Tag Archive | suspense

Spatzle Speaks: Hair Calamities and Hot Cash(Book Review)

My mom adores alliteration so the title of this book tickles her fancy no end. Hair Calamities and Hot Cash is a novella by Gail Pallotta and is full of adventure,  comedy, and suspense.

Poor Eve Castleberry runs a North Caroline beauty shop. For some reason, this widow is finding her hair products are not doing what they are supposed to do with strange results. To top it off a New York stockbroker crashes his car into her salon and he’s on the hunt for criminals wanted by the FBI who stole his client’s cash. Merry mayhem ensues and this is one delightful romantic comedy as the two work together to get the money and solve the riddle of what’s going wrong at her store.

Writing witty comedy is an art and Gail Pallotta has it mastered in this novella. No cats or dogs but any book that makes my mom giggle is worthy of five bones!

 

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.

Spatlze Speaks: Black Friday and Black Diamond Gothic Regencies (Book Reviews)

There must be some odd coincidence that the Black Diamond Gothic Regency series by my mom, would release on Black Friday with a special bonus! Now, as a dog can I just say I find it clever that the author, who happens to be my mom, put an animal in each of these books as a supporting role? In the first three there features a parrot, a dog, and a talking crow! I won’t tell you which appears where, you’ll have to read them to find out.

THE BARON’S BLUNDER

First of all let’s just remember that  The Baron’s Blunder which released last year, re-releases today for FREE and with a new cover and fresh revisions. How cool is that? The story is a prequel to the series and introduces us to the evil Black Diamond who becomes a nemesis to Lord Marcus Remington’s friends and family.

The Honorable Henrietta Allendale, sister to Lord Remington, is unbeknownst to her brother acting as a spy for the War Office at Whitehall. When she runs into Lord Charles Percy she suspects something is off with the man who introduces himself originally as “Mr.” Percy instead. And she didn’t need him to save them from a highwayman. She was perfectly capable of dispatching the criminal herself.

As the couple verbally spar she shows her abilities and uncovers his lie. Can she trust a man who would deceive her so, even though it was to avoid a title-seeking debutant of which she was most definitely not. But something about the handsome lord intrigues her.

Lord Percy was adverse to marriage until he met Miss Allendale. But courtship must take a back seat to keeping her alive from the minions of the Black Diamond who now have her as their target simply because she was seen with him. Can he save her and win her heart at the same time? Or will they all lose the greatest treasure of all, love?

THE VIRTUOUS VISCOUNT

The first full-length novel in The Black Diamond Gothic Regency series is The Virtuous Viscount.  Lord Marcus Remington has decided it is time to find a wife. He didn’t expect her to be in the wreckage of a carriage in the middle of a spring storm, but rescuing Miss Josephine Storm challenges his heart and very character of the man known as the Virtuous Viscount. But when the injured young woman weighs heavy on the viscount’s mind, convention goes out the window.

As Miss Josephine Storm recovers her physical health, her heart is in even more danger. When The Black Diamond’s plot to take over Britain puts Marcus and his friends in the criminal’s cross-hairs, Josie’s life is threatened. Marcus must chance losing her good favor and risk his virtuous reputation in order to save her life. Can Josie believe in the man she thought she knew when the facts say otherwise?

 

LORD PHILLIP’S FOLLY

The second full-length novel in The Black Diamond Gothic Regency series also releases today! Lord Phillip’s Folly features the first of Lord Remington’s friends to find himself faced with the challenges of love and courtship.

No good deed goes unpunished.Lord Phillip Westcombe is a younger son and sufficiently independent. He has no need upset his tidy life with the messiness of love, but when he comes to the rescue of the lovely Lady Elizabeth Follett, and the two are found in a compromising position, his life takes an unexpected turn. Barely knowing each other, they are forced to wed.

Embarking on a new life they must learn to trust God as they face an evil which threatens their lives and the security of the British Empire. Will the minions of the Black Diamond–the bounder who owns the soul of Elizabeth’s father–succeed in their evil plans? Will Phillip and Elizabeth’s new love and faith survive the test that awaits them? Or will they all fall to the Black Diamond?

I strongly recommend all three of these books and there are three more to come in 2018! Sir Michael’s Mayhem, Lord Harrow’s Heart, and The Captain’s Conquest. And all feature an animal as part of the supporting cast including a ferret, a kitten, and a sheep? Yes! All these books get five bones because I’m biased and these books are by my mom!

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

Spatzle Speaks: A Shattered Image (Book Review)

I’ll admit I’m a sucker for a good romantic suspense because Mom cuddles up to me more as she reads them. This debut novel, Through a Shattered Image by Linda Widrick is a winner in that category.

