Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Coming in March, 2011 from CJ Darlington and Tyndale

Check out CJ Darlington's second novel, releasing from Tyndale in March, 2011. I love the books on the cover and the play on words of the title.

CJ is an amazing lady, co-founder of TitleTrakk.com and soon to by a multi-published author ;-)

Bound by Guilt by CJ Darlington

Roxi Gold has been shuttled from one foster home to another most of her life. She longs for a family and will do anything to fit in - even if it's against the law. Soon she's traveling the country in an RV stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores. If she refuses she'll be put out on the streets.

Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society, and not just at work. Her ex-husband has wrested her daughter away from her in a bitter custody battle. The job she once loved has become a chore - the world isn't safer, and there's no joy in her life.

One night a man's innocent blood changes Roxi and Abby forever. One searches for justice; the other finds herself on the run until a first edition of The Great Gatsby catches up with her. Will the power of forgiveness set them free, or will they both remain bound by guilt?

Monday, 30 August 2010

CFBA Blog Tour of The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Vigilante's Bride
Bethany House (August 1, 2010)

Yvonne Harris


Yvonne Harris earned a BS in Education from the University of Hartford and has taught throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic. Unofficially retired from teaching, she teaches writing at Burlington County College in southern New Jersey, where she resides. She is a winner and three-time finalist for the Golden Heart, once for The Vigilante's Bride, which is her debut novel.


Montana Territory, 1884...Is Her Kidnapper the Only Man Who Can Keep Her Safe?

Robbing a stagecoach on Christmas Eve and abducting a woman passenger is the last thing Luke Sullivan expected to do. He just wanted to reclaim the money stolen from his pa, but instead ended up rescuing a feisty copper-haired woman who was on her way to marry Sullivan's dangerous enemy. Emily McCarthy doesn't take kindly to her so-called rescue. Still, she's hoping Providence will turn her situation for good, especially when it seems Luke Sullivan may just be the man of her dreams. But Luke has crossed a vicious man, a powerful rancher not used to losing, and Emily is the prize he's unwilling to sacrifice.

If you would like to read the first chapter of
The Vigilante's Bride, go HERE

Rel: really enjoyed this one ~ read my review here.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris


Robbing a stagecoach on Christmas Eve and kidnapping a woman passenger is the last thing Luke Sullivan expects to do. He just wanted to reclaim the money stolen from him, but ends up with a feisty copper-haired orphan thrown over his shoulder who was on her way to marry Sullivan's bitter enemy.

Emily McCarthy is an orphan out of options. Forced to marry because she was too old for her orphanage, she doesn't take kindly to her "rescue." Still she trusts God can turn any situation to good especially when it seems Sullivan may just be the man of her dreams. But Sullivan's crossed a dangerous man unused to losing and Emily may just be the prize he's unwilling to sacrifice.

My take:~

Yvonne Harris' debut novel is a surprising treat! While treading old ground with the plot of a young woman travelling to marry an older man when she is kidnapped by a vigilante bent on revenge, in the adept hands of Yvonne, it becomes an enthralling tale of adventure, courage, conviction and attraction. Sparks fly in more ways than one when Emily is snatched at gunpoint and whisked away by a man she is terrified of. But Emily is no wallflower so the battle lines are marked from the start as Luke tries to convince her of the folly of marrying, while wondering why his own thoughts start wandering down the aisle for the first time. With arresting characters, dramatic tension and palpable attraction, Yvonne's future books will be sure to be on my wishlist. Fans of Tamera Alexander and Colleen Coble's historicals will enjoy discovering The Vigilante's Bride.

With thanks to Bethany House for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Yvonne's website

Buy Yvonne's book at Amazon and Koorong

The winner of the Julie Lessman giveaway is.....

Ann Lee M ~ congratulations!

Ann Lee selected A Hope Undaunted, Julie's newest release :)

A big thank you to Julie for her generosity and willingness to "chat" with readers ~ you can read our conversation in the comments section here.

Thank you to everyone (over 100 of you!) for entering and be sure to check here for more chances to win a copy of one of Julie's books.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Randy Singer's Alex Madison

Alex Madison

You can't get much better than a Randy Singer legal thriller! Always brilliantly executed with great characterisation and edge of your seat suspense, be sure to get your hands on his latest, Fatal Convictions. And if you need more convincing, check out the spotlight below as you are sure to be intrigued by Alex and the inspiration for his character.

