Tag Archive | Penelope Marzec

Spatzle Speaks: Hoping for Joy (Book Review)

51sbsfx7llPrism Book Group has released another book in their “Love is…” series of romances based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  Hoping for Joy by Penelope Marzec is about love always hoping.

Hannah isn’t your typical blushing bride-to-be. She’s beginning to wonder whether her fiance will ever marry her. He’s preoccupied with helping his father care for his niece, Joy and keeping Joy’s mother, his sister, out of jail as she repeatedly gets in trouble with her addictions.

While Hannah understands the challenges he’s facing, she’s feeling a tad neglected and as if she’s not important to him. He’s not even a believer.

Logan is overwhelmed with responsibilities and really doesn’t think of his fiancee all that much until she’s attacked and almost killed by his sister during a robbery. But how can he balance the needs of Hannah with those of a little girl, a lost sister and a father who’s health is failing. How can he salvage his relationship with Hannah in the midst of all that?

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.

This is a story of lost hopes and dreams giving birth to new ones and as a dog, I adore children so little Joy was my favorite part. That and she has the same name as someone in my house! A romantic suspense that will warm your heart. I give it five bones, because I’m a dog and I don’t do stars.

5 bones for blog

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Spatzle Speaks: Cowboy Christmas Novellas (Book Reviews)

Prism Book Group is releasing several Christmas novellas about cowboys–just in time for the holidays! Since they all release today, I had no choice but to give them to you all in one post.

A Love Valley Christmas

Mary Ball has written a sweet story of love and faith with A Love Valley Christmas. Susie Aleman is a widow running a mercantile in Love Valley called Spurs. When she’s not working she’s raising her sixteen-year-old son, Zam. Life is comfortable with her work, friends, and faith. When newcomer Ty Porter strolls into her store Susie’s heart beats faster.

Ty’s not looking for a love connection. He’s made his mistakes in his past and faith isn’t something he understands. But it’s just possible that Christmas, a sweet woman, and her son might just hold the life he’s been searching for.

When Susie Aleman isn’t running Spurs, a mercantile in Love Valley, she’s raising her sixteen-year-old son, Zam. She’s content with life and relies on no one but God. Then Ty Porter moves to Love Valley and stampedes into her heart.

This isn’t your young love story – but is a sweet tale of reluctant love over the holiday season.

Crazy Woman Christmas

In Crazy Woman Christmas, author Renee Blare brings us a unique Christmas tale. Bianca Kolceski has made her share of mistakes and after running away from her parents in shame. Having turned her life around, she’s finally decided to return home to Texas for Christmas. A blizzard in Wyoming forces her off the road.

Devon Dawson doesn’t do Christmas as he grieves the loss of his parents. The cowboy is on his way home to hunker down during the storm when he spies a little car buried in the snow. Helping out Bianca he has no other option than to take her to his ranch.

Life is hard in the blizzard and two strangers with painful pasts learn about faith and love during the Christmas season.

 

 

Hats Off!

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Nancy Bolton has given us a wonderful story in Hats Off. This cover is different from the others because it is historical taking place in Oregon in the 1920’s. Kay, a widow, has moved there to be with her brother and his wife. She works making shirts and the lining for custom hats. She’d known love once but could there be a second chance for her?

Aaron is a quiet man who does his job but one night gets drunk and is discovered by Kay who gets her brother Philip to care for the man. He intrigues her in their fiew shy interactions. She steps out and tries new things including challenging the quiet man with his own dark past. Their brief interactions ignite sparks quickly.

Love bloom in the cold of winter as both learn that sometimes, hope at Christmas, is a powerful thing if one is willing to reach for it.

 

Hill Country Homecoming 

61-yqchy2zlJulie Cosgrove’s latest release is a Texas story that takes place in Hill Country Homecoming. Sarah Mansfield is used to living large on her daddy’s dime. The only reason she’s returning home to the ranch is for the annual holiday party and announce her engagement to a rich man, Trey Simpson. The down side is having to see her father’s ranch manager, Travis Wallace, a guy who she sees as a loser. As her dreams are about to come true a harsh reality snatches it all away as responsibility for the ranch falls to her.

Travis sees the beautiful Sarah as beautiful but impossible. But when push comes to shove her perseverance in learning the ranch business begins to earn his respect. As he answers questions about the true meaning of Christmas, he begins to wonder if Sarah might not be the girl for him after all. But only a miracle will convince him of that.

A Christmas love triangle filled with suspense, faith and love.

