Friday, 30 October 2009

Sharlene MacLaren ~ What's Cooking?

Sharlene MacLaren

Here's my favorite "pork chop" recipe. It's easy-peasy, and DELICIOUS! Makes for fall-off-the-bone chops every time!


Tender, Tasty Pork Chops


Six Pork Chops (your favorite cut)
Large, yellow onion
Brown Sugar
Orange juice


Lay chops side by side in large oven pan
Place a thin onion layer on each chop
On the onion, place one Tablespoon of brown sugar
and one Tablespoon of ketchup
Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of orange juice around pan, so that
each chop gets saturated.

Place uncovered in 350-degree F. oven for approx. 1 hour,
or until chops are tender.

My hubby is going to love these, Shar ~ thank you!

Sharlene's Books

Hannah Grace ~ Maggie Rose ~ Abbie Ann (2010)
Through Every Storm ~ Long Journey Home
Loving Liza Jane ~ Sarah, My Beloved ~ Courting Emma

Relz Reviewz Extras

All things MacLaren @ Relz Reviewz

Visit Sharlene's website and blog

Buy Sharlene's books from Amazon and Koorong

Even more fiction releasing in July/August, 2010 from Bethany House

More excitement with Bethany House sneaking in some extras after my last post ;-) A little hello to Jim Hart from me!!

I am thrilled another fantasy in the vein of Karen Hancock's Lights of Eidon series is coming from Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Paul Robertson's is super intriguing and I adore the cover of Nancy's Masquerade!

Love to hear your thoughts on any of these covers, storylines, which ones appeal and more ~ comment away!

Dark in the City of Light by Paul Robertson

The climate is tense in 1870s Europe as mistrust and suspicion rule the day. When the wife of Baron Harsanyi--a well-connected military attaché--is found murdered, it is only the first in a series of evil acts committed by a shadowy enemy bent on destroying the baron. As nations ready for war, the ba
ron must uncover the truth as he and his two adult children are launched straight into the maelstrom that will engulf the continent.

Releasing July, 2010

Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon be married. She dreams of a handsome and charming prince, but when the first suitor arrives, she finds him stodgy and boring. Prince Aethelbald from the mysterious land of Farthestshore has traveled far to prove his love--and also to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be approaching Parumvir.

Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald's offer--and ignores his warnings. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir, and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in grave danger. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil.

Releasing July, 2010

Masquerade by Nancy Moser

Eighteen eighty-five, New York City. Charlotte Gleason, a rich heiress from London, travels to America to escape her tedious life by marrying the even wealthier Conrad Tremaine. Deciding, however, that an arranged marriage is not for her, she arranges for her maid, Maureen, to ta
ke her place. What begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl wanting adventure becomes a test of survival amid poverty beyond Charlotte's blackest nightmares. As for Maureen, she lives a fairy tale complete with a prince--yet tormented by a wicked mother-in-law-to-be. Will their masquerade be discovered? Or will one of them have second thoughts? There is no guarantee the switch will work. It's a risk. It's the chance of a lifetime.

Releasing August, 2010

Serendipity by Cathy Marie Hake

Todd Valmer should have known better. A farmer who's been through several disasters, he travels to Virginia to fetch his widowed mother to cook and help him around his Texas farm... or that was the plan until she keels over on the train and they get kicked off. Maggie Rose barters for a living and also makes soaps, lotions, and perfumes with a special rose recipe passed down from mother to daughter for generations. She hasn't wanted to marry... until that handsome Texan shows up. Her heart skips a beat, and when he proposes, a hasty marriage follows.

What ensues, however, is a clash of culture and a battle of wills--and it's clear they both mistook instant attraction and infatuation for love. As their marriage loses its sparkle and fills with disillusionment, Todd and Maggie must determine what is worth fighting for. He dreams of a farm. Maggie wants to fulfill the family tradition with her rose perfumes. Todd's mother, however, has entirely different plans for her son that do not include Maggie. In light of their hasty marriage and mistaken dreams, is there any hope of recapturing their love and building a future together?

