Feb 282017
 
For the first time ever, one of Harlan Coben’s #1 New York Times bestselling hardcovers will be going straight to trade paperback with the release of HOME (on sale February 28th, 2017) TODAY!
I reviewed this book back on September 20 when the hardcover was released and gave it a Paradise Rating – More then 5 stars!
It was one of my Top Reads of 2016.
Today I am reposting my review and the publisher is allowing me to give 2 copies away!!
home
Home
Myron Bolitar Book 11
Crime/Suspense/Thriller
Dutton (September 20, 2016) TODAY!
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 400 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525955108
E-Book ASIN: B01COJUGOE
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Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home in Harlan Coben’s gripping thriller.

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

First let me state this book can easily read as a stand-a-lone, but the main characters have a history and after reading this book you will want to know that history.

The story starts with Myron getting a call from Win. Ten years ago two boys went missing and for Win it is personal because one of the boys was family. After all this time Win receives information that puts him back on the trail and he needs Myron’s help. These two are like the dynamic duo only while Myron is the star of these books he is more often Robin to Win’s Batman.

While Myron does make appearances in Coben’s young adult series, Live Wire, the last Myron Bolitar thriller was published in 2011, so at first I was worried first about my memory of everything Bolitar but also if during the years away the characters wouldn’t live up to my hopes.  Coben has written some stellar thrillers since we last visited these characters so the bar was set really high. Well, I need not have worried, my memories picked up like I has read the previous book the day before  and Coben hits this one out of the park!

Myron, Win (Windsor Lockhorne III), Esperanza and Big Cindi are all back. Mickey, Myron’s nephew and his girlfriend and friend Spoon (Young Adult Series) along with Myron’s parents are all involved in this book. We meet more of Win’s family and the other missing boy’s family too. Plus the criminals who play a part in this story. They are all vital and spring from the pages.

The entire plot starts and ends with gripping and astounding twists, exactly what I expect from this author. The story has tons of drama, action, and mystery along with several edge of your seat moments. Family interactions and deep psychological matters are revealed that had me absolutely stunned. There are some moments of humor too that fans of Myron and Win will truly appreciate. These two are a pair like no other.

The pace is so fast. I wanted to savor this story I had been waiting so long for but with points of view continually switching between Myron and Win that was impossible.  I did the just one more chapter thing so many times I just gave up and stayed up and finished the whole thing and again at the end I exclaimed “WOW!” His books tend to have that effect on me.

In recent years my reading has been more on the cozy side but if I had to choose my all time favorite author my answer has been and will be Harlan Coben. His writing grabs me by the collar and doesn’t let go. I anxiously await each new book. As I finished this one I thought is this the last Bolitar novel? The characters seem to be in a good place so it could be but I sure hope it is not. I do know that whatever this author writes I am going to want to read it immediately so I can’t wait to see where he takes me next.

paradise 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the publisher I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US 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.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

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

Contest Will End March 14, 2017 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

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

Myron and Mickey Bolitar Series’




Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher via NetGalley. 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.”

Dec 272016
 

Death of a Toy Soldier: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (October 11, 2016)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1629538389
E-Book ASIN: B01H082DM2

 

 

Death of a Toy Soldier by Barbara Early – Liz McCall grew up in a playful winter wonderland but it was never her dream to manage her father’s vintage toyshop. However, after he sank his entire police pension into the business, someone needed to help him turn his dreams into reality—and keep him from sneaking off to patrol the not-so-mean streets of East Aurora, NY.

The mood goes from nice to naughty when a nervous man, who was trying to have his antique toys appraised, is found in the shop with a lawn dart through his chest. Suddenly, Liz’s business plan is plunged into deep freeze, while she and her father find themselves toying with a cold-blooded killer who’s playing for keeps.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A vintage toy shop, a perfect place for a little Christmas shopping. Liz McCall manages the place for her dad, a retired police chief, who just can’t leave his old job behind. But when a man is found dead inside the store in the middle of the night and the former chief becomes the prime suspect things are far from merry. With the store a crime scene Liz and her father need to find the real killer fast or this Christmas may be their last.

Liz McCall and my own daughter have something in common. They are both Elizabeth/Betsy/Liz. We named her after my mom and my Dad was the only one that called my mom Betsy so it was my dream for my daughter to have that nickname. It stuck until 4th grade when her homeroom teacher started calling her Liz. She will always be Betsy to family but out in the world she is Liz or Lizzie. Same with Liz in this story. She will always be Betsy to her dad.

