Jennifer DeLamere – An Heiress at Heart

July 22 – 26

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

Is Introducing

An Heiress at Heart
(Grand Central Publishing)

By

Jennifer DeLamere

2013 Rita nominee

About the Author:
The youngest child of a Navy pilot and a journalist, Jennifer acquired a love of adventure and an excitement for learning that continues to this day. She’s lived in three countries and traveled throughout the United States. An avid reader of classics and historical fiction, she also enjoys biographies and histories, which she mines for the vivid details to bring to life the characters and places in her books. Her debut novel An Heiress at Heart was chosen by Grand Central Publishing to be the first inspirational romance for their Forever imprint. She resides with her husband in the southeastern United States–where, when not writing or dreaming up romantic adventures for her characters, she can be found fantasizing about her next ski trip or international vacation.

Website: http://www.jenniferdelamere.com/

About the Book:
A youthful indiscretion has cost Lizzie Poole more than just her honor. After five years living in exile, she’s finally returning home, but she’s still living a secret life. Her best friend Ria’s dying wish was for Lizzie to assume her identity, return to London, and make amends that Ria herself would never live to make. Bearing a striking resemblance to her friend, and harboring more secrets than ever before, Lizzie embarks on a journey that tempts her reckless heart once again . . .

 

A committed clergyman, Geoffrey Somerville’s world is upended when he suddenly inherits the title of Lord Somerville. Now he’s invited to every ball and sought after by the matchmaking mothers of London society. Yet the only woman to capture his heart is the one he cannot have: his brother’s young widow, Ria. Duty demands he deny his feelings, but his heart longs for the mysterious beauty. With both their futures at stake, will Lizzie be able to keep up her façade? Or will she find the strength to share her secret and put her faith in true love?

Amanda’s Review:

What can I say? I adored this book from debut author Jennifer Delamere. It had all the elements that, for me, make a great read. An Heiress at Heart is a heart-stirring romance, with a dash of suspense and a few surprising twists. It is set in Victorian London with reflections of Australia and carries within its pages a message of hope.

For me, the characters stood out on the page. A noble and honourable hero, a leading lady with a good heart who’s lost her way a little, a nasty villain and a colourful supporting cast kept me turning pages late into the night. I especially enjoyed the somewhat flippant James who provided some comic relief with his witty remarks. I do hope to see more of him in the continuing series of Love’s Grace, because I will definitely be reading more from this author.

I recommend this novel to all lovers of Historical Romance. You won’t be disappointed!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for a free review copy.

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Susan Diane Johnson – No Substitute

1 – 5 July
is introducing No Substitute 

(Pelican Book Group November 30, 2012)

By Susan Diane Johnson 

The Book Depository

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Susan Diane Johnson aka Suzie Johnson

I live on an island in Northwest Washington. A writer of Christian Fiction, my debut novel, No Substitute, is now available from Pelican Book Groups. During the day I work at my local hospital as a cancer registrar. During the evenings and on weekends, I write novels that I hope will bring joy and uplift the hearts of readers. I am married and have one grown son. I love to travel and see new places – especially by train. My favorite destinations are Victoria, B.C.; Williamsburg, Virginia; Disneyland; and Avila Beach in California. I love to read, write, go to baseball games, and ride roller coasters with my son. I am a member of American Christian Fiction Writers;Romance Writers of America; Faith, Hope and Love; National Cancer Registrars Association; and Washington State Tumor Registrars Association.You can find me on Inkwell Inspirations, a daily Christian Women’s blog where I am a regular contributor. You can also find me on my personal blog, Suzie’s Writing Place where I share my faith, my writing, and my love for books. I’m also onFacebook and Pinterest where I can explore my love of beautiful historical clothing, the South of France, beaches, and certain television shows.

About the Book:

Amy Welsh knew when she came back to the small Washington town of Goose Bay she’d eventually run into her high school sweetheart—the one who broke her heart seventeen years ago. Only Quentin Macmillan isn’t the boy she remembered. He could potentially be everything she’s ever dreamed of. But remembering the past reminds Amy that she and Quentin aren’t a pair of teenagers in the bloom of first love. Letting him into her life resurfaces all the hurt she’s tried to ignore. Forgiveness isn’t as simple—or easy—as it sounds, especially after Quentin and Amy discover his teenage daughter has been manipulating their feelings. If Amy can open her heart to healing, she’ll find the future God prepared for her.

