Tuesday, 31 May 2011

To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer


Having completed his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father's knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But small towns leave little room for secrets...

Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town's new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.

Levi's renewed commitment to his faith leads Eden to believe she's finally found a man of honor and integrity, a man worthy of her love. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian's affections?

My take:~

I adore Karen Witemeyer's stories! A heroic yet vulnerable hero, an uptight but compassionate heroine, humour, attraction, conflict and an oversized, cantankerous dog called Ornery ~ what's not to love? At the risk of repeating myself, Karen writes in a time old genre with freshness and enthusiasm, creating engaging characters with foibles that make them real and hearts that yearn for love and faith. To Win Her Heart stands out in the crowd of historical romances due to Karen's storytelling abilities, witty dialogue and attention to detail. If you want a book that makes you smile with joy and sigh with delight, look for one with Karen's name on it you have a sure thing. I can't wait for more stories from this talented author.

With thanks to Bethany House for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of A Tailor-Made Bride & Head in the Clouds

Karen's FamilyFiction Plus interview

Visit Karen's website

Buy Karen's books at Amazon or Koorong

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Book trailer for Lisa T. Bergren's Cascade

Can't wait for Cascade by Lisa T Bergren to release in a few days from David C Cook.

Neither can my daughter.

Neither can my niece!

Friday, 27 May 2011

A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason


Kit Kenyon is a first-rate hostage negotiator. Noah Lambert is a good detective with excellent instincts. The new partners have hardly had time to get used to each other when they are thrown into a grisly murder case. As evidence mounts up and more victims are found, Kit and Noah realize they are on the hunt for a serial killer. The problem is, he's hunting one of them too. With nail-biting suspense, clever plot twists, and a hint of sweet romance, A Killer Among Us is the latest thriller from Lynette Eason. It will keep readers up late as they race to discover the killer--and whether Kit and Noah will live to tell about it.

My take:~

I've enjoyed Lynette Eason's Women of Justice series with her strong female leads, solid suspense and appealing romance. A Killer Among Us ticks all those boxes again as hostage negotiator Kit Kenyon, the adopted sister of Samantha and Jamie from the first two books, teams up with Detective Noah Lambert to hunt down a serial killer. Kit and Noah are great characters who I enjoyed getting to know although I did become distracted by the over abundance of references to their attraction to each other. It was great to see Sam, Connor, Jamie and Dakota return and catch up on their lives and watch Kit learn to be a part of a family she didn't know she had. As with Lynette's previous books, the killer stands out from the beginning but she still provides an entertaining and intriguing tale. I look forward to what Lynette has in store next.

Available May 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 Too Close to Home & Don't Look Back

Visit Lynette's website and blog

Buy Lynette's books at Amazon or Koorong

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Yesterday's Tomorrow by Catherine West


Vietnam, 1967. Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father's memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother's wishes. Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he's hiding something.

Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they're forced to work together. Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts.

My take:~

Gritty. Compelling. Moving. Catherine West's debut novel epitomises these words as she plunges the reader into a much derided war and a time in history many wish to forget. Vietnam in the late 60s and 70s comes alive in this story of an idealistic journalist and a jaded photographer, both struggling to make sense of a country torn apart, as much by political agendas as bullets and mines. Luke's despair and fatalistic courage made him an intriguing and complex character that I was drawn to and while it took more time for me to warm to Kristin, she won me over with her heart and bravery. Catherine captures the essence of a war zone and the tale reflects the desperation and brutality armed conflict engenders, juxtaposed with desire, love and hope as Luke and Kristin discover a love worth pursuing. The final chapters slowed down a little and I was anxious to get to the end as the outcome remained in the balance. Yesterday's Tomorrow is an honest and heartbreaking story that, thankfully, does not shy away from the realities of war or the choices made in harrowing situations. Catherine West is a talented author and one I will be watching. You should too!

With thanks to the author for my review copy

Visit Cathy's website and blog

Buy Cathy's book from Amazon or CBD

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Missions of Mercy Blog Tour

Point of No Return

An American boy and a warlord's engaged daughter have disappeared-together-in an Eastern European border country. Only one man can find them in time to prevent an international meltdown-Chet Stryker. But Chet is taken aback when he realizes the boy is the nephew of Mae Lund, Chet's former flame. When Mae
insists on rescuing her relative herself, Chet knows he has to protect her from the enemy on their trail.

Yet can he protect himself from falling for Mae again?

