Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Relz Reviewz Top 10 Reads of 2008

Oh, my this gets harder every year! I have had to be ruthless to narrow my favourite books of 2008 to only 10.

Here they are in no particular order (click on the links for my reviews):~


Havah by Tosca Lee

Fossil Hunter by John B Olson


The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter

By Reason of Insanity by Randy Singer

Forsaken by James David Jordan


Healing Promises by Amy Wallace

Taming Rafe by Susan May Warren


The Restorer's Journey by Sharon Hinck

Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck


A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell



And because I couldn't bear not to mention them (and it is my list after all!) the following are also must r
eads from 2008:~


The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman


Summer Snow by Nicole Baart


Orchid House by Cindy Martinusen Coloma


Home Another Way by Christa Parrish

Matchpoint by Erynn Mangum

The Duchess and the Dragon by Jamie Carie

And do you know what the best thing is? Most, if not all, of these writers have books releasing in 2009 :) Don't know about you but I can't wait.

I'll be posting a list of 09 releases I am highly anticipating
soon.

Please comment and let me know your top 10 (or less!) of 2008. I'd love to see what we have in common...or not!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Book Trailer for Brandt Dodson's Daniel's Den

Here's a look at Brandt Dodson's February 09 release, Daniel's Den by way of a book trailer :)

Check back for my review in January!


Monday, 29 December 2008

New look for upcoming Deadlock by Robert Liparulo

Robert Liparulo's second John Hutchinson novel, Deadlock, has had a cover change in time for it's March, 2009 release. I like this one better :)

John Hutchinson will be the subject of a Relz Reviewz character spotlight in time for the book's release ~ can't wait!


Synopsis:~

John Hutchinson thinks it's no coincidence that Brendan Page runs this modern Praetorian Guard, and that the billionaire military industrialist must have had something to do with the atrocities his son Declan committed in Canada. The Canadian and U.S. Justice departments disagree, but Hutch has been digging for dirt ever since.

When Hutch discovers the secret of Page's success, Page decides to teach him a lesson. But the operation goes terribly wrong, and Hutch's son is kidnapped. While a lone man stands little chance against the best black op soldiers ever issued M-16s, Hutch manages to survive longer than Page anticipated. As far as Hutch is concerned, high-tech helmets, machine guns, and hand grenades are nothing compared to a man determined to save his son. It's a lesson he sets out to teach Page-and one that he can only hope works as well in the real world as it does in his heart.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

The Red Siren by M L Tyndall

Captain Dajon Waite still burns at the ignonimy he suffered at the hands of marauding pirates while at the helm of his father's ship, his humiliation multiplied by being bested by a woman known only as the Red Siren.

Now a successful captain with His Majesty's Royal Navy, Dajon once again finds himself subject to the whims of the fairer sex, having been cajoled into acting as guardian to Rear Admiral Westcott's daughters - a job that would cause even the most courageous man to tremble.

Faith Westcott has felt responsible for her sisters since the death of her mother and her father's continued disinterest in their well being. Determined they will not be left to suffer at the hands of an ill fated marriage like their eldest sister, Charity, Faith resorts to a life of piracy to seek a fortune that will allow her sisters independence and freedom.

Will the devout captain arrest the wayward pirate or will the chains that bind them together be of an entirely different kind?

MaryLu Tyndall returns to the Caribbean with a story that may be her best yet. Cutlasses clash and hearts collide in this captivating tale of adventure, love and redemption. Dajon epitomises the dashing hero, his appeal bolstered by his faith and a heart made tender by tragedy, yet with inner strength and an engaging wit that he constantly employs with his interaction with Faith. She is a fun heroine, sassy, capable and fearless, determined to protect her sisters despite what they think of her. MaryLu's dialogue sparkles as the romantic tension between Dajon and Faith escalates in a captivating yet never unseemly manner. MaryLu is the Jane Austen of the High Seas, with Faith, Hope and Grace reminiscent of Elizabeth, Lydia and Mary Bennett and there's even a despicable Mr Collins! Rest assured however, this story is unique and can rest solely on it's own laurels.

If you love a spirited tale with vibrant characters, vivid scenery and a solid message of God's love, The Red Siren is the perfect escape!
There is no doubt this will be a story I will read again and again.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Character spotlights for The Falcon and the Sparrow, The Redemption & The Restitution

Interview with MaryLu

Visit MaryLu's website and blog

Buy MaryLu's books at Amazon or Koorong

Check back in early January for a spotlight on Dajon and Faith

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas....

