Sep 032014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

Today I am so dog-gone excited to welcome Annie Knox to Escape With Dollycas!!

Annie_Knox_lg

Getting Away by Annie Knox

I have a hard time getting away from it all. I work full time as a college instructor which (a) takes a lot of time and energy and (b) comes with an e-mail account to which hundreds of students have 24-hour access. Don’t get me wrong. I love my job, and I know how lucky I am to have it. Sometimes I gripe about my young charges, but I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without classes and advisees.

Still, a girl can’t live on labor alone. Sometimes you just have to escape, even if it’s just for a few moments of Calgon-induced bliss. And here’s where I get really, really lucky. I get paid to escape into a book. I can slip behind a keyboard and sink right into the world of Merryville, Minnesota, my perfect vacation spot.

The Pet Boutique Mysteries were originally supposed to be set in Wisconsin – a beautiful state! But a little voice in my head kept pushing me to pick up the story’s stakes and move it to Minnesota, a state I used to call home. Finally, I gave in, and Merryville groomed for murderstarted to spring to life. The small town shops and tourist magnets began to flourish. The mix of hit dishes and farm-to-table haute cuisine, the time-honored Minnesota staples of potica and meatballs mingled with unexpected splashes of Korean barbeque, found their ways into the restaurants that lined the oak-lined streets. The drinking, the deer stands, the fishing tours, and the endless festivals filled the days in Merryville as surely as they had my old “home town.”

paws for murderMore importantly, though, I was able to populate Merryville with people I love (and love to hate). Izzy McHale may—just may—be a little bit like me: she’s well-meaning but not always great at follow-through, she gets a little overwhelmed sometimes, and she second-guesses herself more than she probably should. But I’ve given her the most amazing support system: a pair of grounded, old-fashioned parents and a rock-steady older sister; a wack-a-doo aunt and wicked little sister who keep things interesting; a best friend who has her back no matter what trouble comes her way; and a couple of find fella’s who may or may not be making the moves on her.

Who wouldn’t want to escape to that life now and again? Oh, sure, there are murders to solve and a business to run and the day-to-day frustrations we all face, but Izzy and Merryville are the perfect break from my own day to day … and, to think, they’re just a keystroke away!

*****

Annie Knox writes the Pet Boutique Mysteries – Paws For Murder and the just-released Groomed For Murder. A vagabond at heart, she’s finally put down roots in North Texas with her husband and three spoiled felines. She loves to hear from readers at annieknoxauthor@gmail.com.

Find out more about Annie and her books on her webpage here.

groomed for murderGroomed For Murder:
A Pet Boutique Mystery

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (September 2, 2014)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451241122
E-Book File Size: 1939 KB
ASIN: B00IOE3NJ4
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Izzy McHale wants her new Trendy Tails Pet Boutique in Merryville, Minnesota, to be the height of canine couture and feline fashions. But in a week of wedding bells, someone is about to hold their peace…  forever.

Love is in the air, and Izzy is hard at work coordinating two special weddings at Trendy Tails. First, Izzy’s friend and mentor, Ingrid, will be tying the knot with her old flame. And a week later, Izzy will host “pupptials” for two lovable dogs.

But even with the hullabaloo, the Trendy Tails crew is intrigued by Daniel, an enigmatic writer boarding above the shop who’s caught the attention of Izzy’s zany aunt Dolly, who gossips like most people breathe.

Unfortunately, it’s Daniel who stops breathing when he drops dead at the altar on Ingrid’s wedding day. Then Dolly is found at the scene with the murder weapon, and it’s up to Izzy, her Trendy Tails pals, and her scrappy pets, Packer and Jinx, to find a killer before the two affianced doggies bark down the aisle….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I reviewed the first book in this series, Paws For Murder, last week and like I told you then us Dolly’s have to stick together. So you can bet I was hanging on every word of this story.

I have fallen hard for Aunt Dolly, Izzy, Rena, Packer, Jinx, Val and all the rest of the human and animal characters too. I am amazed at how quickly I have become invested in the residents of Merryville, Minnesota. I like  that some of them are from or have spent time in my home state of Wisconsin. Knox has created wonderful characters for us to love or love to hate. All the dialogue sounds like home and I can easily picture the settings because we have visited Minnesota several times.  I am intrigued by the men in Izzy’s life as well, romance may be on the horizon for her and I don’t know which man I would choose for her yet.

