Saturday, 30 May 2009

Coming in July from Whitaker House

Sharlene MacLaren writes tender historical fiction and I have loved everyone of her books and I am always on the lookout for new authors so I am hoping Tammy's book is as good as it sounds!

Enjoy the sneak peek as these Whitaker House releases, even though you have probably seen Maggie Rose here once already - LOL! Click on the links for more.

Love's Rescue by Tammy Barley

A Dividing Conflict

In 1863, the War Between the States is dividing more than just a nation. To escape the conflict, Jessica Hale and her family flee their Kentucky homestead and head for the Nevada Territory. Her brother, Ambrose, committed to the Confederates, rejoins the Kentucky militia and is disowned by his father. But the worst is yet to come.

The Heroic Kidnapper

When Unionists presume the family to be Confederate sympathizers, they set a devastating fire to their home. All alone and then "kidnapped" by cattleman Jake Bennett, Jessica is taken to a ranch deep in the Sierra Nevada wilderness. But, can Jessica overcome her resentment toward Jake for failing to save her family?

The Depths of Love

When Jake launches a plan to help Jessica's brother escape from prison camp, she sees him for the honest, good-hearted Christian man that he is and now knows the depth of his love for her. Through the lingering smoke and smoldering ashes from her ruined ho
me and murdered family, will Jessica see a future with Jake?

Watch the book trailer for Love's Rescue

Maggie Rose by Sharlene MacLaren

A Pursuit of a Calling

The year is 1904, and Maggie Rose, the spunky, friendly, twenty-year-old middle daughter of Michigan resident Jacob Kane, feels compelled to leave her beloved hometown of Sandy Shores to pursue what she feels in her heart are God's plans for her life-in New York City.

A Heart for the Homeless

Maggie Rose adjusts to her new life at Sheltering Arms Refuge, an orphanage that also transports homeless children to towns across the United States
to match them with compatible families. Most of the children have painful pasts that make Maggie aghast, but she marvels at their resiliency. As she gets to know each child, her heart blossoms with new depths of love and compassion.

An Unexpected Attraction

When a newspaper reporter comes to stay at the orphanage in order to gather research for an article, Maggie is struck by his handsome face-and concerned by his lack of faith. She can't deny their mutual affections, though. Will she win the struggle to maintain her focus on God and remain attuned to His guidance?

Friday, 29 May 2009

Friendship Friday ~ What do you value in your close friendships with women?

Julie Lessman

Gosh, THANK YOU for including me in this very cool assignment -- I am THRILLED! You said a "one word answer" would be totally fine, but ... uh, as you know from my almost 500-page books, I am not capable of a "one word answer." :)

Well, other than the fact that I can relate to women better than men because most are just as hormonal as me
, I would have to say the thing I value the most in my friendships with women is their willingness to pray about any and everything right on the spot. You see, I'm one of these passionate types that if a problem is mentioned in a conversation, I want to nail it right then and there with a well-aimed prayer. And although this is not common for most people, most of my very close women friends have embraced this bold and brazen part of my personality with grace and gratitude, always allowing me to pray with them, or them for me. I so appreciate that I can be who I am with them, taking all problems to the throne of grace without an eyebrow raised or a roll of the eyes. Uh, not that I would care, of course ... but it's nice to have friendships with women who feel the way I do about God and prayer and wholeheartedly support me in that endeavor. Hugs, Julie

A Passion Most Pu
re ~ A Passion Redeemed ~ A Passion Denied

Maggie Brendan

One of the things I value most of all in my best friend is total acceptance—that she values all facets of me-my good points and my spirituality but accepts my flaws, and loves me in spite of them. She is a constant encourager and points out things that I don’t even know about myself and we pray together (sometimes). She doesn’t just say that I’m a blessing but that God has made me blessed and has his hand on me—and explained to me the difference. But she said being blessed comes with more expectation of me, and that can be a burden.

No Place For a Lady ~ The Jewel of His Heart, October, 2009

Win a blog design makeover from So Many Books...& Doodlebug Designs

My dear blogging friend Jen from So Many Books.....So Little Time has a wonderful giveaway opportunity offered in conjunction with my fabulous web designer, Judi from Doodlebug Designs.