Merry Christmas from


my family to yours!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Coming in mid 2009 from Waterbrook Multnomah

Here are a few more novels to whet your appetite for 2009! I love how Waterbrook Multnomah have tried a few different ideas with the covers of some of these books.

As always, click on the links for more :)


Stealing Home by Allison Pittman

A larger-than-life hero and the small town that awakens his soul.

It’s 1905 and the Chicago Cubs are banki
ng on superstar Donald “Duke” Dennison’s golden arm to help them win the pennant. Only one thing stands between Duke and an unprecedented ten-thousand-dollar contract: alcohol. Duke’s love for the sauce is starting to affect his performance on field and off—and fans are beginning to notice. That’s when a sportswriter whisks Duke to the tiny town of Picksville, Missouri, so he can sober up in anonymity.

Stealing Home takes readers on a nostalgic, spellbinding romp to a one-horse town where the lives of four unique individuals providentially intersect. Each lives in haunted isolation and harbors a secret passion. Together, they discover a transforming love that heals wounds, mends shattered spirits, and may even give them the strength they need to weather unexpected tragedy when its harsh reality steps into their lives— and the town they love.

Allison Pittman has written a powerful and gratifying book that will make readers laugh aloud, shed a tear, and latch on to God’s transforming love, perhaps as they never have before.

Saints in Limbo by River Jordan


When a stranger’s mysterious gift brings her memories to life, a lonely widow must decide
whether to cling to the past or embrace the future.


Ever since her husband, Joe, died, Velma True’s world has been limited to what she can see while clinging to one of the multicolored threads tied to the porch railing of her rural home outside Echo, Florida. Then one day a stranger appears at her door. Without knowing why, the cautious widow welcomes him into her kitchen for coffee, and she tells him stories of how life used to be, before her purposes were “all dried up.” Just before disappearing as suddenly as he came, the man presents Velma with a special gift, one that allows her to literally step back into the past through her own memories to a place where Joe still lives and the beginning is closer than the end.

While Velma is consumed with the man’s gift, her son Rudy is also being presented with a challenge
to his self-centered, complacent lifestyle. And a teenage girl wends her way to Echo, determined to unravel the mysteries her dead mother left behind. As secrets old and new come to light, Velma finds herself unmoored from the fears of the past and feeling her way toward freedom.

This lyrical novel
weaves mystical elements with tangible touches of God’s redemptive grace to reveal a pattern of irresistible hope.

Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner

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

Four years after a tragic accident has destroyed her family, Lillian Diamon returns to the nearby Rose House, a cottage in the lush Sonoma Valley where she once poured out her anguish among the tangle of vines and fragrant blossoms. Wandering in the nearby town of La Rosaleda, Lillian stumbles into a small art gallery and comes face-to-face with that heartbroken moment. The painting renders every detail of her grief, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet. Stunned, Lillian wonders who watched her private lament, and who would dare to capture on canvas such a personal scene. As she searches for the painter, a mystery surrounding the portrait entangles not only the artist, Truman Clark, but also Lillian’s sister, Geena, whom she believes was instrumental in the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children.

A captivating novel rich in detail, Rose House explores how our lives are like a canvas capturing shadow and pain, but also light and transcendence—and how, like a work of art, a master
can work wonders in a creation.

The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir

Ray Quinn is a tough, quick-witted homicide detective in love with his partner, Trisha Willis. She gives Ray something to live for—something to hope in—until a barrage of bullets leaves Trisha murdered and Ray crippled.

Struggling with his new physical disability and severe depression, Quinn turns to whiskey, scorn, and a job as a night watchman to numb the pain. But when a pastor and dancer are found dead in an appare
nt murder-suicide, the pastor’s sister approaches Quinn for help. Reluctantly, Quinn agrees to investigate and plunges into the underbelly of Orlando’s nightlife. Soon he discovers that not only was the pastor murdered, but the case may also be linked to Trisha’s death.

As the pieces of the investigation come together, Quinn finds himself
torn between exacting revenge to answer his pain and responding to a greater will.

Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay &
Rene Gutteridge

When God asks Jessie to let Him author her love story, can she turn over her pen?