My take:~

I loved Susan May Warren's Mission: Russia series so it was great to see the conclusion to Mae's story, whom we first meet in that original series. Susan creates good dialogue between Chet and Mae as the tension between them escalates. There is plenty of action and I enjoyed the back story, especially Chet's. That said, the minimal word count of the Love Inspired format makes everything feel a bit rushed, even with an author of Susan's calibre. Point of No Return is still a solid, entertaining read.

Mission: Out of Control

Brody "Wick" Wickham is a former Green Beret turned security agent-with a 100 percent mission success rate. No way is his new assignment changing that. Even if it's protecting a diva American rock star while she's on tour in Europe. Except Veronica "Vonya" Wagner isn't just a beautiful celebrity used to having her way-she's the daughter of a U.S. Senator. And she's hiding a dangerous secret.

When Wick discovers what's at stake, how far over the line will he go to keep them both alive?

My take:~

Mission: Out of Control combines the usual elements in a romantic suspense: action, conflict, danger and romance. Add in a fabulous location, a female rock star and a hardened Green Beret and you have a powder keg of emotion and sparks. I loved that most of the book is set in Prague where Wick resides, a city I have travelled to and adored. It was fun to visit again in the story. I did struggle with Vonya's character. She is in her late twenties but for much of the book she comes across as significantly younger which I found distracting and did detract from my enjoyment of the story. I love Susan's writing but I felt this one wasn't up to her usual exceptional standard.


The only way to get security agent Luke Dekker to a wedding?

An undercover mission as groomsman. He'll bust the groom, a drug cartel heir, before anyone ca
n say "I do." Then Luke can escape all this love and romance nonsense-and the too pretty bridesmaid/agent assigned as his "fiancee" for the weekend. Until Luke discovers that sweet, vulnerable Scarlett Hanson isn't his contact. Isn't an agent. Isn't trained for the high-stakes mission now trapping them both. And worse, Luke's falling for her-which is not part of the assignment.

My take:~

Undercover Pursuit is a fun, albeit unlikely story, of a case of mistaken identity, pseudo bridesmaids and an agent suddenly torn between his mission and keeping an innocent woman safe. Scarlett and Luke are great characters who end up in a boatload of trouble, where danger and heartbreak abound. With plenty of suspense, attraction and peril that doesn't let up, Undercover Pursuit will keep you turning pages in this quick and satisfying read.

With thanks to Litfuse for my review copies

Relz Reviewz Extras

Enter Susie's Missions of Mercy Flip HD camera giveaway

Visit Susie's website and blog

Buy Susie's books at Amazon or Koorong

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

News & Notes

Love sharing news with you ~ enjoy these updates about authors and me!

Watch this video to see what's up with one of my favourite authors, Charles Martin. His novel, When Crickets Cry, remains one of my most beloved stories and I can't recommend it highly enough. Be sure to check out all his books at Amazon and be looking for his 2012 release with Center Street.

My Next Book and other stuff. from Author Charles Martin on Vimeo.

Erynn Mangum

The gorgeous Erynn Mangum has released a novella straight to Kindle, Easter Carats. Remember you don't need a Kindle to access Kindle books as you can download PC for Kindle and use it the same way.

Emilie Stevens does not like change. So when her grandmother suggests changing up Easter tradition by inviting her neighbor's family - including her neighbor's sloppy grandson, Blake - and spending the weekend in a lake house in Texas, Emilie is anything but on board with the idea.

Blake Sullivan is excited for the vacation, even though he'll have to put up with worrywart Emilie the whole time. He's got plans to just sit on the dock and fish the weekend away. But when the catfish aren't biting and the manicured golf course turns out to be a place for Frisbee golf, will

Emilie and Blake find out that the one thing they have in common is the most important thing of all?

Liz Curtis Higgs

I've always bemoaned the fact that all my favourite authors (with the exception of the wonderful Lisa McKay who is back home in Australia anticipating the birth of her first child!) live across the Pacific, which is just a little bit to far to pop over and visit on a whim. I have now discovered the best solution to this dilemma ~ my favourite authors can just come to me ;-)

Last night the effervescent and delightful Liz Curtis Higgs was speaking a church twenty minutes from my place. A last minute invitation from a friend (Thanks Mandy ~ the date had totally slipped my mind!) ga
ve me the privilege of hearing Liz sharing on God's Grace and meeting and having a chat with her. A gracious and warm woman, Liz, was a real blessing to all the women who attended. If you ever get the chance to hear her speak, don't miss it! It was a special treat for me as I own every one of Liz's fiction books and most of her non-fiction, and she gives the best hugs!

