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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.

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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.

 

Spatzle Speaks: Lord Harrow’s Heart (Book Review)

Spatzle here. Mom’s Maltese who she’s tricked into writing these reviews. I’ve been slacking off and not posting as much lately. Mom says it’s because I’m getting older. But not too old to enjoy her latest novel in the Black Diamond Gothic Regency series. Book #4, Lord Harrow’s Heart, releases today and I’m excited about that.

Lord Theodore Harrow has watched all his friends fall in love and marry. Kind of the papa bear of the group, he’s been a faithful friend through all their adventures. Now he wants a woman of his own but he longs for someone who wants him – not just his title or wealth. He’s not quite as dashing as his friends, but he’s one of those solid good guys. So when he runs over a young woman who is supervising a nasty child, he is instantly smitten by her.

Valeria is not so easily wooed. She is in service although Theodore can tell she’s not of the servant class. She’s also distinctly French in her heritage and language. And to top it off, she has a child. The last thing she wants is to be noticed by anyone as she is in hiding from her evil father-in-law. Being injured in a carriage accident and meeting Lord Harrow was not something she was prepared to deal with.

Theo is not so easily put off and Valeria finds herself surrounded by him and his friends as she encounters a mother’s worst nightmare. Someone has kidnapped her son. But to retrieve the boy could cost Theo and his friends much more than a few days travel as they encounter and meet face to face, the Black Diamond himself.

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

If you’ve been reading the series and wondering who the Black Diamond is – this is the story where he is finally revealed. Come on, Mom. Why did you make us wait this long? Such a tease.

There is a kitten in the story. I like cats a lot so those parts were great for me. Mom won’t let me have a cat because she’s allergic to them. I guess having one in a book is a passable substitute.

Adventure, romance, intrigue, danger all set against the backdrop of the early 1800’s in Regency England. This story will not disappoint. I give it five bones, because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

 

 

Spaztle Speaks: Donuts & Detours (Book Review)

Finally, my mom has put me into a novel. I know, it’s not really me. I don’t like to talk about my past personally. I’m a rescue dog much like Shazam/Cooper is in book six of her Orchard Hill Romance Series: Donuts & Detours.

B.J. is a young mechanic in a volunteer ministry that fixes cars for single moms. She finds a dog in the trunk of a donated car. She rescues the animal and hopes to adopt it. Titus (aka Ty), decides to adopt the dog. He also wants to reach this young mechanic but doesn’t realize the boy is not quite what he seems.

He’s really a she.

Bethany Joelle has a rough past not too dissimilar from the rescued dog and is hurt when Ty adopts the dog before she can. Ty is also showing interest in Bethany Joelle but letting him close means risking her closely held secret–that she is really B.J.

Titus has his own dark past that he carries around. Secrets collide and are revealed making for some interesting relationship challenges.

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

Of course, the best part of the book is the dog which I know my mom based on me. Titus showed up in Bratwurst & Bridges so it’s fun that he finally gets his chance at love. I give this book five bones because I’m a dog and don’t have thumbs.

 

Spatzle Speaks: Threes, Sixes & Thieves (Book Review)

Threes, Sixes & Thieves is Julie Cosgrove’s third novel in the Bunco Biddie’s Mystery series.

Janie and her Bunco buddies are at it once again. They see a pattern in the robberies that are occurring in their neighborhood and are determined to figure out just who is doing this. Her son-in-law, a local detective is less convinced, but when they stake out a possible house and one robber is arrested and found later hanging in his jail cell, finally the police are more interested in her theories. The only question is could there be a dirty cop on the force in Alamoville? And how would they find out.

If you enjoy cozy mysteries you’ll enjoy the antics of Janie and her Bunco Biddies as they stir up trouble while solving crimes. Retirement doesn’t mean they can’t help out the police every once and a while does it? I give this book five bones because it is a lighthearted mystery that will leave you grinning.

I give this five bones just because it’s a fun book to read.

 

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

 

Spatzle Speaks: The Mystery of the Disappearing Moonlight (Book Review)

Dale McElhinney returns with a second mid-grade novel, The Mystery of the Disappearing Moonlight

When twelve-year-old Katie and her friend Molly arrive at summer camp, the last thing they expect is to be plagued by some teenage boys. The long for the fun of campfire stories, adventures and horseback rides. But when Katie sees a white horse running in the dark of night she names him Moonlight. Only no one seems to know where this horse is and everyone else doubts it even exists. With boys plaguing her and the vanity of some of her cabin-mates challenging her ability to love people right where they are, God seems to have a lot of work to do in Katie’s heart.

While searching for the elusive horse they encounter challenges and danger, and lessons on what it really means to live for God.

This is a high-spirited adventure for girls and boys alike, especially horse lovers! Dale McElhinney has outdone himself with this mystery to appeal anyone who loves a great mystery – regardless of age. 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.