Thursday, 30 September 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Sarah Sundin's Major Jack Novak & Lieutenant Ruth Doherty

Jack & Ruth

Sarah Sundin's debut novel A Distant Melody immersed readers in the 1940s and the drama of World War II. A Memory Between Us takes us back to a time of fear, desperation, courage and hope.

Enjoy this insight into Jack & Ruth. Over to you, Sarah:~

Brief physical description

Maj. Jack Novak is too good-looking for his own good. He’s tall and broad-shouldered, has blue eyes, wavy black hair, and a mustache. He’s never failed to achieve any goal he’s put his mind to.

Lt. Ruth Doherty is beautiful, which has never caused her anything but trouble. She has auburn hair and blue eyes.

Actor/famous person

Maureen O’Hara reminds me of Ruth, as does the woman in the poster below — especially appropriate because Ruth is an Army nurse. Jack looks a bit like a young Clark Gable—more from It Happened One Night than Gone With the Wind, but without Gable’s dimples and ears.

Strengths and weaknesses

Jack is driven, outgoing, and a natural leader. People are drawn to him because of his looks and personality, but admire him because of his character. However, pride is a problem for him. He’s never really failed, so he trusts himself more than he trusts God. He also tends to manipulate people.

Ruth is fiercely loyal to her family—an orphan, she feels responsible for her six younger siblings. She’s sharp, resourceful, independent, and determined. However, she’s burdened by shame and keeps people at arm’s length.

Quirk (if any)

Jack is not a quirky sort of man, but he does have a phobia that he’s careful not to let anyone know about.

Ruth has a strong aversion to sausage. There’s a good reason for that, and this aversion pops up in some interesting ways in the book to show what’s going on with Ruth.

Your inspiration for the character

My inspiration for Ruth Doherty came from an idea I had about a poor girl who makes a shameful decision to feed her family. I wondered what kind of girl would make such a decision, what consequences she would face, and what she’d be like when she grew up. And there was Ruth—strong, confident, clever, independent, prickly—but vulnerable inside.

Jack’s career is based on that of my great-uncle, Roderick Stewart (the original Rod Stewart), who was in the squadron of B-17s entering Pearl Harbor during the attack, then served as a squadron commander with the 94th Bomb Group based in England. However, everything else about Jack, especially his personality, is his own. He was originally just meant to be the annoyingly perfect older brother for Walt (the hero of Wings of Glory Book 1, A Distant Melody), but when the character for Ruth came to me, Jack kind of raised his hand and said, “She’s mine.” When they met, sparks flew, and I knew I had a book.

Background to the story

Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge—until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top-priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she also is determined not to give her heart to any man.

As the danger and tension of World War II rise to a fever pitch, Jack and Ruth will need each other more than ever. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?

From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.

Thanks for sharing Jack & Ruth with us, Sarah :) Looking forward to reading their story!

On Monday the spotlight shines on Don Reid's J.D. & Karlie Wickham from One Lane Bridge

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of A Distant Melody

Character spotlight on Allie & Walt

Visit Sarah's website and blog

Enter Sarah's fabulous contest

Buy Sarah's books from Amazon or Koorong

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Judgment Day by Wanda L Dyson


Sensational journalism has never been so deadly.

The weekly cable news show Judgment Day with Suzanne Kidwell promises to expose businessmen, religious leaders, and politicians for the lies they tell. Suzanne positions herself as a champion of ethics and morality with a backbone of steel—until a revelation of her shoddy investigation tactics and creative fact embellishing put her in hot water with her employers, putting her credibility in question and threatening her professional ambitions.

Bitter and angry, Suzanne returns home one day to find her deceased boyfriend, Dr. Guy Mandeville’s nurse, Cecelia Forbes unconscious on her living room floor. Before the night is over, Cecelia is dead, Suzanne has her blood on her hands, and the police are arresting her for murder. She needs help to prove her innocence, but her only hope, private investigator Marcus Crisp, is also her ex-fiancĂ©–the man she betrayed in college.

Marcus and his partner Alexandria Fisher-Hawthorne reluctantly agree to take the case, but they won’t cut Suzanne any slack. Exposing her lack of ethics and the lives she’s destroyed in her fight for ratings does little to make them think Suzanne is innocent. But as Marcus digs into the mire of secrets surrounding her enemies, he unveils an alliance well-worth killing for. Now all he has to do is keep Suzanne and Alex alive long enough to prove it.


