Friday, 30 May 2008

Field of Blood Book Trailer

I am really looking forward to reading Eric Wilson's newest series, commencing with Field of Blood which I previewed here. It releases from Thomas Nelson in October, 2008. I'll be sure to review it :)

Check out the trailer and a message from Eric and be sure to show the men in your life too!

Relz Reviewz Extras:~

Visit Eric's website

Check out the Undead Trilogy website

Buy Eric's books (there's lots of them to read while waiting for Field of Blood!) at Amazon or Koorong (Aust)

Love's Unfolding Dream

Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly series comes to life again in the sixth installment, Love's Unfolding Dream.

Belinda, Missie's adopted daughter is determined to fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor despite the obstacles in her way. The town's physician, Doc Jackson, has a soft spot for Belinda but is dead set against her pursuing a career in medicine. When a wealthy widow falls ill, Doc has no choice but to allow Belinda to assist with her care, giving Belinda a glimmer of hope.

New York lawyer, Drew Simpson, arrives in Belinda's hometown to settle a relative's estate and discovers physical work can be just as rewarding as intellectual pursuits. Drew is intrigued by Belinda's compassion and spirit but unable to reconcile her desire to be a doctor with his belief of a woman's place in life.

Love's Unfolding Dream is a charming story and my favourite of the Love Comes Softly films. Scout Taylor-Compton is the stand out performer bringing a sincerity and vibrancy to Belinda. Despite feeling Patrick Levis was a bit youthful in his role as Drew, his portrayal of the successful young lawyer faced with a close knit country community was engaging. Robert Pine was a perfect fit as Doc Jackson and the other characters well cast. The difficulties faced by women of the time in pursuing a career let alone one in the male domain gave great substance to the story and Belinda's journey of discovery held challenges and joys. Yes, there are differences to Janette Oke's novels but if you want an uplifting film that the whole family can be entertained an encouraged by, you can't go wrong with Love's Unfolding Dream.

Available now on DVD from Amazon and Koorong (Aust)

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Deep In The Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist

Flamboyant Essie Spreckelmeyer from Courting Trouble is back with fussier hats, abundant bloomers and her overworked independent streak! While Judge Spreckelmeyer continues to grieve the loss of his wife, Essie has taken the helm of his Sullivan Oil interests while continuing her duties as founder and active member of the Corsicana Velocipede Club. With no time on her hands for courting and with the knowledge her thirty fourth birthday is around the corner, Essie has resigned herself to the life of spinsterhood, albeit a very full and fulfilling one!

Licking his wounds from the shock of being disinherited by his father, the owner of Morgan Oil, Tony Morgan reverts to his mother's name of Bryant and arrives in Corsicana hoping for a job in Spreckelmeyer's oil fields. Aghast at finding a woman in charge, especially one who dislikes him on sight, Tony determines to make the most of it. Little does he know that Essie's spunk and unusual behaviour will become more and more appealing until his heart is the one that is in trouble!

Delightfully entertaining with characters that light up the pages and a plot that entrances, Deep In the Heart of Trouble is a treat to be savoured. Gone is the meek and mild historical woman and in her place is Essie Sprecklemeyer, opinionated and headstrong yet with a vulnerability from the hurts of her past and her desire to follow God and not stumble again. Tony Morgan is just the foil for Essie, dedicated and hard working with an admirable devotion to his mother and sister, yet with his own struggles with pride and anger against his father and conniving brother, Darius. Essie and Tony's attraction fires on all cylinders making this a fun and engaging read. As their secrets are revealed, hurt and anger flow with the authenticity I have come to expect from Deeanne Gist. If that is not enough, humour abounds as the Velocipede Club's sleuthing skills come to the fore. Do yourself a favour and add Deep In the Heart of Trouble to your keeper's shelf.

Relz Reviewz Extras:~

Reviews of Courting Trouble and A Bride Most Begrudging

Interview with Deeanne

Visit Deeanne's website and blog

Buy Dee's books from Amazon and Koorong (Aust)

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

CFBA blog tour of Ruby Among Us by Tina Ann Forkner

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Ruby Among Us

(WaterBrook Press May 20, 2008)


Tina Ann Forkner


Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. Originally from Oklahoma, she graduated with honors in English from CSU Sacramento before ultimately settling in the wide-open spaces of Wyoming where she now resides with her husband and their three children. Tina serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors and enjoys gardening, spending time outdoors with her family, and works as a full-time writer.


