Monday, 28 February 2011

Character Spotlight ~ Karl Bacon's Michael & Jessie Palmer

Michael & Jessie

Debut author Karl Bacon turns back time with his American Civil War novel, An Eye for Glory. Enjoy this insight into his characters.

Over to you, Karl:~

Michael Gabriel Palmer

Physical Description

As Michael's story is told in the first person, Michael never describes himself. We do, however, learn some details from what others say about him. In many ways Michael is quite proper and ordinary for a Civil War era shopkeeper. During courtship his soon to be wife, Jessie, said, "I always thought you were an admirable man of fine reputation and tolerable appearance, if a bit older." Michael is thirty-four years old at the start of the story. He is average in height and weight, although he comments how years of comfortable living have softened him, especially around his mid-section. But war takes its toll on Michael. When Jessie Anne sees him after eighteen months away, her horrified look does not escape Michael. He is lean, even gaunt, with sunken eyes and a scruffy beard, and this contrast between Jessie Anne's lasting beauty and his own physical corruption haunts Michael.

Actor/famous person

The actor Henry Thomas resembles Michael Palmer in my mind. Although an accomplished actor with many screen credits, Mr. Thomas' roles are often those of the common man.

Strengths and weaknesses

As the story begins Michael sees his greatest strengths as his Christian faith, his love for his wife and children, his devotion to duty, and his brotherly bond with his best friend John. As the story unfolds, Michael discovers that the war has exposed weakness where he thought there was strength — his faith is often small and weak, his family is so distant, the support of friends and mentors is suddenly lacking, the rewards of duty done are meager indeed. In unseen ways, Michael was a hollow shell of a man before the war, and the war simply exposed this flaw.


During the first winter encampment, Michael takes up pipe smoking and will do so for the remainder of his life.

Your inspiration for the character

In calling for volunteers for the Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, Gov. Buckingham said, "Close your manufactories and workshops, turn aside from your farms and business, leave for awhile your families and your homes, meet face to face the enemies of your liberties." This statement inspired the idea that Michael should be a family man, and a respected member of the community, someone who would certainly be risking everything he held dear by going off to war.

Jessie Anne Palmer

Physical Description

Michael describes Jessie Anne as "a graceful young woman. If one looked at her closely, as so often I found myself doing, one saw a pleasantly attractive and faintly exotic face, fair but not pale skin, a nose that was just a bit shorter and wider than most of direct European ancestry, and dark brown eyes that were ever so slightly almond-shaped, and one might conclude that there was, quite possibly, an Indian or two hidden among her progenitors."

Actor/famous person who might resemble her

Jessie Anne might resemble the actress Angie Harmon, who is also part native-American (Cherokee).

Strengths and weaknesses

Jessie Anne's great strength can be found in her sincere Christian faith, her deep love for Michael, and her unfailing loyalty to him. She is witty, spirited, and opinionated, and despite her misgivings about Michael's enlisting, her dedication to him never wavers all during the war and its aftermath. Throughout Jessie Anne exhibits resolve, wisdom, love, faithfulness, and perseverance, but never weakness.

Your inspiration for the character

As I was developing the Jessie Anne character, I wanted to make her visually memorable, to offset Michael's average appearance. I read somewhere that mixed race marriages were not uncommon on the frontier during the eighteenth century, so Jessie Anne's great-grandfather had married a young Mohegan woman in upstate New York. Jessie Anne's personality and other character traits are somewhat reflective of my wife, who is also a vibrant, Christian woman.

Background to the story

The seed for An Eye for Glory was purchased in the spring of 1998, in a used book store at Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee. While browsing through the history section I discovered a hardcover copy of Infantryman Pettit, The Civil War Letters of Corporal Frederick Pettit in good condition. Pettit was a young Christian soldier from western Pennsylvania who served in the 100th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Brother sometimes fought against brother during the Civil War, but as I read the letters Corporal Pettit sent to his family and friends, it struck me that Christian brothers often fought one another, each trying his best to kill the other, and each fully convinced of the righteousness of his cause. There was a story to tell.

