Tag Archive | romance

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.

Advertisements

Spatzle Speaks: Meow Mayhem (Book Review)

Last month I did a review of Meow Mistletoe which is a Christmas novella and prequel to the A Fancy Cat Cozy Mystery series by fabulous author Lisa Lickel. Today I want to share with you her cozy mystery, book one in a three book series of Meow Mysteries: Meow Mayhem.

Ivy Preston has taken her tattered and abandoned self to the little town of Apple Grove after her fiance decided that he didn’t want to get married after all.  She buys a sweet little cottage that she shares with her Egyptian Mau cat, Memnet. All this because of another pedigreed Mau cat aficionado, Mayor Conklin, has invited her to help in his revitalization of this dying town.

She’d met Adam Thompson at the last Christmas gathering of the cat organization they are a part of but hadn’t suspected at first glance that he’d also be setting up his shop here in the new town with his own Mau, Isis. Having a string of trendy bookstore and coffee shops he brings his business to the town.

Ivy gets a strange message from the mayor and between her,  Adam, and her criminology professor mom, believe that there could be trouble afoot in this charming little town.  The trouble starts when grant money is disappearing, a dead body surfaces and the mayors missing Mau becomes the prime suspect.

What’s a young woman to do but try to figure it out and thankfully she has help on the journey. Ivy’s ho-hum life definitely takes on new adventure as she settles into her community. And the romance between Adam and Ivy is sweet… but there’s more love purring in town than just between them!

Now as a dog, I have to say I adore cats. I was as heartbroken as Ivy when Isis, the mayors Egyptian Mau, was missing! And then a little girl too? I adore little kids! I should have been written into this book. While I’m not a hunting dog I would have loved to play with those cats too.

Twists and turns keep the reader guessing in this sweet who-done-it by Lisa Lickel. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, Meow Matrimony! So if you love cozy mysteries, and cats, you’ll love this book. Purrfect for the cold days we’re currently experiencing in Wisconsin. Just curl up with a warm drink, a cozy blanket, and this great novel and enjoy.

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: Christmas Extravaganza Novellas (Book Reviews)

My mom was out of commission with shoulder surgery for a few months and in spite of my name on this part of her blog, I still can’t type. I find it appropriate that I give you a few books in one post to celebrate Christmas.  These three novels seemed like a great place to start.

Christmas Passed by Anita Klumpers is the first novella, a bit of a Christmas mystery. Dinah is slated to do the promotional photos of a 1930’s home in Milwaukee decked out for Christmas. She runs into the boy-now-a-man, Mick comes back to annoy her and become her partner in figuring out why bad things keep happening… and why there are strange ornaments in the attic as well as other surprises. There is a dog in this story too which of course, I liked. Not sure how a dog can be that well-trained but I feel sorry for it. Ms. Klumpers assembles a colorful cast of characters and surprises for the reader in this fun Christmas story so I recommend it with five bones.

 

Meow Mistletoe by Lisa L. Lickel is another Christmas mystery that also serves as a prequel to a series of books due to release next year. Ivy is at the Christmas party for the Cat Association Titlist group when a cat goes missing and she attempts to help find the feline. I may be a dog but I love cats. They are fun to chase. I won’t tell you what all happens but there is a puzzle to be solved and it’s a fun journey with a smattering of romance sprinkled in. Definitely another five bones from me. 

 

The Doctor’s Daughter by Susan M. Baganz was written by my mom and she took a character from her Black Diamond Regency series, Dr. Bruce Miller and gave him a romance. Silvia’s father died and was the doctor who trained Bruce. She arrives at the home of SIr Michael & Katrina Tidley and hopes to rekindle a past romance with the good doctor. Obstacles and illness emerge to thwart them on their journey to love. This is another book I enjoyed even though she failed to include any animals beyond carriage horses in her story.  Another five bones.

All three of these novellas make a great holiday read, cozied up warm in your favorite chair. They are only available in e-book formats. I give them all 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.

 

Writer Wednesday: Linda Yezak

Welcome to my writer friend, Linda Yezak!

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?

Like most authors, I’ve been writing since I gained dexterity with a crayon. When I was in college, one of my professors tried to talk me into pursuing it as a career, and considering how much the industry has changed just since I’ve joined in, I wish I had. But I didn’t take up writing seriously until I was in my fifties. Frankly, I don’t see how anyone younger would have the time, but apparently, they do. Anyway, after a long series of events that kept me from working outside the home, I needed something to do, and writing turned out to be it.