Sometimes, the key that unlocks your future lies in someone else’s past...

Ruby Among Us, Lucy DiCamillo is safely surrounded by her books, music, and art─but none of these reclusive comforts or even the protective efforts of her grandmother, Kitty can shield her from the memory of the mother she can no longer remember. Lucy senses her grandmother holds the key, but Kitty seems as eager to hide from the past as Lucy is eager to find it.

From the streets of San Francisco and Sacramento, to the lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley, Lucy follows the thread of memory in search for a heritage that seems long-buried with her mother, Ruby.

What she finds is enigmatic and stirring in this redemptive tale about the power of faith and mother-daughter love.

“What an incredible story. As both mothers and daughters, Ruby Among Us struck a special cord in each of the four of us. Tina writes in a way that makes us feel like we’re there; from the first line, we were captivated and drawn into an intricate weaving of the precious and fragile relationships that define us.”
~Point of Grace~

“Reading is a passion of mine, and when I find myself identifying with the characters, anxious to get to the next page to find answers to my questions, I know I’m into a good book! The daughter-mother-grandmother theme in Ruby Among Us pulled me in. Wonderful story-telling.”
~Jordin Sparks~, 2007 winner of American Idol

“Highly recommended. If you’re a mother or daughter, you’re going to love Ruby Among Us. Forkner does an extraordinary job…. I look forward to more from this author.”
~Ane Mulligan~, Novel Journey

“Don’t miss this one! Tina Ann Forkner is a strong new voice in fiction and Ruby Among Us is an amazing story of trials, regrets, and, ultimately, redemption. Lucy and her family history in the historic wine country of Sonoma bring to life the Scriptures about the Vine and His branches.”
~Kristin Billerbeck~, author of The Trophy Wives Club

If you would like to read the first chapter go HERE

Trailer of Chuck Holton and Meltdown

Chuck Holton is another male author holding his own writing great suspense with a splash of romance! Allah's Fire (co-written with Gayle Roper) and Island Inferno are both books I highly recommend. Unfortunately, the third book in the series, Meltdown, won't be releasing until 2009!

Chuck was recently asked to introduce himself and his next story for his publisher's sales people. This video is what he came up with ~ it is fabulous and very funny!

Relz Reviewz Extras:~

Reviews of
Allah's Fire and Island Inferno

Interview with Chuck

Visit Chuck's

Buy Chuck's books
Amazon and Koorong (Aust) including his
non-fiction titles, A More Elite Soldier and Bulletproof

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

A Soldier's Family by Cheryl Wyatt

Pararescue Jumper Manny Pena deeply regrets the drunken pass he made at Celia Munoz but she is not about to believe he has changed his ways.

Recuperating from serious injuries after a failed jump, Manny has time on his hands and invest some of that time in Celia's wayward son. Celia starts to see Manny in a new light but her fears of losing another man to a dangerous career prevent her from risking her heart.

A Soldier's Family is another winner from author Cheryl Wyatt. Electrifying attraction between Manny and Celia jump starts this story of love, healing and forgiveness. Cheryl has given both characters multifaceted personalities with engaging qualities. The plot is substantive with Manny limited by his injuries and the fear of losing his career to Celia's desperate struggle to meet her son's and her own, financial, spiritual and emotional needs. There is a lot to love about this story and it ensures I will be reading each and every one of Cheryl's future offerings!

Relz Reviewz Extras:~

Review of A Soldier's Promise

Visit Cheryl's website and blog

Come back soon for my interview with Cheryl

The winners of Embrace Me are....

Rosalie, ad, Tracy and Danielle ~ congratulations.

I'd really be interested in your thoughts on this book.

Blog tour for Skid by Rene Gutteridge and Aussie Giveaway

Blissfully unaware that Atlantica Flight 1945 from Atlanta to Amsterdam is about to make aviation history, First Officer Danny McSweeney focuses his energies on navigating the turbulent personalities of an eccentric female captain, a co-pilot with a talent for tactless comments and conspiracy theories, and a lead flight attendant with an outsized attitude that definitely exceeds the limits for carry-on baggage.

On the other side of the cockpit door, the unscheduled in-flight entertainment includes a potbellied pig, a jittery diamond courier, and the recently jilted Lucy Meredith, whose personal mantra of “What Would Oprah Do?” will be challenged by the sudden appearance of her ex and his new traveling partner. On her left sits Hank Hazard, whose unusually polite but constant requests–prompted by his covert role as a spy for the airline–test the limits of the crew’s customer service.