Thanks so much, Karl, for this detailed look at Michael and Jessie ~ your efforts are much appreciated.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Karl's website

Buy Karl's book at Amazon or Koorong

Friday, 25 February 2011

CFBA Blog Tour of Operation Bonnet by Kimberly Stuart

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Operation Bonnet
David C. Cook; New edition (February 1, 2011)
Kimberly Stuart

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kimberly says:

I am a writer of comedic fiction, and would like to suggest that you laugh regularly when reading my books. Let’s also try for one to two teary moments. If you are crying more than that, you don’t understand my sense of humor and should move on to another author.

I grew up in a book-loving home. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. My mom loves books. My dad loves to read the first chapters of books and then make us all listen as he recites his favorite passages. I, however, enjoy reading books in their entirety and came into writing as a result of book-love. After earning two fancy degrees in education and Spanish, I promptly let the thinking part of my brain take a breather and instead became pregnant. (I’m sure a lot of other things happened between early literacy and pregnancy but I don’t really remember any of that. If you also have shared your uterus with another human, you understand.)

In an effort to author a book that would entertain my sassy, irreverent, breast-feeding/drooping friends, I wrote my first novel, Balancing Act. People were so nice to me after that, I decided to continue with writing. Also, I can’t craft, knit, or scrapbook, so what else was a nice, Christian girl to do?

In addition to writing books to make my friends laugh and cry, I observe the chaos at the home I share with my unfailingly supportive husband and three offspring. We’re doing our best and so far, no one’s been to prison.


Twenty-year-old Nellie Monroe has a restless brilliance that makes her a bit of an odd duck. She wants to be a private investigator, even though her tiny hometown offers no hope of clients. Until she meets Amos Shetler, an Amish dropout carrying a torch for the girl he left behind.

So Nellie straps on her bonnet and goes undercover to get the dish. But though she’s brainy, Nellie is clueless when it comes to real life and real relationships. Soon she’s alienated her best friend, angered her college professor, and botched her case.

Operation Bonnet is a comedy of errors, a surprising take on love, and a story of grace.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Operation Bonnet, go HERE.

Watch the book video trailer:

Rel: I left this to last minute to post as I had hoped to have finished the book and post a review but it is not to be. I love Kimberly's writing so am looking forward to bringing my review to you soon.

Coming soon from Leanna Ellis & Sourcebooks

I love Leanna Ellis' novels with B&H Publishing, her quirky characters and bold storylines but with her August release from Sourcebooks she is really stepping out of the box!

Check it out :)

en by Leanna Ellis

Hannah Schmidt pines for Jacob, the boy who saved her life. But Jacob is gone, buried. Levi Fisher loves Hannah. But he knows how much Hannah loved his brother Jacob. He also knows the troubling event that took Jacob out of their lives.

So when a stranger named Akiva comes into their community, he carries with him two secrets: he is, in fact, Jacob. And he is now a vampire.

When secrets are revealed, Hannah must choose between light and dark, between the one she has always loved and the new possibility of love-a decision that will decide the fate of her soul.

The winners of Words are....

Kate S (USA), Margaret H (USA), Cheryl C (AUS) & Jen (AUS) ~ congratulations.

Look for an email from me shortly. For those who didn't win, I recommend you get your hands on a copy ~ it is a brilliant story.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Coming in late 2011 from Bethany House

Bethany House continues to be one of the premier publishers of historical fiction as you can see from the many historical novels below.

Don't miss the contemporary stories from Alice Wisler, Patti Lacy and Tracie Peterson hiding among all those historicals!

Author Jody Hedlund was chatting recently on her blog about the early release of covers. Do you enjoy the anticipation of seeing a new cover and synopsis months in advance or would you prefer for it only to be revealed shortly prior to a book's release? I'd love to know your thoughts.

Enjoy these ones....months in I guess you know my answer :)

To Have and To
Hold by Tracie Peterson & Judith Miller

When Audrey Cunningham's father proposes that they move to Bridal Veil Island, where he grew up, she agrees, thinking this will help keep him sober and close to God. But they arrive to find wealthy investors buying up land to build a grand resort on the secluded island--and they want the Cunninghams' acreage.

Contractor Marshall Graham can't imagine why the former drinking buddy of his deceased father would beckon him to Bridal Veil Island. And when Boyd Cunningham asks him to watch over Audrey, Marshall is even more confused. He has no desire to be saddled with caring for this fiery young woman who is openly hostile toward him. But when Audrey seems to be falling for another man--one who has two little girls Audrey adores--Marshall realizes she holds more of his heart than he realized.

