Book Recommendation: Angelguard by Ian Acheson


Back cover blurb:

Within a period of weeks, three horrific bomb blasts devastate areas of London, Los Angeles and Sydney. No explanation is offered, no victory claimed for these acts of terror. Yet behind the scenes a Machiavellian European businessman is planning to bring the G8 nations to their knees for his own larcenous purposes, aided by the dark forces to whom he has sold his soul. Jack Haines, an Australian academic, is grieving the loss of wife and children in the Sydney blast. Against his will he finds himself thrown into a war that transcends the physical world, a conflict in which angelic guards have a special mission for him. A gripping novel of the unseen forces that throng our world.

Narelle: I really enjoyed reading Angelguard, the debut novel by Australian author Ian Acheson. The cover looks scary, but I was quickly drawn into the physical and spiritual story worlds. The book starts in the middle of the action, with the main characters caught up in horrific terrorist attacks. We live through their pain and angst over losing loved ones, and journey with them as they rebuild their lives and face even greater challenges.

I loved the way the plot intertwined, and all the story threads came together in an exciting and thrilling finale. I found the interplay between the angels, demons, and humans both fascinating and plausible in the context of the story. The power of prayer, in particular intercessory prayer, is an important theme in the story. The characters had depth, and I also liked the romantic element in the story that added to the core conflict. I recommend Angelguard to those who like reading supernatural thrillers.

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USA trip: Oregon Coast Part 2

Last week I shared my highlights from the first part of my trip to the Oregon Coast. Today we’re heading south from Seaside to the lovely little town of Cannon Beach. A few surfers braved the cool temperatures in the ocean. I find it fascinating that the Pacific Ocean, as far south as San Francisco, is too cold to swim in without a wetsuit, even in summer. We have warmer water temperatures in Australia on our mainland southern coastline.

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We meandered along the main street in Cannon Beach, visiting an art gallery and browsing in a number of stores. The photo below was taken during our stroll through Cannon Beach.

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We drove a short distance and walked on the sand at Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach. The weather was pleasant and sunny, with a light breeze off the water. A gorgeous September day to visit the beach.

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We travelled south from Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast Highway. We reached the western shoulder of Neahkahnie Mountain, and stopped at the lookout. I was blown away by the magnificence of the scenery, with mountains and the Pacific Ocean close together. The view south toward Manzanita was stunning.

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We visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and I sampled their famous icecream. Delicious and creamy, I’d definitely go back for more.

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I wish we’d had more time to spend at the coast. I loved the scenery, and the laid back atmosphere of the seaside towns. Next week I’ll share more highlights from my visit to Oregon as we head inland to the mountains.

ACRBA Tour Rocky Mountain Romance by Lesley Ann McDaniel

7th – 11th  April  2014

About the Book


But they haven’t spoken since his sister Courtney’s wedding last summer. Now that they’re back together again on Courtney’s Montana ranch, Sheila’s wondering if she only imagined that Ben cared for her—and their time together was just a beautiful dream.

Ben’s crazy about Sheila, but he’s too shy to tell her, and he’s praying for another chance to win her affections. Can this sweet computer expert overcome his shyness and show her that sometimes dreams really do come true?


About the Author

While earning a degree in acting, Lesley Ann McDaniel fell in love with theatrical costuming, and pursued that as a career while nurturing her passion for writing on the side. Through God’s guidance, she has shifted her focus to honing her skills as a writer of women’s and young adult fiction. She is a member of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and of a wonderful critique group. A native Montanan and a Big Sky girl at heart, Lesley now resides in the Seattle area.

Narelle: It’s great to see Lesley’s February release being toured by ACRBA. If you’re a contemporary inspirational romance fan, check out Lesley’s latest release from Heartsong Presents. Rocky Mountain Romance is set on a ranch in a beautiful part of Montana.