But as Lucy and the rest of the crew discover, Hank’s odd behavior is linked to a quiet faith
that may play a key role in the fate of everyone on board. Especially when an unexpected traveler sets this already bumpy flight on a course toward the unfriendly skies.

Author Bio:~

Rene Gutteridge is the author of twelve novels, including the Boo series, the Storm series, and the novelization for The Ultimate Gift, as well as Scoop and Snitch, the first two Occupational Hazard novels. She lives with her husband, Sean, and their two children in Oklahoma City.

My take:~

The words quirky and unique are bandied around a lot in book reviews but Rene's characters and plot lines epitomise the words. Hank Hazard, the flight crew and their fellow passengers, including a seeing eye pig, will entertain and delight as they bumble around each other's eccentricities and issues. While I am only a third of the way through the story, I am engaged in the outcome for these unusual characters that I shouldn't be able to relate to, yet Rene's talent ensures that I do!


I have two copies to give away and I'm doing a survey on clowns!! To enter you must have an Australian postal addy and leave a comment before midnight Tuesday 3rd June, 2008. In addition, tell me whether you love clowns or, like me, are slightly wary of anyone dressed up in funny costumes!!

If you are wondering why I am asking this question be sure to read this series in order ~ Scoop, Snitch then Skid.

Relz Reviewz Extras:~

Review of Scoop and Snitch

Interview with Rene

Visit Rene's website

Purchase Skid at Amazon or Koorong (Aust)

Getting to know Ray Blackston

You can always count on Ray Blackston for out of the box, laugh out loud novels. He has authored the entertaining Flabbergasted, A Delirious Summer, Lost in Rooville (a personal fav of mine!), A Pagan's Nightmare and most recently, Par for the Course.

Now here is a look at the man behind the stories, his childhood aspirations and his penchant for the colour lime!

Over to you, Ray....

If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?

I’ll stick with Ray Blackston, since I’ve practiced writing it for years now.

Your first pet’s name?

No pets...but my sister’s big black Labradoodle, “Finn,” is a favorite dog. Just the most good-natured mutt you’ve ever met. For Christmas I bought him peanut-butter flavored dog bones.

Your best friend’s name in primary (elementary) school?

Dale Short

Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.

A mini Atlanta Braves baseball bat stayed pretty close. I still have it!

If you could be an animal for one day, what would you be and why?

I’d have to be a bottle-nosed dolphin, just so I could explore the vast oceans for a day. I’d be a swimmin’ fool.

If you could meet a famous person, who would it be?

Probably Bono, the lead singer of U2 and a dedicated humanitarian. Learning how a Christian juggles life as a rock star, a husband, a father, and international ambassador would be an interesting chat.

If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible of course)

My one object would be quite large: a forty-foot Hatteras yacht with a full tank of gas. Okay, if you remove that option and want a practical answer, I’d say a machete’ like they use on Survivor.

If you could only have one favorite food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Shrimp creole. I can eat bowl after bowl of the stuff.

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

Lime Sherbet.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A professional baseball player or a professional golfer.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Ireland and Scotland rank very high on my list! Australia too, but I’ve been once already.

Besides God, who has influenced you the most?

My parents. They are most excellent role models.

What's your favourite book?

Well, besides the Bible, I’d have to say my first novel, since I wrote it.

What part of your daily routine do you enjoy most?

Coffee and cereal at 6:45 a.m., just moments before I begin my daily writing quota.

What's your favourite movie?

Forrest Gump. It just sweeps across America during a most turbulent time in our nation’s history, and does so with both depth and humor, a tough combination. Sometimes when we do the Sunday morning “stand and shake someone’s hand” at church, I’ll reach out and say “I’m Forrest, Forrest Gump.” Okay, I’m just kidding.

Where's the most interesting place you have been?

Australia. Nice to travel 14,000 miles from South Carolina and meet people who speak English. Whodathunkit!!

What's your most fervent prayer?

For forgiveness. I’m a pretty consistent sinner.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Cashing in my retirement monies at age 38 to live off the funds while I wrote Flabbergasted, my first novel. I had no creative writing experience; I just knew I could do it if I applied myself.

What gift have you received that you will always treasure?