Annie Knox writes a fun and entertaining mystery with plenty of misdirection to keep us readers on our toes.  You have to keep your eyes on both the two-legged and four-legged creatures in this story and that just added to my enjoyment.

The author includes great descriptions of the pet apparel for sale at Trendy Tails if you are inclined to dress you pets up everyday or for special occasions, these will give you all kinds of ideas.

This book was a pure pleasure to read. I had a smile on my face from beginning to end.  Collared For Murder will be out next summer and I am so ready for my next visit to Merryville.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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 5 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

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

Contest Will End September 17, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner 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.”

Sep 022014
 

ellery adams month

Did you have fun during Ellery Adams Month?

What did you like best?

My favorite events were Twitter Frenzy Friday and the Storyton Story Contest. Both events were popular but the voting for the Storyton Story Contest was fantastic.

Drum roll please….

The Winner of the Storyton Story Contest is….

Storyton Story #1
Written By Christy

The voting between all the stories was very close.

Storyton Story #2 was written by Pattie and Storyton Story #3 was written by Liz.

Christy has won 2 Mass Market Paperbacks from Amazon.

Pattie and Liz have each won a copy of Murder in the Mystery Suite (A Book Retreat Mystery)

Thank you to everyone that submitted a story and voted!!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Sep 022014
 

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY 2014New Release Tuesday – September 2014

These wonderful books are available today
wherever fine books are sold.
Click on the book covers below to order from Amazon.com

Groomed For Murder: A Pet Boutique Mystery

Annie Know is my guest tomorrow for Cozy Wednesday!!

The Wedding Soup Murder: An Italian Kitchen Mystery

Rosemary Genova is touring with Great Escapes Book Tours September 2 – 11, 2014

More Books Out Today!

Touring With Great Escapes Book Tours Later This Month
Lost Legacy (A Zoe Chambers Mystery) (Volume 2)

Tour Starts September 16!

Embellished to Death

Tour Starts September 23!

Stirring the Plot (A Cookbook Nook Mystery)

Tour Starts September 23!

Out Later This Month

I am an Amazon Associate so purchases made at Amazon.com originating from my
blog earn me a small commission which I use for giveaway prizes.

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!!
Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Aug 312014
 

This great meme is hosted by Sheila at
Book Journey”.
It’s a great way to start the week and
find out what other bloggers are reading.
My To-Be-Read pile has grown to an
unbelievable number thanks to this meme.

frustratedDefinitely not the holiday weekend I had planned. Hubby worked all weekend and still Microsoft Office Outlook 2013 will not open. The update they did on August 26 effectively killed the program and I back to Outlook 2007 and all its bugs. Definitely not a happy camper. My only hope is that the do an update to reverse their last update. I will not hold my breath.

Here’s my recap of last week’s reading and what I am planning this week.
*All books are linked to Amazon

FINISHED

Sacrifice

My Review – Wisconsin Author
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Paws For Murder: A Pet Boutique Mystery

My Review
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Groomed For Murder: A Pet Boutique Mystery

Annie Know will be my guest this week for Cozy Wednesday!
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Above the Bridge: A Paige MacKenzie Mystery

Personal Purchase for the Where Are You Reading Challenge? – Wyoming
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ON DECK THIS WEEK

Rebel Without a Cake (A Piece of Cake Mystery)

For Review
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Catwalk (An Animals in Focus Mystery)

Sheila will be my guest next week for Cozy Wednesday.
goodreads-badge-add-plus

Murder and Marinara: An Italian Kitchen Mystery

For Review
goodreads-badge-add-plus
The Wedding Soup Murder: An Italian Kitchen Mystery

Rosie’s Great Escapes Book Tour starts tomorrow!!

escape

Click Here To See All My Current Giveaways!!

Happy Reading!!!
Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Aug 312014
 

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.

It was a fun and frustrating week around here.