USA trip: Oregon Coast Part 1

Last week I shared my highlights from Chicago and my road trip to Indy. I attended the ACFW conference in Indy and flew from Indy to Portland, Oregon, via Chicago. I visited for a few days with my husband’s uncle and aunt in Oregon, not far from Portland. Allan and Norma were generous hosts, and we enjoyed our road trips to different parts of Oregon.


Our first stop on our day trip to the Oregon Coast was Camp 18 Restaurant in Elsie. Camp 18 Logging Museum and Restaurant is located on Highway 26, the main road between Portland and the coast. We don’t have many log cabins in Australia, and I was fascinated by intricate detail in the wood carvings. Below is a photo of a Smokey Bear wood carving.


I’d heard about cinnamon rolls. The restaurant provided an opportunity to taste a real American cinnamon roll. I wasn’t disappointed. I initially thought it was served with ice cream. I soon realised it was a scoop of butter, not ice cream, on top of the bun. A very decadent treat that I’d love to taste again.


We drove along Highway 26 to the Oregon Coast Highway. The scenery was gorgeous. I live on the east coast of Australia, and I’m used to the sun rising over the ocean and setting over the mountains. It was amazing to look out over the Pacific Ocean, knowing Australia is many thousands of miles away to the south-west, far beyond the horizon.


We visited Seaside, a lovely coastal town with an enormous sandy beach. You could sit there for hours and relax by the ocean. It was interesting to see a children’s swing set on the sand rather than in a park beside the beach.


We reluctantly left Seaside and headed south. Next week I’ll share more highlights from my visit to the Oregon Coast.

ACRBA Tour Dave the Donkey by Andrew McDonough

31 March – 4 April  2014

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Dave the Donkey


Andrew McDonough

About the Book


Jerusalem. A lone rider approaches. The cheering crowd swarm to greet him. The King has come, mounted upon his mighty steed Dave the Donkey! Join Dave, his Grandpa and Jesus in this epic Easter tale of power, courage, death and resurrection. If you like Black Beauty you will love Dave the Donkey.

About the Author


Andrew McDonough is the creator of the popular Lost Sheep resources. He has written and illustrated 21 children’s stories that are used in schools and churches around the world. Based in South Australia, Andrew belongs to the WestCare community, an inner city mission working amongst the homeless, supporting people struggling with addictions and advocating for refugees. He regularly visits schools & churches to tell stories, conduct workshops, preach and lead all-age worship services. He and the Lost Sheep team have a passion to provide high quality Biblical storytelling resources to children’s workers, pastors and parents. Andrew’s stories including Cecil the Lost Sheep, Jesus and the Children, Echidnas on Everest and his latest book, Tina the Tree.

Narelle: My daughter and I enjoyed reading Dave the Donkey. Grandchildren have a special relationship with their grandparents, and Dave is excited to tell his grandpa that he carried the king to Jerusalem. Dave asks his grandfather to tell him what happened to the king in Jerusalem, and he’s surprised to learn the truth.

Dave the Donkey is a sweet story that provides a lovely and easy to understand explanation of what happened at Easter in Jerusalem. It’s written and illustrated in a way that will appeal to younger children. There are 21 books in the Lost Sheep series. I highly recommend this book to parents looking for a fun, Bible-based story that can help their children learn more about Easter.

Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy.

A book giveaway of Dave the Donkey is currently running on the Ausjenny blog as part of the ACRBA Tour.

USA trip: Chicago and road trip to Indy

Last week I shared my highlights from the Great Train Adventure. If our itinerary had run according to plan, Suzie and I would have spent two hours in Chicago before boarding a train to Indy. Instead, we were still in Wisconsin when the train to Indy departed from Chicago.


The Amtrak staff were helpful, and we decided to accept their offer of a free night’s accommodation in Chicago. We were given a room in the gorgeous Swissotel overlooking the Chicago River. Our dinner ended up being room service at midnight. This was the start of nearly a week where my Aussie body clock decided that 2am was an appropriate time to fall asleep! I never adjusted to the eastern time zone in Indy that is ten hours different to Australia. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling at my best in the mornings at the conference in Indy.