What’s your pet peeve?

Depends on what we’re talking about. As an author, my biggest peeve is robo-calls that draw me away from my work.

As a reader/editor, it’s characters who cry all the time, as if tears are the only way to react to emotion.

As a human being with a driver’s license, it’s the idiots on the road who don’t respect other drivers. The ones who wait until they can see your eye color before pulling out in front of you, or the ones who ride your bumper as if pushing you is gonna make the guy in front of you go faster.

Well, oops. I think we hit a nerve. Moving on . . .

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

There are so many. So very many. But I think one of the worst was at an ACFW conference. I was sitting in a continuing ed class held by Susan May Warren and someone else—just me, the instructors, and 40 or 50 other people, and my new cell phone that I thought I’d muted.

This was the first year that we’d met in Indianapolis, and my husband and a friend’s husband were checking out the city.

Just as the class started, my phone rang. Loud. I fumbled with that stupid thing I wasn’t yet familiar with, trying to figure out how to answer it or turn it down or something. My face got so hot, the folks around me were slipping off their sweaters because of the radiated heat.

Eventually, I turned it off, or thought I did because it quit ringing, and the class resumed. An instant later, here we go again—and I still couldn’t figure out what to do. I was about to lower it to the floor and drive my heel through it when it finally stopped.

The third time, I gave up. I grabbed all my stuff and the stupid phone and left the classroom. I finally figured out how to answer the call. It was my sweet Billy (aka MSB) asking if I wanted to go to a Colts game.

He’s so cute.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

At this point, marketing, promo, and sales. I have a social media presence, but I’m not organized enough to do all of it and do it well. I need a secretary.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I do what everyone else does—I slam a few cabinets, then curl up in a fetal position with my blankie and suck my thumb. For a while. Then I look to see if the review or rejection explanation (when they bother to explain) has merit, learn from it and move on.

But negative reviews don’t really bother me. I don’t get that many. Most are from people who didn’t realize they were getting a Christian novel and felt obligated to bash me and/or my work. That’s fine. The ones that get me are written by those who do read Christian fiction. Some remarks were mean-spirited. I expect this from the world, but I’d hoped Christians would try harder not to be hurtful.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

So far, gaining an honorable mention in Saturday Evening Post’s Great American Fiction contest in 2016. They published my “Slider” in their anthology that year.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up-and-coming authors?

Study the craft.

Treat this as a business.

Build your platform—even if you haven’t written your first word.

What is your current work in process?

Loving a Harvey Girl, a novella for Smitten’s Cowboys Collection to release inAugust  2019. The Harvey Girls worked in a hotel/restaurant chain started by Fred Harvey back in the late 19th century. These ladies were educated and refined and, thanks to their jobs at the Harvey House Restaurants all across the nation, were independent in an era when most women weren’t allowed to be. I’ve had a blast writing it. Can’t wait for the release!

 

Ride to the Altar, a Circle Bar Ranch novel (book 3)—Patricia Talbert and Talon Carlson must conquer their pasts individually before they can face their future together.

Linda is offering a giveaway prize to one lucky entrant! As pictured, the prize includes a signed print version of the series, a 16-ounce Christian cowboy mug, a horseshoe picture frame, a Ph. 4:13 stretch bracelet, a cute set of magnetic page markers, and a Texas Rubiks cube just for fun. All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment.

The more posts you comment on during my tour, the better the chance you have of winning the drawing! If you’d like to play along, the next blog to check is author Cathy Rueter’s Up in the Attic.

The winner will be announced Monday, August 6, on Linda’s blog, 777 Peppermint Place.

Bio:

Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing.

Website: http://lindawyezak.com

Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda

Facebook: Author Page

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

Amazon Page: http://dld.bz/LWYAmazonPage

Goodreads: Linda W Yezak

Latest book release:

 

 

Spatzle Speaks: Lord Harrow’s Heart (Book Review)

Spatzle here. Mom’s Maltese who she’s tricked into writing these reviews. I’ve been slacking off and not posting as much lately. Mom says it’s because I’m getting older. But not too old to enjoy her latest novel in the Black Diamond Gothic Regency series. Book #4, Lord Harrow’s Heart, releases today and I’m excited about that.

