Friday, 30 April 2010

Christy Award Nominees, 2010

The Christy Awards are here again! Congratulations to all the nominees :)
I've had the privilege of reading 12 of the nominated novels and I must say they have been chosen well.

Click on the title links for reviews by myself and Tracy here at Relz Reviewz.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the nominations ~ are your favourites there?

AND there is BIG news to come at Relz Reviewz regarding the Christy Award winners ~ stay tuned!!

2010 Christy Award Nominees &
Keynote Speaker Announced

ANN ARBOR, Mich.The Christy Advisory Board is pleased to announce nominees in nine categories for the 2010 Christy Awards honoring Christian fiction. The Christy Awards will be conferred in advance of the International Christian Retailing Show at a ceremony at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel, Sat., June 26, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. Author and entrepreneur Lisa Samson, a two-time Christy Award winner and seven-time nominee, will present the keynote address.

Tickets to the event are $30. For more information about the awards reception and to make reservations (beginning Apr. 30), visit the Christy Award website at

The 2010 Christy Award nominees are:


Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills • Tyndale House Publishers

How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus • Barbour Publishing


Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson • Thomas Nelson

The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth • Zondervan


June Bug by Chris Fabry • Tyndale House Publishers

The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson • Thomas Nelson

Veiled Freedom by Jeanette Windle • Tyndale House Publishers


The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry • Moody Publishers

Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent • Tyndale House Publishers

Scared by Tom Davis • David C. Cook


A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey • Revell Books: a Division of Baker Publishing Group


Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander • Thomas Nelson

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group


Intervention by Terri Blackstock • Zondervan

Lost Mission by Athol Dickson • Howard Books: a Division of Simon & Schuster

The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group


By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson • Marcher Lord Press

The Enclave by Karen Hancock • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

Valley of the Shadow by Tom Pawlik • Tyndale House Publishers


Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma • Thomas Nelson

The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason • David C. Cook

North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

The Christy Awards are also online at:



Historical Romance includes four nominees due to a tie in scoring.

Media Inquiries:

Jeane Wynn

Wynn~Wynn Media, LLC



Donna Kehoe

With thanks to the amazing Jeane Wynn at Wynn~Wynn Media for this press release

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Siri Mitchell's Clara Carter with giveaways

Clara Carter

The brilliant Siri Mitchell is back with another wonderful story of fashion, romance and social constraints in She Walks in Beauty. If you enjoy your historical fiction with exceptional characterisation and plenty to ponder, Siri's books are for you!


Brief physical description

Embarrassingly tall (for the 19th century) and slightly clumsy, Clara has an unfashionable boyish figure. She has dark hair and pale, consumptive-looking skin with lips that are both too large and too wide.

Actor/famous person

For my historicals I’ve been making character collages. I tack them up on a bulletin board beside my computer so that I can see them as I write. A brief rundown on the characters in this collage. Clara is the main character. Her father and her aunt have tasked her with winning the hand of Franklin. Her best friend Lizzie—a sunny, cheerful soul—has also been given that goal. Though Clara tries to be a dutiful daughter, her heart is captured by Franklin’s younger brother Harry. Katherine, a baroness with melancholy eyes, is Franklin and Harry’s older sister who becomes a good friend to Clara through the course of the novel. Mr. Douglas is the ambitious journalist hired to catapult Clara to fame through the pages of his newspaper gossip column.

Strengths and weaknesses

Clara has an abundance of intelligence and good sense, although in her particular era, those were considered weaknesses and, in fact, turn out to be her fatal flaws (in her father’s and aunt’s opinions). She is also extremely loyal which has its drawbacks once she realizes she’s competing with her best friend for the hand of the season’s most eligible bachelor.

Quirk (if any)

She loves green apples and the poetry of Byron, preferring to consume them together.

Your inspiration for the character

Like my two previous historicals, I wanted to include a fashion element in this book. Corsets were an obvious choice. But I wanted to portray not just the wearing of corsets, but the before-and-after story. The loss of freedom and self that would come from surrendering the substance and spirit of your person to a rigid ideal. To do that, I needed a rather reluctant ingénue. And so, Clara was born.

