Friday, 30 March 2012

Character Spotlight ~ Susan May Warren's Lilly


Susan May Warren has just released her second Daughters of Fortune novel, Baroness, available now from Summerside Press.

Synopsis

 Lilly and Rosie, daughters of an empire coming of age in the roaring twenties, can have anything they want except freedom. Expected to marry well and to take the reins of the empire, they have their lives planned out for them. But Lilly, Esme's daughter longs to return home to Montana, to adventure outside the confines of New York City. And Jinx's daughter Rosie dreams of the bright lights of the newly emerging silver screen. But following their dreams - from avant garde France, to Broadway, to the skies in the world of barnstormers and wing-walkers will take all their courage. And if they find love, will they choose freedom or happily ever after?

Enjoy meeting Lilly!


Brief physical description

Petite, brown hair, a hint of trouble in her brown eyes. Lilly grew up out west and is more cowgirl than society girl. She is down to earth, strong, brave and more than her physical appearance suggests.

Actor/famous person

British actress Carey Mulligan

Strengths and weaknesses

In Lily’s own words:

“I’m 20 years old, former cowgirl who is now trapped in the big city. When my mother said we should go and visit my grandparents in NYC, I never guessed that we’d end up living here. I have tried to fit in – letting my mother, my aunt Jinx and my cousin Rosie dress me and introduce me to society life, but mostly I just feel out of place. My favorite place is Central Park, but not long ago, I was riding Charity, my horse through the park and met a number of Rosie’s friends who made fun of me - riding two legs over the horse like I was. I just don’t fit in. And I don’t want to – I am not made for New York, and I don’t like it. I especially don’t like my mother’s new husband, Oliver. He’s a little bossy and is always hovering – as if I might break or run away. Mother’s been awfully ill these past few months – we’re going to Paris for a vacation now that she is better. I hate Paris even more. I just want to fit in, and I’ll do anything to get back to where I’m from. Even if it means I’m a little impetuous.”

Quirk (if any)

I jump too quickly into adventure and...trouble. But I’m brave and willing to hold onto my dreams even if I might get hurt.

Your inspiration for the character

Amelia Earhart, and all the young barnstormers of the 1920s.

Background to the story

I wanted to write a story about two women, Lilly and Rosie, daughters of wealthy families who were coming of age in the roaring twenties. These ladies could have anything they want…except freedom. Expected to marry well and to take the reins of the empire, they have their lives planned out for them. But, Lilly, Esme’s daughter longs to return home to Montana, to adventure outside the confines of New York City. And Jinx’s daughter Rosie dreams of the bright lights of the newly emerging silver screen. I wanted to build characters representative of the times – both the flappers, but also the adventurers of the era, like Amelia Earhart, and other flyers. So, while Rosie embodies the showgirl, early Hollywood starlet, Lilly embodies the adventure driven pilots and wing walkers. They both follow their dreams – from avant garde France, to Broadway, to the skies in the world of barnstormers and wing-walkers. And if when they find love, they have to choose freedom or happily ever after. Throughout the book I ask the question – what does it really mean to be free? 

Relz Reviewz Extras
Character spotlight on Jinx Worth
Reviews of Heiress, Nightingale & Sons of Thunder

Visit Susie's website and blog

Buy Susie's books at Amazon or Koorong


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Cuts Like A Knife by M K Gilroy with giveaway

Synopsis:~

The Killer ...

Chicago has a new resident; a heartless killer on a decade-long crime spree.  When a successful young woman is found dead in her fashionable town home, a red flag goes up in Washington, D.C. The FBI knows an elusive "organized killer" is at work again.  The problem is the Feds have only one tenuous lead to assist local police in the manhunt ... a most unlikely place the killer likes to find his victims.

The Detective ...

Conner, turning thirty, single, light as a feather but tougher than nails—growing up in a cop’s home and taking every hand-to-hand combat course that the Chicago Police Department offers does that—and the coach of her niece’s 7-year-old soccer team, the Snowflakes, becomes a lead detective in her first major homicide case. She’s a good girl—loves her mom, goes to church, only yells when she’s really mad—who just can’t stop fighting with her partner, police department brass, and most of all, her TV news anchor sister, Klarissa, who can turn a single bite of chicken into a 30-minute ordeal of starting, stopping, and starting again. Her mom, sisters, and various suitors all think she’s wonderful—except for her anger and bonding issues.

The Climax ...

From the opening chase scene that leads to a back alley where a Punk with a knife awaits, to the climactic scene where Kristen goes one-on-one with a man who is killing innocent women in her town and now has her in his sights, Cuts Like a Knife, the debut novel from Mark Gilroy, is loaded with action, humor, and wry introspection through the voice of its irrepressible lead character.

