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Spatzle Speaks: Ponder This Novella Collection

My mom had this idea to have authors write a series of romance novellas based on Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (English Standard Version).  It became the PONDER THIS series because WHATEVER sounded too cavalier.

So with a little bit of encouragement, eight authors put forth their efforts and viola, a series was born. It releases this month with two novellas a week, but they are available for pre-order. It would be hard to review them all here so let me give you some highlights for each!

Whatever is True:  Everything About Us by Lisa J. Lickel

Contemporary Romance. Danny Winston wants it all, his dream job and the woman his heart desires, Shelly, who helped make his dreams come true. But things are falling apart and it threatens his future. Shelly isn’t sure she can quit California and move to rural Wisconsin. A horrible secret might ruin it all. Soon another enemy rises up to try to sabotage them, can love prevail when the truth is revealed?

Whatever is Honorable: Field of Forget-me-nots by Rachel James

Historical British Romance. Ana is about to lose her home when her patron dies. She is without home or fortune. Mr. Luke Renshow finds that Ana is an important part of the inheritance his aunt wishes for him. He agrees to a marriage of convenience but soon discovers that Ana is worth more than that. Can he swallow his pride and do the honorable thing?

Whatever is Just: To Complicate Matters by Linda Widrick

Contemporary Romantic Comedy. Angelica Dunn is a baker, and for some reason, when around Thaddeus Wright, a bit of a klutz. Thaddeus is drawn to Angelica, but his secret job with the CIA might just ruin any chances of a match between them.  When she leaves an embarrassing voice mail and tries to remove the evidence, the secrets mount and doing the right thing might lead to justice for criminals, but cost her a chance at love.

Whatever is Pure: Charlotte’s Dilemma by Susan Karsten

Regency Romance. Charlotte was a victim of a London scandal, but society blamed her. As a result, her parents banished her to a remote area to teach school. No family. No friends. A small cottage with barely the basic amenities. Life looked bleak until the school’s handsome patron took an interest in her. Any budding relationship is threatened by a new scandal that breaks around her again.

Whatever is Lovely: A Perfect Fit by Christine Schimpf

Contemporary Romance. Hannah is disappointed when her boyfriend doesn’t propose marriage. The relationship over, she vows to wait on God for a man and takes a new job teaching at a Christian school. She runs into Matt who is an attractive teacher and has a poor history of sticking with one woman. When the two of them meet they become friends determined not to be romantic, but things are about to change when Hannah’s old love comes to reinsert himself into her life.

Whatever is of Good Repute: Buttonholed by Anita Klumpers

Contemporary Southern Romance. A southern rivalry brings Manderley Jessup back to her Tennessee hometown where an old dual, a secret past crush, a forbidden romance, and a news crew are all raising up old ghosts from the past. Will her old rival, Abram Coventry work with her to overcome the issues tearing this town apart? Can a special, hand-crafted button design make a difference?

Whatever is Excellent: Lucy in Love by Kimberly M. Miller

Contemporary Romance. Lucy is doing well with her bakery and her family and friends are great. Her heart is broken over a failed engagement. When a music store opens next door she finds that the hunky guitar player in the band that runs the store, might just be a blast from her past. Henry has loved Lucy for years and when he meets her again he loses his balance. He used to be heavy and he’s lost weight and has been a magnet for the hot girls. Can and old flame be fanned into a new love? Could she trust a man again? Is the old Henry still there in spite of the current trappings of his success?

Whatever is Praisworthy: This Worthy Heart by Dixie Jo Jarchow

Contemporary Romance. Celestina’s romance with Jason is on the outs with a small stroke she’s suffered. No permanent damage but still, a threat to her happiness. As she works to win Jason back, an adorable puppy is dropped in her lap. Through a series of misfortunes, she develops a relationship with the hospital chaplain who talks to her of faith and disapproves of Jason. Cele is ordered by Jason to get rid of the dog. Can she have her happiness with the wealthy up and coming Jason, or does it entail the more humble pastor and a puppy?

 

Think on (Ponder!) these things.

My mom had a blast working with these authors to bring this series about and we both hope you’ll enjoy each and every one! I can’t pick a favorite although the last one does have a cute dog in it!

I give each book five bones because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: Christmas Extravaganza Book Reviews

I’m back! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Mom doesn’t usually want me playing on her computer. She’s afraid I’ll post something embarrassing on Facebook as if I could do better than she does with that?