Wanda Dyson spins a fast and furious tale of suspense and danger as private investigators Marcus and Alexandria attempt to prove the innocence of talk show host Suzanne Kidwell. The pace moves along well and there are enough twists and turns to keep the pages flipping over. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters of Marcus and Alexandria and hope another book is in the works. The hint of attraction between the two business partners is fun and the animosity Alexandria's father holds towards Marcus reveals Marcus' mettle. Suzanne is an unlikeable character which makes Wanda's writing refreshingly realistic and provides plenty of substance to the suspense. Judgment Day is another solid read from this skilled author.

With thanks to CFBA and Waterbrook Press for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Shepherd's Fall

Visit Wanda's website

Buy Wanda's books at Amazon or Koorong

CFBA Blog Tour of Judgment Day by Wanda L Dyson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Judgment Day
WaterBrook Press (September 21, 2010)

Wanda Dyson


Wanda Dyson – "a shining example of what Christian fiction is becoming..." (Christian Fiction Review). She's been called a "natural" and a "master of pacing," but her fans know that whether it's police thrillers, suspense, or bringing a true story to life, Wanda knows how to take her readers on a journey they'll never forget.

Wanda is a multipublished suspense author, currently writing for Random House/Waterbrook. Her one attempt at a nonfiction book was picked for an exclusive release on Oprah. In addition to writing full time, she is also the appointment coordinator for the CCWC, Great Philadelphia Christian Writers, and ACFW conferences.

Wanda lives in Western Maryland on a 125 acre farm with a menagerie of animals and when she's not writing critically acclaimed suspense, or away at conferences, you can find her zipping across the fields on a 4-wheeler with Maya, her German Shepherd, or plodding along at a more leisurely pace on her horse, Nanza.

With the release of her newest hit, Judgment Day, Wanda is heading back to the keyboard to start on her next high-octane thriller, The Vigilante.


Sensational journalism has never been so deadly.

The weekly cable news show Judgment Day with Suzanne Kidwell promises to expose businessmen, religious leaders, and politicians for the lies they tell. Suzanne positions herself as a champion of ethics and morality with a backbone of steel—until a revelation of her shoddy investigation tactics and creative fact embellishing put her in hot water with her employers, putting her credibility in question and threatening her professional ambitions.

Bitter and angry, Suzanne returns home one day to find her deceased boyfriend, Dr. Guy Mandeville’s nurse, Cecelia Forbes unconscious on her living room floor. Before the night is over, Cecelia is dead, Suzanne has her blood on her hands, and the police are arresting her for murder. She needs help to prove her innocence, but her only hope, private investigator Marcus Crisp, is also her ex-fiancĂ©–the man she betrayed in college.

Marcus and his partner Alexandria Fisher-Hawthorne reluctantly agree to take the case, but they won’t cut Suzanne any slack. Exposing her lack of ethics and the lives she’s destroyed in her fight for ratings does little to make them think Suzanne is innocent. But as Marcus digs into the mire of secrets surrounding her enemies, he unveils an alliance well-worth killing for. Now all he has to do is keep Suzanne and Alex alive long enough to prove it.

Watch the book trailer:

If you would like to read the Prologue and first chapter of Judgment Day, go HERE.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Tender Vow by Sharlene MacLaren with Aussie Giveaway


Michigan-born brothers John and Jason Evans took a ski trip in the Rockies, but only one came home alive-John was tragically killed on a daring descent down Devil's Run, an infamously dangerous slope.

In an attempt to soothe his guilt and grief, Jason sets out to make amends with his widowed sister-in-law, Rachel, by offering to help with her two small children, doing odd jobs around her house, and trying to ease her own heavy burden of grief. A new Christian, he is bent on growing his faith and helping Rachel see her way through the fog of pain and confusion.

Left to raise her three-year-old daughter and newborn son on her own, Rachel Evans is anything but willing to become her brother-in-law's charity case, particularly since they have a history she'd rather forget. She's determined to make it on her own but soon finds that God has other plans for her-and for Jason. Can she accept the Lord's leading and still honor her late husband's memory?

