Tag Archive | love

Spatzle Speaks: ‘Til Dice Do Us Part (Book Review)

Julie Cosgrove has written several dramatic romantic suspenses around the subject of human trafficking, but she’s also been the master of cozy mysteries and ‘Til Dice Do Us Part is book number 4 in her Bunco Biddies Mystery series. The final installment.

While preparing for a wedding shower, one of the Bunco Biddies falls from a ladder. in her drugged and painful state she overhears a crime being discussed behind the curtain next to her room in the ER.

Janie can’t quite get her son-in-law to investigate so the Bunco Biddies decide to do some on their own resulting in hilarity and danger and on the wedding day–a missing groom!

Everything gets crazy as the crime is uncovered and once again the intrepid older women are able to prove just how valuable they are to the local police department.

This was a fun series and the characters are a delight to read, or so my mom says. I just get to sit next to her and listen to her chuckle. Which is fine with me so 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: Her Hometown Heart (Book Review)

Andrea Boeshaar has written many wonderful novels and this one is no exception. Her Hometown Heart is full of just that–heart.

Amie Potter finds herself the recipient of her deceased uncle’s run-down gas station. Meeting Tom, who was like a son to her uncle, raises alarm bells due to a painful past. Soon she learns to look past the unkempt appearance and dirty clothes to the heart of the man undearneath. Maybe, just maybe, she should follow her old dream to run a hotel in this tiny town.

Tom Anderson has his own wounds from the past and big-city girl Amie doesn’t fit into his life at all. When she suggests they go into business together the bulk of the work falls on his shoulders as she goes back to work at her “real” job. The old filling station is torn down and a new hotel constructed. Life is changing for this man as he begins to fall in love with his partner.

Is it possible that her uncle had other plans for them both? Will their dark pasts get in the way of them finding a lasting love?

This is a sweet story where both characters show incredible growth through the book as they face their pasts and learn to trust in new ways as they cling to faith and take the risk partnering in business…and love. I highly recommend this sweet romance so 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: Meow Matrimony (Book Review)

Lisa Lickel follows up Meow Mayhem, her first novel in the Fancy Cat Cozy Mystery series with Meow MatrimonyI love that this comes out on Valentine’s Day weekend!

Ivy Preston can’t seem to stay out of trouble in her new town of Apple Grove. Now that her fiance is the mayor, life has changed. Planning a wedding is a lot of work and when the wrong invitations arrive at her door, what would a good neighbor do but deliver them to the correct bride? Only when doing so Ivy discovers the bride-to-be is dead! Soon she and her former fiance, Stanley, become suspects and chaos ensues.

Her mother and Adam both believe in her innocence and then in addition to all that, one of her kittens falls ill. Ivy fears that if she can’t keep a kitten alive how would she ever be a good mother someday? With suspicion of murder hanging over her head could she ever be the wife of the mayor?

With Adam’s unfailing love, her mother’s support and the company of dear friends she’s made in her new home, is it possible she can be cleared of her crime in time for her wedding? But even more than that, can they find the real killer?

As I’ve said before, I love cats so this series has my undivided love and affection. With sweet romance and an intrepid heroine, this mystery will keep you guessing till the end just “who-done-it.” The mark of an excellent author. 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.

Spatzle Speaks: Face In The Mirror (Book Review)

Paula Mowery has written another delightful romantic suspense in Face in the Mirror, a sequel to For Our Good. 

Sydney Russell has witnessed her mother’s death and suspects it has something to do with a mysterious box. Devastated, she turns to her dad and brother for help and they get in contact with authorities. Because she was seen, they hide her away with a friend of hers who is Amish, and deaf. Sydney can hear but is fluent in sign-language. Could she really be in danger?

Nathan Greene is attached to a task force to connect with and protect Sydney, but his own past comes to haunt him and he is blackmailed with the threat of his past being made public. This also threatens the life of the woman he has promised to protect. Will his coworkers understand the choices he has to make? Will Sydney trust him even when he can barely trust himself? The beautiful young woman with a strong faith his breaking down defenses he didn’t know he had.

Which will prevail? Love and honor or the desire to keep his reputation intact?

This is a novel that flies by before you know it and it is fun to see characters from the previous story reappear and have a role in this one. I strongly recommend this story even if you haven’t read the first book, you’ll still enjoy this one. 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: Forgiving Tess (Book Review)

I adored Kimberly Miller’s debut novel Picking Daisy so I fully expected to enjoy her second book, Forgiving Tess. I was not disappointed!

Kimberly Miller takes the concept of just how far we extend forgiveness and how do we know someone truly has repented and put away the sins of the past. Even for Christians, it can be far too easy to judge someone based on their past than it is to accept their attempts to live a new, godly life, in the here and now.