My take:~

M. K. (Mark) Gilroy's debut novel, Cuts Like A Knife, is a unique and engaging read, surprisingly humourous for a fast paced thriller which includes a brash female detective and a vicious serial killer.  Initially, the first person present tense was distracting but I soon adjusted to the prose and became invested in Kristen's journey.  Mark does a solid job with Kristen's voice, self deprecating with a sharp edge, reflecting the necessary nature of a homicide detective. Gritty and terse, the action and suspense builds well, dovetailing nicely with Kristen's relationship issues with her devoted mother, her disapproving sisters and the men who dare to seek her out.  Mark's dry wit is fabulous, easing the tension from the intense scenes as the killer's handiwork is discovered.  Cuts Like A Knife is a refreshing addition to the sparse pickings in the CBA for those who enjoy this genre.  I'm intrigued as to where Mark takes Kristen in this series, as he continues to hone his craft.

With thanks to Worthy Publishing and Wynn~Wynn Media for my review copy via NetGalley 

Relz Reviewz Extras
Visit Mark's website 
Buy Mark's book at Amazon or Koorong

 


Cuts Like A Knife from Imperial Pictures on Vimeo.





Wednesday, 28 March 2012

CFBA Blog Tour of The Chase by DiAnn Mills



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Chase
Zondervan (March 27, 2012)
by
DiAnn Mills




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.



DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.



DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills





ABOUT THE BOOK



To the FBI it's a cold case. To Kariss Walker it's a hot idea that could either reshape or ruin her writing career. And it's a burning mission to revisit an event she can never forget. Five years ago, an unidentified little girl was found starved to death in the woods behind a Houston apartment complex. A TV news anchor at the time, Kariss reported on the terrifying case. Today, as a New York Times bestselling author, Kariss intends to turn the unsolved mystery into a suspense novel. Enlisting the help of FBI Special Agent Tigo Harris, Kariss succeeds in getting the case reopened. But the search for the dead girl's missing mother yields a discovery that plunges the partners into a witch's brew of danger. The old crime lives on in more ways than either of them could ever imagine. Will Kariss's pursuit of her dream as a writer carry a deadly price tag? Drawing from a real-life cold case, bestselling novelist DiAnn Mills presents a taut collage of suspense, faith, and romance in The Chase.



Watch the book video!






If you would like to read the first chapter of The Chase, go HERE.

Rel: I'm partway through The Chase and the comparisons to the TV show Castle are unmissable.  I am enjoying both Tigo and Kariss, who at the moment are less than best friends! It's going to be fun to see how DiAnn turns that around :) Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Siri Mitchell ~ FamilyFiction Plus


Siri Mitchell featured in my News & Notes column in the March issue of FamilyFiction's digital magazine.  I'm delighted to share Siri's complete response to my question about her latest release, The Messenger, with my readers.  Enjoy!



Rel:  What was the most challenging aspect of writing about the time period in The Messenger?

Siri:  Just one? Can I sneak in a second? Or a third?

The most challenging aspect was trying to get the information I needed. The Revolutionary War is one of the first major historical events studied by elementary school students in the United States. It’s the conflict upon which the country was founded, so the materials available on the topic are voluminous. It’s easy to find the when and where about almost any date during the period, but the how and the why are much more difficult. I wrote the book around an escape of patriot soldiers from a British prison that took place in May 1778. I was able to find out the date that it happened, how many prisoners escaped, and a mention of the patriot lines participating in a diversionary skirmish but the link between the Continental Army (who had to have planned the escape) and the prisoners has been lost to time. I spent several weeks in a fruitless search for more details. I finally decided that if I couldn’t turn anything up, no one else would probably be able to either. At that point, I gave my novelist self permission to ‘make stuff up’! 

Another challenge was trying to approach this period with depth and a fresh eye. When American students study this war in history classes, there are Good Guys and Bad Guys. But the war was much more complicated than that. The Good Guys sometimes did bad things and the Bad Guys sometimes did good things. It’s a shame the war is studied at such an early age, because the complexities are too difficult to navigate in elementary school. Another problem is that most Americans think they know everything about this period…or at least everything that’s important. I took it as a challenge to investigate the ambiguity of being an outsider during a partisan conflict and being a pacifist during a time of war. A third facet of this particular challenge was trying to maintain suspense throughout the story. I’ve never written such a strong thread of intrigue before and the outcome of the war has been known for several centuries now. I’m hoping the story will feel so immediate that readers forget what they’ve learned in history class and just give themselves up to the story.

My third challenge transcended time and place. I think this is a way in which historical fiction can really illuminate modern culture. In this book I wanted to tackle the question of how to know God’s will and how to hear him speak. If God seems to be saying something contrary to popular opinion, how would a person know that it’s truly God and not just wishful thinking? How can a person truly recognize God’s voice?

I had many challenges in writing this book, but I had lots of fun as well!

Relz Reviewz Extras
Exclusive RBC Book Club Interview with Siri
Review of A Heart Most Worthy, A Constant Heart and She Walks in Beauty
Character spotlight on She Walks in Beauty's Clara Carter, Love's Pursuit's characters and A Constant Heart's Marget & Lytham
Visit Siri's website

Buy Siri's books at Amazon or Koorong

Monday, 26 March 2012

Character Spotlight ~ Janice Cantore's Carly Edwards


Former police officer, Janice Cantore, debuts with he first Pacific Coast Justice novel, Accused, available now from Tyndale House.