Barbara Early really impressed me with this story. All the characters are cleverly crafted. A strong protagonist and equally strong supporting characters. I felt they were very fleshed out for the first book in a series but still have plenty of room to grow.

Setting the story in a vintage toy shop is brilliant. So many things will resonate with readers of all ages. I love that the shop was a gathering place for community game nights. Clue, Monopoly, Risk, and more, complete with old time candy. I wish the place was nearby because I would visit often.

The mystery was also so well written. Readers are drawn into the story and will find it very hard to put down. I tried to read it all in one sitting but my eyes just would not cooperate. I quickly finished it the next day. There were quite a few twists in this story and I was right there with Liz the entire way right up to the surprising ending.

A very enjoyable and entertaining read, perfect for the holiday season!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.”

Dec 232016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review when they were first released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


The Bark Before Christmas
(A Melanie Travis Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
18th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (September 29, 2015)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758284587
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758284594
E-Book ASIN: B00RRT30B8

 

 

 

The Bark Before Christmas by Laurien Berenson – Melanie Travis has her hands full with her two young sons, a part-time job, and a half dozen Poodles to her name. But even with the busy holiday season approaching, she still has time to sniff out a Christmastime killer…

There’s nothing lovelier than Christmas in Connecticut, but Melanie can scarcely find a moment to enjoy the festivities. With her youngest son approaching toddler-hood, she’s decided to return to her old job at Howard Academy, a posh private school attended by the children of Greenwich’s well-heeled gentry. Balancing work, motherhood, and the hectic dog show circuit takes some fancy footwork, especially when the headmaster taps her to be the chairman of the school’s Christmas Bazaar.

The Christmas Bazaar is Howard Academy’s biggest and most important fundraiser, so Melanie feels the pressure to make it a huge success. She even enlists her long-suffering sister-in-law Bertie to help with the Santa Claus and Pets Photo Booth. But everything goes awry when a prize show dog goes missing and Santa turns up dead. The dog’s owner is one of the school’s most perfectly pedigreed alums, and she enlists Melanie to help find the purloined pooch. But just as Melanie starts pawing at the truth, she digs up a sleighful of sinister secrets that leaves everyone feeling less than merry…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I jumped into this series late, reviewing Live and Let Growl in July. Since then I found this book on my TBR shelf and have been looking forward to reading it during the holidays. Again the author gives us plenty of information about the characters to make this book easily read all on its own.

Christmas for Melanie Travis also includes stepping in to chair the Christmas Bazaar fundraiser at Howard Academy. The main event at the bazaar is the Santa Claus and Pets Photo Booth. With her family’s ties to the dog show community they are able to spread the word and she hopes many will bring their show dogs and pets for a picture with Santa making the whole event a huge success. But when Santa is found dead and a pricey show dog goes missing things get out of control. The dog’s owner and her Aunt Peg hold Melanie responsible for the lost dog and demand she find it immediately. The school also hopes she finds out why and how the Santa ended up dead. This whole thing could tarnish the school’s reputation. If she expects to be able to celebrate the holidays with her family she needs to solve both parts of this case faster than Santa travels on Christmas Eve.

What a story but I have mixed emotions about the story as a whole! First I was drawn in my Melanie’s dedication to the school and her students. She is the teacher that helps the kids that get behind and need a little help or that have learning disabilities and need to learn differently. She also brings her large Standard Poodle, Faith, to class with her everyday. The dog helps her reach students in a delightful way. One of these student’s parents are splitting up and dealing with that has made things difficult for her at school. Her mother is the owner of the dog that goes missing at the bazaar. This girl’s story just ripped open my heart.

Berenson took this girl’s story at tipped it on its ear and wove a very creative mystery around it with plenty of turns. I started to figure out the clues just a bit before Melanie.

Maybe because I am new to this series Aunt Peg really made me pause. Overbearing, yes, but to me she did come off as rude and uncaring a few times. Thankfully Melanie has much more patience than I. Had my mother or aunt shown up in my home uninvited at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning, complaining that I and my children were still in our pajamas I would have exploded. SUNDAY AT 7 A.M.! Then another time she took Melanie to task for her plans to go pick out a Christmas tree with her family instead of looking for the missing dog.

