Tuesday, 31 March 2009

CFBA Blog Tour of The Real Enemy by Kathy Herman

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Real Enemy

David C. Cook (March 2009)


Kathy Herman


Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added thirteen more titles to her credit, including another bestseller, All Things Hidden.

Kathy's husband Paul is her best friend and most ardent supporter and manages the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five adorable grandkids, a cat named Samantha—and an ongoing fascination with hummingbirds. They also enjoy world travel, deep sea fishing, stargazing, and bird watching and sometimes incorporate all these hobbies into one big adventure.


Brill Jessup just became the first female police chief in Sophie Trace, Tennessee, and is riding on the credentials of a stellar eighteen-year career on the Memphis police force. She may be a pro at finding clues, but she tends to ignore the obvious in her personal life. And she would rather work than deal with the bitterness she feels about her husband Kurt's infidelity. Kurt, is weighed down by her unrelenting anger as he struggles to let God redeem the stupidest mistake he ever made. He is genuinely contrite and making every effort to show his commitment to Brill. But she hides behind her badge and her bitterness, deciding that moving her family away from Memphis is the only change she needs to make. So why can't Brill get over this anger?

Before she ever has time to unpack her boxes, people start disappearing. Lots of them. Seven people in seven days To complicate matters, a local legend has many residents believing that the cause is unearthly─tied to the “red shadows,” or spirits of the departed Cherokee who once inhabited the land.

While Brill draws on all of her experience and instinct to solve the case, she must confront an enemy that threatens everything she holds dear─one that cannot be stopped with a badge and a gun. She is forced to confront the real enemy.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Real Enemy, go HERE

Rel: I haven't got to this one yet but I have read and enjoyed Kathy's previous books so I'm sure this one will be just as good :) If you want a great review check out Kim's at Window to My World

Sit tight everyone!

Bob Liparulo's bad guy Brendan Page has got Hutch in a headlock........so Hutch's spotlight will be slightly delayed!

Bob and I will do our best to free Hutch and
have some insight to you soon ;-) Stay tuned......

Coming soon from Revell

Some of my favourite posts are bringing you a sneak peek of what's coming up in books! Here are some great looking titles from Revell ~ contemporary, suspense, historical and even a Christmas story by Melody Carlson!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the covers. You tell me yours, I'll tell you mine - LOL!

Click on the title and author links for more.

Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson

Bella Rossi may be nearing thirty, but her life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned-Texan parents hand over the family wedding planning business, Bella is determined not to let them down. She quickly books a "Boot Scoot'n" wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch--she's a country music numbskull because her family only listens to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Where will she find a DJ on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his Keith Urban?

When a misunderstanding leads her to the DJ (and man) of her dreams, things start falling into place. But with a family like hers, nothing is guaranteed. Can the perfect Texan wedding survive a pizza-making uncle with mob ties, an aunt who is a lawsuit waiting to happen, and a massive delivery of 80 cowboy boots? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding?

Book one in the Weddings by Bella series, Fools Rush In is fun, fresh, and full of surprises. Readers will love the flavorful combination of Italian and Tex-Mex, and the hilarity that ensues when cultures clash.

September, 2009

An Eye for An Eye by Irene Hannon

After he accidentally shoots a teenager at a tense standoff, FBI Hostage Rescue Team member Mark Sanders is sent to St. Louis to work as a field agent and get his bearings while the bad press starts to settle. Just weeks away from returning to Quantico to resume his work on the HRT, Mark has a chance encounter with an old flame, Emily Lawson. But their reunion is cut short by a sniper. Now Mark must find the shooter before he tries to strike again. But what is his motive--and who was his intended target? Can Mark put the pieces together, keep Emily safe, and rekindle a long-dead relationship at the same time?

A fast-paced tale of romance, suspense, and intrigue, An Eye for an Eye is the exciting second installment in the Heroes of Quantico series.

September, 2009

The Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson

Betty Kowalski isn't looking forward to the holidays. She just can't seem to find Christmas in her heart. There's church, of course. But who can she bake for these days? And who would care whether or not she pulled out the Christmas decorations?

