Tag Archive | Love is

Spatzle Speaks: Racing Hearts (Book Review)

513i2zquyjlRacing Hearts is novella number 12 in the Love Is series by Prism Book Group. The theme of the story is trust.

Rick and Jordyn are a young married couple learning to step out on their own, away from their family as Rick embarks on a new job in a new town. Along with all those  changes comes news that Jordyn is pregnant.

Rick works and takes care of his wife who is finding the pregnancy more difficult than for most. He cooks, cleans, and works full-time wearing himself out. Jordyn struggles to understand why he gets so protective of her. Learning to trust God for everything from their marriage, health, finances, and baby, makes for a story that will warm your heart…and perhaps make it race too.

I give the novella five bones because I’m a dog and I don’t do bones.

5 bones for blog

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.

 

Spatzle Speaks: A Haven in the Woods (Book Review)

a-haven-in-the-woodsNancy Bolton’s recent novella, A Haven in the Woods is another story as part of the Love is . . . series of novellas by Prism Book Group. Finally, a story that has a dog in it! I don’t mind the cat either. I’m particularly fond of cats but mom won’t let me have one because of something she calls allergies. Anyway, on to the book.

Ellen is our leading lady and she got herself in some trouble. An unexpected and unwanted pregnancy has led her to make a choice to hide away in the woods, give birth and then give the baby up for adoption.

Things don’t go as planned. Her isolation is destroyed by Robert who lives nearby and comes to her rescue. As her home falls apart and a terrible winter storm descends, he takes her and her cat into his home with him and his dog. The potential makings of a love story.

But Ellen isn’t in the mood to be loved or trust a man and she keeps Robert at arms length. He, however, falls for the unborn baby and tries everything he can to help Ellen as she nears delivery. I don’t want to give away the story but lets just say he really has to work for this and is an example of love that protects, no matter what.

I’ll give this story five bones. A dog, a cat and a baby? I love babies. And I’m a dog, I don’t give stars.

5 bones for blog

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.

 

 

Talking Love

Photo frame or gift card with valentines heart shaped ribbonYou would think the author of countless romance stories would find it easy to write one out of her own life. But it’s not.

Growing up, I would walk home and look up to heaven, spin around, and wonder if God was taking my picture. Did He care for my overly-sensitive, hurting and lonely heart? All a teacher had to do was look at me wrong and I’d burst into tears until sixth grade when I learned to hide my pain.

The sweetest love story is when, after years of sensing God’s call to me, I finally understood that I could respond. That he was waiting for me to do so! James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (NASB)” Really? He wasn’t some distant King high on a thrown beyond my reach. I first came to understand this at a Campus Life/Youth for Christ meeting.

For weeks I had begged some friends to let me come to a meeting. They seemed happy. They had something I didn’t. And they would go to concerts for groups like . . . Petra, who I had never heard of. Finally, I was invited and we had a conversation about misconceptions people had about Christianity. I was raised knowing about God and taught to fear Him, so I was fully engaged in the conversation. Then the biggest misconception hit me—that people didn’t understand that they could have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Whoa. Really?

I prayed right then and there and my entire world shifted.

I went out and bought a Bible and started devouring it. Opposition came but I clung to Christ. To a hurting, lonely fifteen-year-old, the fact that the God of the universe wanted me—Me?—was a huge revelation. When depression plagued me, I was told I was trying to manipulate people. The only reason I never attempted to take my life was because of the love of God.

Thirty-five years have brought me through many trials and triumphs, deep pains and sweet moments. God has been there by my side through all of it. I wish I could say that I’ve been as faithful to Him as He has been to me. It’s hard when people have wounded me deeply to trust the God who allowed it to happen. Yet I wouldn’t be here without Him. He’s led me, grown me, matured me . . . and I’ve learned that in Him I have more strength than I could ever have on my own. Some trials I look back on in wonder at how I was able to respond the way I did. That couldn’t have been me, could it?

