Mar 282015
 

just for fun 2015

My March Just For Fun Read

The Body in the Boudoir: A Faith Fairchild Mystery
20th in Series
Avon
An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0062068552
E-Book ASIN: B006FOHNK0
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It’s 1990, and Faith Sibley is a single young woman with her own catering business in New York City. But a chance meeting with the Reverend Thomas Fairchild is love at first sight, and suddenly Faith is heading north to New England to visit her future in-laws, not all of whom are friendly..

The path to the altar is made even rockier when Faith encounters two other mysteries that need her help solving. First, her new assistant, Francesca, appears to be hiding a family secret with roots in Italy. Then her sister, Hope, becomes the target of someone intent on sabotaging her high-stakes financial career. But above all, Faith needs to figure out who is trying to call off the wedding-by eliminating the bride!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This has always been one of my favorite series and it one I plan to use for the Finishing The Series Challenge. I am also excited because Katherine Hall Page is touring with Great Escapes Book Tours in May for The Body in the Birches, the 22nd book in the series being released May 12.

In this installment we are taken back in time to how Faith and Tom started their life together. The book starts out with them on a plane for an anniversary trip to Italy and Faith spends the plane ride remembering their path to the altar hand a few bumps along the way including solving a couple of mysteries.

Another fun read from the author and one I was looking forward to reading. I enjoyed learning their back story and their original meeting of all the people we have come to love in the prior installments.

I have The Body in the Piazzaall cued up on my Kindle and will be reviewing The Body in the Birches on May 22 when the Great Escapes Book Tour stops here.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

*This book was from my private collection.

Mar 272015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to a Special Edition of Cozy Wednesday!

This post was supposed to appear on March 18.
I loved this book and am so glad to have Diana here for a visit.

diana

Q and A with Diana Orgain

What am I working on/writing?
I am working on the second book in my Reality TV series (A SECOND CHANCE FOR MURDER) which be released next spring. The first book in the series; A First Date with Death: A Love or Money Mystery is available now. Here’s the awesome blurb that those wickedly talented copywriters at Berkley came up with:

When broken-hearted Georgia Thornton goes looking for romance on reality TV, she has nothing to lose. Apart from a good man, a cash prize, and maybe her life.

What was Georgia thinking? Sure, some cad ditched her at the altar, but can she really find love on TV? Her best friend—and producer of the reality show Love or Money—thinks so. Ten men. Ten adventure-filled dates. What can go wrong? For starters, a faulty bungee cord that hurls Georgia’s first date into a tragic spiral off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Just as unexpected: he’s replaced by Paul Sanders, Georgia’s former fiancé. But the cop isn’t looking for a TV gig. Suspecting that the lover’s leap was no accident, Paul’s going undercover. When another bachelor gets a fatal kiss-off, the reality is that someone has killer new plans for the show—and for Georgia herself. Now, under the threat of permanent cancellation, Georgia fears that the only man on the set she can trust is the one man she just can’t count on…

FIRST DATE WITH DEATHHow does my writing/work differ from others in its genre?
I have a M.F.A in playwriting and one of my favorite professors used to say, “No laughter for the playwright, no laughter for the audience. No tears for the playwright, no tears for the audience.” What I took that to mean was that the journey on the page had to be real for me with real emotions otherwise, there’s no way that an audience (or reader) will get that emotional journey. That’s what writing is all about for me. A way to share myself on the page with others. Growing up, my dad would always quote Hemingway, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” That’s my goal with writing: I want my books to be a friends to my readers, to be there in their time or need, or when they need a distraction or just a laugh.

Why do I write what I do?
Growing up I devoured Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark – I love a great whodunit and if you add a little suspense in there all the better. The tagline for writing is “Come in the for cozy- stay for the thrill of it!”

How does my writing process work?
I do every process imaginable. When one isn’t working I move to the next. Right now I’m on a long-hand writing kick. I LOVE filing my notebook with my characters – it flows so easily – the tricky part is converting it into text, but for the wonders of technology- I hear the iPad has a great app for that. Sometimes I use voice dictation (especially when I get tired of typing up my hand written notes). But usually, mostly I sit (or stand – I have one of those convertible desks) and power through my first draft on the keyboard. I like to write all the way through the draft before editing, but sometimes, I have to go and fix things before I move forward.