Her new neighbor just adds to the problem. He's doing home improvements that don't appear to be improving much of anything. These days when Betty looks out the window, she sees a beat-up truck, a pile of junk, lots of blue tarps, and--horror of horrors--an old pink toilet.

But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn a very important lesson about what Christmas is all about. This contemporary Christmas story is a timely yet gentle reminder that God can work miracles through something as seemingly insignificant as a little brown dog.

September, 2009

The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey

It is August 1944 and the Gestapo is mercilessly rounding up
suspected enemies of the Third Reich. When Joseph Engel, a German physicist working on the atomic bomb, finds that he is actually a Jew, adopted by Christian parents, he must flee for his life to neutral Switzerland. Gabi Mueller is a young Swiss-American woman working for the newly formed American Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner to the CIA) close to Nazi Germany. When she is asked to risk her life to safely "courier" Engel out of Germany, the fate of the world rests in her hands. If she can lead him to safety, she can keep the Germans from developing nuclear capabilities. But in a time of traitors and uncertainty, whom can she trust along the way? This fast-paced, suspenseful novel takes readers along treacherous twists and turns during a fascinating--and deadly--time in history.

October, 2009

Songs of Deliverance by Marilynn Griffith

Fifteen years ago, Zeely Wilkins and Ron Jenkins were students the school district stopped believing in. Lucky for them, their teacher knew something the principal didn't; they were cream of the crop but they just hadn't sprouted the way people expected.
Though they went their separate ways, the past is calling them back to the school and the teacher who wouldn't give up on them. Now they'll have to decide
what love really means--and whether they're willing to dance to a new tune to get it. But can they rediscover the songs of deliverance that once brought them together? Or will secrets keep them apart?

October, 2009

Jewel of His Heart by Maggie Brendan

Romance readers have taken to Maggie Brendan's softer romantic style that perfectly captures life on the American frontier, introducing them to rugged, independent souls and their inner spiritual struggles, and the quest for love that makes for a satisfying read every time. Set in 1890s Montana, Th
e Jewel of His Heart finds Juliana drawn to a handsome, gentle sheepherder--but sparks fly when he considers mining, the occupation that lured her father away from his family. Both Josh and Juliana must make a choice--the world's riches and promises, or the eternal value of love.

October, 2009

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Character Spotlight ~ Ann Shorey's Molly McGarvie

Today the spotlight shines on.................................................................Molly McGarvie

Ann Shorey's debut novel is a real treat for those who love historical fiction. The first in the At Home at Beldon series, The Edge of Light, tells the compelling story of Molly McGarvie, a woman who faces tragedy and heartbreak but will not give up. Here's a close up look at Molly! Thanks Ann:~

Brief physical description

Molly McGarvie is 28 years old, 5 feet tall, weighs around 120 lbs. She has black curly hair and green eyes flecked with gold. Think Keira Knightly--with curly dark hair. I'm remembering her spunk in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

Strengths and weaknesses

Molly is often stubborn. She's determined to achieve her goals, and not above hiding her true objectives if it advances her plans. Her greatest attribute is her devotion to her children.

Quirk (if any)

She's feisty in a time when most women were docile. Not sure if that's a quirk or not, but it serves her well.

Your inspiration for the character

Molly's character was inspired by the life of one of my great-great aunts.

Background to the story

Most of the events in the first chapter of The Edge of Light really happened
. I put myself in my great-great aunt's shoes, given her situation and choices in 1838 frontier Missouri, and let my imagination write the story. Years ago while on a research trip to the Midwest, I visited the gravesites of several of my female ancestors, and promised them they would not be forgotten. This novel is the fulfillment of that promise.

I enjoyed reading how Molly's story was inspired by your great-great Aunts - the research aspect had to be fascinating for you, Ann -
thanks so much for sharing.

I will be posting a getting to know you interview with Ann shortly - you won't want to miss it.