For your chance to wi
n a complete blog design makeover, click here :)

Character Spotlight ~ Julie Klassen's Lilly Haswell plus Aussie Giveaway

Today the spotlight shines on............................Lilly Haswell

Julie Klassen has turned her fine editing hand to writing with historical novels The Lady of Milkweed Manor and The Apothecary's Daughter. These books are beautifully written and full of interesting historical detail and engaging characters.

Enjoy this look behind the scenes of Miss Lillian Haswell:~

Brief physical description of your main character

Lillian (Lilly) Grace Haswell. Lilly is slight, has freckles, long russet-brown hair, and eyes which are green and brown both.

I had in mind British Actress Anna Friel as she appeared in the movies St. Ives and Our Mutual Friend.

Strengths and weaknesses

Lilly has a nearly infallible memory (a trait I only wish I shared) and can prepare the most complex remedies by rote. But she is also discontent; always looking for happiness “out there somewhere,” vs. appreciating the blessings (family, faith, health, friends) she already has.

Quirk (if any)

Lilly loves to run, and slips away to lope up “her hill,” although it is unladylike to do so.

Your inspiration/background for the character & story

After writing Lady of Milkweed Manor, in which the main character finds herself in the unusual career of wet nurse, my editor challenged me to think of another unusual professional for a woman to have in early 1800s England. This led to Lilly Haswell, a young woman who ends up doing the work of an apothecary at a time when it was illegal for women to do so.

I would describe a leading man as well, but Lilly has at least three suitors to choose from and readers are kept guessing at which she will choose:

Roderick Marlow, the baronet’s son, Francis Baylor, the lowly apprentice, or Dr. Adam Graves, the competing physician.

Here are the handsome gentlemen who inspired me—er…that is, these characters:

Thanks Julie ~ I think you have really captured Lilly's young men well with these pictures :) Lilly certainly chose the right one - LOL!

On Monday the spotlight shines on debut author Amy Clipst
on's Jessica and Lindsay Bedford from A Gift of Grace. See you then!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of The Apothecary's Daughter & Lady of Milkweed Manor

Visit Julie's website

Buy Julie's books at Amazon or Koorong

Aussie Giveaway

To win a copy of The Apothecary's Daughter, post a comment on or before Sunday 7th June with contact details, telling me which leading man you would choose from the pictures above! Remember, you must have an Australian postal address to be eligible.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner

Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

My take:~

Tina Ann Forker's latest novel is a languorous journey of a woman's painful betrayal, her ensuing suffering to the restoration of hope and belonging in her life. The slow pacing of this story was initially frustrating as Tina creates a mysterious atmosphere and an anxious desire in me to know the source of Lillian's angst and the reasons for it. Character driven, I was drawn to Lillian's pain and Tru's secrets and their attraction to each other despite the speed with which they acted on that chemistry given their tragic histories. However, Tina's beautiful descriptions and handling of human emotion overcame my early reservations and I found myself caught up in the story and fully invested in the outcome. Visit the beautiful Rose House through the pages of this story and you are bound to be pleased you did.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Tina's website and blog

Buy Tina's books at Amazon or Koorong

Check back on 11th June for my character spotlight on Lillian and Tru ~ I think you will be surprised by the actors Tina picked for them

CFBA Blog Tour of Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Tina Ann Forkner


Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. She grew up in Oklahoma and graduated with honors from CSU Sacramento before settling in Wyoming. She lives with her husband, their three bright children and their dog and stays busy serving on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors. She is the author of Ruby Among Us, her debut novel, and Rose House, which recently released from Waterbrook Press/Random House.


A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope

Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

If you would like to read an excerpt from

Read my review

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Value fiction from Waterbrook Multnomah

From the publisher:~

Fiction lo
vers don’t need to budget to travel this summer with WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group’s eight full-length, historical novels by beloved Christian authors such as Lisa Tawn Bergren and Jane Kirkpatrick.

At only $6.99, these well-read “get-aways”
provide quality enjoyment at a price any reader can afford. Novels include The Captain’s Bride, Tomorrow’s Treasure, The Silver Sword, The Veil, Under the Distant Sky, A Promise for Breanna, Maire, and A Gathering of Finches.