God gave me the gift of communicating through the written word, so I will choose that one.

What is your favourite Bible verse (or "one" of your favourites) and what does it mean to you?

Isaiah 55: 8-9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts…” It means that I cannot improve upon God’s will, therefore I should not only submit to it, but wholly embrace it.

What was your most embarrassing moment in High School?

Slipping in mud while running full blast across the school yard towards the cafeteria. I got up, saw how much mud was on me, and just kept on running, all the way off the campus and home—to change clothes.

Favourite spot you visited when in Australia?

A series of four-hundred foot-high rock formations called King’s Canyon, in the middle of the Outback. Great views, beautiful weather, adventurous friends, and a camp out under the stars. I highly recommend WayOutBack Safaris in Alice Springs. They are a fun bunch.

Par for the Course

Your love of all things golf is obvious! In terms of your game are you a Molly, Chris or Tiger?

Closer to Chris…pretty good but not quite at professional standards.

If you aren’t going to be a threat to Tiger are there any political aspirations for you?

Not a chance. One has to compromise themselves way too often in that vocation.

Do you inherently know what you write is funny or do you have someone as your “laugh-o-metre”?

If I can read something three or four times and it still cracks me up, I usually assume it will pass the test. It’s just as hard to write humor as it is drama, or so I’m told. But a comic narrative style just seems natural to me.

What do you hope readers take away from this story?

That when trouble strikes, one of the biggest blessings you can have in place is a tight-knit community of loving, supportive friends. (And if those friends have a sense of humor, all the better.)

What is in the writing pipeline at the moment?

A “Texas novel” is in the pipeline, narrated by a young man just graduated from Texas Tech who pursues a young woman across Alaska and variou
s other corners of the globe. His name is Kyle Mango.

A sneak peek, please.

Okay, the title will be Last Mango in Texas.

Texas Tech student Kyle Mango is attending a fraternity party when he meets Gretchen, an artsy animal lover whose independent spirit immediately sparks his attention. But after a month of bliss, they suddenly find themselves in rough waters. When Kyle inherits four oil wells from his uncle, he sees his affluence as an opportunity to impress Gretchen. But just before he makes his move, Gretchen hears news of an oil tanker spilling its load near the coast of Alaska. Leaving Kyle behind in Texas, she joins a group of campus activists in Alaska for the summer to clean oil from suffering birds.

Kyle is torn between managing his business--and being left lonely in the Lone Star state--and risking everything to fly to Alaska to pursue Gretchen. The young oil man soon discovers that oil slicks are nothing compared to relational slicks. The early bird may get the worm, but the oily bird can ruin romance! Through it all, Kyle explores faith in God and His power to change lives.

Thanks so much, Ray :) It's been great fun!

Relz Reviewz Extras:~

Review of Par for the Course

Visit Ray's website

Order Ray's books from Amazon and Koorong (Aust)

Monday, 26 May 2008

Coming soon from debut author, Christa Parrish

Home Another Way by Christa Parrish

After her mother's death and her father's abandonment, tiny infant Sarah Graham was left to be raised by her emotionally distant grandmother. As a child she turned to music for solace and even gained entrance to Juilliard. But her potentially brilliant music career ended with an unplanned pregnancy and the stillborn birth of her child.

In an attempt to escape the past, Sarah, now twenty-seven, is living life hard and fast and she is flat broke. When her estranged father dies, she travels to the tiny mountain hamlet of Jonah, New York, to claim her inheritance. Once there, she learns her father's will stipulates a six-month stay before she can receive the money. Fueled by hate and desperation, Sarah settles in for the bitter mountain winter, and as the weeks pass, she finds her life intertwining with the lives of the simple, gracious townsfolk. Can these strangers teach Sarah how to forgive and find peace?

A story of grace, of God's never-ceasing love, and the sometimes flawed, faithful people He uses to bring His purposes to pass.

Releasing October, 2008 from Bethany

Relz Reviewz Extras:~

Visit Christa's website and blog

Pre order from Amazon and Koorong (Aust)

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Fabulous open giveaway!

Thanks to the generosity of Rebeca Seitz and her wonderful team at Glass Road Public Relations I have an extra copy of Fossil Hunter to give away and, as promised, a copy of Along Came A Cowboy.

This give away is open to
ALL my readers, near and far, so post a comment before midnight Sunday 1st June, 2008 and let me know which draw you would like to enter (it can be both!).

