The Dating Charade Grand Finale Blitz

Monday, December 16, 2019

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Author Interview

What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?

I hope readers come away from the story having laughed and smiled over the crazy antics (some that were plucked directly from my mothering life) but also learned more about the ups and downs of the foster system, some perhaps even finding themselves called to get involved in some way. That’s what happened to our family. After writing this book, we were led to start fostering ourselves and our house recently became officially approved.

"I LOVE THIS STORY! . . . The Dating Charade is fresh and fun. I was entertained and amused, and also moved by its incredible and unexpected intensity. Melissa Ferguson is a clever storyteller, infusing her writing with equal servings of wit and depth. . . . this heartwarming book has earned its spot on my Favorites of 2019 list."

He swung the locker closed. He needed to get it together.

In the stillness of his room he lay on his back, picked up his phone. It glowed in the otherwise dark space. Even as he typed the words in the app store and hit the download button, he felt the heat on his neck, the shame in even considering the terribly desperate option. He twisted his neck to double-check the lock on his room door. The mere act of looking into one of these sites depleted the level of his manhood. This was just testing the waters, he reminded himself as he swiftly created a username and logged in, scrolling down the page as dozens of faces popped up. He would just take a look around, see if this was a real possibility for expanding his connections . . .

"...a family drama story with both Cassie and Jett finding their way with the kids they’ve inherited. And, neither one knowing about the other’s situation with miscommunication occurring. . . . this was a delightful read. It was heart-warming and often heart-tugging."

How does this book stand out in this genre?

The Dating Charade is a bit different from the typical rom/com, particularly because while there are several laugh-out-loud moments, there’s also the story revolving around the children and the issues they have to face (abandonment, addictions, foster care). So, I guess I’d say, The Dating Charade is happiness and total happily-ever-after with a bow, but also carries a message about the power of family, however they came to be.

Among the Reads - Review

"Such a funny and heartwarming story!

I don’t always enjoy stories that combine humor and serious elements. A balance is needed to make this work. To not make the humor seem out of place in the midst of the tragedy or to make the more serious elements seem like a shock because they are so extreme. Melissa Ferguson crafted a story that had me laughing and pulling out the Kleenex! . . . If you enjoy laughing and romance, I highly recommend The Dating Charade!"

He rested his hand on the top of her car door and paused, the door separating their bodies but their faces suddenly not so far apart. “Till Wednesday, then.”

The exposed skin of his neck was red from the chill, and beneath his form-fitting jacket sat a pair of dark jeans that complemented his green, button-down oxford. Any drift of cologne—if he wore any—was overpowered by the thousands of pines surrounding them, infusing their world with shouts of Christmas.

Nat King Cole’s melody, “Almost Like Being in Love,” came over the outdoor speakers, drawing them toward one another like the red-velvet ribbon draped around the large Christmas trees in shop windows.

“Till Wednesday,” Cassie repeated softly.

Wishful Endings - Review

"Ferguson has been added to my must-read, auto-buy list of authors. I loved her writing style, the characters, and this story! So much emotion and heartbreak, but so much hope and love as well, making the story not too heavy, which is the perfect combination. Definitely recommended to both Christian and non-Christian contemporary romance readers."

Cassie’s face hurt from smiling. For ten minutes she drove with that smile—a slaphappy grin. When a car cut her off turning into Food City, she had nothing but a Merry-Christmas-to-all grin to give him. As she slowly passed the lights of an ambulance and two feuding citizens beside busted cars, her wide and vibrant smile met them, and with understandable misunderstanding both citizens threw a few choice words toward her before turning back on each other. But there was nothing to be done about it. The smile wasn’t going anywhere.

What if he was the one?

"From laugh out loud moments to more emotional and serious layers, The Dating Charade has appeal far beyond its cute cover and promising synopsis. . . . With just one novel to her name (she has a novella I’m wanting to read!), Melissa Ferguson has found her way onto my must-read author list. I eagerly look forward to whatever she pens next!"

"Okay, so first; WOW!!! I’ve loved books and I’ve laughed reading books but never so much as this one. This book? I have no words! It was messy, sappy, happy, and wonderfully one of the best books I have ever read!"

Jett whispered tersely, pointing to the thrown items. “Drew. Pick. Up. Your. Macaroni.”

Drew looked up at him while shoveling another handful—literally, as in hand without the spoon—of macaroni into his mouth. “Can’t. I’m a dinosaur. Dinosaurs don’t have hands.”

Jett’s uncle stifled a smile.

Jett himself stifled a look that would’ve slid that smile right off his uncle’s face. He set the fork down and stood. “Young man . . .”