First the frustrating – Microsoft updated Microsoft Outlook 2013 on Tuesday night and since then I have been unable to open it. We have tried to do a System Restore to a date before the update and that didn’t work, in fact the System Restore could not complete. We have tried uninstalling and reinstalling and it still won’t open. My techy husband is stumped. He put Microsoft Outlook 2007 back on my computer so at least I have email, but it does not allow me to send my new Great Escapes Tour Newsletters and locks up and shuts down when I try to add anything from a webpage which was why we upgraded to Outlook 2013 in the first place. In fact since that update on Tuesday the whole computer is running slow and we have checked and rechecked for a virus and can find nothing. So on this long weekend Mr. Dollycas will be doing what he can to figure this out and also helping son #2 make brake repairs on his car. Definitely not the weekend we had planned.

Okay, the fun part. Several family members have been taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Mr. Dollycas and I were nominated for it too. Notice the evil grin on Son #2, the one who nominated us for the challenge, as her pours that bucket.

weekly rewind credited235
Weekly Rewind – August 24 – August 30, 2014

SundayUndertaking Irene by Pamela Burford – Great Escapes Book Tour – Review/GiveawayToday is the last day to Enter to WIN a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

MondayIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

TuesdayReview/Giveaway – Etta Mae’s Worst Bad-Luck Day by Ann B. Ross

WednesdayCozy Wednesday with Penny Pike – Author of Death of a Crabby Cook – Giveaway too!

ThursdayReview – Sacrifice by Mathew Paust

Friday – The Storyton Story Contest! – This was such a fun contest! Please click the link and cast your vote for the winner!!

SaturdayReview/Giveaway – Paws For Murder by Annie Knox

mail call314I can’t believe it!

No new books this week!!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!!
Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Aug 302014
 

paws for murderPaws For Murder:
A Pet Boutique Mystery

First in Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (January 7, 2014)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451239501
E-Book File Size: 1643 KB
ASIN: B00DGZIB2A
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Izzy McHale wants her new Trendy Tails Pet Boutique in Merryville, Minnesota, to be the height of canine couture and feline fashions. But at the store’s opening, it turns out it’s a human who’s dressed to kill…

Izzy’s own beloved pets are dressed to the nines for the grand opening of Trendy Tails. Feisty feline Jinx is large and in charge, and happy mutt Packer is lapping up the attention. Izzy and her best friend Rena have their hands full meeting Merryville’s menagerie and serving tasty pupcakes and kitty canapes from their “barkery.” The last thing they need is the town’s local activist, Sherry Harper, scaring off customers and getting tongues wagging by picketing the event.

The two manage to stop Sherry’s protest in its tracks, but the trouble for Trendy Tails is just beginning. Sherry is found murdered in back of the shop, and Rena is immediately named as the lead suspect. Now Izzy and her furry friends have a new pet project—collaring a killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This story was a fun start to the Pet Boutique Mystery series. We have tried costumes on our pets over the years. None of them were ever too happy about it but it is a very cute idea and practical for those pets that venture outdoors in the cold winter months.

I enjoyed the way the author tied the story to my home state of Wisconsin too, with a dog named Packer, and characters that went to college or moved from Madison.

All he characters both two legged and four legged were introduced to us quite well in this first installment. I have a soft spot for Aunt Dolly, of course, us Dolly’s need to stick together. I love the way she supports Izzy both with helping her open Trendy Tails and in any other way she can. She even dons 4 inch platform sandals and “dresses up” to catch the eye of a crotchety store owner trying to make trouble for Izzy. Aunt Dolly is a hoot!!

Izzy is a strong protagonist too. Her life was turned upside down by a man. They had their whole future planned but just when they were supposed to be a making the move to New York, he changed his plans and left her behind and took another woman with him! She had to pick herself up, dust herself off and get on with her life.  She does that with Trendy Tails. At least she was in her hometown surrounded by friends and family. Going into business with her best friend Rena was the perfect choice. Hopefully she can patch thing up with her old friend Sean too. Their friendship had added rather abruptly but now that they are both back in Merryville she are going to constantly bumping into each other.

There are many more interesting characters who reside in Merryville. It is one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone or they have heard gossip about each other. A perfect setting for this cozy mystery series.

I did see the writing on the wall a bit before the guilty party was revealed, but this still a wonderful mystery. I enjoyed the story so much I have already started reading Groomed For Murder. It hits store shelves next week!