PLEASE leave a email or website where you can be contacted.

Read my reviews:~

Fossil Hunter

Along Came a Cowboy

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Fossil Hunter winner amendment!

Thanks to Jennifer at Quiverfullfamily, a woman of honesty and generosity, I am drawing another name for one of the signed Fossil Hunter books. Since entering my giveaway, Jennifer discovered she was receiving a copy (unsigned, mind you!) of Fossil Hunter so offered for me to draw another winner instead of her! Thanks, Jennifer :)

Do have at look at her blog about
"musings on christian family living, homeschooling, homesteading, home business and more!"

So.....ReadingRobin is now the winner of the book! Please email me your snail mail details, Robin as I don't have another way to contact you other than this post. relzreviewz @ gmail . com . au (minus spaces)

The winners of Fossil Hunter are...

Lalycairn and Jennifer Bogart ~ congratulations!

I look forward to receiving your details so your signed copies can be on their way.

For those of you wondering about my choice, I am going to sit on the fence! A toss up between Sydney Bristow and Elizabeth Bennett although I don't envy either one their families - LOL!!

Thanks everyone for joining in the fun, especially John, for his entertaining interview and generosity!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Sneak peek at A Time to Gather by Sally John and Dr Gary Smalley

The sequel to A Time to Mend is on its way and it looks great. A Time to Gather will release in September, 2008 from Thomas Nelson.

Siblings Lexi and Eric battle addictions rooted in their pasts. Spurning the safe harbor offered by their parents, they tread unlikely paths to recovery.

After thirty years, Max and Claire are renewing their vows--with changed hearts. But the Beaumont's grown children still grapple with the effects of their formerly broken home.

Daughter Lexi Beaumont garnered local notoriety when she saved her family from wildfire--a fame rivaled only by that of her celebrity newscaster brother, Eric. But the attention sheds light on darker places she'd rather keep hidden. As Lexi tries to settle quietly back into life After the Fire, romantic troubles plague her. Then Eric's always erratic behavior begins to spiral out of control. His drinking has reached a new height--and only a headstrong policewoman seems to make any headway with him. It'll take a miracle of grace to bring these two hurting souls to a place of recovery and healing.

The winners are....

Blue Violet ~ Finding Hollywood Nobody

Carole ~ Sincerely, Mayla

Congratulations - hope you enjoy the books!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Wagered Heart by Robin Lee Hatcher

"I'll wager you five dollars I can get him to come to church within thirty days."

Pouting from being removed by her parents from the proper society she enjoyed in Philadelphia, Bethany Silverton is hardly enamoured with her family's final destination ~ Sweetwater, Montana. A town of wild cowboys, darkened saloons and, until the Silverton's arrival, bereft of a church or pastor.

Yet with one glance at rancher Hawk Chandler's enigmatic eyes and fine form, Bethany determines that her life is not over after all! When Hawk turns down her invitation to attend her father's new church, Bethany's competitive streak kicks in and an innocent wager with her friend Ingrid starts a chain of events that transform their lives forever.

Robin Lee Hatcher's latest offering is a romance reader's delight! The romantic tension between Hawk and Bethany ignites on their first meeting and doesn't let up until the final page. While the outcome is a forgone conclusion, Robin's talent with the written word and her unerring ability to create engaging characters, sets this story apart from most other historical romances. Hawk and Bethany's journey is fraught with misunderstandings, personal tragedy and the schemes of a treacherous man adding excitement to a tale that overflows with simmering attraction and blossoming love. Interspersed with humour and electrifying dialogue, Wagered Heart is a summer treat not to be missed.

Available June, 2008 from Zondervan

Relz Reviewz Extras:~

Review of Robin's Return to Me

Robin's website

Robin's blog, Write Thinking

Buy Wagered Heart at Amazon or Koorong (Aust)

CFBA Blog Tour of Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Broken Angel

(WaterBrook Press (May 20, 2008)


Sigmund Brouwer


Sigmund Brouwer is the author of eighteen best-selling novels for children and adults. His newest book is Fuse of Armageddon and his novel The Last Disciple was featured in Time magazine and on ABC’s Good Morning America. A champion of literacy, he teaches writing workshops for students in schools from the Arctic Circle to inner city Los Angeles. Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan, and they and their two daughters divide their time between homes in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and Nashville, Tennessee.