Over to you, Randy:~

Brief physical description
Alex Madison is a Virginia Beach surfer who is trying to become the lawyer that everybody expects him to be, a prolific litigator like his grandfather. He’s thin, medium-height, with a perpetual two-day shadow, blue eyes and dirty blonde hair that he buzzes in the summer. If you met him at the Beach, he’d be wearing board shorts and flip flops. But he dresses up nice and when he walks into the courtroom he will turn a few heads. He’s quick with a smirk or a one-liner and has this ornery look that made all of his teachers reserve a seat for him in the front row.
Alex was raised by a stern but loving grandmother who infused in him a sense of destiny. He’s got just enough moxie to care less about what others think which serves him well when he lands the most controversial case in Virginia Beach history.
Think pro surfer C.J. Hobgood
Strengths and weaknesses
Strengths: an independent streak; tenacious; cares about others; creative thinker; can think on his feet.
Weaknesses: falls hard for a pretty face; not very disciplined; will avoid confrontation with co-workers and friends; needs to be more of a spiritual leader at his church.
Quirk (if any)
Not sure if these are quirks, but Alex has a few peculiarities. He’s a lawyer who never graduated from law school. In Virginia, you can apprentice under an established lawyer for three years and then take the Bar. Alex did this with his grandfather.
Also, Alex became the preacher at his grandmother’s small church when he filled in one Sunday after the real preacher retired. But Alex has never been to seminary. In short, he’s got two jobs, and he doesn’t feel qualified for either.

Your inspiration for the character
Alex and I share the same two disparate occupations (lawyer and preacher) but that’s where the similarities end. Ironically enough, Alex’s character was inspired in part by one of the shadiest lawyers in fiction and in part by one of the most inspiring. He’s a bit of a cross between Paul Newman’s character in The Verdict (shameless ambulance-chaser) and Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird (willing to defend an innocent man who everyone else abandons).
In fact, The Verdict opens with Paul Newman in a funeral home trying to solicit a wrongful death case from the widow by pretending to be a friend of the deceased. Fatal Convictions opens in a hospital where Alex goes to pray for some church members and then slips down to the hall to solicit cases for his firm. That’s where he meets a Muslim imam who will ultimately be accused of instigating honor killings.
Background to the story
My idea for the book came when I asked this question: What makes To Kill A Mockingbird the best legal thriller of all time?

My answer: Because Atticus Finch performed the highest duty of a lawyer, representing a man he believed was innocent, a man nobody else would defend. Then I asked a related question: What would that look like today? My answer was Fatal Convictions. Who would defend a Muslim imam accused of honor killings? Granted, my protagonist, Alexander Madison, is no Atticus Finch. And I'm no Harper Lee. Nevertheless, I hope you'll find the story both thought-provoking and entertaining.

Thanks so much, Randy ~ your spotlights are always top-notch! I'm very much looking forward to reading and reviewing Fatal Convictions.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of By Reason of Insanity

Character spotlight on Quinn Newberg from By Reason of Insanity

Character spotlight on Jason Noble from The Justice Game

Visit Randy's website

Buy Randy's books at Amazon or Koorong

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

CFBA Blog Tour of Surrender the Heart by MaryLu Tyndall

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Surrender the Heart
Barbour Publishing (August 1, 2010)

M. L. Tyndall


M. L. (MaryLu) Tyndall grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more.

After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart.

Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable.

One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she'd only give her heart to Him completely.

She had written stories her whole life, but never had the confidence to try and get any of them published. But as God began to change her heart, He also showed her that writing had been His wonderful plan for her all along!


For the sake of her ailing mother, Marianne Denton becomes engaged to Noah Brennin---a merchantman she despises. But as the War of 1812 escalates, Jonah's ship is captured by the British, and the ill-matched couple learns vital information that could aid America's cause.