Truthfully I still don’t see how Melanie is responsible for the missing dog or the dead Santa. She was not the person that hired the Santa and it was the owner’s choice to keep the dog in a crate while she worked at the bazaar. I do admire the way Melanie handled the whole situation and the way she figured out the truth and solves the mystery.

I enjoyed reading about Melanie, Sam, Davey, Kevin, and even Aunt Peg when she isn’t ripping Melanie apart. Plus I really love reading about the dogs and the dog shows. I hope to be able to start this series from the beginning and she how they got where they are now.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About Laurien Berenson

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

GIVEAWAY
I am giving away an Advance Review Copy!
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.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
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Contest Will End January 6, 2017 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.”

Dec 222016
 

crime-and-catnip

Crime and Catnip (A Nick and Nora Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – California
Berkley Prime Crime (December 6, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270226
E-Book ASIN: B01CZCW4ZY
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Synopsis

Crime and Catnip by T. C. LoTempio – Nick and Nora aren’t just pussyfooting around this time as they deal with a missing person’s case and murder.

While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.

As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him…

INCLUDES DELICIOUS SANDWICH RECIPES

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Nick and Nora are back for the 3rd story in this series and they have their hands/paws full. Nora is still trying to track down human Nick, she is catering a huge gala and the director of the event has asked her to continue the case human Nick was on when he disappeared, and then of course there is a dead body found at the gala and maybe some missing jewels. Could all these things be tied together? You will have to read the book to find out.

Ms. LoTempio has written a very complex mystery for us to solve. Thankfully Nick, the cat, is there to help both us and Nora find and follow all the clues. He is one smart feline. I still think there is so much more to his story but events in this book have me rethinking my original theory. He and Nora along with Nick’s (the human) old partner have to work out secret codes that may lead to international espionage plus Nick (the cat) uses his unique talents to communicate with Nora and help her out of a few dicey situations. If she would just share her info with the hunky law enforcement officers that are prominent in her life before she goes too far… instead of after her life would be a bit safer. I do love the way they show up just after the “nick” of time.  All of these characters are so fun and unique.

One thing I have learned reading this series is the author loves to twist things up as much as she can. That is the reason that once you start reading it is very hard to stop. This one kept me up extra late and I needed a midnight snack too.

Nora runs her mother’s sandwich shop where she serves sandwiches named after actors and actresses. At the end of this book you will find recipes for the Hugh Jackman Sub and the Emma Stone Capri Sandwich, and many others are described within the story. My mouth was watering.

I love this series and each new story quickly becomes my favorite. There is a cliffhanger at the end that leaves me so excited for the next story to be released. Should be out in November or December of 2017. A whole year…I don’t like it but I can make it because I know good things come to those who wait. 🙂

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

fred-profile

About the Author…..

While Toni LoTempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE mysteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.com and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Author Links

Where to find them:
ROCCO’s blog:
www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Website   Facebook    Goodreads   Twitter:@RoccoBlogger

About the Author…..

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE mysteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.com and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

 

New Series coming in March 2017

GIVEAWAYThanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to giveaway!
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.
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Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

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Contest Will End January 5, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
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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.”


Dec 212016
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

Today we have 2 authors visiting!! 

Welcome Barbara Ross and Liz Mugavero! 

Talk of the Town

Liz Mugavero and Barbara Ross both have books coming out December 27. For Liz, it’s Custom Baked Murder, the fifth book in her Pawsitively Organic Pet Food Mystery series. For Barb, it’s Iced Under, the fifth book in her Maine Clambake Mystery series. Recently, they got together to talk cozy towns.

Barb: Hi Liz. If I know you as well as I think I do, you, like me have been watching the new season of The Gilmore Girls. As I watched, I realized one of reasons for the series’ success, along with the snappy dialog and endearing characters, is the town of Stars Hollow. Like the towns we write about, Frog’s Ledge, Connecticut and Busman’s Harbor, Maine, Stars Hollow is a classic New England town with a green and a band shell and a grab bag of eccentric characters.

What do you think attracts readers and viewers to these places?

Liz: Hi Barb! Yes, you do know me as well as you think…although I have a dilemma. I made a pact with myself that I’d watch all the original Gilmore Girls before watching the new season. I started over the summer and convinced myself that I’d be done way before November 25th! Alas, life got in the way and I’m only on season four – so no spoilers for the new ones!