If you love humourous stories or Scottish historical fiction, check out Liz's books at Amazon.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Missions of Mercy Giveaway

Susan May Warren is thrilled to announce the release of her 3 book Missions of Mercy series!

Three heroes, all on missions of mercy, who discover that God not only saves us from evil, but from the darkness inside.

Point of No Return: Can God deliver us from our mistakes? This question is posed to Chet and Mae as they race to save Mae’s nephew from an evil warlord in the Republic of Georgia. More here.

Mission: Out of Control: Does God turn his back on us when we fail? Brody and Vonya discover the answer as they conspire to capture an international smuggler and free a child soldier from war. More here.

Undercover Pursuit: What if we deliberately sin and harbor bitterness in our hearts? Is there a rescue from the dark places inside? Luke and Scarlett find out as they work to protect a bride-turned-informant whose courage could dismantle a human trafficking web. More here.

To celebrate the series, Susan is giving away a Missions of Mercy Prize Pack worth over $200! One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new FLIP HD Camera

* The entire Missions of Mercy series

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. You may enter once per email, facebook, and twitter. The contest ends on May 31st. Tell your friends! Winner will be announced on June 1st at the Litfuse Publicity site and at Susan May Warren's website. (While you're there, check out her rockin' new website!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Sunday, 22 May 2011

New and coming soon from Charisma House

Realms (Charisma House) is expanding their fiction stable with a mixture of historical romance and speculative fiction.

Check these out by clicking on the links for more.....

Undaunted Faith by Andrea Boeshaar

The McCabe brothers have their hands full—trouble on the range and trouble in town. But they never expected their sweet schoolteacher, Bethany Stafford, to join in the mix of woe. When her reputation is unfairly tarnished, Pastor Luke McCabe is quick to propose marriage. But Bethany wants more than just a
marriage of necessity to save her good name. Could Luke ever come to love a plain “little field mouse” like her?

Dr. Annetta Cavanaugh has her own questions about men and their intentions. While Pastor Jake McCabe seems sincere, she still has her doubts about him. But after he accompanies her on a medical call, she sees a whole new side of him and can't help but admit her attraction to the handsome pastor.

However, there’s evil brewing in town—a lawlessness that even the sheriff cannot tamp down. Finally, it comes face-to-face with both Luke and Jake and threatens the lives of the women they love. Are the McCabe brothers ready for the fight of their lives?

Available now

Secrets of the Heart by Jillian Kent

Could Lady Madeline Be Falling in Love With the Man Responsible for Her Father’s Death?

Madeline Whittington emerges from English society’s prescribed period of mourning in late winter 1817. A string of heartbreaking losses has convinced her that she no longer belongs in a world of gossip and gowns—instead she discovers a passion for helping others.

When she confronts the new Earl of Ravensmoore for his part in her father’s death, she finds her rage slowly turning into respect . . . and then something more. An attraction that catapults them into unexpected danger, incredible love, and ultimate forgiveness.

Available now

Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso

Out of a job and feeling worthless, Sam Travis is awakened one night to the sounds of a Civil War battle raging outside his Gettysburg home. But it’s the middle of the night, and the summer’s reenactments are long over. A search for the source brings him to an old journal by a Union soldier…written in his own handwriting.

When more of the mysterious writings appear and begin to mimic Sam’s own life, his search for the truth puts him on a downward spiral that eventually drives him from his wife, his daughter, and his home—and into an evil plot that could cost many lives, including his own.

Available now

The Redeemer by Linda Rios Brooks

Samantha Yale has taken on a daunting translation project. A set of scrolls, delivered by a man she knows nothing about, tells a fascinating and frightening tale of what went on behind the scenes of biblical history. What is even more incredible is who is telling the tale—a fallen angel who immediately regretted his decision to side with Lucifer.

In the final installment in the series that began with Lucifer’s Flood, the newly revealed scrolls detail the demon’s eyewitness accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus. As the narrative unfolds, we also discover the mysterious Mr. Wonk’s true identity and learn an amazing secret that Samantha has been keeping.

The Reluctant Demon Diaries tells a story of rebellion and consequences. It is about demonic strategy to disrupt and destroy God’s plans. But ultimately, it is the story of the unrelenting love, grace, mercy, and determination of a sovereign God in pursuit of His children.