First of all let’s just put a young woman, Karina into a Witness Protection program under a new name, Leah. She’s never met her handler and they only talk on the phone. She doesn’t realize that the job she chose puts him in the precarious position of also being her employer. But what a better way for a US Marshal to keep his charge safe?

Phillip didn’t anticipate the complication of falling in love with his employee, as she confesses to him her attraction for her boss when they talk on the phone, about her loneliness and the challenges of adapting to living a life that’s a lie. And she doesn’t know the truth about him or her boss… who are one and the same person also living a lie.

Add to the mix some criminals and an unknown twin who is searching for her sister, a plane crash, and a kidnapping of Phillips young child, and you have a multi-layered story filled with love, passion, frustration, and new dreams for a future for all the main characters.

I strongly recommend this novel as it has everything a good read requires to keep you riveted to the page and waiting to see if Leah and Phillip could possibly overcome their obstacles to reach a happily-ever-after. 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.

Writer Wednesday: Danele Rotharmel

Danele Rotharmel

Danele is a sweet spirit with a personal story as compelling as the fiction she writes. I hope you enjoy getting to know and enjoy her as much as I have since we first met face to face in May of 2014 in the Rocky Mountains.

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

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was five, but illness seemed to cut those dreams short. A faulty furnace in my home had a low-level carbon monoxide leak that almost killed me. This poisoning triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. My illness continued to worsen, and eventually, I was quarantined in my home for seven years. As I began to regain my health, I used writing as a way to escape my physical pain and loneliness. When the pain was especially bad, I would lie in bed, look up at the ceiling, and think up plot twists and funny scenes. The Time Counselor Chronicles was my secret land. It was my escape hatch. It was the place where my pain, heartache, and loneliness couldn’t invade. By the time quarantine was over, I had written the first six book in my series. Time Tsunami, my first book, was published just a few weeks ago. When I was writing my books, I harbored a breathless dream that they would someday be published, but publication wasn’t why I was writing. I was writing to entertain myself and give myself hope.

What’s your pet peeve?

Besides pens that leak all over my manuscript or running out of Post-It-Notes? I suppose it would be lack of time. The days stream by so quickly. It feels like I just get up and then it’s time to go to bed again. I don’t know how the hours fly by so fast! I get whiplash just by looking at the clock! I also HATE hyphens. I drive myself NUTS over hyphens. Honestly, they are the bane of my existence. It doesn’t matter how much I study the rules surrounding them—I still get confused. Most people get confused over commas—but me?? Ugg!! It’s those nasty little hyphens. I actually had a nightmare about them once—the hyphens in my manuscript turned into squirmy, hissing snakes and crawled over and tried to strangle me.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Oh, Susan! You ACTUALLY want me to admit it?? It’s funny now, but it was horrible at the time. When I was getting ready for the Christian Writer’s Conference in Estes Park, Colorado, one of the things I had to do was prepare a synopsis of Time Tsunami. I worked for months on that synopsis. I perfected EVERY detail. I scrutinized every comma—the placement of every sentence. But when I went to the conference and began handing my synopsis out to editors, I realized that I had misspelled tsunami. Oh!—The!—Agony! It reminded me of my high school graduation party when I “Mr. Cleaned” the counters twenty times and totally forgot to dust the end tables by the couch. Somehow, the word “tsunami” was wrong in my computer’s dictionary, and I never caught the mistake. Luckily, no one at the conference did either—or else they were too nice to mention it.

 What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Hands down, my illness. There were years when I literally couldn’t write a word. I’d try so hard to write, but it was as if the creative part of my brain was frozen. It was like trying to run on crippled feet or trying to see with blind eyes. When my partial amnesia cleared up, so did my problems with writing. I was so glad when I could write stories again. There is such a creative rush that occurs during the writing process. I really missed it when I was ill.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Being a writer can be very scary. You’re taking a secret part of yourself, putting it on display, and holding it up for criticism. You’ve spent countless hours agonizing over your book, trying to make it just right. You hope that everyone will love it, but that’s not realistic. We live in a world where some people don’t like chocolate or ice cream. And if that’s the case, there’s no way everyone is going to like what you write. Rejection hurts, but I try to put it in perspective. And the first step is to categorize why the negative review is coming my way. Is it constructive and meant to make me better? Is it a matter of taste—like broccoli vs. green beans? Or is it mean? If it’s constructive, I listen and try to learn. If it’s a matter of taste, I try to shrug it off. If it’s mean-spirited, I pray for that person and realize that everyone has bad days. When it comes to rejection, I think the most important thing is to be confident in who you are and what you are writing. If you love your book, it doesn’t really matter what anyone says–but OUCH it hurts sometimes!