Now, to your question. I have a confession. I watched Gilmore Girls before I moved to Connecticut. And I think one of the reasons I ended up here was because I was convinced every town was like Stars Hollow! Unfortunately it wasn’t true, but I became obsessed with the idea that I would find a little town to love that would love me back. A town with the perfect bookstore, the perfect grocer, the perfect people. And, the perfect coffee, of course. But it’s that sense of security I got from watching the show that drew me in. The idea that the people around you had your back, even though they weren’t traditional family. It’s that idea that you make your own family, right?

So let’s talk about that. How did you come up with the people with whom you populated your town? Based on real people, or totally made up?

Barb: What a great question. Of all my characters, Gus is the only one based on a real Maine person. There really was a guy who owned an old restaurant near us in Maine with a gorgeous view of a place called, believe it or not, Cozy Harbor. The restaurant looked like an Edward Hopper painting with an old-fashioned gas pump on the outside and a candle-pin bowling lane on the inside. And, just like in the books, Gus only served food to people he knew, or people who knew someone he knew. No one else is based on a real person, though I know people in the real Boothbay Harbor like to guess who’s who!

So my town is kind of, sort of, based on a real town, highly fictionalized. What about you? Is there a real basis for Frog Ledge? How is it similar and different physically and otherwise?

Liz: My fictional town started with a real thing. The town next to me has a really cool town green with a walking path, and I started bringing the dogs there. It’s about a mile around, and there are houses on both sides as well as a bunch of historical buildings, the library, and a museum. And there are always activities happening on the green, from farmers’ markets to 4th of July fireworks to summer concerts. It’s a cool place, and there’s a lovely little Victorian house on one side. I was there one day and thought, wow, this is the place. The place where people in my books can go for all the gossip. The place where Stan should live and spend a lot of her time. The true center of town, you know? And then from there I beefed up the rest of the town with some fictional places like Izzy’s coffee and chocolate shop, the flower shop, the pub. I pulled elements of neighboring towns so it became sort of a hybrid of real places with some fiction thrown in.

It works for me. What about you? Is there something different you wish you’d done relating to how you set up your town? Or is it perfect the way it is?

Barb: Five books in, Busman’s Harbor is still growing. I’ve added shops along Main Street as I’ve needed them—a hardware store for Clammed Up, a frame shop for Fogged Inn, and a jewelry store for Iced Under. It’s kind of like an old map, some places are well understood and finely drawn, while others are completely blank “Here be dragons.” One thing I wish I’d done. I wish I’d called my main road “Maine Street” with an e. So obvious, and yet I missed it.

Of course the most important thing in a cozy mystery, wherever it is set, is a sense of community, of people pulling together, and then potentially pulling apart due to murder. Our sleuths need to set things to rights again, and that means Stan Connor and Julia Snowden have their work cut out for them.

We have our work cut out for us, too, since both of us are on deadlines for book six. Good luck with it, Liz. Let’s talk soon!

Liz: Good luck, Barb.

About The Authors

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries, including the Agatha-nominated Best Contemporary Novel Clammed Up, as well as Boiled Over, Musseled Out, Fogged Inn, and Iced Under. Her story “Nogged Off” appears in the holiday novella collection Eggnog Murder along with stories by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. In the summer, she writes on her big front porch overlooking the water in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. You can visit her website at http://www.maineclambakemysteries.com

Liz Mugavero is the author of the Agatha Award-nominated Pawsitively Organic Mysteries Kneading to Die, A Biscuit, A Casket, The Icing on the Corpse and Murder Most Finicky. Custom-Baked Murder, the fifth in the series, will be released in December 2016. As you can imagine, her canine and feline rescues demand the best organic food and treats around. She is a member of Sisters in Crime National, Sisters in Crime New England, Mystery Writers of America, and the Cat Writers’ Association. She currently lives in Connecticut.


Iced Under (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Maine/Massachusetts
Kensington (December 27, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496700391
E-Book ASIN: B01DRXCGEE

 

 

The snow is deep in Maine’s Busman’s Harbor and the mighty rivers are covered in ice. Snowden Family Clambake Company proprietor Julia Snowden and her mother, Jacqueline, are hunkered down for the winter when a mysterious package arrives—heating up February with an unexpected case of murder . . .

