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Spatzle Speaks: The Flip Side of Love (Book Review)

Nancy Shew Bolton’s book The Flip Side of Love explores some of the uncertainty of 1972.

Ruth’s sole focus in college is her music. Paul has a stormy personality that he struggles to control as he navigates a career in teaching music. When working with Ruth, however, common sense goes out the window causing confusion and emotional turmoil.

Ruth also finds herself confused by Paul’s emotional signals, hot and cold. She struggles to be a friend in spite of that.

Paul has tough decisions to make. He can’t love Ruth and remain her teacher. Somehow they need to find a way to each other to navigate the challenges ahead.

This book touches into the real but taboo subject of teacher/student romance without falling into the sin. The characters are both of faith and strive to do what is right in honoring those in authority and staying pure in their relationship. It is an interesting foray into a time period and a topic that is seldom touched in Christian fiction. Because of the slightly awkward taboo nature of the subject, I’m giving it four 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.

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Spatzle Speaks: Hair Calamities and Hot Cash(Book Review)

My mom adores alliteration so the title of this book tickles her fancy no end. Hair Calamities and Hot Cash is a novella by Gail Pallotta and is full of adventure,  comedy, and suspense.

Poor Eve Castleberry runs a North Caroline beauty shop. For some reason, this widow is finding her hair products are not doing what they are supposed to do with strange results. To top it off a New York stockbroker crashes his car into her salon and he’s on the hunt for criminals wanted by the FBI who stole his client’s cash. Merry mayhem ensues and this is one delightful romantic comedy as the two work together to get the money and solve the riddle of what’s going wrong at her store.

Writing witty comedy is an art and Gail Pallotta has it mastered in this novella. No cats or dogs but any book that makes my mom giggle is worthy of five bones!

 

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

Spatzle Speaks: Meow Matrimony (Book Review)

Lisa Lickel follows up Meow Mayhem, her first novel in the Fancy Cat Cozy Mystery series with Meow MatrimonyI love that this comes out on Valentine’s Day weekend!

Ivy Preston can’t seem to stay out of trouble in her new town of Apple Grove. Now that her fiance is the mayor, life has changed. Planning a wedding is a lot of work and when the wrong invitations arrive at her door, what would a good neighbor do but deliver them to the correct bride? Only when doing so Ivy discovers the bride-to-be is dead! Soon she and her former fiance, Stanley, become suspects and chaos ensues.

Her mother and Adam both believe in her innocence and then in addition to all that, one of her kittens falls ill. Ivy fears that if she can’t keep a kitten alive how would she ever be a good mother someday? With suspicion of murder hanging over her head could she ever be the wife of the mayor?

With Adam’s unfailing love, her mother’s support and the company of dear friends she’s made in her new home, is it possible she can be cleared of her crime in time for her wedding? But even more than that, can they find the real killer?

As I’ve said before, I love cats so this series has my undivided love and affection. With sweet romance and an intrepid heroine, this mystery will keep you guessing till the end just “who-done-it.” The mark of an excellent author. 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: Face In The Mirror (Book Review)

Paula Mowery has written another delightful romantic suspense in Face in the Mirror, a sequel to For Our Good. 

Sydney Russell has witnessed her mother’s death and suspects it has something to do with a mysterious box. Devastated, she turns to her dad and brother for help and they get in contact with authorities. Because she was seen, they hide her away with a friend of hers who is Amish, and deaf. Sydney can hear but is fluent in sign-language. Could she really be in danger?

Nathan Greene is attached to a task force to connect with and protect Sydney, but his own past comes to haunt him and he is blackmailed with the threat of his past being made public. This also threatens the life of the woman he has promised to protect. Will his coworkers understand the choices he has to make? Will Sydney trust him even when he can barely trust himself? The beautiful young woman with a strong faith his breaking down defenses he didn’t know he had.

Which will prevail? Love and honor or the desire to keep his reputation intact?

This is a novel that flies by before you know it and it is fun to see characters from the previous story reappear and have a role in this one. I strongly recommend this story even if you haven’t read the first book, you’ll still enjoy this one. 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: Forgiving Tess (Book Review)

I adored Kimberly Miller’s debut novel Picking Daisy so I fully expected to enjoy her second book, Forgiving Tess. I was not disappointed!

Kimberly Miller takes the concept of just how far we extend forgiveness and how do we know someone truly has repented and put away the sins of the past. Even for Christians, it can be far too easy to judge someone based on their past than it is to accept their attempts to live a new, godly life, in the here and now.

Tess Carson is one of those characters who has made a mess of her life and is working hard to make it all right. Foolish choices, childish rebellion, a turning away from her family and her faith have made it hard to find restoration. Thankfully her uncle believes in her, perhaps even more than she does. But even he can only go so far to help her.

On a mission trip arranged by her uncle, she runs into her childhood crush. The man she declared for years as a teenager that she would marry. But putting away childish things and a wall of bad decisions destroy any possibility of a romance with the handsome young man who is now the youth pastor at the church where she’s serving.