Amanda’s Review:

I enjoyed No Substitute. At times it reminded me of my first love as a teenager and the kinds of emotions that went with that. I found the characterisation very realistic, particularly with teenagers as well as adults. The plot also was very believable. Over all No Substitute was a sweet, heart-warming read, and I recommend it to those who enjoy a romance.

Thanks to the author for a free review copy.

Alison Stanley – Trust Me Twice

From the Back Cover

TrustMeTwice12From the day they were both born, Alana and Zac were best friends – that is, until an incident on a school camp causes Alana to push Zac away and to doubt God.

Ten years later, Alana returns to her home town of Oakley and runs into Zac again. He is now a famous TV star and super-cute, but can she forgive him for hurting her all those years ago?

While stranded alone with him in the middle of a natural disaster, she must decide whether to open her heart and trust Zac, and God, again.

A heartwarming story of God’s faithfulness.

Amanda’s Review:

Trust Me Twice is a relatively short read, which I did in a few hours one night, and it kept me awake until I finished it. Parts of the story take place in Alana’s teen years and it really took me back to my own adolescence, awaking those feelings I experienced back then.

I enjoyed Alison’s writing, especially one piece of dialogue between Alana and Zac where they were on opposite sides of a door, and passed notes underneath. Loved that.

All in all, Trust Me Twice was an engrossing, heart-warming read, and I recommend it to all to love a good romance with a satisfying ending. Thanks Alison, for sending me a review copy.

About the Author:

AlisonStanleyAlison is a working mum, living with her husband and two young daughters in the West of Sydney. In her spare time, she writes and self-publishes inspirational romance books for adults and teens.

She also enjoys reading and chilling out in front of the TV, watching other people renovate their houses. Sometimes she even attempts this herself. To contact Alison, or to find out about her writing, visit her website: alisonstanleychristianfiction.wordpress.com.

Dana Pratola – Descended – Jett

From the Back Cover:

descended_cover_final_smallWhen a reclusive businessman takes an interest in Haven’s artwork, she knows it’s an answer to prayer. But Jett Cestone is an enigma with a disconcerting connection to the young women in his employ. He’s by far the most unusual man she’s ever met.

Haven is the most interesting woman to ever cross Jett’s path. But she’s too naïve and pure to learn what goes on in his home. Too bad he wants her more than he’s wanted anyone or anything in his life.

Amanda’s Review:

All I can say is WOW! Although I didn’t read this novel in one sitting, I easily could have. It had me in a tight grip from the first pages and I did end up reading most of a night away. I just wanted to know more about this Jett character — who was he? Even when I finished the book, it stayed with me for over a week. I loved it to bits.

I don’t want to give anything away from the plot, so it will suffice to say that Dana Pratola did a fantastic job at portraying real characters with real struggles, and the chemistry between the Haven and Jett kept me turning pages. And the ideas behind this story were just that little bit different from the norm that it held my interest all the way.

I can’t wait to read more of this authors work. Recommended for those who love contemporary romance with a twist.

About the Author:

Author2Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. He is merciful and gracious and loves me beyond all human reason. He loves you the same way. He gave me a passion to write, and I believe if the words I write turn a reader’s heart toward Christ, I am fulfilling my destiny. A lofty goal? Sure. That’s one of many reasons I need God in my life all day, every day. Another is my family. I’ve been married to my sweetheart for 26 years. We live in New Jersey with our three spectacular children, all of whom are destined to make wide and colorful splashes on this planet.

I write Christian Romance. Not the kind with the women buttoned to the neck and the men daring no more than to hold her hand after a long courtship, but the contemporary kind. I don’t write explicit sex scenes but my characters have real desires, struggles and choices to make. A lot of the time they make the wrong ones. No subject is prohibited but good always triumphs.

For more information, go to http://www.danapratola.webs.com

L.D. Taylor – Motive Games

From the Back Cover:

motivegamessmallWhen practically everyone you know hated your Dad, where do you start your search for his murderer?

Phil Roland is sure his dad’s death wasn’t an accident. Thousands of adults had hated him for designing a popular, but controversial, first–person shooter. Thousands of kids had hated him because he’d walked away with the rights to the game, before a sequel could be made. Now Phil’s got a plan to prove his dad didn’t just fall down a set of stairs. But getting that proof means getting in at Motive Games, getting Dad’s eccentric detective friend to help him investigate, and getting past his own grief.

In this fast-paced thriller, inspired by The Song of Roland, real-world technology collides head on with real-life dilemmas. The result is a high-tech murder mystery with heart, soul… and ultimately, hope.

