The Boy in the Hoodie – Catriona McKeown

From the Back Cover:

The-Boy-in-the-Hoodie_Small72Good-girl Kat knew drinking alcohol at school would have serious consequences. But to protect her friend from being expelled, Kat lands herself a term’s worth of detentions.

Inside the detention room, she meets a strange boy who obsessively draws dark pictures and covers his head with a grey hoodie. Little does she know, the hoodie hides a dark past …

An unlikely friendship forms between Kat and the boy in the hoodie. When she discovers a sinister truth he’s been hiding, she somehow feels compelled to help him—but at what cost? And how much is she willing to risk in order to keep him safe?

The Boy in the Hoodie is a real, unforgettable story about past scars and how the ones we love can sometimes heal them.

Amanda’s Review:

The Boy in the Hoodie surprised me–in a good way. I am an adult, and yet I identified with these high-school aged characters. The pressure of peers from those days came back to me all too easily and it was just like being there all over again. I had trouble putting this novel down and kept turning the pages well into the night.

This story brought to life how teenagers can see things far differently from the grownups, I guess because they don’t necessarily see the big picture. Then misunderstandings can happen, and they can put themselves at risk because of their youthful inexperience. And sometimes they have experienced more heartache then they were ever meant to.

The Boy in the Hoodie made me think about these things as I watched the relationships between Kat and her parents, her school friends and the hoodie boy change and grow. My takeaway is that I want to be someone that my kids can be open with, someone they can trust to listen and really hear their struggles.

A fantastic debut novel from Catriona McKeown.

About the Author:

CatrionaMcKeownCatriona spends her days hanging out with teenagers in a middle school in Southern Queensland, where she works to support and advocate for young people with special needs.

Her love of writing character-driven stories reflects her passion to see all young people reach their full God-given potential, and to see the world they live in become a better place.

Catriona has published online a number of short stories, and her first YA novel, The Boy in the Hoodie won the CALEB award for unpublished fiction in 2016. Catriona was also runner-up for the overall CALBEB prize that year.

Go here for more information about Catriona McKeown.

Published in: on 2nd January, 2018 at 7:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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D.J. Blackmore – Folly

Folly coverFrom the Back Cover

It is 1822. The colony bells of Newcastle chime for a wedding but Emma Colchester is uneasy. Her cousin is nowhere to be found. A red satin ribon unearths the truth, and the family face their worst fears. Fingers of blame are pointed too close to home and Emma’s future with Tobias threatens to unravel. The walls of The Folly standing by The Hunter River hold the clue, and Emma risks everything in finding out the truth.


Amanda’s Review

Since reading D.J. Blackmore’s debut novel, Charter to Redemption, three years ago, I have been looking forward to this second instalment, which continues the story of Tobias and Emma and their search for the truth. Who is really buried out at The Folly? Is it truly Gideon Quinn? Tobias and Emma can’t rest until these questions and more are answered.

As a lover of Australian historical novels, I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It kept me turning the pages until I also had the answers the characters were looking for. Blackmore draws characters that range from good and kind, to selfish and downright evil, but also shows why they behave the way they do. She depicts life in colonial times very well and I could imagine being there in Wallis Plains and Newcastle in the early 1800s.

If you enjoy a good Aussie colonial novel, then I can recommend Folly.

Thanks to the author for a free copy for review.

About the Author

cc126-deirdreD. J. Blackmore was born and raised in the coal mining and wine growing Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia. She has milked cows and made cheese. She has reared babies, border collies and kept bees. A short stint with horses saw her break her best arm. Now she steers clear of animals of the equine persuasion. You might see her with a laptop and a head full of ideas. Being a mother to five is her highest achievement, but writing comes a close second. Her and her writing are inseparable as old friends.


Published in: on 13th November, 2017 at 7:23 pm  Comments (3)  
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What’s in a Name – Rapunzel

Did you know that Rapunzel was named after a plant?

rampion_at_degensRapunzel is the German name for a leafy plant called Rampion, whose leaves can be eaten like spinach and whose roots can be eaten like radish.

The character Rapunzel, was named after this herb that her mother craved and ultimately stole from Gothel’s garden. I’m thinking that her mum must have REALLY loved this veg if she named her only daughter in honour of it!