Only God.

Through abuses, betrayals, heartache, He has been my constant. My one true love. When I write my romances my hope and prayer is that at some level the reader will understand the love of God that underlies the journey’s my characters take.

God is faithful. He has never abandoned me. The fact that He gives me the opportunity to put some of those experiences into my stories to bless others is just another example of His love for me.

Check out my contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…

THE Baron's Blunder

The Baron’s Blunder
“Love does not delight in evil …” 1 Corinthians: 13:6

Fighting evil has been a hobby, but fending off marriage-minded debutantes—a chore.

Lord Charles Percy fends off a land pirate robbing a carriage in broad daylight. Noting he has rescued a beautiful debutante, he lies about his title claiming to be a mere mister.

The Honorable Henrietta Allendale isn’t convinced Mr. Percy is who he claims to be. But after he admits to one blunder can she ever truly trust what he says? Especially about the evil threatening her? Who is the Black Diamond anyway and why would he be after either of them?

One intrepid debutante and one bumbling Baron soon join forces to defeat evil. But to do so might mean they have to sacrifice the one thing they’ve each held as most important—their single status.

Can the truth set them free to love?

One Way A Book Gets Written

For all the books I’ve written, the stories have come from my imagination. I’ve written the stories and later contracted them. I’ve had rejections for those stories and I’ve taken the tales and revised, edited and revised again.

But The Baron’s Blunder is the exception.

Every November since 2009 I’ve written a story during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I’ve written some stories that I’ve felt inspired to write. I’ve written flash fiction, short stories, novellas and full length novels. I’ve written contemporary, historicals and romantic suspense. I’ve never submitted a story idea to an agent, editor or publisher that I haven’t already written – at least the rough draft.

I work as an Acquisitions Editor for Prism Book Group. It’s a smaller e-book publishing house. One of the benefits of being in a family of authors like Prism’s is that they become family. Authors supporting, praying, encouraging each other and cross-promoting books. Another up-side is that occasionally our Editor-in-Chief comes up with a crazy idea to do a novella series.

FragileBlessingsWe did a collection last fall of Christmas stories. All authors could participate. I’m an author and had a manuscript that I dusted off and sent in Fragile Blessings. That wasn’t the original title but I love it. A historical novella I’d written years ago that needed a lot of work, finally was read by others. It ended up as an e-book as well as in a collection of historical novellas called Love’s Christmas Past.

All that to say is my “boss” decided we should do a series of novellas based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. Each story was to show some aspect of that chapter. Authors submitted their ideas and soon all the topics were taken. Authors stared writing and as an editor, I started to work on edits for a bevy of stories and I had the majority of them finished before November 2015.

I wrote another novel for National Novel Writing Month in November of 2015. I finished and in December I got back to work on edits for my authors. My boss sent me an email asking me if I could write a novella for the Love Is series about the topic: Love does not rejoice in evil but rejoices in the truth.

THE Baron's BlunderWell, I’ll try. I thought about trying to add a novella in my Orchard Hill series but the story idea I had for the next book didn’t quite fit that subject. I looked at my Regency series. It has five books and I wondered if perhaps I could pull a minor character from the first novel and give him or her a romance. I remembered that my main man, Lord Marcus Remington in The Virtuous Viscount (a Regency romance coming soon I hope!), had a sister. The Honorable Henrietta Allendale arrives mid-story, throwing a stumbling block in Marcus’s romance with Miss Josephine Storm.  Henrietta is married to a man named Lord Percy. So for this novella I wrote their romance.

I had so much fun. I was afraid I couldn’t write on demand but obviously that was a lie. And I hope readers enjoy my Regency romp of a romantic suspense as I did writing it. The Baron’s Blunder is up for preorder and releases on Friday, August 26th, 2016.