Synopsis

Detective Carly Edwards hates working in juvenile-where the brass put her after an officer-involved shooting-and longs to be back on patrol. So when a troubled youth, Londy Atkins, is arrested for the murder of the mayor and Carly is summoned to the crime scene, she's eager for some action. Carly presses Londy for a confession but he swears his innocence, and despite her better judgment, Carly is inclined to believe him. Yet homicide is convinced of his guilt and is determined to convict him.

Carly's ex-husband and fellow police officer, Nick, appears to be on her side. He's determined to show Carly that he's a changed man and win her back, but she isn't convinced he won't betray her again.As the investigation progresses, Carly suspects a cover-up and strikes out on her own, uncertain whom she can trust. But when danger mounts, she begins to wonder if she made the right choice.
 
Enjoy meeting Carly!


Brief physical description

Carly is athletic, she’s a swimmer, with auburn hair and brown eyes, five foot seven about 115 pounds. Her hair is kept short normally, but it’s a bit on the long side in Accused.

Actor/famous person

I like Stana Katic from Castle, I think she’d make a good Carly

Strengths and weaknesses

Impatience is her main weakness, she often acts rashly. Loyalty and tenacity are her strengths. She doesn’t give up when she’s on the scent.

Quirk (if any)
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Carly talks to her dog when she’s agitated about something.

Your inspiration for the character

Carly is a composite of women I worked with and around. Women who were great the job, quick on their feet and sharp to size situations up.

Background to the story

If you mean where I got the idea for the story, I was working as a juvenile detective when a kid was brought in who was accused of committing a particularly gruesome crime. I remember looking at him and thinking, what if he didn’t do it? As I played the “what if” game a little longer, I decided it would be a twist to have the cop fighting to prove the crook was innocent, then finding her own life in jeopardy, and that is how the story began.

Relz Reviewz Extras
Review of Accused
Interview with Janice
Visit Janice's website and blog
Buy Janice's books at Amazon or Koorong

Friday, 23 March 2012

The Irish Healer by Nancy Herriman with North American giveaway

Synopsis:~

During the deadly 1832 cholera epidemic in London, a heartsick Irish healer must find the strength to overcome her most fearsome obstacles.

Accused of murdering a child under her care, Irish healer Rachel Dunne flees the ensuing scandal while vowing to never sit at another sickbed. She no longer trusts in her abilities-or God's mercy. When a cholera epidemic sweeps through London, she feels compelled to nurse the dying daughter of the enigmatic physician she has come to love. James Edmunds, wearied by the deaths of too many patients, has his own doubts about God's grace. Can they face their darkest fears? Or is it too late to learn that trust and love just might heal their hearts?

My take:~


After reading The Irish Healer, Nancy Herriman's debut novel, it came as no surprise that she has finaled in numerous awards for her non-published works and took home the 2006 RWA Daphne du Maurier award for Best Unpublished Mystery/Romantic Suspense.  In The Irish Healer, Nancy's beautiful prose paints descriptive word pictures of London, her inhabitants and the intriguing Dr Edmunds and secretive Rachel. Infused with threads of mystery, a gently developed romance and struggles with self worth and calling, this story captivates and delights.  In the vein of Siri Mitchell and Julie Klassen, spiritual themes are sensitively woven throughout as each of the characters come to terms with the tragedy of their past lives and open themselves to a future filled with hope and forgiveness.  The Irish Healer holds plenty of promise of an enduring career for the talented Nancy Herriman.

With thanks to Worthy and Wynn~Wynn Media for my review copy via NetGalley

Relz Reviewz Extras
Visit Nancy's website 
Buy Nancy's books at Amazon or Koorong

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Character Spotlight ~ Randy Singer's Mace & Jamie


Randy Singer's legal thrillers are always on my 'must read' list. Look for his latest, The Last Plea Bargain, available now from Tyndale House

Synopsis

Plea bargains may grease the rails of justice, but for Jamie Brock, prosecuting criminals is not about cutting deals. In her three years as assistant DA, she’s never plea-bargained a case and vows she never will. But when a powerful defense attorney is indicted for murder and devises a way to bring the entire justice system to a screeching halt, Jamie finds herself at a crossroads. One by one, prisoners begin rejecting deals. Prosecutors are overwhelmed, and felons start walking free on technicalities. To break the logjam and convict her nemesis, Jamie must violate every principle that has guided her young career. But she has little choice. To convict the devil, sometimes you have to cut a deal with one of his demons.

Enjoy meeting Mace & Jamie!


Brief physical description

Mace James is a former felon (assault and battery) who experienced a jailhouse conversion, went to law school after he served his time, and was licensed to practice law (yes, it can happen). He became the law school professor who wears faded jeans to class, a black t-shirt and flip flops (every law school seems to have one).

