Tag Archive | faith

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.


Spatzle Speaks: Christmas Novel and Two Novellas (Book Reviews)



Christine Schimpf has written a sweet Door County Christmas novel, A Christmas Kind of Perfect,  featuring none other than a best-selling author.  Lila never expected to become a successful writer nor anticipated the heavy cost that her career would bring as she lives her life in New York. Summoned back home to Door County she’s faced with all the good things she left behind, including Conrad.

Conrad regrets not going after Lila and seeing of they could somehow make their relationship work. Now she’s back but he’s already moved on to a new woman who is expecting an engagement ring this Christmas. Meeting Lila again throws him into confusion. Could he possible sacrifice more for the new woman in life or is it possible that he could rekindle a romance with Lila? And if he did, would she abandon him again?

As sparks fly along with the snow, can Lila and Conrad find their way back to a love they left behind years ago and discover a Christmas miracle? A lovely look at the holidays in the beautiful Door County peninsula of Wisconsin.



Gabriel’s Gift is a sweet Christmas Regency Romance by my mom. Last week she released two new novels that were Gothic romances. Let me make it clear that this is not part of that series and this instead is a sweet tale.

Gabriel has moved to his first job as a minister and unexpectedly finds the girl he longed to marry but had lost track of.

Matilda is shocked to find her childhood friend is now pastoring their local church. But the dreams she once had of a future wtih him died when her father took  his life. She is not worthy enough to be the wife of a minister. Finding an abandoned baby in  the church however awakens longings and fears within her about her future.

Gabriel seeks to challenge his new congregation to a vital faith as they celebrate Advent and the coming Christ. All the while he longs to court Matilda but first needs to minister to her heart with the greatest gift of all: God’s grace and the love He showed us all through the birth of a humble child.


This is a sweet holiday novel by Dixie Jarchow, called The Christmas List

Mandy likes to make lists for everything and even has one for choosing a husband. Her goal is keep structure in her life and avoid suprises. This is how she believes she can be truly happy.

Max is spontaneous and loves sculpting. He’s never made a list in his life believing that God is ultimately in control anyway.

When Max finds he has more work than he can handle, he hires Mandy to take care of the paperwork for his business. Yet when love comes calling, she struggles to keep her own emotional accounts in balance, especially around Max.

Somehow they both need to learn from each other: that a little structure can be good, and that maybe God’s list is better than any either of them could come up with. A story about opposites attracting and how can use our strengths to help each other while smoothing out our rough edges, and all with a holiday twist.

I give all three of these stories five bones, because holiday reads are always fun and I’m a dog, I don’t have thumbs.

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


Spatzle Speaks: Lamp Unto Her Feet (Book Review)

Paula Mowery’s latest book, Lamp Unto Her Feet, released in September, and I’m a little behind in getting my reviews posted, so please forgive me. Mom’s been busy on the computer so getting my paws on the keyboard has been a challenge. But this is not a novel you want to miss out on as Ms. Mowery writes a delightful inspirational romance.

Kenzi Murrah is fighting against the expectations of her parents. She has her own dreams that don’t coincide with theirs so what’s a girl to do? Take a job in a town farther away so you can establish your own life independent of your parents’ vision for your future, even though they disagree.

What Kenzi does take with her though is a special Bible from her Nana Nita with notes and verses highlighted for her to follow. The strange thing is the verses have an eerie way of becoming extremely relevant to what is happening in her life.

Trevor Wallen is a police officer in a small Tennessee town, trying to restore a tarnished reputation. he desires to cling to God but longs for a woman to share his faith and life.

As love blooms between the two, difficulties emerge that threaten to keep them apart. Kenzie becomes reluctant to read her Bible for fear of the hard times that may threaten her faith and her new-found love. Trevor just might find his career choice a threat as well.

Together and separately the need to learn to depend on God’s word for any chance at a happily-ever-after.

This is a sweet story of the trials and travails of love and the real-life challenges that come to force us to grapple with our faith. Ms. Mowery paints those themes with beauty and grace and I will gladly give this novel 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: Picking Daisy (Book Review)

My mom was at it again, falling in love with someone’s work that I had to bark at her just to play tug-of-war. Apparently, Kimberly Miller’s debut novel, Picking Daisy is a great read so you might want to check it out. Here’s what I know about the book.

