Tag Archive | inspirational

Spatzle Speaks: Summer of Deception (Book Review)

Summer of Deception is Elva Cobb Martin’s debut romantic suspense novel set in the south.

Now, of course, as a dog, I’m grateful for the dogs that are in here. That right there makes it a five bone review book. But I suspect most of you reading are not dogs, so let me tell you what this story is about at least regarding the humans.

Rachel York is escaping a bad relationship and seeking to uncover the truth regarding the death of her brother who worked for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). She doesn’t believe he’s really dead. She’s found a job at a historic Charleston tea plantation but when she arrives, the man who hired her is dead and the grandson has no clue she was coming. Would God bring her this far to fail her now?

Luke Barret is a widowed and wounded Marine Corps Special Forces operative who has returned home with an eye patch making him more like a grumpy pirate than the owner of a southern tea-plantation. Handsome but untrusting, he’s suspicious of Rachel but allows her to stay on trial as a nanny to his young daughter whom he adores.

Rachel revels in the beauty and history of her temporary home and looks for ways to contact her brother’s partner to uncover the truth. But strange things are happening on the plantation and she begins to wonder if the honorable and grumpy owner might not be involved in nefarious activities (are you impressed that a dog like me knows a word like that?). In spite of that, she finds herself attracted to the brooding, temperamental owner of the plantation.

Luke is finding his own heart melted and lost faith rekindled by the feisty nanny, but suspect she has secrets of her own. When love is about to bloom a hurricane comes and craziness ensues. Is her brother really alive? Does Luke love her, or is he really a drug smuggler. With all the secrets kept, can love survive the turmoil?

Prism Book Group, an imprint of Pelican Book Group, did a fabulous job on the cover as well.

Elva weaves a complex and beautifully told tale. You an almost experience the wonder of this place. Filled with emotion and suspense it is a tale you are sure to enjoy. Sure made my tail wag, so I give it five bones, because I’m a dog.  I don’t have thumbs and don’t do stars.

Right now Summer of Deception is 50% off both print and ebook versions, but that won’t last long. You have to click the red lined link to get to that page. 

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

Interview with Nikolos Acton from Feta & Freeways

uomoI’m excited. Feta & Freeways was the third book in my Orchard Hill Romance series but in a couple of weeks Root Beer & Roadblocks releases. I figured it would be nice for you to get to know my leading man, Nikolos Acton. He leads vocals and plays acoustic guitar for a band called Specific Gravity. Welcome, Niko!

Niko: Thanks for having me. I thought this was going to be an interview with the full band?

Susan: I decided to interview you alone.

FetaandFreewaysCover copyNiko: Alone. Hard to be that way traveling around the country with a bunch of guys.

Susan: Guys?

Niko: Oh, and Tia, she’s our manager.

Door opens. Johnny Marshall, Niko’s cousin Johnny peeks in.

Johnny: What’s  going on?

Susan: I’m interviewing Niko about the book Feta & Freeways .

Johnny: I really liked that story.

Niko: Only because you got me into trouble with Tia.

Johnny: You deserved it, being so blind to her all those years.

Niko: I will get you back.

Johnny: (laughing) I’m sure you’ll try.

Susan: Boys…interview?

Johnny: So Niko, what lesson did you learn in this story?

Susan: Johnny–

Johnny sits down next to Niko and nudges him in the shoulder. 

Niko: No. That’s okay. It’s a good question. I think I realized I was taking a lot for granted in my life. God had blessed me and I acted almost entitled to that. I didn’t really lack anything.

Johnny: And then you almost lost the most important thing.

Curly young woman portrait, outdoors, close-up, positive attitude, smiling.

Niko: She is amazing, isn’t she? I’m glad I had another chance. I’m glad that I got a happily ever after.

Johnny: For now… life does go on, you know, filled with ups and downs.

Niko: You know that better than anyone.

Johnny: Right, like your relationship with Tia was a walk in the park.

Niko: We took a few walks . . .

Johnny: Do you think we’ll get back to touring again?

Niko: Kind of depends on what happens with you.

Johnny :(frowns) Yeah, well I had my shot at happiness and blew it. I’ve given up on those dreams.

Niko: I don’t think God’s given up on you, though. Tia and I don’t plan to let you give up.

rootbeerandroadblocks_300Susan: When I finished Feta &  Freeways I was surprised at the curve ball that had come Johnny’s way so I was compelled to write him his own story. I called it Root Beer & Roadblocks. While Johnny goes through some difficulties I can promise He gets a happily ever after ending. Wanna see your book cover, Johnny? I thought my publisher did an awesome job.