Mace looks more like a UFC fighter than a law school professor. He has a bodybuilder’s physique, tattoo sleeves covering both arms, and is completely bald. He has a dark complexion, square chin, and a broad nose that has been on the wrong side of too many fights.

Jamie Brock is a hard-nosed young prosecutor who never plea bargains a case. Her mother was killed during a home break-in and she has devoted her life to helping victims obtain justice.

She’s athletic, headstrong and relentless. Prominent cheekbones, dark-brown eyes, a determined jaw, and short dark hair. She sees the world in black and white. In her view, Mace has sold his soul to the dark side, trying to keep death row inmates from getting what they deserve.

She works out her frustrations by running, kayaking and playing Frisbee with her black lab, appropriately named “Justice.”

Actor/famous person

Mace: a younger Bruce Willis.

Jamie: give Kiera Knightley a haircut and you’re getting there.

Strengths and weaknesses

Mace: You’ve heard the saying that whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Mace is living proof. He was convicted of assault and battery because he helped a friend in a fight (a little too effectively, it turns out). Now, he works the defense side in death penalty cases. He believes everyone is entitled to a second chance and he doesn’t give a rip about appearances. Weaknesses? He’s willing to bend the rules to get to the right result. Doesn’t trust the system. And takes every case personally.
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Jamie: Strengths? She is focused, determined and doesn’t care what people think. If you are the victim of a violent crime, you want Jamie working your case because she takes it personally. Not to mention the fact that she’s lethal in the courtroom. Weaknesses? She doesn’t do nuances. There are good guys and bad guys. Period. Plus, she’s been devastated by the loss of first her mother and now her father. When your world is as black-and-white as Jamie’s world, and you learn that things are not as they seem, it can be devastating. Her other weakness—she keeps God and even her closest friends at arm’s length.

Your inspiration for the characters

As a lawyer, the inspiration for many of my stories, and my characters, comes from real life cases. The Last Plea Bargain was no exception.

Relz
On November 13, 2001, Hamilton Somerville, heir to the DuPont fortune, was found dead in his home in Orange County, Virginia. When an autopsy revealed fatal amounts of morphine and oxycodone in his blood, murder charges were filed against his second wife. I represented Hamilton’s daughters in a case against their stepmother under the Slayer Statute.

I learned a lot in that case about a daughter’s quest for justice, about the struggle to forgive your father’s killer, about restoring your father’s name.

The emotions in that case were raw and unfiltered. Even after we won back the family estate, I couldn’t get the case out of my mind.

The themes from that case became the themes of The Last Plea Bargain. Much of Jamie Brock’s personality and drive came from what I saw in the Somerville daughters. Avenging your father’s death can be a powerful motivator.

Background to the story

Jamie Brock’s mother was killed during a home break-in when Jamie was just sixteen. Driven by this, Jamie became a prosecutor who never plea bargains a case.

But when Jamie’s nemesis—the lawyer who represented her mother’s killer—is arrested for poisoning his wife, Jamie’s world is turned upside down. The lawyer, Caleb Tate, devises a way to bring the entire justice system in Atlanta, Georgia to a screeching halt. Jamie finds herself at a crossroads. One by one, prisoners begin rejecting deals. Prosecutors are overwhelmed, and felons start walking free on technicalities.

To break the logjam and convict her nemesis, Jamie must re-evaluate every principle that has guided her young career. But she has little choice. To convict the devil, you sometimes have to cut a deal with one of his demons.

Relz Reviewz Extras
Reviews of By Reason of Insanity & False Witness
Character spotlight on Alex Madison from Fatal Convictions
Character spotlight
on Quinn Newberg from By Reason of Insanity
Character spotlight
on Jason Noble from The Justice Game
Visit
Randy's website
Buy Randy's books at
Amazon or Koorong

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Dreamspell by Tamara Leigh

Synopsis:~

A time to live. A time to die. A time to dream.

Sleep disorders specialist Kennedy Plain has been diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor. When her research subject dies after trying to convince her he has achieved dream-induced time travel and her study is shelved, she enlists herself as a subject to complete her research. But when she dreams herself into 14th-century England and falls into the hands of Fulke Wynland, a man history has condemned as a murderer, she must not only stay alive long enough to find a way to return to her own time, but prevent Fulke from murdering his young nephews. And yet, the more time she spends with the medieval warrior, the more difficult it is to believe he is capable of committing the heinous crime for which he has been reviled for 600 years.

Baron Fulke Wynland has been granted guardianship of his brother’s heirs despite suspicions that he seeks to steal their inheritance. When the king sends a mysterious woman to care for the boys, Fulke is surprised by the lady's hostility toward him--and more surprised to learn she is to be his wife. But when his nephews are abducted, the two must overcome their mutual dislike to discover the boys' fate. What Fulke never expects is to feel for this woman whose peculiar speech, behavior, and talk of dream travel could see her burned as a witch. 