Available now

Summer Dream by Martha Rogers

As the daughter of a small-town minister in Connecticut, Rachel Winston fears that the only way she’ll ever find a husband is to visit her aunt in Boston for the social season. But when
Nathan Reed arrives in town, she can’t help but wonder if he could be the one.

Although attracted to Rachel, Nathan has no desire to become involved with a Christian after experiences with his own family. What’s more, until he resolves his anger with God and his family, he has no chance of courting her.

When Nathan is caught in a devastating blizzard and lies near death in the Winston home, Rachel and her mother give him a lesson in love and forgiveness that leads him back to his home in the South. Will he make peace with his family and return before Rachel chooses a path that takes her away from him?

June, 2011

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Book trailer for David Housholder's The Blackberry Bush

Here's a preview by book trailer of a book I'm very intrigued by ~ The Blackberry Bush by David Housholder. The first in Summerside Press' Signature series, look for this novel in June, 2011.

Friday, 20 May 2011

A Heart Divided by Kathleen Morgan


It is 1878 and the Caldwells and Wainwrights have been feuding for decades. Still, Sarah Caldwell has misgivings when her father pressures her into distracting a ranch hand while he and her brothers rob the Wainwright place. When it becomes clear that hand is actually Cord Wainwright, Sarah realizes she needs to lay low. But Cord spots her in town and, with the sheriff away, makes a citizen's arrest, dragging her off to the Wainwright ranch until the sheriff's return. As the feud boils over, Cord and Sarah make a most inconvenient discovery--they are falling in love. Can they betray their families for love? Or will their families betray them?

My take:~

I've always enjoyed Kathleen Morgan's novels and have been eagerly awaiting her return to writing following her recent hiatus. A Heart Divided reflects Kathleen's talent for penning complex characters, historical detail and an engaging romance. Cord and Sarah are appealing characters backed up by minor characters, like Cord's brother Nick, that will have you hoping they feature in subsequent stories in the series. The long standing feud between the Caldwells and the Wainwrights enables Kathleen to weave spiritual themes of forgiveness, reconciliation and sacrifice and provides the requisite conflict and tension that keeps Sarah and Cord's relationship on edge. While Kathleen's Scottish novels remain my favourites, A Heart Divided is an enjoyable read I can recommend.

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

With thanks to Revell for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Interview with Kathleen ~ 2008

Reviews of As High as the Heavens , A Fire Within and Wings of Morning

Visit Kathleen's website

Buy Kathleen's books at Amazon or Koorong

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Character Spotlight ~ Amy Clipston's Emily Curtis & Zander Stewart

Emily & Zander

Amy Clipston, well known for her Amish novels, turns her talent to a YA novel in Roadside Assistance.

Enjoy discovering more about her teenage characters:~

Emily Curtis, 16

Physical Description

She’s about 5’6” and slender with long, naturally curly hair and emerald eyes. Her curls are usually a mess since she can’t seem to tame it no matter how hard she tries. Imagine Emma Stone with long, curly brown hair.

Strengths and weaknesses

Emily dresses like a tomboy, but she’s strikingly beautiful. She loves to work on cars with her mechanic father. She’s quiet, sensitive, and usually a loner. Emily feels like she never fits in. She’s searching for something but not sure what. Her mother died a year ago from cancer.

Quirk (if any)

She always wears her mother’s cross around her neck, but doesn’t have faith anymore. She can’t fathom why God had to take her angelic mom.

Your inspiration for the character

Emily may be an outlet for the insecurities I battled during high school.

Alexander “Zander” Stewart

Physical Description

Of course, Zander’s a hunk! He’s 6’1,” lean, and muscular with dark brown hair and Caribbean blue eyes. Think Zac Efron!

Strengths & Weakness

Although Zander isn’t a very good student, he’s a whiz with a wrench. He’s building a 1970 Dodge Challenger in his garage. He tried to become a football star like his older brother, but that didn’t pan out. However, he’s still good friends with the jocks since he makes friends easily.


Zander is a devout Christian and is active in his church youth group.

Inspiration for the character

Zander is a combination of my husband, who is a mechanic, and also the sensitive male characters I’ve admired in books and movies.

Background to the story

Story Blurb

A very bumpy ride.