Next week three fabulous Christmas novellas are releasing and they are already available for preorder so get yours now!. Well, to be honest, there are more, but these are the only three I’m personally acquainted with, and since mom is so nice, I’m even including hers on this list.

Clear As Ice by Penelope Marzec

Marzec takes Haylie, a former Olympic ice skater with a stalker and a fear of dogs and matches her up with Ethan, a paramedic with serious issues with Christmas and God. The dog, Rufus, is the real star of this story as he is the ultimate matchmaker for these two. This immediately gains it five bones in my book, because I’m pro-dog because I am a dog. Haylie is afraid of relationships but finds that the handsome paramedic keeps showing up in her life, mostly because of his dog. Can Ethan break down the barriers to her heart and can Haylie help restore his faith in God and the wonder of Christmas in his?

Crazy Creek Christmas by Lisa J. Lickel

Leah Hane’s is without roots. She finds a job working as a cook at the Rocking J Ranch in Crazy Creek, Wyoming. This ragtag bunch of cowboys need more than good meals though. She quickly finds herself needed and helping them in a variety of ways as they strive to save the ranch from being sold.

Noel Johnsen is the legitimate heir to the property, or so he thinks. His family was lost in a horrific accident and Christmas brings up bad memories of that loss. He wants to ditch his family’s homestead but his brother-in-law who had been running the place is reluctant and the new cook they hired keeps butting her nose in where it’s not wanted. Soon more than the land is at stake…but his heart as well.

I love this ranch story. I love the outdoors and running around outside so I was for them keeping the ranch. You’ll have to read the story to find out what they do. I loved it.

Sugar Cookies and Street Lamps by Susan M. Baganz

A young woman, Noelle, hates Christmas and is paired up with an investment advisor in creating a magical gala for his company. He loves Christmas and soon finds himself attracted to the woman he’s helping out in creating his companie’s big holiday event.

Boy do I know about Wisconsin winters. I love the snow and we’ve already had plenty for me to jump around it. Mom thinks it’s funny becuase I can’t stand rain, or a bath. Regardless, this Christmas romance is sweet and mom included the family sugar cookie recipe at the end and I personally can vouch for how tasty those are.

My perspective:

All of these stories are worthy reads, so get them now and then do your dog a favor and snuggle up with them for a good Christmas reading time, hot chocolate optional. I give each story five bones, because I’m a dog and and I don’t have thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: A Refuge for Rosanna (Book Review)

Susan Karsten loves the Regency period and it shows in her second book, A Refuge for Rosanna.

Rosanna has finagled a way to purchase a home in the country where she can live and not be forced into a marriage with anyone. She’s grieving the loss of her one true love and has no desire to ever marry. She longs to set up a sanctuary for women who want to avoid marriage but runs into a few snags in her plan. Long rambles on the property bring a neighbor to her awareness.

Lord Peter Winstead has a shameful past but it was his father’s sins that caused the loss of his beloved family home, Honor’s Point. Now in reduced circumstances, he lives a humble life on a small parcel of land that he was able to retain. Hiding his true identity for as long as possible, he is struck by the new owner but realizes that if the truth were to come out about his misdeeds, she’d never consider him an eligible suitor.

Romantic encounters, pesky neighbors, hidden treasure, along with challenging rescue all combine to tear them apart or bring them together. Will love overcome all?

If you love the Regency genre you will adore this sweet romance by Susan Karsten, book two in her Honor’s Point series! My mom has a hard time putting sweet stories of love and adventure like this down so I’m giving it five bones, because I’m a dog and that’s how I roll.

 

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: ‘Til Dice Do Us Part (Book Review)

Julie Cosgrove has written several dramatic romantic suspenses around the subject of human trafficking, but she’s also been the master of cozy mysteries and ‘Til Dice Do Us Part is book number 4 in her Bunco Biddies Mystery series. The final installment.

While preparing for a wedding shower, one of the Bunco Biddies falls from a ladder. in her drugged and painful state she overhears a crime being discussed behind the curtain next to her room in the ER.

Janie can’t quite get her son-in-law to investigate so the Bunco Biddies decide to do some on their own resulting in hilarity and danger and on the wedding day–a missing groom!

Everything gets crazy as the crime is uncovered and once again the intrepid older women are able to prove just how valuable they are to the local police department.