My take:~

Adored for her contemporary chick lit flavoured inspirational fiction, Tamara Leigh proves she is equally at home in the 14th century with her self published time travel romance, Dreamspell.  Tamara commenced her writing career penning medieval romance novels for the general market and her talent for historical romance is on display in this substantial and engaging story.  Fulke captures the imagination from the get go as he faces the hangman's noose for a heinous crime, a medieval warrior with a captive heart.  Kennedy is an intriguing woman, facing death of another kind, daring to dream of a life beyond her consciousness.  While cheating death in one world by travelling to another, Kennedy faces danger of an equally unrelenting nature as rumours she is a witch take flight.  Dreamspell is a novel of deep passion while remaining a clean read but unlike Tamara's contemporary novels, you will not find an overtly spiritual message.  Tamara's considerable gifts for character development, historical detail and palpable attraction with garner her devoted readers in this genre.  Fulke and Kennedy engaged me completely as they battled fear, attraction, betrayal and heartache and their journey will appeal to fans of Lisa Bergren's River of Time series and Linda Windsor's medieval romances.  Like Siri Mitchell, Tamara shows she can make the transition from romantic comedies to historical romance with ease and I am confidant Dreamspell will be the first of many successful historical novels from this gifted writer.

With thanks to the author for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras
Buy Dreamspell for your e-reader or PC for the introductory price of $2.99
Review of Restless in Carolina and Character spotlight on Bridget & J.C.
Review of Leaving Carolina and Character spotlight on Piper & Axel
Review of Nowhere, Carolina and Character spotlight on Maggie & Reece
Interview with Tamara
Visit Tamara's new look website (she has great recipes, too!)
Buy Tamara's books at Amazon or Koorong


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

7 Stories 7 Writers 7 Hours

Love this fabulous concept from James Andrew Wilson, Tyndale House and six other amazing authors.  Each individual story will be released in ebook format in May, 2012 and the omnibus in July, 2012.

Be sure to check out the 7 Hours website and Facebook page!

Death comes for everyone. 
But what if you were given seven more hours? Would you go back and relive a previous time in your life? Or would you live seven more hours starting now? The clock is ticking. What will you do with the time you have left?

7 writers come together to tackle the questions of life, death and time as we know it. Linked together by a mysterious character, each author has taken the same concept and created their unique story with a supernatural twist.


  

After a brutal attack left him without a limb and his team dead, former Green Beret Haytham “Hawk” Wilson is angry at life and God. Bitter, he pushes everyone out of his life. Every day he relives his decision to send the Afghan boy home rather than following orders to kill any who came upon his hidden team. So when on his deathbed at age 36, eaten alive by grief and regret, he’s offered the chance to relive any seven hours, Hawk is determined to go back, kill the boy, and save his team. The decision is simple . . . until he gets there.

The clock is ticking. What will you do with the time you have left?







 

Luke Harrison is haunted by dreams of an imaginary past. Five years ago his wife, Arianna, fell victim to a horrifying degenerative disease, unraveling all of their dreams in an instant. Luke’s entire life is focused on her care and comfort.

But there is an approaching darkness, a malevolent Watcher who seems intent on taking Arianna from Luke.

Dreams and reality collide as Luke faces his own impending death. He doesn’t know what's real anymore, and time is running out.

The clock is ticking. What will you do with the time you have left?





 

Mattie Bigham has lost his job, is losing his wife, and is not losing any weight. At just under four hundred and fifty pounds, he figures his doctor’s prediction that he's going to drop dead any second is about to come true. He is right.

When Thomas Constant appears, Mattie chooses murder—to carry out revenge on the bully who tormented him all through school. Except when he arrives for the showdown, he’s shocked to find this man in a scenario not unlike his own. Things get complicated quickly, and time is running out.

The clock is ticking. What will you do with the time you have left?






 

New York City cabdriver Adrian Colfax awakens one night muttering a mysterious string of numbers and with the fragments of a bizarre dream in his head. He can’t shake the feeling there’s something he’s supposed to do. Something very important. He just can’t remember what it is.

Through a series of haunting visions, Adrian comes to believe he's been transported back in time to prevent the violent murder of the girl he loved. But he also learns that saving Kate could result in something even more catastrophic.

The clock is ticking. What will you do with the time you have left?








Mike Harden is living a comfortable life when he discovers he is going to die. Though skeptical of the stranger’s offer, Mike chooses to go back sixteen years to the day he married Ashley.

When Mike realizes this wish has come true, it doesn’t take him long to begin to make plans. He didn’t relive this because it was the happiest day of his life. Mike made this choice in order to go back to the moment when a man named Vince Levy first saw Ashley. The first and only time Vince saw the woman he would go on to kill ten years later. Mike has gone back to his wedding day to kill his wife’s murderer.

The clock is ticking. What will you do with the time you have left?






Professor Dan Blakely has it all . . . until a false accusation leaves him in financial ruin with nothing to fall back on and little hope.

In a moment of desperation, he decides to do the unthinkable. But when he loses control of his SUV and careens down the side of a mountain, his plans take another turn.