Inside the mystery package is an enormous black diamond necklace that once belonged to Julia’s great-grandmother and disappeared in the 1920s. Who could have sent it—and why? Julia’s search for clues takes her on a perilous journey through her mother’s troubled family history, from a squabble over the family fortune in “frozen water” to the recent unexplained death of Jacqueline’s long-lost cousin Hugh—who’d been missing and presumed drowned for more than forty years. To protect her mother’s inheritance, Julia must fend off a small army of feuding relatives, solve the mystery surrounding Hugh’s demise, and get back home before the next blizzard buries them all . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It may be winter in Busman’s Harbor but Julia still has a mystery to solve. Her mom received a package containing a wonderful family heirloom, one the disappeared back in the 1920’s. The problem is they have no idea who sent the package. Julia’s investigation leads her to connect with family she didn’t know she had and she arrives at their door just in time to find out the person she hoped to meet died recently. Shortly after her arrival the family learns that the death was not from natural causes, it was MURDER!

I really love these stories. So much happens in addition to the main mystery. In a subplot Julia’s sister, Livvie, is due to give birth any day and the snow coming could make getting to the hospital an adventure. This mirrors my daughter’s experience almost exactly 4 years ago. Her dad drove her to the hospital in the middle of a blizzard following a snow plow all the way. Babies seem to want to make appearances in reality and fiction at the most inopportune times.

In the main mystery plot the author introduces many new characters enabling Julia to meet and learn about family members she and her mom didn’t even know existed. She also learns the truth about an event in the past that happened very differently than her mother thought. I enjoyed the history research and the stories told by these family members almost more than the mystery and it is a great mystery full of twists and surprises.

The author provides enough background to allow this book to be read without reading the previous stories but I encourage you to read them all in order. The characters really grow and become more distinct throughout the series and each includes a stellar mystery.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Custom Baked Murder
(A Pawsitively Organic Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (December 27, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496700193
E-Book ASIN: B01DRXCGD0

 

 

Kristan “Stan” Connor gladly turned tail on her high-flying job and moved to a quaint New England town to sell organic pet treats. But with her nose for solving murders, there’s no such thing as a quiet life…

Summer is winding down in Frog Ledge, Connecticut, but Stan’s love life and career are both heating up nicely. In between planning her new pet patisserie and café, Stan is settling into living-in-bliss with sexy pub owner Jake McGee. Love’s on the menu for Stan’s mom, Patricia, too, who’s engaged to Frog Ledge’s mayor, Tony Falco.

Mayor Falco’s dogged ambition isn’t popular among locals, but it’s his executive coach, Eleanor Chang, who’s inspired a dangerous grudge. When Eleanor is found dead, there’s a whole pack of suspects to choose from. Stan has first-hand experience of Eleanor’s unsavory business tactics. But finding out who forced her to take a fatal plunge off the corporate ladder means unearthing some shady secrets…and a killer who’s too close for comfort.

Includes Gourmet Pet Food Recipes!

This is a series I really need to get caught up on. I did receive a note from a friend warning me that this story may have parts that would be hard for me to read after the death of my son so I will hold off reading it for now. 

Thanks to the authors I have 1 copy of each book to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US 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 Barbara or Liz for 5 Bonus Entries.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.
.
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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.”

Dec 202016
 

Frosty the Dead Man
(A Snow Globe Shop Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Minnesota
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (December 6, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270820
E-Book ASIN: B01CZCW46I

 

 

A snow globe becomes a murder weapon in the latest cozy mystery from the national bestselling author of Snow Way Out and The Iced Princess.

Mayor Lewis Frost has always been known as Frosty to his friends—not that he has many these days. Controversies swirling around the city council have members wondering if Frosty is trying to snow them. After one councilman storms off in a huff, the mayor turns to curio shop manager Camryn Brooks and asks her to consider taking a seat on the council.

Later, when Cami goes to his office to discuss the proposal, her blood runs cold. She finds Frosty dead, and the very snow globe she sold him earlier that day lies in sparkling shards on his carpet—along with a large diamond. Does the snow globe—which features a peculiar tableau of an armed man and three menacing bears—hold a clue to Frosty’s demise? One way or another, it’s up to Cami to shake things up before the killer’s trail goes cold…

Snow globe-making projects and tips included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Things are a bit frosty in town and not just the weather. Mayor Frost is not seeing eye to eye with the city council. Several approached him right in the Brew Ha Ha Coffee Shop to voice their displeasure. At least he wasn’t too upset to walk into Curio Finds to purchase an unusual snow globe and tell Cami to stop by his office later. When she gets there she is horrified to find him dead with his new snow globe the apparent murder weapon.

I love so many things about this series, the setting is so unique and every time I read one I want to buy everyone on my Christmas list a snow globe, but can never find ones as special at those in Curio Finds.

