A Matter Of Character by Robin Lee Hatcher

I adore Robin Lee Hatcher. She is an amazing story weaver. I loved this series, but it seems to me that she was tired of the story when she got to this one. It didn't grab as well as the others and you didn't just fall in love with the characters as much. Make no mistake, it was a great character study of Daphne McKinley as a turn of the century dime novelist. I fully appreciate the glass floor for female authors (especially of the kind Daphne wrote--shoot 'em ups of the wild west). However, I got so tired of her "struggle" concerning her "lie" about being a male novelist and writing about a real character, Rawhide Rick, exposing his cruel character.

I don't mind thin plots where you know where the thing is going. It is always fun to see how an author makes it happen. This storyline was completely clear what was going to happen on the last page before you get to the end of the second chapter. No need for a Spoiler Alert because you know I don't do that sort of thing. Suffice it to say, it was extremely predictable and the situations and circumstances were not greatly inspired. I was disappointed.

Robin is such an excellent author, I grade this on a different scale than for a first-timer. Which is why I was so disappointed. I give this one ** two stars out of five. She has done so much better in the past, and I expect great things in the future.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Matter Of Character

Zondervan (May 25, 2010)


Robin Lee Hatcher


Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon


It's 1918, and Daphne McKinley, heiress to a small fortune, has found contentment in the town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho. But Daphne has a secret.

A series of dime novels loosely based on local lore and featuring a nefarious villain known as Rawhide Rick has enjoyed modest popularity among readers. Nobody in Bethlehem Springs knows the man behind the stories ... except Daphne.

When newspaperman Joshua Crawford comes to town searching for the man who sullied the good name of his grandfather, Daphne finds herself at a crossroads, reassessing the power of her words, re-thinking how best to honor her gifts, and reconsidering what she wants out of life.

Robin is conducting a contest for the new book. Join in the fun HERE.

If you would like to read the Prologue and first Chapter of A Matter Of Character, go HERE.


Broken by Travis Thrasher

I read Travis Thrasher's last novel called Isolation. It was one of the most depressing books that I have ever read. This one is not much different. I gave this one the best effort I could and I still had to start skimming. There are flashbacks and twists and flipping from one character to another which is just not done well enough for the reader to have a comfortable story flow read.

Thrasher uses a gimmick which is basically cheating the reader. When the main character knows everything, but the author holds back the information, the trust between author and reader is destroyed. When the reader is given bits and pieces of information to piece together as in a mystery, it is far different because the protagonist has either memory loss or doesn't know any more than the reader, therefore it is a proper tension builder which the reader can trust. When the protagonist knows all the details and the reader knows nothing, it is a cheap way to build tension which destroys any kind of trust a reader could have in the author.

The reader is told about ruthless violence, extreme angst of the main character, without any reasons given or hints of reasons except for the murder. But why did the protag have such fear, and why did she change her name and leave town? I really wish MEN would quit trying to get into the heads of women in novels. They just can't do it, so why try? They do not understand us so it rarely works. Because of this, interest wanes after about the fourth chapter.

I give this a * one star out of five at best. The one star comes from the story premise which is very good. If it had been told in a more straightforward manner, and if it had been told from one POV instead of several, then it would rate **** four stars. The execution just didn't match the premise.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


FaithWords (May 25, 2010)


Travis Thrasher


It was during third grade after a teacher encouraged him in his writing and as he read through The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis that Travis decided he wanted to be a writer. The dream never left him, and allowed him to fulfill that dream of writing fulltime in 2007.

Travis Thrasher is the author of numerous works of fiction, including his most personal and perhaps his deepest work, Sky Blue, that was published in summer of 2007. This year he has to novels published, Out of the Devil’s Mouth, and a supernatural thriller, Isolation.

Travis is married to Sharon and they are the proud parents of Kylie, born in November, 2006, and Hailey, a Shih-Tzu that looks like an Ewok. They live in suburban Chicago.

Stop by and visit Travis at his Blog where you can sign up to follow him on Facebook and Twitter!


Laila had it all--love, family, wealth, and faith. But when her faith crumbles, her world falls apart and Laila finds herself living an empty, dangerous life as a call girl in Chicago.

When she is threatened, Laila shoots and kills a client in self-defense, sending herself into a spiral of guilt and emptiness. Six months later, she is trying to move on, but she's haunted by the past. She hasn't told anyone about the man she killed, and she's still estranged from her family.

When she is approached by a stranger who says he knows what she did, Laila has no choice but to run. But the stranger stays close behind, and Laila begins having visions of the man she killed. Little does she know she's being hounded by something not of this world, something that knows her deepest, darkest secret.