Amanda’s Review:

High-tech murder mystery is exactly what this book is. Although aimed for younger readers, I thoroughly enjoyed following Phil’s journey as he tried to find out what really happened to his dad.

I probably only understood about half of the computer/gaming lingo, but it was enough to keep me on track with what was happening. And happily, if you don’t understand it all, there is a glossary at the end of each chapter. A true gaming enthusiast would have fun following all the links to more information — unless of course, they already know it all.

Lisa Taylor did a great job at portraying teen characters as well as some interesting adult characters as well. Motive Games kept me turning pages, particularly as it built to the climax. Recommended for teens and lovers of the gaming world.

About the Author:

lisataylorAfter graduating from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada with a BA in English Literature and History, LD Taylor began a career in marketing for the 3D graphics and animation software industry. A few years before her family’s immigration to New Zealand in 2010, she decided to spearhead a family project that would combine one of her teenage sons’ interests (video games) with one of her own (mystery novels). In 2011 the resulting manuscript, Motive Games, won the Caleb Prize in the Young Adult category. Today, Taylor and her family live like pioneers in New Zealand’s Northland, taunting their family back in Canada with photos of exotic locally grown fruits and snowless winters.

Signed Sealed Delivered – Rita Stella Galieh

From the Back Cover:

S S & D cover enhancedHow could she believe in her future when she couldn’t escape her past?

Book I of the Watermark Women Trilogy is the story of Megan Trevallyn, a young English governess who stands accused of a heinous crime.

 The cast of characters whose lives entwine with Megan’s destiny is as follows:  Cornelia Cantrell, the scheming mistress of the Mayfair mansion; Captain Charles Cantrell, her love; Lieutenant John Stafford, her nemesis; Ezra Montefiore, an ardent suitor. And her Christian mentor, Caroline Chisholm, the bane of all who practice excessive adherence to rules and regulations in the new colony.

Journey with her as her heart is broken by a traumatic fraudulent report. Megan will encounter duplicity by those of her household who stand to gain most by her transportation to a harsh penal colony in Australia.

Stripped of everything except her faith, upon her arrival will she survive the daunting challenge she faces? And will this be a land of promise…or perdition?

Amanda’s Review:

As a lover of historicals, particularly Australian historicals, I had to read this novel. And Rita Galieh didn’t disappoint. Signed Sealed Delivered really brought out the hardships that serving women faced in the 1800s. Without money or title, Megan Trevallyn has difficulty proving her word against those who would seek to ruin her life. Therefore, she ends up being transported to Australia in a sad case of injustice. We follow Megan as she tries to live with what has happened to her, and maintain her faith in God in the midst of her troubles.

This novel held my interest from the beginning. One thing after another happens to this poor girl and I had to keep turning the pages to see if any good would come of it all. The pace kept me turning pages right through to the dramatic climax of the story and to its satisfaction. The only thing I would say is I would have liked to see more of Megan’s internal struggle with what had happened to her as I felt this deeper side of the story was glossed over at times.

If you love historical novels with a fast paced story line and plenty of tension, Signed Sealed Delivered is for you.

About the Author:

RitaPicPassionate about faith-based fiction, Rita focuses on the Victorian era with all its undercurrents. With two novels released by a traditional Australian publisher and several US Cup of Comfort anthologies, she blogs weekly at http://inspirationalromance.blogspot.com.au with nearly 1000 hits per month.

She studied art at the Sydney National Art School and now enjoys painting pictures with words. A graduate of Emmaus Bible College, together with her evangelist/violinist husband, George, she writes scripts and is a co-speaker on a Christian radio program broadcast Australia-wide. And each year she and George combine art and music with a message for a month of ministry in Thailand in Buddhist government schools, prisons, orphanages, hospitals, and churches.

Jennifer Genat – The Old House at Mount Munecarthur

TheOldHouseAtMountMunecarthurFrom the Back Cover:

It is 1955, and deep in the Australian bush, an old stone house stands lost in a haze of yellow wattle blossom, unseen by a human being for more than thirty years. That is, until a lonely young girl comes upon it and begins to dream…

At age sixteen, Alison is mature and independent beyond her years, having survived the death of her mother, then her father. Leading a solitary life, with stepparents who barely notice her except as a household drudge, she relies on her own determination and inner strength rooted in her faith. But this faith is even further tested when, returning home late one evening, Alison overhears talk not meant for her ears — her stepmother confessing her open resentment, dislike, and sinister intentions towards her.