The characters continue to evolve in each story and I truly enjoyed this time as the circle of the 3 girlfriends is growing to be a circle of 6 friends. They are all fun and very engaging and realistically written. The author also keeps the series fresh by introducing new people that expand the suspect pool. A diverse group of tourists, local townspeople and one that is surrounded in mystery.

This time I figured out early why the mayor was killed but there were so many twists and turns I was completed stumped as to who the actual killer could be. I felt a little smart that I was ahead of Cami in one aspect and felt a cozy rush as I tried to sleuth out the guilty party before she did, but I ended up being right there with her at the end. It was a complete surprise but still made absolute sense.

Frosty The Dead Man is definitely by favorite book in the series. It is a wonderful winter read, set right before Christmas. Cozy lovers are sure to pleased!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Christine Husom on her webpage here

Thanks to the publisher 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.

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Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

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Contest Will End January 3, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
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Click Here For Entry Form

 

Dec 162016
 

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On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review when they were first released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


Poison at the PTA
5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
An Obsidian Mystery (February 4, 2014)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451415073
E-Book ASIN: B00DYX9K8I

 

 

Poison at the PTA by Laura Alden – As the Tarver Elementary School PTA president, Beth Kennedy is always on the go—especially when someone puts murder on the agenda.

Beth has been running nonstop to be the best PTA president, bookstore owner, and single parent ever, which is why her friend Marina is staging an intervention. Beth needs to take a break—and that means letting someone else organize the PTA’s upcoming eightieth-anniversary event.

But when Cookie Van Doorne, one of the event speakers, dies of suspicious causes, Beth decides to make an intervention of her own to find out what happened. When she discovers that Cookie was poisoned, the next order of business is catching a killer whose break is almost over.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Beth finds it hard to say no to anything. Running her bookstore, being a single parent,  and PTA president fills most of her time but now she has added organizing the anniversary event for the PTA. Her friends see she has taken on too much and stage an intervention. From taking over meals to organizing the PTA event, they are taking over to give her a much needed break. She has a hard time accepting it but finally agrees to their plans. She has a little extra time for herself until one of the event speakers dies a few days after the program. Beth then finds herself intervening in the suspicious death investigation. Poison is found to be the murder weapon and Beth hopes to break the case before her little break from her full life ends.

I knew when I started this book it was the final book in the series, something the author didn’t know when writing it. It is set in Wisconsin and I really enjoyed the other books in  the series and for the life of me I don’t know why I didn’t read it right when it came out. A recent To-Be-Read Shelf reorganization unearthed it along with a few others I will need to read soon.

In this installment the author uses a poison each of us probably has in our homes right now, Acetaminophen. I had no idea how easy it would be to overdose on this over the counter drug. In fact because the drug is so common, suicide is even debated before the death was classified as a murder. Yes, that trigger for me again, but I knew there had to be more to the story so I plunged right on. I was not disappointed and the prospect of using something so common meant anyone could be a suspect.

I love these characters because they are so real, they remind me of people I know. They have families and common struggles and shared joys. They don’t always get along. They have their ups and their downs. And they come together to help when a friend needs them most, like they did for Beth. True friendships, a real small town feeling. The story is set in Rynwood, Wisconsin, a small town outside the capital of Madison, very much like my hometown. Beth has two children and they both have typical things happening in their lives and Beth handles both in a very common sense way eventually. Parenting is hard work and the answers are not always glaring you write in the face. I knew exactly what she was feeling after raising 4 kids of my own with very similar issues.

I think the reason I loved this series so much as it reminded me of my own life, without the murders, of course. Until my accident, I worked full time, my husband had a job where his work hours shifted every two weeks, so I felt like a single parent much of the time. I was involved with everything going on at the school, again 4 kids, each doing their own thing, all in a town of about 1000 people.

It is sad that this is my last escape to Rynwood and it is hard to say goodbye to Beth, Marina, Jenna, Oliver, Lois, Flossie and Paoze, but I know the author has moved on to other stories. Stories that I have and will enjoy in the future. She did finish the series out with a PERFECT ESCAPE!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Laura Alden is also Laurie Cass. She co-wrote Dead, Bath, and Beyond with Lorraine Bartlett.  It was just released this month. She also writes the Bookmobile Cat Mysteries. Check out her webpage here for more info. 

I am giving away my copy of Poison at the PTA!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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something you like here and become a follower.