Johnny: Sure. Why not? I look forward to hearing about what journey you took me on. Wow. I like that cover. I remember Tia giving me shades to wear and that stocking cap. She didn’t want me to outshine my cousin, Niko.

Niko: Give it up. She always loved me best anyway.

Johnny: Who? Tia or Susan?

Niko: Well, Tia of course, loved me best. But Susan? Susan, who do you love best?

bassista si esibisce al mare<Susan has left the room> 

Johnny: Obviously me. Had to be me.

Niko: I wouldn’t be so sure about that.

Johnny: Has to be – she saved the best story for last.

Niko: You do realize she’s written other books after this, right? And neither of us are the main characters?

Johnny: No way. Susan? Where did she go? Susan? Come on. You love me best, right?

Note: Burlap to Cashmere was the inspiration for the story – as were the lead singer Steven and his cousin Johnny (although Johnny usually plays guitar he does some keys in this video). You’ll also see Theodore here, their drummer. This is a song from them off their self-titled album where you can see – and hear the amazing vocals. 

 

Spatzle Speaks: The Final Ride (Book Review)

cover proofLinda Yezak has finally released the follow-up to Give the Lady a Ride and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Mom was given an advanced copy to read and could not put The Final Ride down. After all, we all love cowboy stories, don’t we? My only complaint is there was no dog on that ranch. What’s up with that?

Patricia’s friend Marie is away on her honeymoon. Talon longs to marry Patricia but she’s hesitant because of the betrayal of her previous husband. He’d lied to her. She believes Talon would never do that but if he did, it could be a deal breaker for their relationship. Her aunt arrives to try to tempt her back to New York and life on the ranch gets chaotic. Romance and time alone with her beau become scarce.

Talon is faced with a dilemma. He’s a bull-rider but his last ride left him injured and recovery was hard. In the meantime he’s fallen in love with Patricia, the owner of the ranch he works for. Patricia is an “Uptown Girl” who’s finally adapted to ranch life. She loves him but has asked him to promise not to ride a bull again.

But if he does ride would he lose Patricia and his livelihood as well? Would he be sacrificing everything? And what if that’s exactly what God is calling him to do?

When the season gears up and the desire to ride is great, coupled with the taunting from a fellow rider, Talon sees red and struggles with the challenge to keep his word and ride again so that when he hangs up his bull-riding hat he’s done so at the top of his game. Not afraid like some would say he was.

The Final Ride is a sweet romance filled with conflict, fun secondary characters and a realistic struggle to negotiate love and the calling and gifts one is given. Mom couldn’t stop smiling when she had finished the book and said she wants a cowboy of her own. She’ll have to settle for me though since she’s allergic to horses!

I’m giving this book five bones even though it didn’t have a dog in it. Mom really liked it a lot. And I don’t do stars–I’m a dog.

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

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.

Writer Wednesday with Becky Wade

my stubborn heartBecky Wade quickly became one of my  favorite Contemporary inspirational authors with her debut novel, My Stubborn Heart which has become a cherished book read multiple times. I’ve enjoyed her subsequent novels as well. It is an honor to have her on my blog today!

When did you decided that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?
I decided to become an author shortly after graduating from college. I’d always been a reader. But it wasn’t until I frowned down at a book I disliked that I first thought, Maybe I could do this better? I was living overseas with my husband back then and had lots of time on my hands, a computer, and an imagination. As soon as I began work on that first manuscript, I fell in love with the process of writing. I’ve completed ten manuscripts now and that love for it has remained.
B-46

What’s your pet peeve?

When people take up a coveted space at the gas pump and then run inside to buy something inside the station.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?
At the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in 2013, I sat down at the Bethany House dinner and said to the woman seated next to me, “Hi, I’m Becky. What’s your name?” Um, it was the head of marketing at Bethany House. This is someone I communicate with via email ALL THE TIME. Someone I’d met face to face previously. So embarrassing! In my defense, she’d completely changed her hairstyle. And it had been more than two years since we’d seen each other.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?
Finding a balance between my writing responsibilities and my family responsibilities. My kids need a lot of my time and my writing needs a lot of my time, too. I typically put the kids first, but then I feel the pressure of the writing piling up. It’s stressful.

undeniably yoursHow do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?
Negative reviews: Honestly, I avoid reading them as much as possible. When I do read one, I simply tell myself that my books aren’t for everyone. If I tried to write to please everyone, I’d end up pleasing no one, least of all myself and God.

