Tag Archive | God

Spatzle Speaks: Hounded (Anita Klumpers)

houndedFinally, a book about dogs. Could anything be better? Well, the answer is yes, as author Anita Klumpers writes a fascinating tale about dogs called Hounded.

Mom says that’s not true. It’s about a woman.

Really? 

Okay. So it’s about a widow named Elise. She’s not too sad that her stuffy husband croaked. After all she has to dogs to love her. But this is the second husband she’s lost and this one is filthy rich. (Mom says she wished she could relate to that, but I’m content.) And now they think he was murdered and she is suspect number one.

This book is part of a new series by Prism Book Group called “Love is . . .” which is exploring 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. This one looks at “Love is patient.”

An old friend who happens to be a pastor is really patient with Elise. Oh, boy is he patient. But love makes you do weird things from what I understand. I love my mom and dance for her for a treat so I can relate. But the dogs keep getting into mischief and the last thing she wants is to hear about the God who allowed her first husband, who she loved, to die. Life isn’t fair and she was having nothing of a God who orchestrated that.

This is a fast-paced romantic suspense that will keep the reader turning the pages. Anita has a special way with words and obviously with dogs because I kept panting for more. It’s a tail-wagger for sure. I give it five bones because that’s what I do. I’m a dog. I don’t do stars and I lack thumbs.

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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Freed to Forgive (Book Review)

freed to forgiveJulie B. Cosgrove has written two fabulous romantic suspense novels with a plot involving human sex-trafficking. Freed to Forgive is the culmination of those two previous stories. The first was Hush in the Storm followed by Legitimate Lies. Marisol’s story is woven in small nuggets into the two previous books but due to the demands of her readers, Marisol’s journey is finally in print.

Marisol is a young woman being abused by her father and brothers in a small village in Mexico. Anger burns within her so when the opportunity to go to America is presented she believes the lies she’s told and leaves. The journey there is harrowing and she finds herself using the skills she learned in her village to try to save another young slave who is still a virgin. Eventually, however, she finds herself pregnant. She gives up her child hoping it can live a better life. In the process she escapes her captors and strives to live a life free of her shameful past.

Ten years pass and she learns over and over that men are not to be trusted. When Jesse shows interest she struggles to accept that he could truly want to know her and not just use her for her body. She struggles to keep her past hidden but her bitterness and resentment over all that has happened bubbles up to torment her  and keep her stuck. Can God really help her forgive those who abused and trafficked her? And can she really move forward in freedom and the love of a godly man?

This story is an emotionally fraught one filled with some disturbing scenes. Julie does nothing to hide the horrors of all that Marisol and so many others in our own country endure at the hands of modern-day slave-traders. In spite of that she is not gratuitous or unnecessarily explicit in those descriptions but it is good for the reader to be aware. All the instances are necessary for the plot of the book.

The reality of human trafficking in America deserves fiction like this to help us understand the horrors. We all need to step up to stop this tragedy as well as help those either caught in it or recovering from it. Either through prayer, or awareness or engaging further in the fight. I’m glad Julie Cosgrove has had the guts to tell Marisol’s gritty tale. The reality is we are all at times trapped and wounded by the sins of others and the lessons Marisol learns are for us all. God forgives and there is freedom in Christ.

Red Like Crimson (Book Review)

red like crimsonI’ve always loved Janice Thompson’s writing so when I had a chance to snag a free kindle version of Red Like Crimson, I did so and read it at the first opportunity. This book read so easily it felt like a novella but it is a full length novel.

Eight years ago, Adrianne abandoned the man she loved and her education when she discovered she was pregnant. She knew that would ruin Chris’ opportunity to fulfill his dream to go to the mission field. She never told him why she left. Now years later they come face to face when he comes to Pennsylvania for a friend’s wedding. Adrianne knows it’s time to tell him the truth. He has a daughter.

Chris never understood why she left. He finished school and now works as a missionary in Nicaragua and loves it. When he meets Adrianne again old flames kindle to life and he dreams of the possibilities. Confronted by the reality that he’s a father complicates things.