Which man will Audrey choose? And can she hold on to her ancestral property in the face of overwhelming odds?

September, 2011

The Mercy by Beverly Lewis

Rose Kauffman pines for prodigal Nick Franco, the Bishop's foster son who left the Amish under a cloud of suspicion after his foster brother's death. His rebellion led to the "silencing" of their beloved Bishop. But is Nick really the rebel he appears to be?

Rose's lingering feelings for her wayward friend refuse to fade, but she is frustrated that Nick won't return and make things right with the People.
Nick avowed his love for Rose--but will he ever be willing to sacrifice modern life for her.

Meanwhile, Rose's older sister, Hen, is living in her parents' Dawdi Haus. Her estranged "English" husband, injured and helpless after a car accident, has reluctantly come to live with her and their young daughter during his recovery. Can their marriage recover, as well? Is there any possible middle ground between a woman reclaiming her old-fashioned Amish lifestyle and a thoroughly modern man?

September, 2011

Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer

Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family's farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promises adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he's the man she's meant to marry.

While she wa
its for the Great War to end and Arthur to return to her so they can pursue all their plans, her mother's sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, seeing this chance to be closer to Arthur's training camp as God's approval of her plans. But the Spanish flu epidemic changes everything.

Faced with her aunt's death, Arthur's indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebekah is torn between the desire to escape the type of life she's always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart.

September, 2011

A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the mountains of Alaska, practicing the ways of her people even as she resides in the small cabin her father built for her mother. She dreams of reconciling with her grandparents to fulfill her mother's dying request, but she has not yet found a way to bridge the gap that separates her from her tribe.

Clay Selby has always wanted to be like his father, a missionary who holds a great love for the native people and has brought many to God. Clay and his stepsister, Vivian, arrive in Alaska to set up a church and school among the Athabascan people. Clay is totally focused on this goal... until he meets a young, independent Indian woman with the most striking blue eyes he's ever seen.

September, 2011

The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund

Priscilla White knows she'll never be a wife or mother and feels God's call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field. Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God's leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

September, 2011

Wonderland Creek
by Lynn Austin

Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But the happily-ever-after life she's planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend, Gordon, breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real world. Then to top it off, Alice loses her beloved job at the library because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression.

Fleeing small-town gossip, Alice heads to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to a library in the tiny coal-mining village of Acorn. Dropped off by her relatives, Alice volunteers to stay for two weeks to help the librarian, Leslie McDougal.

But the librarian turns out to be far different than she anticipated--not to mention the four lady librarians who travel to the remote homes to deliver the much-desired books. When Alice is trapped in Acorn against her will, she soon finds that real-life adventure and mystery--and especially romance--are far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.

October, 2011

A Wedding Invitation by Alice J Wisler

After returning home from teaching English at a refugee camp in the Philippines, Samantha Bravencourt enjoys her quiet life working at her mother's clothing boutique in Falls Church, Virginia. When she receives an invitation to a wedding in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she looks forward to reconnecting with her college friend. Instead her life collides with Carson, a fellow teacher and the man who broke her heart, and a young Amerasian refugee named Lien, who needs Samantha and Carson's help to find her mother before Lien's own wedding.

When the search for Lien's mother reveals
surprising secrets from the past, Samantha must reevaluate her own memories and decide whether to continue to play it safe or take a risk that could change her life.

October, 2011

The Still of Night by Kristen Heitzmann (Repackaged)

Known professionally as the "success guru," Morgan Spencer is the t
urn-around genius who revitalizes failing corporations. His gift for identifying problems and finding solutions extends to the personal lives of his friends and acquaintances. But the one life he can't seem to set straight is his own. Behind his charming rebel facade is a need that drives him toward success--and emptiness.

Then Jill Runyan reenters his lif
e with news that will either set him free or bring him to his knees.

October, 2011

Reclaiming Lil
y by Patti Lacy

A storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Wang meet in a Dallas hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, a rebellious, hurting teenager whom Gloria adopted from China and is the sister Kai hopes to reclaim.

Kai is a doctor who had to give up her baby sister during the cultural revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily.

When their best hope rests back in China, a desperate journey brings Gloria and Kai to the brink of despair. But God has plans for both women to reclaim Lily and fulfill destiny in a way that exceeds their wildest imaginations.

