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Silencing the Siren by Denise L. Barela Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Silencing the Siren

Author: Denise L. Barela

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale

Release date: January 4, 2022

Silencing-the-Siren-663x1024

Andrew Grayson thought he had everything… until he met her.

The indulged son of wealthy parents, Andrew has always gotten whatever he wanted almost before he knew he wanted it—clothes, gadgets… even a car! What more could a young man desire?

Enter Annabel Thompson. Freakshow mermaid extraordinaire… in a wheelchair!

Of course, her beauty attracts him. How could it not? Add to that a kind heart, and Andrew can’t help but fall for her.

Annabel’s connection with the freakshow repels his parents and their society friends. They want him to sever all ties with her and his new friends. Oh, and marry the “right” girl with the “right connections.” But he won’t do it. He’ll defy them and marry his little mermaid.

When Annabel turns up missing, declared dead, things don’t add up, Andrew begins asking some difficult questions, the most important being, “What happened to the little mermaid of the Coney Island freak show?”

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. Silencing the Siren offers a retelling of “The Little Mermaid” that will keep you gripped to the edge of your seat as you watch the story unfold.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

The seventh in the retold fairytales series, The Ever After Mysteries, Silencing the Siren by Denise L Barela takes place in 1920s New York City and Coney Island. Andrew Grayson is a sheltered, young, rich man who lives in a Central Park mansion, but falls in love with Anabelle, a circus performer on Coney Island.

This is an imaginative retelling of the Little Mermaid. I loved seeing the closeness of the circus performers, who though mostly unrelated, form their own tight family. “This family was put together purely by the love and friendship they had for each other. The love they had ran far deeper than the blood Andrew shared with his parents.” I loved the way they care for and protect each other. Acceptance and love are freely given within the circus confines, things that are sadly lacking from the more affluent and “righteous” community without.

I love to zero in on secondary characters that I would enjoy meeting, often because of the way they treat others. William and Amalia are those people in this tale. Discerning, caring, quick to forgive, and to aid others, they almost need their own story!

Great twists to complete this fairytale! Don’t miss your chance to find out whether the Siren is silenced for good!!

Notable Quotables:

“Anger clashed and rolled with the grief inside him. A war of fire and ice with no clear winner.”

“This city cared about no one but themselves. They had no compassion, no love, and no heart. Why couldn’t these people just open their eyes to the struggles of their fellow men? Why couldn’t they see that while they obsessed over societal expectations and positions, others had to exploit their differences just to survive?”

I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit. I also bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great! Imaginative Retelling of The Little Mermaid

About the Author

Denise Barela’s passion for fiction, her faith, and general creativity define her life. In all things, she strives to glorify God, though especially in and through her writing. She has spent the past six years working for a publicity company and five years working as the head editor for a publishing company. With an MFA in Creative Writing and a Professional Writing certificate, Denise enjoys using her education and work experiences to help authors achieve their own writing dreams. When she’s not working away at her desk, you might find her reading a good book or following Alice down the rabbit hole…

More from Denise

Hello Readers!

I’m so excited to share Silencing the Siren with you! This book was so much fun to write and research. I learned so many fun facts about old cars, old New York, and even doorbells!

Yes, you read that correctly. Doorbells.

These noisy items were such a novelty in the 1920s that they were often given as Christmas gifts!

Crazy, right?

I wanted both Andrew and Annabel to represent that feeling we have all experienced at least once in our lives. That feeling of not belonging. It looks different for each person, but it’s a uniting feeling.

Annabel will never be accepted by those outside her family, but they more than make up for that. Andrew is popular and well-off in society, but as he comes to know the Lord, he starts to feel that rift with his superficial friends and family. It’s with other believers, Annabel’s family, that he finds that deep relationship he desires. They are more than willing to provide.

This is the beauty of the body of Christ. When we are sick or in need, the body of Christ comes together to support you in that time of need and extend Christ’s love to all corners of the globe.

I hope you enjoy reading Silencing the Siren as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 7

A Baker’s Perspective, February 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 9

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 9 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, February 10

Genesis 5020, February 10

Inklings and notions, February 11

Connect in Fiction, February 11

For Him and My Family, February 12

Blossoms and Blessings, February 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 13

deb’s Book Review, February 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 14

For the Love of Literature, February 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 15

Blogging With Carol, February 15

Connie’s History Classroom, February 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 17 (Spotlight)

Sodbuster Living, February 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 18

Austen’s Angle, February 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 19

Simple Harvest Reads, February 19 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Back Porch Reads, February 20

Through the Fire blogs, February 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Denise is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/19bc6/silencing-the-siren-celebration-tour-giveaway

Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, New-to-Me Author

A Giant Murder, #2 Ever After Mysteries by Marji Laine Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  A Giant Murder

Author: Marji Laine

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: August 3, 2021

Would you like a shot of… death with that, sir?

Josephine Jacobs was just doing her job, serving at an exclusive party, so why is she now being accused of shooting TG Taggert?

At a party full of suspects in the murder of Taggert, Josie served the food giant everything but an eternally “parting shot.” Who really killed TG Taggert?  His wife?  His son, Jack?  What about Harper Davis?  Rumor has it, she was having an affair with him—motive for her or Taggert’s wife! The list of those who seemed to hate him keeps growing, including a chemist and a chef!