In previous books by Janice Thompson faith has been seamlessly woven in and the characters are whimsical at times and humor abounds. Red Like Crimson is a departure of sorts from that kind of writing style but is no less engaging for digging deeper into spiritual truths and weaving together grace and forgiveness in the wake of sin as well as the power God has to work things to good. I had a hard time putting this one down. It may have lacked the humor of her other books which I had anticipated,  but it definitely did not lack the charm. The disappointment was short-lived as I was swept into the story she wove so skillfully.

Reviving Jules (Book Review)

reviving julesPeggy Trotter loves to take women beaten down by life and resurrect them and hopping into her stories to enjoy the journey is an adventure. This is no less true than with her latest contemporary inspirational romance novel, Reviving Jules.

Believing marriage was forever, Jules Summers is stunned when her’s falls apart. She runs from her church, family and town to lick her wounds in private. And she runs away from the God she believes let it happen. humiliated, depressed and alone, she struggles to survive day by day. When a little girl appears in her backyard, she has no clue that God is showing her just how little He forgets.

Rhett Carsen is the father of the little girl and strikes up a friendship with Jules. He too has been wounded by love-gone-wrong and has vowed to never remarry. But trying to work full-time and care for his precocious daughter when he needs to travel means he needs help.

He enlists the lovely Jules as a nanny since she to be a teacher and has bonded with his daughter. Her life is moorless and his need for help is so great, what could be wrong with a business relationship to ensure that?

The journey these two characters take is heartwarming. I’m not sure why Jules’s journey resonated so much with me but it did and watching her come alive to God, to love and to forgiveness in the wake of all the challenges she faced was a joy to read.

 

For Our Good (Book Review)

For Our Good book coverAuthor Paula Mowery departs from her romantic fiction to add suspense into her latest offering, For Our Good.

Our heroine, Charlie Jarvis has suffered some painstaking losses as a result of her pursuit of drug-traffickers.

After her latest loss she gets an unexpected undercover assignment–back in her hometown where her most painful memories are buried. She returns to do her job and finds herself dismayed that it includes attending a church where suspects might be. She has abandoned her faith a long time ago but is determined to do her job, even if it means sitting in a building where people worship the God who killed everyone she loves.

Colton Thomas is a free-wheeling corporate pilot who is intrigued by the dark-haired beauty.

He’s also tempted by the chance to earn large sums of money delivering packages. His partner, Marshall interferes with this desire much to his frustration. Charlie challenges him in a different way, by making him want to be the kind of man she would want in her life. He’s forced to look harder at his own life and walk with God before he can ever help her with her own.

Charlie likes Colton but struggles with the lies she’s had to tell as part of her undercover work.

Friends she makes in her old hometown shine God’s light with painful regularity and encourage the relationship between the two. But the air needs to be cleared and the drug dealers brought to justice before healing can take place and God can once again restore life, love and faith for them both.

This book is a great look at the power of love and faith, first with God and then in relationship with others.

It confronts the sometimes superstitious thoughts we attach to God when bad things happen, and how we can allow those to keep us from growing closer to Him. I really enjoyed this story and the characters in it. She created an entire group of people to become acquainted with and she deftly tells the tale of more than Colton and Charlie’s journey because the reality is, we never walk this path of faith alone, and Paula illustrates that beautifully.

Available in print and ebook versions.

Interview with Antonio DeLuca

Tony DeLuca from Pesto and Potholes

Tony DeLuca from Pesto and Potholes

I’d like you to meet Antonio “Tony” DeLuca, whose story is featured in the novel Pesto and Potholes, releasing soon!

Tony, how do you feel about your story being told?

I think the book is really more Ren’s story than mine. I’m a little embarrassed to have my failures broadcast to the world like this, but Susan and Renata convinced me that God could use that struggle to help others. In the end it’s all good so I guess I can’t complain.

What do you hope will be the outcome of your story being shared in this way?