Relive the rich history of the War of 1812 through the eyes of Marianne Denton and Noah Brenin, who both long to please their families but neither one wishes to marry the other. Noah is determined to get his cargo to England before war breaks out, and Marianne is equally determined to have a wedding so that her inheritance can be unlocked and her destitute family saved. When their stubborn games get them captured by a British warship, can they escape and bring liberty to their country—and growing love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Surrender the Heart, go HERE.

Rel: Watch for my review soon ~ love MaryLu's stories :)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Coming in 2011 from Janice Thompson & Revell

I love Janice Thompson's books. Each one is filled with laughter and love and you can't get much better than that! Her new Backstage Pass series kicks off with Stars Collide.


Stars Collide by Janice Thompson

Kat Jennings and Scott Murphy don't just play two people who are secretly in love on a television sitcom--they are also head over heels for each other in real life. When the lines between reality and TV land blur, they hope they can keep their relationship under wraps. But when Kat's grandmother, an aging Hollywood starlet with a penchant for wearing elaborate evening gowns from Golden Age movies, mistakes their on-screen wedding proposal for the real deal, things begin to spiral out of their control. Will their secret be front-page news in the tabloids tomorrow? And can their budding romance survive the onslaught of paparazzi, wedding preparations, and misinformed in-laws?

From the sound stage to a Beverly Hills mansion to the gleaming Pacific Ocean, Stars Collide takes readers on a roller-coaster tour of Tinseltown, packing both comedic punch and tender emotion.

January, 2011

Monday, 23 August 2010

Medical Error by Richard Mabry, M.D.


Dr. Anna McIntyre’s life was going along just fine until someone else started living it. Her patient died because of an identity mix-up; her medical career is in jeopardy because of forged prescriptions; and her credit is in ruins. She thought things couldn’t get worse, but that was before she opened the envelope and saw a positive HIV test with her name on it.

Her allies are two men who are also competing for her affection. Dr. Nick Valentine is a cynic who carries a load of guilt. Attorney Ross Donovan is a recovering alcoholic. The deeper Anna digs to discover who’s behind the identity thefts the higher the stakes. Finally, when her life is on the line, Anna finds that her determination to clear her name might have been a prescription for trouble.

My take:~

Richard Mabry returns with his unique brand of medical suspense and a determined heroine with Medical Error, following his solid and engaging debut novel, Code Blue. Richard is clearly honing his craft as he has created a more complex mystery with a few surprise twists along the way. His compelling characters wrestle with feelings, frustrations and regrets in an authentic manner and the final outcome of Anna's dilemma and her romantic triangle remain in doubt until the final pages. Medical terminology is expertly used and will satisfy the knowledgeable reader without confusing the rest of us! Intriguing and absorbing, Medical Error highlights the contemporary crime of identity theft, provides a satisfying mystery with a dash of romance, making it a most recommended read.

With thanks to the author from my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Code Blue

Character spotlight on Cathy & Will

Interview with Richard

Visit Richard's website and blog

Buy Richard's books at Amazon or CBD

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Cover changes........

Two of Revell's highly anticipated 2011 novels (certainly from my perspective!) have had a cover change. I have posted the new covers below with links to the previous ones. I'd love your thoughts on which covers you prefer:)

The new cover of Lynette Eas
on's second Women of Justice novel, Don't Look Back, has ditched the guy! I certainly prefer these colours to the original orange.

See previous cover, here.

And with the cover of Mesu Andrew's tale of Job, Love Amid the Ashes, the male has been added! I'm not always a fan of faces on covers but this one appeals to me.

See the previous cover, here.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Licensed for Trouble by Susan May Warren with Aussie Giveaway


PJ Sugar receives shocking news that she’s inherited the Kellogg family mansion. Though she has no idea why, the timing is perfect—PJ has clearly worn out her welcome at her sister’s house. Unfortunately, the mansion is in shambles, and PJ is short on cash. Rescue comes in the form of Max Smith, a mysterious handyman willing to trade his services for PJ’s investigative skills. But PJ already has a full docket with cramming for her PI license and nurturing a growing romance with her boss, Jeremy Kane. Can she take on Max’s case without dropping the ball?