First of all, let’s start with that rock-star boy on the cover. Robby Grant has come to the end of the earth with addictions time and again and now, out of recovery finds that his band will have nothing to do with him. They want to have someone else sing his songs on tour, leaving him reeling in the dust. Then his uncle takes a tumble and his super-human military brother shames him into going to do something worthwhile for a change and helps someone else out.

Daisy Parker lives her life from a wheelchair and struggles emotionally with the severe after-effects of what put her there (no spoilers!) The last thing she needs is an irresponsible rocker to enter her world even though her neighbor and best friend (Robby’s uncle) thinks she should marry the guy she’s never met.

She finds that when Robby shows up, she’s able to look past the tattooed, arrogant exterior to see someone who is also hurting. So she offers to help him.

Robby is shaken by this beautiful woman. He really doesn’t see the wheelchair but is intrigued by the character of the lady sitting in it who challenges him in gentle ways.

A group of friends and the paparazzi complicate their relationship and before long a friendship born of woundedness and a mutual love of music flourishes into a romance as both challenge each other to grow in ways neither could have imagined.

As he pushes Daisy out of her comfort zone, can he be the man she needs, especially when she finds out just how he betrayed her? And can Daisy really learn to trust a man again, especially a man with such an unstable past whom she’s grown to love and care for?

This is a great read and a creatively told story with depth of emotion as and the painful reality of dealing with the consequences of their sins as well as the sins of others. Forgiveness and love can be the sweet song of the soul after all and Kimberly Miller weaves these themes in beautifully to a happily-ever-after ending.

I give this book five bones, because I’m a dog and I don’t do stars.

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

Spatzle Speaks: Her One and Only (Book Review)

My mom’s been incredibly busy so imagine my surprise when she actually sat down to read a book that wasn’t part of work. She said she’d been wanting to read Becky Wade’s novel Her One and Only for months but hadn’t had a chance to get to it. She fell in love with Becky’s writing style when she read My Stubborn Heart which she dared to review without me. Anyway, she did it. Once she picked up the book and settled into her favorite chair I had to bark to remind her that I needed some of her attention as well.

Gray Fowler is an NFL superstar but death threats have led to his team putting him under protection. The only problem is that Dru Porter, a former marine, is too beautiful a woman for Gray to not be interested in…and she is assigned to him for several shifts every week. He tweaks her and she slowly starts to understand the secrets he’s hidden even from himself. As attraction grows between the two, the threat escalates and Gray finds that he can’t stand the thought this woman whom he’s come to admire, could possibly die to save him.

When Dru realizes she’s too close emotionally to her client she takes the high road and tells her boss, knowing that she’ll be removed from protective duty. She’s determined to find the person threatening him even as their relationship steams up. Her family is not on board with a Mustang tight-end dating the youngest child in the family (since they are Cowboy fans), and Dru becomes afraid her heart is going to get hurt if Gray can’t settle his issues with God and admit to his real feelings. I won’t say anything more lest I spoil the journey these characters take to their happily-ever-after.

Mom loved how these two strong characters bantered and grew in their relationship. Doesn’t hurt that Dru also has a dog, Fi (as in Semper Fi, she was a Marine, remember?). That alone makes the book five bones from my perspective. But you should read it yourself to see if you agree or not. 

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

Spatzle Speaks: Bratwurst & Bridges (Book Review)

My mom loves to write books and she write the rough draft of this one two years ago. She even asked for prayer for when she wrote it. I had to bark to get her attention so make sure I could get outside. Bratwurst & Bridges was a consuming story.

What surprises me is how much of my mom is in this story – her heart. I don’t think she even realized just how much of her is in there. But as her dog, I know.

Pastor Dan’s wife died, and along with losing his best friend, and partner in life, he lost his chance to be a father. His wife had and he had lost several babies due to miscarriages and they had just begun to consider adoption. But now she was gone. A year later, he still grieved but had buried himself in ministry. Finally his boss, Senior Pastor Andrew, forced Dan on a leave of absence to get help and focus on his grief.

It’s not easy for a helper to get help. It takes courage. Could Dan do this? Or would he quit and walk away from ministry?

He’d sold his house and associated memories and moved into a new apartment. A single mom with two rambunctious children lives across the hall. Skye knows about God but doesn’t believe He would be interested in her, but since the handsome pastor has moved across the hall, she finds that her art has changed and she starts to ask him questions.