Background to the story

As the story opens, Clara is feeling a bit beleaguered. She’s trying to be good and do what’s expected, but none of it really makes much sense. When she tries to be herself, she gets applauded, but for the wrong reasons. She’s vaulted to celebrity by misinterpretation of her own mistakes and self-consciousness. But that’s good right? She’s just starting to discover that marriage means the beginning of the end and she’s not at all sure that she wants to marry the man her father and aunt have picked out. But if not him, then whom? Surely if she just does what’s expected, everything will turn out right in the end. Won’t it? That’s what everyone keeps insisting…

And just for you, here's a snippet from Siri about her next novel:~

A Heart Most Worthy is another historical set in 1918 Boston among a group of Italian immigrants.

Thanks Siri for a really personal look at Clara and especially sharing your character collage ~ loved it!S

On Monday the spotlight shines on Lena Dooley's Madeleine Mercer from Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Exclusive RBC Book Club Interview with Siri

Reviews of A Constant Heart, Chateau of Echoes, The Cubicle Next Door & Moon Over Tokyo

Character spotlight on Love's Pursuit's
characters and A Constant Heart's Marget & Lytham

Visit Siri's

Buy Siri's books at Amazon or Koorong

I'm trying something new here with my giveaways with this form. Let's see how it goes! Please note, the US copy will be a signed copy from Siri :)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The Anonymous Bride by Vickie McDonough


Check yourself into the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series by Vickie McDonough, where you'll meet Luke Davis, marshal of Lookout, Texas, who flippantly tells his cousin he'd get married if the right woman ever came along. When three mail-order brides are delivered to Luke a month later, he's in an uncomfortable predicament. How will he ever choose his mate?

Rachel Hamilton's long-time love for Luke is reignited with his return to town. So when three mail-order brides appear, she panics. Will she find the courage to tell Luke that she loves him? Or take an anonymous part in the contest for his hand?

My take:~

If you are looking for a sweet escape laced with humour and heart, Vickie McDonough's The Anonymous Bride will easily satisfy. The first in her Texas Boardinghouse Brides series will appeal to readers of Mary Connolly's humourous tales and has all the ingredients readers of traditional Christian historical romance look for. Unrequieted love, a broken heart, a feisty young tomboy and three woman all determined to become the wife of the new town marshal make a delightful combination, perfect for an afternoon interlude!

With thanks to Barbour & CFBA from my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Vickie's website

Buy Vickie's books at Amazon or Koorong

CFBA Blog Tour of THe Anonymous Bride by Vickie McDonough

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Anonymous Bride
Barbour Publishing, Inc. (April 1, 2010)

Vickie McDonough


Award-winning author Vickie McDonough believes God is the ultimate designer of romance. She loves writing stories where the characters find their true love and grow in their faith.

Vickie has had 18 books published. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and is currently serving as ACFW treasurer. Vickie has also been a book reviewer for nine years.

She is a wife of thirty-five years, mother of four sons, and grandmother to a feisty four-year-old girl. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and traveling.


How many brides does one man need?

It's been years, but Luke Davis is back--older and wiser--and still alone. Returning as Lookout's new town marshal, Luke is determined to face the past and move on. He flippantly tells his cousin he'd get married if the right woman ever came along. But then he discovers that the woman who betrayed him is now a widow, and all his plans fall at his feet.

Rachel has carried her guilty shame for eleven years. Her marriage to James Hamilton was not what Luke or the town thought it to be. Now James is dead, and her long-time love for Luke is reignited with his return to town. So when three mail-order brides appear, she panics.

Could they possible find love a second time?

Rachel begs his forgiveness, but Luke finds he has none to give.

And then the brides arrive. Three of them--ordered for Luke through newspaper ads by his incorrigible cousins. The only place in town for them to stay is Rachel's boardinghouse. And none of the ladies is willing to let Luke go. When choosing a bride becomes a contest, the chaos that ensues is almost funny.

When the mayor forces Luke to pick a bride or lose his job, will Luke listen to his heart that still longs for Rachel or choose one of the mail-order brides?

Will Rachel find the courage to tell Luke that she loves him? Or take an anonymous part in the contest for his hand?

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

Read my review, here!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Kelly's Chance by Wanda E Brunstetter ~ Tracy's Take

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Life for Kelly McGregor is a daily drudge of driving her overbearing father’s mules along Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Canal. She dreams of one day owning an art gallery where her own drawings and paintings are on display. But these dreams don’t include marriage. . .not after seeing what her father has done to her mother. How then can Mike Cooper, a general store owner, make her realize he is different than her father and wants to support her artistic talent? Will Kelly learn that dreams can walk hand in hand with a love created by God?

What I thought:

Wanda E Brunstetter steps away from Amish fiction briefly with the first of her ‘Bridges of LeHigh Canal’ series, ‘Kelly’s Chance’. Wanda’s obvious appreciation for history springs forth as she weaves a tale from the LeHigh Canal, set in the mid 1800’s.