Tess Carson is one of those characters who has made a mess of her life and is working hard to make it all right. Foolish choices, childish rebellion, a turning away from her family and her faith have made it hard to find restoration. Thankfully her uncle believes in her, perhaps even more than she does. But even he can only go so far to help her.

On a mission trip arranged by her uncle, she runs into her childhood crush. The man she declared for years as a teenager that she would marry. But putting away childish things and a wall of bad decisions destroy any possibility of a romance with the handsome young man who is now the youth pastor at the church where she’s serving.

And she’s still just as attracted to him, and his dimples, as she was as a silly teenager. While she share’s she has a past, she’s afraid to tell him details.

Josh Thorne is the son of missionaries and the best time of his life was when he lived in the town where Tess and her brother, his best friend, were. To him, that was home. Meeting Tess again and finding she was all grown up was a shock. He’s confident that there is nothing in her past that could keep him from pursuing her but he has difficulty convincing Tess of just how loveable she is… by him, her family, and God.

Her past won’t stay buried for long and there is a rocky road to romance for these two as Tess’s past threatens all of the dreams Josh has for his (and their) future together. Can they overcome? When, if ever, will those hypocrites, who cast stones, see that she really has changed?

Will Tess understand true forgiveness before it’s too late or will she lose everything? Including Josh?

This book explores so many levels of healing, growth, forgiveness and the tangled relationships that result from sin and the difficult path to full redemption and restoration, not only within the church but also within Tess herself. I strongly recommend this book. My mom loved it and couldn’t put it down, which meant more snuggle time by her side. Plus, I’d love to bark and chase after that motorcycle in the story. For that reason, I’m giving it 5 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.

Spaztle Speaks: Donuts & Detours (Book Review)

Finally, my mom has put me into a novel. I know, it’s not really me. I don’t like to talk about my past personally. I’m a rescue dog much like Shazam/Cooper is in book six of her Orchard Hill Romance Series: Donuts & Detours.

B.J. is a young mechanic in a volunteer ministry that fixes cars for single moms. She finds a dog in the trunk of a donated car. She rescues the animal and hopes to adopt it. Titus (aka Ty), decides to adopt the dog. He also wants to reach this young mechanic but doesn’t realize the boy is not quite what he seems.

He’s really a she.

Bethany Joelle has a rough past not too dissimilar from the rescued dog and is hurt when Ty adopts the dog before she can. Ty is also showing interest in Bethany Joelle but letting him close means risking her closely held secret–that she is really B.J.

Titus has his own dark past that he carries around. Secrets collide and are revealed making for some interesting relationship challenges.

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

Of course, the best part of the book is the dog which I know my mom based on me. Titus showed up in Bratwurst & Bridges so it’s fun that he finally gets his chance at love. I give this book five bones because I’m a dog and don’t have thumbs.

 

Spatzle Speaks: Her One and Only (Book Review)

My mom’s been incredibly busy so imagine my surprise when she actually sat down to read a book that wasn’t part of work. She said she’d been wanting to read Becky Wade’s novel Her One and Only for months but hadn’t had a chance to get to it. She fell in love with Becky’s writing style when she read My Stubborn Heart which she dared to review without me. Anyway, she did it. Once she picked up the book and settled into her favorite chair I had to bark to remind her that I needed some of her attention as well.

Gray Fowler is an NFL superstar but death threats have led to his team putting him under protection. The only problem is that Dru Porter, a former marine, is too beautiful a woman for Gray to not be interested in…and she is assigned to him for several shifts every week. He tweaks her and she slowly starts to understand the secrets he’s hidden even from himself. As attraction grows between the two, the threat escalates and Gray finds that he can’t stand the thought this woman whom he’s come to admire, could possibly die to save him.

When Dru realizes she’s too close emotionally to her client she takes the high road and tells her boss, knowing that she’ll be removed from protective duty. She’s determined to find the person threatening him even as their relationship steams up. Her family is not on board with a Mustang tight-end dating the youngest child in the family (since they are Cowboy fans), and Dru becomes afraid her heart is going to get hurt if Gray can’t settle his issues with God and admit to his real feelings. I won’t say anything more lest I spoil the journey these characters take to their happily-ever-after.

Mom loved how these two strong characters bantered and grew in their relationship. Doesn’t hurt that Dru also has a dog, Fi (as in Semper Fi, she was a Marine, remember?). That alone makes the book five bones from my perspective. But you should read it yourself to see if you agree or not. 

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

Interview with Dan and Skye from Bratwurst & Bridges

With my latest installment in the Orchard Hill Romance series: Bratwurst & Bridges, due to release on the 28th, I thought it’d be fun to interview my two main characters in the story: Pastor Dan Wink and Skye O’Connell.

Dan, what did you first think about Skye when you met her? 