My take:~

Sharlene MacLaren is well known for her historical romances but I have discovered she is just as comfortable writing a contemporary novel. Tender Vow is the story of a woman battling grief and guilt over her husband's death while struggling with loneliness and the overwhelming responsibilities of raising her two small children. Rachel's brother in law Jason is also grieving and determined to honour his brother's memory by ensuring his niece and nephew are provided for. Sharlene draws out their emotions well especially as feelings long forgotten reemerge. Added conflict arises as it becomes apparent that Jason's father blames him for his brother's death. While I felt the story wrapped up a bit too neatly for me given the emotional trauma the family had suffered, Tender Vow is an engaging story with plenty of emotional spark and a nice way to spend an afternoon.

I purchased my own copy of this book

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of Hannah Grace & Maggie Rose

Interview with Sharlene

Visit Sharlene's website and blog

Buy Sharlene's books from Amazon and Koorong

Monday, 27 September 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Charlene Baumbich's Josie, Lyle, Marsha & Barb with US giveaway

Josie, Lyle, Marsha & Barb

Charlene Baumbich's latest story will be much loved by those enjoying midlife, with characters in their 40s and 50s, still working on what is important in life just like most of us, regardless of age :)

Enjoy this insight! Over to you, Charlene:~


At age 47, Josie Victor Brooks is a lean, mean, healthy machine. Dark hair with hints of gray. Blue Eyes. Conservative in dress. As the book opens, she is short on smiles and long on serious research and single-minded purpose.

Actor/famous person: Kristin Davis

Strengths and weaknesses: Emotionally strong and self-sufficient, traits which serve her well, and nearly do her in. She is a great researcher and get-it-done, go-to person, but she can be harsh and extremely unsympathetic. She is smart and doesn’t know how much she needs something she doesn’t have—until she falls into it after strange encounters with a mysterious snowglobe.

Quirk (if any): She works so hard to simplify that she even owns four sets (& only four sets) of pajamas, all of the same powder blue cotton with three-quarter-length sleeves, which she wears the year around. Even though she is financially secure, she won’t buy a new handbag until she’s ready to get rid of the one she has. She doesn’t trust people who try to get close.


53, tall, good build, handsome, kind, approachable.

Actor/famous person: Tom Hanks

Strengths and weaknesses: Sympathetic, interested and interesting, loves his family, sometimes has a difficult time doing the hard thing. Doesn’t know how to keep his emotions in check.

Quirk: Sometimes gets himself caught up in over-thinking loops. (Personally so relatable!)


In her forties, somewhat short and a tad fluffy. She bites her nails. Smiles much. Kinda loud and feisty. Funny.

Actor/famous person: Joy Baher

Strength & weaknesses: She is fun, yet still fighting her own wounded and bitter heart: her husband left her for a younger woman. She is smart, although she doesn’t see herself that way. She’s a great mom and a good friend with a fun sense of humor.

Quirk: Writes really quirky fiction to work her way through dilemmas in her life, and nicknames everyone.


Age 62, comfortable looking, approachable, tender yet slightly mischievous eyes.

Actor/famous person: Susan Boyle

Strength and weaknesses: Kind, considerate, full of faith, compassionate, a doer. Knows how to bring out the best in everyone. She sometimes forgets to take care of herself.

Quirk: She has an innate gift to cheer people up.


Characters walk into my head and knock on my brain until they get my attention. If I forget about them, they weren’t interesting enough to ignite my curiosity. But Josie, well, she walked into my head and stared me down. Scary.

It “became clear to me” (via watching her actions as she showed up at work) that she had a tough job, but the toughness to handle it. Depending on only herself, she had control—until she pulled an annual contract in a company with a bleeding-heart boss and a bunch of good friends.

When Marsha and Barb showed up, I turned that blissful corner when the story started talking to me. When Lyle noticed Josie’s swinging backside, I knew I wanted to hear everything the story had to say.

I’m passionate about second chances, and this group of characters—planted in the midst of a tough economy and corporate downsizing—lent the perfect atmosphere.

Thanks very much for sharing your characters with us, Charlene :)

On Thursday, the spotlight shines on Sarah Sundin's Major Jack Novak &
Lieutenant Ruth Doherty from A Memory Between Us

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Charlene's website and blog

Buy Charlene's books at Amazon or Koorong

Coming in 2011 from Tyndale House

Here's a taste of the books releasing from Tyndale House in 2011 and there will be more to come.

