Saturday, November 18, 2017

Review: Dance of the Dandelion by Dina L. Sleiman

To Purchase

About:

Love’s quest leads her the world over.

Dandelion Dering was born a peasant in the English village of Arun, but her soul yearned for another life, another world. One filled with color and music, with adventure and passion . . . with more. Haunted by childhood memories, Dandelion determines to find a better existence than the life every peasant in the village contents themselves with. Even if her sweetheart William’s predictions prove true, and her journey leads straight to heartache.

From her sleepy hamlet to the intrigue of castle life, from the heart of London to the adventurous seas, Dandelion flees from the mistakes of her past, always seeking that something, that someone who will satisfy her longings.

Will Dandelion ever find the rhythm to her life’s dance . . . or did she leave her chance for true love at home in Arun village?

My Thoughts:

Dance of the Dandelion is a medieval tale about a young woman named Dandelion who dreams of a different life than what she has. I have always enjoyed reading and learning the history of the medieval times, its place between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance, and just how backwards things became and the setting of this story was very well done. This is a heart wrenching tale about a woman who is looking for love, acceptance, and her destiny so to speak and she steps out of the bounds of a safe relationship and runs headlong into a troubled relationship, followed with many heartrending and heart breaking decisions. As I read this book I wanted to get her attention and to tell her to go back to her first love, the one that was meant to be. But as in real life, sometimes the only way we will learn and change is through the circumstances and fallout of our own decisions.

This story very much reminded me of the Prodigal Son and it was at times sad to read but I saw it as an allegorical story as well in regards to our relationship to Christ. Have some tissues ready and be prepared to step back into a time when castles were the norm for a beautiful love story that stands out and will stick with you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required.

Review: 365 Classic Bedtime Bible Stories

To Purchase
About the Book:


Your children or grandchildren will delight in this fully-illustrated storybook that brings 365 read-aloud classic Bible stories to life for impressionable young hearts.

Beginning with the creation story, "God Creates the Earth," and ending with "In Eternity with God,” your children will develop faith in an almighty God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, while journeying alongside Bible characters like Samuel, Jonah, Esther, David, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, and many more.

My Thoughts:


I enjoy Bible story books and I am always interested in new ones that come out. Most of the time the pictures are vibrant and welcoming and pulls you into the story and this one is no exception as it is done in a very simple cartoon like animated images.

This Bible storybook is unique in that it is divided up into 365 stories that can be read throughout the year. They are only a page long and do not take long at all to read if it was read before bedtime or for a newer reader to get through the text on their own. It also is not so long that a child would lose interest, more likely they will want to continue on to the next one.  I also like that this particular storybook includes some lesser known Bible stories in them, something I have not necessarily seen in other ones. 


All in all, this is a nice addition to the Bible storybooks and would make a lovely gift.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Review: The Gift by Shelley Shepard Gray

About the book:


A special Christmas story about love and blessings in the next book in the Amish of Hart County series


The Schwartz family is happy to be spending Christmas on their new farm in Hart County. But when Susanna Schwartz hears gunshots that causes her buggy to overturn, and then her little sister falls through a wooden bridge into the icy creek, it becomes clear from these dangerous "accidents" that someone wants them gone.

Neil Vance has been heartbroken ever since his parents lost their family farm. He knows it's not the Schwartz family's fault, but he can't help but be resentful. Until he meets Susanna. She is kind-hearted and bold, and Neil can't stop thinking about her pretty green eyes.

Neil thinks the accidents are just that, but Susanna's father is convinced the Vance family is responsible. Susanna refuses to believe Neil would do anything to harm her. She's fallen in love with him and knows he is a good man. But her family is ready to pack up and move, and time is running out to uncover the truth before someone gets hurt . . . or worse.


Learn more and purchase a copy.

My Thoughts:

The Gift was another atmospheric Amish read that made me chilly just reading it. This is a story about two families, one who lost the farm and one whose dreams came true at finding and buying a farm that they could actually afford. Starting off with quite a wild ride, we are gripped with a sense of unease and a dark malevolence from the very start. Too many accidents cannot be ignored. Susanna and her family try to reach out to their neighbors to find out why they have been ostracized by the community when they have just moved in. Trying to begin a new life in ideal circumstances is hard enough but when it seems someone wants you off the farm permanently, that is scary.

