Cooper Comments: Moonlight and Mystery (Book Review)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Karen Malley has a new book out and you need to hear about it! It’s part of a romance series Chester County Couples. Moonlight and Mystery is the title and trust me, it’s a book you won’t want to put down. You’ll be eager for the rest of the series I suspect and she has free novella available as a prequel!

Beth Tarrington is living a good life. She’s engaged to a handsome man with a fabulous career. She’s driving a really nice car and lives in a sweet condo. She works doing something she loves and her last name is so prominent it opens doors. And yet, she’s not happy. Sneaking peanut butter is a comfort and life take on a new zing when she tries out and gets cast in a community theater.

When she finally wakes up to the privelged bubble she’s living in, she decides it’s time to stand up for what she wants, a decision that has dramatic consequences for her. Can God help her through the tough choices she has to make as a result?

When Jason Brooks meets Beth there is an instant attraction, but she’s engaged so he knows he needs to run the other way. Getting cast in the play, opposite her, creates sparks no one can ignore even though Jason and Beth both try.

You have to read the book to go on this adventure with Beth and Jason as well as the characters they act out in the play! Ms. Malley does an amazing job weaving it all together.

This is an awesome read and I hope you’ll get it, and sit, and read, and snuggle a dog like my mom does with me when she’s reading a good book. I’ll give it five squeaky tennis balls because other than snuggling, chasing them is my favorite thing. Oh, and bacon. I really like bacon…and oranges…and steak.

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Cooper Comments: Agape After All (Book Review)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hey, Cooper here again with another great book by Katherine Robles. To be honest, Agape After All, is probably my favorite one in the Romance in the Park series of novels she’s written.

Vanessa is engaged to Collin and she really believes this is possibly true love, but then she meets Tony while on a girl’s camping weekend at Hickory Run State Park. Tony is cute and sweet but Collin already meets her criteria of being smart, handsome, as well as being a Christian.

But things are not all chocolate and roses in the romance. When Vanessa wants to take an online Biblical Greek class, she finds Tony, also in the class with others, to be a good friend. As she learns more she gains courage to stand up for herself and begins to sense that something is not right in her relationship with Collin.

I loved how the author didn’t just make a love triangle out of this story but dug deep into the emotional dysfunction lying just below the surface of Vanessa and Collin’s relationship. Will she have to the courage to confront the truth and stand up for herself? Even if it means having no one?

I especially loved too the hints into Greek and what words mean. Hence the title, Agape After All. A must read, especially if you’ve enjoyed any of her other books. If not – get this one now! You won’t regret it.

I’ll give this one five squeaky tennis balls because yes, I’m a dog, and they are my favorite!

Billions of Dead Things

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“If Noah’s flood is true you’d find billions of dead things buried in rock, laid down by water, all over the earth.” Ken Ham.

After I got over the awesome vastness that is the Grand Canyon, that quote by Ken Ham began to resonate within me. Especially when I would hear park rangers talk about evolution. Sure, things died and are buried, but evolution doesn’t explain enough. For instance as a Christian, if I believe Genesis 1 is true then evolution doesn’t work because there was no death when the world was created. There wasn’t any death until AFTER the fall. God’s creation was good, till man messed it up.

And then it struck me. Dead things. All this breathtaking beauty is dead things. And the rangers were wrong. God was the One who created this. He destroyed a world that was evil in an attempt to give it a restart, but the sin nature in us all couldn’t refrain from going down bad paths once again.

God can use catastrophe, like a Biblical flood, to purge sin but also create something beautiful. It is so evident in Arizona, but it’s everywhere if we only open our eyes to see it.

We deny God’s power and beauty on display to our own detriment. If we forget then we are prone to do the same thing. We see it over and over and over in the Old Testament where God gives His people chance after chance to keep their covenant with Him. They fail every time. We all do.

Yet, God remains faithful. Always.

I live in Wisconsin with tall trees and lots of green grass. When we traveled through the Navajo Nation we saw a desolate landscape. Little grew. It was barren and people living there didn’t have much.

Then we went to Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona (part of the Navajo Nation). It is amazing. Was it worth the price and the 2 1/2 hour drive one way to spend 30 minutes in a 1/4 mile stretch of sand to see the sights? Guess you can judge. I think they were the best pics from the trip.