Kelly’s character drew me immediately, with sympathy and compassion. Wanda’s deft skill had me imagining myself in Kelly’s shoes. Hard work and a tyrannical father are pitted against Kelly’s soft nature and personal dreams. Despite the hardship Kelly is forced to endure, she proves to be a loyal and responsible young woman who desires to make good choices for the right reasons, rather that to merely escape the difficulties she faces. Despite a lack of support, she demonstrates and an enormous amount of trust in a God she barely knows, as she chooses to rely on Him for the desires of her heart. Desires she barely dares to acknowledge for herself, lest she be crushed by disappointment.

‘Kelly’s Chance’ illuminates the promise that God will bring all things together for the good of those who love Him in a way that is meaningful and tangible. I was inspired and encouraged to see challenges in life as opportunities to grow faith, rather than to be overcome by impossibilities.

With thanks to Barbour for Tracy's review copy

Guest reviewer:~ my friend and lover of all things Amish, Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of A Sister's Hope, A Sister's Test & White Christmas Pie

Visit Wanda's website

Buy Wanda's books at Amazon or Koorong

Sneak peek at Code Triage by Candace Calvert

I love sharing with you upcoming books and they don't come any better than the lovely Candace Calvert and her successful Mercy Hospital series!

My sister will be thrilled with this one ~ Hi Jen :)


Code Triage by Candace Calvert

Dr. Leigh Stathos likes her ER shifts fast, furious and adrenaline-infused, “Treat ‘em and street ‘em” with no emotional complications. Life’s taught her a soul-rending lesson: nothing lasts forever, including marriage. The clock is ticking toward the end of hers. Then an unwelcome confrontation with “the other woman” begins a whole new set of lessons.

San Francisco police officer Nick Stathos never gives up, whether protecting his patrol neighborhood, holding fast to faith—or trying to save his marriage. Seven days is all he has to reach Leigh’s heart. But when a desperate act of violence slams Golden Gate Mercy Hospital into lockdown, it starts a chain of events that will change lives forever.

Releasing September, 2010

Monday, 26 April 2010

Character Spotlight ~ James L Rubart's Micah Taylor

Micah Taylor

James Rubart has written a stellar debut novel that will take your breath away! ROOMS captured me from the start and I am still pondering its implications months after finishing the book. Seriously, it is that good!

Enjoy this spotlight on Micah. Over to you, Jim:~

Brief physical description

5'11”, dark brown hair, blue eyes, lean/athletic build

Actor/famous person

Chris Evans (who played Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four)

Strengths and weaknesses

Creative, spontaneous, smart, passionate. Angry deep down, sometimes sarcastic, moves at a frantic pace.

Quirk (if any)

More cream than coffee when he needs a java fix.

Your inspiration for the character

One third a friend of mine, one third Tom Cruise's character in Jerry McGuire, one third me.

Background to the story

It's the story of a young Seattle software tycoon who inherits a home on the Oregon Coast that turns out to be a physical manifestation of his soul.

It's the Twilight Zone meets It's a Wonderful Life. Then mix in some of The Matrix, C.S. Lewis, My Heart, Christ's Home, Wild at Heart, Disney's The Kid, some romance ... mix them all together and you get ROOMS.

Appreciate this, Jim! Can't wait to get my hands on your next novel :)

On Thursday, the spotlight shines on Siri Mitchell's Clara Carter from her new release, She Walks in Beauty. Don't miss it!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of ROOMS

Visit Jim's website and blog

Buy Rooms at Amazon or Koorong

Drop by later this week for my exclusive and fun interview with Jim

Sunday, 25 April 2010

A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

Allie Miller comes from privilege yet lacks the acceptance of her wealthy family. Attempting to gain their approval, Allie agrees to marry the man of her parent's choosing even though she does not love him. When she attends a dear friend's wedding, Allie meets Walter Novak, a pilot about to ship out for his first assignment against the Nazi war machine, and in him she finds a kindred spirit.

Walt has always been awkward around women but with Allie he can be himself. Their friendship established, Allie and Walt agree to write as he leaves for Europe, yet Allie has kept her engagement to herself and Walt starts keeping secrets of his own.
When truth comes to light, what price will they pay for their dishonesty?