Releasing Aug
ust, 2010

Twilight's Serenade by Tracie Peterson

Britta Lindquist left Sitka six years ago in an attempt to distance herself from the love of her life, Yuri Belikov. Upon her return, she finds Yuri absent and his wife about to deliver a child.
When tragic circumstances ensue, Britta suddenly finds herself caring for Yuri's children--and her life intertwining with the man she's tried so hard to forget. But Britta's other great love is for the violin, and her talent is recognized by Brenton Maltese, a conductor from England. He proposes she accept the coveted first chair position in his orchestra and also his hand in marriage. At a crossroads, Britta must determine what her heart truly longs for--and if she's willing to fight for it.

Releasing August, 2010

The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris

Robbing a stagecoach on Christmas Eve and kidnapping a woman passenger is the last thing Luke Sullivan expects to do. He just wanted to reclaim the money stolen from him, but ends up with a feisty copper-haired orphan thrown over his shoulder who was on her way to marry Sullivan's bitter enemy.

Emily McCarthy is an orphan out of options. Forced to marry because she was too old for her orphanage, she doesn't take kindly to her "rescue." Still she trusts God can turn any situation to good especially when it seems Sullivan may just be the man of her dreams. But Sullivan's crossed a dangerous man unused to losing and Emily may just be the prize he's unwilling to sacrifice.

Releasing August, 2010

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Angel of Wrath by Bill Myers

Synopsis:~ Thirteen-year-old Jazmin, her ex-Special Ops uncle Charlie, and former FBI agent Lisa are reunited in the second of the Voice of God series to stop an assassin driven to murder members of a megachurch led by Lisa's brother. This assassin has drawn in a coven of teens toying with satanic practices to support his efforts. The naive youth engage in ceremonies that appear to usher in the death of each of his victims. When their rituals open a portal into the spiritual realm, a terrifying and mysterious entity crosses over to our world....

My take:~

I loved getting back in the action with Charlie, Lisa and Jazmin in this supernatural thriller reminiscent of Perreti's The Oath and sequel to The Voice. Charlie and Lisa are trying to negotiate their relationship and Jaz is still causing Charlie grief with her teenage attitude. Drawn into an investigation at the request of Lisa's estranged brother, Charlie and Jaz find they are fighting an etheral but deadly creature. The revelation of Lisa's past in this story adds depth to this suspenseful, page turning novel which is riveting from start to finish. Angel of Wrath is a must read for those looking for a book with a spiritual edge.

Thanks to Faithwords for providing my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of The Voice

Visit Bill's website

Buy Bill's books at Amazon or Koorong

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

CFBA Blog Tour of eye of the god by Ariel Allison

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

eye of the god

Abingdon Press (October 1, 2009)


Ariel Allison


Allison is a published author who lives in a small Texas town with her husband and three young sons. She is the co-author of Daddy Do You Love Me: a Daughter’s Journey of Faith and Restoration (New Leaf Press, 2006). Justin Case, the first of three children’s books will be published by Harvest House in June 2009. Ariel is a weekly contributor to and has written for Today’s Christian Woman. She ponders on life as a mother of all boys at and on her thoughts as a redeemed dreamer at

From Ariel:

I am the daughter of an acclaimed and eccentric artist, and given my “unconventional” childhood, had ample time to explore the intricacies of story telling. I was raised at the top of the Rocky Mountains with no running water or electricity (think Laura Ingalls meets the Hippie Movement), and lived out the books I read while running barefoot through the sagebrush. My mother read to me by the light of a kerosene lantern for well over a decade, long after I could devour an entire novel in the course of a day. Authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, George MacDonald, and L.M. Montgomery were the first to capture my heart and I have grown to love many others since.


eye of the god takes the fascinating history surrounding the Hope Diamond and weaves it together with a present-day plot to steal the jewel from the Smithsonian Institute.

We follow Alex and Isaac Weld, the most lucrative jewel thieves in the world, in their quest to steal the gem, which according to legend was once the eye of a Hindu idol named Rama Sita. When it was stolen in the 17th century, it is said that the idol cursed all those who would possess it. That won’t stop the brilliant and ruthless Weld brothers.