I hope men will be inspired to do several things. 1) Treat women with respect. It’s really worth it. 2) Seek accountability. Not a popular concept in our world right now but I don’t know where I would be without the godly men I’ve been meeting with regularly, and 3) Be involved in a good church.

Tell us about Renata.

Whoa. Where do I begin. She’s hot, she’s modest, she’s got a heart that is even more beautiful than her outward appearance because she loves Jesus. I’m so grateful God brought her into my life even though the beginning of our relationship is shadowed in pain.

Do you still battle ninjas?

I never battled them. It was all Renata. She’s amazing. Her compassion and her strength astound me.

What’s up next for you?

Stephanie gets her story told and I’m glad I made a new friend in Roberto. I admire their courage in sharing their journey. I was honored to be there for them both in the process.

Thank you, Tony, or taking the time out of your crazy schedule. One last question though. What’s your favorite song right now?

Anything Ren sings. *laughs* Okay, this is old school. But when I think of my relationship with Renata I think of “Everything I do (I do it for you)” by Bryan Adams. There are some spiritual themes in there although the metaphor is not complete. Love, sacrifice . . . it’s just like Jesus and us, but also the way our love for someone else should be. You can click below but you’ll have to go to YouTube to watch it there.

Thank you, Tony, or taking the time out of your crazy schedule.

No problem. Glad to help. I hope people enjoy the story. I’m kind of partial to the ending myself. *winks*  Susan just told me that the release day might be pushed off for a little bit, but trust me, it will be worth the wait.

Pesto facebook header 2 PicMonkey Collage

Who’s Your Sam?

A few weeks back, I did a talk at our local ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) chapter and challenged my fellow writers with this final question: Who is your Sam?

Let me give you some background.

Life is tough. Duh. You already knew that, didn’t you?

Being a Christian can be a challenging road to walk. Oh, you knew that too? Sorry. Just wanting to establish the facts first.

We need to be immersed in God’s truth, studying His Word and listening to the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides us. This communication however, can be disconnected because of sin. The remedy is simple. We repent, accept Christ’s forgiveness purchased for us at the cross and walk forward His power to accomplish the tasks He has given.

You with me so far?

Life is hard. We need God.

But that’s not all. We need others around us. Let me show you an example:

Now, if you are not familiar with J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, let me give you an overview. Frodo has a ring of power that needs to be destroyed in Mordor. He leaves home, the shire, with three other Hobbits. One is Sam. They end up in Rivendale and become a fellowship of nine all bent on completing this task of destroying the ring. Four hobbits, a wizard, two men, an elf and a dwarf. By the end of that first movie, the wizard is presumed killed and another man is dead and the fellowship is broken up. In spite of that, as the trilogy moves on, Sam is Frodo’s constant companion, protector and in many ways, his salvation. While there are many heroes in the story, it is Sam, a secondary character, who truly gives his all to his friend.

In the hard journey of life and the calling that God can place on our lives, we all need a few Sam’s around us. Some might be a little more distant and still helping us fight on toward our goal, with words of encouragement, a listening ear and prayer. And others will walk more closely, willing to tackle us when we are going to venture into sin and challenge us when we are lost in lies.

We also need to endeavor to be this for other people as well.

So . . . in the story God is writing in your life . . . who is your Sam? You really should have more than one. Frodo had eight who supported him on the journey and one died to protect him. The rest risked death time and again to see the goal accomplished and save Middle Earth.

On the flip side. Who are you a Sam for? Whose life are you speaking truth into, praying for, encouraging. For instance, how about our pastors? They are on the forefront of spiritual battle and need a fellowship of warriors behind them as much as we do if not more.

Let us not forget that God is writing a great story in your life and it is the gospel many people may read before they ever pick up the Bible. And we have some input into the journey by our choices, good or bad. Our mistakes, our failures as well as our successes and how we respond say a lot to others about our relationship wtih God. And much of that can depend on the strength and support of the Sam’s around us.

Tell me about a Sam in your life.