Jessie Stone h
as spent thirty-five years fantasizing about marriage proposals, wedding dresses, and falling in love. She’s been a bridesmaid eleven times, waved dozens of couples off to sunny honeymoons, and shopped in more department stores for half-price fondue pots than she cares to remember. But her own love life hasn’t been quite as productive. The man she thought she would marry cheated on her. The crush she has on her best friend Blake is at very best…well, crushing. And speed dating has only churned out memorable horror stories.

So when God sh
ows up one day, in the flesh, and becomes a walking, talking part of her life, Jessie is skeptical. After all, He hasn’t stood at countless reception tables alone. What will it take to convince her that God has a better love story than one of the thousands she’s cooked up in her journals?

A romantic comedy with a spiritual twist, Never the Bride reveals what it means to lose control—in order to find more than a girl could ever imagine.


The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper
by Kathleen Y'Barbo


In this creative twist on popular western romance, an unlikely heroin
e plunges into heart-pounding adventure with hilarious results.

The future is clearly mapped out for Ne
w York socialite Eugenia “Gennie” Cooper. She’ll marry Chandler Dodd, the dapper banker her father has chosen as the ideal husband. But Gennie secretly longs to slip into the boots of her favorite dime-novel heroine and experience just one adventure before settling down to the predictable life of a gentleman’s wife.

When a servant confides the details of a family predicament centered in Denver, Gennie jumps at the opportunity to combine a kind deed with her longed-for Wild West adventure.
B
ut her plans go awry when silver baron Daniel Beck and his daughter mistake Gennie for their new governess, and she is caught up in a dangerous mystery.

As Gennie struggles to maintain a veneer of confidence amid the rough-and-tumble world of 1880s Colorado, she must decide whether her future lies with the enigmatic Daniel Beck or back home with Chandler and the life planned for her since birth.


North! Or Be Eaten
by Andrew Peterson


The Fangs of Dang just got meaner...and closer!


Readers thrilled to the phantasmagorical adventures in On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, book one of the Wingfeather Saga. Now in book two, Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby, mom Nia, ex-pirate grandfather Podo, Peet the Sock Man, and trusty dog Nugget flee north to rebel headquarters. Their escape brings readers to the very brink of Fingap Falls, over the Stony Mountains, and across the Ice Prairies, while villains galore try to stop the Igibys permanently. Fearsome toothy cows and horned hounds return, along with new creatures: a mad man running a fork factory, a den of rock roaches, and majestic talking sea dragons.

More original songs,
sidesplitting asides, eye-candy illustrations, and hand-drawn maps throughout keep kids (and kids at heart) turning pages.

Monday, 22 December 2008

The winners of Wind Dancer are.....

Thanks to the Random Number Generator, the winners are:~

Aussie winners ~ Jen and Chloe-Anne


US winners ~ CherryBlossomMJ and MaryS


You know the drill, email me within 7 days with your snail mail addy to claim your prize.

Unfortunately, the winner of my recent draw for a copy of Havah has not replied within the time required, so I have drawn another winner ~ Nicole


Congrats to all ~ enjoy your new novels!

Character Spotlight ~ M L Tyndall's Lady Isabel Ashton & Kent Frederick Carlton from The Restitution


Today the spotlight shines on.....................Lady Isabel Ashton and Captain Kent Carlton

In The Restitution, MaryLu manages to turn a ruthless pirate into a true hero! How she does it, I don't know but be sure, you will want to find out :)

Thanks again, MaryLu, this time for your insight in to the characters from the final book in your Legacy of the King's Pirates Trilogy:~



Lady Isabel Ashton

Brief Physical Description:

Isabel is slender and of medium build. She has auburn hair, which she wears up in a loose bun. Her most powerful feature, however, are her jade green eyes. She carries herself with the pompous air of the nobility in which she was raised (her father being an Earl) and you’ll often see her tossing her chin or nose into the air at something which she finds beneath her. Though she appears confident on the outside, inside she is a bundle of nerves, unsure of herself, terrified at the situation she finds herself in, and confused by the contradiction she sees in the values with which she’s been raised.

Strengths:

Courage, determination, and sensitivity toward others.

Weaknesses:

Pride, Unforgiving, Low self-esteem, and spoiled.

Quirks:

Isabel’s inward nervous disposition often takes the form of an upset stomach, coupled with a rash that arises on her arms and neck. You’ll often see her holding her stomach or scratching her arms during a particularly anxious moment.