October, 2011

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist

In 1904 Texas Ranger Luke Palmer arrives in Brenham, Texas, with one goal--to capture the gang of outlaws led by Frank Comer. Undercover as a telephone repairman, he uses his days on the range to search, not realizing there's another pair of eyes watching him.

Georgie Gail, switchboard operator and birder, heads out on a birding expedition, but instead of sighting a painted bunting, her opera glasses capture her telephone man, armed and far away from telephone lines. Palmer is forced to take this alluring troublemaker into his confidence and unwittingly puts her in harm's way. The closer he comes to the gang, the further she works her way into his heart--and into trouble. Soon it's more than just love that's on the line.

October, 2011

House of Secre
ts by Tracie Peterson

When her father orchestrates a surprise trip to the summer house of her childhood, Bailee Cooper is unprepared for what follows. What is intended to be a happy reunion for Bailee and her sisters, Geena and Piper, quickly becomes shrouded by memories from the past. Together again, the three sisters sift through their recollections of fifteen years ago... of an ill mother, and of their father making a desperate choice. They vowed, as children, to be silent--but one sister believes the truth must now be revealed. Yet can they trust their memories?

Mark Delahunt arrives in the wake of this emotional turmoil. Determined to win Bailee's affection, Mark becomes the strong fortress for her in this time o
f confusion, and what was once a tentative promise begins to take root and grow. Caught between the past and an uncertain future, can Bailee let God guide her to heal the past and ultimately to embrace love?

October, 2011

Valley of Dreams
by Lauraine Snelling

Addy Lockwood's mother died when she was little,
so Addy traveled with her father's Wild West Show and became an amazingly skillful trick rider, likened by some to the famous Annie Oakley. When her father died, she continued to work with the show, having nowhere else to go. Now Addy has discovered that "Uncle" Jason, the show's manager, has driven the show into debt, and he's absconded with what little money was left. Devastated, Addy decides to try to find the hidden valley where her father had dreamed of putting down roots. She has only one clue. She needs to find three huge stones that look like fingers raised on a giant hand.

With Chief, a Sioux Indian who's been with the show for twenty years, and Micah, the head wrangler, she leaves both the show and a bundle of heartache behind and begins a wild and daring adventure.

November, 2011

A Lasting Impression
by Tamera Alexander

To create something that will last is Claire Laurent's most fervent desire as an artist. It's also her greate
st weakness. When her fraud of a father deals her an unexpected hand, Claire is forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville, only a year after the War Between the States has ended. Claire's path collides with that of Sutton Monroe, and she considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But when they meet again and he refuses to come to her aid, she realizes she's sorely misjudged the man.

Trading an unwanted destiny for an unknown future, Claire finds herself in the middle of Nashville's elite society and believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art may finally be within reach.
All that Sutton Monroe holds dear lies in ruin. He's determined to reclaim his heritage and to make the men who murdered his father pay. But what he discovers on his quest for vengeance reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined.

Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America in the 1860s, A Lasting Impression showcases the deep, poignant, unforgettable characters that set Tamera's stories apart and provides an inspiring love story that will capture readers' hearts and leave them eager for more.

November, 2011

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Robin Caroll shares about In the Shadow of Evil

Robin Caroll's romantic suspense, In the Shadow of Evil, releases next month from B&H Publishing.

Look forward to giveaways, a character spotlight and review here at Relz Reviewz.
For now though, I'll let Robin do all the talking :)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon with Aussie Giveaway


U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has seen plenty of action during his years in law enforcement. But he'd rather go back to Iraq than face his next assignment: protection detail for federal judge Liz Michaels. His feelings toward Liz haven't warmed in the five years since she lost her husband--and Jake's best friend--to possible suicide. How can Jake be expected to care for the coldhearted workaholic who drove his friend to despair?

As the danger mounts and Jake gets to know Liz better, his feelings slowly start to change. When it becomes clear that an unknown enemy may want her dead, the stakes are raised. Because now both her life--and his heart--are in mortal danger.