I really liked the angle of the story where Susanna and Neil Vance-the oldest son of the family that sold the farm- become unlikely friends and reluctant love interests. Not only do we have their story but we get Susanna’s sister, Amanda and their new neighbor’s romance as well. A dark, chilling story within the Christmas season made for an interesting read this holiday season.


I received a copy of this novel for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author:



Shelley Shepard Gray is a "New York Times" and "USA Today" bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.


Find out more about Shelley at 

What others are saying:

Friday, November 17, 2017

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: The Christmas Admirer by Laura V. Hilton


About the Book


Name of book: The Christmas Admirer
Author: Laura V Hilton
Genre: Amish Romance

Release Date: September 5, 2017


Amish romance fans will love this heartwarming holiday story, perfect for gift-giving.

Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but when his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, he was now the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters. What woman would want to put up with that? Still, against his better judgment, he can’t help leaving her a gift now and then, anonymously addressing her name in big block print, just to catch a smile. Roses one month, maple syrup candy another; and maybe this time, something special for Christmas.

Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, but now the clock is ticking. Her father is selling his glass-blowing business, remarrying in January, and moving to Iowa with his bossy wife-to-be. Angry and frustrated, Susanna realizes she’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah?

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts:

When I read an Amish story by author Laura V. Hilton there are certain things that I know to expect: important lessons- check, quaint Amish community- check, a story with twists and turns- check, true love- check, and most importantly- swoony kisses- check. Well at least for me anyway. This story starts off a bit on the downside. We find out that after Benaiah’s parents died tragically almost a year ago, he also broke off his engagement with Susanna for that and more personal reasons. However, they are still very much in love with each other and in his mind to cheer her up and express his love without her knowing- he becomes a secret admirer to her. Like I said, in his mind he thought that was a good idea.

Well, he was not fooling anyone with his gifts, least of all Susanna. However her widower father drops a bombshell on both of them that he is getting remarried again and moving, with Susanna to Iowa, as well as selling his glass blowing business which Ben is his employee. So not only will Ben lose Susanna, but also his job in which he needs to support his younger siblings and grandparents.

Through the ups and downs, sometimes it seemed more downs than ups, Ben and Susanna learn to embrace life as God intends- to trust in Him alone and to let go of our preconceived ideas.  With a little bit of a Cinderella feel, a few characters I would like to have had a few words with, maybe a few hints of future stories, and a true love story I was happily watching unfold, this story made for a very nice holiday read with a cup of something hot.

I was given a copy of this novel for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author


Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer.

Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

Guest Post from Laura V. Hilton


Glass Blowing and The Christmas Admirer
Right before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me.

But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks.

It was fascinating.

And I got to thinking what if…


So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower.

The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are:

Amish Books set in Jamesport, Missouri:
The Snow Globe
The Postcard
The Birdhouse
The Amish Firefighter
The Amish Wanderer
The Kissing Bridge (part of Springs of Love collection)
The Christmas Admirer
Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection–November 2018)
Love by the Numbers (February 2018)

I haven’t read any books about an Amish glass blower, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there. I haven’t read all the Amish books available. Jamesport is an area that is more tourist-oriented than the books set in Seymour / Webster County Missouri. They give buggy tours, have bed and breakfasts, open their homes for visitors to eat supper with them, and have businesses.

All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.

Susanna’s Cranberry Salad

Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the first six ingredients until blended. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Just before serving, fold cream and walnuts into cranberry mixture.Makes 16 servings.

Susanna’s Cranberry Sauce

For on top of turkey sandwiches as Becca requested
Ingredients
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water or orange juice

Directions
In colander, rinse cranberries. In sauce pan, add water or orange juice and sugar, boil until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook about 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries had burst. Let cool.

Susanna’s “Love Portion” Gingerbread

Ingredients
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup shortening, melted slightly
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ c water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
Directions
Shift together flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.

In mixing bowl, mix shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth. 
Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are absorbed. Divide dough into three pieces, pat down until about 1 ½ inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in preheated oven. Cool on wire racks. When cool, decorate as desired.