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Annie Knox and her books on her webpage here.

I am giving my review copy 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.

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

Contest Will End September 13, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

 

Be sure to stop back next week when
Annie Knox will be my guest for Cozy Wednesday!

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.”

Aug 292014
 

ellery adams month

Ellery Adams Month Continues…

Today I am sharing with you my 3 favorite stories submitted for the Storeyton Story Contest. I never expected such amazing storytellers but then we all do read our share of mysteries so I should have not been surprised. Picking just 3 was not easy so I asked for a little help from my personal family of readers.

If your stories are not below that doesn’t mean they were not wonderful. I wish everyone that submitted a story could win a prize but that would surely put an end to be blog budget.

Here are our Top 3 Picks in Random Order

Storyton Story #1

Ahh, Storyton Hall. I’ve finally been able to get away for a few days. This is where I always come to unwind when I get the chance. Who am I, you may wonder? While I can’t reveal my name or any physical attributes to you, I can tell you a little about my job. I am a deep cover operative for the CIA. Of course, even I get a break once in a while. It helps to prevent ulcers as you can imagine are common in my line of work.

My drive through Storyton was pleasant, and being unaware that this was not my first time here, my chauffeur pointed out some interesting spots in town that I may want to visit during my stay. I definitely must visit Geppetto’s Toy Shop to pick up a little gift for my nephew, Charlie. I don’t get to see him nearly enough. My sister says I spoil him, but it is my right as he is the only child in my life to spoil. Though he is only six, he loves reading, so I’ll pop by the Run for Cover Bookshop while I’m in town as well. I’m just hoping I come out of the bookshop without buying too many books. Charlie lot his love of reading from me.

But first, I must rest. My last assignment was brutal. I can’t give you the details. Let’s just say, I won’t be looking at The Statue of Liberty without chills for quite some time. Unpacking is easy for me. I’ve learned to travel lightly and to be able to jet off at a moment’s notice. One thing I will not do without is my e-reader, but I realize the restrictions of technology at Storyton Hall. It is fine though as I’ve brought some of my beloved paperback cozy mysteries with me, and Mr. Sinclair always helps me find something new in the Henry James Library.

What better place to rest than by the Jules Verne pool. Though there are several other guests staying at Storyton Hall, none of them are in the pool area. Perhaps they are planning their costumes for tonight’s Murder and Mayhem Costume Ball. I have enough murder and mayhem in my line of work, thank you very much. I believe I’ll just pop down to visit with Mrs. Hubbard to see if I can help her out with the refreshments rather than get in on the mayhem. Though if I am helping, mayhem may ensue in the kitchen…..

Ah, here comes Jane, the resort manager. She looks rather upset. I wonder if her twins have been tearing through the William Faulkner Conference room again rather than staying with the caregiver in the Beatrix Potter Playroom. Now she’s running….and screaming…and is that blood on the front of her dress? It looks like my stay may include more mayhem than I bargained for.

Storyton Story #2

I hitched up one of two slips that were digging into my middle-aged waist, each of which made up one of the many components of my costume allowing me to portray mystery writer and sometimes sleuth, Ariadne Oliver, Agatha Christie’s underused dowager, and acquaintance of Hercule Poirot. Too young (and way too tall and bulky) to dress as Miss Marple, but too long in the tooth to pass as Nancy Drew, I was now seriously questioning my choice, and the uncomfortable attire, chosen for tonight’s detective theme costume ball here at Storydon Hall.

“What is this place?” a familiar voice asked behind me.

I turned to stare into the eyes of my best friend, Carla, short, slightly stocky, and almost unrecognizable in her clever (and clearly much more comfortable) costume of Poirot.

“It’s the ancestral home of current manager, Jane Steward, an old college friend who arranged this little shindig. The place is mysteriously losing money; this $200/plate ball is supposed to help. I only agreed to come if I didn’t have to do it alone, which is where you and your last minute invitation came in. Something is wrong here, and we are here to find out what.”

Paying little attention to me, her eyes roaming rapidly around the room, Carla said, “That good looking guy over there is giving me all kinds of feelings. Who is that hunk of huggable man flesh.”