However, they are not prepared for Dr. Abigail Mitchell, the beautiful Smithsonian Director, who has her own connection to the Hope Diamond and a deadly secret to keep. Abby committed long ago that she would not serve a god made with human hands, and the “eye of the god” is no exception. Her desire is not for wealth, but for wisdom. She seeks not power, but restoration.

When the dust settles over the last great adventure of the Hope Diamond, readers will understand the “curse” that has haunted its legacy is nothing more than the greed of evil men who bring destruction upon themselves. No god chiseled from stone can direct the fates of humankind, nor can it change the course of God’s story.

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of eye of the god, go HERE

To read my review, click here and to check out my Character Spotlight on Abby & Alex, click here ~ enjoy!

Coming in mid 2010 from Revell

Okay, I admit it! I get giddy with excitement discovering new books, their covers and blurbs :) The only downside is their release dates ;-)

Here are the latest from Revell's website ~ don't make me choose, I love the look and sound of them all! Just can't help myself ~ how about you?

As always, click on the links for more.

This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson

It is the summer of 1959 and Mariette Puttnam has just graduated from
boarding school. When she returns to her privileged life at home, she isn't sure where life will take her. More schooling? A job? Marriage? Nothing feels right. How could she know that the answer is waiting for her within the narrow stairwell of her father's apparel factory, exactly between the third and fourth floors?

In this unique and tender story of an unlikely romance, popular author Eva Marie Everson takes readers on a journey through the heart of a young woman bound for the unknown. Readers will experience the joys of new love, the perseverance of true friendship, and the gift of forgiveness that comes from a truly fine life.

Releasing May, 2010

It Had To Be You by Janice Thompson

Bella couldn't be happier that her long-feuding Aunt Rosa and Uncle Lazarro have finally admitted their love for one another and are getting married. Their forties-style wedding is sure to be a night to remember. But when the Rossi house begins to fill up with family from Italy--and an old mobster from New Jersey--life starts to get complicated.

Will Lazarro's friend from the past drive the happy couple apart once more? And will Bella ever have time to think of her own rapidly-approaching wedding amidst the chaos?

Full of laugh-out-loud humor, plenty of Italian passion, and a bit of Texas gumption, It Had to Be You is the satisfying conclusion to an entertaining series.

Releasing May, 2010

Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston

When Flabbergasted stormed on the scene in 2003, the reviews came fast and furious:

"Good writing and an ample dose of humor make this as charming as Bridget Jones's Diary from the male point of view."--Library Journal

"Blackston's novel will tickle your literary taste buds with a relational gumbo of quirky characters."--Christian Book Previews

"Amazing. A novel that is simultaneously serious, hilarious, and impossible to put down."--The Dallas Morning News

"With a colorful cast of quirky characters and a
plot full of surprises, this is one of the feel-good novels of the year."--CCM

Now this summertime favorite about a single stock broker looking for love in the murky waters of the southern church singles scene is repackaged with a hot new look.

Releasing May, 2010

A Love of Her Own by Maggie Brendan

April McBride has suffered a broken engagement once before and fully intends to guard her heart when she travels to Billings, Montana, to attend her brother's wedding. One look around the small mining town convinces April that this won't be difficult--just a bunch of dusty shops, bad service, and ill-bred cowboys. But a run-in with a horse trainer named Wes Owen opens up vast possibilities for frustration, embarrassment, friendship, and . . . love?

Can April and Wes see past their differences in order to envision a future together?

Readers will love going on this adventurous, spark-filled ride through turn-of-the-century Montana.

Releasing June, 2010

The Homecoming by Dan Walsh

No sooner is Shawn Collins home from the fighting in Europe than he is called upon to serve his country in another way--as a speaker on the war bond tour. While other men might jump at the chance to travel
around the country with attractive Hollywood starlets, Shawn just wants to stay home with his son Patrick and the aging father with whom he has finally reconciled.

When Shawn taps Katherine Townsend to be Patrick's nanny while he's on the road, he has no idea that she will be the key to his future happiness and the mending of his heart.