About the Author
Diana Orgain is the author of the Maternal Instincts Mysteries and coauthor of Gilt Trip with Laura Childs in the New York Times bestselling Scrapbooking Mysteries. She holds a B.A and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University with a minor in acting. Diana has acted professionally both on stage and in national commercials. She’s written several plays, which were produced at San Francisco State University, GreenHouse Productions, and PlayGround. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and three children. Visit her at www.dianaorgain.com.

FIRST DATE WITH DEATHFIRST DATE WITH DEATH
Series: A Love or Money Mystery (Book 1)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Setting: California
Release Date: March 3, 2015
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Bill Bruning
Cover Design by Danielle Abbiate
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425271681
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGK49I
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When brokenhearted Georgia Thornton goes looking for romance on reality TV, she has nothing to lose—apart from a good man, a cash prize, and maybe her life…

What was Georgia thinking? Sure, some cad ditched her at the altar, but can she really find love on TV? Her best friend—and producer of the reality show Love or Money—thinks so. Ten men. Ten adventure-filled dates. What can go wrong? For starters, a faulty bungee cord that hurls Georgia’s first date into a tragic spiral off the Golden Gate Bridge.

He’s replaced by Paul Sanders, Georgia’s former fiancé. But the cop isn’t looking for a TV gig. Suspecting that the lover’s leap was no accident, Paul’s going undercover. When another bachelor gets a fatal kiss-off, the reality is that someone has killer new plans for the show—and for Georgia herself. Now, under the threat of permanent cancellation, Georgia fears that the only man on the set she can trust is the one man she just can’t count on…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fans of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette this is the cozy for you. It has an added twist, not all the contestants are searching for love, half of them are trying to win money. Things start to go wrong on the very first date and one of the suitors is killed. Not everyone believes it was an accident and that brings Georgia’s former love to the show, he is a cop and he is going undercover. Then another bachelor dies and and reality television gets even more real as the show must go on. Georgia doesn’t know who to trust but she knows she must find the killer before the final glass of champagne is poured.

I loved this story and I am really interested in seeing how the author continues this series. Georgia was the bachelorette and her turn on Love or Money is complete. I really liked her spunk. She is smart and courageous enough to put herself on national television to find love and track down a killer too.

This story flows really well. The characters are fleshed out and easy to picture and get to know. I found myself rooting for more than one of the bachelors and not only following the clues to find out the killer but who was in it for love and who was in it just for the money.

I really enjoy where Diana Orgain takes us in this story. Not your typical theme for a cozy mystery, it is new and fresh and a lot of fun to read. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment to see where she takes us next.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Diana for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 10, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Mar 262015
 

It is my pleasure to be the blog wrapping up this tour. I was scheduled to post a review but with all the has been happening I didn’t get the book read. I hope to read both books in this series and post reviews. So today I will just Spotlight this book, the 2nd in the Killer Wasps Mysteries.

killer getaway large banner640

Killer Getaway
by Amy Korman

Eonly_9780062357861_CoverKiller Getaway: (Killer Wasps Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
• Publisher: Witness Impulse (March 10, 2015)
• Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
• 195 Pages
• ASIN: B00L1AAFCG
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Description: Spunky crime-lite and the glitterati detail of a society column combine to shake up the Florida in KILLER GETAWAY, from former Philadelphia Magazine senior editor Amy Korman.

With a storm brewing in Bryn Mawr, PA, the Killer WASPs head south to Palm Beach, FL. And what could be better than fabulous friends, Lilly Pulitzer beachwear, frozen cocktails, and high society drama?

Kristin Clark, and her basset hound, Waffles, are ready to escape the doldrums of winter to bask in the warm Florida sun and dine at her friends’ new restaurant, Vicino. But when a rival restaurant undergoes a HGTV makeover and attempts to steal Vicinio’s spotlight and their patrons, the town is abuzz with gossip and Kristin and her friends–Bootsie, a nosy reporter, Holly, a chicken nugget heiress, and Sophie, the soon-to-be ex-wife of a mobster-have parties to attend.