Mixed-Up Christmas

61fixigogxlDixie Jo Jarchow gives us a sweet tale in Mixed-Up Christmas. Mix Malone is done riding bulls. He’s broken too many bones, suffered too many head injuries to ride anymore in spite of the fame and fortune it has provided for him and his family. He pulls into town in the middle of a snow storm and stops at the Outlaw Cafe.

Blossom Deavers isn’t quite sure what to do with the beaten up cowboy who passes out in her empty cafe. When his family begins to threaten him as she simply befriends the cowboy and listens to his own dreams as hers are falling apart, she decides maybe it is time to move on. Christmas isn’t about dreams anyway, is it?

This is a story about broken dreams, broken families and the hope of Christmas and courage.

 

The Cowboy’s Miracle

61mwix1nxqlPenelope Marzec brings us The Cowboy’s Miracle. Rodeo star and veterinarian, Seth Holmes is running from men who are hunting him down, due to his father’s crimes. He searches for a home that might belong to grandparents he didn’t know he had but instead finds Gariella Cavallo.

Gabriella has been living on the farm of a woman who had been like a grandmother other and Seth threatens to upset the security of her future in raising alpacas, managing a greenhouse and carriage house that she rents out.

When someone targets the alpacas, Seth’s veterinarian skills come in handy. But can Seth penetrate the wall of fear around Gabriella’s heart while protecting her from those who are pursuing him?

Love, suspense, and alpacas. A great Christmas read.

If you like novellas with cowboys during the holidays, any and all of these novellas will fit the bill. I give each one five bones because I’m a dog, and that’s how I roll. 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.

 

Patriot’s Pride (Book Review)

Patriot's pridePatriot’s Pride is author Penelope Marzec’s fabulous sequel to Patriot’s Heart

It is now post war and America is a free nation, but Margaret needs to travel to England for the reading of her grandfather’s will. Although they never knew the Earl of Bancroft, she is eager to learn more of her mother. And she carries with her a deep grief. As a simple baker who clings to her faith, she learned healing arts through the struggles of war.  Confronted with the puffed up consequence of Doctor Fortune aboard ship, attraction and conflict over their opposing belief systems keep them at odds.

Dr. Derrick Fortune can’t understand why anyone would doubt science but even he struggles with the cost of his limitations in understanding how to heal the human body. On ship to further his education as well as to hopefully heal his wounded soul, the feisty milkmaid fights and tempts him at every turn.

Tragedy forces them to band together to ensure the successful conclusion to their trip and in spite of their differences they form a bond that continues once they dock on England. But can the Earl’s granddaughter ever really love a man like Derrick? And could Derrick ever humble himself enough to recognize that God is the greatest healer of our hearts and win the hand of Margaret?

This tale is filled with adventure and conflict and woven well with history. The high seas and British society challenge both characters to grow in ways they never imagined and a far greater gift awaits both Margaret and Derrick. Faith is handled well and it is fun to see Margaret, a secondary character in Patriot’s Heart, get her own story and see her lost dreams redeemed in surprising ways.

Confessions of a Newbie Editor

A year ago I took a step of faith and became part of the Prism Book Group team, taking on the role of Acquisitions Editor. This article is not an attempt to brag, but more of a confession of sorts. prism logo

Lessons: I had never been an editor before, so there was a learning curve. Here is some of what I learned:

  • I discovered how much fear held me back until I had to push against deadlines to make sure my authors had books ready for publication.
  • I relished how good it feels to give an author that contract – and to celebrate with them when their dreams are in print for the world to read. 
  • I’ve developed a way of giving rejections that takes some of the sting out and helps writers grow. I may not contract them but I do still care. This was the scariest part of taking the job. I still don’t like to do it but at least I don’t crush dreams (or try not to).
  • I delight in encouraging authors at conferences.  

People. All the highlights this past year have shown up in the form of relationships:  

Lisa Lickel is the person who passed along the job opportunity with Prism. At first I couldn’t believe it. You think I could do what? But I asked friends, took a test (and passed) and prayed about it. Then I took the plunge and have not regretted it. She became the first author (in a group of four) that I signed. She protested, “I didn’t tell you to get the job so you would publish me!” I’m glad I did, as Brave New Century was a huge revelation. I worked with four different authors and stories all at once. Do you know how intimidating it was to edit an editor’s work as well as when she is a dear friend? She must not have minded Prism at all as she just came out with another novel, The Last Detail, in January. Because it wasn’t a strict romance, fellow editor Marcy Dyer did the honors of working on that book.

Anita Klumpers entrusted her debut novel to me and worked her butt off with such cheerfulness. Anything I threw at her she took and was grateful. Her attitude was such a bolster to me and a bit frightening. Sure. She had never been through this process before. But neither had I. Her novel was released on January 22nd. Just coming up the the title, Winter Watch, with her was an adventure in and of itself. I loved every minute.