Dan: I admit she was a puzzle to me – the hair, the clothes, and those silly, fuzzy pink boots? Didn’t help that her son ran and hid in my apartment.

Same question for you, Skye? 

Skye: I confess I  watched him through the peephole in my door as he moved in. I was impressed by how good he looked. Imagine my shock when I found out he was a pastor. Really? I guess I unconsciously absorbed that beauty, even more, when I met him face to face. I was a mess and my kids were acting up…not the best, fuzzy booted foot to put forward in meeting a man, even if I wasn’t looking for a relationship.

Dan: Even though she irritated me that day, I do admit I found her kind of cute.

Skye: Really?

Dan: (blushes and nods)

What made you take a step further in the relationship beyond strangers living across the hall? 

Skye: I guess having gone through my own share of hard times, my heart went out to him when I saw how sad he often was. And strange things started happening since I first met him.

Dan: She kept asking questions and when I realized that first of all she had a tender, caring heart, and was lost as far as faith goes, I figured God had moved me there to be a light in her darkness in spite of the stifling grief that weighed me down.

Skye: I didn’t make it easy. I kept asking pesky questions.

Dan: And she never hesitated to call me out on my own hypocrisy. I gotta admit her compliments took me by surprise too.

Skye: Why? Surely you realize just how gorgeous you are?

Dan: (shrugs) I didn’t grow into my looks until I was out of high school and before that I was bullied because of my unusual eyes. I met Sharon and we were an item. I guess it was easier to just think she told me those things because she loved me. And I found it hard to embrace my appearance given how often people discounted my ability to minister effectively because of it.

Skye: Well, it certainly didn’t hurt where I was concerned.

Dan: (chuckling). You mean given that you couldn’t stop painting pictures of me?

Skye: (blushing) Well, you were a good subject for my art.

Skye, you mentioned that strange things started happening after you met Dan?

Skye: Yeah. Weird things. My paintings changed. And he was so nice to me. I’d never met any one who did nice things without some kind of ulterior motive.

Dan: She had a difficult time believing that God loved her and that was reason enough for me to be nice to her and help her when I was able.

It was a long time before you went on a date. Why?

Skye: Dan had these rules…

Dan: Principles or boundaries might be better words.

Skye: Fine. Initially, he wouldn’t talk to me in my apartment or his. So we’d have conversations in the hallway, or at the YMCA or sometimes over coffee at the local coffee shop. Always in public. Initially, I thought it was because he didn’t trust me. I finally realized he was not only protecting his reputation but me as well. It didn’t understand it all at first, but now I’m grateful because I know I can trust him. He’s a man of integrity and that was something new for me to encounter.

Dan: Well, Titus is as well.

Skye: True, but I wasn’t interested in Titus.

Dan: (grins and bumps her shoulder with his) I’m grateful for that.

How do you feel about your story releasing? 

Skye: I really love the cover.

Dan: You would. Why couldn’t you have put her on the cover? Fuzzy pink boots and all

Skye: Would you leave my boots out of this? I like them. They are warm and comfortable.

Dan: I’ve grown to like your boots. (eyebrows wiggle).

Skye: Good, because I’m not giving them up. Besides, you’re hot. I have to share you with an entire congregation so you can be on a book cover. Me? I kind of prefer being in your shadow.

Dan: Fair enough. If it makes you happy.

What did you learn most from your journey? 

Dan: That grief was keeping me from embracing all that life still had to offer me. And that I can move on and love and laugh and that is not a betrayal of the love I had for Sharon.

Skye: I learned about God’s grace and Dan was definitely Jesus with skin on as the saying goes. I’m grateful that God gave me far more than I had ever dreamed of for me and my children. I never expected God would use a handsome neighbor to shake my unbelief and transform my art and my heart by the power of His Holy Spirit. I’m sure glad He did.

 

Thanks for joining us! I hope you enjoyed getting to know Dan and Skye a little better without spoilers for their story releasing in a few days! 

Spatzle Speaks: A Match for Melissa (Book Review)

Mom has been busy writing and editing for others and hasn’t snuggled up with me with a good book for some time. And yes, I write that to make her feel guilty. She’s always had a liking for Regency romances and to find good Christian ones is even harder. She stumbled upon A Match for Melissa by Susan Karsten and loved this sweet story.

Melissa Southwood is the daughter of an ambitious social-climbing father who wants to sell her off in exchange for a title. It’s his fondest dream. Melissa has dreams of her own, triggered even more so by finding a handsome man in a ditch. But before she could get to know him, she’s whisked back to London to be wooed by someone else.

She wants a man who is a believer and she’s not too sure about this one. When Mark, the man she rescued, shows up in town she finds herself drawn to him. Her father’s mind is set. One aristocrat desperate for money is soon pitted against another with a damaging past who has recently come to know God. Which one will win? How can she get her stubborn father to see reason?