Blog Stops

ASC Book Reviews, November 9
Books n Baubles, November 9
Janices book review, November 9
Have A Wonderful Day, November 10
A Greater Yes, November 10
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 11
A Holland Reads, November 12
Simple Harvest Reads, November 12
Beck To Basics, November 13
Carpe Diem, November 13
Christian Bookaholic, November 14
Baker Kella, November 16
Quiet Quilter, November 16
Karen Sue Hadley, November 16
Pause for Tales, November 17
Pursuing Stacie, November 17
For The Love of Books, November 18
Blogging With Carol, November 18
Bigreadersite, November 19
Vicky Sluiter, November 19
SusanLovesBooks, November 19
Moments Dipped in Ink, November 20
New Horizon Reviews, November 20
Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 22
Daysong Reflections, November 22
Splashes of Joy, November 22

Giveaway



Grand Prize Package: The Christmas Admirer, “Unto Us a Child is Born” painting on decorative serving plate by Donna White, The Hearthside Collection, Inc., and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).

1st Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and The Very First Christmas by Juliet David with interactive illustrations by Pauline Siewert (children’s book).

2nd Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and “The Woman Who Honors The Lord Shall Be Praised” myrrh-scented candle from abba Jerusalem!

Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c16f



Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review, Q & A, and Giveaway: Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano


About the Book


Name of book: Out of the Ordinary
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Christian historical

Release Date: November 7, 2017


“With all the charm of a Regency romance, the humor of a drawing room farce, and the swoonworthy delight of a fairy tale, Turano’s first Apart from the Crowd historical absolutely sparkles.”–Publishers Weekly on Behind the Scenes

Working as a paid companion may be quite commonplace, but Miss Gertrude Cadwalader’s eccentric employer makes her job unpredictable, to say the least. She finds herself carrying out an array of highly unusual tasks, including wearing peculiar outfits and returning items the woman pilfered. But when the wealthy Mrs. Sinclair catches Gertrude sneaking around the Sinclair yacht with some of the missing items in her possession, she immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion.


Shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair is caught in the middle of a misunderstanding between his mother and Gertrude, but he can’t help coming to his friend’s defense. Even as he hopes their friendship might become something more, Harrison is unprepared for the outlandish escapades that seem to follow the lovely, anything-but-ordinary Gertrude at every turn.

“The second installment of Turano’s Apart from the Crowd series is laugh-out-loud enjoyable. The foibles of the characters, balanced out with a light-hearted yet meaningful love story, is a true treat. . . . All of the threads are tied together in the end, even the small mysteries and side stories. It makes for a very satisfying read when the last page is turned.”–RT Book Reviews

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts:

Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano was an absolutely hilarious book. In fact, this may be her funniest book yet. Which is saying a lot.

Gertrude was such an original, engaging character and her relationship with Harrison was laugh out loud funny. I liked that they had a mutual respect for each other, despite the fact that they kept finding themselves and each other in embarrassing situations. I really liked Harrison, he was down to earth and humble, and he had no idea how to react to any of these situations. He was just trying to find a way to survive in a world filled with women. I also liked that he was color blind, my brother is color blind so I understood what he was going through. Poor guy just wanted to wear an orange coat…

These two made such an excellent couple, and I was rooting to see them get together, laughing and groaning along the way.

And then there’s Mrs. Davenport…

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I cannot wait for the next in the series, or any other book that Turano might write.

I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Reviewed by Nicki

About the Author


Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

Q & A with Jen Turano



What Readers Want to Know from Jen


Hey Everyone! Thank you so much for stopping by today. Because I’m in the midst of a first draft, and in case you don’t know, I don’t actually care for first drafts – all those pesky blank pages, but…I’m getting off track…where was I? Oh yes, why I brought up first drafts in the first place. You see, I’m a little scattered when I’m doing a draft, and because of that, and because my mind is a scary place to visit while filling up those already-mentioned blank pages, I was having a tough time coming up with a post for Celebrate Lit. That’s why I reached out to my fabulous readers, and…here are some of the questions their inquiring minds wanted to know about me or my books. I hope you enjoy them!