Now for a complete change of pace, come back on Monday for a spotlight on Robert Liparulo's John "Hutch" Hutchinson from Deadfall and the newly released, Deadlock. It's going to be good!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Ann's website and blog

Buy Ann's book at Amazon or Koorong

Turning the Paige by Laura Jensen Walker ~ Tracy's Take

What is it about?

With a failed marriage behind her and a mother who manipulates her time, thirty-five year old Paige Kelley is feeling a little bit left behind. Paige finds herself moving back home to care for her diabetic mother, Catherine. After all, her brother and sister left the area as soon as they were able, to get away from Catherine’s persistent ways.

The Getaway Girls book clubbers are Paige’s lifeline. This unlikely group of friends are the ones that encourage her to cut the apron strings and learn to live life on her own two feet. When Paige is delivered some devastating news, it is these loyal friends who see her through the first difficult weeks.

It is during these turbulent days on a trip to Scotland that Paige and her sister Isabelle face the thorn between them and begin to discover the precious relationship that awaits.

What I thought:

‘Turning the Paige’ is the superb sequel to Laura Jensen Walker’s ‘Daring Chloe’. Getting to know Paige better was a pleasure filled with complexity and was charmingly refreshing. Although the novel is quintessential ‘chick lit’, Laura deftly weaves in issues and truths that are anything but light and airy.

Paige wrestles with the Biblical responsibility to care for her mother, while trying to figure out how to live her own life. Laura tackles the intricacies of this issue with tenderness, while advocating the benefits of firm boundaries.

I loved the continuing relationships between the Getaway Girls, which began in ‘Daring Chloe’. I love the candor and loyalty that marks the deep friendship these women have forged. Through their shared love of books and their many resulting adventures these women demonstrate the depth of female relationships I think we all desire in our lives.

I was completely satisfied with the romance aspect woven into Paige’s story. There is just nothing like a good love story and Laura delivers this element with an integrity that feels real and authentic. I was also completely invested in the relationship that emerges with Paige’s sister Isabelle. Their journey to Scotland provides the perfect backdrop to restoration and a positive future for the two sisters to look forward to.

Guest reviewer: My friend Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Daring Chloe

Interview with Laura

Visit Laura's website

Buy Laura's books at Amazon or Koorong

CFBA Blog Tour of Turning the Paige by Laura Jensen Walker

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Turning The Paige

Zondervan (March 1, 2009)


Laura Jensen Walker


Laura Jensen Walker is an award-winning writer, popular speaker, and breast-cancer survivor who loves to touch readers and audiences with the healing power of laughter.

Born in Racine, Wisconsin (home of Western Printing and Johnson’s Wax—maker of your favorite floor care products) Laura moved to Phoenix, Arizona when she was in high school. But not being a fan of blazing heat and knowing that Uncle Sam was looking for a few good women, she enlisted in the United States Air Force shortly after graduation and spent the next five years flying a typewriter through Europe.

By the time she was 23, Laura had climbed the Eiffel Tower, trod the steps of the Parthenon, skied (okay, snowplowed) in the Alps, rode in a gondola in Venice, and wept at the ovens of Dachau. She’d also learned how to fold her underwear into equal thirds, make a proper cup of English tea, and repel the amorous advances of a blind date by donning combat gear and a gas mask.

Laura is a former newspaper reporter and columnist with a degree in journalism who has written hundreds of articles on many subjects ranging from emu ranching and pigeon racing to goat-roping and cemetery board meetings. However, realizing that livestock and local government weren’t her passion, she switched to writing humor, which she calls a “total God-thing.”

Her lifelong dream of writing fiction came true in Spring 2005 with the release of her first chick lit novel, Dreaming in Black & White which won the Contemporary Fiction Book of the Year from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her sophomore novel, Dreaming in Technicolor was published in Fall 2005.