Add in Mark’s aunt, a widow with charms of her own, and meddling relatives of Mark bent on acquiring a fortune by foul means, and you have a complicated but sweet romance that will leave you smiling with her happily-ever-after ending.

The great news is this is the first book in a series of three in the Honor’s Point Series, so we can look forward to more sweet, clean, Regencies from this fabulous new author.

I give this book five bones! Another inspirational Regency author on the scene is always to be celebrated.

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

Stuffing is Fine for Turkeys, Not Humans

I haven’t posted anything for some time because, well, to be honest, life has been crazy. I’ve made some changes in my life and God has given me amazing peace as He has led me on this path. I’m blessed beyond what I could adequately express.

But here’s the rub. I have Major Depressive Disorder. Most people wouldn’t guess that because I can be bubbly, energetic in communication and smile often. (An INFJ conundrum or chameleon?)

It was a lesson I learned as a child. I cried a lot in school and was made fun of for that. “Crybaby,” they would call me in my parochial school. I cried at home. No one really cared. I was just hyper-sensitive. Around fifth grade, I finally learned how to bury my hurt anger and not cry. When I was older  I told my parents I wanted to see someone, that I thought I was depressed and needed help. I was told I was just seeking attention.

Wow. I buried those feelings deeper. Eventually, I learned to pour those emotions into fiction.

 

I’ve been on a good path recently: eating better, taking around four long walks outdoors every week (sunshine and exercise), and sleeping well. But then last week it popped up again. I opened myself up to people I thought I could trust and told them how something scared me and made me anxious to the point of even having a nightmare about it. My feelings were discounted and minimized. I went home and cried. I won’t go into the issues, but it was as if confessing my fears, they had to bury their own with platitudes. I didn’t feel cared for, loved, or a valued part of the community on that team.

It’s been bothering me for days. I’ve taken walks. Taken naps. Worked. Emailed a friend. Today I had to serve at church with this team and you know what? I shed my tears over Scripture and my journal in the morning before stuffing it all down as I left the house. It was a task-oriented job so not the time for emotional discussions anyway. I tried to encourage and thank others but my heart and my hurt stayed locked away. Why would I share it again when no one cared enough about it the first time? It all bubbled back to the surface the minute I was alone in my car. The sky poured rain that mirrored the tears flowing down my face.

Stuffing is great for turkeys…not so good for humans.

I came home, ate lunch and took a nap. I try not to let my depression leak on to my kids. I take medication so I can be functional and dependable. My middle son wrote on a paper at school a few years ago stating that his mom is always happy. I had to sit him down and say, “No, I’m not. I cry. I just don’t do it in front of you because they are my adult problems and struggles, not burdens for you to carry.” When they were much younger, I used to let it spill out in frustration and when my young son drew a picture of an angry mom, I knew I had to once again get help and back on medication. At the time I also had a serious auto-immune disease complicating things and making the depression an even bigger struggle.

Let me brag on my kids for a minute. Now that they are older, when I have those days where I’m feeling on the edge…like I could snap…I warn them. “Kids, I’m really cranky today. Not sure why, but please, just be nice to me okay?” And they do. They don’t step on my last nerve to watch me explode. My youngest will give me a hug and tell me she loves me.

Yes. I have God. He is always faithful and provides for my needs and sometimes my wants. He has shown Himself to me in so many unexpected ways. I can be as grateful as possible for all of that and for the support of people around me–but gratitude doesn’t cure depression. It isn’t fixable with platitudes, a good meal, or even sometimes a hug and a shoulder to cry on (although that can be helpful and appreciated).

So if you see me in person or call me on the phone and ask how I am, I’ll likely tell you I’m fine. No offense, I’ve just learned that not everyone cares about how I’m REALLY doing. Depression and chronic illness, whether physical or emotional, is something that society as a whole, and even the Christian community, do not excel at ministering to. We get all concerned about suicides and suicide prevention – but the reality is – the problems are there long before the individual ever contemplates such drastic action.

I’m not writing this to get attention… but to ask you to open your eyes to people around you… we can get so self-absorbed (I’m an expert navel-gazer too), that we don’t often take the time to look beneath the surface to see what’s really going on in someone’s life. I want to raise awareness. I’m sure in time I’ll be doing better. Depression ebbs and flows for me and after a few more journal entries,  tears, walks and maybe even a visit to my therapist, I might wake up some morning feeling better. It will take time but it is a lonely journey. So for those of you who struggle as well, my heart and prayers go out to you. You are loved and valuable and your feelings DO matter. Hang in there. I pray someone will come along and be Jesus with skin on for you in your darkest hours so that you can make it through. That’s my prayer for myself too.

Maybe this video will show just how hard it is to always see on the surface when someone is depressed.