Tag Archives: Julianna Deering

Book Review: Dressed for Death

6 Jul

This Traditional British Cozy Mystery Gets a Regency Twist

Drew and Madeline Farthering celebrate their six-month anniversary by attending a fancy Regency era costume party. Drew is glad to see Talbot Cummins, an Oxford classmate, and his fiancée, Alice Henley, though many present seem worried about the couple. Everyone’s concerns are realized when, at the concluding grand ball, Alice dies of an overdose of cocaine. Tal refuses to believe she took the stuff intentionally, and Drew is determined to find out if her death was an accident or murder.

Drew is shocked and disillusioned when the police arrest Tal’s father and reveal that the man has been smuggling drugs into the country for the past twenty years. Reeling from the death of his fiancée and the revelation about his father, Tal begs Drew to find out what’s going on. Drew, now questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, does so reluctantly, not ready for the secrets he’s about to uncover — or the danger he’ll bring down on everyone he holds dear.

 

Julianna Deering (also writing as DeAnna Julie Dodson) has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, 2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (Bethany House, 2014). Dressed for Death (Bethany House, 2016), and Murder on the Moor and Death at Thorburn Hall (Bethany House, 2017).

 

My Impressions:

The fourth book in the Drew Farthering Mystery series by Julianna Deering, Dressed for Death, finds Drew and Madeline attending a week-long party at the Cummins family country home. The theme is Regency England, and all the guests are required to dress and act the part. Yachting trips, picnics, and a ball are on the agenda, but so is murder. While the bodies continue to pile up, the crimes hit a little too close to home for Drew. Faced with his own inadequacies, Drew perseveres to find out just whodunit.

Deering’s mystery series takes place in 1930s England, and she does a wonderful job of bringing the era to life. Dressed for Death adds another layer with the Regency party. Both Drew’s time with its cultural references and the Regency era are wonderfully integrated — kudos on the meticulous historical research! Jane Austen fans will love the numerous references to the author’s works. The mystery itself is puzzling up to the end. I had my suspicions, but was surprised as Drew solved the case. Drew is an interesting character. Part of the wealthy class of England, he certainly doesn’t have to work for a living, but his calling as an amateur detective presents challenges. In Dressed for Death, Drew grapples with discouragement and doubt as he examines what it really means to be called by God. The local vicar advises: “Don’t let anyone despise the gifts you’ve been given, and don’t you do so, either. They may not fit anyone else’s idea of a calling, but the world has all sorts of needs, and God has provided for each of them to be filled, if we all do our part. It would be a shame if your part were left undone.” (p. 303) A great message no matter the task God provides.

Dressed for Death comes in the middle of the series, with book 5 now available and book 6 due out in November 2017. It can be read as a standalone, but I think the series is too good to miss any of the fun. If you haven’t read any of the books, start now with Rules of Murder and then progress through the rest. You’ll be all caught up just in time for Drew’s latest adventure!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday: Series I Need to Finish!

20 Jun

The folks at The Broke And The Bookish want to know what book series bloggers want to start. Well, before I can start a new series, I need to complete some first. Oh, who am I kidding? Having uncompleted series won’t keep me from starting new ones, but they will weigh heavily on my mind. LOL! To find out what book series other bloggers long to begin, click HERE.

 

Because I have many books on my shelves that regularly whisper (or shout) Read Me!, I thought I would share those series I began in earnest, but have been a slacker in completing. I share these partly to find out from you which one I should be reading and partly to shame myself into reading those long neglected books. So here they are.

Top Book Series I Need to Finish

 

The Darkwater Saga by Patrick Carr

 

Drew Farthering Mystery series by Juliana Deering

 

The Martyr’s Song series by Ted Dekker

 

 

Sophie Trace Trilogy by Kathy Herman

 

 

Secrets of The Shetlands series by Michael Phillips

 

Which series would you finish first?

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday: 2016 Releases I Didn’t Read (But Should)

10 Jan

My TBR pile has reached staggering heights since I started blogging. Is it possible to have too many books? I think the problem is really not enough time to read — stuff like laundry and work just keeps getting in the way! In an effort to read what is on my shelves in 2017, I am practicing saying no to shiny new books. We’ll see how long that lasts. 😉 In the meantime, here is a list of the books that were released in 2016 that I failed to read, but really, really plan to. Can we put a freeze on 2017 releases until I get caught up?

For other bloggers woefully behind on their reading, check out The Broke And The Bookish this week.

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2016 Books That I Need to Read

The Cottage by Michael Phillips

Delilah by Angela Hunt

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

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The End of Law by Therese Down

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hall by Julie Klassen

Lead Me Home by Amy Sorrells

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The Shattered Vigil by Patrick Carr

Sins of The Past by Dee Henderson/Dani Pettrey/Lynette Eason

You’re The One That I Want by Susan May Warren

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Have you read any of these 2016 releases?

Which one should I read first?

Top 10 Tuedsay — New Books in The TBR Pile

8 Nov

Books, books and more books! That’s what my life looks like! I am always on the lookout for my next great read, even when I have 10s 100s 1000s waiting in the wings! This week the folks at The Broke And The Bookish have challenged us to list our most recently added books to the old TBR list. I will limit my list to just 10, although I could probably go on and on. To find out what other bloggers are looking forward to reading, click HERE.

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I think I have a good mix of books to read in the upcoming weeks — history, mystery, romance, Christmas-themed and Indie-published novels. Eclectic, but that’s how I like it.