Rewrite requests from my editors: I let them simmer in my mind for a few days, sometimes as long as a week. While they’re simmering there, I’m striving to re-imagine the story in new ways, trying to figure out, ‘How could I make those suggestions work?’ I’ve found that, for me, it’s best to take an active fix-it approach rather than to sulk. Fixing it accomplishes more than sulking. 🙂

That said, there are times when business-related things I have no control over begin to tug me down. During those times, I read the Bible and pray and re-focus myself on what I’m doing with my books and why. I wait, in faith, for my positivity to return. And it always does.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?
For me, this job is about the quality of the work. God has called me and equipped me to be a writer so I truly want each book to be as good as I can make it. For Him. And I truly want to tell the story that He leads me to tell each time. My best success has been found in the feeling of satisfaction I receive when I come to a place where I finally feel that I’ve accomplished those goals with a story.

MeanttoBeMine_compWhat would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?
1. Write what you love.
2. Learn the craft.
3. Don’t worry so much about trying to build a platform and blogging and self-imposed deadlines. The joy in being unpublished is that you have freedom and time. Enjoy it! Have fun with your novel and your characters!

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?
A ministry of books that encourage believers in their faith and encourage non-believers to know Christ.

What is your current work in process?
I’m working on the final Porter family novel, Dru Porter’s story. It’s not yet titled and won’t release until May 2016!

Connect with Becky Wade on social media:

Website         Facebook          Twitter        Blog        Pinterest

The Forgotten Princess of Elmetia (Book Review)

Lost princessThe Forgotten Princess of Elmetia by Rachel James is a Medieval romance with plenty of action. The book takes place in the 600’s AD of Great Britain in the region of Elmetia where Princess Teagan as a girl finds escape from the carnage of her father’s kingdom in taking on the identity of a servant. She is transported to another land where she serves an evil king, all the while believing that not only had her father perished in the battle, but her older brother, Niall, as well.

Teagan comes across information that her brother is still alive and a warrior, Ryce is being commissioned to kill him. She escapes to try to seek out her brother and warn him. Unfortunately a series of misadventures occur when she is rescued by Ryce and his side-kick Sherwin, then captured and rescued and . . . well, I don’t want to give away spoilers!

Teagan is an intrepid young woman and devoted to her family but even finding her home as royalty again, she realizes that she didn’t gain the freedom she thought she had and struggles with her role as Princess in a new land. Learning to trust Ryce, the Saxon warrior who was initially her enemy adds an interesting wrinkle to the story as well as Ryce and Sherwin’s struggle to understand the God of the Bible as being superior to multiple gods.

I was amazed at the amount of research this author put into her story and I believe that women, young and old will enjoy the tale of this Princess and her struggle not only for freedom for her and her people, but also for her own identity and for love, will grip the heart of any princess-tale loving little girl who still lives in many women.

I look forward to reading the sequel when it comes out next year!

Breach of Trust (Book Review)

breach of trustDiAnn Mills is a fabulous romantic suspense author so when I came across her book Breach of Trust, I was thrilled. This book was the winner of the 2010 Christy Award as well as the 2010 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. And for good reason.

When Daniel Keary runs as a candidate for governor of her state, former CIA agent, Paige Rogers is on edge. Having worked with him seven years ago, his betrayal and lies cost her everything. Her identity, her family, her career . . . and her son. Now he wants her under his thumb but Paige isn’t quite so gullible. Her newfound faith since the tragedy of those events, propels her to work on the side of truth, before more people are killed to bankroll Keary’s dreams.

In hiding as a small town librarian, she runs into a snag with the attentions of the High School football coach. But if she admits who she really is, she will lose all she holds dear and risks lives of those she loves most, even those she had befriended in her new town.

But there’s at least one mole, in her town or in the CIA that is undermining her attempts to seek to protect the citizens of her state. But along with choices in who to trust becomes an issue of how she can live a lie while clinging to God. How far can she trust Him with the truth and the outcome if she steps out of the shadows to confront evil?

This was an anxiety producing read. It was hard to put down because the characters were so well-developed and the layers of mystery unfolded at such a pace to keep the reader wondering if Paige was really going to succeed, much less survive. Could all the dreams had sacrificed be restored to her if she stepped out in faith? You’ll have to read the book to find out! There’s a reason it won awards.