Everything is going swimmingly in the glitz and glamour of Palm Beach until a bad batch of clams threatens to shut down the Vicino and their vacation for good. When it becomes clear that the clams may be more than an innocent mishap, the ladies must unravel the mystery before there are deadly consequences.

Perfect for fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series!

pic-edited-300x281

About This Author

About the Author: Amy Korman is a former senior editor and staff writer for Philadelphia Magazine, and author of Frommer’s Guide to Philadelphia. She has written for Town & Country, House Beautiful, Men’s Health, and Cosmopolitan. Killer Getaway is her second novel.

Author Link:

http://amykorman.com/

 

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Tour Participants

March 17 – Musings and Ramblings – Guest Post
March 18 – readalot – Review
March 19 – A Blue Million Books – Guest Post
March 20 – Lori’s Reading Corner – Guest Post
March 21 – View from the Birdhouse – Interview
March 22 – Babs Book Bistro – Guest Post
March 23 – Frankie Bow – Interview
March 24 – Omnimystery News – Interview
March 25 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – Spotlight
March 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Spotlight

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Mar 252015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am trying really hard playing catch up but am
behind in my reading so I thought today it would be fun just to do a giveaway!!

In the USA Today bestselling Needlecraft Mysteries, Betsy Devonshire, owner of the Crewel World needlework shop, knows how to untangle even the most knotty of mysteries. But a soggy murder case might have Betsy in over her head…

Even though running Crewel World keeps Betsy plenty busy, a little extra cash on the side doesn’t hurt. So when the local senior complex, Watered Silk, asks her to teach a class on the tricky punch needle technique, Betsy jumps at the opportunity to win over some new customers.

Unfortunately, the business that Betsy drums up is not of the needlework variety. A young woman is found floating in Watered Silk’s therapy pool, and Betsy’s sleuthing skills are immediately called upon to figure out who drowned her. But the list of suspects is more twisted than any Betsy has encountered before. The young woman had three lovers—each with a motive for the murder.

It’s up to Betsy to sort out the snarl of romantic entanglements and find a killer, or the wrong man is bound to get pinned for a crime he didn’t commit…

FREE EMBROIDERY PATTERN INCLUDED

GIVEAWAY
I have 2 paperback copies to give away!!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 8, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Mar 242015
 

strangerThe Stranger
Suspense/Thriller
Dutton
Published by The Penguin Group
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Setting: New Jersey
Hardcover: 400 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525953500
E-Book ASIN: B00NMPN46W
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The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.

Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne’s deception, and realizes that if he doesn’t make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I get so excited when a new Harlan Coben thriller is about to be released. I drop everything and read it as soon as it arrives. This one had a very different feel right from the start but like all of his other books I started reading and just couldn’t stop. I had to break it up over 2 evenings because my eyes just wouldn’t stay open but if my body had let me I would have finished the whole thing all in one sitting.

“The Stranger” visits normal everyday people that could have been me or my friends or neighbors. Anyone who is affected by a secret someone close to us is keeping. Adam’s wife, Corinne, had a secret and after the stranger reveals it to him his life is never going to be the same. The stranger also visits other throughout the story with secrets too, changing their lives.

What appeared to be a pretty straight forward story quickly twists and turns. Exactly what I expect from Mr. Coben. I found myself completely enthralled by this story, you may even say mesmerized. At first I thought Corinne’s secret was hurtful but not life shattering. Yes, the couple’s trust had been broken, but I thought a strong marriage would survive it. But the more Adam’s story continued and the plot started to play out I saw the author’s writing style start to shine and draw us in deeper. It is a story that has many layers. This is not you typical nail biting thriller, but more a mystery with thrilling and suspense filled moments.