This heartwarming story of tender love and fresh starts will capture readers.

Releasing June, 2010

Touching the Clouds by Bonnie Leon

Kate Evans is an adventurous and independent young woman with a pioneering spirit. She pilots a mail-delivery plane in the forbidding Alaskan wilderness, the lone woman in a male profession. But even that seems easy compared to finding true love. She likes a fellow pilot and would even consider marrying him--if it weren't for Paul, a mysterious man on her mail route with a gentle spirit and a past to hide.

Can Kate break through the walls Paul has put up around his heart? And will her quest for adventure be her demise?

Book 1 in the Alaskan Skies series, Touching the Clouds will draw readers in with raw emotion and suspense, all against the stunning backdrop of the Alaskan wilds.

Releasing July, 2010

The Seeker by Ann H. Gabhart

Charlotte Vance is a young woman who knows what she wants. But when the man she planned to marry joins the Shakers--a religious group that does Linknot marry--she is left dumbfounded. And when her father brings home a new wife who is young enough to be Charlotte's sister, it is more than she can bear. With the country--and her own household--on the brink of civil war, this pampered gentlewoman hatches a plan to avoid her new stepmother and win back her man by joining the Shaker community at Harmony Hill. Little does she know that this decision will lead her down a road toward unforeseen peace--and a very unexpected love.

Ann H. Gabhart brings alive the strikingly different worlds of the Southern gentry, the simple Shakers, and the ravages of war to weave a touching story of love, freedom, and forgiveness that sticks with readers long after they have turned the last page.

Releasing July, 2010

Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz

Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future. Several men--ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable--vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her.

Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones--and garner suspicion from her friends--by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn't love?

This sweeping tale of romance and forgiveness will envelop readers as it takes them from a Kentucky fort through the vast wilderness to the west in search of true love.

Releasing July, 2010

The Bishop by Steven James

FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers's cutting-edge 21st-century geospatial investigative techniques and impeccable logic have helped him track some of the country's most grisly killers. But those skills are pushed to the limit in this new installment of the highly-acclaimed, award-winning The Bowers Files series.

This time it's a congressman's daughter who is found dead even as her killers launch a spree of perfect murders in the Northeast. With nothing to link the crimes to each other, Agent Bowers faces his most difficult case yet--even as his personal life begins to crumble around him.

Known for his intricately woven, masterfully plotted novels of high-octane action and spine-tingling suspense, Steven James delivers once again. The Bishop is a gripping, adrenaline-laced story for readers who are tired of timid thrillers. Strap on your seatbelt and get ready for a wild ride. The game is on.

Releasing August, 2010

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Coming in June/July 2010 from Bethany House

Historical v. Contemporary, Romance v. Suspense ~ what's your preference?

Check out these 2010 releases from Bethany and let me know whether you are an historical fan or contemporary or both!

For me, I enjoy both but contemporary suspense is probably more my thing! Love Robin's cover for Nightmare!

Dowryless and desperate, Tressa Neill applies to the inaugural class of Wyatt Herdsman School in Barnett, Kansas, in 1888. The school's one-of-a-kind program teaches young women from the East the skills needed to become a rancher--or the wife of one. Shy and small for her twenty-two years, Tressa is convinced she'll never have what it takes to survive Hattie Wyatt's hands-on instruction in skills such as milking a cow, branding a calf, riding a horse, and cooking up a mess of grub for hungry ranch hands. But what other options does she have?

Abel Samms wants nothing to do with the group of potential brides his neighbor brought to town. He was smitten with an eastern girl once--and he got his heart broken. But there's something about quiet Tressa and her bumbling ways that makes him take notice. When Tressa's life is endangered, will Abel risk his own life--and his heart--to help this eastern girl?

Releasing June, 2010

From the day she arrives at the Biltmore, Tillie Reese is dazzled--by the riches of the Vanderbilts and by Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman.

When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack's rugged behavior by tutoring him in the ways of refined society, the resulting sparks threaten Tillie's efforts to be chosen as Edith Vanderbilt's lady's maid. But the stakes rise even higher when Mack and Tillie become entangled in a cover-up at the town orphanage. They could both lose their jobs...and their hearts.