Lord Theodore Harrow has watched all his friends fall in love and marry. Kind of the papa bear of the group, he’s been a faithful friend through all their adventures. Now he wants a woman of his own but he longs for someone who wants him – not just his title or wealth. He’s not quite as dashing as his friends, but he’s one of those solid good guys. So when he runs over a young woman who is supervising a nasty child, he is instantly smitten by her.

Valeria is not so easily wooed. She is in service although Theodore can tell she’s not of the servant class. She’s also distinctly French in her heritage and language. And to top it off, she has a child. The last thing she wants is to be noticed by anyone as she is in hiding from her evil father-in-law. Being injured in a carriage accident and meeting Lord Harrow was not something she was prepared to deal with.

Theo is not so easily put off and Valeria finds herself surrounded by him and his friends as she encounters a mother’s worst nightmare. Someone has kidnapped her son. But to retrieve the boy could cost Theo and his friends much more than a few days travel as they encounter and meet face to face, the Black Diamond himself.

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

If you’ve been reading the series and wondering who the Black Diamond is – this is the story where he is finally revealed. Come on, Mom. Why did you make us wait this long? Such a tease.

There is a kitten in the story. I like cats a lot so those parts were great for me. Mom won’t let me have a cat because she’s allergic to them. I guess having one in a book is a passable substitute.

Adventure, romance, intrigue, danger all set against the backdrop of the early 1800’s in Regency England. This story will not disappoint. I give it five bones, because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

 

 

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: Christmas Novel and Two Novellas (Book Reviews)

CHRISTMAS NOVEL

A CHRISTMAS KIND OF PERFECT

Christine Schimpf has written a sweet Door County Christmas novel, A Christmas Kind of Perfect,  featuring none other than a best-selling author.  Lila never expected to become a successful writer nor anticipated the heavy cost that her career would bring as she lives her life in New York. Summoned back home to Door County she’s faced with all the good things she left behind, including Conrad.

Conrad regrets not going after Lila and seeing of they could somehow make their relationship work. Now she’s back but he’s already moved on to a new woman who is expecting an engagement ring this Christmas. Meeting Lila again throws him into confusion. Could he possible sacrifice more for the new woman in life or is it possible that he could rekindle a romance with Lila? And if he did, would she abandon him again?

As sparks fly along with the snow, can Lila and Conrad find their way back to a love they left behind years ago and discover a Christmas miracle? A lovely look at the holidays in the beautiful Door County peninsula of Wisconsin.

CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA NOVELLAS

GABRIEL’S GIFT 

Gabriel’s Gift is a sweet Christmas Regency Romance by my mom. Last week she released two new novels that were Gothic romances. Let me make it clear that this is not part of that series and this instead is a sweet tale.

Gabriel has moved to his first job as a minister and unexpectedly finds the girl he longed to marry but had lost track of.

Matilda is shocked to find her childhood friend is now pastoring their local church. But the dreams she once had of a future wtih him died when her father took  his life. She is not worthy enough to be the wife of a minister. Finding an abandoned baby in  the church however awakens longings and fears within her about her future.

Gabriel seeks to challenge his new congregation to a vital faith as they celebrate Advent and the coming Christ. All the while he longs to court Matilda but first needs to minister to her heart with the greatest gift of all: God’s grace and the love He showed us all through the birth of a humble child.

THE CHRISTMAS LIST

This is a sweet holiday novel by Dixie Jarchow, called The Christmas List

Mandy likes to make lists for everything and even has one for choosing a husband. Her goal is keep structure in her life and avoid suprises. This is how she believes she can be truly happy.

Max is spontaneous and loves sculpting. He’s never made a list in his life believing that God is ultimately in control anyway.

When Max finds he has more work than he can handle, he hires Mandy to take care of the paperwork for his business. Yet when love comes calling, she struggles to keep her own emotional accounts in balance, especially around Max.

Somehow they both need to learn from each other: that a little structure can be good, and that maybe God’s list is better than any either of them could come up with. A story about opposites attracting and how can use our strengths to help each other while smoothing out our rough edges, and all with a holiday twist.

I give all three of these stories five bones, because holiday reads are always fun and I’m a dog, I don’t have thumbs.

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