My take:~

Irene Hannon's decision to write romantic suspense has paid off in spades. Having penned numerous contemporary romances for Steeple Hill's Love Inspired line, Irene turned her hand to romantic suspense to great acclaim with her Heroes of Quantico trilogy. The same excellent character development and intriguing suspense marks the first book in her Guardians of Justice series, Fatal Judgment, as Jake Taylor reluctantly takes on the protection of a women he dislikes, Liz Michaels. The animosity between Jake and Liz is realistic and the tentative transformation of their feelings for one another is refreshingly genuine. The suspense kicks along nicely and Irene will garner new fans with this series. For me, the epilogue was overly sentimental but will have many readers sighing with happiness! I'm looking forward to Jake's sister Alison's story, Deadly Pursuit, releasing this September.

Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

With thanks to Revell for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of Against All Odds , An Eye for An Eye and In Harm's Way

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

Interview with Irene

Visit Irene's website

Buy Irene's books at Amazon or Koorong

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Kim & Kayla Woodhouse discuss No Safe Haven

Kim and Kayla Woodhouse's suspense novel, No Safe Haven, releases next month ~ be sure to grab yourself a copy.

Enjoy hearing Kim and Kayla chat about their mother/daughter writing experience.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Lady in the Mist by Laurie Alice Eakes


By virtue of her profession as a midwife, Tabitha Eckles is the keeper of many secrets. Dominick Cherrett is a man with his own secret to keep: namely, why he, a British aristocrat, is on American soil working as an indentured servant.

In a time when relations between America and England rest on the edge of a knife, Tabitha and Dominick cross paths, leading them on a journey of intrigue, threats, public disgrace, and . . . love. But can Tabitha trust Dominick? Finding true love seems impossible in a world set against them.

With stirring writing that draws you directly into the story, Lady in the Mist takes you on the thrilling ride of love's discovery.

My take:~

Lady in the Mist is the first in Laurie Alice Eakes' Midwives series and is a traditional Christian historical romance with two men vying for the lovely Tabitha, danger afoot and a non believer coming to faith in time to claim the woman he loves. The backdrop of English-American tensions as young American men are pressed into service on English naval ships and the constraints on Tabitha practising midwifery as she is single, adds substance and interest to the story. I did find the romance a little hasty and wondered at Dominick's ability to get away with wandering around without his master's permission, given his status as a redemptioner which I found distracting. Overall however, this is an interesting read and will be enjoyed by many an historical romance lover.

Available February 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

With thanks to Revell for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Laurie's website

Buy Laurie's books at Amazon or Koorong

Friday, 18 February 2011

Character Spotlight ~ Lisa Tawn Bergren's Marcello, Gabi, Luca & Lia

Marcello, Gabi, Luca & Lia

I've long been a fan of Lisa Tawn Bergren's novels, in fact, I'm pretty sure I have read them all! I adored her series of The Gifted so am thrilled she is returning to Italy, this time in the fourteenth century with her River of Time series for young adults, beginning with Waterfall.

Enjoy this insight into Lisa's main characters:~

Brief physical description

MARCELLO: I was picturing a Taylor Lautner kind of strength and rugged handsomeness, but with an Italian bent; buff; 6'

GABRIELLA (GABI): long, dark, wavy hair, big brown eyes; classic Italian girl beauty; 5'9"

LUCA: Lighter hair, tall, buff; 6'

LIA: Blond, big blue eyes, California-type beauty; 5'6"

Actor/famous person

MARCELLO: Actor Luca Argentero is closest, but when we chose models for the covers, my idea of them became closer to who we have shown. My only regret from our cover shoot--we couldn't find a model with hair like Argentero's and had to go with a wig! (I tried to get my publisher to send me on a scouting mission to Italy but they didn't go for it.) Here's a pic of what I had in my head, but longer and tied at the nape of his neck...

GABI: Monica Bellu
ci, but younger--I think our model for the cover is pretty great!

LUCA: Raffaello Balzo. Here's another picture of Raffaello

LIA: I was thinking of a younger Brittany Daniel, model. She's supposed to look a lot like her mother, who is 100% Danish. But again, our cover model really became Lia in my head, once we found her.

and weaknesses

LLO: Loyal, passionate and dictatorial (he is a young lord in the making, after all)

GABI: Stro
ng, passionate, wants to do things her way

LUCA: Good supporter, great sense of humor, risk-taker that leads him in to occasional hot water

LIA: Loving, doesn't want to be left behind

Quirk (if any)

GABI: Hypochondriac tendencies

LIA: Tends to get distracted at times

I guess my guys don't have any quirks!