I have been impressed with every Harlan Coben novel. I can’t say that is my favorite Harlan Coben book, Caught still holds that spot, but frankly all of his stories rate 5 stars to me. They all grab a hold of you and don’t let go. If you a are a new fan or an old fan this book should be on your “Can’t Wait To Read” list!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Click Here To Pre-order Today From Amazon

To find out more about Harlan Coben and his books visit his webpage here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Mar 232015
 

Hi Everyone,

First I must say Thank You to all of you for helping me through this past week and going forward. This coming Sunday would have been Kris’s 30th birthday so it will be tough as we face the first of many firsts without him but with your support and those of family and friends I will make it through.

Tomorrow my review of Harlan Coben’s new book will post. I wrote this review before all this happened. I have 2 books waiting for me to write the reviews which I will do as soon as I can, one is a Cozy Wednesday book. Cozy Wednesdays will return soon. This week I plan to just post a giveaway. I will catch up it just may take me some time. I have been reading and rereading the same book the last few days and have barely made it to the halfway point and it is a great story so I am the problem, not the book.

I also have a bunch of giveaways and tour things to get caught up on and I will be working on those. All books already awarded are in the mail.

I just wanted to share will you the cover of program and prayer card cover. My son Kris was a collector of super heroes and video games and movies and none of the available covers seemed to fit so we designed a personal one just for him.

Kris Memorial

I believe there’s a hero in all of us,
that keeps us honest,
gives us strength,
makes us noble,
and finally allows us
to die with pride,
even though sometimes
we have to be steady,
and give up the thing
we want the most.
Even our dreams.

- Spider-Man 2

I am blessed to have have this online community. Without you the pain would have been great and I would probably wallowing in bed overcome by my grief. Knowing you are here gives me the push to get up each day and put one foot in front of the other. There are no words to convey the amount of appreciation I feel.

Lori

Mar 162015
 

Just dropping by to say thank you for the comforting words, prayers and gifts you have sent. I am drawing strength from all of you as is my family. Tomorrow will be another hard day as we hold the service to say the formal good-bye to my wonderful son. He will always be in my heart but right now I just feel so raw. Next Sunday will be another rough day as it will be his birthday. The first of many firsts that we will struggle through. I ask you to please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue need the strength they provide.

I want to take a moment to thank Lori Gondelman for taking care of things I just can’t at this time. She can be reached at lori@frandanbolt.com for anything that can’t wait until I return.

I also want to thank the bloggers for keeping the book tours going.

I haven’t picked up a book since this happened but I hope to return next week with some reviews and other posts. Giveaways will be caught up then too. I thank you so much for your patience.

~Lori

NATALIE 4Sunday morning at 3:30 we were awoken by a knock on the door. The police were there to inform us our oldest son Kristopher took his own life. He leaves behind he beautiful daughter Natalie, 2 sisters, a brother, Jeff and I, a grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.

I will not be blogging for a few days and apologize for any commitments I may miss. I ask that you keep us in your prayers. There are no words that can express the devastation that I feel.

Many have already asked if there is anything you can do. The family as set up a memorial fund in his name to help with funeral expenses and for his daughter. If you feel moved to donate you can do so here.

I hope to be back soon.

Lori

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Mar 152015
 

The Sunday Salon.com

The Sunday Salon used to be a meme but was getting so huge it became unmanageable, so it is now a Facebook group that has become an informal week in review
gathering place for bloggers.

It is also a place to share our thoughts about things of a bookish nature.

SUNDAY POSTThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by
Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
~ It’s a chance to share news~
A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Happy SUNDAY Everyone!

Spring seems to have sprung but then I remember that I live in Wisconsin and we have had huge blizzards well into April so I will enjoy the warmer temps while I can.

Had my first trip out of the house since Christmas this past week. Got a haircut and made a surprise visit to my grandsons. They have been so busy and I was going through withdrawal from not seeing them. 