Her birth was shrouded in mystery and tragedy.
Her destiny is beyond comprehension.
Her pursuers long to see her broken.
She fights to soar.

A father's love for his daughter…a decision that would change both their lives forever. But who is she really─and why must she now run for her life?

Caitlin's body has made her an outcast, a freak, and the target of vicious bounty hunters. As she begins a perilous journey, she is forced to seek answers for her father's betrayal in the only things she can carry with her─a letter he passes her before forcing her to run, and their shared memories together.

Being hunted forces Caitlyn to partner with two equally lonely companions, one longing to escape the horror of factory life in Appalachia and the others, an unexpected fugitive. Together the three will fight to reach a mysterious group that might be friend or foe, where Caitlyn hopes to uncover the secrets of her past...and the destiny she must fulfill.

In the rough, shadowy hills of Appalachia, a nation carved from the United States following years of government infighting, Caitlyn and her companions are the prey in a terrifying hunt. They must outwit the relentless bounty hunters, skirt an oppressive, ever-watchful society, and find passage over the walls of Appalachia to reveal the dark secrets behind Caitlyn’s existence–and understand her father’s betrayal.

Prepare yourself to experience a chilling America of the very near future, as you discover the unforgettable secret of the
Broken Angel.

In this engrossing, lightning-paced story with a post-apocalyptic edge, best-selling author Sigmund Brouwer weaves a heroic, harrowing journey through the path of a treacherous culture only one or two steps removed from our own.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

The winners of Healing Promises are...

Fiona, ad and Hannah ~ congratulations. You won't be disappointed!

Hannah - please email your snail mail details to relzreviewz @ gmail . com (minus spaces) within seven days to claim your book :)

Orchid House by Cindy Martinusen

Hoping for a break from the disappointments in her life in California, Julia Bentley accompanies her grandfather's body to the Philippines for his burial beside his beloved Filipino wife.

Emman of the village Barangay Mahinahon, is a boy with a man's responsibilities. Trained as a fighter, Emman can't wait for the American granddaughter of the famous Captain Morrison to return and fulfil his role as her protector and defender.

Not everyone is happy with Julia's return and the hope it engenders in the people of Hacienda Esperanza, her ancestral home. Manolo, the infamous leader of the Red Bolo communist guerrillas, knows he must deter Julia from staying, any way he can.

Cindy Martinusen reveals the exotic beauty, generous hospitality and heartbreaking history of the Philippines in this stunning tale that enthralled me from start to finish.

Orchid House weaves the lessons of the past into hope for the future as Julia learns the history of her grandparents and discovers the mystique of the ageing home that is her inheritance and a haven for her Filipino family and community. Cindy skilfully tells the story through the eyes of Julia, Emman and Manolo, providing astonishing depth to each event and creating great compassion in the reader for each character and their circumstances. Through the pages of Orchid House I was transported to a land of despair and hope, magnificent physical beauty and volcanic destruction, a generous compassionate people and the home of child warriors. Cindy writes with an elegance and insight that captivated my heart and soul as surely as each of her characters did. If you read the acknowledgements, you know there is a bit of the author's own story in this book which only adds to its appeal! Do not miss this gem of a tale about love, sacrifice and above all.... hope.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Embrace Me by Lisa Samson & Aussie Giveaway

"It's amazing how good a priest looks when you've got nobody else to turn to."

The painful confessions of a pastor who once sought fame and fortune to the detriment of his congregation, open this confronting tale by the talented and perceptive, Lisa Samson. Self mutilation seems the only way Drew can get respite from the memories of his egotistical manipulation and betrayal of those who looked up to him and even, especially, those who loved him. Then Drew begins to confide in Father Brian who encourages to him to write his confession.

"No kids I ever knew pictured themselves being sideshow freaks someday. I didn't either."

Interspersed between Drew's personal revelations is the real time story of two woman who share an uncommon friendship arising from a world of pain. Valentine, a woman whose horrific burns earn her the name of Lizard woman and Lella, born with a beautiful face but no limbs, have little recourse but to earn a living as sideshow freaks with Roland's Wayfaring Marvels and Oddities. During their off season the two woman take a break in a quiet North Carolina town, hiding away from the world and its prying eyes until Augustine, a dread locked monk covered in floral tattoos and Charmaine Hopewell, a TV singer and evangelist, gently beckon Valentine to face the world again. Fearful and embittered, Valentine is all too aware that her outer scars merely hint at the damage that was wreaked upon her heart and soul. Will she ever be able to trust and step into the light?