Laura’s third novel, Reconstructing Natalie, chosen as the Women of Faith Novel of the Year for 2006, is the funny and poignant story of a young, single woman who gets breast cancer and how her life is reconstructed as a result. This book was born out of Laura’s cancer speaking engagements where she started meeting younger and younger women stricken with this disease—some whose husbands had left them, and others who wondered what breast cancer would do to their dating life. She wanted to write a novel that would give voice to those women. Something real. And honest. And funny.

Because although cancer isn’t funny, humor is healing.

A popular speaker and teacher at writing conferences, Laura has also been a guest on hundreds of radio and TV shows around the country including the ABC Weekend News, The 700 Club, and The Jay Thomas Morning Show.

Another book in this series is Daring Chloe

She lives in Northern California with her Renaissance-man husband Michael, and Gracie, their piano playing dog


At 35, Paige Kelley is feeling very "in between." She's still working her temp job after two years, still not dating three years after her divorce, and still melting at every chubby-cheeked toddler she sees while her biological clock ticks ever louder. Paige even moves back home to help her ailing, high-maintenance mother.It's not exactly the life she'd dreamed of!

When her Getaway Girls book club members urge Paige to break free and get on with her life, she's afraid. How will her mother react? How can Paige honor her widowed mother and still pursue her own life? The answers come from a surprising source.
A trip to Scotland and a potential new love interest help launch an exciting new chapter in her life, and lead Paige to discover that God's plan for her promises to be more than she ever imagined.

This latest release in the Getaway Girls collection delivers a smart, funny, and warm account of one woman's challenge to reconcile who she is - a dutiful Christian daughter - with the woman she longs to be.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Turning The Paige, go HERE

To read my friend Tracy's review, click here

Sneak peek at Sandra Byrd's Piece de Resistance

So tell me how I am not going to drool over the cover of this book when I get to read it??!! That cake looks fabulous and knowing Sandra, the writing will be just as delectable!

Piece de Resistance by Sandra Byrd

Having earned her chef’s hat, Lexi Stuart bids
au revoir to her glamorous and deliciously satisfying pastry mentorship outside of Paris and returns to her hometown of Seattle, Washington. There, she finds life unexpectedly complicated.

She’s put in charge of a high-end catering bakery called Bijoux, which should be her dream job, but there’s a catch: She has to make this lavish bakery into a successful business in just a few, short months, which will require more than her ability to make an amazing wedding cake. In over her head and at a loss for creative marketing ideas, Lexi isn’t sure what the recipe for success needs to be.

Stir in a complicated relationship with her French beau Philippe and his daughter, Celine, then add a dash of romance with down-to-earth lawyer Dan, and life suddenly contains more ooh la la than Lexi can handle.

With the fate of her career and her love life hanging by a thread, the phrase “piece of cake” has never been more daunting. Lexi learns that she must trust the dreams in her heart and the God who put them there.

Releasing September, 2009 from Waterbrook Multnomah

2009 RITA Finalists for Inspirational Romance

Another great list of books I'd hate to have to pick a winner from. I have read them all with the exception of Mulberry Park and Where Love Abides, and loved each one ~ sigh!

Which one would you pick?

You can check out all the other categories at the RWA website. The winner will be announced in July.

Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist

Bethany House Publishers
David Long and Julie Klassen, editors

Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh
Random House Publishing, WaterBrook Multnomah
Julee Schwarzburg, editor

Finding Stefanie by Susan May Warren
Tyndale House Publishers
Karen Watson, editor

Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck

Thomas Nelson Inc.
Ami McConnell, editor

Mulberry Park by Judy Duarte
Kensington Publishing Corp.
John Scognamiglio, editor

The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter
Thomas Nelson Inc.
Amanda Bostic and Leslie Peterson, editors

The Perfect Life by Robin Lee Hatcher
Thomas Nelson Inc., Women of Faith Fiction
Ami McConnell and Leslie Peterson, editors

Where Love Abides by Irene Hannon
Harlequin Enterprises, Steeple Hill Love Inspired
Melissa Endlich, editor

And a big congratulations to Susan Meissner for her nomination in the non-inspirational category, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements.