While our vaction was good minus long delays at the airport for our flights, and lots of driving, it was also a slap in the face to realize that our world is no better than in Noah’s day. It’s funny that people want to focus on the environment, and the government believes they can control the weather, (hint: they can’t.), while we allow the hearts of people to be destroyed and sin has free reign. I was aware of this before our trip, but billions of dead things brought it to the forefront of my mind.

It is all the more reason to worship the Creator of the Universe and once again focus on the One who makes beauty out of pain. He’s done that in my life time and again, even this year. This is the second trip I took this year where God revealed Himself in fresh ways. I see it every day where I live too but God is bigger than my little world. The Grand Canyon shows evidence of that in more ways than most who visit, from all over the world, realize.

Cooper Comments: Falling for Forever (Book Review)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s been a busy summer but Mom says I need write some more book reviews. Katherine Robles has a new book out called Falling for Forever which is part of a Romance in the Park series.

Falling for Forever book cover featuring a blonde gal embracing a forbidden dark haired man with a beautiful sunset and waves crashing on a rocky shoreline behind them.

This is a sweet romance with Hillary who is stuck in her job and not realizing her dream of moving to Washington D.C. where she hopes to make a splash.

She meets Javier at Great Falls National Park, except she believes he is engaged to the gorgeous girl with him.

Somehow they keep coming into contact and Hillary can’t stop her heart from wanting this forbidden man. When the truth is revealed she also learns some hard truths about herself that could keep her from a better dream than she’d ever considered before.

This is a truly sweet story with the misunderstandings of real life and the challenges faced with learning to mature as an adult, tackling real life problems. Throw in a dose of humility and courage and you have a romance that you’ll have a hard time putting down.

My mom really liked this book so I’ll give it five squeaky tennis balls because I’m a dog and that’s how I roll.

Cooper Comments: Operation: Reconnaissance (Book Review)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I’m slacking. I admit it. I am living the life as an only dog and to be honest, with the beautiful summer weather I’m having fun making mom take me on walks. And then DeeDee Lake and her husband Seth came to visit and I fell in love with Seth. He wanted me to go to Colorado with him but I chose to stay with mom because they are moving ot Texas and I used to live there and didn’t want to go back.

So my mom and her friend DeeDee Lake wrote this book in their Rules of Engagement military romance series called Operation: Reconnaissance. Now I have to say I loved this because Rusty, the main character, has a dog! Any book with a dog is aces in my mind. Lola is a sweet Sheba Inu and while she was merely in a supporting role, I thought she did great.

Now as for the story, Rusty falls head over heels for Jane who brings her son Mark who has Down Syndrome to visit Kobbe who was in the last book (Operation: Allegiance) for equine therapy. Whew, did you get all that?

Jane is a widow with some serious trust issues and what will she do with her son when she is deployed? Her friend Harley is no longer in the Army and lives too far away. Her parents and in-laws don’t understand this sweet boy. And Rusty? The man must be bonkers to want to help her.

Rusty to be honest does have some issues from a fall he took many years ago but while he’s an adventure guide and successful businessman who lives in his van, he does listen to God. When God tells him to marry Jane even though she doesn’t believe in God, he obeys.

But how can a romance work when they marry for convenience and in name only, and then are separated for many, many months?

Guess that’s where you’ll need to read the story to find out. The only thing I can tell you for sure is it does have a happy ending (all mom’s books do). Lots of challenges are faced on both sides but somehow love does prevail!

So go get this book and read it because book #4 (Operation: Skirmish) releases in November! And mom said something about really wanting people to write short reviews on Amazon. But only if you like the book.

I’ll give it five tennis balls! Mostly because of Lola but also because I love Seth, and my mom. So help them out, buy the book, write a review and tell others about it!

The Things We Lose Along the Way

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When I was a teenager, all I ever wanted was to sing. I wasn’t the best singer but I had hopes. I remember singing into my hairbrush in the morning before the mirror while getting ready for school, playing my favorite records and jamming along and dreaming of being a famous.

I took band and choir in high school. I thought that when I graduated I would go into communications, because I doubted I’d ever be a “real” singer but I loved to talk and I loved music so voila! DJ it was.

My dad told me DJ’s worked crappy hours and didn’t paid much. So after three years part time to get my associate’s degree, I finally settled on Psychology as I was interested in helping people. I graduated and went for my master’s degree.