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Contest Will End December 30, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
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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.”

The Lost Gift: A Christmas Story by Kallie George (Author), Stephanie Graegin (Illustrator)

 Nana's Nook, Reviews 2016  Comments Off on The Lost Gift: A Christmas Story by Kallie George (Author), Stephanie Graegin (Illustrator)
Dec 152016
 

The Lost Gift: A Christmas Story
by Kallie George (Author), Stephanie Graegin (Illustrator)
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (October 18, 2016)
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Hardcover: 40 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0553524819
E-Book ASIN: B01B0K99GE
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In this charming Christmas-themed picture book that feels like a classic, four animals deliver a lost package for Santa.

It’s Christmas Eve, and Bird, Rabbit, Deer, and Squirrel are eagerly waiting for Santa to fly overhead. When he does, a gift tumbles out of his sleigh, landing in the woods. The friends find the gift and read the tag: For the new baby at the farm. Love, Santa. And so, in spite of Squirrel’s grumbling It’s not our baby they set off on a long journey to deliver it. Sweet, poignant, and starring a cast of truly adorable characters, this is a story sure to be shared year after year at Christmastime.

Nana’s Thoughts

A beautifully illustrated tale of four woodland characters giving Santa a big assist on Christmas Eve.

The dialogue between bird, deer, bunny and squirrel has a timely message of good deeds, friendship, and perseverance. Each character is unique with their own personality. From the cantankerous squirrel, to the intuitive bird, the optimistic bunny, and the tentative deer.

Targeted at ages 4 – 8, but that would mean learning to read the book themselves. The story itself would be enjoyed by little ones being read to as well. The story is engaging and illustrations are colorful. I love the faces on the animals.

The book would make a wonderful gift that would be enjoyed year after year. There is a gift tag on the first page so that your special child will always be reminded who gave them this fun and entertaining book.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Kallie George holds a master’s degree in children’s literature from the University of British Columbia. She is the author of the Magical Animal Adoption Agency series, among other acclaimed books for children, and, in addition to writing, leads workshops for aspiring writers. Kallie lives in Vancouver, and Christmas is her favorite time of year. Visit her on the web at kalliegeorge.com.

Click here for more books by Kallie George.

About the Illustrator

Stephanie Graegin is the illustrator of Forget Me Not by Nancy Van Laan;Water in the Park by Emily Jenkins, which received three starred reviews; and Happy Birthday, Bunny! by Liz Garton Scanlon, which received two starred reviews. Graegin earned her BFA from the Maryland Institute for Fine Arts and her MFA in printmaking from Pratt Institute. You can visit her at graegin.com.

Click here for more books illustrated by Stephanie Graegin.

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.”

Dec 152016
 

Dead, Bath, and Beyond (Victoria Square Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – New York
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (December 6, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Ransom House
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425265994
E-Book ASIN: B01CZCW3K0

 

 

The New York Times bestselling series is back, as Katie Bonner–owner of Artisans Alley in the quaint shopping district of Victoria Square–attempts to solve a murder at a nearby B & B.

Katie Bonner feels like nothing can spoil her perfect day off, sailing Lake Ontario with her good friend, lawyer Seth Lander. Then she runs into her ex-boss Jake on the dock. It was never smooth sailing with Jake, and Katie is only too happy to get away from him as he makes a scene.

Unfortunately, the next day her unpleasant former employer is found drowned in a bathtub at a bed and breakfast in Victoria Square. Who would pull the plug on Jake? When an autopsy reveals lake water–not bath water–in his lungs, Katie quickly finds herself in over her head. She’ll need to race to find the killer before her business and her freedom both go down the drain…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Last week I read and reviewed the previous book in this series, One Hot Murder, that had been on my To-Be-Read shelf since 2013 when it was released. Because of this the delay between books 3 and 4 was not a problem for me. I have to say it is unusual to have a break like this between books especially when it is the same publisher. This book picks up close to where the last one left off so for me the flow was still there.

Things are going well at Artisans Alley. Former detective Ray Davenport has leased a booth as he waits for his shop Wood U to be rebuilt after the fire. A beauty shop has also opened at the Alley. Her new friends, owners of the B & B, are getting ready to open but they have taken in an early guest. A guest that Katie knows quite well, her former boss, Jake. Katie worked so hard for him and he always took the credit. She wasn’t unhappy at all to leave that job and him behind when she inherited the Alley. She was not happy to see him in her neighborhood, but she didn’t even have time to find out why he was staying at the B&B because his dead body was found in a bathtub soon after he checked in. Of course, she is a suspect, they have a past and she did have a bit of a scene with him the day before, in front of plenty of witnesses.