So, now I’m thinking, what will I name my Rapunzel? Is there another vegetable that sounds nice enough to be a name? I mean, let’s face it, Potato is not going to work, even though I LOVE potatoes — especially cut into little sticks and deep fried in oil, oh, or mashed with lashings of butter and cream. Yum! Now my stomach is rumbling.

But, I digress. The point is I would never name my child Potato. Imagine the nicknames — Mr Potato Head, etc. So, what is a more appropriate name for a pretty girl with fabulous long locks? Mizuna? Rocquette? Pumpkin? ;p

What do you think? And remember, it has to be something that would have been available in London in the early 1800s.

Published in: on 23rd April, 2017 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rose Dee – Back to Resolution

From the Back Cover:

Bay Anders is lost. She enjoys every privilege a wealthy upbringing affords, but the void in her soul refuses to be filled. Her mother’s dying revelation drives Bay to the brink of self destruction, before a move to Australia changes everything. She embarks upon a search for her father that leads her to his island home, into a hazardous melting pot of hostile locals and a mystery – her father’s disappearance. The only person who can help her is a strong, self-assured and intensely magnetic man. Bay must fight an overwhelming attraction to stay focused on her goal.

Flynn McKenna is hiding from the world. A past filled with mistakes drove him to withdraw from society and live in seclusion. But the arrival of a woman he cannot avoid shatters his solitary existence. As the search for Bay’s father unites them, can he resist his desire for her?

Amanda’s Review:

Back to Resolution is as colourful and tropical as its cover. Rose has portrayed the North Queensland coast so vividly it took me back to my childhood days when I holidayed there – from the lush green Daintree forest, to the beaches, coral reefs and islands further south on the coast. And that was just the setting.

This book had all the elements I need to make me forget where I am and take me away into the story-world. Great characters, a touch of mystery, and of course, romance. The message of faith is woven in naturally as part of Bay’s journey to finding her father. The tension and conflict between Bay and Flynn, added to the question over her father’s disappearance, kept me turning the pages late into the night.

If you love contemporary romance with real, down-to-earth characters, then you will love Back to Resolution. I am looking forward to Rose’s second book in this series – Beyond Resolution – due for release in April 2012.

About the Author:

Rose Dee was born in Ingham, North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her first novel.
Rose, who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, decided to try her hand at writing two years ago. The result of that attempt is her first published novel, ‘Back to Resolution’. The novel is a culmination of years spent living and loving the tropical paradise in which she lives.
Rose is currently finalising work on her latest release, which is the second in the ‘Resolution’ series. ‘Beyond Resolution’ is scheduled for release in April 2012.
Rose resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband, young son, and mischievous pub, Noodle.

For more information, go to

Back to Resolution is available at Koorong and as a Kindle version on Amazon.

Tomorrow I will be posting a story about Rose’s heritage which she has kindly shared with me. Don’t forget to come back and discover more about this great new author!

Published in: on 8th March, 2012 at 8:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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This Time for Keeps – K Dawn Byrd

From the Back Cover:

India McGuire’s peaceful life is shattered when on the night of her engagement to David Richards, she comes face to face with Chase Porter, a long lost love. India must come to terms with her overpowering feelings for Chase and choose between David, the neighbor who says he loves her, and Chase, the man who broke her heart.

Chase’s plans of leaving quietly turn to disaster when he finds that it’s impossible to disappear without seeing India one last time. Feelings begin to surface that he believed buried forever and he finds himself fighting to win her back even as David struggles to hold onto her.

India longs to follow her heart, but she’s been hurt too deeply. Who will she choose? The neighbor who can provide stability or the man she vowed to love forever who may once again heed to the call of the open road?


Amanda’s Review:

This Time for Keeps kept me guessing for much of the book. Just as India McGuire has an engagement ring slipped onto her finger, there is a knock at the door. The man she had loved so long ago, whom she had never gotten over, stood before her. 

As India’s thoughts vacillated between the two men, I was never quite sure who she would choose – not for a long time, anyway. That doubt kept me turning the pages along with the questions over her fiance’s character – was he really the honourable man he made himself out to be?

All in all, a great read. I recommend this book to those who love a good romance and appreciate the opportunity for second chances.