We have also been watching a lot of basketball. The Fall River Pirate Girls Team made their first ever trip to the State Tournament. They lost in the 1st round and the team that beat them went on to win the championship. The Badgers are also playing in the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament is just around the corner. So with all this reading has been happening late at night or early in the morning. Harlan Coben’s new book, The Stranger, kept me up until my eyes were slamming. My review will be up on Tuesday.

weekly rewind credited235Weekly Rewind – March 9 – 14, 2015

Monday - It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Tuesday – Review/Giveaway – Flash and Dazzle by Lou Aronica

Wednesday - Cozy Wednesday with E. Hepner – Author of Deadlines – Giveaway too!

Thursday - Review – The Mad Catter by Kathi Daley

Friday - Special Guest – Denise Swanson – Author of Dying for a Cupcake – Giveaway too!

Saturday - Spotlight/Giveaway – Night of the White Buffalo by Margaret Coel

mail call314

I hope you all have a fantastic week!!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Mar 142015
 

night of the white buffalo
Night of the White Buffalo
(A Wind River Mystery)

18th in Series
A Berkley Prime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425264652
E-Book ASIN: B00IOE3NG2
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New York Times bestselling author Margaret Coel returns to the Wind River Reservation with Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O’Malley investigating a mystery overshadowed by a mythological miracle…

A mysterious penitent confesses to murder, and then flees the confessional before Father John can identify him. Two months later, Vicky discovers rancher Dennis Carey shot dead in his truck along Blue Sky Highway. With the tragic news comes the exposure of an astonishing secret: the most sacred creature in Native American mythology, a white buffalo calf, was recently born on Carey’s ranch.

The miraculous animal draws a flood of pilgrims to the reservation, frustrating Vicky and Father John’s already difficult investigation as they try to unravel the strange events surrounding both Carey’s murder and the recent disappearances of three cowboys from his ranch.

It could be coincidence, given a cowboy’s nomadic life, but Vicky doesn’t believe in coincidences. And at the back of Father John’s mind is the voice from the man in the confessional: I killed a man…

About This Author

Margaret Coel is the author of four nonfiction books and many articles on the people and places of the American West. Her work has won national and regional awards. Her first John O’Malley mystery, The Eagle Catcher, was a national bestseller, garnering excellent reviews from the Denver Post, Tony Hillerman, Jean Hager, Loren D. Estleman, Stephen White, Earlene Fowler, Ann Ripley and other top writers in the field. A native of Colorado, she resides in Boulder. Find out more on her webpage here.


GIVEAWAYI have one Hardcover Copy to give away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End March 28, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Mar 132015
 

special guest blue

I am so excited Denise Swanson is my guest today. She has been posting cupcake pictures on her Facebook Page for weeks and I have been drooling!!

Denise Swanson Author Photo

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Cupcakes

1. Be open to new experiences. When I started writing Dying for a Cupcake, since it was about a cupcake contest, I looked for recipes with unique flavors and ingredients. Up until that point, I had only made my mother’s chocolate or my grandmother’s silver-white recipes. While I still love the old tried and true chocolate and white cupcakes, I have to admit that the cream cheese cupcakes with guava buttercream were mighty tasty. (See recipe below)

2. Never take shortcuts. Boxed mixes and canned frostings seem like a time saver, but like everything in life, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

DYING FOR A CUPCAKE3. Be sweet, but not cloying. As children, most of us liked really sweet desserts and really sweet people. As an adult, I like a little zip or zest in my cupcakes Sweet can be a little boring.

4. The best things in life don’t last forever. Be it a freshly baked cupcake or your favorite jeans or the people you love, enjoy them while you can because the cupcake will get stale, the jeans will wear out and the people will eventually be gone.

5. Perfection is highly overrated. For a long time, I wouldn’t make cupcakes for parties or potlucks because mine never looked as perfect as the ones in the pictures. They all weren’t exactly even and the frosting wasn’t swirled just right. Then one day, my husband took a batch that I had rejected as not good enough to his office. They were a huge hit. Most of his colleagues were used to store bought bakery and couldn’t get enough of my homemade treats.

If I had never gotten over my perfectionism, I would have never gotten past the first chapter when I started writing. Sometimes, you just have to be willing to learn from your early efforts, rather than refuse to try.