Emily Curtis is used to dealing with her problems while under the hood of an old Chevy, but when her mom dies, Emily’s world seems shaken beyond repair. Driven from home by hospital bills they can’t pay, Emily and her dad move in with his wealthy sister, who intends to make her niece more feminine—in other words, just like Whitney, Emily’s perfect cousin. But when Emily hears the engine of a 1970 Dodge Challenger, and sees the cute gearhead, Zander, next door, things seem to be looking up.

But even working alongside Zander can’t completely fix the hole in Emily’s life. Ever since her mom died, Emily hasn’t been able to pray, and no one—not even Zander—seems to understand. But sometimes the help you need can come from the person you least expect.

The Making of Roadside Assistance

When my friends at Zondervan asked me to write a non-Amish Young Adult book, I was intimidated at first. After crafting three Amish novels, I wasn’t certain where to begin with a non-Amish book, especially a Young Adult story. I studied both inspirational and secular Young Adult authors, and I soon realized that I had a story to tell.

As the child of working class parents living in an affluent New Jersey suburb, I knew firsthand what it was like to feel inferior and struggle to fit in with the my peers. In Roadside Assistance, Emily’s story came from my heart and her emotions are loosely crafted from my own memories of my rollercoaster high school days.

I hope this story will speak to girls and give them hope when they go through those difficult times.

Thanks for visiting with us again, Amy :)

Relz Reviewz Extras

Character spotlight on Timothy & Miriam

Tracy's reviews of A Place of Peace, A Gift of Grace and A Promise of Hope

Character spotlight on Lindsay & Jessica Bedford

Interview with Amy

Visit Amy's website and blog

Buy Amy's book at Amazon or Koorong

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Fine Art of Insincerity by Angela Hunt


Three grown Southern sisters have nine marriages between them-and more loom on the horizon-when Ginger, the eldest, wonders if she's the only one who hasn't inherited what their family calls "the Grandma Gene": the tendency to like the casualness of courtship better than the intimacy of marriage. Could it be that her two sisters are fated to serially marry, just like their seven-times wed grandmother, Mrs. Lillian Irene Harper Winslow Goldstein Carey James Bobrinski Gordon George? It takes a "girls only" weekend, closing up Grandma's treasured beach house for the last time, for the sisters to really unpack their family baggage, examine their relationship DNA, and discover the true legacy their much-marrying grandmother left behind . .

My take:~

Women's fiction is rarely my first choice in reading material but if I'm going to pick one up it there is a good chance it will have Angela Hunt's name on the cover. The Fine Art of Insincerity is a serious and introspective look at the lives of sisters Ginger, Pennyroyal and Rosemary as they come to terms with their past and ponder the future before them. Angela skillfully creates unique characters with strengths and glaring weaknesses that impact their relationships with each other in positive and damaging ways. Realism infuses each of the characters and the circumstances they experience, reflecting issues many face every day, including fidelity, divorce, tragedy and grief. That said, I wished I had connected more with Ginger, Penny and Rosemary and their personal struggles which would have made me more satisfied with the story. Angela's prose is always top notch and fans of women's fiction will find much to enjoy and grapple with in this tale.

With thanks to GlassRoad PR for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of Doesn't She Look Natural, She Always Wore Red and She's In A Better Place

Visit Angela's website and blog

Buy Angela's books at Amazon or Koorong

Monday, 16 May 2011

Character Spotlight ~ Julie Carobini's Suz Mitchell & Seth Russo

Suz & Seth

Julie Carobini returns readers to Otter Bay with her latest story, Fade to Blue, and gives them a sneak peek into Hearst Castle.

Enjoy meeting her new characters:~

Brief physical description

Suz: Brown eyes and a face framed by chestnut-colored, shoulder-length hair. Lithe in stature.

Seth: Diamond-shaped face with a dimple at the southernmost point, penetrating gray-green eyes, and high cheekbones.

Actor/famous person

Photos of models attached!

Strengths and weaknesses:

Suz is a dreamer, a trait that helps her overcome terrible sadness. Her main weakness, however, is perfectionism … she needs to know when to let go.

Seth is adventurous and skilful. His main weakness is the bitterness he carries from more than one past heartache.

Quirk (if any)

Suz ~ Drinks chai tea…a lot!

Seth ~ Thinks long and hard before speaking. Not quick to share his feelings. (Drives a certain old flame crazy.)