Spatzle Speaks: Evidence Not Seen (Book Review)

This fabulous tell of mystery and family secrets by Carlene Havel is a great addition to the “Love is . . .” series by Prism Book Group. Evidence Not Seen beautifully illustrates “love keeps no record of wrongs.”

Jeff Galloway grew up with his father in prison and his mom single-handedly raising him. A grown man and a successful attorney he comes to a crossroads when his girlfriend dumps him for greater fortunes in another town. A chance encounter brings Melanie Clark into his path and the soft-hearted social worker stretches his faith in fresh ways while helping come to grips with the past as his father is released from prison.

Did his father commit the crime? if he is as innocent his mother claims, why would he go to prison for it? Where was the proof? As he investigates he is forced to learn to let go of the past as he realizes the truth of all that happened 27 years ago and start afresh to learn the integrity of the father he’d long disdained.

This story looks at our own perceptions and beliefs and the associated emotions that can knock us off stride and away from truth–and love. Melanie becomes a force to help him realize the truth and let go of the past, and forgive. This beautifully told story deserves five bones. I’m a dog. I don’t do stars.

5 bones for blog

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.

Spatzle Speaks: Crux of Honor (Book Review)

crux of honorMom told me Paula wrote a fascinating romance in her novella, Crux of Honor. This is book 6 in the “Love is . . .” series by Prism Book Group illuminating “love does not dishonor others.”

When Chelsea Wilson breaks up with her Amish boyfriend who decided to return to the fold, she didn’t forsee the consequences his Rumpspringa would have on her future beyond a broken heart. She had been banished from her parent’s home for her association with the young man and now, pregnant and alone, she would lose her current apartment as well.

Dr. Kevin Alley returned home from a stint in Iraq to work in his small hometown. The last thing he expected was to run into his long-lost love, Chelsea. When she shares just how she’s messed up her life since he’d last seen her, compassion compells him to help out. Giving her a place to live and assistance as she navigates her challenges he keeps his hands off and his heart locked tight.

Chelsea learns about what true love is from Kevin’s respect and care for her. I don’t want to give away too much of the story but the journey they take is a powerful one and Kevin lives up to the idea of a gentleman of honor. As a dog I have to give this five bones because honor is a noble virtue. And I dont’ do stars. I’m a dog.

5 bones for blog

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.

Spatzle Speaks: Everything About You (Book Review)

EverythingAboutYou smallLisa Lickel tells wonderful stories and Everything About You is no exception. As part of the “Love is . . .” series by Prism Book Group this story illustrates the scripture “love is not proud.”

Shelly needs a movie set miracle but when the original star is unavailable and the clock is ticking, can the rough-edged farmer be transformed into a movie star in five days? Good looks only go so far. Can he master the accent needed? Who knew Wisconsin could be so back-woods?

Danny just needs the cash to expand his farm. He’s eager to please the spunky gal who’s pushing him right and left till he barely knows which way is up.

When Shelly’s old flame who had betrayed her horribly shows up on set everything is about to combust. Shelly has to abandon her own pride and depend on Danny. Will she lose her job? She’s already on her way to losing her heart. I like Danny. But I’m a dog  from Wisconsin so he’s my home-boy since I come from the western side of the state where this tale is set.

Daily vlogs give insight into the character’s thoughts and feelings and while it’s a whirlwind romance the reader comes to feel strongly for Danny and Shelly with their individual struggles. Maybe a down-home country boy from Wisconsin can be the key to a movie maker’s heart. The ending is sweet and worth the read. I love Lisa’s creativity in creating the story.

Pride, trust, humility and accepting people for who they are sharply contrast against one another in this sweet romance novella. I give it five bones. 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.

 

 

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Spatzle Speaks: Work In Progress (Book Review)

Work in Progress_Work in Progress by Nancy Bolton is book number 4 in the “Love is . . .” series of novellas by Prism Book Group. The story illustrates “love does not boast.”