Rel:~ I have read a number of these books in their past lives! They are brilliant so don't miss out on great fiction at a terrific price. My Aussie readers should note that these books will be a bargain price here also with Koorong listing them at $9.95. Look for some reviews to come soon, if you aren't already hooked :)

The Captain's Bride by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Elsa Anders's dream of marrying
Peder Ramstad is about to come true. But as this independent, strong-willed woman discovers her own creative gifts--a love for travel, painting, and the sea--can she find happiness with a captain who insists upon leaving her safely on shore?

Leaving their ho
me in Norway behind, Elsa and Peder embark on a new life in with their closest friends, including: Kaatje Jansen, a woman seeking a new beginning for the sake of her marriage and for the child growing within her; Elsa's sister Tora, a sly young vixen who knows exactly what she wants--and exactly how to get it; and Karl Martensen, a man torn between his friendship for Peder and a forbidden, secret love for Elsa, a man tormented by emotions that threaten to ruin them all.

From the gentle hills of Bergen, Norway, to the rocky coast of Camden, Maine, and across the crashing, danger-filled waves of the open sea--experien
ce an epic saga of perseverance and passion, faith and fidelity, in the Northern Lights series: the new historical series by Lisa Tawn Bergren.

Tomorrow's Treasure by Linda Lee Chaikin

Raised by her aunt and uncle at the rectory in the small English village of Grimston Way, lovely Evy Varley remembers little of her missionary parents and nothing of South Africa, the land where she was orphaned during the Zulu War of 1878. But when Sir Rogan Chantry, the arrogant and handsome son of the local Squire, accuses Evy’s mother of stealing the infamous Kimberly Black Diamond, Evy sets out to prove the rogue wrong and clear her mother’s name.

Secrets abound
, however, from the diamond mines of South Africa to the halls of her own beloved rectory. Strangers come to Grimston Way for their own mysterious purposes, a stunned Evy finds that her own aunt and uncle may have concealed disturbing truths about her family, and the dashing Sir Rogan has his own reasons to seek the missing diamond. Yet despite Rogan’s seemingly rakish ways and the class differences that render a romance between them impossible, Evy finds herself drawn to the man who was once her childhood friend and now holds the keys to her heart.

ed with a dangerous past and an uncertain future, Evy must draw upon her wits and her faith to pursue Tomorrow’s Treasure. A story of faith, danger and romance, Tomorrow’s Treasure is a masterpiece of historical suspense fiction.

The Silver Sword by Angela Hunt

The auburned-ha
ired O'Connor women share a bond far deeper than their striking physical appearance. These courageous, high-spirited women all push against societal limits in this exciting historical, romantic novel that spans generations and countries from 13th-century Ireland to the excitement and mystery of 15th-century Prague.

It is said that as Cahira, daughter of the great Irish king Rory O'Connor, lay dying of a wound from a Norman blade, she beseeched God that others would follow her calling. To Kathleen O'Connor, Cahira's story was nothing more than a fable--until research divulged that the tale was true. As a stunned Kathleen realizes that she herself bears the mark of Cahira, she wonders if she is destined to continue the legacy. To uncover the answers, Kathleen delves into the past to find the truth about the Heirs of Cahira O'Connor.

It is a journey that carries her across generations, from the battlefie
lds of 13th-century Ireland to the castles of 15th-century Prague. It is a past filled with peril, courage, vengeance, love, and sacrifice beyond anything she has ever known.

The Veil by Diane Noble

A shroud of secrecy cloaks a new nineteenth-century sect known simply as the Saints. But that veil is about to be drawn away. Amidst the majestic beauty of 1857 Utah, the members of one secluded religious group claim to want nothing more than to practice their beliefs without persecution. Yet among them are many who engage in secret vows and brutal acts of atonement…all in the name of God. But one young woman, Hannah McClary, dares to question the truth behind the shroud. Soon Hannah and the young man she loves–Lucas Knight, who has been trained from childhood to kill on behalf of the Church–find themselves fighting for their very lives. As a group of unwary pioneer families marches into Utah toward a tragic confrontation with the Saints at a place called Mountain Meadows, Hannah and Lucas are thrust into the most difficult conflict of all–a battle for truth and justice–even as they are learning for the first time about unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness.…

Under the Distant Sky by Al & Joanna Lacy

In the years following the Civil War, Hannah and Solomon Cooper decide to seek out a new life on the frontier. In the d
angerous journey that follows, however, tragedy strikes. By all reasonable expectations they should return home. Yet to the surprise of everyone in the wagon train -- and despite great opposition -- Hannah presses onward, displaying grit, courage, and a faith deep enough to sustain her family through life's greatest trials.