Fast forward to graduating and working in a church. I didn’t do counseling right away but during grad school I was working in production, planning our Sunday morning services and our worship services. And I got to sing. My boss and pastor did informe me I was only a “B-team” singer. He was right. I wasn’t committed to working as hard on that as what excellence would require. After a while some friends and I formed a band, Jonah’s Vacation. I was the lead singer. A dream come true. Lots of practice and hard work, very little money being a local Christian cover band.

Well, there I am, with the guys! It’s like it was another lifetime. I loved these brothers in Christ and the creative synergy that occurred when we were together. (RIP Jim Kube)

Eventually between work and having a kid, life got busier and I left the band. I loved those guys and we had a blast and another, much better singer had joined us so they were in good hands.

I ended up working in the field of mental health for years but still sang on worship teams at church and loved that. Then we moved and singing kind of fell to the back burner. Eventually, I would get to sing but for some reason I was asked more to play my guitar, a skill I was mediocre at, and that’s being generous. When a new worship director came to church, I eventually got back into production, working in the booth overseeing everything on the stage and behind the scenes. I was really good at it and enjoyed it.

What I really wanted though was to be on stage. I was needed more in the booth. The worst part of that was, week after week, rehearsals and Sunday, I had to listen to everything. I could not sing or be distracted from my task.

The last time I sang on stage was Good Friday in 2018. I was also playing my guitar and had practiced over and over and over for weeks. During the actual service, I started playing the guitar fine but my mind froze and I couldn’t find my note to start the vocals. The pastor rescued me in that moment and everything went off fine. Except I felt humilitated. Stage fright?

I haven’t sung on stage since.

I met my husband that year and we attend worship together. Now I can at least sing. I’ve had people ask my why I’m not on stage (the few that remember that I have done that). I just can’t bring myself to do it. At least not yet.

Last night I was reminded how much I sacrificed and lost with that dream. I used to sing to my kids all the time, sing in the car, sing around the house but years of silence in the production booth left me almost mute when it comes to singing.

My husband loves to hear me sing. I get self-conscious about it. Am I supporting my voice enough? I can’t remember all the words. I’m out of practice to be sure, so my range isn’t what it could be or used to be.

I want to start playing guitar again and maybe singing along with that. I want to challenge myself to sing more, to find that voice again, and the joy that goes with it. I do sing for my husband sometimes and he loves to hear me during worship. If God and Ben are the only two people to hear my voice, I’m fine with that. Still, it saddens me that even then I don’t sing as much as I used to.

So for me it is singing and what I didn’t cover was a lot of trauma that also accompanied my journey along the way. Some in ministry, some on the home front. That’s behind me now. But it made me wonder, have others found that during the course of life and work and ministry, they left something they loved behind?

If so, what was it and why did it get left behind in the dust of life? Have you pursued finding it again?

I recorded this five years go on YouTube, before I met my husband, had rotator cuff surgery, remodeled a house, married and moved, setting my guitar aside for a long time. I did get to sing this song to my grandmother before she passed away in 2017 so that makes it extra special to me. Thanks to my guitar instructor at the time, Mike Bautz, who helped me get the chords right for this song.

Cooper Comments: Truffles and Traffic (Book Review)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s been some time since I’ve posted but I’ve been busy. Being a dog and taking care of Mom is hard work, especially after she broke her arm in February. Anyway, this is one of her books (again?) and one that has been a long time in coming. As the seventh installment in the Orchard Hills contemporary inspirational series, it was written quite a while ago and do a series of unusual event was delayed in making it into readers hands. Until today. Truffles and Traffic is finally available!

Now Jo March has some skeletons in her closet and after a shoot out on her job as a Wisconsin State Patrol officer, she finds that these nasty beasts are starting to show themselves, especially after she runs into her ex-husband at church of all places. She’s not sure about God but her partner on the force encouraged her to come and since she couldn’t use work as an excuse she humored him.

When Benjamin Elliot spies his ex-wife at church he had already been praying from her healing, since he’d heard about the shooting incident on the news. He’d always loved her and never told Jo the truth of all that happened years ago when their marriage blew up. Now she’s at church and he’s worried that unless he confesses all that happened three years ago, it might be a stumbling block in her coming to know Christ.

Reconciling the past and the present and the stories she told herself about events, as well as the trauma of a shooting lead Jo on a path of discovery. She’d always loved Ben and the hurt had never gone away. When she finally knows the truth will it set her free to pursue God? Will Benjamin’s truffles make the journey all the sweeter?