My take:~

Susan May Warren has saved the best 'til last with the brilliant ending to her PJ Sugar series, Licensed for Trouble. The quirky and somewhat troubled PJ finds her hands full with a dilapidated and unexpected inheritance and a decision to be made about the two men in her life, the magnetic Boone who knows her so well and the intriguing but secretive Jeremy Kane. The romantic triangle is executed brilliantly as PJ's dilemma is compounded by the doubts she has of her own self worth and the genuine ties and attraction she feels for both men. The underlying mystery thread is fun to follow as PJ bumbles her way towards her PI license but it's the characters that grab hold of your heart and don't let go. With an explosive and satisfying ending, Licensed for Trouble is vintage Susan May Warren and I can't wait for what Susie has in store in 2011.

With thanks to Litfuse for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of Nothing But Trouble and Double Trouble

Character spotlight on PJ, Boone & Jeremy ~ see how Susie pictures her characters

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

Buy Susie's books at Amazon or Koorong

Enter PJ Sugar's "Sweet" Giveaway

Enter PJ Sugar's

Licensed for Trouble, Susan's brand new PJ Sugar novel, is in stores now! To celebrate the release, we’re giving away a Kindle!! You can enter using Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail using the icons below.

One Grand Prize winner will receive a A SWEET Kindle prize package that includes:

  • A brand new Kindle (Free 3G, 6”, Latest Generation)

  • The entire PJ Sugar series by Susan May Warren

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest.

Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on September 2nd.

Be sure to check out the blog tour here or purchase a copy of Licensed for Trouble here!

And here's a giveaway, thanks to Litfuse, exclusively for my Australian readers

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Mary Ellis' Sarah, Adam & Caleb

Sarah, Adam & Caleb

Mary Ellis is making a name for herself amongst readers of Amish fiction, releasing four books in two years and a new series set to release in 2011. Her fourth novel celebrates Christmas so enjoy this insight into her characters and gear up for Christmas, 2010!

Over to you, Mary:~

Brief physical description

Sarah is a tall, willowy brown-eyed blonde, a bit frail looking, but she is no shrinking-violet. For an Amish gal, she
has courage to spare. Most people would underestimate her strength of convictions, since up until now, she been very malleable. I like A. J. Cook from Criminal Minds for her.

Adam is a bulldog-looking, hardworking furniture maker who wishes he were
taller. Not a man of many words, he usually picks the wrong ones, but his heart is made of gold. Johnny Galecki, who plays Leonard on The Big Bang Theory would be absolutely perfect.

Sarah’s brother, Caleb is quiet, moody, and intense. I picture Daniel Radcliff of
Harry Potter, minus the magical abilities.

Strengths and weaknesses

Sarah can get along with
anyone. People are naturally drawn to her, besides her being industrious, reliable and tenderhearted. She would be ideal if she didn’t suffer from the dog-in-the-manger syndrome. She doesn’t want to commit, but doesn’t want to release her fish back into the pond either.

Adam is controlling, jealous and insecure. Redeeming features? He’s patient with kids, kind to animals, and loves our Sarah with his whole heart.

Pride is Caleb’s downfall. It keeps him trapped in his rut instead of admitting the nasty mistakes he’s made.

Quirks (if any)

Sarah loves to check out what the English (non-Amish) guests are wearing in the B&B where she works. Although quite content being Amish, she’s a bit of a fashion-critic in her own mind.

Adam is the world’s best uncle with his nieces and nephews. When building s
now castles and snowmen, a softer side rises to his crusty surface.

Your inspiration for the character

Inspiration for my lovely Sarah comes from the charming B&B where I stay while researching my books. Although the story is pure fiction, I’ve taken characteristics of several Amish friends to create my characters. But Caleb is purely my imagination, since I love to invent naughty, run-off-the-track men.

Background to the story

My story is set in gorgeous rural Holmes County,
Ohio, but my heroine travels to Cleveland to track down her brother. This is the city where I went to college and met my husband. (I will not say how many years ago!) What fun we had riding the trains, walking the beach, haunting the Westside Market—in general, being a tourist in my former hometown. You see things from a completely new perspective. I fell in love with downtown Cleveland all over again!