Sarah Sundin is a debut author? Pinch me, please! A Distant Melody reads like the work of an experienced and talented writer, capturing my attention from the first page until the final word. Historical accuracy, complex characterisation and an intriguing plot reveal Sarah's natural talent for story and her love of history. Refreshing in so many ways, not the least being Allie and Walt's struggle with their homely appearance and their families' expectations of their futures. Dealing with issues of integrity and honesty in matters of faith and the heart, against the backdrop of World War II, A Distant Melody is an exceptional novel from an author who can mix it with the best of them. Jack Novak's story in A Memory Between can't come soon enough!

As seen at

With thanks to Revell & Litfuse Publicity for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Character spotlight on Allie & Walt

Visit Sarah's website and blog

Enter Sarah's fabulous contest

Visit the blog tour for other bloggers thoughts

Buy Sarah's books from Amazon or Koorong

Tosca Lee shares her take on what happened to Clay...

Tosca Lee's Demon re-releases from B&H Fiction in June, 2010. For those who have read it in its first life and want to know what happened to Clay, check out Tosca's view below.


What happened to Clay at the end of Demon? (SPOILER ALERT) from dfacto media on Vimeo.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Book Trailer for Alison Strobel's The Weight of Shadows

In November last year I selected Alison Strobel's The Weight of Shadows for my book club this year, sight unseen! I rarely choose a book for "my girls" without reading it first but Alison's just grabbed me. As you can see from the trailer, it is not going to be an easy read or discussion but we don't want that for our book club selections.

What do you look for in a Book Club selection?

Do check out Alison's special Book Club contest for those of you in the US ~ it is a little ripper!

In Harm's Way by Irene Hannon


FBI special agent Nick Bradley has seen his share of kooks during his fifteen years with the Bureau. But Rachel Sutton is an enigma. She seems normal when she shows up at the FBI office in St. Louis--until she produces a tattered Raggedy Ann doll she found and tells him she thinks something is wrong because of a strange feeling of terror it gives her when she touches it. Nick dismisses her, only to stumble across a link between the doll and an abducted child, setting in motion a chain of events that uncovers startling connections--and puts Rachel's life on the line.

My take:~

Irene Hannon returns with her engaging brand of romantic suspense with In Harm's Way, the third and final instalment in her successful Heroes of Quantico series. Special Agent Nick Bradley is continuing to renovate his beautiful old home, preparing it for resale so he can pursue another project, but the appearance of the intriguing Rachel Sutton has him rethinking those plans. A mystery that starts with an implausible story soon gathers momentum and becomes a dangerous reality. Irene has wound up her series well, with an excellent blend of suspense, attraction and fascinating characterisation. I have thoroughly enjoyed Irene's writing and am highly anticipating Fatal Judgement, the first in Irene's Guardians of Justice series, releasing in January, 2011

Available April 2010 at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

With thanks to Revell for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of Against All Odds and An Eye for An Eye

Character spotlights on Coop & Monica, Mark & Emily and Nick & Rachel

Interview with Irene

Visit Irene's website

Buy Irene's books at Amazon or Koorong

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Jennifer Arrington's Katherine Douglas & Michael Manning

Katherine Douglas & Michael Manning

Jennifer Arrington has written a novel from the heart about a disease that has touched her own family and hopes it provides hope for others. Enjoy this insight into a mother desperate to help her child and a doctor unwilling to look beyond his own knowledge.


Brief physical description

I didn't want either of them to be too good looking... :) Katherine has sleek auburn hair, green eyes, and a slightly freckled complexion from time spent outdoors. She is a minimalist, a busy single mom who doesn't have time for hair and make-up and pedicures. Her favourite clothes are a sundress and sandals.

Michael has brown wavy hair that, to his chagrin, responds poorly to Florida humidity. His blue eyes are surrounded by many laugh lines, he has strong features, and his presence overshadows his appearance.

Actor/famous person

Honestly, Rel, I don't know who they would look like, but whoever you pick, don't let them be too perfect....I wrote the descriptions of their appearances in after I had written the book, only because my editor made me :) I wanted the focus to be on who they were and what they were going through, not what they looked like.

Rel: It is hard to find non perfect actors - LOL! I've gone with Julieanne Nicholson and Josh Hopkins :)

Strengths and weaknesses

Katherine's biggest weakness is her fear of change. After her husband's death, she created a safe environment for herself where she felt she had control and order. And that is her main obstacle towards loving again - she doesn't want to leave herself open to loss. Michael recognizes this in her and challenges her on it. Initially she is extremely affronted that someone could call her hard earned safety net “living your life in a bubble” but when she faces the truth in Michael's words....well, you will have to read the book!