I can't wait to read Nicole Baart's conclusion to After the Leaves Fall and Summer Snow. Nicole writes beautiful literary prose that is second to none.

Henry McLaughlin is the 2009 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel Contest winner with Journey to Riverbend and it looks like Tom, Jason and Steve are serving up more thrills and spills with their 2011 releases.

Which ones are you looking forward to?

Beneath the Night Tree by Nicole Baart

Julia DeSmit knew at some point her son would ask about his dad, she just didn’t expect it now that she is finally content with the way her life has unfolded. A single mother to her son and younger brother, she cherishes living with her beloved grandmother and is h
oping to be engaged to Michael Vermeer—the man of her dreams—by year’s end.

Julia’s dream is threatened when a cryptic e-mail from her son’s father spins her world off axis. She hasn’t heard from Parker since he left her in a college parking lot without a backward glance. But one look at her son—the spitting image of his father—is enough to convince her that, for better or worse, Parker is a part of their story.

Faced with this new reality and the potential unraveling of her unorthodox family, Julia begins a tightrope walk between what was, what is, and what she hopes for in her sanctuary beneath the night tree.

February, 2011

Journey to Riverbend by Henry McLaughlin

Michael Archer is nothing if not a man of his word. Though he was unable to save Ben Carstairs, Michael is determined to carry out Ben’s dying wish: to be reconciled with his father. Unfortunately, Sam Carstairs, one of the most ruthless businessmen on the frontier, has no use for his own son, much less a man of God seeking reconciliation.

Soon after arriving in Riverbend, Michael meets and falls for the stunni
ng Rachel Stone while waiting for Sam to return from a business trip. Beautiful yet guarded, Rachel seems to be running from a past as dark as Michael’s. When word reaches town that Sam has been kidnapped on the stagecoach home, Michael offers to join the search party formed by the local sheriff.

With a budding romance behind him and a dangerous rescue ahead of him, he sets out on the trail, determined to complete his journey no matter the cost.

February, 2011

Beckon b
y Tom Pawlik

Some secrets weren’t meant to be discovered.

Three people are each drawn to Mount Beckon in western Wyoming. A biology profes
sor investigates a mysterious cave-dwelling arthropod and makes a terrifying discovery. An aging millionaire is offered a miraculous remedy for his wife’s dementia but must decide if the cure is worth the cost. And a reporter follows a cryptic lead to a strange compound built over an abandoned mine. One by one they discover the mountain’s ghastly secret.

The only question is . .
. will any of them make it out alive?

April, 2011

Inside Threat by Jason Elam & Steve Yohn

After taking two football seasons off, Riley Covington is attempting to make a comeback in the league while trying to forget Khadi Faroughi, now on security detail for a prominent senator.

But a new attack turns both of their lives upside down yet again. During a state funeral, terrorists overrun the National Cathedral and take senators, congressmen, and their entourages hostage, including Khadi. This new generation of The Cause is made up of homegrown terrorists—an inside threat to the security of the nation. They release most of the hostages, but not all. Several, including Khadi, are kept behind as significant bargaining chips.

The Cause pledges to behead one member of Congress each day throughout the month of Ramadan as a punishment for their own country’s rejection of Islam. Despite the protests of Counter-Terrorism Division director Scott Ross, Riley races to CTD armed with a plan and a fierce determination to rescue Khadi at all costs.

April, 2011

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The winners are.......

Pearl in the Sand ~ Sandy A

I'll Be Home for Christmas ~ Amber F

Congratulations! Your book will be on its way to you shortly :)

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Beneath a Southern Sky by Deborah Raney ~ Tracy's Take

Publisher’s Synopsis:

After two years of serving as a missionary in a remote area of South America, Daria Camfield has returned to the States to mourn her husband, reportedly killed while providing medical aid to a neighbouring Colombian village.