Lisa Samson's consummate skill as a writer is on daring display in this confronting tale of despair, unbearable anguish, forgiveness and grace. Embrace Me is as compelling as it is confronting as Lisa communicates Valentine's wretchedness and heartache as if it is the reader's own. The ugliness and cruelty of Drew's past behaviour is unforgivable yet Lisa's unique ability to tap into a tormented soul and reveal the humanity beneath is superlative, evoking sympathy when there should be none. This story depicts the dangers of both men and churches, who seeks to wield God's name for their own purpose, while slowly but surely revealing the way God intended His people to offer His love - overflowing and without blame, bringing His healing to the broken hearted and His redemption to the undeserving. The message of Embrace Me is direct yet full of subtleties that I continue to ponder. This is not a story to be read lightly - be sure to take the time to contemplate the powerful and significant truths revealed in this complex and wonderful tale.

As seen at


I have four copies of this confronting and pertinent tale to give away! To enter:~

1. You must have an Aussie postal address;

2. Post a comment before midnight on Sunday 25th May, 2008

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Embrace Me

(Thomas Nelson March 4, 2008)


Lisa Samson


Lisa Samson is a Christy Award-winning author of 19 books, including the Women of the Faith Novel of the Year, Quaker Summer. Lisa has been hailed by Publishers Weekly as "a talented novelist who isn't afraid to take risks."

In Embrace Me, the latest novel by acclaimed author Lisa Samson, readers are privy to the realization that regardless of outward appearances…hideous, attractive, or even ordinary…persons are all looking for the same things: love, forgiveness, and redemption.

This story explores a world that is neither comfortable nor safe, a world that people like Valentine know all too well. Masterfully crafted by Samson and populated by her most compelling cast of characters yet. It is a tale of forgiveness that extends into all spheres of life: forgiving others, forgiving oneself, forgiving the past.

She lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and three kids.


Biting and gentle, hard-edged and hopeful...a beautiful fable of love and power, hiding and seeking, woundedness and redemption.

When a "lizard woman," a self-mutilating preacher, a tattooed monk, and a sleazy lobbyist find themselves in the same North Carolina town one winter, their lives are edging precariously close to disaster...and improbably close to grace.

Valentine, due to her own drastic self-disfigurement, has very few friends in this world and, it appears as if she may be destined to spend the rest of her life practically alone. But life gives her one good friend, Lella, whose own handicap puts her in the same freakish category as Valentine. As part of Roland's Wayfaring Marvel and Oddities Show, a traveling band of misfits, they seem to have found their niches in an often curiously cruel world.

Residing in a world where masks are mandatory, Valentine has a hard time removing hers, because of her disfigured face but more so because of her damaged soul. It is much easier for her to listen endlessly to different versions of a favorite song, Embraceable You, and escape reality. Yet, life has more in store for her when she meets Augustine, replete with the tattoos, dreadlocks, and his own secrets. With his arrival, Valentine's soul takes a turn.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Relz Reviewz Extras:~

Review of Embrace Me

Enter Aussie multiple copy giveaway

Getting to know Virginia Smith

Virginia Smith is an author, speaker and devoted scuba diver :) She has touched a cord with many readers with her genuine and loveable character, Mayla. You can read Mayla's story in Just As I Am and the newly released, Sincerely, Mayla. Available now from Kregel.

Now enjoy some fun facts from Virgina:~

If you could have chosen your own name , what would it be?

I've actually thought about that lately. When my first book came out, I went to the bookstore and saw it waaaayyyy down toward the end of
the Christian fiction shelves. I told my agent if I could change my name, I'd publish under Abigail A. Abbott, so my books would be right up front!

Your first pet's name?

Pip. She was a beagle, a hunting dog, that my dad found racing after a rabbit on our farm when she was a tiny puppy. Nobody claimed her, so we got to keep her. I remember pressing my face through the slats on the pet gate Mom set up to contain her in the laundry room when she was being trained, and Pip bit me on the nose. I walked around with scabs on my nose.

Your best friend's name in primary (elementary) school?

Jennifer Lynn Gregory. She was cute and smart, and she wore her long hair in curly pigtails. The first time I spent the night with her I was surprised to discover she slept in rollers so her pigtails would curl.

Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.