Coping with this looming threat, Alison becomes even more intent on solving the mystery of the sleeping house in the bush. She hovers between elation and fear, not knowing who to turn to until her childhood friend, Wes, returns. Even so, Alison’s troubles are by no means over. She must face desperate danger before she is finally able to lay down a burden she has carried for years. Timeless, multi-stranded, romantic, and brimming with suspense, The Old House at Mount Munecarthur takes readers on an adventure they won’t soon forget.

Amanda’s Review:

I’m so glad that I — along with a fellow writer who happened to be with me at the time — found this novel on the shelf in my local Christian bookstore. It is not so easy to find in general, unless you’re looking online, but it is a gem.

Written in omniscient point of view, The Old House at Mount Munecarthur took me a little getting used to, as most of what I read these days is in deep third person. But once I adjusted, I became engrossed. This novel had all the elements that I love — Australiana, adventure, mystery and suspense. Romance was only hinted at really and I suppose could have been developed more, but I loved it anyway. There were enough twists and turns to keep me turning the pages to the end.

Congratulations to Jennifer Genat on a wonderful debut novel.

About the Author:

IMGP0455I am proud to be a vintage model of the 1950s, born in “the bush” and growing up amidst the relics of the Central Victorian gold rush. My schooling—including two years with the Correspondence School—was undertaken at a small town Higher Elementary School, from which I went to Teachers College in Melbourne.
I taught at two country High Schools, in arts and crafts, over a period of ten years, before going to the Bible College of Victoria.

Peter and I married in 1985, had four children fairly quickly, and I never went back to teaching. Instead, when our children’s progress allowed me a little “me” time, I entered the world of second-hand books—buying, repairing, cataloguing and selling by mail order, an absorbing hobby which resulted in a house full of books.

I thought I had at last discovered my real vocational passion. But, no one was more surprised than me when after being persuaded to try the computer for putting together my book catalogues, I promptly wrote a book! And then another, and another… I love it!

Andrea Grigg – A Simple Mistake

7 – 11 January
is introducing
(Wombat books 1 April 2012)
by
Andrea Grigg

About the Author:
Andrea Grigg grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, but has lived most of her life in Australia. She lives with her husband on Queensland’s Gold Coast, where they have raised their three adult children – two daughters and a son. If she isn’t teaching ten-year-olds, being a domestic executive or socialising, Andrea can be found in her cave, writing stories.
Short Book Description:
When Nick and Lainey meet again after 10 years so much has changed. Nick is now a famous celebrity and Lainey is the girl he left behind. As a member of a highly successful band and with an emerging acting career Nick can have any girl he wants. Now he wants Lainey back.
They had been so close when growing up, but after Nick left to seek fame and fortune, Lainey had never heard from him again. Now she has moved on from what she felt for Nick as a teenager. Or has she?
After discovering what kept them apart for so long, they tentatively rekindle their past romance. The feelings are just as strong as before but can Lainey accept Nick’s lack of faith? And can their new relationship survive Lainey’s secret?
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Amanda’s Review:

I really enjoyed this book. The cover has a fresh summery appeal to it for starters. This novel showed how one simple error can change the course of a person’s life. But is it for better, or is it for worse? You will have to read it to find out.

The thing that stood out to me most about A Simple Mistake, was Andrea’s portrayal of the Christian walk. It gives an honest view of our daily struggles, temptations and decisions we make based on faith, that aren’t always easy or painless. Andrea showed how God wants to be part of our everyday life, without sounding preachy or pushy.

Aside from this, the storyline was great and kept me up reading past my bedtime for a number of nights. I loved the chemistry between Nick and Lainey, that kept drawing them back together. The romantic side of me was very satisfied. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a great contemporary romance.

My Top 5 Reads for 2012

Since I don’t actually get to read a huge quantity of books every year, I will limit my favourites to five. Funnily enough that is the exact number of books that stood out for me above the rest last year for one reason or another — either extremely inspiring, toe-curling entertainment, or deeply challenging. So, without further ado, here they are (in no particular order):

front cover (2)

 Jo Wanmer’s book, Though the Bud be Bruised, rocked my world — to put it bluntly. You can read my review here.

TheMerchant'sDaughtercoverI loved, loved, loved The Merchant’s Daughter — especially since Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairy tales. You can read my review here.

Stories of Australia's Christian Heritage by Elizabeth Kotlowski

It was so inspiring to read about the godly characters who explored and pioneered this Great South Land in Stories of Australia’s Christian Heritage. Read the review here.