Mary ~ thank you for sharing! Your characters sound intriguing and a little out of the ordinary for Amish fiction :)

On Monday, the spotlight shines on Tracey Cross' Jane Albright & Franklin Lloyd from Love Finds You in Deadwood, South Dakota

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of A Widow's Hope and Never Far From Home

Character spotlight on Leah, Jonah & Matthew from The Way to a Man's Heart

Visit Mary's


Buy Mary's book at
Amazon or Koorong

Dee Henderson shares Jennifer O'Malley's story

Dee Henderson, author of the popular O'Malley romantic suspense series has added a short story about Jennifer O'Malley, to her website.

Dee has this to say on her site:

"Those who read the O’Malley series often ask me about Jennifer. This background piece from my files covers the days leading up to book one of the O’Malley series."

Enjoy Jennifer's story, here.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Witness by Josh McDowell

Security expert Marwan Accad finds himself immersed in a fight for survival when his latest employer, wealthy businessman Rafeeq Ramsey, is executed by a sniper before his eyes, just as Marwan revealed evidence which could lead to the recovery of Rafeeq's kidnapped wife.

Dodging bullets and bombings, Marwan retaliates in kind as he flees Monte Carlo, desperate to become invisible in the teeming crowds of Morocco and identify who is determined to see him to an early grave. Turning to his brother and a childhood friend, Marwan is shocked to discover he is the subject of an international manhunt, accused of the murder of his client. Racing across the Middle East, Marwan meets a beautiful woman who captivates him with a glance and gives him another reason to live. As the assassins close in and tragedy strikes, Marwan confronts his own mortality and his eternal destination.

Prolific Apologetics author Josh McDowell, turns his hand to fiction in this novel of suspense, intrigue and faith, combining many of the essential ingredients of an international thriller, which in the end doesn't fully capitalise on its fabulous potential. All the main players are Arabic or European and it was great to read a novel where they were not the requisite “enemy”. The initial assassination scene and Marwan's escape from Monte Carlo is excellent, faced paced and not for faint of heart but the book loses its way in the middle as Marwan meets the seemingly carefree Dalia and romance complicates Marwan's escape plans. Intrigue, corruption and terror shadow Marwen as he contemplates the challenge of the Christian faith and his moral failings, against the injustice experienced in his early life meted out by so called Christians. Josh McDowell weaves his considerable expertise on evidence for Christian belief into the storyline, mainly through dialogue between Marwen and Dalia. The finale signals a return to heart pounding action with a very neat and tidy ending that wraps up quickly, making The Witness an interesting read but not the exceptional thriller I had hoped for.

As seen at TitleTrakk.com

With thanks to TitleTrakk for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Josh's website

Buy Josh's book at Amazon or CBD

Monday, 16 August 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Julie Lessman's Katie O'Connor & Cluny McGee with giveaway

Katie & Cluny

Julie Lessman made a big splash with her debut series, the Daughters of Boston. She continues the O'Connor family saga with the much anticipated A Hope Undaunted, the first in her Winds of Change trilogy. Julie does nothing by half measure so I know you will enjoy this fabulous insight into an all grown up Katie and the man that was the young rapscallion, Cluny McGee!

Over to you, Julie:~

Katie O'Conn

Katie is eighteen years old going on thirty with a sassy attitude WAY taller than she. Five foot two, eyes of blue, Katie has a stylish blond Dutch-boy bob and can eat whatever she wants and still fit into the rail-thin styles of the Roaring 20s, which annoys her friends to no end. With her biting wit and cool air, Katie’s petite size is no hindrance in keeping everyone on their toes … especially the pest from her past, Cluny McGee.

Think Reese Witherspoon with an attitude.

Cluny McGee

From street orphan to gang thug to lawyer, Cluny McGee exudes charm and charisma from every pore. With a muscular frame of six-foot-three, clear blue eyes that can pierce right through and a teasing, almost cocky grin, Cluny is a natural athlete who does not like to lose. He spends endless hours playing sports with the kids in the streets, garnering a year-round tan that hides most of his freckles and bleaches his hair to white blond in the summer.

Imagine a younger, toe-head Brad Pitt.


KATIE: Katie is a spitfire with dry wit and more than her fair share of spunk, making her a force to be reckoned with. But it’s her underlying compassion, staunch defense of the underdog and her devotion to women’s rights that sets Katie apart from the average eighteen-year-old girl during an era when women are just coming into their own.