Conversely, Katherine's strength is her ability to keep going in the face of difficulty. She also knows that her best source of comfort and guidance is God's Word. Frequently throughout the book, we see Katherine escaping with her Bible and her journal and we are able to follow her progress as she grows from a woman afraid of new love to one capable of trusting God with her future.

Michael's biggest weakness is pride. He doesn't like that he can't pinpoint the cause of Alyssa's illness, so he does what many ego-centric people do: refuses to acknowledge that there is a real problem. When Katherine disagrees, he is angry. Out of his biggest weakness, though, comes the strength to face and forsake his pride.

Quirk (if any)

This is only mentioned once in the book, but Katherine believes that the piles in her house are screaming at her! The laundry is saying, “Wash me,” the schoolwork is hollering, “Grade me,” the food thawing on the counter is yelling, “Cook me,” and the dust is screaming, “Remove me!” How many times since I've written that part of the book have I imagined my own piles screaming at me....It's almost as if Katherine has passed her quirk onto me :)

Your inspiration for the character

This is going to sound funny....but women were the inspiration for Katherine. We have so much on our plates and I wanted Katherine to be someone confronting issues that women all around me confront: the loss of a loved one, a sick child, trying to balance home and work, while at the same time trying to live out their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I wanted Katherine to be authentic and I wanted her to find her source of strength and comfort from God's Word as a gentle reminder that it is God who is in control and who is intimately connected with our everyday struggles.

Ironically, after I had finished the book, we went through a terrible trial with my eldest daughter's health that lasted over two years. I kept telling myself, that if I was going to write a novel entitled, Trusting for Tomorrow, I had to be able to live that out myself...

My initial inspiration for Michael would probably be a conglomeration of all the terrible doctors I ever saw in my six-year quest to get to the bottom of my own illness. We've all seen such a physician at least once in our lives--those doctors who blame our health issues on stress, depression, or something imagined then scratch out a prescription and send us on our way. However, Michael faces his pride, and when he does, he becomes the man that any woman could easily fall in love with. I suspect if you met my husband you would see where the idea for this “new” Michael came from :)

Background to the story

The inspiration for Trusting for Tomorrow came out of my own experiences with celiac disease. After six years of unexplained health problems, I went on a gluten-free diet and many of my health problems went away. I wanted to do something that would prevent others from wasted years of ill health, so I decided to write a novel that highlighted the effects and difficulties of celiac disease.

But, I didn't want the book to be about me, so I created Katherine, a single mother whose child, Alyssa, is plagued with unexplained health problems. And since every good book has to have a romance (!), enter Michael, a paediatrician. At first, this seems the perfect match-up until Michael refuses to acknowledge Alyssa's illness, and Katherine finds herself battling emotions that she thought she'd relegated to the past. Suddenly the safe life that Katherine has created is no longer predictable, she can't find help for her daughter, and her emotions are in shambles...

Thanks Jennifer for providing this spotlight on such short notice! My review will be coming soon :)

On Monday the spotlight shines on Micah Taylor from James L Rubart's exceptional debut novel, Rooms. Be sure to check it out!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Jennifer's blog

Buy Jennifer's book at Amazon or B&N

CFBA Blog Tour of Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Blood Ransom
Zondervan (April 1, 2010)

Lisa Harris


Award-winning author Lisa Harris has been writing both fiction and nonfiction since 2000 and has more than fifteen novels and novellas in print. She currently lives with her family in Mozambique, Africa, where they work as missionaries.

From Lisa:

Have you ever noticed how God often uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things? In writing Blood Ransom, I wanted my heroes and heroines to be ordinary people, faced with extraordinary circumstances. Chad and Natalie’s lives were changed not only through the challenges they faced, but also through their reliance on God. And when they set off on their journey to the capital to save Joseph’s family, they never imagined that God would call them to a task that was beyond the scope of their own power.

But while this story is fictional, the issue of a modern day slave trade is very real. It is estimated that there are currently more than 27 million slaves on the world today from Africa, to Eastern Europe … to the United States of America. The fact is, we don’t have to travel around the world to see people hurting and exploited. They’re real people we pass every day, living in our neighborhoods, and attending our churches and schools. They’re empty and broken, searching for freedom and hope in an often hopeless world.


Natalie Sinclair is working to eradicate the diseases decimating whole villages in the Republic of Dhambizao when she meets Dr. Chad Talcott, a surgeon on sabbatical from a lucrative medical practice now volunteering at a small clinic.