I really enjoyed this story. I love the characters and the setting. Ms. Bartlett always delivers a top-notch mystery. She is joined this time by another wonderful storyteller in Laurie Cass, author the fun Bookmobile Cat Mysteries.

It was nice to see Ray on the outside of this police investigation and him actually being a sounding board and helping Katie with her sleuthing. They have become friends and Ray’s daughters and I are even hoping for maybe more. That was my only sticky point to this story. Katie and Andy’s romance is going nowhere. They work opposite shifts, they can’t even seem to get together for lunches because something always comes up. She lives above his pizza place so they see each other every day and she steps in to help him when he is understaffed. But they seem to just be staying together just because it is comfortable but not really any fun. I know change would probably impact her living arrangement, but a romantic triangle would sure add some spark to the story. Maybe Andy would step up and make more of an effort in the relationship. Katie does have friends but she needs a man in her life who has time for a life. Maybe in the next book we will see these relationships evolve more.

Beyond Katie’s personal life the story is pretty exciting. She does get in as usual over her head and this time almost literally. The suspense builds so that the pages start to flip pretty rapidly as we see how she is going to get herself out of the mess she got herself into.

I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next installment of this series. I am so glad it is back!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 About The Authors

Lorraine Bartlett

The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorraine Bartlett‘s pen name Lorna Barrett on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it’s her talent — whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett — that keeps her there. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square Mystery series and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s). Check out the links to all her works here: http://www.lorrainebartlett.com



Laurie Cass

Laurie Cass grew up in Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University in the 80’s with a (mostly unused) Bachelor of Science degree in geology. She and her husband live on a lake in northwest lower Michigan. When Laurie isn’t writing, she’s working at her day job, reading, yanking weeds out of her garden, or doing some variety of skiing. Find out more on her webpage here and sign up for her Newsletter.

Thanks to the publisher 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.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 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 December 29, 2016 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.”

Dec 142016
 

The Seven-Course Christmas Killer: A Holiday Novella from the Italian Kitchen (An Italian Kitchen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New Jersey
Beyond the Page (November 27, 2016)
Print Length: 77 pages
ASIN: B01NBDVUCX

 

 

On Christmas Eve, someone might be sleeping with the fishes . . .

It’s December at the Casa Lido, which means only one thing: the Rienzi family’s traditional Christmas Eve celebration, including wine, song, and seven Italian seafood courses. As Victoria and Tim prep scungilli and calamari, Nonna directs the cooking until all is in readiness for the big night.

But the holiday cheer is interrupted by the attempted murder of Mayor Anne McCrae, who asks Vic to investigate. Trouble is, there are as many suspects as there are fishes on the Christmas Eve menu . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There are many tense moments as the community comes together for the Rienzi family’s traditional Christmas Eve celebration. The mayor  pulls Victoria aside and tells her someone is trying to kill her. Then she basically blackmails her into finding out who by the end of the dinner. Since the mayor is not that well liked one just needs to look around the room and see that everyone is a suspect, but she comes up with a list of 7 that may actually be guilty of attempted murder. Seven people, seven courses, with a little help she may be able to pull this off.

This is a fun, fast read from Rosie Genova, just in time for the holidays. It is a nice companion story to go with the series. You do not need to have read the previous books to enjoy this novella. The author does a wonderful job of introducing all the characters all while giving the reader a nice little mystery.

This series does have 3 previous books but was cancelled by Penguin Random House. I was so excited to see this novella that gives you just a taste of Casa Lido, the family that owns it and the community it serves. An introduction for new readers and something to hold fans of the series as we hope the author continues the series on her own. She is thinking of making holiday releases an annual event. That would make this reader very happy.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author:

A Jersey girl born and bred, national bestselling author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for much of her work. Her series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, is informed by her appreciation for good food and her love of classic mysteries from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. Her debut novel, Murder and Marinara, was named a 2013 Best Pick by Suspense Magazine and was a finalist for a 2014 Daphne Award. The proud mama of three grown sons, Rosie still lives in her home state with her husband and a charming mutt named Lucy.

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.”

Drawing Conclusions (A Sketch in Crime Mystery) by Deirdre VerneBUY TODAY
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