Inspiration for the character:

I don’t model my characters after specific people I know. Rather I use qualities from many different people and combine them with the culture of the time in which I am writing. Isabel is a quintessential female of her day who was born and bred to nobility. They truly believed they were in a higher class than others. But, being the meanie I am, I tossed her into horrifying situations. She’s been kidnapped and ravished by a pirate, birthed the villain’s child, and been ostracized from her family and the privileges of high society. Inside, she’s a very kind and sensitive woman who’s desperate to save her son and find her place in God’s Kingdom.

Kent Frederick Carlton

Brief Physical Description:

Kent has shoulder-length, dark brown hair which he either wears down or pulled back cavalier style. Standing over 6 foot and nearly 200 lbs, he displays a formidable presence. Intelligent, educated, and well-skilled with both cutlass and pistol, Kent has more than succeeded as the pirate captain of his ship, The Restitution. He has dark piercing eyes and often has a day’s stubble on his chin.

From the time of Kent’s birth in my mind, I always pictured him looking and acting much like the character, Sawyer, on LOST. Cocky, self-assured, arrogant, witty, charming, and yet possessing a very vulnerable side.

Strengths:

Fearless, Brash, Intelligent, Perseverance, Loyal

Weaknesses:

Insecure, Proud, Competitive, Bad temper

Quirks:

Kent could never play poker. Whenever he is angry, his eyes narrow and his upper lip twitches, and a vein bulges on his forehead. A tell-tale sign that you better get out of his way!

Inspiration for the character:

Kent is one of my favorite characters. He’s a bad boy. He’s been a pirate most of his life and done vile deeds. As a child, he suffered abuse from his father who told Kent over and over that he was worthless. And though his father has since died, Kent has spent his life trying to prove him wrong. Yet after acquiring much wealth, Kent still finds his life empty. But something happens to him when he meets Lady Isabel. He begins to care for another human being besides himself for the first time. And he makes it his life goal to seek for the woman who opened a tiny window in his heart and allowed a glimmer of light to enter.

Background for the story

Shunned by both her parents and society, Lady Isabel Ashton lives a secluded life in Port Royal, assisting Reverend Thomas at his church while she raises her seven month old baby, Frederick—the son of the fierce pirate, Captain Kent Carlton. Without warning, the child is kidnapped by pirates, leaving Isabel devastated. Kent, who loves Isabel and was unaware he had a son, hears of the kidnapping and seeks Isabel’s help to find their child. Though Isabel is terrified of the man who once ravished her, she has no other choice but to accept his help. As they sail off together in search of the little boy, they are unaware of the adventures, trials, and betrayals they will encounter along the way. Will Isabel ever be able to forgive the man who ruined her life? And can a notorious pirate truly change his ways?

This is so much fun, MaryLu!

Check back in 2009 and for a spotlight on MaryLu's characters from her January release, The Red Siren and you will "meet" one of my all time favourite actors ;-)

This is my last character spotlight for 2008 but they will be back with a vengeance in January, 2009 ~ don't miss them!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of The Restitution

Character spotlights on The Redemption and The Falcon and the Sparrow

Interview with MaryLu

Visit MaryLu's website and blog

Buy MaryLu's books at Christianbook or Amazon


Saturday, 20 December 2008

We Believe in Christmas by Karen Kingsbury & illustrated by Daniel Brown

I have just read this lovely children's Christmas story to my three girls who are 11, 8 and 5 years old. It was lovely to talk about where we can find the true meaning of Christmas from looking at the trappings of Christmas in a different light. From gifts, we can remember God's gift of Jesus, from the Christmas tree we can remember the tree where Jesus sacrificed his life, from Christmas guests we can remember the wise men, and so on. Karen Kingsbury's verses are short and rhythmic, perfect for little ones to follow. The illustrations by Daniel Brown compliment the written word and my girls particularly enjoyed guessing what the expressions on the people's faces said about their thoughts.

We Believe in Christmas is a lovely way to share with children that Christmas is so much more than shopping and food and toys. Perfect for your children or grandchildren to enjoy year after year.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Getting to know Susan May Warren

I adore Susie May Warren and each one of her novels holds a special place on my bookshelf! You simply can't go wrong with her books from her Mission: Russia romantic suspense series, her historical Heirs of Anton to the fabulous Noble Legacy Trilogy, Susie's stories will entertain and delight.

Get to know the woman behind the words as Susie shares here at Relz Reviewz:~

If you could have chosen your own name , what would it be?