At first, Daira finds comfort only in the daughter born to her after nate’s tragic death. As she begins to heal, she also finds a listening ear and a tender heart in her new boss, veterinarian Colson Hunter. Determined to move forward with life, Daria ignores the still small voice calling her to wait and accepts Cole’s marriage proposal. But after the wedding, Daria’s new dream life turns into a nightmare following the arrival of an unbelievable telegram: “Nathan Camfield found alive. Flying into K.C. Int’l via Bogota…”

Now, two men have the right to her daughter, her life, and her love. Will Daria return to her beloved first husband, abandoning Cole? Or will she reject Nate and choose the only man her daughter has ever called “Daddy” – a man she has come to cherish with all her heart?

What I thought:

Deborah Raney’s writing talent shines brilliantly in ‘Beneath the Southern Sky’. It is a deeply moving story of tragic proportions that is gently unfolded with tenderness and great skill.

Daria is a character I immediately identified with. My own ‘missionary kid’ experiences came flooding back as Deborah describes Daria and Nate’s life in Colombia. I was once again in my own tropical-jungle childhood. I felt Daria’s grief and smiled as she begins to heal. But oh the tragedy to come! Despite my own personal conflict, I was impressed with the way Deborah handled the outcome of the two marriage relationships that Daria must resolve into a workable life. The outcome was entirely reasonable and sensitively handled. And yet I still find myself oscillating between the moral obligations Daria faces, pertaining to both men.

Daria’s story is a very clear reminder of the importance of seeking God and awaiting His direction and guidance for our lives. It also highlights the devastation that can come from running on ahead of God.

With thanks to Waterbrook Press for Tracy's review copy

Guest reviewer: My friend Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of Remember to Forget and Leaving November

Character spotlight on Bryn & Garrett from Almost Forever

Visit Deb's website

Buy Deb's books at Amazon or Koorong

Friday, 24 September 2010

Sneak peek at Ronie Kendig's Wolfsbane

So this book doesn't release until July, 2011 but I couldn't wait to share it with you! If you love adventure, danger and characters with heart and soul then make sure you have Ronie Kendig's Discarded Heroes series on your bookshelves. Nightshade is available now and Digitalis releases in January, 2011.

Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig

Former Green Beret Captain Canyon Metcalfe is unnerved when Nightshade is sent to a South American jungle that holds an eerie similarity to a dark tragedy from his past. Addicted to painkillers, Canyon struggles to hide his secret. Escorting Danielle Roark, a demolitions expert who knows the location of a secret nuclear weapons silo, proves treacherous when they’re ambushed and captured. Rescued, Canyon is furious to discover Dani was left behind, intentionally—because she’d unearthed blame that lies at the feet of many on the Hill, including her own father. Armed with truth, they must fight their way back to the States and freedom.

July, 2011 from Barbour

Free Download

For a short time you can enjoy Ronie's great writing for free! Her debut novel, Dead Reckoning is now available from Amazon and B & N for Kindle, PC for Kindle and more ~ click here to download!

I highly recommend this story ~ read my review here

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Anita Higman's Holly Goodnight, Owen Quigley & Van Keaton

Holly, Owen & Van

You get two Christmas stories for the price of one in Irene Brand and Anita Higman's Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe :) Anita shares her characters here in her novella Once Upon a Christmas Eve.


Holly Goodnight

My heroine, Holly Goodnight, is a little roundish, but in an irresistible way. She has dark luminous eyes, sports a mischievous air, and looks a little like the actress, Anne Hathaway.

Holly has a great compassion for people, but her human frailty becomes apparent when her underlying fear of abandonment surfaces. Holly falls into the fairy archetype. I think this kind of character is so fascinating to create and watch. Other examples of this kind of character are the heroines from the movies, Chocolat and Cold Comfort Farm.

Owen Quigly

Owen Quigly, my hero, is tall and lanky and lumbers like Jimmy Stewart. Owen looks like the actor, Paul Bettany from the movie, The Young Victoria, only Owen’s hair is red and electric.

Owen is funny and caring, but sometimes he’s too phlegmatic when it comes to expressing his feelings. He has a talent for reading the stock market and making a lot of money, but he’s never cared too much for spending it. He’d rather give it away. Decades ago I dated a guy who was a little like Owen. But I didn’t marry him.

Van Keaton

Van Keaton is another male character in my novella. He looks a lot like a young Hugh Grant.

He is creative and passionate about life and love, but he’s a bit arrogant around the edges. Van is afflicted with a miserable yet humorous case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Van Keaton is also a novelist and terrified of failure. In fact, the fear of it keeps him awake at night.