Why write in the Gilded Age?

When I started writing historical romance after experimenting with other genres, I didn’t write Gilded age but Regency pieces. However, when I ran across the book “The Court of Mrs. Astor in Gilded Age New York” by Greg King, I was intrigued, and a little baffled about how it came to be that I was so unfamiliar with that riveting time in history. It’s an era where unprecedented fortunes were made at a remarkable rate, those fortunes responsible for so many scandals that I’ll have enough fodder for stories to last me for years. The antics of the members of high society are vastly intriguing, as are the fashions of the day, which is exactly why I’ve never had second thoughts about choosing to write Gilded Age romances.

How do you come up with such unusual names for your characters?

I get asked this a lot. And, contrary to popular belief, I don’t make up the names of my characters. I search through obituaries from the 1800’s, peruse books on the New York Four-Hundred (those were members of high society – chosen by Mr. Ward McAllister, the social arbiter of the day,) and I also scour old census records. I do occasionally pair a first name with a different surname so that my main characters aren’t real historic figures because that can get tricky. Not long ago, while reading through Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: Person and Genealogical, Volume 1, I found a bit on my great-grandfather, which was cool – not that I’ll be using him, but I might have a character modeled after him at some point in time. Another interesting tidbit about choosing names is this – names only work for me if the characters decide they like the names I select for them. If they don’t like the name, they simply stop cooperating. I can’t write their stories until I choose another name. An example – I was recently going to name a heroine Georgianna – but it was like trying to write through mud. As soon as I changed her name to Myrtle, I was back in business.

What is the most ordinary thing you enjoy doing?

I love to shovel snow.

Who is responsible for your book covers? Do you choose the model/setting?

Bethany House’s design team does all of my covers, and occasionally they hire out the job to other design houses. The only input I give is when I send in a character/setting sheet, describing my heroine and listing a few scenes that I feel might be good for the background. In “Out of the Ordinary,” I suggested having Gertrude on or near a boat, and the design team then hired a model who resembled my character sketch and put her on a boat.

Which character has been the most difficult to write?

All of my characters give me trouble at some point in time, but recently, Mrs. Davenport was the character who was being incredibly difficult. For the first three edits of “Out of the Ordinary,” she was too complicated and a bit on the dark side, but after I changed her backstory, and remembered she was supposed to be eccentric, not deranged, she turned into a delightful lady, one I enjoyed writing.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever Googled while doing research for a book?

I don’t know if this is crazy, more on the lines of idiotic, but I once googled Gentleman’s Clubs when I was looking for an all-male club my hero would want to join. That was a definite mistake, especially since I didn’t include a very important word – historic. Well, the next thing you know, all sorts of naughty sites were flashing in front of my eyes, and to this day, I still get advertisements for singles looking for a good time and all sorts of other interesting…offers.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Nope, it never entered my head to pursue a career in writing, nor was I ever a person to even keep a diary or a journal. I’m pretty sure I wanted to be a movie star when I was younger, but when that didn’t pan out, I majored in fashion and spent quite a few years working for department stores. It wasn’t until my son was in third grade and we wrote a book together just for fun that I began entertaining the thought of trying to see my stories in print.

How long did it take you to break into the publishing world, and how many books did you write before that happened?

What everyone needs to understand is that publishing is a cut-throat business. I had no idea when I decided to try and get published what the competition was like, and if I had, well, I might have nipped the whole idea of getting a book into print right in the bud. But, because I knew I only wanted to go the traditional route, it soon became clear, what with all the suggestions I was getting about the work I was sending out to agents, that I needed to up my game…a lot. I experimented with quite a few different genres – middle grade, YA, contemporary women’s fiction, Regency romance, and then Gilded Age, getting really proficient with query letters in the process. It wasn’t until I started writing historical romance, though, that I really began getting requests for full manuscript. After I’d been writing for about three years, I finally signed with an agent. She never sold the book she signed on to represent, but after I wrote “A Change of Fortune,” she sold that within two months. Long story short – it took me about seven years to get published from the time I wrote my first book, and…I have seven manuscripts that will never see the light of day because they’re awful.