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The next morning we decided to hire a car to Indy instead of waiting for the train that departed later in the day. The ACFW conference was starting the following day, and we wanted to arrive in time to get settled the night before. Plus, we had dinner plans with writing friends that we didn’t want to miss. I was disappointed that we didn’t have time to explore Chicago, and I’d love to visit again.

I was looking forward to our road trip and seeing the countryside between Chicago and Indy. This was my first visit to the midwest, and we drove past miles of corn fields on the interstate. But, the real challenge was leaving Chicago and ending up on the right road to Indy.

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I had started adjusting to being on the wrong side of the road while we were in Washington (our cars are right hand drive in Australia). The freeway system south of Chicago was an experience. Our car rental company wouldn’t provide us with a GPS because we were travelling interstate from Illinois to Indiana. We were given a map and told which interstate turn off we needed to make.

I concluded there was a road to every city in the US out of Chicago! I’ve never seen so many turn offs in such a short distance. Suzie was driving and it was my job to navigate. Well, that was a big fail on my part when we worked out we were on the road to Detroit, Michigan and had somehow missed the Indy turnoff! After turning around and putting the smart phone to work, we ended up on the correct interstate and crossed the Illinios state line into Indiana.

We eventually reached Indianapolis and made it to dinner at the hotel with our friends on time. If you’re interested in learning more about my 2013 ACFW Conference experience, I blogged about it here. I farewelled my travelling companion, Suzie, in Indy. Next week I’ll continue my journey from Indy to the beautiful state of Oregon.

Heartsong Presents April New Releases

My first fiction book release with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line, Falling for the Farmer, was released in February 2014. Today I’m posting information on the new Heartsong Presents releases for April.

Four Heartsong Presents books are released each month under the Love Inspired brand: two contemporary inspirational romances and two historical inspirational romances. The Love Inspired range of books include contemporary romance (Love Inspired), historical romance (Love Inspired Historical) and romantic suspense (Love Inspired Suspense).

International readers outside the USA and Canada can purchase the print books online from Amazon and The Book Depository (free international shipping). If you’re looking for inspirational (Christian) romances to read, please check out the Heartsong Presents and Love Inspired books.

The Mistaken Heiress


Kate plans to start a landscaping business on the property her beloved grandfather promised would be hers. So when she encounters a mysterious stranger who insists he owns her inheritance fair and square, she can’t let it go without a fight. No matter how attractive he is.

Steve Adams is taken with the beautiful setting, a perfect place to build a home for troubled kids. But he didn’t expect a flame-haired beauty to claim the place, or his affections. When Kate decides to give up her claim for the kids, can Steve convince her that everything he has is hers, now and forever?

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Rodeo Song


But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna—and his cowboy past—far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna’s life. But, once burned by love, Jenna must guard her heart against the captivating singer.

Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he’d be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he’s found what he was looking for all along…right here in his hometown.

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An Unconventional Lady


But her strict mother keeps her close to home, working as a Harvey Girl waitress. Until Dallas Baker shows up in town and takes the job Annie really wants—leading tours through the Grand Canyon. Annie’s frustrated, but finds it impossible to ignore the handsome outdoorsman.

With her split skirts and modern hairdo, Annie challenges Dallas’s old-fashioned notions of what makes a lady. To his surprise, he finds her delightful, until he learns she has no interest in settling down. Dallas is ready to win her heart, but is Annie willing to fall in love?

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Beloved Protector


Unexpectedly caught in a battle between Roman forces and Jewish zealots, Tapat seeks refuge in a cave. When soldiers discover her hiding place outside Jerusalem, she’s terrified. Then she realizes that their leader is Andronicus, the man whose life she saved six years ago.

Seeing Tapat again reminds Andronicus of all he has sacrificed for Rome. As a soldier, he is forbidden to marry, but he’s never forgotten the lovely Jewess he yearns to make his own. Now she’s in danger, and he’ll risk everything to protect her. But can he truly give up the soldier’s life for the love of a woman?

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