Tag Archive | inspirational

Spatzle Speaks: Ponder This Novella Collection

My mom had this idea to have authors write a series of romance novellas based on Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (English Standard Version).  It became the PONDER THIS series because WHATEVER sounded too cavalier.

So with a little bit of encouragement, eight authors put forth their efforts and viola, a series was born. It releases this month with two novellas a week, but they are available for pre-order. It would be hard to review them all here so let me give you some highlights for each!

Whatever is True:  Everything About Us by Lisa J. Lickel

Contemporary Romance. Danny Winston wants it all, his dream job and the woman his heart desires, Shelly, who helped make his dreams come true. But things are falling apart and it threatens his future. Shelly isn’t sure she can quit California and move to rural Wisconsin. A horrible secret might ruin it all. Soon another enemy rises up to try to sabotage them, can love prevail when the truth is revealed?

Whatever is Honorable: Field of Forget-me-nots by Rachel James

Historical British Romance. Ana is about to lose her home when her patron dies. She is without home or fortune. Mr. Luke Renshow finds that Ana is an important part of the inheritance his aunt wishes for him. He agrees to a marriage of convenience but soon discovers that Ana is worth more than that. Can he swallow his pride and do the honorable thing?

Whatever is Just: To Complicate Matters by Linda Widrick

Contemporary Romantic Comedy. Angelica Dunn is a baker, and for some reason, when around Thaddeus Wright, a bit of a klutz. Thaddeus is drawn to Angelica, but his secret job with the CIA might just ruin any chances of a match between them.  When she leaves an embarrassing voice mail and tries to remove the evidence, the secrets mount and doing the right thing might lead to justice for criminals, but cost her a chance at love.

Whatever is Pure: Charlotte’s Dilemma by Susan Karsten

Regency Romance. Charlotte was a victim of a London scandal, but society blamed her. As a result, her parents banished her to a remote area to teach school. No family. No friends. A small cottage with barely the basic amenities. Life looked bleak until the school’s handsome patron took an interest in her. Any budding relationship is threatened by a new scandal that breaks around her again.

Whatever is Lovely: A Perfect Fit by Christine Schimpf

Contemporary Romance. Hannah is disappointed when her boyfriend doesn’t propose marriage. The relationship over, she vows to wait on God for a man and takes a new job teaching at a Christian school. She runs into Matt who is an attractive teacher and has a poor history of sticking with one woman. When the two of them meet they become friends determined not to be romantic, but things are about to change when Hannah’s old love comes to reinsert himself into her life.

Whatever is of Good Repute: Buttonholed by Anita Klumpers

Contemporary Southern Romance. A southern rivalry brings Manderley Jessup back to her Tennessee hometown where an old dual, a secret past crush, a forbidden romance, and a news crew are all raising up old ghosts from the past. Will her old rival, Abram Coventry work with her to overcome the issues tearing this town apart? Can a special, hand-crafted button design make a difference?

Whatever is Excellent: Lucy in Love by Kimberly M. Miller

Contemporary Romance. Lucy is doing well with her bakery and her family and friends are great. Her heart is broken over a failed engagement. When a music store opens next door she finds that the hunky guitar player in the band that runs the store, might just be a blast from her past. Henry has loved Lucy for years and when he meets her again he loses his balance. He used to be heavy and he’s lost weight and has been a magnet for the hot girls. Can and old flame be fanned into a new love? Could she trust a man again? Is the old Henry still there in spite of the current trappings of his success?

Whatever is Praisworthy: This Worthy Heart by Dixie Jo Jarchow

Contemporary Romance. Celestina’s romance with Jason is on the outs with a small stroke she’s suffered. No permanent damage but still, a threat to her happiness. As she works to win Jason back, an adorable puppy is dropped in her lap. Through a series of misfortunes, she develops a relationship with the hospital chaplain who talks to her of faith and disapproves of Jason. Cele is ordered by Jason to get rid of the dog. Can she have her happiness with the wealthy up and coming Jason, or does it entail the more humble pastor and a puppy?

 

Think on (Ponder!) these things.

My mom had a blast working with these authors to bring this series about and we both hope you’ll enjoy each and every one! I can’t pick a favorite although the last one does have a cute dog in it!

I give each 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 Book Reviews

I’m back! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Mom doesn’t usually want me playing on her computer. She’s afraid I’ll post something embarrassing on Facebook as if I could do better than she does with that?

Next week three fabulous Christmas novellas are releasing and they are already available for preorder so get yours now!. Well, to be honest, there are more, but these are the only three I’m personally acquainted with, and since mom is so nice, I’m even including hers on this list.

Clear As Ice by Penelope Marzec

Marzec takes Haylie, a former Olympic ice skater with a stalker and a fear of dogs and matches her up with Ethan, a paramedic with serious issues with Christmas and God. The dog, Rufus, is the real star of this story as he is the ultimate matchmaker for these two. This immediately gains it five bones in my book, because I’m pro-dog because I am a dog. Haylie is afraid of relationships but finds that the handsome paramedic keeps showing up in her life, mostly because of his dog. Can Ethan break down the barriers to her heart and can Haylie help restore his faith in God and the wonder of Christmas in his?