Scared and wandering, will Laila regain her trust in God to protect her from these demons? Or will her plea for salvation come too late?

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


Deadly Disclosures by Julie Cave

This has an excellent story premise and the suspense is top notch. However, there are so many things that are disturbing.

The number one thing is when the suspense is building, we've got a lot of good questions that are sure to be answered at the turn of a page and then BOOM, a snippet of "past life" is dropped in the first paragraph of the page which totally wipes out the entire suspense thing, ruining any delicious feeling of anticipation and mystery, snatching the storyline's flow and shoving the reader into a swirling eddy sideshow. It doesn't work because it is manipulation of the reader and the story. Either decide the focus will be the past of the heroine and use the job as the FBI agent as a backdrop story, or be up front in a prologue and spill the whole bean pot about the protagonist's history. Do not spoil the show since the history of the protag does not mean beans to the plot of the murder of the Smithsonian Director.

This story goes in way too many directions to be coherent. It would have be a great thriller if we didn't that this pitiful angst of the protag which is medicated with alcohol to the point of a clear need for intervention. This is written like one of those CSI episodes which has two character's solving one crime and another two solving a different crime. It's okay that the two are parallel and never meet into one big crime because we have the continuity of the two sets of characters. When you switch, you know which story you are in because of the characters. Here we don't have such relief. We've got two main plots with one character. It doesn't flow well.

One plot is extremely melodramatic. While I can appreciate Cave is trying to be sensitive to alcoholism and showing there is good cause for people to want to medicate on alcohol, it is obvious that she has not lived with an alcoholic nor has suffered from it. I can say this because I have lived through both. This part of the story is two dimensional at best and some of it reads like a rehab center's brochure, and not at all like a character study. Another problem is the back story for Thomas who was the guy kidnapped, then murdered. It is written in italics and that's when you know... OH, here's more about Thomas. That is a story flow stopper and just does not integrate well with the other two plots. We get seasick from the flipflop, teeter here totter there, bait and switch. I'm thinking this is the poorest editing I've seen in a long time.

The other plot is GREAT! It has wonderful development, great suspense, really evil characters, really nice characters, and some characters that don't have a clue which all work very well within the texture of the story. So here, you'll have to take the bad with the good if you want to read this book. For me, it was Skim City.

I give it one star out of five.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Deadly Disclosure
New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (February 15, 2010)

Julie Cave

Julie first heard a creation science speaker at her church when she was just 15, igniting her interest in creation science and sparking an enthusiasm for defending the Bible’s account of creation. She has obtained a degree in health science, and is currently completing a degree in law. Julie is married with one daughter and lives on the east coast of Australia.

A Suspense-filled mystery which answers an ominous question: How far will some go to silence an influential Christian voice?

Thomas Whitfield, proud Secretary of the Smithsonian and its extensive scientific influence, has disappeared from his office with foul play suspected. Dinah Harris, an FBI agent struggling with alcohol and depression, is seeking answers amidst the fallout of her own personal issues.

Whitfield's body is eventually found, and other people connected to him begin dying as well, ultimately exposing a broader conspiracy connected to Whitfield's recent conversion to Christ and promotion of a biblical worldview in an academic world of financial gain hostile to this concept.

Will Dinah be able to experience the redemptive power of Christ before it's too late? Or will the ominous danger stalking her investigation claim another victim?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Deadly Disclosure, go HERE.

Watch the Video Book Trailer:


Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr

This novel is wonderful. It is a love story where the characters actually have reasons to fall in love. We don't have to go through the cliche's of contrived conflict, and the wise council of Scarlett O'Hara's papa "Scarlett, me darling, just being man and woman is opposite enough," holds true. 

I read into the wee hours of the morning in a most delicious way which reminded me of flashlights under the covers only now I can breathe and I don't have to worry about Dad's grumping. This is a Historical romance.

Elvira Kilmer has faced numerous challenges in her barely more than 30 years which is why she is a spinster. She's been thrown out of her cousin's house and her other cousin is forcing her to take care of a pair of boys (6 & 3) who just lost their mother. She believes their father is overcome with grief. When he asks her to marry him, this handsome man who is younger by a few years, she is humiliated down to her toes. She can't believe God would do this to her after she had prayed and prayed. What follows is a wonderful story.

The characters are so well developed they become friends you want to pray for, and the situations/circumstances are so believable you ponder the solution as if it were your own. This is story telling at its best. I highly recommend it!

Delia Parr, pen name for Mary Lechleidner, is the author of 10 historical novels and the winner of several awards, including the Laurel Wreath Award for Historical Romance and the Aspen Gold Award for Best Inspirational Book. She is a full-time high school teacher who spends her summer vacations writing and kayaking. The mother of three grown children, she lives in Collingswood, New Jersey. for more information


Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes

I must begin this by saying that Gina Holmes is a truly insightful woman. Her blog, Novel Journey, is something to be admired and enjoyed by author and reader alike. She can ask some thought provoking questions that can get right to the heart of any issue that should be explored.