11834189Redeeming the Rogue was another novel that hit all the right buttons for me. For my full review, see here.

childofthemistAnd of course, I can’t go past a great medieval romance. Child of the Mist turned me into a fan of Kathleen Morgan. Here is my review.

Are any of these on your favourites list? If not, what was your top read for 2012?

Skye Wieland – Insight

Rather than offer Skye Wieland a standard interview, I asked her to share part of her life with us – either a story about how she met her partner, her testimony of faith, or a story of heritage from her family’s past.  Skye offered to share the story about how she came to know the Lord. Be blessed as you read.

My Testimony

My journey from with God has so many facets and layers, but today, I’d like to share my very initial encounter and the journey that led to that.

I grew up in a home that knew nothing of God. We were agnostic. My parents reasoned that there could be a God out there, but it didn’t concern them. My dad kept books in mysteries of the world like UFO’s and as a teenager; I would often drink all these books in, and began to wonder myself what was the meaning of it all. Why did we exist? What was the meaning of life, really? (Not just the tongue-in-cheek things were read and seen in entertainment such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.)

One day however, my mum began search more seriously. She started to go to church, looking for answers. My father was especially in tune with the spiritual world at this time (though not Christian) and while mum was in a place of sitting on the fence, we had some eerie things happen in our home. I used to wake frightened hearing someone in high heels walking our hallway in the dark hours of the night. Dad would awaken to see one of my mum’s passed away relatives, sitting on the edge of the bed, weeping over my mum. Dad got a little worried at this point and wanted mum to stop digging because he thought the apparition was a real relative trying to stop mum from making a decision for Christ. We know now that the enemy is just as real as God and he will stop at nothing to stop us turning to Christ. I was frightened by the things I felt in the house, so without knowing the reason, I kept a bible by my bed to keep me safe, though I never read it.

Finally, mum came to a point where she made a decision to follow Jesus. Dad soon followed in his own way and began a great spiritual head for our household, being quite in tune with the ways of spiritual warfare. As kids, we were dragged to church every week, but I still didn’t own my parents new belief. I had an inquisitive mind that enjoyed sciences of the natural world. To me, theories such as evolution were gospel…and the story of creation and a real God, just clashed with that mentality way too much. I dismissed it as a nice fairy tale.  Being a teenager, I also figured that mum was just going through another one of her phases and that it would soon blow over.

It was only after it seemed to get stronger over the months, rather than fizzle out, that I began to wonder. I also saw changes in mum’s personality. Her short temper was disappearing, she had grace, she was relaxed. I’d never seen her like this. So, finally, I asked her if it was all real. (Now, my mum always had an answer for everything, was always happy to be the authority.) When I asked, instead of preaching at me, she told me to ask God myself. This in itself was so out of character that I was blown away. I said, “But, how? I don’t know how to pray even.”

Again, mum said to go ask God.

This made me quite upset and I turned to my room in a huff. Once there, I prepared for bed and said a clipped upset little prayer. “God, I don’t know if you’re real, or how to even pray to you. Show me what to say…” then it fizzled off. I went to sleep expecting nothing.

In the middle of the night, I woke with a start. I had a scripture reference in my head. I looked at the bible on my bedside table. It had never been opened. I didn’t know any references, but something drew me to look up the index and just see if the book of Luke perhaps was actually there. I sat up, a little excited. I actually felt my spirit quicken and I knew somehow that God was trying to communicate with me. The numbers from Luke were so clear in my head, but when I found them, I was blown away to tears. It was Luke 11:2 where Jesus was teaching the disciples how to pray.

For me, this was a tangible answer from God.

Wow! That gave me goosebumps and tears, Skye. Thanks for sharing. Last week I reviewed Skye’s book, Sarah’s Gift. You can read it here along with more information about Skye. In the back of Sarah’s Gift is a blurb about the second book coming in Skye’s Dare To Follow series. I thought I would share it here. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future, Skye. 🙂

Mark’s Strength

Mark and Sarah van der Merwe think they may have escaped the attention of the ivory smugglers they faced in the past while saving the elephants in Kruger National Park. However, now fighting depression and isolation, the backslidden couple venture back to the place which caused their greatest grief, in order to find closure for their current pain. Little do they know that evil raises its head once more and uses a lost little Zulu boy as bait. Will they show him the way to God, or will they end up in more trouble than they can possibly handle on their own?