Releasing June, 2010

A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer

Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with Coventry, Texas's new dressmaker. He's all too familiar with her kind--shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothing, this seamstress is not at all what he expected.

Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?

When Hannah decides to help Jericho's sister catch a beau--leading to uproarious consequences for the whole town--will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?

Releasing June, 2010

Jonathan Trestle is a paramedic who's spent the week a few steps behind the angel of death. When he responds to a call about a man sprawled on a downtown sidewalk, Trestle isn't about to lose another victim. CPR revives the man long enough for him to hand Trestle a crumpled piece of paper and say, "Give this to Martin," before being taken to the hospital.

The note is a series of dashes and haphazard scribbles. Trestle tries to follow up with the patient later, but at the ICU he learns the man awoke, pulled out his IVs, and vanished, leaving only a single key behind. Jonathan tracks the key to a nearby motel where he finds the man again--this time not just dead but murdered. Unwilling to just let it drop, Jonathan is plunged into a mystery that soon threatens not only his dreams for the future but maybe even his life.

Releasing July, 2010

Ghost Town is the hottest amusement park in the country, offering state-of-the-art chills and thrills involving the paranormal. The park's main ride is a haunted mansion that promises an encounter with a real ghost.

When Maia Peters visits during her senior year of college, she's not expecting to be impressed. Maia grew up as the only child of a pair of world-renowned "ghost hunters," so the paranormal is nothing new. In fact, the ride feels pretty boring until the very end. There, a face appears from the mist. The face of Jordin Cole, a girl who disappeared from campus a year ago.
Convinced what she saw wasn't a hoax and desperate to find answers to Jordin's disappearance, Maia launches into a quest for answers. Joined by Jordin's boyfriend--a pastor--s kid with very different ideas about the spirit realm--Maia finds herself in a struggle against forces she never expected to confront.

Releasing July, 2010

Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand

Det. Roland March is a homicide cop on his way out. But when he's the only one at a crime scene to find evidence of a missing female victim, he's given one last chance to prove himself. Before he can crack the case, he's transferred to a new one that has grabbed the spotlight--the disappearance of a famous Houston evangelist's teen daughter.

With the help of a youth pastor with a guilty conscience who navigates the world of church and faith, March is determined to find the missing girls while proving he's still one of Houston's best detectives.

Releasing, July, 2010

The baby's crying.....

Apologies but Mia has had to go and feed the baby!

She should be back soon with her spotlight after feeding, a nappy change or two and some well deserved sleep ;-)

Monday, 26 October 2009

The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey


She's risking her life to save a man she doesn't know. But who can she trust along the way?

It is August 1944, and the Gestapo is mercilessly rounding up suspected enemies of the Third Reich following the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler's life. Gabi Mueller is a young woman working for the newly formed American Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner to the CIA) in Basel, Switzerland. When she is asked to put herself in harm's way to safely "courier" a German scientist working on the atomic bomb project into Allied hands, the fate of the the world hangs in the balance.

This fast-paced, suspenseful novel will whisk you along the treacherous twists and turns of a fascinating- and deadly- time in history.

My take:~

Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey have combined their talents to create an authentic, fast paced novel of a unique time and place in history. The action takes place in multiple locations from Basel, Switzerland to the University of Heidelberg, Germany, the characters pivoting from one dangerous subterfuge to another, never sure whom to trust. I particularly enjoyed the characterisation of the talented yet naive Gabi, the suave Dieter Baumann and the brilliant yet confused Jospeh Engel as each try to make sense of the volatile world they live in. The plot twists mirror the treacherous deceit necessary to survive in wartime Switzerland and Germany and the story is a remarkable tale of sacrifice and survival. If you don't mind raising your blood pressure a few notches while reading, The Swiss Courier is a must read!