Gina Holmes began her career in 1998, penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in southern Virginia. To learn more about her, visit or


I have read lots of books about dying women -- cancer of breast, skin, lungs, brain, etc -- most of them were excruciatingly poignant. I do not know if I could have read them all if I were close to someone dying, because I have the kind of personality that identifies, if at all possible, with the protagonist of the story.

Gina Holmes must have been close to someone who was a mother and who was dying to catch the intensity of feelings that this story captures. Either that, or she interviewed many mothers.

The way she writes this story, the reader is sitting on the porch with Jenny Lucas, and you can smell the lake on the moisture laden breeze. Emotions we take for granted seem to peak and rise rather than ebb and flow in Jenny's breast. She learns, in the few short months she has left, she learns about forgiveness... about what true love is rather than clingy infatuation... and she learns how a deep abiding relationship with God turns the bitterest of anger into a soft acceptance of what is best for her tiny daughter.

You will smile and you will cry. Reading this book is a good experienced. But, I did get to a point where I wonder if Jenny would ever die. So much happens here that it becomes a point of circumstance reaction rather than character growth. However, Jenny learns a lot. She records the lessons in her journal and that becomes a treasure. Made me understand why I love writing so much. It is because I feel a burning desire to pass along what I've learned. I so identified with this character. I believe you will, too. This one is a keeper.

Read the first chapter here


A Woman Called Sage by DiAnn Mills

I read this novel in about three days. It was engrossing, but fell a little flat in the middle. 

What better premise than a woman bounty hunter who is looking for revenge and a Sheriff who has no time for women? We have all the ingredients for a great story: murder, intrigue, mystery, kidnapping... typical day in the old wild, wild, west, right? We also have a novelist who has written more than forty books with more than a 1.5 million books sold. How can that fall flat?

I have not read any of her other novels so I have nothing to compare it to, but this story does fall a little flat. Here is another example that suspense and love triangles don't mingle well in one novel. Either stay focused on the mystery/suspense and let a little love blossom, or leave out the love angle altogether. There is enough conflict with the five murderous McCaw brothers on the loose and the one that Sage Morrow was able to bring in got loose and injured the sheriff. Sage knew it was too easy bringing him in, so that tension could have been built to a nerve searing point that would keep awake the most sleepy reader. Added to that we have a kidnapping of two young boys, the sheriff laid up from his injuries and only Sage willing and able to track the bad guys. 

It sketching the character of Sage, Mills does a pretty good job, except there is a problem which looks a bit like melodrama. Sage is tough as nails when it comes to wanting revenge for the death of her husband and son, but she tears up at the thought of two little boys at the mercy to those who killed her husband.

I did like the conflict created by the preacher Waller. His being a man-called preacher instead of a God-called man was loud and clear and an excellent character study. The kind of character you love to hate. 

There are a lot of characters in this story, most of them lend very well to the flow of the story. Most are developed well, too, which gives a little spice to it. The part where the romance comes to a head so to speak, comes at a time in the storyline which makes me so impatient, makes me ask, "REALLY? You are going to woo a gal while the murders are lurking so close by you can smell their breath?" That kind of writing makes me want to toss the book on the floor and go to sleep... but, with only a few pages left, I couldn't let the murderers go scott-free, could I? Nor will you.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Woman Called Sage
Zondervan (April 1, 2010)

DiAnn Mills


Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has more than forty books in print and has sold more than a million copies.

DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” DiAnn Mills is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels.

Six of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents. Five of her books have won placements through American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Awards 2003 – 2007, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005 and 2007. She was a Christy Awards finalist in 2008.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope and Love, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild.

She lives in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.


They took away everything she, she’s out for revenge.

Sage Morrow had it all: life on a beautiful Colorado ranch, a husband who adored her, and a baby on the way. Until five ruthless gunmen rode up to their ranch and changed her life forever. Now Sage is a bounty hunter bent on retribution.

Accompanied only by her majestic hawk, she travels throughout the Rocky Mountains in search of injustice, determined to stamp it out wherever it’s found. The stakes are raised when two young boys are kidnapped and Sage is forced to work with Marshall Parker Timmons to rescue them. But Sage may ultimately get more than she bargained for.

In this exciting historical romance set in the late 1800s, murder, intrigue, kidnapping, and questions of faith will keep you in suspense until the final pages.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Woman Called Sage, go HERE.
Watch the Video Book Trailer:

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