Zumba, skiing and true love? Can a single mom help a grieving pastor heal? Guess you’ll have to read it to find out! I give it five bones because it’s an awesome story and the way she weaves grief and new life and love together is wonderful. Not that I’m biased because the author is my mom…

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

Interview with Dan and Skye from Bratwurst & Bridges

With my latest installment in the Orchard Hill Romance series: Bratwurst & Bridges, due to release on the 28th, I thought it’d be fun to interview my two main characters in the story: Pastor Dan Wink and Skye O’Connell.

Dan, what did you first think about Skye when you met her? 

Dan: I admit she was a puzzle to me – the hair, the clothes, and those silly, fuzzy pink boots? Didn’t help that her son ran and hid in my apartment.

Same question for you, Skye? 

Skye: I confess I  watched him through the peephole in my door as he moved in. I was impressed by how good he looked. Imagine my shock when I found out he was a pastor. Really? I guess I unconsciously absorbed that beauty, even more, when I met him face to face. I was a mess and my kids were acting up…not the best, fuzzy booted foot to put forward in meeting a man, even if I wasn’t looking for a relationship.

Dan: Even though she irritated me that day, I do admit I found her kind of cute.

Skye: Really?

Dan: (blushes and nods)

What made you take a step further in the relationship beyond strangers living across the hall? 

Skye: I guess having gone through my own share of hard times, my heart went out to him when I saw how sad he often was. And strange things started happening since I first met him.

Dan: She kept asking questions and when I realized that first of all she had a tender, caring heart, and was lost as far as faith goes, I figured God had moved me there to be a light in her darkness in spite of the stifling grief that weighed me down.

Skye: I didn’t make it easy. I kept asking pesky questions.

Dan: And she never hesitated to call me out on my own hypocrisy. I gotta admit her compliments took me by surprise too.

Skye: Why? Surely you realize just how gorgeous you are?

Dan: (shrugs) I didn’t grow into my looks until I was out of high school and before that I was bullied because of my unusual eyes. I met Sharon and we were an item. I guess it was easier to just think she told me those things because she loved me. And I found it hard to embrace my appearance given how often people discounted my ability to minister effectively because of it.

Skye: Well, it certainly didn’t hurt where I was concerned.

Dan: (chuckling). You mean given that you couldn’t stop painting pictures of me?

Skye: (blushing) Well, you were a good subject for my art.

Skye, you mentioned that strange things started happening after you met Dan?

Skye: Yeah. Weird things. My paintings changed. And he was so nice to me. I’d never met any one who did nice things without some kind of ulterior motive.

Dan: She had a difficult time believing that God loved her and that was reason enough for me to be nice to her and help her when I was able.

It was a long time before you went on a date. Why?

Skye: Dan had these rules…

Dan: Principles or boundaries might be better words.

Skye: Fine. Initially, he wouldn’t talk to me in my apartment or his. So we’d have conversations in the hallway, or at the YMCA or sometimes over coffee at the local coffee shop. Always in public. Initially, I thought it was because he didn’t trust me. I finally realized he was not only protecting his reputation but me as well. It didn’t understand it all at first, but now I’m grateful because I know I can trust him. He’s a man of integrity and that was something new for me to encounter.

Dan: Well, Titus is as well.

Skye: True, but I wasn’t interested in Titus.

Dan: (grins and bumps her shoulder with his) I’m grateful for that.

How do you feel about your story releasing? 

Skye: I really love the cover.

Dan: You would. Why couldn’t you have put her on the cover? Fuzzy pink boots and all

Skye: Would you leave my boots out of this? I like them. They are warm and comfortable.

Dan: I’ve grown to like your boots. (eyebrows wiggle).

Skye: Good, because I’m not giving them up. Besides, you’re hot. I have to share you with an entire congregation so you can be on a book cover. Me? I kind of prefer being in your shadow.

Dan: Fair enough. If it makes you happy.

What did you learn most from your journey? 

Dan: That grief was keeping me from embracing all that life still had to offer me. And that I can move on and love and laugh and that is not a betrayal of the love I had for Sharon.

Skye: I learned about God’s grace and Dan was definitely Jesus with skin on as the saying goes. I’m grateful that God gave me far more than I had ever dreamed of for me and my children. I never expected God would use a handsome neighbor to shake my unbelief and transform my art and my heart by the power of His Holy Spirit. I’m sure glad He did.


Thanks for joining us! I hope you enjoyed getting to know Dan and Skye a little better without spoilers for their story releasing in a few days!