And she’s still just as attracted to him, and his dimples, as she was as a silly teenager. While she share’s she has a past, she’s afraid to tell him details.

Josh Thorne is the son of missionaries and the best time of his life was when he lived in the town where Tess and her brother, his best friend, were. To him, that was home. Meeting Tess again and finding she was all grown up was a shock. He’s confident that there is nothing in her past that could keep him from pursuing her but he has difficulty convincing Tess of just how loveable she is… by him, her family, and God.

Her past won’t stay buried for long and there is a rocky road to romance for these two as Tess’s past threatens all of the dreams Josh has for his (and their) future together. Can they overcome? When, if ever, will those hypocrites, who cast stones, see that she really has changed?

Will Tess understand true forgiveness before it’s too late or will she lose everything? Including Josh?

This book explores so many levels of healing, growth, forgiveness and the tangled relationships that result from sin and the difficult path to full redemption and restoration, not only within the church but also within Tess herself. I strongly recommend this book. My mom loved it and couldn’t put it down, which meant more snuggle time by her side. Plus, I’d love to bark and chase after that motorcycle in the story. For that reason, I’m giving it 5 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: Meow Mayhem (Book Review)

Last month I did a review of Meow Mistletoe which is a Christmas novella and prequel to the A Fancy Cat Cozy Mystery series by fabulous author Lisa Lickel. Today I want to share with you her cozy mystery, book one in a three book series of Meow Mysteries: Meow Mayhem.

Ivy Preston has taken her tattered and abandoned self to the little town of Apple Grove after her fiance decided that he didn’t want to get married after all.  She buys a sweet little cottage that she shares with her Egyptian Mau cat, Memnet. All this because of another pedigreed Mau cat aficionado, Mayor Conklin, has invited her to help in his revitalization of this dying town.

She’d met Adam Thompson at the last Christmas gathering of the cat organization they are a part of but hadn’t suspected at first glance that he’d also be setting up his shop here in the new town with his own Mau, Isis. Having a string of trendy bookstore and coffee shops he brings his business to the town.

Ivy gets a strange message from the mayor and between her,  Adam, and her criminology professor mom, believe that there could be trouble afoot in this charming little town.  The trouble starts when grant money is disappearing, a dead body surfaces and the mayors missing Mau becomes the prime suspect.

What’s a young woman to do but try to figure it out and thankfully she has help on the journey. Ivy’s ho-hum life definitely takes on new adventure as she settles into her community. And the romance between Adam and Ivy is sweet… but there’s more love purring in town than just between them!

Now as a dog, I have to say I adore cats. I was as heartbroken as Ivy when Isis, the mayors Egyptian Mau, was missing! And then a little girl too? I adore little kids! I should have been written into this book. While I’m not a hunting dog I would have loved to play with those cats too.

Twists and turns keep the reader guessing in this sweet who-done-it by Lisa Lickel. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, Meow Matrimony! So if you love cozy mysteries, and cats, you’ll love this book. Purrfect for the cold days we’re currently experiencing in Wisconsin. Just curl up with a warm drink, a cozy blanket, and this great novel and enjoy.

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: Christmas Extravaganza Novellas (Book Reviews)

My mom was out of commission with shoulder surgery for a few months and in spite of my name on this part of her blog, I still can’t type. I find it appropriate that I give you a few books in one post to celebrate Christmas.  These three novels seemed like a great place to start.

Christmas Passed by Anita Klumpers is the first novella, a bit of a Christmas mystery. Dinah is slated to do the promotional photos of a 1930’s home in Milwaukee decked out for Christmas. She runs into the boy-now-a-man, Mick comes back to annoy her and become her partner in figuring out why bad things keep happening… and why there are strange ornaments in the attic as well as other surprises. There is a dog in this story too which of course, I liked. Not sure how a dog can be that well-trained but I feel sorry for it. Ms. Klumpers assembles a colorful cast of characters and surprises for the reader in this fun Christmas story so I recommend it with five bones.

 

Meow Mistletoe by Lisa L. Lickel is another Christmas mystery that also serves as a prequel to a series of books due to release next year. Ivy is at the Christmas party for the Cat Association Titlist group when a cat goes missing and she attempts to help find the feline. I may be a dog but I love cats. They are fun to chase. I won’t tell you what all happens but there is a puzzle to be solved and it’s a fun journey with a smattering of romance sprinkled in. Definitely another five bones from me. 

 

The Doctor’s Daughter by Susan M. Baganz was written by my mom and she took a character from her Black Diamond Regency series, Dr. Bruce Miller and gave him a romance. Silvia’s father died and was the doctor who trained Bruce. She arrives at the home of SIr Michael & Katrina Tidley and hopes to rekindle a past romance with the good doctor. Obstacles and illness emerge to thwart them on their journey to love. This is another book I enjoyed even though she failed to include any animals beyond carriage horses in her story.  Another five bones.

All three of these novellas make a great holiday read, cozied up warm in your favorite chair. They are only available in e-book formats. I give them all 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.