Is there a reason you include so many animals in your stories?

I’ve always been an animal lover, and as such, I really enjoy writing different animals into my scenes. Dogs are my favorites, followed by pigs, and most of the characteristics my animals have are traits I’ve seen in real life. Matilda, the pig in “A Match of Wits,” was inspired by a pig I used to see in New York. She was so quirky, as well as intelligent, that I knew I would have to write a pig in at least one of my stories. This current series does not have as many animals because I do want to keep my stories fresh. But, having said that, my next series finds my heroine visiting a farm, and well, I don’t know many farms that don’t have animals, especially adorable cows by the name of Buttercup that may or may not have the odd tendency of moseying into the house to eat pie whenever the urge strikes.

Last question – Have any of the crazy antics in your books been inspired by real-life events???

I seem to be a magnet for weird things happening, so…yes, quite a few of those antics were inspired by real life events. I’ll share just one since I do need to get back to that first draft. I live near Denver, and when my son was little, we used to visit the Denver Zoo. That zoo just happens to have a very large flock of peacocks – peacocks that took one look at me one day – and I must add that I wasn’t doing anything except pulling my son in a wagon, and the next thing I knew, I was being chased through the zoo by what seemed to me to be the entire flock of peacocks – all seemingly intent on trying to murder me. Funny how fast a mom can run while pulling a wagon when in fear for her life. My son thought it was fabulous fun, and bless those members of the staff who came to my rescue. They were almost successful in not laughing, and…I received a free lunch after the dastardly peacocks were chased away. That event is what inspired me to write a mad flock of peacocks in “In Good Company.”

Thank you so much for visiting me today. Hope I answered a few questions you may have about me!

All the best,

~ Jen ~

Blog Stops


Vicky sluiter, November 11
Bookworm Mama, November 11
cherylbbookblog, November 11
Book by Book, November 11
Lane Hill House, November 12
C Jane Read, November 12
The Power of Words, November 12
Smiling Book Reviews, November 13
Moments Dipped in Ink, November 13
Faithfully Bookish, November 14
Bigreadersite, November 14
Mommynificent, November 14
All 4 and About Books, November 14
Just the Write Escape, November 15
allofakindmom, November 15
Pause for Tales, November 16
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 16
Neverending Stories, November 17
Have A Wonderful Day, November 17
Christian Bookaholic, November 17
A Reader’s Brain, November 18
Karen Sue Hadley, November 18
The April Journal, November 18
Cafinated Reads, November 18
Bibliophile Reviews, November 19
Blogging With Carol, November 19
Mary Hake, November 19
Baker Kella, November 20
Rachel’s Back Talk, November 20
Texas Book-aholic, November 20
Joy of Reading, November 21
Remembrancy, November 21
Splashes of Joy, November 22
amandainpa, November 22
A Greater Yes, November 23
Radiant Light, November 24

Giveaway



To celebrate the tour, Bethany House is giving away a grand prize of Two Jen Turano Novels and a $20 Starbucks Gift Card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04914/

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Review: Murder in Disguise by Donn Taylor

About:

Official verdict: Suicide.

But why would that vigorous department chairman kill himself? To avoid disgrace? Those rumored ventures on the dark side? Some other secret life? Visiting professor Preston Barclay wonders. But his questions bring no answers, only anonymous threats. He has enough problems already, proving himself on a strange campus while radical faculty do all they can to undermine him. Worse yet, that sexy siren assigned as his assistant complicates his courtship of the beautiful Mara Thorn.

While Press keeps asking questions, Mara's research reveals a cancer of criminal activity that permeates the community and even the campus itself. The more Press questions, the more dangerous the threats against him become, and the more determined he grows to clear his friend's name.

But can Press and Mara's stumbling efforts prevail against the entrenched forces of the police, the campus radicals, and an unseen but powerful criminal organization that increasingly puts their lives in danger...?


Learn more and purchase a copy.