With her long-time friend, Office Porter O’Brien, Josie sets out to find out who really killed “the giant,” and clear her name.

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. A Giant Murder offers a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” with enough clues and suspects to keep you looking over your shoulder. We’d recommend Kevlar… but it hasn’t been invented yet!

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Like a father who is loving and teaching his toddler to walk, that’s how God sees you when you ask to become His.” My fave line of the book, one I want to remember! I love this word picture! Our Father is indeed loving, but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard it explained in such a heart-warming way.

It’s 1926 in Dallas,Texas. A power couple hosts a gala party at their fancy hotel. By the end of the night, the millionaire host has been murdered, and poor waitress Josephine “Josie” Jacobs has been fingered for the crime.

Imaginative fairy-tale retellings with mysteries woven in. This is the premise of the Ever After series. Marji Laine turns Jack & the Beanstalk into quite the high society-gone-amuck-tale in #2, A Giant Murder. I enjoyed the trope of friendship to lovers between Porter and Josie. I could actually see a young, naive woman acting as Josie did. I found Porter very endearing and would hope a similar young officer would be in my neighborhood, if needed. I was pulled into the story more than I expected, since I am not typically a fan of 1920ish books. Surprisingly enough, this mystery is one I pegged- but only very partially! Good twist there!

A positive is that there is a strong, clear salvation message early in the book. This also could be a negative, as it seemed a little clunky and like the author wanted to insert the whole message early on. I would have liked for the message to be given out in small, more natural conversation.

There was enough mayhem to keep me reading quickly to find out who dunnit. The ending fell flat for me when one character suddenly changes his stripes. This is only my opinion, and I would urge you to read A Giant Murder for yourself.
I received a copy of the book from the author through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Where goes suspicion seldom goes grace,”

“The only people who didn’t hate TG were those who didn’t know him.”

“Arriving as a police car pulled into her lot, she was beginning to get used to seeing them there. A habit to which she didn’t want to become accustomed.”

“I keep thinking the next thing will set everything perfect, but it doesn’t. And accomplishments, finished products start to crumble. People. Only out for themselves.”

“We do the best we can with what we have, our very best, and then we let God be God to make it work the way He wants it.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great! Overall a fun mystery, one that makes me want to read the whole series! Thank you, Ms. Laine, for my great first taste!

About the Author

Marji Laine is a graduated home-schooling mom of four with two college students staying in the nest for a little longer. She and her hubby of 34 years also share their North Texas home with a rescue pup named Rosie. When Marji isn’t editing or publishing the books for her authors at Write Integrity Press, she indulges in penning her own mystery, suspense, and romance novels. She loves acting in musical comedy, has directed many stage productions, leads a high school Bible study and sings in her church choir. She prefers mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, NASCAR to football, Magnolia pie, white roses, green, and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. You can find her at her website: MarjiLaine.com

More from Marji

I so enjoyed researching the history of downtown Dallas as I crafted my story, A GIANT MURDER. The house that I chose for Josie and her mom is actually still there on Haskell Avenue. The photo with the wrought iron is about twenty years old, but the house was built circa 1914. The photo with the wooden fence is from last year, after a big remodel. This house was also the setting of another of my books. It and the field that used to be next to it was an after-school child care center in AIN’T MISBEHAVING.

Thinking about what life might have been like in this house in the twenties, I can’t help but think about my grandparents. They were teenagers at the time of my story – 1926 – and while my grandfather grew up in, what was then, a little farming town called Paris, Texas, my grandmother grew up in Oak Cliff, just across the bridge over the Trinity River from this house in downtown Dallas.

Makes the research that I did on this era even that much more special. Having come through COVID, I realize that my great-grandparents had to nurture their preteens and teenagers through the Spanish Flu that devastated whole communities. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

All of this reminiscing sent me to an old recipe book that had been a wedding present for me from my mom almost thirty-five years ago. In the dessert section near the back, I found a precious recipe for Date Candy that had come by way of my great-grandmother, Carrie Ethel Leatherwood Morin. I never met her, but I do remember hearing from my mom that she was a woman of faith, and I have a poem she wrote late in life, about growing up in the country.

I would say this is a 1920s recipe, but who could tell? She was a middle-aged mom at that point, so it’s a good bet.

Date Candy

1 box – light brown sugar

4 T – corn syrup

½ pt – whipping cream

1 cup – dates

1 cup – pecans

1 t – vanilla

Mix sugar, syrup, and cream. Cook until almost a hard ball. Just before removing from pan, put in dates and stir until they melt. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat until almost hard – then add pecans. Wet a cup towel. Pour mixture onto cup towel and roll into a roll. Let it cool – firm – then slice.

Let me know if you decide to make my great-grandmother’s candy. I’d love to find out how it turned out!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 17

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18

For the Love of Literature, September 18

Inklings and notions, September 19

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 19 (Author Interview)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 20

For Him and My Family, September 20

deb’s Book Review, September 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 22

A Reader’s Brain, September 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 23

Connie’s History Classroom, September 24

Simple Harvest Reads, September 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 25

Mary Hake, September 25

Rebecca Tews, September 26

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 27

Connect in Fiction, September 28

Bigreadersite, September 28

Through the fire blogs, September 29

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Back Porch Reads, September 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Marji is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
https://promosimple.com/ps/119f5/a-giant-murder-celebration-tour-giveaway