Trapped beneath the frame of his mangled vehicle, Dan is visited by a mysterious stranger who offers him three choices. Filled with regret, Dan makes a decision . . . but little does he know that his troubles have only just begun.

The clock is ticking. What will you do with the time you have left?






Thomas Constant ventures to a mansion on a remote island, where a powerful criminal empire is gathering to witness the final moments of one of their own and readying their latest dark and dangerous plot.

They weren’t always this way. They were once ordinary people like anyone else. But a lifetime of complicated circumstances and difficult choices slowly molded them into this shadowy organization.

Can their long, complex history be changed by seven hours? The end has come, but this last leg of Thomas’s experiment may be the most challenging task of his remarkable life.

The clock is ticking. What will you do with the time you have left?





Death comes for everyone. But what if you were given seven more hours? Would you go back and relive a previous time in your life? Or would you live those seven more hours, starting now?

In this collection of seven full-length novellas, seven writers come together to tackle the questions of life, death, and time as we know it. Each author has taken the same concept, featuring a mysterious central character, and spun their own story.

Stories include: All of Our Dreams, Whole Pieces, Teardrop, Escapement, Recollection, Rear View, and The Last Night of Alton Webber.

7 Stories. 7 Writers. 7 Hours.

July, 2012


Monday, 19 March 2012

Character Spotlight ~ Margaret Daley's Wyatt & Kate with giveaway


Margaret Daley launched her Men of the Texas Rangers series with Saving Hope, now available from Abingdon Press.

Synopsis

When a teenager goes missing from the Beacon of Hope School, Texas Ranger Wyatt Sheridan and school director Kate Winslow are forced into a dangerous struggle against a human trafficking organization. But the battle brings dire consequences as Wyatt's daughter is terrorized and Kate is kidnapped.

Now it's personal, and Wyatt finds both his faith and investigative skills challenged as he fights to discover the mastermind behind the ring before evil destroys everyone he loves.

Enjoy meeting Wyatt and Kate!

Wyatt Sheridan, Texas Ranger in Company B

Brief physical description

Eyes like quicksilver, Wyatt, a Texas Ranger, dressed in brown cowboy boots, tan slacks, white short-sleeve shirt, a black tie, a white Stetson and a gun in a holster at his belt has a silver star pinned on his shirt over his heart. He is over six feet tall with medium length brown hair and speaks in a Texan drawl.

Actor/famous person
Hugh Jackman

Strengths and weaknesses

Wyatt is protective (especially with his family) and believes in justice. He has a hard time trusting with all that he has seen through his work as a Texas Ranger. He has a code he lives by and fights hard to keep it. But sometimes doing that, he is inflexible. His mother is quirky, and he tries to tolerate her as best he can but sometimes it is hard. She flits from one man to the next and doesn't like being alone. It takes all Wyatt's patience to deal with her.

Your inspiration for the character

I needed a strong character to be the Texas Ranger in this story. The inspiration for the character was my vivid imagination and the code of a Texas Ranger.

Background to the story

Wyatt's wife was murdered by an escape convict. Wyatt blames himself for her death and has trouble dealing with that guilt. If he hadn't talked her into going to the lake that week, she would be alive. He was left alone to raise his baby daughter and felt at a loss.


Kate Winslow, director of the Beacon of Hope Program

Brief physical description

Medium height, she had shoulder length hair and brown eyes. She came from a wealthy background but refused to do what her family wanted.

Actress who might resemble her

Keira Knightley

Strengths and weaknesses

Kate cares about the underdog. She wants to make a difference. She won’t play by her parents' rules and is constantly at odds with her mother who wants to disown her. Kate has a strong faith that she hopes she can impart to the teenage girls she works with.

Your inspiration for the story

In this story I needed a strong heroine who would fight for the teenage girls she cared for and match Wyatt's strength. Kate fit that in my mind.

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Background to the story

As a teenager Kate went on a mission trip and befriended a girl who ended up being sold into sex slavery by her parents. Kate felt as if she should have done something and has been replaying it over and over since the incident. Guilt and compassion drive Kate. She couldn't save her friend, but she would try to save the girls in her program.


Relz Reviewz Extras
Review of Saving Hope
Visit Margaret's website and blog
Buy Margaret's books at Amazon or Koorong


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Coming in late 2012 from Thomas Nelson

Looks like readers are in for a treat with these late 2012 releases from Thomas Nelson (check out their new look website).

I can't wait to read Jim Rubart's book and William Sirls' sounds fascinating.  Always love Denise's books although the cover is disappointing.  

The covers for The Reason, Soul's Gate, The Spirit Well and If We Survive are terrific ~ I just wish we would see something different for the books aimed at women.  I certainly in the demographic for those books but I'm one who would like a little cover variety!!  That said, I love the winter aspect of Dorothy's cover.

What are your thoughts on the cover art below?


The Reason by William Sirls

In a small town in Michigan, lightning strikes the cross outside a church and a brilliant young doctor, Macey Lewis, wants to help. When she recruits a volunteer carpenter, strange things start to happen.