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for my review copy.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Tricia's website and blog

Visit Mike's website and blog

Listen to an interview with Tricia & Mike

Buy The Swiss Courier at Amazon or Koorong

Check out the rest of the blog tour

Coming in mid 2010 from B&H Fiction

If you have hung around here for any length of time, you will know I love the fiction B&H Fiction produce. With some of my favourite authors to release in 2010, I am delighted to share their books with you. I'm looking forward to military action, women's fiction, humour with heart and romantic suspense!

Anything tickle your fancy?! Click on the links for more....

United States Sgt. Major Eric Moyer and his Special Operations unit have been called in to track down a wealthy Egyptian terrorist who is believed to have sordid ties to a sudden increase in female suicide bombers. Chasing El-Sayyed through Italy, they soon gain interconnected details about a Mexican drug lord who is plotting to kill the U.S. and Mexican presidents. Now Moyer and his team must stop not one, but two madmen on separate continents. And with a new member of the unit hiding his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, a third problem begins to boil.

Releasing May, 2010

In the steamy city of New Orleans in 1974, Amalise Catoir sees Phillip Sharp as a charming, magnetic artist, unlike any man she has known. A young lawyer herself, raised in a small-town Christian home and on the brink of a career with a large firm, she is strong and successful, yet sometimes too trusting and whimsical. Ama's rash decision to marry Phillip proves to be a mistake as he becomes overly possessive, drawing his wife away from family, friends, and her faith. His insidious, dangerous behavior becomes her dark, inescapable secret.

In this lawyer's unraveling world, can grace survive Ama's fatal choice? What would you do when prayers seem to go unanswered, faith has slipped away, evil stalks, and you feel yourself forever dancing on shattered glass?

Releasing June, 2010

Callie Duflay just isn't like the rest of her family. While they've built white collar lives, she prefers getting her hands dirty by working with children and local California causes. When Callie learns that a beloved piece of untouched property in her town of Otter Bay may soon be developed, she confronts the architect assigned to the project.

Gage Mitchell may be an easygoing, eco-friendly professional, but he's not about to back off this job no matter how cute Callie or her pet pooch, Moondoggy, may be. His reasons and hers are noble, both have a heart for protecting God's creation, and the truth is these two would be perfect for each other outside of this face-off. But will they ever figure that out?

Releasing July, 2010

In the wake of a knee injury and the marriage of his best friend, former Great Smoky Mountains park ranger Lincoln Vailes senses God calling him to the bayou town of Eternal Springs, Louisiana, to become a police officer. Recent college graduate and eager social worker Jade Santiago has also moved there from Philadelphia at the urging of her protective brother, Carlos, who arranged a job offer she could not refuse. But if Jade is a complete stranger to the area, why is someone running her car off the road and pointing guns in her direction? As Lincoln investigates her case, he uncovers ties to big-city gang warfare up north that appears to be making its evil way down south.

Releasing August, 2010

Friday, 23 October 2009

Leanna Ellis ~ What's Cooking?

I recently made these biscuits with my kids. They are yummy and fun to make. Just a quick story about them first -- My great Aunt Lois made these biscuits EVERY day. But she didn't use a recipe. I was visiting her once and asked for it. She looked at me oddly. To her it was just a little of this and that. So we carefully measured out what she poured into her hand or bowl and created this one together. Here's the recipe:

Great Aunt Lois' Everyday Cookies


2cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp soda
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 to 1 tsp salt
4-6 tbsp shortening
2/3 to 1 cup buttermilk


Measure sifted flour; add baking powder, soda, and salt and sift again. Cut in shortening. Add milk and stir with fork until soft dough is formed (about 20 strokes). Turn out on a lightly floured board; knead 20 turns. Pat or roll lightly 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a floured 2 inch biscuit cutter. Bake on greased baking sheet in hot oven (450 degrees) for 12 to 15 minutes.

Makes approx. 14 biscuits.

My mother put together a family cook book many years ago. And throughout the cookbook are pictures of all the wonderful women who contributed their recipes. So it's always fun for me to share a recipe with my children and be able to show them a picture of the relative. Thanks Mom! Thanks Aunt Lois!