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
Random House Publishing, WaterBrook Multnomah
Shannon Marchese, editor

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Special Spotlight Part 2 ~ Marlo Schalesky's Jimmy Henley

Today the spotlight shines on..............................................................Jimmy Henley

As promised, here is Marlo's insight into Jimmy Henley - the man who captured Kinna's heart and became her hero.......and then became human again. If Tomorrow Never Comes is a book that will challenge and inspire - don't miss it.


Brief physical description

Dark hair, brilliant sapphire blue eyes. 5’ 11” and muscular from years working construction. Think James McAvoy (in
ten or so years)

Strengths and weaknesses

As the son of an alcoholic father, Jimmy has learned to walk away, to hide from trouble. He hates confrontation and prefers to pretend everything’s all right. But inside Jimmy hides a hero. He once dreamed of being like Prince Philip in Sleeping Beauty, of slaying dragons and rescuing the fair princess. But Jimmy must slay his own secret dragons first. He must learn to risk safety to save others. He must come to understand that love, and marriage, are worth fighting for.
(Photo by Annie Leibovitz)

Quirk (if any)

Jimmy buys tu
lips for his wife every April 8th. She doesn’t know why. He also loves fairy tales, especially the ones with dragons and pirates.

Your inspiration for the character

When I think of Jimmy Henley, I think “average joe.” He’s a regular guy, a nice guy. He’s loyal t
o his friends, he keeps his nose clean, he does his job. Maybe you’ve met him? At the gas station, working in your building, the guy down the street? Watch for him – he’ll be the guy who knows everyone’s name, the first to call out a “hi” when you walk into the coffee shop. He’s the one everyone likes but no one is really close to. He’s the one with a heart of gold and secrets hidden away so deeply that only God knows about them. So, look for the sapphire eyes. That’s how you’ll know him.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Beyond the Night

Visit Marlo's website and blog

Buy Marlo's books at Amazon or Koorong

Enter Aussie giveaway of If Tomorrow Never Comes

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Special Spotlight Part 1 ~ Marlo Schalesky's Kinna Henley

Today the spotlight shines on.......................................................Kinna Henley

Marlo Schalesky's amazing story, If Tomorrow Never Comes is on tour and I have two special spotlights in honour of this new release! Today you can learn more about Kinna Henley as she struggles with infertility and anger and tomorrow I will spotlight Jimmy Henley, her loyal yet broken husband. I hope to wrap up the tour with a review of If Tomorrow Never Comes, which I have just finished and loved.

Thanks Marlo:~


Brief physical description

Wavy, caramel-colored hair that’s grown darker through the years and now has some gray as she’s approaching 40. Medium height and build. Think Sandra Bullock

Strengths and weaknesses

Kinna is in her late 30’s and obsessed with getting pregnant before it’s too late. As a pastor’s daughter, she’s grown up believing in God, but now finds He won’t give her the one thing she longs for. Her goal is to force God’s hand, to get the baby she desires. As a nurse, she’s kind and compassionate. But she’s also driven. Kinna must learn to release her white-knuckled fingers from around her own plans and dreams and instead choose to love others, particularly her husband, in a sacrificial way.

Quirk (if any)

Kinna spells words out when she wants to emphasize what she’s saying.

Your ins
piration for the character

Kinna’s a bit lik
e Sydney from the TV show Alias – she’s goal-oriented and determined, but she also has a good heart and tries to do the right thing. (Think Sydney wanting to get pregnant and approaching 40!)

Background to the story

They say you can do anything you set your mind to. This time, they’re wrong.

A story o
f love washing out with the tide.

Of hope he
ld like grains of sand.

Of a future as elusive as the fog.

A woman walks alone on the seashore, longing for the baby she cannot have. A man turns from a flower stand, remembering a love that used to be. But it’s gone now, lost in the yearning for a baby, hidden by years of failure and fear.

Now, they have nothing left but the memories of young love. Of dragons and princesses and swords made of driftwood. Of a stolen dance in the moonlight. Of a kiss that was supposed to be just pretend.