Your inspiration for the character

MARCELLO: Quintessential romantic hero, a true knight in shining armor

GABI: Quintessential romantic heroine, with a bit of my daughter Olivia thro
wn in

LUCA: Quintessential romantic hero and funny sidekick (I always love those guys in movies!)

LIA: Quintessential romantic heroine, with a bit of my daughter Emma thrown in

Background to the story

Teens Gabi and Lia are back in Italy for the duration of their summer vacation. This would be a cool thing for most kids, but they spend every summer there, and it's usually far from any other people their own age...or any activities that are remotely interesting. But when they put their hands on two hand prints inside an ancient Etruscan tomb their mother has discovered, they catapult through time to medieval Italy, and find themselves in the middle of a battle and soon, in love....

I was inspired to write the series because Olivia, my eldest, was a reluctant reader, and it wasn't until I introduced her to TWILIGHT that she discovered how a story could pull you in and keep you up all night reading.When I went to the first movie with her, and saw all those girls, so engaged in the characters and story, I knew I wanted to write for them too.

Thanks for sharing, Lisa - looking forward to getting my hands on this story :)

Relz Reviewz Extras

View the trailer

Visit Lisa's author website and her travel website

Buy Lisa's books at Amazon or Koorong

Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Brotherhood by Jerry B Jenkins

A confident and determined new member of the Chicago PD, Boone seems to have a magic touch, from instinctive arrests which draw the eye of the top brass, to his beautiful wife and toddler son who bring so much joy to his life. Then unimaginable tragedy shatters his world, leaving him without hope, without faith and hanging on to a boatload of bitterness and pain. Returning to the beat is the only thing that keeps Boone alive but he comes to learns, from the unlikeliest of men, that God can change the hardest of hearts.

There is much to like in Jerry B Jenkins' first Precinct 11 novel, The Brotherhood. From complex characters and emotive plot lines
to police procedures and the inner working of gangs, Jerry has penned an intriguing story. I particularly enjoyed Jack Keller, Boone's old school partner and mentor, a cynical cop without faith, who stands by Boone without faltering and Pastor Francisco Sosa, a man of God who lives his calling with integrity and compassion. However, I struggled with the pacing of the story which becomes weighted down by lengthy dialogue in many parts as Jerry utilises it to impart his spiritual message. The slow pacing surprised me, probably due to the high expectations I had for a writer of Jerry's calibre and experience and due to the fact that I anticipated a lot more action from a police procedural. That being said, Jerry's talent really shines when it comes to generating a connection between his characters and the reader. I was invested heavily in how this story played out for Boone, Jack and gang leader, Pascual Candelario and I will certainly be back for more from Precinct 11. I have also selected this for my book club later this year and I'm sure it will be a fascinating discussion.

With thanks to Tyndale for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Jerry's
website and blog

Buy Jerry's books at
Amazon or Koorong

Find out more at Tyndale House

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

News & Notes

Some things worth sharing!


Lisa Wingate~Beth Webb Hart~Marybeth Whalen~Rachel Hauck~Jenny B Jones

The lovely Southern Belle View writers have introduced Whirlaway Island Fiction, a little serial that each writer adds a chapter to from time to time.

Here's what Lisa Wingate has to say abou
t it, "Every so often here at BelleView, we'll be taking these little vacations to our own private Island, and we'd like to invite you along for our Whirlaway Weeks. This is just the kind of thing that happens when you get a bunch of storytellers all together in on one porch -- a story, begets a story, begets a story."

Be sure to check out the adventu
res of Nina, Libby, Dan, Max and more!


My friend and fellow INSPY Advisory Board member, Amy of My Friend Amy is running a series of interviews with Christian publishing houses on their purpose and mission for the fiction they publish. Y
ou will find these interviews fascinating.

Click here to read interviews with B&H Publishing, Bethany House and Tyndale House, with mor
e to come.


One of my all time favourite authors, Dale Cramer, has a new home created by the amazing Kelli Standish and her team at PulsePoint Design.

Be sure to visit the site and get your hands on Dale's books ~ I can recommend each one. In addition, Dale writes a fabulous blog with wit, insight, depth and occasional silliness and it is well worth subscribing to.