Blessings, Leanna

Sounds like a great recipe, Leanna and what a lovely story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Leanna's Books

Elvis Takes A Back Seat ~ Lookin' Back, Texas ~ Ruby's Slippers ~

Once In A Blue Moon (March, 2010)

Relz Reviewz Extras

Please note the picture isn't of Leanna's cookies and I made up the name for them ;-)

All things Ellis @ Relz Reviewz

Visit Leanna's website and blog

Buy Leanna's books at Amazon and Koorong

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Character Spotlight ~ Debbie Fuller's Bebe & Rain

Today the spotlight shines on............................Bebe & Rain

Debbie Fuller's latest novel tackles issues many of us face as women, the mother daughter relationship and how female friendships contribute to our lives. Be sure to seek out this story. For now, enjoy this insight into Debbie's characters. Over to you, Debbie:~

Brief physical description

I have two main characters. Bebe is mid-fifties, medium build, freckles, French-braids her unruly hair and her style is casual. Rain is mid-thirties, slender with dark features

and a solemn disposition.

Actor/famous person

If I were casting the movie, Bebe would be Karen Allen, and Rain would be Selma Blair. Also, Jude (Rain’s mother) would be Judy Davis, Toni would be Sigourney Weaver and Mare would be Mia Farrow. It’s like a powder keg when they get together – I love it!

s and weaknesses

Bebe is a nurturer. As a veterinarian, she must resist the urge to bring home every stray that comes through the clinic. As a mother, she worries about her two sons who are just striking out on their own. She put up with a lot from Jude during Rain’s growing up years in order to stay close to Rain, and loves her like a daughter.

Rain is headstrong and focused. She is the kind of person who has one or two close friends rather than a posse. In a group, she is more of a fringe person, and she tends to give in to her mother rather than to challenge her.

Quirk (if any)

Bebe tends to talk more to the animals she treats than to their owners. She loves the color purple and wears it often. Rain deals with the blues by polishing off a carton of Dreyer’s Thin Mint ice cream with a big spoon while watching TV with her cat, Noah.

Your inspiration for the character

The idea for the book and characters came to me after reading a book by Danielle Crittenden titled What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us. It addresses some of the impact of 2nd wave feminism on a younger generation of women in areas like marriage and childbearing. I began to notice more and more young women who wanted to have children and a home, but were unmarried or unattached.

und to the story

Bebe, Toni, Mare and Jude were college roommates in the early 70’s and they all helped to raise Rain amid war protests, feminist rallies and finals. Eventually they went their separate ways, but Bebe felt a particular attachment to Rain and stayed as close as Jude would allow over the years. Now Rain finds herself newly single with a career that doesn’t quite satisfy and a longing for a baby. But the news that Jude’s cancer has returned interrupts their lives and they gather together on a stormy weekend in Monterey to plan a Celebration of Life - one last opportunity to make a difference. Bebe fears that it may be too late to make a difference for Rain.

Thanks Debbie - this one sounds like a fascinating story and I apprecia
te you sharing with us.

On Monday, I will spotlight Kimberly Stuart's Mia Rathburn & Adam from her latest release, Stretch Marks.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Debbie's website and blog

Buy Debbie's books at Amazon or Koorong

A Slow Burn by Mary DeMuth ~ Tracy's Take

Publisher’s Synopsis:

She touched Daisy’s shoulder. So cold. So hard. So unlike Daisy.

Yet so much like herself it made Emory shudder.

Burying her grief, Emory Chance is determined to find her daughter Daisy’s murderer—a man she saw in a flicker of a vision. But when the investigation hits every dead end, her despair escalates. As questions surrounding Daisy’s death continue to mount, Emory’s safety is shattered by the pursuit of a stranger, and she can’t shake the sickening fear that her own choices contributed to Daisy’s disappearance. Will she ever experience the peace her heart longs for?

What I thought:

Mary DeMuth’s second book in the Defiance Texas Trilogy continues to prove her an author of grit and substance with a literary style that intuitively provides beauty right when it is most needed. ‘A Slow Burn’ is as profound, haunting and poignant as ‘Daisy Chain’ and yet amplifies those qualities with artistry and finesse.