Harlie's Books - Review

"This is a fun read but it does go deeper than you expect. Ms. Ferguson does an excellent job of balancing out the light with the dark. I just wish, in a way, that there was more romance. But hey, I love romance books. Do yourself a favor and pick up this gem of a book. You will thank me later."

Backing Books - Review

" loved this! Getting to see these characters interact, both adults and children, made this a great read. Cassie and Jett are two amazing people who really step up to the plate when it comes to taking care of the three children they have each suddenly found in their care. Taking care of children is never easy, and these two were thrust into that with three kids!"

So, this was how it was going to be. He’d thought that exact thought a thousand times since entering that long stretch of highway between his aunt’s house and his own. Every time, however, the blow lessened. At first it was like he had stood against a wall, and a truck had slammed into his body at seventy-five miles an hour. Then it felt like being strapped to a tree, an archer shooting an arrow into his chest. This morning it was a brass-knuckled punch to the face. Now, however, the hand giving the blow had softened, no more of a sting than if Sarah had slapped him on the cheek. He was getting used to the pain.

Could perhaps even acknowledge a part of him liked watching the two small heads huddled close together beside him, Dakota’s little hand in his. Could acknowledge he was getting used to seeing a stack of diapers next to a stack of movies.

It wasn’t as lonely.

Faithfully Bookish - Interview & Review

What is your next release and/or what are you working on now?

M: The Dating Charade released December third (woo!!!) and I’m working The Cul-de-sac War coming out fall of 2020. 🙂

"All the hearts on the cover of The Dating Charade are entirely fitting because this story has heart in a big way (and a healthy dose of hilarity, too… often at the expense of the main characters)! I laughed, I cried, I hugged my kids, I told one of my kids to read this book! . . . Melissa Ferg[u]son’s debut is a “nothing but net” three-point shot for the win! I highly recommend this story!"

"There are many hilarious situations, and I loved how the children keep Cassie and Jett on their toes. A heartwarming debut, with lighthearted humor, with a heartfelt core. Highly enjoyable read."

"The novel was a fun and cute read. I like that even though Cassie was jaded, she still tried to open up her heart to love. . . . a novel about two separate people adopting children and learning to care about others than themselves. Overall, I like the idea of family being people who you choose and not only the ones you are born into."

SPLASHES of Joy - Excerpt

Jett was a bona fide hero.

And she couldn’t let him go.

Pulling herself back to the present, Cassie shook out the pink tablecloth and threw it across the Ping-Pong table, shaking out her thoughts as she did so.

Meanwhile, Bree, with crossed arms, stared at her as though she’d watched every bit of Cassie’s playback reel. “Listen, if you don’t call him, I’m going to. I’ll marry him myself, Cassandra Everson.”

Uplifting Reads - Review

"I totally fell madly in love with this book and all of its characters. . . . And there are plenty of moments that will tug at your heartstrings. I admit that I cried both sad and happy tears while reading this book, as well as almost laughing to the point of tears. There's just so much love and greatness in this story. I'm so glad that I picked it up."

When you are not writing, what other hats do you wear? What do you do for fun?

When not writing, I’m a mother of twin 4-year-olds and a 2-year-old daughter, and they stay all day with me. I also teach Bible and Religion online primarily for my alma mater, King University.

"The Dating Charade is a super cute, fast paced and fun read. I knew that this was a debut novel when I started reading it but it certainly doesn't seem like a debut novel at all, it reads as a novel penned by a more experienced author, so kudos to Ms. Ferguson for that."

EmpowerMoms - Review

"This author did such a great job with the struggles and horrors of foster care, trying to be a single parent, and trying to just get thru the day-loving and hating every minute of it-being exhausted but grateful at the end of the day. As a parent, I could relate to so many of the struggles, laughs and tears. I loved reading this book!"

Heidi Reads... - Excerpt

Star, as she was always so keenly aware, was nowhere to be seen.

For the past seven years she’d watched for the magic minute when the girls left their schools and made their way to the Haven. At the window, at 2:15 p.m. every day, she’d waited for them to come. Like the rumblings of thunder before a heavy storm, she and her staff would feel the anticipation, the shake, before the magic minute struck. The sudden rush at the computer to finish that report, to send that e-mail, to put the finishing touches on that flyer. The dash to the coffee station for a refill, because it very well could be the last calm moment for the rest of the day.

Often Cassie couldn’t stand it any longer and would step out the front door with her fresh mug, beckoned by the distant sound of the final school bell.