“Last name’s Gavin, head of recreation, and too young for you…ten years ago.”

“I can think of lots of recreational things I’d like to do with him,” she twitched her mustache.

“Down Hercule,” I ordered.

“Champagne?” A nasal voice made us both jump as Mr. Butterworth, Storyton’s enigmatic butler, presented a tray of expensive looking glasses filled with what turned out to be cheap bubbly. Tall and imposing with a lugubrious face, he nodded as we each removed a glass, turned on his heels and silently moved away.

“How long had he been standing there, do you think?” Carla whispered.

“Long enough,” I replied. “Let’s mingle, and keep ours ears open.”

The room had filled up nicely. All shapes and sizes of Miss Marples wandered about sipping single malt scotch in delicate cups so as to pass for tea, as well as a dozen Sherlocks, numerous Poirots, Brother Cadfael, complete with herbal bouquet, and a pudgy, balding, bespectacled, Bible-toting gentleman who must be Father Brown.

“My dear friend, Ariadne!” Remarked an unfamiliar voice. “I’m Father Frank Dowling.” Ah, I thought, so not Father Brown, and we were hardly contemporaries, but I played along.”

“Frank! How good to see you,” I replied, with what I hoped to be a believable, well, frankness.

“My dear, you look smashing tonight.” As he spoke he placed a wizened hand on my arm that slowly crept upwards, turning inward on its journey, until it reached my breasts where it hovered until I backed away. Whoa, grandpa, I thought, as I politely excused myself. What kind of place is this, indeed!

I raised my right hand into the air, wiggling my fingers as if to summon a drink, which was the distress signal that Carla and I had devised whenever we were cornered by some revolting creep. I wriggled my fingers until they went numb. Carla, clearly, was not coming to my aid. Smiling and nodding at Father Frank as I slowly backed away, my eyes darted around the room until I spotted Carla in a dark corner near the exit from the kitchen, asking for “recreational” advice from Mr. Gavin. I won’t say that Carla is easy, it’s more like, accommodating. This is the 21st century after all, but those hormones of hers have caused trouble in the past, and they were at it again now.

Father Frank was still talking, what was he saying, when a masculine arm slipped behind mine and turned me around. Caught nearly off balance, I steadied myself and stared up into the bluest eyes that I think I’ve ever seen, peering out from under dark curls and a tweed deerstalker. Rescued by Sherlock Holmes!

A shriek from the kitchen area had all of our heads turning in unison to stare at the door that was slowly opening as a man holding a bloody knife backed out with a look of horror on his, no her face. That was no man, that was Carla! It was going to be a long night.

Storyton Story #3

The whole place seemed surreal to me, and I was eager to share some pictures with my friends and followers. “Damn,” I muttered under my breath as I realized that I had no cell phone to post about any of this on any of my social media pages. Mr. Buttworth, Storyton’s butler, and, a better butler than even Christie herself could have created, turned and gave me a reprimanding look, obviously not appreciative of my expletive. I rolled my eyes. “Get used to it and be thankful,” I thought quietly to myself this time as I continued to follow Mr. B. “It will give you plenty of fodder for the article on people’s obsessions with classic literary characters you promised to Vance.” Mr. Butterworth stopped at the front desk, and I completed my registration and stored my luggage until my room was available.

I tried to convince myself that a good old-fashioned weekend without the latest-and-greatest gadgets at my immediate disposal may be just what I needed to get my creative juices cooking once again. I had been feeling stagnated lately and was suffering from something that was even hard for someone like me who never had a problem with admitting to years of on-again, off-again therapy: I had been struck down by writer’s block. This time away from the city and my cluttered desk, though uneventful as it had seemed it was going to be, may be just the ticket to relaxation and rejuvenation. I quickly started to get used to the thought and even started to LIKE the thought. The country air must have been working on me.

As I walked through Storyton Hall, I realized I was truly awe-struck. It really WAS magnificent like their website said; in fact, their website virtual tours didn’t even begin do it justice. Each room was dedicated to a either late-great author or classic read, so realistically decorated and appointed that I expected to be greeted by either Kipling, Faulker, or Potter herself around the next corner, cleverly disguised as a waiter, concierge, or housekeeper. I found myself catching the eye of everyone who crossed my path, looking for that sign of recognition. “Stop it!” I told myself. “Some of these authors have been dead for hundreds of years, and even if someone like Jules Verne WAS a ghost, why would he be here haunting the halls of sleepy Storyton? With a creative mind like his, he could choose anywhere, and I don’t think he’d choose here!”