Dr. Lewis's colleague, Dr. Zachary Norman, is a staunch atheist trying to understand how the carpenter repaired the cross so quickly. But the only explanation goes against everything he ever believed.

Four-year-old Alex Thomas is diagnosed with leukemia, and his mother has been told she must do only one thing for her son to be made well.

James Lindy, a blind minister, leads this motley crew in their struggle to see by faith—and to discover if the carpenter is the reason these strange things are happening.

September, 2012





Who can unlock the mystery of a map that spans history and alternate realities?


Kit Livingstone stumbled upon a powerful ley line inside the Bone House that transported him to an almost magical place: the Well of Souls. While there, he witnessed Arthur Flinders-Petrie, the Man Who Is Map, carry his dead wife into a pool of light and emerge with her alive again. Could the location of this place be the secret so jealously guarded by the Skin Map?


Archaeologist Cassandra Clarke is suddenly transported from a deserted canyon in Arizona to a busy street in Damacus, circa 1950. Through circumstances too precise to be coincidental she arrives at the door of the Zetetic Society—the Seekers—and is asked to join their quest to track down Cosimo Livingstone and his grandson Kit. But joining their cause is the last thing Cass plans to do.


Meanwhile, Douglas Flinders-Petrie—great-grandson of Arthur—ruthlessly pursues the map. Livid that his father withheld it from him, he is determined to find and keep whatever treasure the map holds for himself.


From the Stone Age to the Well of Souls, from medieval Oxford to modern-day Spain, from the pyramids of Egypt to an ancient shrine in China, the race continues for a prize beyond all imagining.


September, 2012






An unplanned pregnancy. An absent father. Does love really endure all things?

Danielle Kent is 18, pregnant, and hopeful that the child’s father—Aaron Lapp—will want to marry her and provide the life she’s always dreamed of. Even though Aaron is Old Order Amish, Danielle knows that he wants to leave his community for a life outside of the district. But then
Aaron tells Danielle that he doesn’t love her—that a wife and baby don’t fit into his plans.

Levi Detweiler has enjoyed an unlikely friendship with Danielle for nearly a year, though they have little in common. He’s Amish, and she won’t even discuss God. When Danielle becomes pregnant with Aaron’s child, Levi is sure that Aaron will do the right thing and marry Danielle. When that doesn’t happen, God calls on Levi to marry her. It doesn’t make sense, and it means that Levi will have to leave his home in the Old Order community to make a life for himself, Danielle, and the baby. Levi seeks God's will in a situation that seems impossible—knowing that only by faith are all things are possible.

October, 2012





Annie refuses to fall for a sweet-talking cowboy. But when her boss throws her a curveball, there's only one person who can help.

Annie Stevens is the premier horse trainer in Moose Creek, Montana, and writes a horse advice column to help put her little sister through college and to support her young nephew. Money's tight, so when the vexing Dylan Dawson needs assistance with a blinded horse, it's not easy to turn down the extra cash. But turn it down she must, for her own sanity.

Then Annie's editor tells her she must change her column to a lovelorn column. Annie—who's never been in love—knows she needs help fast. And no one is more qualified for the job, unfortunately, than the smooth-talking, lady-charming Dylan Dawson.

Tension builds as they work together on both projects. As Annie's life begins falling apart around her, she realizes she needs to let God have control, and she fights to put aside her prejudice toward cowboys—no easy task with Dylan's unwavering attention. The last thing she needs is to fall for a man who would only break her heart. And she knows he will because that is the trouble with cowboys.

October, 2012




Darkness Rising by Lis Wiehl with Pete Nelson

The evil that's in East Salem is no longer content to hide in the shadows. The stakes—and the darkness—are rising.

Dani Harris thought there wasn't much left that could surprise her after serving as a forensic psychiatrist in East Salem. And Tommy Gunderson has faced few challenges in his life that he couldn't overcome by either physical strength or his celebrity status. But as they race to uncover what's really happening behind the high walls of St. Adrian's Academy, it becomes clear that supernatural forces have been at work here for generations. And now their focus is on making sure Dani and Tommy don't interfere.

When the unseen becomes seen, faith is the only weapon strong enough to fight in a battle involving not only murder and betrayal—but angels and demons.
Hope remains, but the darkness is rising.

October, 2012






When her nieces and nephews fall victim to their alcoholic father's mistakes, Susanna Hanby vows to rescue them.

In 1875, Susanna Hanby travels to her sister’s Ohio farm—but no one is there. Her sister’s alcoholic husband claims that she has run off and dumped their six children at the county orphanage, and he doesn’t care. Desperate to keep the family together, Susanna seeks help from
her uncle Will in Westerville.

Johann Giere is heir to a thriving German-American brewery in Columbus. When he helps a saloon owner take beer to Westerville, Johann expects a fight between the new saloon and the driest town in America. He doesn’t expect to meet Susanna, a pretty temperance crusader who wins his sympathy. The small town erupts in gunpowder and fire, but Johann vows to help
Susanna rescue her nieces and nephews. Susanna grows to admire him even as she detests his business. He finds her lovelier with every passing day, until they both face an impossible choice between passion and principle.