Your inspiration for the character

Suz appeared in my previous novel, A Shore Thing. By the end of that story, even I wanted to know what happened next for the big-hearted, single mom from that book. Fade to Blue satisfies that curiosity …

Background to the story

Suz Mitchell is a determined dreamer and won't allow her ex-husband Len's jail sentence to ruin their young son Jeremiah's life. An accomplished artist, she moves with her child across the country to California's central coast and lands a job restoring priceless art for the historic Hearst Castle overlooking the ocean.

To her utter surprise, a serious old flame, Seth, is also now working at Hearst and jumbles the dreams inside Suz's heart. While sorting out the awkwardness of their past split and current spiritual differences, a repentant Len shows up eager to restore his family.

When confronted with her most painful, past decisions, will Suz second guess herself? Or will she learn to let God restore all that once seemed lost?

Thanks for dropping by, Julie :)

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Julie's
website, blog and beach shop

Buy Julie's books at
Amazon or Koorong

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Book trailer for Jamie Carie's A Pirate's Heart

Jamie Carie has another historical romance coming your way in September, 2011, Pirate of My Heart, set on the high seas between England and America.

Enjoy the trailer!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Character Spotlight ~ Linda Lee Chaikin's Eden Derrington & Rafe Easton

Eden & Rafe

Linda Chaikin returns with her second Dawn of Hawaii historical series, Hawaiian Crosswinds and shares again about her lead characters, Rafe and Eden.


Rafe Easton

Physical Description

Hair color: ebony, wavy, brushes the collar of his shirt, typical of the period of the 1890s.

Eye Color: earthy-brown, dark lashes, slashing brows

Skin Tone: bronzed by the outdoors.

Build: strong, muscled. He was a pearl diver in his youth, also a surfer with his close Hawaiian friend, Keno.

Distinctive physical characteristics: Chiseled features, and a firm jaw that speaks of his strong will.

Actor/Famous person

The guy on the front book cover looks pretty good to me.

Strengths and weaknesses

Rafe Easton struggles with dislike for his stepfather, Townsend Derrington. Rafe believes that Townsend is somehow responsible for his blood father’s accidental death. That Townsend then married Rafe’s mother and took possession of Hanalei, the Kona coffee plantation established by Rafe’s father, is a bitter cup that he ha to grow up with. Rafe’s determination to regain his father’s plantation and protect his mother from Townsend’s bullying spirit is a strength. He has several weaknesses. His determination can be unrelenting, and his desire for Eden Derrington to follow his dreams breeds frustration between them when her own plans come up against his will.

Quirk (if any)

Likes to stand with hands on hips, or tilts his head with a slight wry smile when Eden frustrates him.

Your inspiration for the character

I grew up in a large family—mostly big brothers!

Background to the story

Hawaii, home of the early missionaries, becomes an empire of sugar and pineapple built by their children and grandchildren. By 1892 the Treasure of the Pacific is caught in a political revolution between those supporting Queen Liliuokalani, and the new Hawaiians determined to see the Stars and Stripes waving over Iolani Palace.

Eden Derrington

Physical Description:

Hair color: ebony.

Hair length and style: Long, thick, and wavy. When she works as a nurse in tropical diseases at Kalihi Hospital in Honolulu, she wears her hair in sedate braids coiled about her head.

Eye Color: green

Skin tone: fair

Actor/famous person

Eden could resemble the late actress Natalie Wood, when the star was in her twenties. Very feminine but strong-willed for the truths of God.

Strengths and weaknesses:

Eden is self-reliant, determined, and courageous, but is she allowing these strengths to detour her on a path that will rob her heart of an equally desirous relationship with the one man she has always wanted, Rafe Easton?

The desired relationship with her father has placed Eden at risk of losing Rafe Easton.

Eden’s desire is to establish a relationship with her long absent father, Dr. Jerome Derrington, is a reoccurring thematic element in the story called a “motif.” Her need for the loving, accepting “father-image,” is the cry of the lonely wounded heart for “Abba Father.” God our Heavenly Father through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. This theme also applies in other, more shadowy forms to Rafe Easton.

The inspiration for your characters

The theme of early abandonment and ongoing need is fulfilled in our born anew relationship with our Creator through His Son, Jesus Christ. The glorious hymn “Abba, Father!” tells us what we lost in the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis, but was restored with even greater blessings in Christ. Not only Eden, but Rafe Easton, Keno, Zachary, Silas, and Candace (Eden’s troubled cousins) all have a spiritual Father need. Some of it is subtle and the reader may miss it. But it’s there. Maybe the readers can look for the theme for each character.