It was fun and fairly easy to write about Van, since I too know the wonderful and slightly neurotic life of a writer.

Background to the story

As far as the story’s background I love all things Christmas, and I’ve always been curious about orphans and their plight. So, I put both of these ideas together, and Once Upon a Christmas Eve started to form in my mind.
Thanks for sharing, Anita :) They sound like great characters!

On Monday, the spotlight shines on Mark Hitchcock and Alton Gansky's Andrew Morgan & Lisa Campbell from The Mayan Apocolypse

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Anita's
website & Irene's website

Buy the book at Amazon or Koorong

The winners of A Shore Thing are.....

US winners ~ Diana M & Marcia F

Aussie winners ~ Jenny B & Rachel F

Congratulations! Your books will be on their way to you shortly :)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky


Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper, scribbled with her regrets, sins, and sorrows. But that’s nobody else’s business. Her bookstore/coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church—they all think she’s the very model of compassion and kindness.

Then Marnie’s past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old son—a boy Marnie never knew existed. And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome—and that she’s woefully unprepared to care for him. What’s worse, she has to deal with Taylor Cole, her sister’s attorney, a man Marnie once loved—and abandoned.

As Emmit (and Taylor) work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal. But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at last face the scripts of paper in her box, all the regrets and sorrows. Can she do it? Or will she run again?

My take:~

Marlo Schalesky has a lovely way with words which can be experienced in her latest love story with a twist, Shades of Morning. Wary and jaded on the outside, Marnie's heart for others can be seen in the selfless things she does for others but her generosity is tested when she is forced to care for her late sister's son. Challenged by Emmit's Downs Syndrome and the fact it brings Taylor Cole back into her life after fifteen years of silence, Marnie's journey is awkward and moving with an ending I thought I saw coming but clearly didn't! A tender story of broken faith, wounded souls and the freedom of unconditional love, Shades of Morning challenges us to choose love and to forgive.

With thanks to Kelly Blewett of KBK Public Relations for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Character spotlights on Jimmy Henley & Kinna Henley (If Tomorrow Never Comes) and Paul Tilden (Beyond the Night)

Review of Beyond the Night

Visit Marlo's website and blog

Buy Marlo's books at Amazon or Koorong

Coming in 2011 from Waterbrook Press

Waterbrook Press are back in 2011 with some intriguing titles across all manner of genres.

Enjoy this sneak peek and click on the links for more :)

Deadly Ties by Vicki Hinze

Lisa struggles to save her mother from an abusive monster. Mark fights to save Lisa from certain death. Together they must stop an international conspiracy and find love and true faith.

February, 2011

The Chasm by Randy Alcorn

The most profound episode in Randy Alcorn’s fiction portrays a man caught in another world—where he discovers a truth we all must someday face. This allegorical tale shows that sometimes getting far enough away from your life allows you to see it for the first time.

February, 2011

Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs

As the story opens, Marjory Kerr and her daughter-in-law, Elisabeth, have lost everything they once held dear--husbands, sons, houses, titles and possessions. But they have not lost hope. The emotional and spiritual journey that began with Here Burns My Candle comes to a triumphant end in Mine Is the Night, a dramatic and decidedly Scottish retelling of the book of Ruth, transported to the eighteenth century.

March, 2011

The Ale Boy’s Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet

Four kingdoms were built on a legend—a legend that was a lie. It will take miracles to save the ale boy from death, King Cal-raven from despair, and his people from a bloodthirsty forest. But miracles happen wherever Auralia’s colors are found.

March, 2011

The Daughter’s Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick

In 1896, in order to save the family farm, Clara Estby reluctantly accompanies her mother on a cross-country journey that redefines a mother's tragedy and a daughter's desire. Over two decades, friends and faith help Clara move through a family betrayal and into a future of her own design. But will the tentacles of the past keep her from finding the real joy in forgiveness?

April, 2011

Lilies in Moonlight by Allison Pittman

The Roaring Twenties come vividly to life in this charming tale of a lost and confused flapper, a disillusioned soldier, and a road trip that just might heal them both.

April, 2011

The Corruptible by Mark Mynheir

Ray Quinn is a tough, quick-witted former detective turned PI whose latest case teaches that sometimes the first casualty of being a hired gun is the truth.