My Thoughts:


Murder in Disguise is the third book in the Preston Barclay Mystery series by author Donn Taylor and I believe it is my favorite to date. Preston has signed up to be a visiting history professor at a more liberal college and Mara his love interest is going as well to stay with an old friend to do some research. Preston is arriving at the college after his longtime friend has supposedly committed suicide. This is so out of character for his friend, Jordan, that even Jordan’s wife has asked him to prove it is murder. Preston already saddened by the news is hesitant to step back in to a possible murder investigation.

Well, the story is sprinkled with so many unusual faculty members and students, not to mention the cops don’t really want Preston nosing around. And because she is Mara, and loves Press, she steps into the pot as well. This situation quickly escalates and becomes more dangerous as Preston begins uncovering the truth.

As with all of author Taylor’s books, I so enjoy the wit and wisdom he uses in a tongue in cheek way. Not at all a preachy book but it does show the ridiculous realities that colleges are becoming. Not just a funny subject, but quite a serious and terrifying one as well when you consider the ramifications this will have on our culture, society, and our children.

This was a book that I was invested in and wanted to pursue the truth with Press and Mara at whether their friend did commit suicide and why, or was it truly murder in disguise? The overarching theme of Preston’s and Mara’s romance was also something I have been looking to read more of and I was not disappointed. I highly recommend this cozy mystery and cleverly, witty written book.


I received a copy of this novel for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.


About the Author:


With a PhD in English literature (Renaissance), Donn Taylor taught literature for 18 years at two liberal arts colleges. Now retired, he has published suspense novels, mysteries, and poetry. His historical novel Lightning on a Quiet Night was a finalist for the 2015 Selah Awards. He is a frequent speaker at writers' conferences. In a prior incarnation, he led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. He now lives in the woods near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.


Find out more about Donn at http://www.donntaylor.com.

What others are saying:

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Review: Elissa Blue by T.K. Perry

About:

Genre:  Fiction, Romance, Sci-Fi, New Adult
Publisher: Scarlet Note Publishing, LLC
Publication date: January 19, 2017

Though she worried it might never happen, Elissa Blue has finally gotten her wings. Now she has a short window of time to migrate to the Mating Mountain, find a husband, and get back down the impassable cliffs before she loses her ability to fly forever. If she doesn’t succeed, she’ll be stranded as a servant in the Old Castle for the rest of her life. And if she doesn’t choose her man wisely, she might be just as miserable.


My Thoughts:

Elissa Blue by T.K. Perry was a very diverse and unique story. T.K. Perry built an extensive and engaging world, inhabited by creatures different from any other I’ve ever read: Butterfly-human hybrids. I believe that she did an excellent job describing her world and these butterfly hybrids, though there were some strange details that I found borderline disturbing. For instance I thought the pheromone was weird.

The story has elements of fantasy and dystopian, but mostly it’s is a romance. Elissa is simply trying to find the right guy. She doesn’t want to make her decision too quickly and thus end up unhappy for the rest of her life, but she also doesn’t have much time to choose because hanging over her is the constant threat of her season ending.  Perry keeps you guessing until the end who Elissa will end up with, throwing in new twists every time you think you have it figured out.

I think my favorite characters were Elissa’s extended family. I liked Psyche and her brothers, and even though I started off thinking their dad was a total jerk I ended up liking him too. Elissa herself was somewhat selfish and shallow, and some of the things she did just had me shaking my head and thinking, “Girl…” but she won me over by the end.

Elissa’s long cast of potential love interests were also interesting characters. Well, most of them were.  One of her love interests I utterly couldn’t stand. He was a troglodyte, and every time she gushed how perfect he was I would roll my eyes.

On a whole this was a clean, YA/NA romance with a very unique twist. I’m interested in what the next books in this series will be.

I received a copy of this novel for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Reviewed by Nicki

About the Author:

T.K. Perry lives with her husband and daughter in a lovely Oregon forest filled with wildlife (there is probably a house, too, but that’s less picturesque). When she isn’t writing or watching said wildlife, she enjoys making jewelry, pretending to be a photographer, and trying to save the world (a frustrating task since she lacks both superpowers and a costume).

T.K. has a B.A. in International Relations from Brigham Young University, an M.A. in International Politics from the University of Denver Graduate School of International Studies, and a J.D. from the University of Denver College of Law. Law is her profession, but writing is a favorite hobby. This is her first published book.