And what about Ben? What will that do for their “relationship” if there ever is one. Add in her partner Geoff and Benjamin’s sister Molly and you have the makings of some interesting interactions. Can God restore all that was lost years ago and make something fresh and beautiful from the ashes?

You’ll have to read it to find out. I give this story 5 tennis balls because I think it’s that good. And even though I’m and old dog even I can agree that those who serve in law enforcement deserve respect and our prayers. And I’m still waiting for mom to give me a truffle. She says chocolate isn’t good for me. Humph.

The ebook is available now but the print version releases July 7, 2023.

Cooper Comments: Operation: Allegiance (Book Review)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Well, Mom finally is making me write book reviews and ironically she’s making me review a book she co-authored with her friend DeeDee Lake.

I will say that the biggest selling point in a book is 1) my Mom sits and reads so I can snuggle with her and 2) if there is a dog in it. This book excells in both those areas in my opinion (three dogs! Woof!)

Operation: Allegiance is book two in the Rules of Engagement Military Romance series and features Alexandros Sava who is an Army helicopter pilot wounded on the job (but not the kind of battle you might think – no spoilers!) He meets the twin of Brooke who features in book 1, Operation: Camouflage Christmas that came out last year. Kobbe is a twin and little less enamoured of the military lifestyle than her twin sister. So much so that she has vowed to never marry a military man.

God has a sense of humor right? Two individuals set on a path that would automatically keep them apart and yet somehow through as series of events works things out for love to bloom. Not without conflicts and barriers to ultimate happiness the authors work to bring it all out to a wonderful happily-ever-after ending.

I recommend this book highly. It has adventure, angst, family, love, conflict, faith, and suspense at times. And three dogs. Don’t forget the three dogs! Obediah, Lola, and Hunter show up in supporting roles although I admit my puppy dog heart ached for what Hunter endured. Although poodles are kind of silly dogs, I wouldn’t wish that on any dog. He’s OK though so don’t fret. Oh, and check out their Rules of Engagement blog: where they feature real life military stories!

Get this book! I highly recommended it and like my predecessor, Spatzle (RIP) I will give it five bones because I don’t have thumbs either. Or maybe I should give it five squeaky tennis balls? OK that will my thing now since I’m in charge here.

Cooper Comments replaces Spatzle Speaks

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It is hard to write that the author of a blog post has passed away but Spatzle at the glorious age of 13 had dementia which caused a lot of anxiety for him. He passed away peacefully in his mother’s arms at the end of December 2022.

It seems appropriate that this announcement would come out today, which would have been his 14th birthday. He was an awesome dog and missed.

His brother, Cooper, will be taking his place in writing book reviews on this blog. Cooper is doing well being an only dog and enjoys snuggling mom and reading books with her although sometimes he wants belly rubs or to chase after a ball or red dot. We’ll work on getting him an appropriate author photo but for now you can meet our new sweet contributor to this blog. Cooper is a 10-yr-old Lhasa Apso/Shih Tzu mix and also a rescue dog, a goofy boy who is a perfect fit for our family.

Stay tuned!

Writer Wednesday: Barbara Kuhls

Reading Time: 2 minutes
My friend Barbara Kuhls is standing outside with a huge smile on her face from publishing her first book, a real-life story of the special needs adoption of her son.

I want to welcome my friend Barbara Kuhls to my blog. She just released a non-fiction real-life story of the special needs adoption of their son, Ionut, who if you read my blog on Friday, is a special favorite of my dog, Spatzle.

When did you decide to become an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?

I didn’t decide to become a writer. Every time I shared our adoption story (I was often asked), someone would say “you need to write a book.” In July, 2019 I heard God whisper “Now. Write the book.” So, I began to get the stories on paper.

What’s your pet peeve?

Adults making selfish decisions that harm or even negatively affect children.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Doing a “book signing” before I had any books.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Exposing my family and our son’s birth family to the public. Doing it gracefully, protecting their privacy while sharing God’s amazing work in our lives.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

“Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I should not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10.

It doesn’t matter.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

A positive and eager desire by so many to read a book about the miracles of God.


Standby For God; A Fearless Flight Into a Faithful Calling


Barbara Kuhls is an RN with the gifts of mercy, hospitality, and exhortation. With over fifty years experience, her passion is protecting life and mentoring the next generation.  Since responding to God over forty years ago with the words, “Send me,” she has dedicated her life to providing life-affirming choices and support to women in unplanned pregnancies. She invites the reader into a personal adoption journey.

Connect with Barb

Facebook: Standby for God