CLUNY: As a street orphan who led a gang on the streets of New York, Cluny McGee is a strong-willed leader who is resilient and tough despite his deep longing for family. He has a heart for children, especially those who are orphans and an incredible loyalty and love for friends, whom he sees as the “family” he never had. He’s charismatic and funny, charming women of all ages, from tomboy orphans to the nuns at the orphanage, and his greatest attribute is his total willingness to give of himself to those he loves.


KATIE: As the baby of the O’Connor family, Katie has a tendency to be a bit spoiled and used to getting her own way, causing her father to refer to her as a “handful.” Her faith in God is minimal at best due to her no-nonsense practicality and she leans toward being the loner in the family due to the age span between her and her sisters. She tends to hold a grudge, particularly toward her father and Cluny McGee.

CLUNY: With a temper mostly subdued thanks to his spiritual mentor, John Brady, Cluny still has no qualms about taking anyone on in a fight. He’s relentless in sports and games and a bit cocky when he wins, which is most of the time. He’s got a stubborn streak that’s a bit controlling and because of his big size, he tends to try and bully those who don’t see things his way … particularly Katie O’Connor!


Katie has a weakness for Life Saver candy … and Cluny McGee’s kisses.

Cluny hates suit coats and ties and is forever taking them off and almost never loses at Pinochle.

Inspiration for the characters

My own twenty-two-year-old daughter Amy, who like Katie, has a dry wit, is in law school and has an actual written list (just like Katie) as to what she wants in husband.

Cluny actually just started out as a bit player who was only to appear in a couple of lines in A Passion Denied, but he so charmed me in that one scene, that I expanded his role in that book to be a major subordinate character who now has his very own story!


What happens when the boy she loved to hate ...

becomes the man she hates to love?

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new womansmart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husbandgood-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

Julie ~ it is so much fun having you here. As always, thanks for the energy and effort you put into your spotlights :)

Julie is graciously giving away a signed and personalised copy of one of her books here at Relz Reviewz ~ thank you, Julie! To enter, complete the form below.

On Thursday, the spotlight shines on Mary Ellis' Sarah Beachy from the just released, Sarah's Christmas Miracle

Relz Reviewz Extras

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

Character spotlight on Lizzie & Brady

Interview with Julie

Visit Julie's website

Buy Julie's books at Amazon or Koorong

Saturday, 14 August 2010

The Seeker by Ann H Gabhart


Charlotte Vance is a young woman who knows what she wants. But when the man she planned to marry joins the Shakers--a religious group that does not marry--she is left dumbfounded. And when her father brings home a new wife who is young enough to be Charlotte's sister, it is more than she can bear. With the country--and her own household--on the brink of civil war, this pampered gentlewoman hatches a plan to avoid her new stepmother and win back her man by joining the Shaker community at Harmony Hill. Little does she know that this decision will lead her down a road toward unforeseen peace--and a very unexpected love.

My take:~

Ann Gabhart's series on the Shakers (not to be confused with the Amish) provides a fascinating insight into a community committed to celibacy, good works and austerity. I enjoyed the first two books in the series, The Outsider and The Believer but her latest novel, The Seeker tops them all. I don't read many "bonnet books" but Ann's stories are well worth reading and infused with much more than a sweet story. Detailed descriptions of the life of a Southern belle, the Shaker ways and the horrors of the Civil War battlefields make for an multi-faceted and moving read. Ann's characterisation is excellent as Charlotte transforms from the belle of the ball to a devout novitiate, while retaining her independent spirit and Adam's perspective on love and life is turned upside down as he observes the horrors of war. Both the romance and faith elements are woven in seamlessly, resulting in an engaging and substantial end to this interesting series.

Available July 2010 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 The Outsider and The Believer

Visit Ann's website and blog

Buy Ann's book at Amazon or Koorong

Friday, 13 August 2010

Brandilyn Collins shares..........

If you love heart pounding suspense, Brandilyn Collins is the go to girl!