‘A Slow Burn’ changes focus from Daisy’s friend, Jed Pepper, to Daisy’s mother, Emory Chance. Emory, who seems caught in the spiral of her own poor choices, pierced my heart with a deep ache for the grief she seems unable to bear. Emory’s loss, her drug addicted ways and a lifetime of poor choices makes her already wounded soul all the more tortured. While it would be easy to be frustrated with her repetition of the same mistakes, I felt more inclined to join Hixon and Ousie in loving her into a better place.

While Emory seems to sink into despair, Mary DeMuth weaves beauty into the darkness of this woman’s life through the unconditional love of the people around her. People who have every reason to walk away and yet persist with what can only be an example of the way God pursues, forgives and loves each one of us. All around her Emory sees glimpses of the tiniest rays of hope and yet cannot dare to believe she is worthy of anything good.

‘A Slow Burn’ is a heartbreaking story that made me cry anguished tears for Emory’s pain. It is not a story that is neatly tied up with the bow of happy endings, and yet there is the promise that healing and restoration might just be possible. I am eagerly awaiting the final installment of this trilogy to have all my burning questions about Daisy’s killer and Emory’s future answered!

Guest reviewer: My friend Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Daisy Chain
Visit Mary's
website and blog
Buy Mary's books at Amazon or Koorong

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

CFBA Blog Tour of The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Fence My Father Built

Abingdon Press (October 2009)


Linda S. Clare


Linda S. Clare is an award-winning coauthor of three books, including Lost Boys and the Moms Who Love Them (with Melody Carlson and Heather Kopp), Revealed: Spiritual Reality in a Makeover World, and Making Peace with a Dangerous God (with Kristen Johnson Ingram). She has also published many essays, stories, and poems in publications including The Christian Reader, The Denver Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Linda grew up in a part of Arizona, where the dirt is as red as it is in Central Oregon. She graduated summa cum laude in Art Education from Arizona State University and taught in public and private schools. She has taught college-level creative writing classes for seven years, and edits and mentors writers. She also is a frequent writing conference presenter and church retreat leader. She and her husband of thirty-one years have four grown children, including a set of twins. They live in Eugene, Oregon, with their five wayward cats: Oliver, Xena the Warrior Kitty, Paladine, Melchior, and Mamma Mia!


When legally separated Muri Pond, a librarian, hauls her kids, teenager Nova and eleven year-old Truman, out to the tiny town of Murkee, Oregon, where her father, Joe Pond lived and died, she's confronted by a neighbor's harassment over water rights and Joe's legacy: a fence made from old oven doors.

The fence and accompanying house trailer horrify rebellious Nova, who runs away to the drug-infested streets of Seattle. Muri searches for her daughter and for something to believe in, all the while trying to save her inheritance from the conniving neighbor who calls her dad Chief Joseph.

Along with Joe's sister, Aunt Lutie, and the Red Rock Tabernacle Ladies, Muri must rediscover the faith her alcoholic dad never abandoned in order to reclaim her own spiritual path.

Watch the trailer:

If you would like to read the first chapter of
The Fence My Father Built , go HERE

That Certain Spark by Cathy Marie Hake


Though hesitant to believe in Taylor's doctoring skills, Karl finds himself oddly protective of this surprising woman who dares to drive about town on her own, wearing the color red, for heaven's sake!

Taylor, on the other hand, wants only to prove that doctoring is her life's calling, despite the town's opposition.

The result? Pride meets attraction head-on, and sparks begin to fly.

My take:~

Cathy Marie Hake is known for her quirky characters and humourous historical stories of love. That Certain Spark is no exception. Dr Taylor Bestman has many hurdles to overcome pursuing a medical profession in a time when women were expected to marry and use needles for fabric not flesh. Great conflict is established when the traditional Karl is confronted with Taylor's profession and her female appeal. The prose is a bit choppy in the initial chapters but settles as the story unfolds for an enjoyable and entertaining read. Cathy Marie's readers will enjoy this latest tale.

Thanks to Bethany House for providing this book to review

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Forevermore
Visit Cathy Marie's website
Buy Cathy Marie's books at Amazon or Koorong

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