"Oh my goodness! Add this book to your TBR pile right now! If you love clean romance written from a Christian perspective, The Dating Charade is a book for you. I had to keep checking to make sure this was “for real” Melissa Ferguson’s first book, because it sure doesn’t read like a debut novel! Sure enough, it is! I’m already looking forward to her next book."

All excerpts from The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson. Used with the permission of the publisher, Thomas Nelson. Copyright © 2019 by Melissa Ferguson.

The Dating Charade
By Melissa Ferguson
Contemporary Romance, Christian
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 336 Pages
December 3rd 2019 by Thomas Nelson

Just when you think you’ve met your match . . . the charade begins.

Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband—and children—altogether.

But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.

No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?

Melissa Ferguson’s hilarious and warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages—and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren’t nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.

(Affiliate links included.)

About the Author

Melissa Ferguson is an adjunct professor for Bible and religion at King University. She lives in the charming town of Bristol, Tennessee, with her husband, twin toddlers, and baby girl. She used to have hobbies like running and backpacking the Appalachian Trail outside her door. Now her hobbies include admiring the Appalachian Trail out her minivan window while singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" en route to the library.

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The Piper's Pursuit Grand Finale Blitz

Saturday, December 14, 2019

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Author Interview

What was your motivation behind THE PIPER’S PURSUIT? Why did you want to write it?

I wanted to give Steffan his own story, as he was the rebellious, troubled bad boy in my last book, The Warrior Maiden, so he could redeem himself and get his happily ever after. I also wanted to write a retelling of the Pied Piper fairy tale. I’d loved that story even more after I visited Germany and took a day trip to Hamlin to see all the touristy fun they have with that story there—plays, everything you can imagine shaped into rats, a church glockenspiel depicting the story, and statues of the Pied Piper you can pose beside.

"Readers who enjoy Young Adult fairy tale retellings will probably like The Piper’s Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson. In keeping with its YA branding, the romance is very clean and the prose had that YA feel where it’s not deeply beautiful, but it’s entertaining. The Piper’s Pursuit was an easy, fast read for me that has a permanent home on my bookcase."

SPLASHES of Joy - Review

"It takes a lot for an author to take an old loved story and make it her own, and Melanie Dickerson is an expert at it. She breathes her own new life into these fairytales, and just maybe someone can find the Lord through her books. I highly recommend this book to anyone because I believe everyone can enjoy this one."

"As with all of Ms. Dickerson's fairytale recreations, Piper’s Pursuit is so interesting. It's also unique in that I've never read (or heard of) a retelling of the classic Pied Piper until now. . . . very enjoyable and enchanting."

Did Katerina dare to stay out hunting past dark? The sun was going down, casting long shadows as she skirted the forest on her right and an empty meadow on the left. At least the town gate was visible ahead.

She checked her crossbow, making sure the arrow was strung and ready. Her unruly brown hair was starting to come free from the leather tie taming it at the nape of her neck.

She picked up her pace as she passed a particularly dark section of the forest. She could easily imagine the giant wolf, or whatever the beast was that had killed so many, coming out of those dense trees and leaping at her. Would she have time to aim her crossbow before she fired? She would only get one shot.

simplysusan - Review

"I have always loved the Pied Piper of Hamlin story and she does wonders with this one! I was captivated from the very beginning and read it in one day. Highly recommended."

"This was such an interesting read! I personally never read the original story of the Pied Piper -- I only know a little bit about it and definitely plan to read it after having read this amazingly written re-imagining. Melanie Dickerson is such an awesome writer. The way she weaves in the word of God in her books is simply amazing."

Life is What It's Called - Interview & Review

Life Is What It's Called - What do you hope readers will gain from this book?

Melanie Dickerson - I hope they understand that true love is kind, and true love protects. Also, that you can fight unfair situations and, with God’s help, you can win!

"The Piper's Pursuit is probably one of the best books out of the Hagenheim series. There was action, adventure, mystery, romance and more. . . . It's definitely worth a read."

Heidi Reads... - Review

"I really enjoyed seeing Steffan's path to redemption and getting to know Katerina- these characters really came to life . . . . There is plenty of suspense and action, and the romantic tension slowly grows as Steffan proves himself worthy of Katerina's trust. . . . Overall, an exciting and satisfying escape into this creative retelling of The Pied Piper.

Bookworm Mama - Review

"Melanie's books never cease to amaze me. Her ability to bring my favorite fairy tales to life in a beautiful and pure way just makes my heart soar. . . . This story is riddled with danger and adventure. From fighting the beast, fleeing Henneck and his guards, protecting children, and freeing a city...Kat and Steffan will take you on a journey as they pursue truth, freedom, and love."