I really love the name Susie. I’m sort of a Susie, all the way through. I don’t really feel like a Susan. *grin*

Your first pet’s name?

Blackie. The black dog. But the first dog I had on my own was named Petey. Of course, now I have a son named Pete....(don’t tell him he was named after the dog!)

Your best friend’s name in primary (elementary) school?

Stephanie. Love that name, too.

Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.

Oh, you mean Boppy the one-eyed bear? The one with the embroidered nose, the one brown eye, and no recognizable fur remaining anywhere on his body? I carried him by his stub tail, all the way to Russia and back, and he lives on his royal Teddy Bear throne on the ottoman in my bedroom.

If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible of course)

My cell phone. (with reception, of course). I’d be willing to have the text-only option. Or wait – maybe my computer, so I could write, but then I’d need a power supply.

Maybe just sunblock.

What's your favourite ice cream flavour?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A cowgirl. Then, an Ad Exec on Madison Avenue. I know...I’d love to remember my thought processes back then.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Italy. Or maybe Greece.

Besides God, who has influenced you the most?

My husband. I’ve always admired him for his wisdom and grace. His quiet, “are you SURE you want to send that email?” has saved me on more occasions than I can count.

What's your favourite book?

Besides the Bible? Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. I know, so is everyone else’s, but my dream is to write a book that gets into your soul like that one, and reminds the world that God loves them more than they can ever grasp.

What part of your daily routine do you enjoy most?

Coffee and Devotions.

What's your favourite movie?

Oh boy! That’s too hard! Maybe, Return to Me. And, of course, the Princess Bride. (anybody want a peanut?)

Where's the most interesting place you have been?

Night Market, Taiwan. Ever seen deep fried chicken’s feet, or a frog burrito? ‘nuf said.

What's your most fervent prayer?

Own my heart, Lord, so it’s nothing but You I desire.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Skydived! Only, I wasn’t even afraid. So...maybe, I’ll change that answer to: Give Birth. *g*

What is your favourite Bible verse (or "one" of your favourites) and what does it mean to you?

My current favourite is: Hebrew 4:16, “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” It means that even when I come crawling, my face to the floor, He still pulls me into His arms. Phew.

What was your most embarrassing moment in High School?

Really? I have to pick? Okay, fine, here’s one – in trying to create a fashion statement, I wore white shorts, and black cowboy boots, a sort of preppy meets the old west. Yeah, didn’t work. I still remember the laughter.

How did your husband propose to you?

He took me out for pizza, then we did a Bible study on the words, “I love you” and then he got down on one knee. Very very sweet.

What was the best advice you received on marriage before you were married?

Don’t tear down your house with your own hands.

Ask your children one thing they think is special about you and share it with us, please!

My daughter actually wrote a blog about this....go to:

http://www.mybooktherapy.com/?page_id=285

Wiser Than Serpents

This is a story close to your heart due to the subject matter ~ please share your inspiration for this book.

When I lived in Russia, I became increasingly aware of the plight of woman struggling to care for their children, or wanting a better future. More and more of them were going overseas to “waitress” or even marry Americans. I had American friends working with NGO’s to fight human trafficking, and perhaps because of their work, I began to see the truth...especially when my friend’s daughter went to Japan...and disappeared. We left Russia before I heard whether she found her again, but in my heart, I feared the worst. I’ve been in enough foreign countries to know how it feels to be in a place unfamiliar, and even scary. Taiwan – as interesting as it was – felt so foreign to me, and I couldn’t help but think of all the girls who went to foreign lands and found themselves trapped. I wondered who might intervene to save them. About that time, I read an article Sarah Groves did about the plight of human trafficking, and what IJM does to fight it, and I knew I had to get involved. I believe in the power of fiction to change lives...and in this case, I hoped to raise awareness, and perhaps funds to fight this horrible crime.

Do you have a favourite character in your Mission: Russia series?

I love Roman – he’s a strong Russian Special Forces guy who knows what he believes and is a hero in every circumstance. His story is told in Sands of Time...about a coup in Russia that traps the woman he loves, and his race to save her.

Will you take us back to Russia in another story sometime?

I just signed on to write three more Mission:Russia books (called, Mission: Russia, Beyond Boundaries), in mass market format, so yes, we’ll be meeting up with Vicktor and Roman, as well as other characters, possibly in Russia, or in other Eastern European countries. I think it’s important for us to remember that there are Russian Christians who grieve the closing doors of to Russia, just as we do.