Meanwhile, things are unraveling in Dhambizao. Joseph Komboli returns to his village to discover rebel soldiers abducting his family and friends. Those that were too old or weak to work lay motionless in the African soil. When Chad and Natalie decide to help Joseph expose this modern-day slave trade---and a high-ranking political figure involved in it---disaster nips at their heels.

Where is God in the chaos? Will Chad, Natalie, and Joseph win their race against time?

Romance and adventure drive Blood Ransom, by Lisa Harris, a powerful thriller about the modern-day slave trade and those who dare to challenge it.

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of Blood Ransom, go HERE.

Read my review and enjoy Lisa's exclusive character spotlight!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Beaded Hope by Cathy Liggett


Four American women, all with their own challenges, embark on a mission trip to South Africa. Their lives are changed as they encounter a group of South African women who suffer from AIDS yet demonstrate great joy and faith in the face of overwhelming adversity. When the Americans discover the amazing beadwork that has been taught to generations of women in the community, they uncover a way to help these proud people support their families by selling their craft.

My take:~

Emotional turmoil, infertility, self interest and escape are only some of the reasons four American women travel to South Africa on a missions trip that will transform their world view, their faith and their relationships. The physical, spiritual and emotional journey Gabby, Cassandra, Heidi and Katie walk, will intrigue you and evoke sympathy, understanding and compassion. Cathy Liggett has drawn her cast of characters with such a deft hand you will find yourself identifying with their motives, tension and joy over and over again. This is a beautifully written story of friendship and faith and the challenging example of those who have so little yet their lives are rich with hope and love. I have selected Beaded Hope for my book club ~ they are in for a real treat!

With thanks to Tyndale House for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Cathy's website and blog

Buy Cathy's book at Amazon or Koorong

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Character Spotlight ~ DiAnn Mills' Danika Morales & Alex Price

Danika Morales & Dr Alex Price

DiAnn Mills writes great suspense novels and Sworn to Protect is the second in her Call of Duty series. Living in Australia, I was fascinated by the complex issues that face both Americans and Mexicans over illegal immigration. DiAnn skilfully reveals the many ethical and moral dilemmas through her characters. I hope you enjoy this insight!

Over to you, DiAnn:~

Brief physical description

Border Patrol Agent Danika Morales has curly hair the color of dark honey and it hangs to her shoulders. Her eyes are blue-gray, and she has a wide smile. She’s slender, attractive.

Dr. Alex Price has short blonde hair and blue eyes.

Actor/famous person

Danika Morales - Although she is white, she has a strong resemblance to Jennifer Lopez

Alex Price - Looks like Dylan Bruno

Strengths and weaknesses

Danika -

Strengths - Willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done

Weaknesses - Afraid to trust

Alex -

Strengths - Compassionate, dedicated and committed to his work - and Danika

Weaknesses - Hesitant to tell all he knows

Quirk (if any)

Danika - She likes jalapeños - the hotter the better

Your inspiration for the character

Danika - I wanted a woman who was willing to step into a tough, challenging, and dangerous job. I also wanted her to be all woman: loving, attractive, and compassionate. Her past with an unfortunate situation with an illegal alien motivated her to do what she could to keep US borders safe. She needed to be a woman who had been hurt and blamed God.

Alex - I wanted a man who saw the broad spectrum of the border situation. He needed to be the kind of doctor who saw the needs of people, not their ethnicity. He had to be a man of firm faith, loving and kind but stubborn.

Background to the story

I think you are asking what inspired me to write this story.

Living in Houston I’m familiar with daily news articles about the illegal immigration problem along the Texas/Mexico border. Most of the illegals are merely hard working people who want a better life. Others are those who live a life of crime.

My goal for this book is not to have a message driven novel, but to show characters with varying reasons for or against US immigration laws.

Border Patrol Agent Danika Morales puts her life on the line to enforce US laws and protect our borders. Dr. Alex Price puts his life on the line to make sure all people receive needed medical care. Some characters are legal and some are illegal. Sworn to Protect is about two people who face danger and find love in the midst of tragedy and uncertainty along the volatile Texas/Mexico border.

Thanks so much, DiAnn for this look behind the creation of your characters!

Looking forward to your spotlight on Sage and Parker, from A Woman Called Sage, coming soon to Relz Reviewz.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of Sworn to Protect and Breach of Trust

Interview with DiAnn

Visit DiAnn's website

Buy DiAnn's books at Amazon and Koorong

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