April, 2011

Monday, 20 September 2010

A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman


The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and head-over-heels in love with her. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice.

Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

My take:~

Since the end of the Daughters of Boston series, Julie Lessman's devoted readers have been eagerly awaiting the release of A Hope Undaunted, heralding the Winds of Change trilogy and the ongoing saga of the O'Connor family. Katie and Cluny's journey was bound to be fiery, intense and heartfelt as Julie always writes from the heart with authenticity and courage. The uniqueness of Julie's prose reveals itself in palpable emotion and an almost unmatched ability to create vivacious characters that step from the pages and into the reader's heart and mind. Family drama, human tragedy and tempestuous love provide an evocative and compelling read that is impossible to put down. A Hope Undaunted is a brilliant read and sets high expectations for A Heart Revealed, the story of Katie's older brother Sean, the only O'Connor man determined to remain a bachelor!

Available September 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

With thanks to the author for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Character spotlight on Cluny & Katie

Reviews of A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed & A Passion Denied

Character spotlight on Lizzie & Brady

Interview with Julie

Visit Julie's website

Buy Julie's books at Amazon or Koorong

It's a Giveaway Extravaganza! Kindle Giveaway, Facebook Party and Book Bomb - OH MY!

Visit the Roaring 20’s with Julie Lessman in the Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway! Julie’s latest series has just ‘shimmied’ it’s way onto the scene with book 1 in The Winds of Change series, A Hope Undaunted!

Find out more about the book, Julie here.

Enter The Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive a KINDLE preloaded with Julie Lessman's latest title. The Prize Pack (valued at over $150.00) includes:

* A brand new KINDLE, with Wi-Fi

* A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form and be sure to tell your friends about the contest.

Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on October 7th.

Not only is Julie hosting the fabulous KINDLE giveaway, but also a FACEBOOK PARTY and a BOOK BOMB!!!

Are you ready for PRIZES GALORE??? Then come to the Facebook Party!

How does a gift certificate and a signed book given away EVERY 10 minutes during an hour-long Facebook party sound? (Yeah, we think it sounds pretty great too!) On October 7th at 5pm PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST, & 8:00 EST) Julie is inviting you to attend the A Hope Undaunted Facebook Party! She'll announce the winner of the KINDLE and in addition to the prizes every 10 minutes, she'll also be giving away great prize baskets filled with even more Romance and Technology (Netflix, Starbucks,, Champagne body Lotion, Pearls, & more!)!

BUT WAIT … there’s more (and no, this is not an infomercial … it’s WAY better!). If you participate in the Book Bomb on October 7th you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to All you need to do to participate is buy a copy of A Hope Undaunted on October 7th and send your receipt (just transaction number from store, store name & date) to! Each book purchased equals one entry, buy 10 books get 10 entries!

All this fun begins with Revell’s blog tour SEPTEMBER 19-25, when 122 blogger/reviewers will post reviews about A Hope Undaunted, followed by the Book Bomb and Facebook Party!

So mark your calendars with these important dates:

September 19-25: A Hope Undaunted will be making an appearance on blogs across the country (and beyond!) in Revell's blog tour!

September 20th: The Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway launches (contest runs 9/20 - 10/6)

October 7th: Book Bomb Day (where everyone is encouraged to buy the book online at the same time!) and Facebook Party - meet and chat with Julie, win some great prizes & find out who won the KINDLE!

Want to help us spread the word about all this fun and be entered to win a $50 gift certificate?

Share Julie's Giveaway Extravaganza on Facebook, Twitter or your blog and we'll enter your name into our random drawing to win 50 smackers to!

Once you've tweeted, posted on Facebok or added the button to your blog/website - simple email Amy and let her know you helped spread the word. Easy.

Here is a sample post for both Twitter/Facebook:

Tweet This: @JulieLessman is giving away a KINDLE and tons more during her giveaway extravaganza! Details here: Pls RT

Share on Facebook: Julie Lessman is celebrating her new release, A Hope Undaunted by giving away a KINDLE, having a Book Bomb and a Facebook Party! Prizes Galore - don't miss the fun!

Or add this button to your blog or website! Simply copy and paste the code in the box into the HTML screen of your blog or website. Then email Amy and let her know you did!