How did your time in Russia on the mission field prepare you for the life of a writer?

Commitment to the task, dealing with stretches of aloneness, and trusting in God for provision!

Finding Stefanie

I’ll be honest, at the close of Taming Rafe, I thought please don’t make Stefanie’s love interest Lincoln Cash! Having now read Finding Stefanie, I can see you were right and I was wrong. Where did you dream him up from?

Oh, that’s interesting! Lincoln came from a few places – I have a friend who has MS, and it’s difficult to watch his body betray him, especially since he used to be a strong, active man. It made me wonder how we see him, and how a man brings so much more than physical strength to a woman. I loved putting that theme with an “action hero” who makes his living being a superman. I thought...could he see beyond his disabilities to how God might be using him? I also knew there was MUCH more to Lincoln than the shallow, smooth talking movie star we met in Taming Rafe. But I had insider information. *grin*

Do we see anything of you in Stefanie?

Of course! Stefanie is the strong cowgirl side (although I’m not a cowgirl except in my head). She’s the rescuer of the defeated, and the believer in the good in people, and the person who “gets it done” or, at least, tries to.

Lincoln and Stefanie both struggle with their purpose in life ~ what did you hope readers to take away from their journey?

That God can use a surrendered heart, regardless of the circumstances, that He knows our hearts better than we do, and that He likes to surprise us with more than we could ask or imagine.

What are you working on at the moment? A sneak peek, please.

I just finished book 2 in my “Trouble” series – a fun, romantic, light suspense series about a wanna-be PI who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Here’s the blurb for the first one:

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her hometown, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder--who also happens to be PJ's former flame--is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend's husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right.

It hits the stands just in time for a summer beach read! Go to: http://gotsugar.susanmaywarren.com for sneak peeks and to sign up for free stuff and updates!

Thank you so much for having me today – what fun questions! God bless!

Susan May Warren

Thanks so much, Susie - loved every minute of your "visit"!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of Wiser Than Serpents and Finding Stefanie

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

Buy Susie's books at Amazon or Koorong


Thursday, 18 December 2008

Character Spotlight ~ Rick Acker's Ben & Noelle Corbin

Today the spotlight shines on............................................ Ben and Noelle Corbin











Rick Acker is a man of many talents including being an author of insightful and action packed thrillers! Do yourself or a loved one a favour, and buy one or both of Rick's books for Christmas :)


Reading about his characters will intrigue you - thanks Rick:~

Ben Corbin


Brief physical description:

Ben is in his early thirties and has brown hair, blue eyes, good shoulders and a strong jaw. He’s about five feet, ten inches, which he thinks is a little too short for a trial lawyer. He has no tattoos, scars or birthmarks that I know of. He made some money in college posing for Speedo ads, but that was twenty pounds ago.


Actor/famous person who might resemble him:

Tom Cruise, but not quite as pretty.

Strengths and weaknesses:

Ben is easygoing, keeps his head even under extreme pressure, and has a quick wit. He’s a coffee lover and Chicago Bears fan (both character strengths, in my eyes at least). He is also a very good lawyer when he’s focused, organized and motivated. His biggest problem is that he’s rarely all three of those things until the last possible moment, sometimes later.


Quirk (if any):

He likes his wife’s breakfast cooking. You’ll know why that’s a quirk once you read Noelle Corbin’s profile.

Your inspiration for the character:

Different parts of Ben came from different lawyers I know. His seat-of-the-pants courtroom brilliance comes from my first boss, Jim Stamos. Ben’s even keel and way with words come from my good friend, Colin West. And his disorganization and procrastination . . . well, those come from me.



Background to the story:

In Dead Man’s Rule (the first Ben Corbin book), Ben has just left a comfortable life at a big firm. He liked the work and the money there, but got tired of “redistributing wealth from the rich to the rich” as he put it. So he decided to hang out his shingle and start taking cases that made a real difference in the lives of real people. He gets that and much more when a quirky and secretive Russian named Mikhail Ivanovsky comes in with a seemingly simple case over ownership of a safe deposit box. Ben agrees to take it because Ivanovsky offers a retainer big enough to pay Ben’s office rent. Ben pays little attention to the case until one day he realizes that he is deep into a near-hopeless legal battle where the lives of millions hang in the balance.