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

The proudest moment of my life was when my father told me he loved my book.

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

  1. Don’t force publication. Wait on God’s timing. Make sure you’re where God wants you to be. Seek His face. God has a perfect plan in motion—wait for it to unfold. And when God tells you to move—do it!
  2. Try to make a schedule and write something—even if it’s only a sentence—every day. Use the moments right before you go to sleep, and right after you wake up, to think about your story. I plan most of my dialogue and plot twists that way—not at the computer.
  3. Enjoy writing. Make it fun. Write for YOUR pleasure. Get a KICK out of it! If your book is entertaining to you—it probably will be for your readers too. Giggle at your funny scenes. Cry at your sad ones. Be breathless. Be energized. Don’t stand aloof from your characters—live the story with them. Let your book come alive. Immerse yourself in it, and HAVE A BLAST!

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

I wrote my novels as a way to distract myself from physical pain and the loneliness of quarantine. I want my books to be an enjoyable escape for my readers.  I want them to get lost in the world I created. But more than that, I want my readers to see God’s love. During quarantine, I came to a deeper understanding of God and my relationship with Him. I’m hoping that some of what I learned is transmitted through the pages of my novels.

What is your current work in process?

On January 15th my book, Time Tsunami, was released. Time Tsunami is the first book in The Time Counselor Chronicles. I wrote it while I was in quarantine, and I had such a BLAST creating the characters and engineering plot twists! Here’s the back cover blurb:

To stop a cruel serial killer, she must travel twenty-four years into the past… Gil Montgomery, a cadet in the Temporal Counseling Program, can’t wait to pass her field exam and become a professional time surfer. The TEMCO program targets death-row offenders for time-based counseling while they’re children.  For her exam, Gil will travel twenty-four years into the past to counsel ten-year-old Danny Winston before he murders his abusive babysitter, Rick Olsen.  Preventing the stabbing should stop the chain of events leading to Danny’s eventual execution. Gil’s assignment seems simple until her adviser, Dr. William Ableman, learns that Rick is a serial killer targeting Danny’s mother.  If Gil stays and protects the Winstons, she might not survive.  William wants the woman he loves to be pulled from the field, but if Gil fails to complete her assignment, it will unleash a Time Tsunami and destroy the timeline. As TEMCO undergoes an emergency lockdown, and Gil’s fellow cadets try to figure out what’s happening, Gil and William learn the importance of faith and the price of true love. Everyone’s fate is resting in Gil’s hands, but does she have the strength she needs to defeat a ruthless serial killer intent on annihilating everyone in his path? Will she return from the deadly mission…

I hope that people will really enjoy my book. I hope it brings them happiness.

Thank you so much for interviewing me, Susan! I really appreciate the opportunity to talk with you and your readers.

 Links to social media:

 My Blog: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

My Blog’s Welcome Page: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/

Amazon link to my book: Time Tsunami

 

 

 

Shattered Trust (J. Chris Richards)

ShatteredTrust_Ebook1 copyJ. Chris Richard’s debut novel, Shattered Trust is everything a suspense novel should be. Written for the inspirational market the journey to redemption by a police officer could not be more timely given the current events in our nation.

Officer Logan Taul realizes that he’s become a monster. Not a police officer out to protect the public but more to assert his authority. Confronting the evil within him is painful enough without the need to confront it from without and his transformation comes with a cost. Logan embraces this journey in spite of the pain and sacrifice to become the kind of police officer he intended to be when he started on the force. But his journey also reveals other areas in his life desperately needing reform.

A group of rag-tag teenagers adopt him and begin to show him what life and friendship are really all about. Although he’s tutoring some of them, he’s the one learning the real-life lessons he’d lost along the way. And when physical attacks come, and his reputation is torn to shreds, it is the faith of these young people who keep him moving forward to redemption.

He also confronts his real identity as a dead-beat father and strives to reconcile with his estranged ex-wife and children. This too is not easily done.

In our country, police are often maligned and while this story shows a corrupt officer, it is one of redemption, growth and earning the right to wear the badge. Officer Logan Taul shows how difficult and dangerous that struggle can be and his change and its ripple effect impact the lives of many around him.

This story grabs you and doesn’t let go. We all have monsters as part of ourselves and while this is a novel filled with suspense it is also one of hope and a story of healing and growth that is heartwarming. Kudos to J. Chris Richards for her rich characters and storytelling. Blue lives matter and she honors that beautifully.