Tag Archive | music

Spatzle Speaks: Feta & Freeways (Book Review)

Burlap_To_Cashmere Steve and Johnny

The really Johnny Philippidis and Steven Delopoulos from Burlap to Cashmere in concert

Feta & Freeways is the third book in the Orchard Hill series. Seriously? Will my mom ever get off her chair and take me for more walks? She got so obsessed with the band Burlap to Cashmere she had to write a story about the lead singer, Steven Delopoulos and his cousin Johnny Phillipidis. Really? Oh, they still go to Orchard Hill Church and names have been changed to protect the unwary.

Niko Acton is the lead singer and acoustic guitar player for a fictional band called Specific Gravity. They are playing their last concert of a tour when someone tries to kill him. He doesn’t know this though until after the show. That’s when he realizes that their manager who has been with them for years, was seriously wounded trying to protect him.

FetaandFreewaysCover copyJohnny has known all along that Tia Bartel, the manager, has loved Niko forever. Niko is now only realizing how little he knows about this woman. With some prodding, Niko reads Tia’s journals while she’s fighting for her life in the hospital. How rude! The truth hits him and the blinders fall off.

The rocky ride to love and romance takes off from there. As Tia recovers, Niko is shaken awake and the band prepares to launch another road tour. I don’t want to give away any spoilers except that while they do talk about getting a dog, they never do. Come on, Mom. What’s with that? She promises to put a dog in a future story and make him very important. I’m waiting. Not getting any younger here.

The romance is sweet and the dynamics between Niko and Johnny are fun as well as the rest of the band. Romance on the road? Dating a wife? A sweet young woman who’s been faithful, but now has to learn to trust that someone really could love her . . . it’s all there along with great music. Oh, Burlap to Cashmere didn’t have the time or money to record mom’s songs so you’ll have to imagine how great it is or listen to one of their tunes. Moody Greek musicians – and she gets two books out of these guys? The next one is titled Root Beer & Roadblocks and tell’s Johnny’s story. Again. No dogs.

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.

Well, I love my mom and I don’t mind Burlap to Cashmere’s music which she listened to all the time as she was writing and editing this story. So I’ll give it five bones in hopes that she’ll take me for a long walk and some extra belly rubs. I’m a dog. That’s how I roll.

5 bones for blog

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Dream Musings and Music

Not all dreams become reality. Sad isn’t it? People come along and kill our dreams. Sometimes real life interferes.

When I grew up I wanted to be a disc jockey. You know. A DJ. I love music. Always have. I enjoy singing. I love to talk, so radio seemed like a great place for me. But my father told me that radio people don’t get paid much and work odd hours. I had a friend in radio at one point and he had to use a different name on the air to protect himself from his fans. Oh, to have such trouble!

I played saxophone through high school but gave it up for choir. I did well there. Won some solo ensembles. I always wanted to play guitar. Twice I’ve taken guitar lessons. When I was in a band they let me play on one song.  Yup. I was that good! *snicker*.  Actually, I’d have been great if I could have been disciplined enough to practice more.

Jonah's VacationI also wanted to be a singer but had a pastor years ago who gave me a reality check. He told me “Susan, you’re good but you don’t work at it. You’re a B-grade singer but could be an A.” Ouch! I did work at it and got good enough to be in a band for a short time.

Jonah’s Vacation was a great experience. Hard work. Amazing musicians. My next book, Feta & Freeways is dedicated to Jim, Rob, Jeff, Erick, Mark and Irene (she joined us months after this photo was taken.). I learned so much from these people (including how to belch although Jim was definitely the master of that and he didn’t have a microphone to help!)

13620018_1411151115567715_4418536725403216346_nI don’t sing for others much anymore. I did for a while. I worked at it. But now I only get an opportunity maybe once a year to do that and play my guitar. I miss the synergy of being in a band. I admire groups that have that “magic” when they play together.

I based my next book on a lead singer of a band (and his friends). Yeah, it’s a romance, but it’s so much more than that. I based it off Burlap to Cashmere. I wish I could play guitar with even a 10% of the skill they have. Can you see the joy they have as they play together? Makes me smile every time I see this photo I took from the last time I saw them live.

Maybe someday I’ll get there. Not everything has to be for the purpose of performing. Maybe playing guitar and growing in that skill will only be for me and God this time around. I can remember the past fondly and rejoice that God gave me those opportunities. And I can write and encourage others who can pursue them.

Maybe words on the page are meant to be my song in this season of my life. Why that makes me cry I don’t know, but dreams are like that. Sometimes it is okay to grieve what you can’t have. Life isn’t fair and God doesn’t always give us what we want for His own reasons. Hard to believe but that’s often a good thing. Sometimes to make room for one dream we have to sacrifice something else we value. We don’t always recognize what those choices will be…time, family, finances…there’s a cost for pursuing dreams. And there will always be those who will try to stop us, defeat us, criticize us for following God’s direction. Dreams God calls us to follow become “callings”. And they are only worth pursuing because He is the one who leads the way.

This is a live video I took from Burlap to Cashmere’s performance in Green Bay in July of this year. Gifted and a called. The “closing jam” as it were… featuring Johnny Philippidis and his amazing guitar skills. Part of the song is the Dialing God Instrumental from their Freedom Souls album. Enjoy. Maybe someday I’ll have that 10% to enjoy for myself.

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.

 

The Fiddler (Book Review)

When I first met Beverly Lewis at a book signing, my first thought was “She is so sweet.” The Fiddler was my first read of anything by her and the book is definitely a reflection of the author’s personality (from my limited acquaintance).

The Fiddler is a story of an Englisher, Amelia, who is a classical violinist of world class caliber who is struggling against the demands and expectations of her father, agent and musician boyfriend. So she takes up “fiddling” on the side and in secret. Discovery forces her to look at what it is she really wants out of life and an unexpected rainstorm, wrong turn and flat tire, bring her the doorstep of Michael.

Michael has his own challenges to face as well. Raised Amish, he has lived in the world and yet struggles to defy his parents’ wishes for him to be baptized and committed to the Amish way of life.  Doing so would mean giving up his work as a drafter. His own foray into the world was followed by his neice’s as well, with her also wandering from God. Can one leave the Plain way and still love and serve the Lord?

Both Amelia and Michael struggle to come to grips with their dreams and how God could use that in the face of opposition from those closest to them. Or could God work that out in time? And what about the attraction each feels for the other? One Englisher and one Amish? Could there ever be a meeting point there?

As I stated earlier, this story is sweet, easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable. Beverly herself told me that if I was going to read any novel of hers as a first visit to her Amish fiction, this was the one to read. I think she was right. The only thing that could have made this better would have been an audio (CD) of some of the fiddling music, although I experienced in my heart regardless.