A Promise for Breanna by Al & Joanna Lacy

The Angel of M
ercy series follows the adventures of certified medical nurse Breanna Baylor as she seeks to serve her fellow man and restore her relationship with her true love-John Stranger of the Journeys of the Stranger series-in the post-Civil War West. A Promise for Breanna finds the heroine face to face with Frank Miller, the man who once broke her heart and led her to mistrust men, sabotaging her relationship with John Stranger. Suspense, danger, romance, and spiritual truth each play a part in this compelling story that draws readers into the life of an angel of mercy.

Maire by Linda Windsor

A fanciful, romantic tale of passion and faith that invites readers to the "God-graced mountains and plains" of Ireland. Maire, Gleannmara's warrior queen, finds her fierce heart is gentled when she takes a reformed mercenary -- a Christian, n
o less -- as hostage during a raid. At first she wonders what kind of God would make a fine warrior like Rowan of Emerys such a coward. But as she comes to know Rowan and witnesses the force of his beliefs, she learns that meekness and humility to the one true God are stronger than any blade of steel. And in the process, Maire discovers the transforming power of love and faith.

A Gathering of Finches by Jane Kirkpatrick

Based on historical characters and events, A Gathering of Finches te
lls the story of a turn-of-the-century Oregon coastal couple and the consequences of their choices, as seen through the eyes of the wife, her sister, and her Indian maid. Along the way, the reader will discover reasons to trust that money and possessions can't buy happiness or forgiveness, nor permit us to escape the consequences of our choices. The story emphasizes the message that real meaning is found in the relationships we nurture and in living our lives in obedience to God.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Certain Jeopardy by Jeff Struecker & Alton Gansky plus Open Giveaway


Six American men live behind a protective facade, their real work hidden from neighbors and friends. Different in countless ways, they are intimately the same in one: at any moment their lives can be altered with a phone call, and their actions may change the world.They are Special Ops. And one team's mission is about to hit certain jeopardy status when the discovery of an Al Qaeda base in Venezuela becomes secondary to thwarting the transport of a nuclear weapons expert from that training camp to Iran.

My take:~

Sit down and strap yourself in for this adrenaline filled story of a Special Ops team doing what they do best. Eye opening and thrilling Jeff Struecker and Alton Gansky combine combat experience with writing skill and show it off to full advantage. I was anxious to get beyond the early chapters and into the thick of things but getting to know the individual soldiers, their nicknames and personalities, is essential to the reading experience. While this book appealed to my adventurous side it also connected emotionally as the plight of the soldier's loved ones is also laid bare. Dealing with what life throws at us all, but having to leave with little or no notice to places unknown other than the certainty of danger, the sacrifices of our armed forces and their families is highlighted with accuracy and intensity. Leavened with humour and spiritual insight this book will appeal to both men and women. Certain Jeopardy is an excellent first foray into fiction by Captain Jeff Struecker - I hope he will be back with Sgt. Major Eric Moyer's band of brothers soon!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit the websites of Jeff and Alton

Buy the book at Amazon or Koorong

Multiple Giveaway

Once again the wonderful people at B&H Fiction has provided books to give away. I have two copies for my US readers and two copies for my Aussie readers to win!

To enter:~

Post a comment on or before Sunday 31st May 2009 leaving contact details if I don't have them already.

Be sure to post a USA or AUS at the end of your post so I know which draw to put you in.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Character Spotlight ~ Elizabeth White's Gilly Kincade & Jacob Ferrar plus Aussie Giveaway

Today the spotlight shines on...Gilly Kincade & Jacob Ferrar

I adore Beth White's stories and Tour de Force is a special treat for those who love the arts and the dedication required to make it to the top. I love the insight into Gilly and Jacob and I am sure you will too :)

Thanks, Beth:~

Brief physical description of your main character/s

Gilly Kincade is a tiny redhead with a ballet dancer's pliant body. Her kittenish face is given a touch of sparkle by a diamond nose chip, a sprinkle of freckles over green eyes, and quirky red eyebrows bent upward at the tips. She has a dancer's bowed legs and duck feet.