In cupcake making, just as in life, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. You may have all the fancy equipment from the Food Network, you may be using a recipe that’s been in your family for generations, but stuff still happens. A too hot kitchen, high humidity, or a faulty timer can destroy all your work.

But instead of vowing never to try again. Clean up the mess and make a fresh start. When I was submitting my first book to agents, I received two hundred and seventy rejection letters. And while a lot of them had valid criticism, much of what they didn’t like was out of my control because when it all comes down to it, most things in like, like cupcakes, are a matter of taste.

~Denise

guavacupcakeCream Cheese Cupcakes with Guava Butter Cream
Ingredients
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup softened cream cheese

Butter Cream
Ingredients
1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons shortening
1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/3 cups and 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon milk
pinch of salt
1/3 cup guava marmalade

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well, add cream cheese. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.

Butter Cream
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and vanilla. Blend in the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Separately blend guava until smooth, then add to butter cream a little at a time. Place in the fridge. After cooling place in piping bag and swirl.

About the author: A former school psychologist, New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson spent twenty-two years working in the public school system. She realized her experiences were actually excellent research for mysteries. Denise’s fourth book in the Devereaux’s Dime Store series, Dying for a Cupcake, debuted March 3. Denise also writes the Scumble River Mysteries.

Find Denise at www.DeniseSwanson.com
Facebook at www.facebook.com/#!/DeniseSwansonAuthor
Twitter at DeniseSwansonAu

DYING FOR A CUPCAKEDying for a Cupcake:
A Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Missouri
An Obsidian Mystery (March 3, 2015)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451418890
E-Book ASIN: B00MNN7HVC
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When Devereaux “Dev” Sinclair hosts a cupcake contest at her five-and-dime store, she discovers that someone is just dying to win…

Kizzy Cutler finds it so delicious to be back in her hometown of Shadow Bend, Missouri, that she seems to have forgotten why she fled twenty years ago. For now, she’s excited to kick off her new line of cupcakes with a competition, which Dev has agreed to host in her shop. But before the first yummy cupcake is even baked, Kizzy’s assistant Fallon dies from a mysterious ailment.

While the medical examiner attempts to discover what killed Fallon, Kizzy declares that the show must go on. However after Kizzy escapes several near misses, Dev is convinced that someone in Shadow Bend has it in for the Cupcake Queen. Is the secret from her past so dark someone still wants to kill her for it?

With a list of not-so-sweet suspects, Dev’s in a race against the timer to solve the murder before someone else gets iced…

Includes a sneak peak of the next Scumble River Mystery!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Denise reeled me right in, she has been posted cupcakes on her Facebook page for weeks and had me drooling to read this book.

In this 4th installment to this fun series Shadow Bend welcomes former resident, now the Cupcake Queen, Kizzy Cutler, and a weekend of fun as a contest is held to find her newest cupcake creation. The 10 contestants arrive along with Kizzy and her entourage. But before the first cupcake is baked Kizzy’s assistant dies and it doesn’t appear to be from natural causes.

As the investigation gets underway Kizzy announces the weekend festivities will continue. That makes someone very unhappy as Kizzy has several dramatic experiences. Dev starts to think the assistant wasn’t the one that was suppose to die. She believes someone is targeting Kizzy and it may have to do with something that happened in Shadow Bend more than 20 years ago. The makes for one sweet mystery!

Dev runs the local five and dime and her father recently released from prison helps her out at the store. This time the men Dev is dating are both out of town. Dr. Noah is volunteering overseas for a couple of weeks and Deputy U.S. Marshall Jake is off investigating a case that involves his ex-wife. Enter the new fire chief with a pizza and Dev romantic life gets a lit more complicated.

What a fun read! We have the characters we already love, a new one to hate, plus a hunky new one that I know if going to cause havoc. Kizzy was a piece of work in high school, today we call them bullies. No wonder someone wants her gone.

The mystery was one that keeps us guessing and I can’t tell you more without ruining the story but it is really good.  Denise Swanson is a pro at blending mystery and romance with the perfect amount of humor. I loved this story!

This is a fantastic addition to this entertaining series. The author sets up the next story too whetting our appetite for next year.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”