Watch this video and see what she is up to ~ enjoy :)

Vanishing Act by Liz Johnson


Eighteen months ago, Nora James watched as her father was shot in an alley—and then she fled. She changed her name, her appearance and her job, hoping to keep her father's shooter at bay. For months, it worked…but now her luck has run out. A ruthless assassin is on her trail, and soon Nora, now known as Danielle, will be found. But this time, she has FBI agent Nate Andersen by her side—right? The handsome agent would give his life to protect Danielle, but he's wary of giving his heart…until a deadly confrontation leaves him with both on the line.

My take:~

Liz Johnson returns with her second romantic suspense for the Love Inspired line, replete with danger, conflict, romance and multiple suspects. Readers will love Special Agent Nate Anderson, bound to protect the vulnerable mechanic, Danielle but conflicted in his feelings for her because of his past. Fear has made Danielle independent and wary, determined to keep running from the danger that stalks her. Vanishing Act is a quick and easy read, with all the elements that make a good romantic suspense even some witty one liners that will make you smile.

With thanks to the author for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn

Character spotlight on Myles & Kenzie

Visit Liz's website and blog

Buy Liz's book at Amazon or CBD

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Serena Miller's Rachel Troyer & Joe Matthews

Rachel & Joe

Serena Miller has intrigued me with the description of her characters in an obviously Amish novel. You will soon see her characters are not of the bonnet set! I'm looking forward to seeing where her story leads and hope you are, too!

Over to you, Serena:~

Brief physical description

Sugarcreek police officer, Rachel Troyer, never wanted to be anything except a cop—just like her dad. She’s a straight-talking, athletic woman who wears her hair pulled back in no-nonsense pony tail while watching over the inhabitants of the town she is sworn to protect.

Here is a link to the picture of “Rachel” that was my inspiration.

Copyright ~ Tyson Crosbie

Strengths and weaknesses

A beating she took while trying to protect a mother and child from a domestic violence situation, put her into the hospital for several weeks. When the story opens, she’s still trying to get her nerve back--while trying to pretend all is well. She’s an interesting mix of bravado, fear-- and absolute bravery when she has to protect someone she loves.


She admires and longs for the social network of the Amish, the tight knit religious order which her father left, but she can’t imagine giving up her car or her gun. Like so many non-Amish people in the Sugarcreek area, she always feels like she’s on the outside looking in.

Your inspiration for the character

When I went to do research in the village of Sugarcreek, Ohio, there was a woman police officers taking care of the miniscule police station. She was kind enough to talk with me about her job and some of the interesting situations in which she had found herself when dealing with the local Amish.

Physical description of Joe Matthews

Picture Russell Crowe with wild hair to his shoulders and a full beard, dressed in deliberately tattered clothes.

To Rachel, Joe is obviously on the run. The question is, from whom? When his truck breaks down in Sugarcreek, he’s forced to beg shelter for himself and his four-year-old son within an Amish Inn, which is owned by Rachel’s three elderly Amish aunts. Rachel is suspicious of this penniless stranger, whose cultured voice and good manners are at odds with his scruffy, homeless appearance.

Strengths and weakness

Joe's wife was a recent murder victim of an unknown assailant. His little boy, his only child, has become Joe’s whole life. The desire to protect his son has propelled Joe on a cross-country trek that is wearing both of them out. His fierce love for his son worries Rachel, because she wonders to what lengths Joe would go to care for him. Would it include robbing the elderly Amish aunts she adores?


Joe uses his fork and knife in a style usually practiced only by Europeans. This is noted by Rachel, who wonders where the man is truly from.

My inspiration for the character

Strangely enough, Elvis Presley. The image of him renting out an amusement park so he could take his little girl on the rides without having to deal with fans, has always haunted me. It seemed such a lonely, joyless experience. Joe Matthews turns out to be a very famous man who is being hounded by the press and his own fans. He’s chosen to hit the back roads of the country to try to hide—growing a beard and moving constantly.

Background to the story

I took that thought—the way our country hounds anyone who has the slightest bit of fame—and ran with it. I also saw parallels between what they have to deal with and the constant curiosity and rude questions the Amish deal with daily. I threw in a suspense element to keep people turning pages.

Serena ~ thanks for sharing about your characters. It's been great to have you here at Relz Reviewz :)

On Monday the spotlight shines on Julie Lessman's Katie O'Connor and Cluny McGee with a signed and personalised copy of one of Julie's books up for grabs!

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