I decide I was starting to actually get a tad creeped out by the authenticity of it all, and realizing Mr. Butterworth had left me on my own, I headed out to the Green Gables Gazebo where I saw staff serving afternoon tea; a little caffeine always grounded me. Anne Shirley had always been a favorite heroine of mine and I decided that would be a good spot for me to rest my feet, especially after running through the airport to make my connecting flight. Avonlea had always given me comfort when I was a child, especially through my parent’s nasty and noisy divorce. It seemed like a quiet, happy place where nothing really bad ever happened and all the neighbors looked out for each other.

A hostess dressed up as Diana Berry, Anne Shirley’s bosom friend and confidant, brought out a tray with tea and little, dainty cakes. “There goes the diet,” I thought, but I wasn’t disappointed. I devoured several of these bite-sized treats, downed two cups of Darjeeling, and feeling revived, decided to stay outdoors in the late afternoon sun and walk the grounds. It was early fall and the leaves were starting to turn in this little New England village. I headed towards Milton’s Garden.

I no sooner got off the gazebo steps when I saw a pair of black men’s loafer sticking out from one of the bushes on the Lewis Carrol Croquet Lawn. Since no one was playing the game at the moment, I walked over to the bush…had someone already had one too many martinis in the Ian Fleming Lounge? As I got closer, I recognized the highly polished shoes and stocky build as none other than Mr. Butterworth. He was starting straight out, eyes fixed and glazed, a knot almost the size of my fist on his forehead and a croquet mallet and ball nearby. That’s when I realized someone else had walked up behind me and had let out the proverbial blood curdling scream. It was Mrs. Pimpernel, the head housekeeper.

I would obviously be on my own carrying my bags up to my room later. Mr. Butterworth was clearly dead.

******************************************************************************************

Now it is all up to you!
You can only vote once!

I will announce the winner on September 2, as we wrap up Ellery Adams Month!

The Winner will be able to choose 2 Mass Market Paperbacks from Amazon and I will send them to you.
Maybe one of your choices would be Ellery’s new Books by the Bay Mystery coming out in November.

The other two favorites will win an autographed copy of

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Aug 292014
 
ellery adams monthEllery Adams Month Continues!
The deadline to get your Storyton Stories in
was 10 p.m. last night!
I will be posting my 3 favorites VERY SOON!
Then the voting will open!
Voting will end on September 1 at 2 p.m. CST
I will announce the winner on September 2,
as we wrap up Ellery Adams Month!
Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Aug 282014
 

sacrificeSacrifice
Follow up to Executive Pink
Suspense (Satire)
Self Published (July 24, 2013)
Paperback: 246 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1491061275
E-Book File Size: 457 KB
ASIN: B00AAHLBYW
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

In a secret underground lab near Washington, D.C., Pink Pinkerton concocts a drug that can save humanity from itself. Intended as a better erectile dysfunction remedy, one that enlarges our imagination along with everything else, Pink’s formula also tames our lizard brain, quieting the baneful appetites and fears that make millionaires of clever salesmen who make billionaires of their sociopathic clients, who understandably want Pink dead and his formula uninvented. Satire? Absolutely.. Yet, so plausible, with characters so believable the narrative pulses with mystery and suspense.

Pink figures powerful corporations believe his miracle potion will ruin the world economy by making people so happy and enlightened they’ll quit starting wars and spending money on things they don’t need.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love featuring Wisconsin authors. This book was written by a man from my home town. We never met, I have heard he graduated from high school the year before I was born. :) A friend recommended this book to me and I am glad she did. I just wish she would have told me about  the book he wrote before it. Truthfully I didn’t know it existed until I started writing this review so you know not reading it first did not deter me from enjoying this story.

Wouldn’t it be great if there really was a pill we could take to make people happy and enlightened? A pill that would make people matter more than the almighty dollar? It sounds wonderful but as the characters in this book found out it sure isn’t easy and it does have a BIG side effect.

