Tag Archive | love

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.

 

 

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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?

Spatzle Speaks: Through Raging Waters (Book Review)

RagingWaters copyRenee Blare has done it again with a fast paced romantic suspense that will be hard to put down. The last we left the Snowy Range Chronicles, in To Soar on Eagle Wings, Steve Mitchell had married Rachel Fitzgerald. Now a new adventure hits the area featuring Rachel’s best friend as her brother who his also Steve’s best friend. And life is going to get rough in Through Raging Waters.

Mother nature is doing her best to wash out the town of  Timber Springs and Ranger Steve Mitchell is going to do everything he  can to prevent that. Obstacles continue to rise and when his father-in-law suffers a heart attack in the middle of he storm he calls on his best friend, and son of the pastor, Paul Fitzgerald to assist. Unfortunately Paul is going to be need for even more than saving his dad’s life.

As the flood continues to escalate wiping out everything in its path and the storms keep coming, Steve calls on Paul and others to a rescue mission in the mountains. Paul hasn’t done any of that since a disaster traumatized him in his past but he steps up and his controlled life is slowly eroded in the process. He’s only just started to open his heart to love again with Melissa but is forced to set that aside to do the head into danger. Getting injured and relying on his annoying brother wasn’t part of his plan, but maybe that’s just what God needed to use to get through to his heart and faith locked away deep inside.

Melissa Hampton has been battling on several fronts: her mysterious beginnings being discovered in her mother’s keepsakes, her budding affection for the enigmatic pharmacist, brother to her best friend, Paul and the challenges of working for BJ Parker. When BJ is in danger she tries to find him only to realize the one who is really in trouble is Paul. She realizes she has more courage than she expected when forced into challenging circumstances to save the man she loves.

The best part of the story is that Paul has a dog. Yup. A great dog. They call it a therapy dog but hey, aren’t all dogs therapeutic? I think that’s what I am to my mom. So because it’s a non-stop action-packed novel filled with faith and love, I’ll 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.

 

 

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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Seasons of Love (Book Review)

ebook_seasonsoflove copyAndrea Boeshaar is a prolific writer and gifted story-teller. This trilogy of novellas in one package illustrates that beautifully. Seasons of Love is a trifecta of contemporary inspirational romance.  And for a limited time the ebook version is only .99! Merry Christmas to YOU!

The first novella, An Apple a Day takes place in summer. Dr. Brian Coridan is taking a break from his private practice. While in Blossom Lake, Wisconsin he becomes infatuated with the local health food store owner, Talia Fountain. Their philosophies about medicine are at opposite ends of the spectrum and yet sparks continue to fly between them. A sweet romance that is just what the doctor ordered. And a recipe for apple pie is included!

The second novella, September Sonata, tells the story of Krissy and Blaine. They  have entered the empty nest season of life. Set in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, Blaine is recovering from an accident while fighting a fire. Pain is his constant companion but he loves his wife and can’t understand what’s gotten into her. Krissy is bored in the marriage and when the new Christian school principal shows interest in her she struggles inside. Does she honor her vows and what would staying married to Blaine look like in the years to come? Andrea has a sweet surprise  for the reader and a spicy one as well in a chili recipe at the end of the story.

While I’ve enjoyed all the stories, for some reason the last one is my favorite.

In Let it Snow, Shari Kretlow finds herself stuck in a snowstorm, on Christmas Eve at the home of the family of the man she deserted long ago. She’d run off with another man but life and marriage were far from happy for her. Now a widow with an unspeakable joy and determination to live life happy, she’s confronted with the man she left. Dr. Brenan Sheppard never really recovered from Shari’s betrayal. Home on leave as a missionary in Brazil he’s on the cusp of proposing to someone else. Shari’s appearance brings up old feelings he thought he’d buried. Now he has to decide what to do with that. Can love lost be restored? This story includes an egg bake recipe at the end of it.

If you like stories on the shorter side with a sprinkle of love, faith and food woven in, you’ll love Andrea’s trilogy.

 

Mamarrazi (Book Review)

Mamarrazi book coverI love how author Brooke Williams puts her characters into impossible situations, and she hasn’t lost her touch with Mamarrazi.

Danica Bennett has always wanted to be a photographer.

A real professional shutterbug. But unlike her mom who specialized in landscapes, she wants to take photographs of people. Unfortunately in her desperate need to care for her ailing mother and pay the rent, she has to work undercover as one of the despised Hollywood paparazzi. She slips in and out of scenes and leaves a cherry lip balm kiss on the back of her photographs that are delivered through her back alley agent. When she tries to get the lay of the land for a photo of the star of the hour, she ends up being mistaken for an extra and now she becomes the star.

Falling in love with the lead actor, Eliot Lane, and keeping a secret from him while hiding her professional identity takes it toll.

Now she’s the one whose photos are in the tabloids and whom gossip is written. When her secret is discovered, she could lose everything, including the love of a great man. And in the most publically humiliating way possible–in front of the very press she used to be a part of.

Brooke tells a compelling story and makes you want to root for the underdog. The physical comedy she adds to her romances exhibits a unique skill as a writer. If you want a romance that will make you smile, this is the story for you. Clean, wholesome romance anyone could enjoy. After all, don’t we all want a guy like Eliot?

 

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.