A Hope Undaunted Facebook Party

Character Spotlight ~ Leanna Ellis' Cousin It

Cousin It

Leanna Ellis brings a first to Relz Reviewz ~ a character spotlight of the animal kind! You will love this look at a mischievous Labradoodle based on Leanna's canine friend.

Enjoy meeting Cousin It:~

Brief physical description

Cousin It is the dog that comes to visit ‘temporarily’ at Kaye’s house. She is a big furry blob with black hair and looks like a black bear but is actually a dog. She is rambunctious and full of energy.

Actor/famous dog

Cousin It actually resembles my labradoodle, which we named Hilo (pronounced Hee-lo, after one of our favorite towns on the big island of Hawaii). We thought she was laid back when we named her. Boy, were we wrong! So she developed the name The Hilo Monster. If we don’t groom her, her hair grows out and she becomes this big shaggy mop.

Strengths and weaknesses

Cousin It’s weakness is anything that looks edible, no matter what. Her strength is that once you get past that puppy energy, she has a kind heart and just wants to love and be loved. She’s a great big furry pillow that is perfect for hugging.

Quirk (if any)

Eating. Everything.

Your inspiration for the character

I began writing FACELIFT right after my father died. It was a very difficult time for me and I really struggled getting words on the page. But deadlines don’t wait for grief. Still, I’ve been writing long enough to know that I couldn’t force the words so I tried to give myself time. Some days though all I could write would be ‘chapter five.’ Literally. Two words. But I had this crazy labradoodle puppy that was the most difficult puppy I’d ever attempted to train. Have you seen the movie Marley and Me? Well, there’s Hilo! She ate about 10 pairs of glasses (to date), twelve spicy chicken wings, a whole bunch of grapes (lethal to a dog), a pound of butter, papers, bills, you name it and she attempted to eat it. Every morning would be the same…she’d grab something off a counter or table and take off running. And we’d chase after her. My mother, who is very much a dog person, did not like her. I think Hilo came closest to losing her life when she ate half of the deboned turkey from Thanksgiving. That was also the Thanksgiving that she jumped off the pier at my parents’ farm, right into the lake and attempted to swim. And she is actually a good swimmer. She took off across the lake. Unfortunately, that lake usually has a patrolling alligator. Yes, we have alligators in Texas! She got about half way across the lake before she pooped out and my husband had to get a rowboat out and rescue her. I never actually regretted getting Hilo although it would have been so easy to do so. When we first got her, my dad was in the final stages of his fight against cancer. There wasn’t a lot for him to smile about as he was in a lot of pain for so many months. But he laughed at Hilo. And I will always be grateful to her for bringing a smile to my dad during that difficult time. But of course, she was incredibly difficult. So, I learned that I had to walk Hilo each morning just to burn off some of that energy. In the process of doing that, on those days when I just wanted to wallow in bed with the grief of losing my dad, I had to get out. And I learned that when you are grieving or fighting depression, walking, sunshine, and movement helps. And I also discovered the power of laughter. Writing scenes about Hilo…er, Cousin It came easily. And so she became an important part of the book.

Background to the story

A ‘can do’ kind of woman runs her own business, raises her teenage daughter, and takes care of her ex-mother-in-law after a botched facelift. But Kaye learns a facelift is more than skin deep. Joy is more than tacking on a happy face. It's relying on her sovereign God who has a plan for her life.

The craziness in Kaye’s life, and that includes this crazy puppy that comes to stay, along with her crazy ex-mother-in-law, causes many trials in the life of Kaye. But she learned many of the same lessons I was learning in the aftermath of my father’s death, in how to cope with grief and how to continuously look to God for His will and His peace.

Loved meeting Cousin It aka Hilo, Leanna. Thanks for sharing :)

On Thursday the spotlight shines on Anita Higman's Holly Goodnight, Owen Quigley & Van Keaton from her novella Once Upon a Christmas Eve in Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe

Relz Reviewz Extras

View the trailer

Character spotlight on Bryn Seymour

Reviews of Elvis Takes a Back Seat, Lookin' Back, Texas and Once in a Blue Moon

Interview with Leanna

Visit Leanna's website and blog

Buy Leanna's books at Amazon and Koorong

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