But the swords are all broken now and washed away. The dances have stilled. The kisses grown cold.

Yet hope lies hidden in a silver locket, held by an old woman rescued from the sea. She has come to save them, before the faces in the locket fade. Before loneliness falls prey to desperation. And the future shivers.

What if tomorrow never comes?

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Beyond the Night

Visit Marlo's website and blog

Buy Marlo's books at Amazon or Koorong

Aussie Giveaway

I have a copy of Marlo's If Tomorrow Never Comes to giveaway thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah.

To enter, you MUST have an Australian mailing address and post a comment on or before midnight Sunday 5th April, 2009

Sneak peek at The Seaside Letters by Denise Hunter

If you have spent any time at all hanging around here you know how much I adore Denise Hunter's writing! So I am thrilled to preview her latest novel in her Nantucket Love Story Series, The Seaside Letters.

You will just have to enjoy the anticipation as it doesn't release until October, 09 from Thomas Nelson!

A heartwarming love story that beautifully illustrates God’s delight in His children.

Sabrina Kincaid didn’t intend to fall for Nantucket native Tucker McCabe, the man she serves coffee to every morning-the man tied deeply to Sabrina’s most mortifying secret.

Then Tucker decides to hire Sabrina to help locate his online friend Sweetpea-the mysterious woman he’s falling in love with. It’s a pickle: Sabrina is not inclined to help, but letting Tucker hire someone else could spell disaster. Because if someone else helped him-if someone else sifted through the letters and figured out the truth-then Tucker would discover that the person he’s trying to find is . . . her.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Character Spotlight ~ Amanda Cabot's Sarah Dobbs & Clay Canfield

Today the spotlight shines on.........................................Sarah Dobbs & Clay Canfield

Amanda Cabot's debut novel historical novel has garnered very positive reviews which bodes well for the sequels in her Texas Dreams Trilogy. We hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look at Sarah and Clay......

Sarah Dobbs

Brief physical description

Sarah describes herself as “medium height, medium brown hair, medium brown eyes.” Can you tell that she does not consider herself beautiful? No one else – especially n
ot Clay Canfield – would agree. Sarah’s most distinctive physical characteristic is a limp, the result of a riding accident when she was a child. Because of it, she’ was shunned by her former friends and had to build a life of her own.

Actor/famous person who might resemble her

This was a difficult question for me, since I don’t base my characters on real people, but after you asked, I realized that Jennifer Love Hewitt, from the television series “Ghost Whisperer” might make a good Sarah.

Strengths and weaknesses

Sarah’s greatest strength is her loyalty to
ward people she loves. It starts with her young sister Thea, whom she’s determined to protect. It’s that determination that leads Sarah to become a mail-order bride, traveling thousands of miles to marry a man she’s never met. Once she arrives in Texas, Sarah develops intense loyalty – or is it love? – toward Clay and will do anything, including risking her own life, for him.

Quirk (if any)

Sarah is not really a quirky person.

Your inspirati
on for the character

I’ve always been intrigued by mail-order brides and consider them to have been incredibly brave. It’s one thing to enter into an arranged marriage. At least in that circumstance someone – normally the bride’s parents – has met the groom. But a mail-order bride has no such assurances. To me, that’s courage. So, when I started thinking about a story where the heroine was a mail-order bride, I kept asking myself “why?” Why would anyone be so desperate as to marry a man she had never met? And what would happen if she traveled all that way, only to discover her fiancé was dead? Paper Roses is the result.

Clay Canf

Brief physical description

Clay is six-
feet tall with blond hair and blue eyes. Undeniably handsome, he has strong features and could have starred in a Western. Inside, however, he knows that he’s out of place as a Texas rancher.

Actor/famous person who might resemble him

Once again, this was a difficult
question for me, since I don’t base my characters on real people. But if I were choosing an actor to play Clay, Keifer Sutherland from television’s “24” comes to mind.