Lastly, I'm making an exception to my "fiction only" rule to share with you Lynn Donovan & Dineen Miller's new release, Winning Him Without Words.

Lynn and Dineen's website
(also created by Kelli and her team) and blog are fantastic resources for women in spiritually mismatched marriages as they share wisdom, humour and pain on this topic.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Character Interview ~ Danielle Roark from Ronie Kendig's Wolfsbane

Introducing Danielle Roark, a demolitions expert who has suffered immeasurably at the hands of a Venezuelan general, and who catches the eye of Nightshade's medic and former Green Beret, Canyon "Midas" Metcalfe.

Catch Dani & Canyon's story, the third book in
Ronie Kendig's Discarded Heroes series, Wolfsbane, releasing this July.


You are a demolitions expert. No doubt that raises eyebrows when you are asked what you do. How did you get into that field?

I’ve always had a thing for science, so it sort of fell into my lap. Of course, my father wasn’t pleased to find out his daughter was blowing things up when his entire career has been about preventing things from blowing up. But it works for me.

So everyone knows Canyon looks good but what truly attracts you to him?

I’m not sure I can really describe it, just something about him reached out to me. Maybe it’s his resolute nature, that he’s not always spouting off at the mouth or trying to be slick with his words—although, he’s really good at that, too. He’s a people reader—he can tells what’s eating at them, get in their face, and tell them like it is. After a dad with a career in politics, you can imagine Canyon was a refreshing change for me. He doesn’t kiss-up. Either he likes you or he doesn’t.

You have suffered great trauma in your life ~ how do you move on with your life?

Moving on isn’t easy, it takes a miracle—one tiny step, one breath. If I sat here and thought about everything that happened…I’d be right back to where I was, wishing I hadn’t fought to survive, makes me want to quit. But as Canyon would tell you, what’s there to quit to?

Canyon’s family is something special, don’t you think?

They’re a bit…much, but they’re also amazing. Their cohesion is amazing, the way they support each other. I never thought a family like that really existed.

Have you had much to do with Syd and Piper ~ is there solidarity among “sisters”?!

I think we’re still figuring each other out, ya know? Sydney is a born leader, but I’m not sure she realizes that yet. Piper is quiet, and I’m just waiting to see what happens.

You know what Canyon does ~ what do you fear the most?

Being alone. I’m not talking his weeks or months-long absences. I’m talking the knock at the door that says he’s never coming back. It’s kind of scary, thinking about that, really. The other thing that eats at me, is knowing that he might worry about me, that he might not have his head in the game, and that could get him killed. Which means I killed him. That’s messed up, ya know?

Thanks Dani!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Meet Sydney & Piper

Reviews of Digitalis & Nightshade

View the book trailer

Visit the Discarded Heroes website

Visit Ronie's website and blog

Buy Ronie's books at Amazon or Koorong

Monday, 14 February 2011

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck


Katie McKenna has never loved any man but one: billionaire Luc DeForges. He was her first love. But there are a billion reasons why she's engaged instead to Dexter Hastings, a solid and stable man who wants the same things she does: marriage and a family but all of the things that she wants without the deep-seeded pain and fear of being abandoned that Luc brings.

Dexter and she have worked an arrangement that's akin to faith without action, love without deeds -- a dead faith. Going home to New Orleans to sing for her childhood friend's wedding, Katie must search her heart to find out if any of her reasons for being with Dexter are stronger than love. Only when Katie steps fully into faith and jumps off the cliff of life into the arms of Luc does she understand the fullness of God's grace.

My take:~

I have long been a fan of Kristin Billerbeck's novels and have been ever so keen to read her long awaited romance, A Billion Reasons Why. Katie's efforts to expunge humiliation and embarrassment from her life by settling for a staid and controlled man have drained much of her vibrant personality away until Luc DeForges once again stirs up emotions she finds difficult to control, which leads to plenty of fun and awkwardness for everyone. Determined mothers, feisty friends, steamy New Orleans and swing dancing add substance and soul to sparks that fly between Katie and Luc. Replete with Kristin's sharp wit, multi faceted characters and significant revelations about the true nature of love, this story is a terrific read that will entertain and delight.

With thanks to Thomas Nelson for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Perfectly Dateless

Visit Kristin's website and blog

Buy Kristin's books at Amazon or Koorong

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