“Home Sweet Home,” we often say. For those in Christ, Our True Home is where God is.

Thanks so much, Linda ~ lovely having you back at Relz Reviewz :)

Relz Reviewz Extras

Character spotlight on Rafe & Eden ~ 2010

Visit Linda's website

Buy Linda's books at Amazon or Koorong

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Julie Carobini ~ FamilyFiction Plus

I had the pleasure of interviewing Julie Carobini for the M
ay issue of FamilyFiction's digital magazine and can now share the full interview with you.


What makes your character, Suz Mitchell unique?

Suz is an artist with a big heart. She’s so focused on her goal of keeping her son’s life normal and safe that she puts aside her own needs. She truly faces difficulties with tenacity and faith. Love that!

Share a little about Otter Bay and its inhabitants

Otter Bay is a fictional town along California’s magnificent central coast based upon the combo of “real” side-by-side areas: Cambria and San Simeon. (San Simeon is the home of the famed Hearst Castle.) Otter Bay’s inhabitants love the sea and spend oodles of time outdoors with family, friends, and quirky neighbours.

What inspired you to write Fade to Blue?

Since the inception of the Otter Bay series with Sweet Waters, I’ve wanted to set a book with the famed Hearst Castle as its backdrop. So much intrigue and mystery about the real castle on the hill! Of course, novels are more than their location. So after writing the 2nd book in the series, A Shore Thing, I longed to know what happens next for big-hearted, single mom, Suz, from that story. Fade to Blue satisfies that curiosity.

How challenging is it to incorporate your faith into your stories?

The last thing I want to do as a Christian who writes is to steer someone wrong. My characters are flawed human beings who need the truth. But so am I. See the challenge? If I’m going to add a faith thread into my books then I must be in prayer. I must also seek wise counsel (Prov. 1:5). There’s a note in the acknowledgments for Fade to Blue thanking my pastor. One Sunday morning as I wrestled with the right, godly answer to the heroine’s situation, my pastor “happened” to preach on the very topic. Yay, God!

What is next in your writing schedule?

I’m working on two more seaside stories, one set in southern California and the other far to the north. I’ve also just re-released my first novel, Chocolate Beach, on Kindle & Nook—with recipes and other bonus content! I keep my website updated, so please stop by periodically for news and events: www.juliecarobini.com

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website, blog and beach shop

Buy Julie's books at
Amazon or Koorong

Read FamilyFiction's May/June issue

The winners of Beside Still Waters are.....

Elyssa & Lori (USA) and Annette & Jen H (AUS) ~ congratulations!

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

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Nightingale by Susan May Warren

"I pray the fulfillment of my promise and the contents of the letter might give you some comfort in the darkness of your hour."

Thus begins the wartime correspondence between medic Peter Hess, acting on a dying man's request and nurse Esther Lange, a young woman living with an unwanted engagement but a beloved child, the result of a night of foolish passion. Despised by her fiance's family yet bound to them by her daughter and circumstances, Esther's loneliness and despair is eased by Peter's caring and attentive letters.
Peter's correspondence is a shining light in her life, his faith and compassion mirroring that of his Saviour, gives Esther reason to hope. Just as their friendship edges towards something more, Esther's trust is shattered by a revelation Peter had fearfully withheld.

As Esther reconciles her new found knowledge about Peter, with the tender man she has come to know through his letters, she is once again confronted with news that will turn her life upside down and shatter her tentative steps towards grace.
Any book that bears Susan May Warren's name is guaranteed to engage yet she has outdone herself with her latest historical novel, Nightingale. A beautifully told story of a young woman filled with regret and shame, struggling to provide for her young daughter during the final stages of World War II. Peter reflects the love and compassion of Jesus in Esther's life, his letters and generous spirit a highlight of the story. The story provides fascinating information about life on the home front, and a rarely touched on topic in World War II novels, the plight of German Americans, prisoners of war and their role on farms across America during the latter stages of the war. Esther's fractured relationship with her fiance's disapproving parents is painfully authentic as is the vindictiveness of one of Esther's colleagues. More love story than romance, Nightingale is filled with historical detail and is a moving journey towards love, mercy and grace, which I highly recommend.

As seen at TitleTrakk.com

With thanks to TitleTrakk for my review copy

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Review of Sons of Thunder

Visit Susie's website and blog

Buy Susie's books at Amazon or Koorong

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