Crazy Creek Christmas by Lisa J. Lickel

Leah Hane’s is without roots. She finds a job working as a cook at the Rocking J Ranch in Crazy Creek, Wyoming. This ragtag bunch of cowboys need more than good meals though. She quickly finds herself needed and helping them in a variety of ways as they strive to save the ranch from being sold.

Noel Johnsen is the legitimate heir to the property, or so he thinks. His family was lost in a horrific accident and Christmas brings up bad memories of that loss. He wants to ditch his family’s homestead but his brother-in-law who had been running the place is reluctant and the new cook they hired keeps butting her nose in where it’s not wanted. Soon more than the land is at stake…but his heart as well.

I love this ranch story. I love the outdoors and running around outside so I was for them keeping the ranch. You’ll have to read the story to find out what they do. I loved it.

Sugar Cookies and Street Lamps by Susan M. Baganz

A young woman, Noelle, hates Christmas and is paired up with an investment advisor in creating a magical gala for his company. He loves Christmas and soon finds himself attracted to the woman he’s helping out in creating his companie’s big holiday event.

Boy do I know about Wisconsin winters. I love the snow and we’ve already had plenty for me to jump around it. Mom thinks it’s funny becuase I can’t stand rain, or a bath. Regardless, this Christmas romance is sweet and mom included the family sugar cookie recipe at the end and I personally can vouch for how tasty those are.

My perspective:

All of these stories are worthy reads, so get them now and then do your dog a favor and snuggle up with them for a good Christmas reading time, hot chocolate optional. I give each story five bones, because I’m a dog and and I don’t have thumbs.

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

Spatzle Speaks: Rust (Book Review)

When I discovered Corbin Bernsen wrote a novel, Rust, published by Pelican Book Group, my mom decided she wanted to read it and I am thrilled that she did because it’s hard to for her to relax and I got more snuggles.

Rust is based on a movie by the same name and she’s waiting to see the movie as she absorbs the beautiful words that were penned by the famed actor.

This is an inspirational novel regarding a crisis of faith in the life of a former pastor, James Moore. When he discovers his childhood friend, Travis, has been implicated in starting a fire that killed a family of four. Travis has some emotional/mental differences from the rest of the town, and had been James’s best friend as a child.

Coming home forces James to deal with not only the wounds in his soul, but his family and the entire town. A pastor’s heart is tugged repeatedly by the pain of those around him as he struggles to believe in a God that has seemingly stopped communicating with him. The pastor is turned detective as he believes his childhood friend could never have committed the crime he’s being convicted of.

With the complexity of heart and soul-searching in the character of James Moore, and the complications of relationships from the past make investigating a deadly arson of a family he’d never met a challenge. Written only from the perspective of James Moore the author digs deep into the angst of spiritual and emotional unrest with well-written clarity that makes this novel hard to put down and increases my mom’s respect for an actor she already admired. The book taps into the struggle many Christian’s struggle with not always hearing God’s clear voice when struggling with faith.

This book is a well-written, compelling tale and highly recommended. I give it 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: Parhelion (Book Review)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Parhelion the latest release by Lisa J. Lickel but my mom was instantly gripped by the story and struggled to put the book down. She’s been busy so I’ve gotten extra snuggle time as she’s stayed up late reading in the middle of the night.

The main character, Maeve is in love with Harry, who is often referred to as Prince Harry. He is a former Air Force test pilot. Captain Harry is out of the service and has fallen for Maeve but he has a secret.  When he first made her acquaintance it was for another purpose.

Life on earth is reaching a critical stage where it might soon result in the death of billions. A few communities of select individuals have been preparing for this outcome for many years, and Meave is critical to their plan because she possesses something unique. Harry needs her to join the program but not just for how she can help – but also because he wants her for his wife and if a group leave the planet, he wants her with him on the journey.

The process of getting ready is riddled with complications within the community and from without and Maeve has a choice to make. Harry even struggles with the rules, or lack thereof for this new world, a space station, they would be populating. How does one make a choice when the end of civilization on earth is the only other option?

This book is written primarily from the points of view of Maeve and Harry in alternating chapters. It kept my mom on her toes wondering just what would happen next. Multi-layered and well-written it is a book that my mom strongly recommends. I give it 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: The Commandment (Book Review)

Anna Kittrell is a wonderful author of young adult fiction that even adults will love. The Commandment is a perfect example of her excellent storytelling.

In the science-fiction fantasy world Kittrell creates, everyone is mandated to get vaccinated with SAP (Serum to Advance Progressivism). It is a formula designed to erase God from the mind. When Briar was 7 her body rejected the vaccine and she’s been on house arrest ever since.

She’s about to become a legal adult and her body continues to reject the SAP injections. She is now ordered by the Commandment, to be institutionalized at ARC – a facility where tortures are rumored to occur. A last minute opportunity to become the object of an experimental subject of a new God-dissolving serum. She decides to take the risk but fears what losing God would mean to her. But anything would be better than spending the rest of her life imprisoned at ARC.