Jacob Ferrar is a dancer as well; he's over six feet tall, with a supple, muscular build. His dark hair and eyes and strong, bony face, make Gilly
think of a “broken angel.”

Strengths and weaknesses

Gilly's main spiritual strength is her passion to share her faith in Jesus--with everyone she meets. Second only to that is her drive toward perfection in her chosen art form, ballet. Also, she is
blessed with a large, loving family which supports her demanding career. Weaknesses might include carelessness in housekeeping and a tendency to push herself harder than is physically safe.

Jacob, on the other hand, is a bit of a loner--pleasantly shy. He's charmed by Gilly's extroverted personality but also a little intimidated by her loud, gregarious family. He also has the perfectionist gene--necessary for a ballet artistic director, but which can drive him to expect too much from himself. A feeling of shame about his pre-Christian past sometimes keeps him from boldly sharing what Christ has done for him. His great strength is deep affection for his grandparents and small orphaned nephew--and increasingly Gilly Kincade. He expresses his love in the silent meeting of needs.

Quirk (if any)

Gilly loves colorful clothes that clash with her hair.

Jacob has a European upbringing (his parents are career diplomats), so he's got a British accent from his boarding school days.

Your inspiration for the character

Watch a couple of these videos. Mesmerizing. Kathryn Morgan and Robert Fairchild of New York City Ballet were the inspirations for Gilly and Jacob.

Kathryn Morgan
The Making of Romeo & Juliet

More Romeo & Juliet

Background to the story

Gilly was a secondary character in Off the Record, last year's release from Zondervan. She was the teenage sister of the heroine, Judge Laurel Kincade. I saw a lot of potenti
al for “growing Gilly up” and giving her a story of her own. So I began to imagine what could happen to a young lady completely invested in spending her extraordinary natural gifts, as well as her spiritual gifts, in God's service. Life isn't always rosy--in real life or in fiction. So what happens when bad stuff happens to us? Is God looking away, or does He have a plan? That's one of the main questions I wanted to explore with Tour de Force. I also wanted to trace what happens when a believer is thrown into a completely secular artistic world--a place that is often hostile to those with a spiritual bent. We can be rigid--legalistic, if you will--or we can look at those around us with Jesus' eyes of compassion and grace. I'm fairly certain I don't have all the answers, but I do know that nonbelievers recognize real love when they see it. Tour de Force is my crayon drawing of what I think love looks like in all its permutations--familial, romantic, fraternal and agape.

Just delightful, Beth - thanks so much for sharing with us!

Come back on Thursday for a spotlight on Julie Klassen's Lilly Haswell from The Apothecary's Daughter together with a look at her leading men!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Tour de Force

Visit Beth's website

Buy Beth's books at Amazon or Koorong
Aussie Giveaway

I am delighted to have a copy of Tour de Force to give away to a reader with an Australian postal address! To enter, post a comment on or before Sunday 31st May, 2009 telling me if you have ever been to the ballet! I haven't, uncultured person that I am - LOL!

CFBA Blog Tour of Jillian Dare by Melanie M Jeschke

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Jillian Dare: A Novel

Revell (May 1, 2009)


Melanie M. Jeschke


Melanie Morey Jeschke (pronounced jes-key), a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from University of Virginia as a Phi Beta Kappa with an Honors degree in English Literature and a minor in European and English History.

A free-lance travel writer, Melanie contributed the Oxford chapter to the Rick Steves’ England 2006 guidebook. She is a member of the Capital Christian Writers and Christian Fiction Writers as well as three book clubs, and taught high-school English before home-schooling most of her nine children. Melanie lectures on Lewis and Tolkien, Oxford, and writing, and gives inspirational talks to all manner of groups, including university classes, women’s clubs, young professionals, teens, and school children.

A fourth generation pastor’s wife (her father Dr. Earl Morey is a retired Presbyterian minister), Melanie resides in the Greater Washington, D.C. area with her children and husband Bill Jeschke, a soccer coach and the Senior Pastor of The King’s Chapel, an non-denominational Christian church in Fairfax, Virginia.