Strengths and weaknesses

Like Sarah, Clay has a deep sense of loyalty. It’s loyalty to his father th
at brought him back to Texas, though he would have preferred to stay in Boston, practicing medicine. It’s loyalty to his brother that keeps him in Texas, determined to find his brother’s killer. And it’s loyalty to Sarah, the woman who should have been his sister-in-law, that leads him to risk everything.

Quirk (if any)

Clay’s not very quirky.

Your inspiration for the character

Besides mail-order brides, I’ve always been intrigued by the story of Cyrano de Bergerac. I love the idea of a self-sacrificing hero and ghost-written love letters, but I wanted a happier ending, so I decided to make Paper Roses what I now call my ‘mail-order-bride-meets-Cyrano-de-Bergerac’ book. Although I do not base stories on my own life, I have a fair amount of experience with love letters, because my husband and I spent the five years of our courtship m
ostly apart, writing daily letters.

Background to the story

Socialite Sarah Dobbs never thought she’d be a mail-order bride. But, then, she never though
t she’d be destitute, shunned and her young sister’s only hope for a normal life. Drawn to the Texas Hill Country by the poetic letters she calls her paper roses, Sarah believes her secrets will be safe there. But the town is deeply divided and harbors its own secrets, including the identity of the person who murdered Sarah’s fiancé. There’s no one she can trust, not Clay Canfield, and certainly not God. He’s abandoned her. Talented physician Clay Canfield has only one desire: to find the man who murdered his brother and exact vengeance. He’ll never marry again, especially not a woman burdened with a child. As for faith, that’s not for him, any more than it is for Sarah. But God has plans for Sarah and Clay, plans that challenge everything they hold dear.

Thanks Amanda :)

Amanda has generously subjected herself to a Relz Reviewz interview which I know readers will enjoy so come back soon to learn about why she was drinking iced tea at McDonald's on the other side of the world!

Tune in on Thursday for a spotlight on Ann Shorey's Molly McGarvie from The Edge of Light ~ another debut historical writer!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Amanda's

Buy Amanda's book at
Amazon or Koorong

CFBA Blog Tour of A Cousin's Promise by Wanda Brunstetter & Tracy's Take

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Cousin's Promise

Barbour Books (March 1, 2009)


Wanda Brunstetter

Wanda enjoys writing about the Amish because they live a peaceful, simple life─something she says we all need in this day and age.

Using the knowledge her Amish friends have shared with her, Wanda has also produced several children’s titles in the Rachel Yoder─Always Trouble Somewhere series, an Amish cookbook, and a devotional collection entitled The Simpler Life, which was released in July 2008 and celebrates the virtues of the Amish lifestyle. Wanda and her husband are members of the fellowship of Christian Magicians.

Wanda is also a member of the North American Association of ventriloquists, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Northwest Christian Writers Association. She lives in Washington State, where her husband pastors, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish settlements across the country.

Other books by Wanda are A Sister's Test, A Sister's Hope, and A Sister's Secret


Wayne Lambright who, crippled after a tragic accident, feels himself unworthy of her love; and Jake Beechy who, after having abandoned her to explore the English world, returns to renew their courtship.

Willkumm to the lush and lavish Amish country where Wanda Brunstetter's new romantic series, Indiana Cousins, begins with A Cousin's Promise. Loraine Miller finds herself torn between the love of two good men.

When a horrific accident cripples Wayne Lambright, he finds it difficult enough to take care of himself, much less Loraine Miller, his future bride. Will he sacrifice his happiness to give her a better life?

Having already been jilted once, Loraine is terrified of yet another rejection. But does she love Wayne enough to marry him, for better or worse? When her old boyfriend Jake Beechy returns from exploring the English world, he hopes Loraine will give him another chance.

How will God work to give Loraine the desires of her heart? To which man will she pledge her love and loyalty - for better or worse, until death they do part?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Cousin's Promise, go HERE

Tracy's Take

What is it about?

Loraine Miller is excited about her trip to Hershey Park on Labour Day weekend with her fiancé, Wayne, and six of her cousins. When their van is involved in an accident, their lives are turned upside down and are changed forever.

