet wet." Write in a series. Readers love to get to know the characters and if they care about the characters, they will want to read your books.

Deb:  Do you have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you could share with us?
Hope:  I highly recommend Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain. Although published in the early 80's this book has so much good information inside, it is worth the read. Some of the topics are a bit out dated but for the most part, it contains nuggets of pure gold for the writer.

Deb: Please let us know where we can find you on the web.

Image result for hope callaghan

Image result for deborah MaloneDeborah Malone has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, since 2001, for the historical magazine "Georgia Backroads." Her writing is featured in "Tales of the Rails" edited by Olin Jackson. She is a member of Georgia Writers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lillian Duncan: Deadly Communication

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

Improving communication skills is never easy. In this case, it could be murder!

Maven Morris is a speech-language pathologist on medical leave–or as she likes to put it: out to pasture. When she’s offered a lucrative position by one of the community’s most powerful men to help his traumatic-brain-injured daughter improve her communication skills, Maven discovers deadly secrets behind the iron gates of the mansion.

Now, she must find the courage to seek justice no matter who gets hurt–even if it’s her.

My Review:

I, personally, had never read anything by Lillian Duncan before, but when Pelican group offered all their e-books for free during Lent, I jumped on the chance and downloaded twenty books for free. I downloaded all of the books by Lillian Duncan because there covers drew me in. I was excited to jump into these suspense books.

The main character in Deadly Communications is Maven, an elder lady who is on medical leave from being a speech pathologist from the local school. While it is very common to make the lead heroine or hero in a mystery book young, Duncan goes against the norm and makes Maven more mature. I enjoyed that aspect of her character because she has more life experience, and right away, I trusted what Maven would say or do.

As for the faith in the book, Duncan does a good job at allowing Maven to wrestle with the idea of God. Duncan does not jump right in with the mature Maven, fully trusting God with her life. She has doubts and isn’t afraid to share those struggles with her friends. The tone isn’t preachy. It allowed me to question and empathizes with Maven. I believe all believers have been down the same track some time in their lives.

While all the conflict occurs in Ella’s head, I still wondered if the incident in the first chapter would make an appearance in the story. Did someone threaten Ella if she told what she saw? It kept me wondering, tugging me along for the entire book.

Duncan was a Speech Pathologist herself, so she used her area of experience to create a character in Maven. From the research and the skills Maven tried to get Ella to talk, it rang true with the character. Duncan introduced me to the inner workings of a speech pathologist without too much jargon. I followed along and wasn’t confused by the plot line. 

Overall, I will be trying more of Lillian Duncan's books as I find time to read them. 

Lillian Duncan
From Duncan's Amazon's Author Page
Lillian Duncan’s Writing Bio:

Lillian Duncan lives in Ohio with her husband, four parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that she's thinking about renaming Clifford since he keeps growing and growing and....

Her website ( her books as Stories of Faith mingled with...murder and mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read--suspense with a touch of romance. Depending on her mood, some books have more romance than others.

She's been a Speech Pathologist for over thirty years. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God's Word.

Where to connect with Lillian Duncan:

Where to purchase Deadly Communication:

What is your opinion on a suspense novella?