Julie and Mark have worked together for years in the kitchen. As a dog that’s my favorite place to be when Mom is there – but dogs aren’t allowed in this kitchen because it’s at a restaurant. What’s up with that?

They keep their relationship civil because Julie believes Mark is an insincere flirt and he thinks she’s a bit of a prude.

But Mark begins to notice something suspicious with Julie. And Julie prays to be more patient with Mark. She keeps her “good deeds” a secret where Mark seems to boast about everything he does.

Something changes in their dynamic and things begin to heat up in the kitchen and in their relationship.

This was a fun story because it introduced me in the whole underground movement of recycling perfectly good food that goes to waste, to help others in need. It’s not written as a political statement but as a genuine glimpse behind the power of that kind of work.

While some humans might opposed to eating scraps – I’m a dog and find it a perfectly wonderful thing to do. Hey, food is food and when it’s good stuff, why not?  I give this 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

Spatzle Speaks: Greener Grass (Book Review)

GreenerGrassesThis is book #3 in the “Love is . . .” series by Prism Book Group. Julie Cosgrove has written thrillers about human trafficking but Greener Grasses is a departure for her. It’s not even a romance but it is a love story.

This book portrays the them of “love does not envy.” And Julie digs deep into sibling rivalry and exposes the prejudice and jealousy that can keep us from rich relationships.

Erin and Ellen are twins that couldn’t be more different from each other. Each one harbors secret resentment for the supposedly wonderful life the other sister has with her spouse. For years this has placed an insurmountable barrier between them even to the point of endangering their marriages.

And their poor husbands!

When their mother dies she finds a way to try to bring the two sisters together from beyond the grave. No ghosts here haunting them but their owns sin. Ordered to spend time with each other sorting through the house they grew up in they begin to see the truth. The person they envy doesn’t have a perfectly wonderful like as they imagined. In reality, they desperately need each other for support. With the spouses fighting for their marriages and to bring some peace things get a bit messy.

They start to understand the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence – a good reminder for us all. I give this novella 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 Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

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Spatzle Speaks: Clue Into Kindness (Book Review)

clue into kindnessThis book two in the “Love is . . .” series by Prism Book Group. Gay Lewis often writes about a ditzy but sweet angel, but that’s not Clue Into Kindness is about.

This story is about Georgia. She really loves her hubby but he’s really kind of a class-A jerk. She responds to every cutting remark with kindness. I’d like to bite him for every cruel comment and remark he makes to his wife. And she takes it? I don’t get it and neither does her best friend Jana who really would like to slap the guy. But her husband tells her that’s not really who Ken always was.

Georgia has work to do that gives her more positive feedback. Especially when a handsome business owner wines and dines her and offers her a job . . . and possibly more? Georgia backs away although given the way she’s treated at home, she’s very tempted. But as a follower she could never betray her husband like that. Although who could blame her.

Things change when they gather to celebrate her father-in-law’s birthday. While Georgia is away from the table, Alan hears some hard truths but he refuse to believe them. He follows up and God gets ahold of his heart . . .

But can Georgia really accept that kind of change? Can she forgive all that verbal abuse and trust that the man she vowed to love and has stayed faithful to really has changed? Guess you’ll have to read to find out.

I like light-hearted stories and this was not one of them. But to shine a light on the subtle and yet devastating abuses that can take place even in a Christian marriage through verbal abuse is a good thing to explore. I still wish Georgia hadn’t been so much of a doormat but maybe if it had continued, in time, she would have recognized it for what it was.

This story illustrates “Love is kind” from 1 Corinthians 13 and what better way to do that than set it up against someone so blatantly unkind and in a relationship that is hard to leave. Romance? Not so much, but a difficult story of loving in spite of another’s choices, this book definitely hits the mark for that.

I’ll give it four bones (I’m a dog, I don’t do stars) for tackling an uncomfortable issue and a happy ending. It’s a novella so it’s short. A longer book might have explored this even further, but might have also been harder to read from an emotional standpoint.

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.

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