Daisy Jerico also entrusted me with her fun novella and delivered the best pitch I ever heard to date. She talked like she loved her characters and she was telling the story of something that happened to a close friend. The Love Thief ebook has done well and if you want sassy and suspenseful romance – that book is pure delight. I must not have done too bad with her as she signed with me again. Sparks Fly is due out in July. Oh, and we’ve had coffee together and both emerged victorious during 2013’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Paula Mowery was part of an anthology I had contracted and became interested in doing my job. Well, not my job, but the same position. There’s plenty of great fiction to go around! I have now worked with her on not one – but two books! Brave New Century released in November of 2013 and Love and Legacy released March 19, 2014.

Jacqueline Hopper is another Acquisitions Editor at Prism Book Group and an author in her own right. She has been a great support and willing to answer all kinds of questions to the newbie on the block. She helps with scheduling reviews and making teasers and trailers for our books. (Check out her novella The Gingerbread House!)

I also had the honor of working a repeat Prism author, Penelope Marzec on her book Patriot’s Heart which released in February.

Finally, I have to mention Joan Alley, the owner, and Editor-in-Chief of Prism Book Group. She was willing to take a chance on me and I am grateful she did as I have learned so much in the process about writing, about speaking, and about myself.

I’ll be honest. I did this as a way to earn a little income while waiting for my own books to come to print.

I gained something far more valuable in the process, and I am grateful.

Patriot’s Heart (Book Review)

PatriotsHeart_eBookPatriot’s Heart is a gripping historical romance by author, Penelope Marzec. Agnes has taken over the blacksmith shop while her father has gone to fight with the Continental Army. Going into the barn the day after the Battle of Monmouth she finds a man, one of the British, seriously wounded. While he is the enemy her heart will not let her condemn him to death with the Patriots. She vows to help the handsome man regain his heath and as he recovers they tell everyone the lie that he is a cousin from England who came to visit.

Edwin is not just a soldier. He is also the runaway son of the Duke of Dalfour. He was on a mission to deliver a message when he was shot by the enemy. He has no idea how he came to be in the barn or where his horse has gone. He goes along with Agnes’s lie to buy time to heal and perhaps spy on the colonists.

As they encounter challenges wrought by the war, they both start to fall in love. the only problem is Edwin will leave when he is well enough and Agnes will once again be alone. When Loyalists capture Agnes’s sister, Edwin vows to bring her back by returning to the British encampment. He hopes they won’t hang him as a deserter. 

Agnes struggles with her feelings for the this man and his own personal struggle from independence from an overbearing father. Will war tear his budding relationship with Agnes apart or draw them together? Could Edwin give up a title and a life of relatives ease to take up the Patriot’s cause and a life of struggle and hardship as a price for independence? Could sworn enemies become more?

This tightly woven novel is written with plenty of conflict and characters who surprised me. The hardships faced as the United States America first took its stand for independence was fraught with hardship and trial and yet love as well. Penelope does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into the story, into history, so we can experience what that struggle might have been like. It’s not all heavy war either, there’s some fun stuff thrown in as well that will make you smile.

A Prism Round Robin Romance Trilogy (Book Review)

Prism Book Group authors did a series of round-robin novellas that tell the tale of a sweet romance between Rachel and Luke.

when lightning strikesIn the first novella, Lightning Strikes, Rachel faces a power outage that brings her face to face with her annoying upstairs neighbor, Luke. An adventure in the storm draws them closer together and in the process of it all she discovers that he is her new boss!

after the stormIn the second novella, After the Storm, a dead body shows up as Luke and Rachel try to navigate their romance even as they work together.  Can it survive when Luke is a suspect in a murder?

In the third novella, A Blizzard Wedding the classic “if anything can go wrong it will” happens in the midst of a snowstorm and just when it seems like their dream wedding isn’t going to happen their friends manage to pull it off. a blizzard wedding

These are light reads and enjoyable and for free what more could you ask for? Kudos to authors: Carlene Havel, Bonnie McCune, Josie Riviera, Trinity Hart, Kim McMahill, Gay Lewis, Penelope Marzec, Kimberly B. Jackson, Karen Cogen, Jayna Morrow and Linda Carroll-Bradd obviously had some fun writing this.  Not all authors are represented in all three books. The beauty of Prism Book Group (www.prismbookgroup.com) is that there is a community of authors who work to support each other, in writing, promoting and in life. These novellas exemplify the beauty of that.