The author takes on some heavy topics but writes in such a way that twists them so they keep their importance but feel much lighter. The character is conversing with the reader his through blog entries, narrating the action, sharing his personal thoughts, with a good bit of sarcasm.

 Alfred (Al) Pierce Geddies III takes us quite an adventure from prison to “The Cottage” and out into a dark woods. He goes from being the Former White House Chief of Staff to Special Congressional Prosecutor to Penitentiary Inmate #76490263478 to lab rat and how it happened will keep you glued to these pages.

Sometimes the timelines blurred a bit for me as in places. I don’t want to give any of the story away but at one point Geddies states something took “nearly 3 weeks” and then later he states they had been missing “almost a week”.  In an operation such as the one that takes place I believe the shorter time span to be correct and that maybe it was a typo and the author meant 3 days not 3 weeks.  This mistake is not relevant enough to downgrade my review. I found the story quite riveting.

If you are looking for a truly different kind of read, this is it. This story was not what I expected at all, but I truly escaped right into it. I have Matt Paust to thank for my recent book hangover.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Mathew Paust and his books here on his webpage.

*This book was from my personal collection.

Aug 272014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Today I am super excited to welcome Penny Pike!

Her new Food Festival Mystery debuted this month with Death of a Crabby Cook.

Photograph (Jim Stevens/Bay Area News Group)

Photograph (Jim Stevens/Bay Area News Group)

DEATH OF A CRABBY COOK
by Penny Pike Warner

Do you munch while you read mysteries? How could you not, when reading one of the many wonderful food-related series on the market today, everything from cupcakes and pies to bacon and fries. I think the reason these culinary mysteries are so popular is simple: they make you hungry, you eat while you read, and they come with recipes.

I got the idea for writing a food truck mystery a couple of years ago before the “meals on wheels” phenomenon swept the country. I was in Napa, CA, doing research for another book (AKA drinking a lot of wine), and spotted a circle of colorful trucks offering intriguing specialties. I decided to try some plein air dining and ordered a little of everything from trucks Kung Fu Tacos, Happy Dumplings, The Boneyard, Fins on the Hoof, Me So Hungry, and Naked Chorizo. Yum. I was hooked.

crabbycookREVISECombining my love of both food and fiction, I began writing the first book in the food truck/food festival series, Death of a Crabby Cook. I created Darcy Burnett, a total foodie who loves to eat, but barely knows how to heat a frozen dinner in the microwave. To complicate things, I made her a restaurant reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle, suddenly downsized, and desperately in need of a job. While eating a therapeutic Caramel Espresso Cream Puff whipped up by Jake Miller from the Dream Puff Truck—and recognizing a hot food trend when she sees one—she’s inspired to write a cookbook full of food truck recipes.

Her first source is the upcoming San Francisco Seafood Festival. Darcy plans to use her journalistic skills to gather recipes for everything from Crab Mac and Cheese from her aunt’s Big Yellow School Bus food truck, to Hangtown Oyster Omelets from the Bacon is the New Black truck.

But her plans are interrupted by a loud commotion in the Ft. Mason food truck area. Chef Oliver Jameson is arguing with a petite woman wielding a large knife. The woman happens to be Darcy’s sixty-something Aunt Abby, a former school cafeteria cook who now owns her own tricked-out school bus and serves comfort food to hungry diners. Abby accuses Jameson of harassing the food truckers in the area—competition for his brick-and-mortar Bones ‘n’ Brew restaurant—which he denies. Did he really plant a rat in her bus to get her in trouble with the Health Department?

When the chef is suddenly poisoned by his own crab bisque—and Aunt Abby becomes a suspect—Darcy smells a rat. Together with Aunt Abby’s hacker son Dillon and dream puff Jake Miller, she discovers something rotten in the food truck world. But it’s not the recipes…they’re to die for!

I just finished DEATH OF A CHOCOLATE CHEATER, and I have to admit, the research was more fun than the writing. I think I’ll include a warning label inside the book: Read with chocolate. And there will be plenty of recipes to help.