Top 10 Recently Added Books on The TBR List

 

Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard

A Christmas to Remember by Linda Brooks Davis

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

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The End of The Roadie by Elizabeth Flynn

Finding Riley by Dan Walsh

Lucifer’s Harvest by Mel Starr

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year by Ace Collins

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O Little Town of Bethany by Rene Guttering and Cheryl McKay

The Princes of Albion by Jon and Thomas Hopkins

Truth Be Told by J J Hemmestad

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What are some of the books you are reading next?

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR List

15 Mar

I can hardly believe it is Spring already! But the time jumped ahead and the azaleas and pear trees are blooming outside my window, so it must be true. Today’s theme for Top 10 Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish is Spring TBR List. I have lots of fabulous books on my list — including biblical fiction, mysteries, romantic suspense and historical romance. What are you reading in the days ahead?

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Spring 2016 TBR List

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

Bathsheba by Angela Hunt

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

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A Fool And His Monet by Sandra Orchard

The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer

Lydia’s Song — Katherine Blessan

The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

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Picture Perfect Murder by Rachel Dylan

Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham

You’re The One That I Want by Susan May Warren

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That’s what I’m reading.

How about you?

Book Review: Murder at The Mikado

24 Nov

210976Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has calmed down some, Fleur Landis, a former girlfriend, reappears, in dire need of his help. She’s married now, no longer an actress–but the lead actor in her former troupe’s production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police’s number one suspect.

Drew would rather focus on his fiancée, Madeline Parker, and their upcoming wedding, but he can’t leave Fleur and her family in the lurch–even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline begin investigating, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. It seems nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between.

Both the murder case and the presence of the beautiful, exotic Fleur put a heavy strain on Drew and Madeline’s relationship. Will their still-young romance survive the pressure?

julianna-deeringJULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey.

 

My Impressions:

I’m hooked! I am a fan of all types of mysteries, but Julianna Deering’s Drew Farthering Mystery series has a lot of what I am looking for — puzzling clues, a classic time period and setting, and characters who try to live their faith, but have struggles like the rest of us. The third book in the series, Murder at The Mikado, does not disappoint. Another winner that a mystery aficionado will love!

Drew and Madeline are getting married. After a whirlwind courtship that included not just one, but two, murder investigations, the two are ready to settle down. But of course murders seem to find them, so the two, along with steward-in-training, Nick, are drawn into the world of the theater in order to find out just who killed the leading actor in the light opera company. But while the previous murders have put the two in physical danger, this one may prove fatal to their relationship.

I love everything about this series. With the feel of a classic Christie or Sayers novel, the setting of a small village in England in the 1920s is perfect. Deering’s witty dialog, puzzling plot, and endearing characters are spot on. I especially like that Drew and Madeline seem so real, and definitely relatable. They draw on their faith to keep themselves and their engagement steady, even as they struggle with unforgiveness, insecurity and jealousy.

Murder at The Mikado can be read as a standalone, but I recommend you begin at the beginning. The series is just that good — you won’t want to miss a thing. And I hope this one won’t be the end of the detecting team of Drew, Madeline and Nick. Sure hope there are many more mysteries for them to solve.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase the books in this series, click on the images below.

Book Review: Death by The Book

4 Jun

210969WHEN THE VILLAGE OF FARTHERING ST. JOHN IS Stunned BY A SERIES OF MURDERS, DREW FARTHERING IS DRAWN again INTO THE SLEUTHING GAME.

Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered, an antique hatpin with a cryptic message, Advice to Jack, piercing his chest.

Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl’s tearful confession point to the victim’s double life, but what does the solicitor’s murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? Nothing, it would seem–except for another puzzling note, affixed with a similar-looking bloodied hatpin.

Soon the police make an arrest in connection with the murders, but Drew isn’t at all certain they have the right suspect in custody. And why does his investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?

 

julianna-deeringJULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuts with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, 2013) and will be followed by Death by the Book (Bethany House, 2014).

 

My Impressions:

I love a good mystery, especially one that is reminiscent of the great British offerings of the 1930s. Julianna Deering has created a series that will leave fans of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers satisfied. Death by The Book is #2 in the Drew Farthering Mystery series. (Rules of Murder, book 1, review HERE.) The endearing Drew Farthering, young lord of the manor, is back on the case, assisting the local Detective Inspector with a series of puzzling and seemingly unrelated murders. The only clues are cryptic messages affixed to the bodies with decorative hatpins. A mystery that will keep you guessing until the end, I recommend Death by The Book.

Deering has created a very authentic feeling classic murder mystery. The quaint setting of Farthering St. John and the attention to details of the time, including books read, cars driven and clothes worn, makes the reader feel he has stepped back in time. There is plenty of witty dialog and fun characters as well. The mysterious clues found on the body made me wish I had paid more attention to memorizing Shakespeare. Deering did a great job of incorporating obscure quotes into the action, making this novel really by the book! But what sets Death by The Book apart from other mysteries is the natural expression of faith by Drew and other characters. The clues build for both Drew and the reader allowing both to try their hand at solving the crimes. I must say, I was thoroughly shocked and surprised by just whodunit!

So if you like a great puzzler, then pick up both books. You won’t be disappointed. I am looking forward to book 3, Murder at The Mikado due out later this month.

Recommended.

(Thanks to Bethany House for my review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.