About the Author:

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance and romantic suspense with four books published through Desert Breeze Publishing so far. Recently, she tried her hand at young adult fiction and found that she really enjoyed writing it. Four new young adult releases are scheduled for 2012. Three books are part of a new college-age mystery/romance series, scheduled to release January, June, and December. The fourth is Shattered Identity, the sequel to Mistaken Identity, and will release in April.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at, most of which are signed by the authors. She’s also the moderator of the popular Facebook Christian Fiction Gathering group at!/group.php?gid=128209963444.

When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 15 years while walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

Mellington Hall by Meredith Resce

From the Back Cover:
When Sarah Montgomery finds a man lying half dead in the snow, she doesn’t stop to think of the consequences of trying to save his life.
But being a Good Samaritan yields nothing but trouble. In her parents’ absence, she struggles against a deadly fever and a vicious snow-storm, doing her best to save the life of a stranger. But when her self-righteous neighbours eventually come to see how she fared during the storm, they draw a very different conclusion. Before she knows it, her reputation is in tatters, and she has been cast out of the church and her home. Alone and destitute, Sarah is determined to seek work as a servant from the man whose life she has saved.
But all is not well for the master of Mellington Hall. Someone wants Lord Alan Mellington dead, and he doesn’t know who or why.
The only person he seems to be able to trust is the gamekeeper’s daughter, Sarah Montgomery, who has intervened to save his life not once but twice. This story blending mystery, scandal, murder and romance comes from one of Australia’s best-loved authors, Meredith Resce.
Amanda’s Review:
The first thing that drew me to this novel, apart from the fact that it is written by Meredith Resce, was the cover. This has to be my favourite cover of the books I have read this year. It just evokes that sense of murder-mystery and romance.
The story inside didn’t disappoint either. Set in a time when some of “the church” operated in condemnation rather than grace, Sarah Montgomery’s reputation is torn to shreds, because of a conclusion drawn in a moments notice, without anyone truly seeking the truth. Sarah has a strong character however and fights to get her repuation righted again, seeking the aid of Lord Mellington.
The road to restoration is not as smooth as hoped, with several attempts on Lord Mellington’s life by an unknown person. In solving the mystery and fixing Sarah’s reputation, the two have a lot on their plate, and the story twisted with a surprise near the end. Who is the would-be murderer? A great read for those who like a bit more action with their romance.
About the Author:

South Australian author, Meredith Resce, has been writing since 1991, and has had books in the Australian market since 1997.
Following the Australian success of her Heart of Green Valley series, an English publisher has taken the first three books in this series, and has released them to the Brittish and American markets. You can watch the promotional video for the first book in the series, The Manse – Meredth Resce, here.
Mellington Hall is her 14th novel published.
Apart from writing, Meredith also takes the opportunity to speak to groups on issues relevant to relationships and emotional and spiritual growth.
Meredith has also been co-writer and co-producer in the 2007 feature film production, Twin Rivers.
With her husband, Nick, Meredith has worked in the ministry since 1983. Meredith and Nick have one daughter and two sons.
For more information, click here.

The River of Time Series – Lisa T Bergren


While most American teens would kill for an Italian vacation, the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives there with their archaeologist parents. And they’re not happy to be back. Stuck on yet another hot, dusty dig, they are bored out of their minds…until they place their hands atop handprints in an ancient tomb and find themselves catapulted into the Fourteenth Century. Gabi emerges in the middle of a dream–or nightmare?–with hot Italian knights in a fierce battle. And so begins her quest to return home…while wondering if she wants to at all.


Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Fiorentini will go to great lengths to see them dead. But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.


Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times.   But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever—even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population. In the suspenseful conclusion of the River of Time series, every decision is about life … and death.



This series of young adult novels enthralled me, and even moreso my daughter, who has read them through four times each within the past two months. The action keeps you turning pages until the very end.

The thing I loved the most about these books had to do with the first person viewpoint. Because Gabi, the leading lady, was a modern teen, all of her internal dialogue was in that very modern sarcasm-filled way that young people talk these days – even though she outwardly tries to fit in with the medieval life. Phrases like “ya think,” “duh,” and “hot-as-all-get-out” are delightfully interspersed amongst all the medieval goings-on. Simply wonderful.

I recommend this book, not only to young adults, but adults as well – especially if you like a bit of history, medieval warfare, adventure, intrigue, and of course, romance. These books have it all.