This was a fun series and the characters are a delight to read, or so my mom says. I just get to sit next to her and listen to her chuckle. Which is fine with me so I give it five bones because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

 

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: Her Hometown Heart (Book Review)

Andrea Boeshaar has written many wonderful novels and this one is no exception. Her Hometown Heart is full of just that–heart.

Amie Potter finds herself the recipient of her deceased uncle’s run-down gas station. Meeting Tom, who was like a son to her uncle, raises alarm bells due to a painful past. Soon she learns to look past the unkempt appearance and dirty clothes to the heart of the man undearneath. Maybe, just maybe, she should follow her old dream to run a hotel in this tiny town.

Tom Anderson has his own wounds from the past and big-city girl Amie doesn’t fit into his life at all. When she suggests they go into business together the bulk of the work falls on his shoulders as she goes back to work at her “real” job. The old filling station is torn down and a new hotel constructed. Life is changing for this man as he begins to fall in love with his partner.

Is it possible that her uncle had other plans for them both? Will their dark pasts get in the way of them finding a lasting love?

This is a sweet story where both characters show incredible growth through the book as they face their pasts and learn to trust in new ways as they cling to faith and take the risk partnering in business…and love. I highly recommend this sweet romance so I give it five bones because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: Her Deadly Reunion (Book Review)

It has been a few years now since my mom reviewed Beth Ziarnik’s best-selling inspirational romantic suspense Her Deadly Inheritance. You can find the review here. So it is with great joy that now I get to review her latest novel, Her Deadly Reunion, A Jill Shepherd Suspense Book 2 a sequel to the first novel.

Jill Shepherd is one of those characters that seems to find herself in difficult situations involving family! She finally gets the chance to meet the father she’s never met and thought was dead. The invitation though to spend the Christmas holiday at his home is not the Norman Rockwell dream any of us would hope for. Her fiance is unable to join her at first. She’s turned away at the door and there’s a snowstorm! Once snuck inside by the devoted nurse, Alice, who extended the invitation, Jill is not met with gracious hospitality by the members of the household, but great disdain.

Her father is gravely ill and thrilled to meet his daughter. His other daughters and mother-in-law are not quite as welcoming. One is willing to embrace her into the family even though their father had an affair (which produced Jill) after their own mother became psychotic after the second child was born.

Soon Jill begins to believe that someone is trying to kill John, her father, and Alice, the private nurse nurtures that fear. When her fiance Clay finally arrives, events are escalating and soon accusations are flying about just who is trying to kill the family patriarch? And why?

This escalates the hostility and John Turner begs his youngest daughter, only recently reunited, to leave for fear that she is in danger, but just what kind of danger? Father is seeking to protect the daughter but the strong-willed daughter is bound and determined to save her father. Clay is trying to keep them all alive and out of jail in the process.

The author keeps you guessing just “who done it” and how, until the very end and once the mystery is resolved, faith blooms and reconciliation can occur… and just maybe a fresh new start for Jill and Clay.

This is a well-written sequel that is hard to put down, which meant I got to snuggle with my mom in her recliner and get lots of loving as she kept reading. For that reason, I give this book five bones, because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: Rust (Book Review)

When I discovered Corbin Bernsen wrote a novel, Rust, published by Pelican Book Group, my mom decided she wanted to read it and I am thrilled that she did because it’s hard to for her to relax and I got more snuggles.

Rust is based on a movie by the same name and she’s waiting to see the movie as she absorbs the beautiful words that were penned by the famed actor.

This is an inspirational novel regarding a crisis of faith in the life of a former pastor, James Moore. When he discovers his childhood friend, Travis, has been implicated in starting a fire that killed a family of four. Travis has some emotional/mental differences from the rest of the town, and had been James’s best friend as a child.

Coming home forces James to deal with not only the wounds in his soul, but his family and the entire town. A pastor’s heart is tugged repeatedly by the pain of those around him as he struggles to believe in a God that has seemingly stopped communicating with him. The pastor is turned detective as he believes his childhood friend could never have committed the crime he’s being convicted of.

With the complexity of heart and soul-searching in the character of James Moore, and the complications of relationships from the past make investigating a deadly arson of a family he’d never met a challenge. Written only from the perspective of James Moore the author digs deep into the angst of spiritual and emotional unrest with well-written clarity that makes this novel hard to put down and increases my mom’s respect for an actor she already admired. The book taps into the struggle many Christian’s struggle with not always hearing God’s clear voice when struggling with faith.

This book is a well-written, compelling tale and highly recommended. I give it five bones because I’m a dog, and I don’t have thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.