Tag Archive | fire

Spatzle Speaks: Sparks of Love (Book Review)

sparks-of-loveSpatzle the Maltese here (in case you’re new to my reviews). Sparks of Love is a novel of love and faith by Mary Ball.

Once upon a time, a young adult was accused of a crime. She left her past and her faith behind when her small town continued to judge her in spite of her innocence. Her father calls to let her know he found proof that would clear her name. He’s interrupted before he can share the news.

Her father dies before he can do so and Lynette Cunningham is forced to return to settle the estate and decide what to do next in her life. An old friendship is resurrected and a local pastor has his sights set on her. She’s determined to get through all the stuff her father saved and hopefully find the proof of her innocence her father mentioned. A series of accidents begin to make the process difficult.

The handsome young pastor also challenges her buried faith as she digs up memories. As love grows danger increases. Lynette is challenged to rethink much of what she thought she knew about her old life.

This is a book of grief and broken trust that is restored through faith and friendship. A compelling journey and a worthy read. I give it five bones because I’m a dog. I don’t do stars.

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

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

 

5 bones for blog

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Brave New Century (Book Review)

Brave new century final coverBrave New Century is a lovely quartet of four novellas. Four women in search of their identity in the new century, 1900. The time is filled challenges, triumphs and responsibilities. Four stories. Four lives. Four loves. (Click here for a link to the print version of the book)

In the first story, Three Rings for Alice, Lisa Lickel highlights Alice Smith’s struggles to be a modern woman. Orphaned, she has to make her own way in the world and in a time when women are just coming into the workforce, it is fraught with uncertainty. Vowing to never marry, time and a secret love changes her mind with a decision to marry for no less than love. Even if the one she loves is only known as a voice on the telephone.

Paula Mowery’s tale, Forgiven, brings us Jessie Lee Capelle who wonders if she will ever have a loving family. When she meets laborer Henry Smith her dreams look like they will come true. When a surprising twist of history is revealed, can their love withstand the truth. Can they forgive?

In The Pocket Watch, Kathleen Rouser weaves a tale of Isabel Jones, an orphan in Detroit Michigan who’s only real desire is to know who her parents were. An accident brings her into the world of Dr. Daniel Harper and a pocket watch brings them together even as a special ring, left by Isobel’s mother, threatens to reveal terrible truths. Can love withstand these obstacles?

Teena Stewart tells the final story, Flames of Hope.  Lily McMinn’s Irish family operates a thriving mercantile n San Francisco. She enjoys visits by Gideon Light, a police officer. When a  violent earthquake destroys much of the city, countless people die. The crippled fire department is helpless to fight multiple fires raging out of control. Can Lily and her family survive the tragedy with the help of Gideon?

Love, romance, history. Four different stories but with these uniting themes. Step back in time and enjoy the journey these four women make. You’ll be glad you did.

Take a Chance on Me (Book Review)

take a chance on meI have to admit, that I keep hearing that silly Abba song when I think of this title. Susan May Warren’s romance, Take a Chance on Me is not the fluff of an Abba song though. It is instead a complex and well written tale of five people told from four points of view.

Yeah, because one character is dead. Kind of hard for her to talk.

Darek Christiansen has a heavy burden as a man who gave up his dream career when his wife, Felicity died a tragic death. Not only does he grieve his mistakes as a husband and father, but he carries a huge weight of anger and resentment towards his best friend, Jensen.

Ivy Madison is new to town and as high hopes that this will be the place where she can, for once in her life, put down roots and feel like she belongs. She makes an outrageous bid for a bachelor in a charity auction that turns out to be the surly Darek who is not interested in a relationship.

As Ivy’s role in the sentencing of Jenson three years ago, for the alleged crime of killing Darek’s wife unfolds, so does a romance between Jepsen and Claire who was Felicity’s best friend.  Darek falls for Ivy but soon burns in anger against her in her role as Assistant District Attorney results in his son being removed from his home.

As a fire heads for their little town in northern Minnesota, will all the relationships burn to ash as well?

This story is so multi-faceted. Felicity, although dead, is a viable presence throughout this novel. Older folks prove to be valuable mentors and encouragers as the younger adults struggle with love and their faith in God.

This was the first book I ever read by Susan May Warren but I doubt it will be the last.

Resentment

I love it when Scripture, speakers and other readings all combine with what the Holy Spirit is telling me – that clinging to resentment is the greatest evil I face right now in my life. And I have found it to be true, that when I can set that aside, and live in the gratitude and love of my King, that even when I am faced with inexplicable “blues”, I can have far greater peace.

“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psa 107:1 ESV)  That phrasing occurs 16 times in Scripture.  Thanks – because of our Lord’s steadfast love.  Gratitude. For. Unchanging. Immovable.  LOVE.

I am not always there.  So often I want to sit and stew in my anger and resentment at the injustice of my circumstances.  Focus on all the things I want and don’t have (and may never have), instead of focusing on God’s work in and through me, in spite of and maybe even because of my challenges. Because He loves me enough to not let me stay where I am.

Do I really want to resent His perfect work in my life?  As an all consuming fire He often uses pain and suffering to burn off the chaff so I can move forward in His grace and the freedom only He offers. He does this because I am His child and He loves me. So I need to choose between stewing in my resentment or dwelling in gratitude and His arms of love.

My situation and challenges may be unchanged.  But with God’s help – I will be changed.  And for that- I am grateful.

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb 12:28-29 ESV)