~Penny

About Penny Warner/Penny Pike

Penny Warner has published over 60 books for both adults and children. Her first mystery series, beginning with DEAD BODY LANGUAGE, features Connor Westphal, a deaf reporter living in the California Gold Country. The book won a Macavity Award for Best First Mystery, and was nominated for an Agatha and an Anthony Award.

Her second mystery series, beginning with How to Host a Killer Party, features event planner, Presley Parker, and is set in the San Francisco Bay Area. Presley solves mysteries on Alcatraz, at the de Young Museum, at the Winchester Mystery House, in Colma, the City of Souls, and in the Napa wine country.

Her newest series, Death of a Crabby Cook, features Darcy Burnett, a former restaurant critic who now works in her Aunt Abby’s food truck and lives in an Airstream RV. The book is set among food trucks and food festivals in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Seafood Festival. DEATH OF A CHOCOLATE CHEATER, set at the Chocolate Festival, will be out next year, followed by DEATH OF AN APPLE FEST PEST.

Her middle-grade mystery series, The Code Busters Club, won the Agatha Award for Best Children’s Mystery, and has been nominated for the World Mystery Anthony Award for Best Children’s Mystery. The series features four kids who solve mysteries by cracking codes in each chapter. The books are set in Berkeley, on Alcatraz, at the Carmel Mission, at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, and the International Spy Museum in Washington DC. Her non-fiction book, The Official Nancy Drew Handbook,was nominated for an Agatha Award.

She writes a column for the local newspaper on family life in the Valley, creates fund-raising murder mystery events for libraries across the country, and teaches child development at Diablo Valley College. She can be reached at http://www.pennywarner.com or pennywarnerink@yahoo.com.

crabbycookREVISEDeath of a Crabby Cook:
A Food Festival Mystery

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (August 5, 2014)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451467812
E-Book File Size: 1307 KB
ASIN: B00HZ1E3OQ
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

At the San Francisco Seafood Festival, someone is steamed enough to kill a cook….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I absolutely loved Penny’s Party Planning Mysteries so I am so glad she has returned with this Death of a Crabby Cook: – A Food Festival Mystery Series.

We meet Darcy Burnett who wrote restaurant reviews for the San Francisco Chronicle, I use the past tense because she was laid off as the story began. She quickly starts helping her Aunt Abby with her food truck with hopes of writing a cookbook based on recipes from food fests in the Bay Area.

Penny Pike has written quite a mystery and for most of the book I thought I knew whodunit and happily was so wrong. She had twisted me into quite a pretzel. No pretzel food truck in the story though but there is The Coffee Witch, Dream Puffs, The Yankee Doodle Noodle Truck, Road Grill, The Big Yellow School Bus and more.

Darcy’s aunt worked in a school cafeteria until she retired and opened The Big Yellow School Bus where she serves comfort food like Crabby Cheerleader Mac and Cheese and Science Experiment Spaghetti.

There is a local chef, Oliver Jameson, who owns a restaurant adjacent to where the food trucks park daily and he is sure they are the reason his restaurant is going broke.  He has had very public arguments with most of the food truck owners but he had a huge one today with Aunt Abby. So when his dead body is found she is the number one suspect.

Darcy knows her aunt would never hurt a soul, she may yell at someone but kill them, no way!! All the clues keep pointing to Abby so Darcy knows she is being framed. With a little help from her techie cousin Dillon, Darcy is going to catch the killer one way or another.

All these mobile restaurant owners are truly unique and most have some kind of secret. I was really surprised at how much we found out about these characters in this first book. My mother ran a restaurant/cafe for years in our small town. Aunt Abby reminds me a lot of my mom. She cooked comfort food too. She was also very independent just like Aunt Abby. Darcy is a little like I was back then, I couldn’t cook worth a darn and sometimes was a little too nosy for my own good. Thankfully my life was never in danger.

This story is a lot like the food Aunt Abby served, comfortable with a few surprises to keep those pages turning at a pretty speedy pace.  My only problem with the story is that it didn’t come with food samples. I know there are recipes included but I sure could go for a Dreamy Cream Puff or 2 or 3, any flavor drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with powdered sugar right now and the whole time I was reading this story!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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.

Leave a comment for Penny for 5 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 September 10, 2014 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.”