Oh, yes! I had a “Sister Belle” doll. But when I got her, it came out Peekabells, so that's what I called her. Peekabells went everywhere with me. She has a hard plastic head and a stuffed red body. I say “has” because for my 40th birthday my mother found one on eBay and bought her for me. She's in my bedroom.

If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible of course)

Ibuprofen. I'm sure my back would be aching from all the work I'd have to do building a Swiss Family Robinson-style treehouse.

Favourite food?

Just one? Okay, I love chicken and dumplings the way my mom fixes them.

What's your favourite ice cream flavour?

Pralines and

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a lawyer, and work my way up to judge. When I was in 7th grade, my social studies class we held a
mock trial, and I was selected to be Judge Jezabell Justice. It made a huge impression on me.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I'd spend some time traveling around Ireland. My husband and I were lucky enough to spend a couple of days in Dublin a few years ago, and we fell in love with the country. I want to see ALL of it!

Besides God, who has influenced you the most?

My mother, without a doubt. She has always told me that I'm unique, special, that there's nobody else like me in the whole world, and God has special plans for my life. She encouraged me
to explore my gifts and talents to discover those plans.

Favourite bo

There is no way I can name just one. No way! But I love The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe because it had such a profound impact on me as a child. It taught me about Jesus' sacrifice for me.

Favourite movie?

Again, I can't possibly pick just one! I love science fiction and fantasy, so right up near the
top of my list is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Also the Star Wars movies - all of them. And Notting Hill. And 28 Days - that's a powerful movie.

Where's the
most interesting place you have been?

London, England. I adore British history, and I've been to London three times. Each time I fall more deeply in love with the city. I love walking down the street past buildings that have been around longer than our country has been a nation!

What's your most fervent prayer?

That God will keep me focused on Him, and not let me become distracted by all the stuff that goes on in my daily life

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Become a parent. I didn't realize it at the time, though. But now I know raising another humabeing - caring for them, teaching them, molding their lives - is such a huge and scary responsibility.

What gift have you received that you will always treasure?

My husband, because he loves and supports me without question. He believes in me, and his confidence that I will succeed in whatever I do is precious.

What is your favourite Bible verse (or "one" of your favourites)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Tell us how you got into scuba diving

I was living in Florida at the time, and some friends from work decided they wanted to learn. Eight of us signed up for the classes together. The idea was that we were all going to become certified and take a trip together. Only five of us made it all the way to certification, and of those five, I think I'm the only one who fell so in love with diving that I stuck with it. One girl got certified, and on her very first recreational dive she jumped into the water and realized she was surrounded by a whole school of sharks. She got out and never got in again. I don't really blame her, do you?

Sincerely, Mayla:~

How much of Ginny Smith is in Mayla Strong?

A LOT! And I poured myself into her. In Sincerely, Mayla, she learns
some lessons about manipulating others that I've struggled with. The cool thing about writing a character that has so many of your own traits is that you can “do over” things you've done in the past. For instance, have you ever second-guessed your response to someone by thinking later, “If only I'd thought to say this!” I've done that with Mayla time and again. There are many things Mayla says to her friends that I wish I'd said when I had my chance.

Any of your own piercings we should know about?!

Haha! No, I don't have anything pierced except my ears. But my son does wear a silver stud just below his lip. Does that count?

What do you hope readers take away from this story?

I hope people enjoy spending time with Mayla. I want them to laugh and maybe even shed a tear or two before the book ends. I strongly believe that fiction should entertain, not preach, so I hope all of my
books are primarily entertaining. But because I am a Christian, and because Mayla is a Christian, elements of God's grace show up naturally in the story. So if someone wants to learn a thing or two, they can. But mostly, I just hope they like the story!

What's up next in your writing schedule?

I have five more books contracted and in various stages of completion. In October, the first of a mystery/suspense series will hit bookshelves. It's called A Taste of Murder, and will be followed by Murder at Eagle Summit and Scent of Murder next spring. Then in February 2009 the second book in my Sister-to-Sister comes out, Age before Beauty. I'm writing the third right now, as well as working on an idea for a new series.

Thanks so much, Virginia, for a peek into your writing life :) It's been fun!

Relz Reviewz Extras:~

Reviews of Sincerely, Mayla and Stuck in the Middle

Enter my Sincerely, Mayla giveaway

Virginia's website

Buy Sincerely, Mayla at Amazon or Koorong (Aust)

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