Lovelier than Daylight is a novel of faith and grace inspired by the real Hanby family of Ohio and
their role in the Westerville Whiskey Wars.

November, 2012





Well Spring is a place where God is seen more clearly. But how will the newest visitors respond?

Reece Roth has done astonishing things through God's power. He's seen visions. Walked through walls. Been instantly transported thousands of miles across the country. And battled for the freedom of others' souls.

But that was thirty years ago. Before his wife and daughter were destroyed by the enemy. Before he
locked his calling in the basement of his soul and melted down the key. Now Reece must step out of the shadows because the time of the prophecy has come. A prophecy about four who will change the world, about four Reece has been chosen to train--before his time on Earth runs out.

At Well Spring Ranch, Reece tries to lead each of them into the destiny God has planned and show them the spiritual world around them with stunning clarity. And they'll try to learn how to step into the supernatural as powerfully as anyone in the Bible did--and find freedom as the darkest wounds of their souls are healed.

But the evil one has a destiny for these four as well and he'll stop at nothing to keep them from
being set from and from setting others on the path to true freedom.

November, 2012





What do you do when a mission trip suddenly leaves you caught in the middle of a revolution?

Will Peterson is part of a mission team that has traveled to Costa Verde to rebuild the wall of a school. It's been a great trip—until a revolution breaks out just before they board their plane to go home.

But then it becomes a desperate race to escape: from a firing squad, from savage animals in the depths of the jungle, from prison cells and revolutionaries with machine guns.

One of the girls is showing Will amazing things about what it means to be truly fearless. And one of the guys has the makings of a real hero. None of them will go home the same. If they only survive.

November, 2012







Sophie has spent a lifetime guarding her heart and a long-held secret. It will take all of her courage to speak the truth and embrace the future God has planned for her.

The year is 1886, and Sophie Robillard returns to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, after living in Texas for 15 years as the ward of Ada and Wyatt Caldwell. Now that the town's population has exploded, her intention is to reopen the long-defunct newspaper office that so captivated her when she was still an orphan. The rejection she experienced as a child because of her mixed parentage has left deep scars that she hopes can be healed by succeeding in this new venture.

Ethan Heyward was uprooted from his home as a boy following an unspeakable tragedy. Horace Blakely, a millionaire businessman, took Ethan under his wing and eventually put him in charge of the construction and opening of Blue Smoke resort in Hickory Ridge.

They meet when Sophie arrives at Blue Smoke to interview Ethan for her newspaper. As their
attraction deepens, each hides a secret that, if revealed, could end their relationship.

December, 2012





What does it mean for a middle-class church to offer the broken, the hungry, and the wounded an invitation to come to the table?

Kat has found a way to channel her enthusiasm for radical Christianity in a practical way: starting a food pantry at the church.

But as Kat watches the way Edesa Baxter relates to the wider needs of those seeking assistance—spiritual as well as physical and practical—she begins to see that the people coming to the food pantry are hungry and thirsty for more than just food and drink. She's beginning to see
the deep significance of inviting people to come to the table as a community of God's people. But when the church asks someone else to run the food pantry—Kat's pet project!—and that same someone also seems to have her heart set on the same guy who has captured Kat's attention, she must begin to ask herself some serious questions. What does God require of her when it comes to fellowship and sacrifice?

December, 2012





A Recipe for Hope—Eve Bender and her family are forced to move in with her parents for two months while the house is being repaired. Not an easy task—loading up husband and three teenage boys in their rumschpringe to grandma and grandpa’s house. Eve and Benjamin have been raising their children according to the Ordnung, but they’ve also allowed some liberties that Eve is certain will create some friction. Can peace reside in this house of old and new?

A Spoonful of Love—Hannah King is determined to prove that she can run the Paradise Inn Bed & Breakfast and take care of her parents without anyone else’s help. But when Stephen Esh, a bachelor from Sugarcreek, Ohio, comes to stay, can Hannah see past her stubbornness to find true love brewing in her kitchen?

A Taste of Grace— Amish herbalist, Deborah "Fern" Zook knows that life began in a garden; she just wishes God would plant a suitable man in her life. When the handsome and brooding Abram Fisher arrives at her door with a sick child in his arms, it seems as though Fern has gotten her wish, but how do two different personalities entwine to grow a faithful love?

December, 2012





How do you find your place in the world?

Tired of watching her father flit from one wife to another and having formed a true bond with her most recent stepmother, Natalia decides to move with her from Spain to Florida when the divorce papers are finalized.

There are a couple things Natalia knows for sure: 1) She's being groomed to take over her father's international business. Success is expected. 2) There is no such thing as true love. Just look at her father. 3) Her stepmother's faith is real. And Natalia wants more of it.

Being in a new place, though, has a way of challenging one's preconceived notions. Natalia is still searching but before it's over, she hopes to discover right where she belongs.

December, 2012


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