His thoughts were suddenly redirected by a sight he’d never seen before—a herd of rats moving down the street, streaming into an alleyway up ahead. They roiled as they crawled and tumbled over each other, making faint screeching sounds, mingling with the collective clicking of their tiny claws on the cobblestones.

A man walking into the path of the rats suddenly cried out and started to back away. The rats reached him before he could escape, engulfing his feet as he cried out again, lifting one foot then the other. Steffan held his breath, too far away to help the man as he tried to walk on top of the rats. When he lifted one foot, a rat hung by its teeth from his ankle.

"The Piper's Pursuit was a wonderful story, filled with adventure, intrigue, and romance. Melanie Dickerson's distinct style of storytelling shines bright in this book. The rich historical and regional details leap off the page in vivid color, leaving the reading completely immersed in the 15th century storyworld. You will love characters and hate the villains. And, I'm sure, like me, will be unable to put down The Piper's Pursuit for even fire, famine, or flood."

He burst out the door behind Katerina. He pursued her down the cobblestone street, but not before he noted the hulking man pushing himself off the shop front he was leaning against and coming after them.

She was walking fast. He stayed just behind her. Perhaps he could wait until she was less angry before trying to convince her to trust him.

He knew a lot about anger. He’d spent the last year realizing how foolish his own anger had been. Now, when that anger rose up, instead of drinking too much to make it go away, he asked himself where it was coming from. Oftentimes he realized he was blaming someone else for something that was mostly his own fault. The person he was most angry at was himself.

Pause for Tales - Review

"The stakes are high with this one. With a beast... or two? . . . The descriptions are chilling and the mystery compelling. I hate the villain with a passion. This is definitely one of my favorite[s], if not my favorite Dickerson book I've read to date."

Wishful Endings - Review

"THE PIPER'S PURSUIT is a twist on the Pied Piper and the Prodigal Son with a strong heroine in the middle and a town to save. The characters are likable, the story entertaining, and the romance is sweet with an inspirational aspect as these characters seek to forgive others, themselves, and trust in God. Recommended to Christian historical romance fans."

Hallie Reads - Review

"This Pied-Piper reimagining (blended with the story of the Prodigal Son) allows the truth of Steffan’s character to shine—and brings him just the type of fierce female he needs. Katerina challenges him, even as she has her own lessons to learn, and together, they make a great team. I enjoyed rooting for them throughout the fairytale adventure."

Remembrancy - Review

". . . Dickerson weaves a story of redemption, learning to give yourself forgiveness and grace for past mistakes, and good conquering evil that is an entertaining addition to the entire Hagenheim series (and readers of the entire series will enjoy the connections to the other stories throughout The Piper’s Pursuit)."

Inspirational Reading Adventures - Review & Interview

"I was excited to read this one, and easily found myself captivated by Katerina’s story! . . . full of thrilling adventures full of action and mystery, the promise of danger, suspense, romance, redemption and love."

Q: What are your favorite genres to read and write? What are your favorite books?

A: My favorite genre is historical romance. It’s hard to imagine writing in any other genre. My favorite books are Pride and Prejudice, everything else by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, A Vision of Light and the rest of that series by Judith Merkle Riley.

Faithfully Bookish - Interview

What is your next release and/or what are you working on now?

M: The Peasant’s Dream releases in July, and I just turned in the first round of edits on that. It is, alas, the 11th and final book in the Hagenheim series. But I’m also writing Court of Swans, the first book in a new series set in England in the reign of King Richard II in the late 1300’s. This first book is a retelling of the Wild Swans fairy tale. I’m excited about this new series!

"The Piper’s Pursuit’s action-packed plot kept me on the edge of my seat. Dickerson’s story shows that people aren’t always as they appear—for better or worse." - by teen guest reviewer, Faith

Among the Reads - Excerpt

Kat got a strange feeling, a prickling at the back of her neck, as if something were breathing just behind her. She turned, but only Steffan was there, slightly behind and to the side of her. Beyond him were dark, shadowy trees. The sky seemed to have become overcast, hiding the sun and making the forest even darker.

She continued forward. How had she never seen this path before? Or gone this way? It must be a very new path. A fallen tree lay up ahead. She vaguely remembered seeing it before, lying against a large boulder, half covered. But today there were other downed trees that looked to have been piled up around it, covering the boulder, if indeed her memory was correct.

"I have really really enjoyed this book. I'm so glad that I got to be on this tour. I don't know when I have enjoyed a book so much! But just wow! It's so exciting with twists and turns that it will leave you biting your finger nails and frantically turning the page to see what happens to Katerina and Steffan!! These two are incorrigible! They certainly make an adventure exciting!! . . . I highly recommend this book. Melanie Dickerson is an excellent author who can bring the old fairy tales back to life in ways one can never imagine."