Wayne Lambright struggles with his injuries and resulting disability and decides to break off his engagement to Loraine so that she can pursue a life with someone more able to support her in marriage. Can he really set aside his true feelings for Loraine and watch her move on with her life with her ex-beau Jake?

What I thought:

‘A Cousin’s Promise’ is truly vintage Wanda E Brunstetter. Wanda explores the timeless themes of forgiveness and loving our neighbours through Loraine’s selfless and constant care of Wayne’s family through a difficult time, despite his mother’s griping and grousing at her any moment she can. It is through Loraine’s consistency that Ada is finally able to set aside her disapproval and truly accept Loraine and her pure intentions.

Wanda ably reminds the reader through very realistic scenarios, that God’s ways are above our own and that we should seek Him first, rather than trying to do things in our own strength.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Christy Award Nominations, 2009 and my thoughts...

The Christy Award nominees have been announced at the Christian Book Expo! Have a read through and let me know your thoughts!

The nominees for the 2009 Christy Awards:

Contemporary Romance category:

Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group) Finding Stefanie by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers)
Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black and White by Claudia Mair Burney (David C. Cook)

Rel: Wow - I have read all of these and you couldn't get a more diverse set of books so ably written by such amazing women. Do yourself a favour and check all three books out. I'm really interested to see who eventually takes away the prize!

Contemporary Series, Sequels & Novellas category:

Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)
Summer Snow by Nicole Baart (Tyndale House Publishers)
You Had Me at Good-bye by Tracey Bateman (FaithWords)

Rel: Summer Snow is brilliant so that would be my pick in this category. You Had Me at Goodbye is a fun read but I've never got into the Sisterchicks series - just not my cup of tea - hehehe!

Contemporary Standalone category:

Dogwood by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)
Embrace Me by Lisa Samson (Thomas Nelson)
Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon by Debbie Fuller Thomas (Moody Publishers)

Rel:~ Only read Embrace Me in this category although I know Dogwood is excellent. Embrace Me is provocative, moving and vintage Lisa Samson!

First Novel category:

Blue Hole Back Home by Joy Jordan-Lake (David C. Cook)
Rain Song by Alice J. Wisler (Bethany House Publishers)
Safe at Home by Richard Doster (David C. Cook)

Rel: Yikes - haven't read any of these although Rain Song is in my TBR and I am very keen to get to it!

Historical category:

Shadow of Colossus by T.L. Higley (B&H Publishing Group)
Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin (Bethany House Publishers)
Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser (Bethany House Publishers)

Rel: LOVED Shadow of Colossus :) Lynn Austin is a fabulous writer and Until We Reach Home is another in my TBR I will get to soon.

Historical Romance category:

Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy (Barbour Publishers)
From a Distance by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House Publishers)
The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen (B&H Publishing Group)

Rel: My pick would be Tamera's From A Distance although my friend Tracy, who reviewed The Moon in the Mango Tree may beg to differ!! Calico Canyon is a fun read but I think I tend more towards a serious read to win.

Suspense category:

By Reason of Insanity by Randy Singer (Tyndale House Publishers)
The Rook by Steven James (Revell)
Winter Haven by Athol Dickson (Bethany House Publishers)

Rel: Hands down By Reason of Insanity although I can't say this with any integrity as I haven't read the other two - LOL! The Rook is one I am keen to read so I may waver on this one :)

Visionary category:

The Battle for Vast Dominion by George Bryan Polivka (Harvest House Publishers)
Shade by John B. Olson (B&H Publishing Group)
Vanish by Tom Pawlik (Tyndale House Publishers)

Rel: I'm cheering for John Olson's Shade here!! But again the other two are in my TBR so I reserve the right to change my mind...although don't hold your breath. John's Melchi is a unique and complex character.

Young Adult category are:

The Fruit of My Lipstick by Shelley Adina (FaithWords)
I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires by Cathy Gohlke (Moody Publishers)
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Rel: I haven't read any of these although my daughter loved Andrew's book!

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