Lisa T. Bergren is the author of over thirty books that have sold more than two million copies combined. She’s written fiction of all sorts (romance, historical, contemporary, suspense, YA), nonfiction and children’s books. She divides her time between writing, editing, traveling and co-parenting her three children (16, 13, and 8) with her husband, Tim. The Bergrens reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (author web site) (the Bergrens’ travel web site)

Facebook: “Lisa Tawn Bergren” and “River of Time Series

Twitter: @LisaTBergren

Ransome’s Honour

From the back cover:

Once Youthful Sweethearts—Can Their Love Be Renewed?

When young Julia Witherington doesn’t receive the proposal for marriage she expects from William Ransome, she determines to never forgive him. They go their separate ways—she returns to her family’s Caribbean plantation, and he returns to the Royal Navy.

Now, twelve years later, Julia is about to receive a substantial inheritance, including her beloved plantation. When unscrupulous relatives try to gain the inheritance by forcing her into a marriage, she turns to the only eligible man to whom her father, Admiral Sir Edward Witherington, will not object—his most trusted captain and the man who broke Julia’s heart, William Ransome. Julia offers William her thirty-thousand-pound dowry to feign marriage for one year, but then something she never imagined happens: She starts to fall in love with him again.

Can two people overcome their hurt, reconcile their conflicting desires, and find a way to be happy together? Duty and honor, faith and love are intertwined in this intriguing tale from the Regency era.

My Review:

This book is the first in a series of three by Kaye Dacus. I have always loved reading Regency books, and this was no exception. Julia’s character stood out amongst her peers in this novel and I appreciated her independent spirit. William, the leading man, struck a chord with me as I have a penchant for male characters with a strongly developed sense of honour. He can always be counted on to do the right thing.

With a hint of danger and adventure, mixed with all the little details of Regency society, Ransom’s Honour kept me turning the pages until well after my bed-time. I look forward to reading the rest of this series, Ransome’s Crossing and Ransome’s Quest.

About the author:

Humor, Hope, and Happily Ever Afters! Kaye Dacus is the author of humorous, hope-filled contemporary and historical romances with Barbour Publishing and Harvest House Publishers. She holds a Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, is a former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, and currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers. Kaye lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and even though she writes romance novels, she is not afraid to admit that she’s never been kissed.

For more information on Kaye Dacus and her books visit:

Published in: on 16th September, 2011 at 6:10 am  Comments (1)  
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Fire in the Rock

From the back cover:
At the turn of the twentieth century, Australia, in a spirit of growing independence shrugs off many of its ties with the “Old Country”. Some class distinctions linger, boundaries between men and women are still clearly defined and social conventions strict, but with common decency and good manners valued highly, people act kindly toward each other.
In this setting a well-meant deception finds a young woman involved in a desperate search to unearth crucial information, for the truth – preserved by its wary keepers – lies buried deep in the opal fields on the fringe of the vast and thirsty Outback.
Realising her future depends on the choice between two rivals of diverse faiths, she hesitates in the belief that those she cares for most always seem to be taken from her. But when it finally appears she has lost everything, she discovers that true love, like faith, does not depend on feelings alone.
Amanda’s Review:
Fire in the Rock is a wonderful story set in the early 1900s, ranging from Sydney to the outback opal mining communities.
Rita kept me guessing till the end with new surprises around each bend, but left me satisfied that all was as it should be. It was wonderful to read the life journey of her leading lady, Opalena, as she discovered a personal God and learned what true love is. Rita also explored how important identity is to a child living with an adoptive family.
If you love historical romance, Fire in the Rock will keep you entertained for hours.
About the author:

As a co-speaker for the program, Communication, affiliated with United Christian Broadcasters, Rita also has a passion for writing historical romance novels. A graduate of Emmaus Bible College, she retains membership in American Christian Fiction Writers.
Earlier in marriage, besides their Good News Festivals, she and her husband George worked as associate evangelists with Billy Graham and Luis Palau. A prolific songwriter, she has produced several CDs. With an occasional appearance on Christian television, they regularly take dinners and coffee mornings where they give music and art presentations. Residents of Sydney, they minister a month each year in Thailand, working in Buddhist schools, hospitals, prisons, orphanages and churches.
For more information on Rita and her books, please visit:
Published in: on 14th September, 2011 at 12:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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