Noelle Corbin

Brief physical description of your main character:

Noelle is petite—five feet, four inches tall—and small-boned. She has blue eyes and brown hair with natural auburn highlights. She is also visibly (and eventually hugely) pregnant during Blood Brothers. Her family was poor and she didn’t have many nice things growing up, so she compensates now by dressing to the nines for society events whenever possible. She prefers diamonds and elegant, simple silk dresses—nothing either ostentatious or cheap.


Actor/famous person who might resemble her:

She looks like Audrey Hepburn or Penelope Cruz, but with blue eyes.

Strengths and weaknesses:

Noelle has a sharp sense of humor and is at least as good at cross-examining Ben as he is at cross-examining witnesses, but she’s also loving and loyal. She’s bright, efficient and organized—traits that serve her well in managing her and Ben’s offices. She’s also ambitious to a fault. Her desire to give her unborn child all the advantages she never had has unfortunately turned her into something of a social climber. She is also an awful breakfast cook, mostly because she can’t fry anything without burning it.


Quirk:

She’s been craving salmon throughout her pregnancy and could easily eat it at least three times a day—grilled salmon steaks, salmon kebabs, salmon bisque, salmon salad, salmon ice cream. (Okay, maybe not the last one, but she’d have to think about it.)

Your inspiration for the character:

Noelle was inspired by two of the women in my life: my wife, Anette, and my younger daughter, Ingrid Noelle. Noelle looks like how I imagine a grown-up Ingrid, and she has Ingrid’s spunk and sense of humor. From Anette, Noelle got her loving heart, style, brains, salmonphilia, and cross-examination skills.

Background to the story:

Blood Brothers (the Corbins’ second book) reunites Ben, Noelle, and some of the other surviving characters from Dead Man’s Rule. Ben is no longer a poor, struggling lawyer; now he’s a rich, unmotivated lawyer. He’d much rather build a chair in his workshop or watch a Bogart-Bacall movie than go into the office. He’d kind of like to retire, but Noelle isn’t willing to let him join the shuffleboard crowd just yet. She encourages him to take on another high-profile case, which he does. Ben and Noelle find themselves caught in a brutal war between two indomitable Norwegian brothers, Gunnar and Karl Bjornsen. The brothers are fighting over a pharmaceuticals empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars—and a new wonder drug that may be worth billions. But the case involves more than bitter sibling rivalry. Signs of embezzlement, black market deals, and the grisly side effects of the Bjornsens’ new drug begin to emerge. Soon, Ben and Noelle find themselves in Norway, where the case takes a personal and violent turn.

Fabulous, Rick - thanks for the insight and kudos for creating an excellent female character in Noelle!

On Monday, my last character spotlight for the year I will be spotlighting Mary Lu Tyndall's Captain Kent Carlton and Lady Isabel Ashton ~ you are going to love the actor she has picked for her pirate captain!

I have some wonderful authors spotlighting their characters in 2009, including Robert Liparulo, Tosca Lee, Jennifer Lavent, Maureen Lang and more. Jamie Carie, MaryLu and others will be back too. So stay tuned.....

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Blood Brothers

Interview with Rick

Visit Rick's website

Buy Rick's books at Amazon or Koorong


Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Winners of the Big Aussie Christmas Giveaway are.....


Well, was this fun and confusing to figure out! Thank goodness for the Random Number Generator - LOL!

I just wish to repeat that a condition of entry was an Australian mailing address. If your name is below and you do not have an Aussie mailing address you are ineligible to receive the book and it will be redrawn.


Now, something I didn't tell you about the giveaway was that I had multiple copies of a couple of the books so here are the winners:~


Skid ~ Heather and Misty


Embrace Me ~ Jane


In The Shadow of Lions ~ Jaana


The Rook ~ Angela


Conspiracy in Kiev ~ Believe


Try Dying ~ ad


That's (Not Exactly) Amore ~ Naomi


Legend of the Firefish ~ Danielle


With Endless Sight ~ Elyse


Truffles by the Sea ~ Leola


Wishing on Dandelions ~ Allison


The Secret of Us ~ Allison


The Root of All Evil ~ Wendyb


Forsaken ~ Beth and Tracy


Red Helmet ~ Jewelz, Heather, Leola, Louise and Jane

To claim your prize, you must email me your mailing address within 7 days. If I do not hear from you within this time frame the book will be redrawn in favour of another entrant. Thanks for your understanding :)

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