"As always, Melanie Dickerson’s fairy tale retellings do not disappoint. . . . This story has all the delights of a fairy tale, and yet, there’s so much more to it. . . . If you are a lover of fairy tales, be sure and read this one!"

All excerpts from The Piper’s Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson. Used with the permission of the publisher, Thomas Nelson. Copyright © 2019 by Melanie Dickerson.

The Piper's Pursuit
(Hagenheim #10)
By Melanie Dickerson
YA Fairy Tale Retelling, Christian, Historical
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 320 Pages
December 3rd 2019 by Thomas Nelson

A fairy-tale journey of intrigue and romance that reimagines the classic Pied Piper story.

A plague of rats. A giant beast outside the village walls. A host of missing children. And one young woman determined to save her people.

In 1424 Hamlin, Katerina faces threats from all sides. An outbreak of rats has overtaken the village, a mysterious beast is on a killing rampage of the village’s children, and Katerina’s evil stepfather is a dark presence inside the walls of her own home. Katerina is determined to hunt and kill the Beast of Hamlin herself before more lives are lost.

When Steffan, the handsome but brash duke’s son, comes to town seeking glory and reward, Katerina decides he might be the ally she’s been looking for—even though the only gentle thing about him seems to be the sweet music he plays on his pipe. But there’s more to Steffan than she suspects, and she finds herself drawn to him despite her misgivings.

Together Katerina and Steffan must stop the enemy from stealing the children of Hamlin. But their interference might create an even worse fate for the entire village.

Praise for The Piper’s Pursuit

The Piper’s Pursuit is a lovely tale of adventure, romance, and redemption. Kat and Steffan’s righteous quest will have you rooting them on until the very satisfying end!” —LORIE LANGDON, author of Olivia Twist and the DOON series

(Affiliate links included.)

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to an Amazon affiliate link.)

About the Author

Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author who combines her love for history, adventure, and romance. Her books have won a Christy Award, two Maggie Awards, The National Reader’s Choice Award, the Christian Retailing’s Best Award, the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the Golden Quill, and the Carol Award. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children and adults in the U.S., Germany, and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing stories of love and adventure near Huntsville, Alabama.

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Kit and Elizabeth Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

Monday, December 9, 2019

Lady Elizabeth Spaulding’s world has fallen apart. Despite living her entire life to please her demanding parents, the Duke and Duchess of Marwood, she has little to show for it. After Elizabeth’s second failed betrothal, her father’s debts and appalling acts of retaliation force him to flee the country, consigning Elizabeth and her bitter mother to a life of poverty and exile. But Elizabeth’s fortunes change one day when an elderly acquaintance makes her an offer she can’t refuse.

Lady Walmsley, widowed and childless, is in need of a lady’s companion—and who better than the lovely Lady Elizabeth? Determined to rescue Elizabeth from her dreary life in the country, Lady Walmsley secures the help of Kit, the dashing Earl of Cantwell, in her quest. But the young woman they find is a ghost of the charming girl they once knew. Taken in by Lady Walmsley, and with Kit’s enthusiastic encouragement, Elizabeth finds herself pushed further and further from her empty solitude as she discovers the joy of truly living. Now, for the first time in her life, she must decide for herself who she is and if she deserves to be loved.

Review - I had high hopes for Kit and Elizabeth after reading Wager for a Wife and The Gentleman's Deception. After reading Kit and Elizabeth, I wish that there had been more editing done. There was one part where the reader was a part of the entire encounter of two characters and a conversation was mentioned later to another character that never took place. It would have been an easy fix for the author to just add a few lines. There were also parts of the story that would have left Elizabeth a ruined woman if anyone discovered who and where she had been. It seemed like she would have taken more care to guard her reputation. There were also times when she seemed to have called her cousins her Uncle and Aunt. Several of the scenes were enjoyable and entertaining. Lady Walmsley has some really great lines. I admired her determination and spirit. Lady Walmsley felt like the driving force in the novel in helping Elizabeth until Kit started to gain feeling for her. I also liked revisiting some of the characters from Tuft's previous books. I enjoyed seeing Elizabeth discovering herself and forming her own opinion on things. Her character blossoms as she determines her own path and goals. There were several memorable and well-thought out scenes. To learn more about Kit and Elizabeth, click here.

This is a spin-off from The Earl's Betrothal. The kindle version of  The Earl's Betrothal is on sale now for $2.99, click here to learn more.

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Please note that I received this book for free, however, this is my honest opinion. Please also note that there are affiliate links in this post.
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