Jillian Dare leaves her Shenandoah Valley foster home behind and strikes out on her own as a nanny at a large country estate in northern Virginia. She is delighted with the beauty of her new home, the affection of her young charge Cadence Remington, and the opportunity for frequent travel to the Remington castle in England.

She is less certain about her feelings for her handsome but moody employer, Ethan. In spite of herself, Jillian realizes she is falling for her boss. But how can a humble girl ever hope to win a wealthy man of the world? And what dark secrets from the past is he hiding? This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic Jane Eyre, will capture readers' hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Jillian Dare: A Novel, go HERE

Rel:~ I love my classics so I am looking forward to seeing what Melanie does with this take on Jane Eyre - I'll let you know what I think soon!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick ~ Tracy's Take

What is it about?

Jessie Ann Gaebele adores capturing the stunning Minnesota landscape on film, using a camera given to her by her Uncle August. Not content with the idea of marrying or working in more menial employment, Jessie is excited about the prospect of working for photographer FJ Bauer when he offers to train her for six months, before she would earn a wage. During FJ’s long, debilitating illnesses, Jessie proves her worth and skill as she keeps the studio running smoothly, along with her long-time friend Voe Kopp. The one thing FJ and Jessie struggle to maintain is their professional relationship and Jessie must make the most challenging decision of her young life.

What I thought:

Award-winning story teller, Jane Kirkpatrick, demonstrates her eloquence and mastery in ‘A Flickering Light’ with great skill and finesse. Based upon her grandmother’s life as a photographic assistant and set in her own birth place, Jane expertly blends historical biography with fictional detail in a distinct style that she has made her own.

‘A Flickering Light’ is a beautiful tale of a young girl’s coming of age, and stepping into adult responsibilities and consequences. Jane approaches the theme of chasing one’s dreams with a clarity that illuminates the beauty of fulfilment as well as the dark-grey places not considered before the chase begins. Jessie is a strong character with spark and gumption. Her pluck and courage will inspire and draw the reader through the story. Of course, the other characters are not left to wilt in a literary corner, as Jane develops their unique personalities with equal richness.

I loved this gentle tale, the excitement of new experiences and facing one’s failings. Jane reminds the reader that we all fail and fall short of our own ideals and yet grace and forgiveness begin the healing of shame that might otherwise overcome us. Despite our failings, dreams are still worth chasing and the challenges presented throughout life provide opportunities to forge strength in our character.

Guest reviewer:~ My friend Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of A Sweetness to the Soul and Aurora

Visit Jane's website and blog

Buy Aurora or A Flickering Light

My apologies for the delay in posting this book! Tracy sent her review to me weeks ago and it slipped my mind!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Midnight in Madrid by Noel Hynd


When a mysterious relic is stolen from a Madrid museum, people are dying to discover its secrets. Literally.U.S. Treasury agent Alexandra LaDuca returns from Conspiracy in Kiev to track down the stolen artwork, a small carving called The Piet' of Malta. It seems to be a simple assignment, but nothing about this job is simple, as the mysteries and legends surrounding the relic become increasingly complex with claims of supernatural power.

As aggressive, relentless, and stubborn as ever, Alex crisscrosses Europe through a web of intrigue, danger, and betrayal, joined by a polished, mysterious new partner. With echoes of classic detective and suspense fiction from The Maltese Falcon to The Da Vinci Code, Midnight in Madrid takes the reader on a nonstop spellbinding chase through a modern world of terrorists, art thieves, and cold-blooded killers.

My take:~

There is no doubt that Noel Hynd is a premiere writer of espionage, and Midnight in Madrid highlights his talents in no uncertain terms. Political intrigue permeates this action thriller that I found a little slow to begin but once the pace picked up there is no letting up. Alex continues to comes to terms with the loss of her fiance and explore her faith while searching for a relic that men are willing to kill for. Hynd pushes the envelope for a Christian novel with some graphic violence and edgy language. Characterisation is solid, the intrigue and suspense gripping while fascinating descriptions of Spain and other locations all contribute to a top notch read.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Conspiracy in Kiev

Interview with Noel

Buy Noel's book at Amazon or Koorong

Friday, 22 May 2009

Friendship Friday ~ What do you value in your close friendships with other women?