The relationship that develops between the young man in charge of the potentially life-changing serum along with his brother, nephew and assistant, (and a dog! Yay!) make the process even more complicated. Will God finally be erased or will the Commandment rule them all?

Filled with suspense and great relational tension, this book is a fun read with a surprising ending. I highly recommend it. My mom doesn’t normally read this type of book but really enjoyed it which meant more snuggles for me. I give this book 5 bones, as I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

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

 

Spatlze Speaks: Black Friday and Black Diamond Gothic Regencies (Book Reviews)

There must be some odd coincidence that the Black Diamond Gothic Regency series by my mom, would release on Black Friday with a special bonus! Now, as a dog can I just say I find it clever that the author, who happens to be my mom, put an animal in each of these books as a supporting role? In the first three there features a parrot, a dog, and a talking crow! I won’t tell you which appears where, you’ll have to read them to find out.

THE BARON’S BLUNDER

First of all let’s just remember that  The Baron’s Blunder which released last year, re-releases today for FREE and with a new cover and fresh revisions. How cool is that? The story is a prequel to the series and introduces us to the evil Black Diamond who becomes a nemesis to Lord Marcus Remington’s friends and family.

The Honorable Henrietta Allendale, sister to Lord Remington, is unbeknownst to her brother acting as a spy for the War Office at Whitehall. When she runs into Lord Charles Percy she suspects something is off with the man who introduces himself originally as “Mr.” Percy instead. And she didn’t need him to save them from a highwayman. She was perfectly capable of dispatching the criminal herself.

As the couple verbally spar she shows her abilities and uncovers his lie. Can she trust a man who would deceive her so, even though it was to avoid a title-seeking debutant of which she was most definitely not. But something about the handsome lord intrigues her.

Lord Percy was adverse to marriage until he met Miss Allendale. But courtship must take a back seat to keeping her alive from the minions of the Black Diamond who now have her as their target simply because she was seen with him. Can he save her and win her heart at the same time? Or will they all lose the greatest treasure of all, love?

THE VIRTUOUS VISCOUNT

The first full-length novel in The Black Diamond Gothic Regency series is The Virtuous Viscount.  Lord Marcus Remington has decided it is time to find a wife. He didn’t expect her to be in the wreckage of a carriage in the middle of a spring storm, but rescuing Miss Josephine Storm challenges his heart and very character of the man known as the Virtuous Viscount. But when the injured young woman weighs heavy on the viscount’s mind, convention goes out the window.

As Miss Josephine Storm recovers her physical health, her heart is in even more danger. When The Black Diamond’s plot to take over Britain puts Marcus and his friends in the criminal’s cross-hairs, Josie’s life is threatened. Marcus must chance losing her good favor and risk his virtuous reputation in order to save her life. Can Josie believe in the man she thought she knew when the facts say otherwise?

 

LORD PHILLIP’S FOLLY

The second full-length novel in The Black Diamond Gothic Regency series also releases today! Lord Phillip’s Folly features the first of Lord Remington’s friends to find himself faced with the challenges of love and courtship.

No good deed goes unpunished.Lord Phillip Westcombe is a younger son and sufficiently independent. He has no need upset his tidy life with the messiness of love, but when he comes to the rescue of the lovely Lady Elizabeth Follett, and the two are found in a compromising position, his life takes an unexpected turn. Barely knowing each other, they are forced to wed.

Embarking on a new life they must learn to trust God as they face an evil which threatens their lives and the security of the British Empire. Will the minions of the Black Diamond–the bounder who owns the soul of Elizabeth’s father–succeed in their evil plans? Will Phillip and Elizabeth’s new love and faith survive the test that awaits them? Or will they all fall to the Black Diamond?

I strongly recommend all three of these books and there are three more to come in 2018! Sir Michael’s Mayhem, Lord Harrow’s Heart, and The Captain’s Conquest. And all feature an animal as part of the supporting cast including a ferret, a kitten, and a sheep? Yes! All these books get five bones because I’m biased and these books are by my mom!

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

Spatzle Speaks: A Shattered Image (Book Review)

I’ll admit I’m a sucker for a good romantic suspense because Mom cuddles up to me more as she reads them. This debut novel, Through a Shattered Image by Linda Widrick is a winner in that category.

First of all let’s just put a young woman, Karina into a Witness Protection program under a new name, Leah. She’s never met her handler and they only talk on the phone. She doesn’t realize that the job she chose puts him in the precarious position of also being her employer. But what a better way for a US Marshal to keep his charge safe?

Phillip didn’t anticipate the complication of falling in love with his employee, as she confesses to him her attraction for her boss when they talk on the phone, about her loneliness and the challenges of adapting to living a life that’s a lie. And she doesn’t know the truth about him or her boss… who are one and the same person also living a lie.

Add to the mix some criminals and an unknown twin who is searching for her sister, a plane crash, and a kidnapping of Phillips young child, and you have a multi-layered story filled with love, passion, frustration, and new dreams for a future for all the main characters.

I strongly recommend this novel as it has everything a good read requires to keep you riveted to the page and waiting to see if Leah and Phillip could possibly overcome their obstacles to reach a happily-ever-after. 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.