Yesterday I was beautifully reminded of one of the things I most value in friendship. This is it: A friend who misses me when I don't make it to church for whatever real or lazy reason keeps me away, who gently encourages me, who lets me know she's here for me, and when she says she'll pray for me, means it. In this case, that friend would be Kendra :) And I thank you, my Australian friend, for your friendship as well.

Stealing Adda ~ Perfecting Kate ~ Splitting Harriet ~ Faking Grace ~

Leaving Carolina - Sept,09

Candace Calvert

The freedom to be honest and vulnerable, with no need for protective pretense. Because these sisters have “been there,” too.

RX: Hope
The Mercy Hospital Series
Critical Care

Character Spotlight ~ Susan May Warren's PJ Sugar ~ Nothing But Trouble Blog Tour with contest!

Today the spotlight shines on..................................PJ Sugar

Susan May Warren is always on my must read list! This new series is off to a great start with the lovely and confused PJ working out her place in life and hot on the trail of a murderer. I am looking forward to where Susie takes PJ, Boone and Jeremy. Be sure to pick up your own copy and let me know what you think of this inside look into PJ and her fellas!

Over to you, Susie:~

Brief physical description

PJ has blonde hair, only it’s dyed red. She’s curvy, and is most comfortable in a pair of superman pajama pants and a tank top!

Actor/famous person for PJ

When Agent Renee Walker (Annie Wersching) of 24 walked onto the screen this season, I thought I was seeing PJ in the flesh! Cool!

Actor/famous person for Boone and Jeremy

Michael Weatherly from NCIS for Boone and Life on Mars' Jason O'Mara for Jeremy.

Rel: I can picture Annie and Michael as PJ and Boone but need to think more on Jason as Jeremy! What do you think?

Strengths and weaknesses

PJ is an optimist – she believes the best in people, and will do whatever it takes to be a friend. Also, so is creative and spunky - not afraid of going beyond her boundaries to pursue justice. However, sometimes she lets her passion overtake her common sense and she finds herself in way over her head. Good intentions are her folly!

Quirk (if any)

She likes donuts, the beatles, her VW, flipflops, sunbathing, and…mysteries. She is way too curious for her own good!

Your inspiration for the character

Hmm…well, I often say that PJ is my alter-ego – if I didn’t have 4 kids and a hubby PJ would be me. But she’s braver than me, I think. Maybe I’d just like to be all the great parts about PJ!

Background to the story

I cooked up this story after I bought a widow’s mite for my husband from a local ancient coin dealer. I was shocked at his inventory, and when he told me that he collected ancient coins to the days back to Nero, I was fascinated. I did some googling, and discovered there were a lot of interesting ancient coin stories. About that time, I lost an auction at E-bay and remembered thinking – hey, if that person only knew how badly I wanted that item, maybe they would let me buy it. If I knew how to get a hold of them! Which made me think a lot about E-bay and fencing ancient coins. My PJ Sugar imagination went from there….

Thanks Susie ~ loved your thoughts on PJ and am looking forward to where she goes from here and with whom - LOL!

Stay tuned for Monday's spotlight on another redhead, Elizabeth White's Gilly Kincade and her artistic director, Jacob Ferrar from Tour de Force.

Blog Tour Contest from Susie

Hunt up Trouble!

PJ Sugar's first novel - Nothing But Trouble is popping up all over the country! Go Hunting for Trouble, and let me know where you see the book.

Send me the Name of the Bookstore where you found it (and the city, please), and we'll put your name in a drawing for a preview copy of The Great Christmas Bowl my Christmas Novella, coming out this fall! (Promo coming soon!) And…send me a PHOTO of you and the book in the bookstore, and we'll add your name 5x!

And you'll also be eligible to win a cool SUGAR Personal SPA BASKET!!

So go....Hunt up Trouble! Find all the details here -

While you're at it, be sure to check out the great posts on this tour by clicking here!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Nothing But Trouble

Visit Susie's website, blog and PJ Sugar's own website, Got Sugar!

Buy Susie's books at Amazon or Koorong

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